Thursday, November 11, 2010

In the Moment

I'm very much an adherent of traditional medicine.  Offer me an epidural (pregnant or not) and I'm there!  So when I was assigned to read an article on alternative, complementary and integrative medicine for one of my social work classes, I was expecting the details about naturopathy, chiropractic and aromatherapy to leave me screaming me for a Tylenol and some Ace bandages.

But one of the modalities I read about peaked my interest.  It was a discussion about meditation, among whose basic tenets are concentrating on the present moment while "diminishing painful ruminations about the past and anxious preoccupations with the future."  Heck, I'm all about blowing those roads-not-taken straight to hell. It was lunchtime and I had a few minutes to kill before my train, so I decided to meditate on the cup of yogurt, granola and fruit I had bought at Penn Station.  Here's how it went:
  • I dig into the grapes and cantalope that lay atop the granola covered yogurt. With my spoon.  It's a plastic spoon, white (moment, moment).  I love the sweet, chunky crunch of the granola and I'm really enjoying this.  But then I start to think about how fattening granola is and this is why I don't keep a box of it in the house and how I might gain so much weight from my lunch that I might not be able to fit into the dress that I need to wear to a wedding in three weeks.
  • I mix the granola into the yogurt and take a spoonful.  Yum.  But wait -- it's not vanilla yogurt, as I thought, but bitter, plain yogurt (a metaphor for my life?).  Which is not sweet enough for me.  I rummage in my purse and pull out a packet of Sweet-n-Low (that pink stuff) and stir it into the yogurt.  Better.  But then I start to wonder, as I have my entire life, whether anyone actually buys Sweet-n-Low at the supermarket, or whether it's everyone's standard operating procedure to just swipe it from diners (as I was taught as a young child at my daddy's knee).
  • I am awakened from my Sweet-n-Low reverie by the cry of a young infant to my right.  I gaze upon his sweet face, and note that his mother is smartly dressed in a matching red sweater and skirt, a look that I never managed to achieve in my nearly 19 years of parenting (and she's not even wearing spit-up on her shoulder).  I start to ruminate about baby breath, lost opportunities, and 2012, when, according to the Mayan calendar (and Thing 2), the world will surely end. 
At this point, I am sweating profusely, not a great look for someone who's striving to achieve existential nirvana.  I reach into my purse for a Xanax, which is right there and in the moment, and breathe a huge sigh of relief.  Mission accomplished.


  1. I'm right there with you, Joan. Meditating makes me nothing but anxious and irritated. And btw, now I think THIS is my favorite of your posts!

  2. I'm chuckling. That was a funny post. hehe

  3. It's surprisingly easy to stay in the moment when you have diarrhea.

  4. Good point, Karla! I'll add that to my holistic repertoire. Mediation? Check! Reiki? Check? Praying (or sitting down to) the porcelain god? Check, check, CHECK!