Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quiet Time

It is damn near impossible for me to sit still.

I should ask my mama if this has always been true, or if it's a (bad) habit that I've cultivated over the years (and through an increasingly technology-dependent world).  If I am being honest, I will admit things like:

1. I don't really like to go to the movies because it requires me to sit still (and with decorum) for two hours, and

2. I get anxious during massage/acupuncture/anything like that--we're talkin' even LUX SPA TREATMENTS HERE--because I have to be motionless and quiet.  So mostly, I don't do these types of things.

Same goes for meditation.  I've tried it, repeatedly, as I know it would be so good for me & my restless soul.  And yet, my mind gets the best of me every time.  I can't stop thinking about the next moment.  Right now, I'm sitting on our incredible patio in Cabo San Lucas, looking across our private plunge pool into the rowdy Pacific.  I'm in a loose tank top and drinking a really good glass of red wine (that JJ shipped here from San Francisco).  This should be the most calming environment EVER, right?

I'm pretty calm right now . . . in Claire terms, anyway.  But still, my mind races with these thoughts:

~should I put on my cardigan or not?
~can't decide if I want to read blogs or read my book (Little Bee, btw)
~I think I left my dish in the sink & it's rude to leave it for the mayordomo
~tomorrow, would I rather run on the beach or go to the fitness center?
~I should be lesson planning


Etc., etc.  I'm not sure that I've ever just been IN THE NOW for more than two minutes.  I literally bob my leg up and down when I am sitting.  Constantly.  CANNOT BE STILL.

Anyone else have trouble with this?  Specific ideas for overcoming this incapacity for calm?

Hope you're somewhere as beautiful as I am right now.

23 comments:

Tracy-Girl @ Then I Got To Thinking said...

I am the same way, girl!! The only time I can sit still is when I sleep ;)

undomestic chica said...

I'm SO with you on this one! I have tried to meditate over and over but I either can't quiet my mind or fall asleep! I'm trying to learn to be in the now but I'm a planner who likes to know what comes next so it's hard. I love that you actually told us all the thought's running through your head....and BTW, I liked Little Bee, I sent it to one of my book swap partners. Have fun on your vacation!

April said...

I get you. I do okay sitting still sometimes, but it depends on how interested I am in the present activity. I do a lot of second guessing, too, though. I looked at one of my dairies from elementary school and it was full of things like 'I don't know if I should go to so-and-so's house this weekend because I could go to grandma's and do all this, or just go here and do this. I would antagonize over these minute decisions. Ridiculous!

Meri said...

You are writing my own thoughts... I dream of going to movies alone so no one will be offended if I"m checking the time and thinking about walking out if I get bored... the only thing I can sit solitarily to do is read a good book!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I was just tweeting about my inability to sit and watch TV/a movie. I HAVE to be doing something else at the same time...which means I have no clue what's happening on the screen lol. I'm on the 3rd Harry Potter now and totally lost!

Other than restlessness, how is your trip?! Pretty awesome that you have internet access!

robayre said...

I could have written this same article. I really blame ADD. I was diagnosed as a very small child, but the Dr. told my mom that it would most likely be something I'd grow out of. As an adult, I think it has actually gotten worse, because when I was a kid I really had to train myself to sit still and pay attention in school, as difficult as it was. But now as an adult, out of school and any of this training, I'm all over the place. I'm rarely sitting at my work desk for more than 20 minutes. I think I've learned to make it work for me in some ways because I'm pretty productive, but in other ways it really frustrates me, like when I can't ever work on anything for more than 5 minutes before moving on to the next thing. I can of course, but it just takes a lot of work. And yes about the movies too. I used to watch movies like crazy, but in the last several years I've even realized that I can't even watch a movie straight through at home. And the leg tapping too, it drives Matt NUTS!

Kittie Flyn said...

I'm such an antsy, fidgety person. At work I have a standing desk so I can move my legs and such as I'm working. I can't just sit. I'm even restless in my sleep. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture: tried all of it and failed miserably. I run/workout vigorously every day to try and quell some of the nervous energy. It helps slightly. Commuting (bus, car or train), plane rides, movies, meetings - anything that requires having to be still is torture to me. Just know you aren't alone. :)

Gracie said...

I'm like you too. I can't sit still and just do nothing. I think that's why I need to carry a pen around at work because I feel more relaxed when I can take the lid on and off.

As for trying to relax. I sometimes just try to focus on something and control my breathing. I did learn this technique at uni but I can't really explain it. You basically focus on one part of your body (you usually start from your feet, say left foot), tense it up then release it. Then move to your other foot and do the same thing. And you slowly move up your body. It worked pretty well when I was in class (yes we were lying on the floor) :)

Faiza said...

i hear you. before i started meditating i could totally relate. all i can say is that the meditation works if you keep at it and keep practicing no matter what the resistance...the problem then becomes an addiction to the quiet and being still which is what i am struggling with right now.

enjoy cabo and let everything stimulate you! it sounds gorgeous!

Dee Stephens said...

I'm with you too girlfriend! I truly think a lot of us bloggers are that way otherwise where would we find the energy to blog? Or at least that's what I hear.
My advice -- workout.

Megan said...

GIRL-- I am the SAME way! If you read the 7 Random things about Me post, I wrote about how I am a chronic fidgeter. I pick at my nails, face, etc. I also said in my post how I hated pedicures, manicures, etc.

You know what is the worst place for people with bad nerves? CHURCH.

miss katie said...

i was getting to be that way and literally making myself sick with stress and anxiety. thats when i started seeing the acupuncturist. i'll tell you what, i don't think it was the actual acupuncture itself as much as it was the therapeutic aspect of having someone to talk to that has seriously calmed me down. have you thought about going to see a therapist/counselor? not because something is "wrong" but just as someone to talk to?

Pearl said...

This is why I'm always doing something, even if I'm watching TV I'm also sewing a button on or folding clothes...

Pearl

Phoenix Peacock said...

Im so like that. And yet, going to a Buddhist school, I had to meditate (plus I was like you and knew I should... it was just not easy). And so I would just have to sit there and sit there and name that I was thinking over and over and over. Eventually I got the hang of it (sort of ) but I still don't think I could do a full retreat!

bananas. said...

it's called "monkey mind" (according to elizabeth gilbert, author of eat pray love) and i have it too. it sucks! i do enjoy a nice massage now and then but i rarely relax...and when i do i pass out for a second, fart and wake myself up. then i think about how embarrassing that was. ugh it's torture!

and meditation? FORGET ABOUT IT!!! i can never do that...no way!

Annie Cristina said...

My boyfriend is the same way -- he cannot.sit.still. I call him the Fidgeter.

Summer Athena said...

my legs go go go too. all of the time. go go go.

Karena said...

When I get engrossed in a book I can stay still a long time!! Loved LIl Bee!

xoxo

Karena
Art by Karena

Come and enter my $150 giveaway from Dr Perricone

Sarah said...

Yes! This is me to a tee. Right now I'm thinking about wedding planning, wishing I was reading my book, reading blogs AND watching an episode of the Colbert Report. Yikes. If I took the time to do ONE of those things at a time I know I'd enjoy everything a lot more. In fact, your post has inspired me to take it down a notch. I think I have to walk away from the computer to achieve calm. It just doesn't make me feel rested or meaningfully engaged most times.

heather said...

I will babble on to you about calm when I see you!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I'm right there with you on number 2. Anytime I have those appointments I always have to end up getting up to go to the bathroom right in the middle of them. I can't sit still!

Kimberly Seibel said...

Hi Claire,

You are meditating! Right now your list of thoughts happening - that is being mindful. So next time you go to sit for meditation, don't try and block out though - just observe the thoughts. Sit and watch your breath and every time a thought comes up, just observe it (like you did here in this blog entry), and then turn your attention back to the breath. Quality not quantity. But seriously, the fact that you are mindful in this moment about the things your mind is doing is already a step in the right direction. There's a reason why they call meditation practice... it takes alot of practice. But I think the biggest misunderstanding is that meditation is the same as not thinking, which not true at all. You just learn to be mindful of thoughts, creating a space between thoughts and your mind, the calm one wondering, "Why am I always thinking of 15 things at once?" as you are doing here. I hope you find this message encouraging!

Shoshanah said...

I definitely feel the same way a lot of the time. Although the only place I can watch movies is in a theater because then I'm force to actually watch it. If instead I'm at my house, I feel like there's other things I should be doing and won't sit still long enough to actually watch it.