Zen accomplished

My mind overfloweth. Not only does it overfloweth, it raceth like Usain Bolt on a really, really good day. A fast Usain Bolt? That’s magic. My fast mind? Not so much. A bit more like chaos.

Young female meditate in nature.Close-up image.A couple of years ago, I rediscovered meditation. I used to meditate in my twenties. When marriage, children and the myriad other things that seem to denote adulthood in our culture came along, my meditation practice fell by the wayside.

Funny how a divorce and a bit of life chaos changed that. I eagerly picked up where I left off.

Only things were different.

In my twenties, I meditated in my high-rise apartment, looking out at Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park. I lit candles. I eagerly approached my bedtime inspiration reading. It was a smooth, calm, quiet ritual.

Fast forward to a recent Monday night.

I light the candle. I log into the online meditation guide. And I click on the play button.

As the guide’s melodious voice tells me to focus on the white orb of light surrounding me, I envision it—and in the middle of it, my dog groomer, Joan, appears.


Did I tip Joan last time Bailey saw her? I think I did. I remember walking Bailey to pick out her bone and then—sheesh. Blank. I hope I did. I better call and find out. Speaking of bones, I need to buy more of that calcium-fortified orange juice. We’re out.

We are focusing on the fourth chakra today . . .Meditation

As I breathe in and out, I start to relax and then—thwack.


My eyes open as I realize I’ve just been whacked across the face. My large black Labrador retriever has her nose in my face, begging for attention. The tail thwack is just collateral damage from her overenthusiastic greeting, as is the large wet spot on my cheek where her dripping jowls just rested. She must have been drinking water. I could really go for some OJ right about now. Oh, that’s right—we’re out. Must buy. I swear I buy it daily now.

Closing my eyes, I focus on the voice.  . . . opening your heart to . . .

“Mom, I need the project supply fee to turn in tomorrow. It was due last week.”

As I try to keep my eyes closed and wordlessly point to my purse (which is hard to do with any accuracy when your eyes are closed), my brain takes off again.

Not only is the supply fee late, I need to register him for that basketball camp before it fills up. And make plane reservations for the family wedding. Ooh, I need a dress for that one. I’d better be getting to the gym so I find one that fits. Which reminds me, I think I left my delicates in the wash. Better hang those to dry before bed.

I go back to the mantra, hoping I’m getting the Sanskrit words right. For all I know, I could be swearing in Sanskrit rather than coaxing the universe to help open my heart chakra. It’s all about getting the syllables right and I think I missed that second one when the supply fee request happened.

Then, from downstairs: “Mom, don’t we have any orange juice?”

I say, under my breath, “Who is drinking all the freaking orange juice?”

And then, the gong sounds. Meditation over.

Zen accomplished? Not so much.

Perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow—in the orange juice aisle of the grocery store.

It might be more peaceful.


22 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post, Kay! I can definitely relate –
    Here’s to a new year of peaceful and uninterrupted meditation!
    perhaps that’s a little unrealistic,
    maybe just finding peace despite all the interruptions!

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Excellent – the joys of a family. This is why husbands used to have ‘dens’ in which no one else was allowed upon pain of death.

  3. I loved the way you wrote this….and I can completely relate. Maybe not with the dog or the kids, but certainly with the mind chatter and interruptions. Well done!

  4. katpegimana says:

    I get all these thoughts coming into my mind every time I try to meditate…totally understand what you mean here 🙂

  5. Lol, lovely description. Kay! I could totally identify. Good luck next time!

  6. “Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness…[We] work with cultivating gentleness, innate precision, and the ability to let go of small-mindedness, learning how to open to our thoughts and emotions, to all the people we meet in our world, how to open our minds and hearts.”

    ~The Wisdom of No Escape And the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chödrön

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m a Pema fan and I love this quote! It’s new to me. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Marie says:

    Motherhood has taken me so far outside myself that I often wish I had left breadcrumbs to stillness. The multitasking madness too often disorients my best intentions for moments of self-care that nurture greater balance. Love the honest and playful tone of this post.

    1. candidkay says:

      Breadcrumbs to stillness . . . love that. Well put!

  8. I’ve been a little distracted by life too…so I did your trick and convinced myself it was time. Sat down, lovely music on, fell straight into it like old times…and promptly fell asleep. Mmm, a little more practice and remove that ‘life’ thing should do it 🙂 Great post Kay. Namaste

    1. candidkay says:

      Lol. You’re not alone. Hopefully no snoring?:)

      1. I didn’t hear anything 😀

  9. You might be surprised what you can find in the orange juice aisle! It’s all a matter of perspective when it comes to meditation. Great post.

    1. candidkay says:

      At the very least, I know I’ll find OJ. Which seems to be in short supply constantly at my house . . .

  10. suemclaren24 says:

    I’ve been meditating for many years, with the occasional hiatus such as yours. It is probably the most valuable practice I have on a regular basis and I sometimes reflect on the fact that a psychiatrist friend recommended it in the 1970’s saying it was helpful to him. He also still meditates. Sometimes I switch into meditation mode even amidst chaos and interruptions; one opportunity is when giving the dog a bath. We both benefit. Your description of your experience is perfect. Thanks for the tip about a web site for meditation!

    1. candidkay says:

      I do find, Sue, that if I go with a guided meditation or at least soothing music with an inspiration at the beginning, I focus better. Less mind wandering . . . and the Internet makes it so much easier now.

  11. markbialczak says:

    I think you will be able to meditate with a clear mind and quiet path in a good half dozen years, Kay. Don’t fret, with that Usain Bolt mind of yours, it will fly by, most certainly. I love your A+ effort for trying, my friend.

  12. I think I have a lot fewer challenges when I try to meditate, though it still isn’t easy 🙂

  13. I found myself smiling as I read along your attempt to find a zen moment in a busy life – thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Then my job here is done:). A smile or a tear means it hit you . . .

      1. Absolutely, a job well done! 🙂

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