Thursday, 4 April 2013

Washing dishes, making love and living in the moment



The other day a friend said I looked like a I had a cloud over my head. I said I did. It was full of thoughts I hadn't shaken off yet. She said you could tell in all my movements. I said, Well, it takes a while for me to free myself. From myself. I said I just needed to ease away, I'd be fine later on.

Then a friend of hers came up and my friend said, This is Cat, my Australian friend the writer. Today she has a cloud over her head.

I felt bashful about the writer thing, and stupid about the smudge over my head.

Oh, he said. A cloud over her head? That's really bad.

Then he said the magic words, the ones that are guaranteed to make the cloud break and rain fall on my face.


Do you meditate? he asked.

Well, no. But I know I should.

They tut-tutted. Oh dear.

I meditate all the time, he continued. You know you should try. When you do the dishes. You should be conscious of DOING THE DISHES, putting order in your life.

I thought about what I think about when I do the dishes. Oh shit I haven't fed the dogs yet. Oh shit I should be at the piano by now. Oh shit.

You should LIVE IN THE MOMENT, he said. You know it helps with everything. I've been doing it for years.

Then he swept away. Good-looking, tall, well-dressed, two lovely daughters. I thought about living in the moment, and asked myself when I ever do it. Well as it happens I think I do. At times. When I'm not rushing or driving or worrying or being called somewhere. I think I live in the moment when I am writing big time (though not before or after, then I'm a bitch), when I'm making love (oh yes lovely!) or when I'm playing the piano (Scarlatti is murder). Then I guess I am transfixed, held, connected. But the rest of time?

How about you? Do you meditate? Feel guilty that you don't? Tell other people that they should? Is your life more wholesome or holy as a result?

I tried it this week. Now I am driving. Catherine is driving her car. Catherine's speaker is busted so she can't listen to anything with a bass. Where are my favourite CDs anyway? I bet the guys have them in their car. I just HAVE to get this speaker fixed. It's insane.. I need some Jimi Hendrix in here.. Oh shit.. Dinner! Is there any food at home? And weren't you supposed to take that kitten to the vet.. Catherine!! BASTA!! Catherine is driving her car..Catherine is going from A to B.. This is Catherine's journey.. 


 

  
 **STOP PRESS** After a somewhat wild end-of-ski-season mountain party, I have to add another IN-THE-MOMENT experience, something that I lived through second by jarring second. It’s called The Hangover..

30 comments:

  1. Hilarious! Nope, I don't meditate and nope, I don't live in the moment unless I'm doing something illicit. Then I am all about milking the experience.

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    1. Ha! I'm terribly good at milking the experience too I confess...

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  2. I often find the 'live in the moment types' have their own slew of problems as a result of 'ignoring the real world' there's always times when other things spring to your mind - it means you're human that's all :)

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    1. So true! and being told which team to follow can be rather a burden in itself..

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    2. The other thing is - do you REALLY want to be in the moment of washing the dishes - I can think of a lot of things while doing mindless activities like the dishes. Do you really want to calculate the time wasted 'living in the moment' of 'chores':)

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    3. Oh yeah! There are lots of things I'd rather be lusting after!

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  3. I spent a few years working hard on mindfulness (have never been able to enjoy straight-out meditation). I don't tend to practice it in terms of the mental activities (I can't think of the right word for that right now) I was given, but I do think it helped. For me, it was more about learning to live with/breathe through anxiety and not let it overwhelm me.

    And, yes, piano playing and cross-stitch. Also cooking. They take my mind away.

    This is a me-involved ramble today! Ooops :)

    P.S. Cloud be gone! Leave my Aussie lady alone.

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    1. I'm hopeless at mindfulness, as you see above. Clear blue skies must be around that corner, over that hill.. I'm sure of it.

      If not, Scarlatti rocks.

      And you're always welcome to ramble!

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  4. Maybe I should meditate. A friend mentioned that he meditates just yesterday, and now I followed a link from Renovating Italy and found you and you are talking about it too. Is the universe trying to talk me into it? I'll give it a go while I stack the dishwasher....

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    1. Thanks for the visit Jan. A good friend said to me that coincidences happen when you are on the right path. Now without getting all philosophical that can only mean that the universe IS talking to you - you just have to decide which path she is talking about, meditation or the dishes? Ciao cat

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  5. I'd love to meditate if only I could convince my mind to stop long enough. I have a funny feeling that the universe is talking about the dishes!! x

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    1. I'm sure it's beneficial - all that lovely emptying out and the rush of clarity. But give me the time of day! Yes, oh-too-many dishes and so forth ... Xcat

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  6. Funny, I took a picture of my kitchen sink the other day, too! My problem is not living in the moment. That comes very easily to me. No, my challenge is planning for when the moment ends. I have a hard time thinking about tomorrow or anything having to do with the future. Having children has helped but it still doesn't come naturally. I much prefer the here and now.

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    1. I wish I WISH I could let go and stop thinking of the things I haven't done or ought to do or will do next week. Clear the decks. For me the kids mean lots of taxiing and an empty fridge, and my here-and-now time is when I try and crank up the creative juices and find myself!

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  7. Aren't we always living in the moment? isn't thinking about what you have to do next, what you haven't done, what you should've done, exactly about this moment! But then, I'm the person who does her yoga listening to morning current affairs radio so who am I to say!

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    1. That's why I'd be hopeless at yoga or meditation - I'd always be trying to squeeze something in. I do prefer silence in the house when I'm alone as it loosens up my thoughts. But they can also become strangling monsters at night!

      I guess our thoughts constitute our 'life' in a given moment and it is a luxury to be freed of these and devoted to the task at hand. That whoosh of giving all, whether physical or mental.

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  8. I don't think our minds are meant for living in the moment, and I'll admit I resent anyone who dispenses unasked-for advice on living. Though tall and good-looking advice-givers are usually given the benefit of the doubt.

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    1. I tend to feel a bit squirmy when enlightened people come along, good-looking or not. I still feel like such a crazy mess..

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  9. Oy, the hangover meditation .... that's the worst. Like MSB above, I'm not much of a planner, not for the next thing or even a big thing, like an upcoming holiday season. I tend to be doing what I'm doing today and tomorrow and then seeing how it goes from there. And you know what? This is just as often a bad thing as it is good, so nothing's perfect.

    Do I meditate? HAHAHAHAHA! Um, no, not really, not in the yogic sense. But I take 2 daily walks with these dogs that are basically my meditation. Sometimes I don't even remember where we walked to, I'm in such a trance.

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    1. Yes hangover meditation is the worst. I AM NEVER TOUCHING ALCOHOL AGAIN. I AM NEVER TOUCHING ALCOHOL AGAIN. NEVER NEVER NEVER TAKE ME TO NIRVANA..

      I guess that means I meditate when I'm driving - I'm so tied up in thinking of stories usually that there are whole tracts of road I don't remember. Is that dangerous?

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  10. Hi Cat. I have many friends who meditate regularly. I do believe it is a practice thing. I have tried it and am hopeless at it in my own home. I have managed it successfully at the end of a yoga session. It is about being able to switch of. Easier said than done hey. Mind you, it could be just what a busy person needs - often. It is easier just to spend some time in the garden and forget the world. That can be a kind of meditation. Good luck Lyn

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    1. Thanks Lyn. Sometimes I think I should do it for myself - put that mat down in the old chicken shed and cancel everyone out. But there's so much to do in a day really, during the school year. And I do so want to write and this requires a fanatical amount of concentration.

      Yes to gardening on a sunny day in a big hat!

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  11. Hi Cat,
    So many forms of meditation something I have never really tried..... but I do have friends who benefit! I do believe in 'quiet time' for myself but I usually end up writing to do lists!!
    Something that requires practice.....a great read thank-you
    Carla x

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Carla, I'm really enjoying your blog. Paris and Sydney - my two favourite cities! Yes I also have friends who meditate and make me wish I could/would, but the days are always so crammed and rushing. Even 'quiet time' means I am buzzing like you - I am also a great list maker. It keeps me sane! Xcat

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  12. It's hard to live in the moment when you are a habitual day-dreamer...

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    1. I used to daydream a lot more, now it's just hardcore thinking/worrying/planning.

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  13. Very funny how we suddenly can feel bad about ourelves by something a third person says, a person we do not even know!
    I hate this effect and because of that make an even bigger deal out of it.
    I do not meditate and feel I do not need to. I have no need for it. Living in the moment yes, but so far not been great at doing that, unless I am suffering, then I seem to be very capable of living it 'in fondo'.
    Does that make you feel a bit better?

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    1. Yes when we are fragile these words sink in deep! And so true what you say about living IN the moment even moreso when we are suffering. I guess when we are joyful time just slips by unnoticed. Glad I'm not alone in all of this xcat

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  14. Ha! 'The Hangover'! Jeez yes. That's what I call 'unfortunately living in the moment'!
    This MSc has me practising 'mindfulness' - which is probably the antithesis of meditation - or 'living in the moment' (but somehow encourages the same holier-than-thou-ness that meditation seems to nurture)... (yes, I know - what kind of mickey mouse MSc does this bint study for, eh??)... but mindfulness... being mindfully concious of yourself and what you are doing in the present... ugh.
    I'm shit at it. Though I'm shit at living in the present too except (we've this in common too my dear, writerly, exciting, surely-to-God-Scottish-by-way-of-Aussie-transportation friend) when shagging or hungover or (need to check with you here) ranting and shouting with rage...
    It's been an instructive experience. Though I must admit it smacks of a right pious smugness. To be aware and mindful of what you are doing when you are doing it. It lends this air of unreality to everything that you are doing. To be aware of the rising anger in yourself - before it rightfully deserves the label 'anger'; to be aware of your breathing as you calm yourself going into a meeting; to be aware of your next moves and the choices you have before you make the choice - ugh! I'm only realising now that I used to just allow myself to get carried away on 'the moment' - and then I'd worry later about the impact... I wasn't ever 'living in the present' - nor was I 'mindful' - I think I was in a state of 'being human' ;-) x
    Yes... how the challenge of 'other people' can irk...! x

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    1. Oh Yvonne whatta great spanking reply! Miss you in ma hood xxcat

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