It’s very busy in my head. I say lots of stuff I should keep inside, but it is just a fraction of the things I think but don’t say. I often make “to do” lists and prioritize them over and over. I now realize that I live in the future. I justify it internally by saying that it is what keeps me productive. However, the opposite may be true. It takes my focus and fills me with anxiety. I’ve been living like this as long as I can remember. It probably started when I was first given homework from school and continued from there.
I have discovered a few things that stop the racing thoughts. When I had dogs, when I was with them, they took my focus and kept me in the present. When I played piano, it took all my concentration to read music. Singing stops my mind from wandering. Attending theater and concerts and films sometimes keep my attention. Finally, I recently realized that when I travel, I’m usually present and in the moment.
Yoga and meditations give me the time I need to think about everything I should be accomplishing if I wasn’t wasting my time meditating and doing yoga. Even when I’m at the beach, I’m often obsessing over what I could be getting done if I wasn’t wasting my time on the fucking beach. And I like water and sand.
A friend who is struggling with his mental health was visiting Chicago a couple weeks ago and asked if I’d like to join him for a deep breathing workshop. I agreed. We were given a workbook and I had to write down what I wanted to get out of the program. I thought slowing down my racing thoughts would be a great benefit.
The workshop was a bust for me. It was an expensive 4 hours of distractions. Attendees would loudly cry and scream and some may have vomited. A speaker wasn’t working so one of the assistants worked on it and kept hitting my head with a cord. The instructor was giving instructions while playing loud music with lyrics. For me, it was impossible to focus on the breathing, the lyrics, and the instructor. Sensory overload and anxiety.
In the days following the workshop, I received text messages from the instructor offering to help with generational trauma by going into my ancestry using my zodiac sign. I ignored the testimonials he sent. There was a list of charges depending on whether he emailed me, texted me, or facetimed me his therapeutic treatments for my generational issues (that I assume he knew through his gifts or my sun sign since he and I are strangers?)
I did a lot of thinking as my mind was unsuccessfully trying to convince itself to slow down. I thought that perhaps I should try and schedule time to live in the moment. I went home and wrote “alone time” once a week on my calendar. I had my first session last week. I think it was a worthwhile endeavor. I have time scheduled every week this month. During this time, I can’t be on my phone for more than a few minutes at a time. I can’t watch tv or streaming services. I can walk, listen to music, read, or write. I can cook. I can’t eat with anyone else or try to take care of anyone else’s needs. It’s time to take care of myself. Let’s hope it works. If it does, the deep breathing scam will have been worth the time and money.