By Dana Gornall
I set the timer.
My hips are propped up on bed pillows—not quite a meditation cushion, but it does the job—I sit, the ceiling fan swishing above my head. The dog sighs.
I find that center space quickly tonight…you know the one. The space where you feel a slight tension right in the middle of your forehead—almost buzzing and filling your head—and I hold it, letting thoughts zoom in and out, around, whirling in circles like hushed whispers in the back corners of a party.
That’s when a thought branches out.
I participated in a Zoom workshop earlier tonight for my day job. It’s been a long time since I put focus on what I do for a living—real focus. There is the prospect of taking an exam again, and it’s been a long time since I have taken exams like these. I was overwhelmed with the information and I felt myself sinking into the overwhelm while listening to the prsenter.
I grabbed those thoughts by their tails, and hurled them back in. Deep breath. Back to the center space.
Another thought branches out. Exams. My yoga teacher asked me if I was still interested in pursuing yoga teacher training. She is an Iyengar yoga instructor and the requirements are hefty. I would love to reach that level, but my hamstrings are so tight. My achilles are so tight. My hips are stiff—and getting even stiffer. I wonder if I am up to the task. Is it worth even trying?
Grasping those thoughts again, I pull and yank until they settle somewhere, tucking them down tightly. Center space. Find the center space. Forehead.
Not long—maybe seconds later—out of that clean open space, sprouts another one. It’s a little more forceful this time and quick. It seems to come from nowhere. It is as though I opened a stuffed closet and all of the contents poured on top of me. So much to do. I can’t do it all. The everyday stuff, the chores, the yardwork. The grass needs cut again. The weeds need pulled. More dishes are in the sink. I have bills to pay. A room needs painted. My dog needs walked more. I can’t keep up with all of it and I’m falling behind.
I should get more sleep. I need to eat better. Did I take my vitamins?
Woah, that was a lot.
Center space again. I squint my eyes and take aim. I try to find that place. Deep breath. But I know I’m losing it. I’m losing the moment. Is the bell going off soon? I fight the urge to peek.
You never finish anything. Damn. It hits me in my chest like a mack truck. What even is a mack truck? It doesn’t matter because I am spiraling now and sinking into that cycle of thoughts. Each one is sprouting another, quicker than I can get hold of them. Out of control.
Your kids don’t respect you. What did you do wrong? You’re losing them. You forgot to make that phone call. You need to clean more. The dog probably doesn’t even like you at this point. Have I gotten 10,000 steps in today? Am I drinking enough water? Why can’t you write anymore? Are you getting enough sleep? I need a break.
I stop. Open my eyes. A deep breath and then another. I close them again. Center space. Forehead.
Like a swarm of bees that buzz and spit, thoughts spin over head, and slowly, I let them go. At first one by one, and then in chunks, handfuls, I release them. For just a minute they hang somewhere above my head, above the center space.
I know they are still there; I can feel them. I feel that spot on my forehead and I rest in the center space, the eye of the storm.