Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Faucet

A year or so ago, Ben and Ashley's kitchen faucet started doing this weird shaking-pulsating-spitting water-vibrating the pipes kind of thing. Whenever we turned the water on beyond a slow stream, the faucet would go into convulsions and an angry tantrum. We learned to spend more time at the sink rinsing dishes or filling up the water filter because if we tried to rush it, the faucet would get angry and the whole house would know it. That faucet forced us all to slow down a bit.

After several months of this, we called a plumber who came and easily fixed the problem. As I turned on the faucet for the first time after its repairs, I was shocked at how quickly the water came pouring out. On full blast, the water would spray off of the plates and soak any bystanders (or so it seemed in comparison to how it used to be).

Dishes took much less time. Filling our water bottles was nearly instant. We all spent a lot less time standing at the kitchen sink looking out the window. And I kind of miss it.

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We don't spend much time just standing. Just sitting. Just waiting.
In doctor's office waiting rooms, we read magazines.
Walking from point A to point B, we listen to ipods.
Driving in our cars, we talk on cell phones.
On the treadmill, we watch TV.

When's the last time you saw someone in a private or public location just sitting and thinking?
When's the last time you did?

Many of us suffer from information anxiety and don't even have the time to stop and consider why. I've gotten in the habit of reading, listening to my ipod, and talking on my cell phones because I don't want to look lame, as if I am so boring that I have nothing better to do. As if people are watching me and I want to at least "look" busy." Because as we all know, that's super important to leading a meaningful life.

* * * * * * * * * *

My eighty-six year-old grandpa can be found on his farm most days of the week rumbling around on his tractor, feeding cows, and fixing things. When my dad and uncle suggested he get a cell phone for safety reasons, he said, "Why would I want to let other people in on my precious quiet time?"

* * * * * * * * * *

My education textbooks talk about how today's children are becoming less and less creative. They can't seem to muster the critical thinking skills of previous generations. Our society doesn't allow nearly as much quiet thinking time as say, people of the 1900's, even the 1950's. Thinking is on the decline.

* * * * * * * * * *

Three years ago, my friend Stella from Cambodia recommended I try meditation. I lasted about a week.

At Thanksgiving when I saw Stella again, she reminded me how much good meditation could bring to my life. "Prayer is a one-way conversation. Meditation is a two-way conversation," she told me. "Prayer is about talking. Meditation is about listening."

After seeing Stella that day, I wrote in my journal: "This is something I want to do. This is something I will do. I will make it a priority."

So I returned to school for the last 3 weeks of final exams with good intentions, even writing, "Meditate," in my planner every single day. Want to know how many times I actually did it? Once.

Essentially, in the four weeks since I said, "I will make meditation a priority," I haven't. At all.

* * * * * * * * * *

Battling an eating disorder as involved training myself to see that the feelings I'm trying to avoid with food won't actually kill me. I can sit with uncomfortable feelings. I can be still and feel whatever I need to feel. I don't have to avoid every mildly unpleasureable situation that comes into my life. I can just feel it.

Battling any other addiction follows the same premise. Geneen Roth says, "When you believe in yourself more than you believe in __________ (insert your weapon here), you will stop using __________ as if it were your only chance at not falling apart."

But how do I believe in myself? Well, I need to know what in there is worth believing in. I have to know that there is something in me worth valuing and respecting and believing in.

That's why I need to meditate.
That's also why it's so damn hard.

"Meditation helps you discover what you love that you didn't know you loved because you were so caught up in your mind that you didn't realize there was anything else there" (Geneen Roth, Women Food and God).

* * * * * * * * * *

Reasons I've not followed through with meditation:
-I don't get a pay check or a report card for it
-Society at large doesn't seem to value meditation as a "productive" use of time
-It's not super fun
-I'm not always good at sitting still
-There's too many more important things to squeeze into the day
-It's hard

Yup, it's hard. It's downright difficult for me to sit still and quiet my mind, so therefore I don't.

I've heard that "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
And "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again."
And "It's the hard things in life that are the most worth doing."

Blah, blah, blah.

I get it.


This will be me . . .


Joe said...

I also feel the need to meditate, sometimes. And seldom do it. The few times that I have, though, it seems to help. Meditation isn't always sitting still, though. For me, sometimes meditation means taking a walk around Holmes with my headphones on. I don't have to think about a lot of stuff. I can focus on my music and let my mind wander a bit. And somehow, I end up talking to God and sorting some of my problems. Not everything gets fixed instantaneously, but I do feel better afterward.