Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Being Mindful of being MindFULL

So I finally remembered something that I've been meaning to blog about. It is the whole notion of practising mindfulness. As you can imagine, I am most inept and have been trying all year to master the concept but with very little success. If truth be known,  I think I am becoming more absent minded as the days tick by. I do know one thing though for certain; I am excellent at reaching a state of mindFULLness.

HM says to go outside and sit peacefully in the backyard. Smell the herbs and watch the activity going on with the bee hives {Yes, we have 100,000 bees carrying on and busying themselves with their honey routine in our own backyard}. HM is able to go outside and watch the bees for AGES. Like a whole HOUR. I go out, I watch them for two minutes and then I am off thinking about a million things that need to be done. I am just incompetent when it comes to this Zen stuff and I think it is because I lost the ability to single task many, many, MANY moons ago. Long before the kids came along.

Like many people, my brain is busy. Active. Always thinking about something. It never stops. I try to calm it but so far I can't manage more than a minute or two of complete mindfulness. I've tried everything. Meditation, yoga, pilates, the aforementioned bees, lying on the beach. Even when I follow my mindfulness meditation app I still find room in there, especially when the sexy Scottish voice over pauses between instructions {I'm sure it's Sean Connery}, to ponder whether Hammerhead has a clean pair of school shorts to wear tomorrow and if there will be enough ham to make three rounds of school lunches.

When I watch a movie, I can't just focus on the plot. Oh no. I have to work out all the other movies that the actors were in. And bonus points if I can think of a movie in which two or more of the actors appeared in together. If there are no recognisable actors, then I'll try and work out what city the movie is set in or something--ANYTHING, to detour from the plot which I'll also manage to follow quite comprehensively. This habit of mine drives HM right up the wall. "Just focus on the movie", he says. "Who cares what they were in - this is what we are watching NOW". So I try to stay with the movie but it's only seconds before I start thinking about how I can go and look up IMDB and find out for certain. I should perhaps clarify here that I LOVE movies, particularly foreign ones, old ones and cult ones. The WORLD MOVIES channel and IMDB are my BFFs.

If I go for a walk along the beach, I will not be able to think of just the cool grains of sand under my feet. I will do that for a minute but soon I'll be thinking about what to cook for dinner, what Barnstormer's teacher said this morning, what HM said he had to do after school, the fact that I left the washing machine on soak cycle, the fact that I can't find that short black summery cardy in my wardrobe and so it goes on. Eventually, let's say 10 minutes, I'll remember to go back to just thinking about the grains of sand. Even with a relaxation app, these thoughts creep in.

Probably most telling of all is that even as I write this post, I am thinking about whether I should go shopping before or after school pick up while also devising ways to avoid participating in a round of Super Mario Brothers. I can't even be mindful of my MINDFULNESS post.

What chance of mindfulness do I have when my mind is FULL? My lovely psychiatrist just says PRACTISE, PRACTISE and PRACTISE every day. Train your brain to think of just one thing... your happy place. My happy place is a particular beach at Rottnest [below]. It is an absolute paradise and probably the happy place of thousands of people all around the world. You would think that I would be able to sit and focus on this stunning place for more than a minute.

The good news is that I can actually travel to this place IRL in less than an hour!

Anyone else having trouble with mindfullness? Got any tips?

Jane X X X

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nativity scenes, old apartments, scary neighbours, coincidences, it's all good.

I compose the most scintillating blog posts right before I go to sleep. I'm too lazy to get out of bed and write them down at the time. I can't remember a word of them the next day. I can't even remember the topic. I pretty much can't even remember going to bed. But I remember my dreams. Always. I've even talked about this before. But anyway, getting back to what I was saying ... these so called amazing posts never eventuate ... and during the day I seem to be going through a phase of wordlessness.

So I'm resorting to two bottom of the barrel anecdotes here:

1. The Pre-primary school play: In about two weeks time Hammerhead's class and the other PP class are presenting a nativity play (with a twist) at an extended school assembly. As I've mentioned on FB he has the illustrious honour of portraying a sheep in this play, which will be his dramatic debut appearance. It is a non-speaking role. We were all instructed early in the term to organise a costume for the character and Lordy, you would think that it was the costuming department on the set of Moulin Rouge. There are a MILLION costume-related emails criss crossing each other with far too many reply-alls.

Mrs X is concerned that every single costume hire place in the universe has costumes for Moses (was he even there??), Jesus, Three Wise Men, Joseph and Mary, but no shepherd costumes. HELLO--when I last looked, shepherds in those times were pretty much wearing a sheet with a basic cord to secure it and donning some kind of Yasser Arafat tea towel headware. Surely, one can find these things at home in the linen press.

Is it just me or does this shepherd look like Shane Warne V 2.0?
Mrs Y is in a flap about the fact that not everyone who needs an angel costume has followed her lead and purchased the $35 angel costume off eBay as per her email instructions which she promptly sent out the night that the costumes were allocated. She is now upset that the various angels are not going to be coordinated. Mrs Z laments the fact that all of the angel costumes seem to be designed for girls and does not want her boy wearing an angel frock.

We must remember that it is a pre-primary play for the parents and not the high school drama  extravaganza a la Mr G.

I guess I should be thankful that they do a nativity play at all in these increasingly silly PC times ...

Meanwhile, Hammerhead is running around sniggering every time someone mentions "baby Jesus". In fact, the other day, when he was gobsmacked about something, I heard him utter loudly: BABY JESUS! He now sees this as a legitimate way of using what he calls a 'swear word'. He is still mystified as to why Mary and Joseph named the baby after a swear word in the first place. Actually in this house we call them 'shed words'. They are words that HM occasionally uses in the shed that are not to be uttered anywhere else. Sometimes they are also called 'footy words'.

Actually, now that I think about it, a modern day PC version of those times might be really funny. Imagine doing the Wedding at Cana where Jesus turns water into wine. I'm sure it's been done.

Jesus stuffs up the orders after a trip to Subway...
*sorry I have no idea where this pic came from so cannot add source.
2. Coincidences: The other day HM and I were privy to a number of crazy coincidences all in the space of an hour. It was like The Twilight Zone. In short, while playing at the park (the kids not us) we discovered that one of the school mums lived in the same apartment in Highgate that I lived in for seven years... in the same room, for pretty much the same amount of time and even had the exact same reminiscences of the area and the scary neighbours. This apartment is worlds away from where we live now. And her name is Jane. Bizarre.

Then walking home, we discovered that the grumpy old man who lives across from us (the one who washes his 4WD every single day) used to share an office with my dad in the small country town where I grew up. The final coincidence of the hour was that said grumpy man mentioned a teacher to HM whom he may have met at his new school. HM had not heard of this person and there are hundreds of teachers at the prison school where he works. End of conversation and we returned home. There on HM's phone was a text from that very teacher ... he'd been asked to get in touch with HM by the deputy for some reason. BIZARRO. What does it all mean I wonder?

Ok, so that's it. Two quite unrelated anecdotes and I'm done.
But I would like to know if anyone else is experiencing weird coincidences of late.

Jane X X X