Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Where is My Mind?

Here is a butterfly on a flower.

When your mind wanders, where does it go? At our retreat today, we had a wellness helper/expert visit and teach us yoga exercises we could do at our desks at work. It was actually pretty cool. I've never really been super interested in yoga before. It just seemed like for a while there, everyone was doing it and since I have to be difficult, that meant I couldn't. Plus, there's all that sitting still that I have a really hard time with.

Here is some fungus on a tree.

The woman who coached us told us to concentrate on our breathing and try to clear our heads of all thoughts. The breathing part reminded me of when I used to be a patient advocate helping people get through procedures that doctors liked to describe as uncomfortable, but most patients thought were just plain painful. I always tried to get them to work on their breathing too. "Take long deep breaths. In through your nose and out through your mouth...."

I used the same technique on Coadster when she was younger and would get too tired or have a meltdown, just to calm her down. One time when she was feeling particularly stubborn she told me, "No. I'm not going to do it. I'm not breathing anymore!" I had to hide my face in my sleeve so she wouldn't see me laughing.

Shit. All those memories weren't helping me clear my mind. If there was only an off switch for my brain, I would be the happiest girl alive. When I really tried, the closest I could get was to think about running. It doesn't happen all the time, but once in a while when the weather is nice, and there's a light breeze against me and I've run long enough for my endorphins to kick in, I get to a place where I can't feel even the slightest pain, and I have a hard time remembering where I am exactly (even though I run almost the same route every day). My mind isn't completely clear, but it's as close to an off switch as I'll ever get.


laura b. said...

I like the idea of an off switch. I think the closest thing for me is when I lose myself in a book. Reading saves me.

Remiman said...

I've practiced yoga, meditation and hypnosis for years and still can't turn off meandering thoughts.
Like lauba b though, I can get totally absorbed in a book.

Ananda girl said...

I am with laura b. Seconds into a book and my brain is there... no where else.

I took a class where we were supposed to do that to open our minds to its own interpretation of things. I kept getting in trouble for my imagination butting in. I had zero control over that.

Like the photos. Pretty place.

Pamela said...

The only thing I've found that does it is rock climbing. Really. My brain empties. I need it - it's my addiction.

Brando said...

I have never been able to clear my mind. It's like I have meditation ADD.

booda baby said...

Hey! Me, too! (which accounts for today's word verification: samest.)

But I signed up for a series (they do phone calls - LONNNNNG ones) about a model that works for women (vs. the adrenalin model that's so great for men). (Well THAT sentence was a disaster. Sorry.) ANYWAY, they explained/taught about how women seriously benefit from oxytocin and NOT from adrenalin (which is the stuff I've definitely been running on for forever). One of the great 'set it right' techniques is doing vagus energy center breathing.

It's its own thing to concentrate on. I mean, so you don't have to clear your mind or anything.

And skeptic shmeptic - nothing short of astonishing how it works. If the point is to do it for myself (and it is) then I'm happy to get over not being interested in chakras. (I probably spelled that wrong, what with me not knowing what they are.)

Shit, this is a long comment.

Tara said...

I wish we went on retreats at work.

When my mind wanders, it gets lost and doesn't take a cell phone or map.

thisnewplace said...

I want to go on retreat!!!!!! I'll bet it's awesome.

AlienCG said...

My mind wanders quite a bit, but I seem to be able to reel it back in when I need to. I like seeing what my mind comes back with.

I haven't been on a corporate retreat ever. I did spend time in a Catholic high school and went on a religious retreat, but that's it.

Churlita said...


Reading works to keep me thinking about my own stuff, but it doesn't turn my brain off. It's just the best escapism I can think of...Which is why I love to read.


But do you still recommend yoga and meditation?


We share that problem, but I suppose there are much worse problems to have...


I've tried rock climbing, but it makes me have to think too much about my next move. Maybe if I did it more, I wouldn't have to think so hard.


I have every kind of ADD there is, I'm afraid.

Booda Baby,

That actually sounds pretty cool.


You're funny. Some of the retreats are okay, and some are kind of lame.


Well, it's usually better than sitting in my cubicle all day...


I like where my mind goes most of the time, but I think it would be kind of cool to be able to give my brain a rest every once in a while too.