I am supposed to write something about a place I’d want to be whisked away to but the Zen way to think of things is to be mindful and grateful wherever you are. The Zen way is to appreciate the place I am in in this moment. Thinking about this I decided to write about a place no one thinks of when they are asked where they’d want to go. A place that no one thinks of when they think of Zen. The place I found my paradise is my upstairs bathroom.
This may seem a little weird but please give me a moment to explain. Due to the fact that I need a quiet space to mediate in the mornings and the fact my girlfriend is also getting ready for work in the mornings, she suggested that I meditate in the bathroom after my shower. Well, it wasn’t ideal but it was quiet and secluded, so I gave it a try. After my shower I threw on my robe and I did a few other things to put off the meditation because I was nervous. Eventually, after several minutes of procrastination I decided I just needed to do this before I ran out of time. If I didn’t I would just be disappointed in myself.
The bathroom was still humid but it was comfortably warm from the hot shower water that had been running. I grabbed a towel, one of the old ratty white ones we’ve had since forever ago, and folded over a few times until it was just the right size to put on top of the toilet and use as a cushion. I grabbed my headphones and sat on my towel cushion and pressed play on the first session of my guided meditation videos.
The instructor in my ears started by asking my to just breath in and out while my eyes were open. I wasn’t supposed to be looking at anything in particular. Just maintain a “soft focus” and take in the room around me. I looked around our tiny bathroom and realized it that as much as I hated that room it reflected mine and my girlfriends lives quite nicely.
The whole thing needed to be updated and redone but after 4 years of living in this old house we still hadn’t worked on it. The walls were a very ugly pink color that I refer to as “darker Pepto-Bismol”. The floor is old linoleum that, no matter how many times we mop and bleach, never looks quite clean. The counter to my left is cluttered with various lotions, cleansers, and other beauty supplies. The place is a mess, but so are we, and for some reason we like it this way.
Now the instructor in my ears is telling my to continue breathing and listen to the sounds around me. Background sounds are normally regarded as nothing but distraction that needs to be tuned out but for now I need to listen to them. I close my eyes slowly and listen to the house outside the bathroom. I hear my girlfriend in the living room. I hear the beeping sounds coming from the TV telling me she is about to put on some music. I smile because I can see her in my minds eye, tired and beautiful, focused on starting her day.
I hear the kittens in the spare bedroom, whining to get out. The bedroom is next to the bathroom so I hear the quite clearly. One of them, probably the more outgoing female is jumping at the door. She knows the handle is used to open it but without thumbs she’ll never get it open.
I hear other things too. I hear the dryer downstairs in the laundy room just below me. That room reflects us too. It’s still unfinished, just bare insulation and concrete. the washer and dryer are very nice though. I put my clothes in every morning to get the wrinkles out. I hear the furnace kick on too from the other side of the unfinished laundry room. It is set to turn the heat on when we wake up but I haven’t changed the time since our old schedule last year. I will probably never get around to changing it because our lives are a mess and nothing works the way it should and we like it this way.
The instructor in my ears tells me to scan my own body now and feel myself breathing. In and out, in and out, I fell my body rise while I sit atop the toilet and I think very quickly that this must look so silly. To see a person in a robe sitting on a toilet with head phones in just sitting there, eyes closed and breathing. Yes, it must look very silly. The voice in my ears tells me that it is normal for my mind to wander but I need to gently refocus my mind on my body. Where is my tension? Which way am I leaning? Don’t change it, just feel it. I do as it says and I feel every part of myself. My legs and feet are feeling tingly, I should’t have sat this way.
Breathe, just breathe. And then I feel it. I can’t explain it but I was relaxed and my mind was empty just for a moment there. When the session ends I get up and I feel better. Somehow my mind just feels lighter, more clear. I get ready and I am early, even with having taking the extra 10 minutes to meditate. I haven’t forgotten anything either. I don’t know if it was just a fluke or if those few minutes in my crappy bathroom really helped me refocus. Guess I will just have to keep at it and see.
Do you meditate? If so, when and where? How does it make you feel after?
Image via Headspace, the app I am using to learn how to mediate. The program is called “Take 10”. It consists of 10 individual session, each 10 minutes. I’m hoping at the end of the 10 days I will be meditating with ease.
The prompt is via the WordPress Writing 101 course. The idea was to think of a place, any place I’d like to be whisked away to and describe it. I think the goal was to get better at covey a setting in such a way that the reader could picture the place. I don’t know if I’ve accomplished that here, but I was definitely inspired by the prompt.