I recently did a term paper on the benefits of meditation on the brain. Meditating has been shown to help with the deteriorating aging affects on the brain. The practice of mindfulness not only helps your brain but it helps your spirit as well. Like becoming a more understanding and accepting person. Upon learning this I was like “Oh yeah, I am going to need this!” As a mother I am super worried about my brain and my mood. Here is why:
1) Pregnancy brain times three! All women who have been pregnant know what pregnancy brain is. I once put an entire bag of groceries in the pantry and when I eventually found the milk I was like “Fuck me! How long has this been sitting there?” Pregnancy brain means that you are so preoccupied with growing a human that you totally don’t know how to “human” yourself.
2) Mother brain times three! As a mother we have to remember so many things like doctor’s appointments and flute lessons and swim lessons and play dates and school functions and school plays and homework and dance lessons and football practice and horseback riding lessons and horse shows and all the equipment that go with these activities and bedtime and sleepovers and brushing teeth and grocery shopping and feeding the children and Birthdays and so on and so forth. While we are remembering all of these important things we forget where we put our things. My life for the last twenty-five years has been “Has anyone seen my glasses? Do you know where my phone is? Did I leave my purse in the doctor’s office again? God dammit!”
3) Children and Husband don’t know where anything in our house lives! When my husband would help put the dishes away… the next time I was trying to cook it was like the worst scavenger hunt in my life. The kids and I made a game out of it called “Where do you think Dad thinks the spaghetti strainer lives?” It still makes us laugh because he still does it. The children mostly move things from one flat surface to another. So lets say I ask them to pick up the table then all things get transferred to the desk. If I ask them to pick up the desk all things go to the counter. If I ask to them to pick up the counter all things go to the coffee table. And the coffee table is where it goes to die.
4) Children move my things! I don’t know if they do this on purpose or if it is just a fascination of my things. “Have you been playing with mom’s shoes?” “Were you in my make-up? Because I don’t think I smeared it all over the wall.” “Why are my good scissors in the bathtub……AGAIN?” Kids make us fucking crazy and we yet we love them anyway. I also have a bag of Christmas candy that I hid and I still to this day have not been able to find it. My kids deny ever taking it. So either there is a vintage bag of holiday goodies hidden deep in the recesses of my home or those little bastards ate it.
So yeah, I’m pretty worried about my brain health!
So I am all like, “I’m going to meditate.” Meditating for me now is easier than if I had small children mind you. I don’t know how a mother with small children could ever accomplish this without getting a hotel room all to themselves for like twenty minutes. Maybe that’s why motels are rented by the hour….its for meditating moms.
So I got an app for meditating. It starts out with the most pleasant woman’s voice that tells me to find a comfortable seat where I can sit upright with my back straight. (you see, I have scoliosis and this is a bit of oxymoron for me, first of all my back doesn’t straighten and second it is not comfortable.) but who am I to argue so I start sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position because if you have ever seen a cartoon of a person meditating they are sitting in a cross-legged position on the floor. This is only where I start because I shift the entire time and eventually end up laying down on my back and trying desperately to be peaceful.
I also had a cat rubbing up against me the entire time because he was all like “are you sitting with your eyes close, you must want me to stick my furry ass in your face?”
(come on peace, you can do it.)
Next the friendly disembodied voice tells me to close my eyes when I am ready. (Oh, my eyes were already closed.) So I open my eyes back up and close them again because I don’t want to upset my meditation coach she is delightful.
Then she says “Today I am going to teach you how to meditate. I want you to relax your face!”
“Unclench your jaw!”
(how did you know that I was clenching my jaw?)
“soften your eyes!”
(oh she’s good)
“relax your thoughts by focusing on your breath!”
(think about my breath! okay I’m trying to think about my breath! Oh I think we need bread. When I run out today I should stop by the grocery store and get bread. The grocery store is right next to the dog food store so I will pop in there and grab some……)
“Now if you feel your mind wandering just gently remind it to come back to the breath!”
(the breath. breathing in and out. breathing in and out. breathing in and out. I have to go to the dry cleaners because I have nothing to wear for dinner tonight. If I go to the dry cleaners then I should probably go to the other grocery store because it is on the way. In that case I need to reroute my entire trip because the dog food store is not near that grocery store. I could go to the grain store.)
“Now keep focusing on the breath.”
(the breath, focus on the breath.)
“Now that you have gotten the hang of it I want to talk to you about the word *&^%”
(what’s the word you are talking about? I didn’t hear you properly. Shit….can I open my eyes to see if there is a rewind button. Is the word important to my meditation. Can I just carry on without knowing the word. Damn it focus on the breathing. That’s the most important thing. Okay. Focusing on the breathing. In and out. in and out.)
“And that’s why this word is so important because we must learn how to do this every day. It will help you stay mindful all day!”
(Oh no! I don’t know the word. It’s the entire basis of this whole meditation stuff. CRAP!!!!! Now I am going to miss out.)
Can I open my eyes now and rewind?
“Bring yourself back to the room by wiggling your fingers and toes and when you are ready open your eyes.”
(My eye spring open and I grab my phone and check for some kind of rewind button. The problem is that there isn’t one, however,I can redo the same session tomorrow if I want.. I just have to push the right button.)
“Delete this app?”
No I definitely want the app.
“Are you sure you want to delete this app?”
No. I want a repeat. I just want to know the word that I missed.
Fuck! My poor brain is not going to make it. Also I know that there was a list of things I wanted to do. What were they? I’m pretty certain a coffee was on the list. I am going to go get a coffee and then head to the……? Well once I get coffee in me I will remember.
Moral of my story: Meditation is super awesome for your brain and there are studies that if you combine mindfulness with yoga it can help fight against some aging deterioration of the brain. Also there is a word that is the secret to the entire thing and I missed it because my practice was more of “Oh here’s a few minutes for me to collect my thoughts in one gigantic over-active basket and totally miss out on the whole meditation quiet mind experience. If I could quiet my mind a bit I might actually discover the secrets of the universe.” Nope! My mind is not quiet. My mind has been working on overdrive for so long that it now has one speed. There is a study that women suffer more from Alzheimer’s disease than men…..I am going to say it is the fact that we have to remember so much that after a while our brains are like iPhones (storage is full, empty contents and try again)! Clinically speaking that’s actually not true, but I’m not speaking clinically right now, I am telling you that as a mom raising kids has been hard on my brain. I don’t blame them it’s just a fact. So I will try meditation again. I have re-downloaded the app and I am going to try again tomorrow. I will let you know the word once I find it. If you know the word please leave it in the comments below.
Until next time 🙂