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how talking to yourself is good for you.

August 4, 2009

Usually, my life either looks like this:

Relaxing Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or like this:

Stressed Subway

There is no in between. So when I started Casseroles for Cancer and found myself trapped in a car with 2 other people for eternity, I started meditating. The discipline emerges in many forms across both Eastern and Western cultures–Baha’i, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Walking-ism. No seriously, you can walk and meditate. It’s called….Walking Meditation. I adapted my own forms and drove off alone for an hour or woke up at 5:30 in the morning for a little peace. The combination of travel, volunteerism and moldy casseroles on the dashboard did me good, and I returned to New York determined to keep my newfound sense of calm.

A recent reading of Vital Juice revealed a form called Breathwork Meditation, taught by Stephanie Jones, an energy healer with a BA from Yale. She walks clients through 30 minutes of breathing exercises, and at the end of the session, she asks you to return to normal breath, picture your 7 year old self and tell her what she has to look forward to. After breathing for five minutes, I pictured little me–complete with ratty hair, stirrup pants and adult XL t-shirt–sat her down and we had a talk.

“I know your parents are fighting right now,” I said. “But don’t worry. You’re going to go to Brown. You won’t even know what that is until your Junior year of high school. But it’s pretty sweet. And then you’re going to live in New York, in Manhattan and go to parties with celebrities and run in Central Park and walk by the MOMA and pieces of genius and creativity every day. You’ll be able to look aaaall the way down 3rd avenue, all the way from 2st to 201st st. It will take your breath away, and you’ll want to stop in the middle of the street and look. But you can’t. That’s how fast the city moves. And you know all these stories you’re writing about horses and princes and the history of crustaceans? You’re going to get to keep doing it. And people Central Park Oreoare going to PAY you for it.”

WHAT a pleasant little exercise. I’ve never been happier in such a short span of time. Now I realize I’m lucky…really really lucky…and if I were anyone else, I’d probably read this and go “You pretentious bitch. You don’t have any trouble. Why should I trust you?” But I’m telling you this because a) my mother died, so…my turn! and b) it felt absolutely amazing. Better than orgasms, better than Shake Shack, better than that time in 3rd grade when the teacher stuck my paper up on the door. Know what the best part is? It was the little stuff that really got me going–looking all the way up 3rd avenue, going for a run in the park. Anybody can do these things, no matter where you live. And that, my friends, is the point of this exercise.

If sitting and breathing freaks you out, you could even start a Gratitude Journal. I know this an actual tactic because my mother found it in some self-help book like Pick the Peaches of Your Life, and made me start one in 7th grade. It’s based on the same tactic as Ms. Jones’ exercise–being thankful–and if two self-help gurus says it works, then it must be so.

*Speaking of happiness and Type7 stuff, the picture above was us making an Oreo in Central Park this weekend, a first for me. The pile will inevitably start laughing and the person on top will get a nice little bounce, leading to an even nicer giggle. I recommend a go. In fact, if you do, submit a picture–best one gets…a feature on this blog. And maybe a pack of Oreos.

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