30 DAYS OF CALM: Day Seven

Activities: Final day of meditation, plus bonus guided meditation.


Feelings: Control over my life in a very Erin Brockovich meets Oscar the Grouch kind of way.


Thoughts: It’s the end of week one! I think I might be generally a little less stressed than I was a week ago, but it’s hard to say. Stress is a less conscious feeling than panicking or wanting to strangle someone, so it’s hard to measure. I feel like I’m taking things slower, even when there’s more to do than usual. For example, my morning started with an urgent phone call saying the the world would absolutely definitely cave in on itself if I didn’t show up to work four hours early. I was understandably agitated at losing a whole lot of time I’d planned to spend playing Temple Run┬áin my pyjamas, but I still took the time to try one last morning meditation. It was shallow and impatient but I was proud that I had the discipline to sit still for ten minutes in the face of work disaster.


Towards the end of the day I decided to take control of the situation at work. I had been wrong-footed with the time shift and I had to shuffle things around. My normal response to such a situation is to just say yes to everything and complain about it later while other people say “Karin, you’re so hard working and unappreciated.” But I thought this time I’d put my foot down and get some of my time back. By ‘put my foot down’ I mean I politely asked if I could go home early as the damage had been contained. (I may be moonlighting as a nuclear engineer.) They weren’t keen and tried to haggle me out of it but I stuck to my guns and got my wish. By ‘stuck to my guns’ I mean I said it way preferable for me to leave but I could stay if they really wanted.


All spinelessness aside, I was very glad to have the afternoon free. I did have some errands to run but I was glad to have asked for time to do them instead of trying to be everywhere at once for other people and cramming my own stuff into the cracks. If nothing else, so far Calm Month has taught me that the hardest and best thing to do for stress is make time. Time doesn’t just spring out of nowhere and it’s easy to pile deadlines onto your plate without stopping to think about whether that much stuff can actually get done in those hours by one person who still has to fit eating and sleeping in. I always end up doubling up: eating during work time, working during break time, napping at the desk. But even though meditation is really hard and presently unrewarding for me, it’s nice to make some time where I don’t have to do anything but exist.


I tried to spice things up with a bit of guided meditation. That’s where you put on a tape and lie down and then a bunch of chimes start playing and a guy’s voice very matter-of-factly tells you that you’re skipping gaily through a field of wildflowers. It was working pretty well, I must’ve been at it for a full 15 minutes. I was imagining the beautiful fields and the soft forest floors and the prancing deer and I felt totally relaxed. But, predictably, my last day of meditation ended the way all things end – silence, blackness and snorting into consciousness in a puddle of drool.


Here’s what I thought I looked like while listening to the guided meditation tape:


Here’s what I actually looked like.

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