Resolution Chronicles: The Mindfulness Summit is helping me live with the menopausal b!%@& inside my head

Resolution Chronicles: The Mindfulness Summit is helping me live with the menopausal b!%@& inside my head

Warning: I indulge my tendency toward profanity in this piece. If you’re offended by profanity, imagine a loud “bleep” every time I say a bad word.

I’ve been taking part in the Mindfulness Summit this month and have taken the “mindfulness challenge.” This involves listening to a daily interview and completing a daily goal, such as sitting in one place for more than 16 seconds without an electronic device in my hands.

Sometimes I feel defeated before I even try to be mindful. I am among the most high strung, wound tight folks you’re ever gonna meet. One benefit to this is that it took my psychiatrist only three seconds to complete a diagnosis of me. I was in the waiting room and he called my name and I jumped out of my skin, literally lifted a tiny bit off the chair. He had only to pause and check all the boxes for the “pretty freaking anxious” diagnosis in the DSM-V.

When I listen to mindfulness experts talk, I will admit that I sometimes cringe. The woman who conducts the interviews in this Mindfulness Summit, an Australian named Melli, does so in a lotus position. Her voice is velvety. She exudes peace. Truly exudes it.

When she interviews people, they never interrupt each other, never talk over each other. They pause and wait for the other to finish. It’s weird. At least for me, because I come from a university environment. I’ve been in meetings where three people were talking at once and no one found it odd. We’re alpha talkers around here. My mantra is “do not draw breath” because a pause is just a chance to lose the floor.

In any case, I’m an overachiever. When I set myself a goal I commit to it. Even if I break out in hives, I’m going to listen to all of these calm, peaceful souls whisper about feeling the breath in my nostrils. Dammit, I know how to focus on the cool inhale and the warm exhale at the tip of my nose. I work that mother.

I was gleeful when on Saturday, the interviewee for the day was Dan Harris, an American journalist. He talks fast, he curses, and he’s skeptical. All the things I love (or at least am trying to accept) about myself. The name of his book is 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Truly Works.

They all have books, and if Dan doesn’t mind my saying so, I believe he should re-think that title. Twenty-three words, give or take a hyphen, is a lot of words for a title. Especially for a journalist. Heck, I used to write local high school football game summaries in fewer words. But, I digress.

The thing I loved about Dan Harris is that he refers to the “asshole” inside his head and I realized that I know that asshole. I call my asshole a menopausal b!%@&. Actually, my official DSM-V diagnosis is, Micro-managing, judgmental, menopausal bitch, with generalized anxiety.

It was such a relief to hear someone more like me talk about mindfulness. He stood during his interview and fidgeted. He interrupted, too. Oh, and he’s an atheist. God, I love him.

He was originally skeptical about meditation:

“I always thought meditation was really just for hippies and freaks and weirdos and people who live in a yurt and whatever.”

However the science showing meditation’s power to actually change the brain and lower blood pressure won him over.

He originally thought of titling his book, The Voice in My Head is an Asshole. Can you imagine how much more money he would have made with that title?

He explained the title this way,

“The voice in everybody’s head is an asshole …. Suffering … means that life is unsatisfying…nothing is good enough, no amount of pleasure ever truly satisfies us. That’s suffering. That’s the voice in your head being an asshole.”

He paused and then said,

“Mine was particularly bad because…the voice in my actual mouth was an asshole, too.”

So, I recommend the Mindfulness Summit. There’s good stuff here, a broad variety, even for folks like me.

This post is part of a year-long series about my New Year’s resolution. All in the series are included in the Resolution Chronicles category below. This is the first post that explains my resolution.

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