I’ve been learning a new thing. Pip thinks its called Transcendental yoga. It is actually called Transcendental Meditation.
Is there a quantifiable difference?
Why have I been learning something that sounds like being inducted into a cult you might ask? Well, its to do with being married, having three kids, running a business, being peri-menopausal, approaching the big five o and living during a period of extreme strangeness.
These things seemed to have come together in a perfect storm. Any one of these things taken on their own can be tricky, but concentrated in a period of eight months, I personally found that my desire to stab people increased and that my levels of anger had reached Gengis Khan levels, no matter how much yoga, breathing or meditation recordings I listened to.
My anger levels have been of Ghengis Khan predominance since my early teens....
It was getting to the point where listening to meditations was becoming obsessive and I believe that defeats the object of relaxation.
One of my friends in business (she’s hanging on by a tiny thread to her business) told me that last November she learned Transcendental Meditation and since then she had slept better, stopped over thinking things and managed to cope with the utter chaos that lockdown inflicted upon her and her business.
She did in fact seem very serene when we met and her usually worry-lined face was all glowy and smooth.
”I’ll have a bit of that.” I thought to myself as we drank our Earl Grey artisan tea. “It could save me a small fortune in posh face cream, apart from anything else.”
Can we all just pause here to note that even the fucking tea is artisan....
I immediately went home and Googled Transcendental Meditation in Edinburgh and up popped my local teacher. A small, lady of around seventy years of age who reminded me of a female version of Yoda.
Reader, I have now completed my training and received the correct instruction. There was a small, slightly odd ceremony thing to go through which involved fruit, but beyond that minor oddity, the rest was very straight forward and ludicrously simple. A bit like Ever Patient Husband’s personality in fact.
I'm still stuck on the simple ceremony that involved fruit....what sort of fruit? What did you do with said inoffensive fruit? And why?
I now practice TM twice a day for twenty minutes and feel terribly calm. I have slept better and have completed more in one week than I usually do in two. In fact, when it came to Friday, I had nothing else to do so I took the day off.
There is a side effect. In fact, there appear to be two side effects.
I give even less of a fuck about what people think of me. I never have...
Other deep seated emotional stuff seems to have popped up to the surface. Always does sooner or later
Poor Ever Patient Husband had to deal with floods of tears yesterday morning (mine, not his) because some emotional baggage that I’d managed to suppress, ignore, override and attempt to forget suddenly bubbled up to the surface and insisted on displaying its ugly self as leakage from my eyes, combined with great big, self pitying sobs. Luckily, I hadn’t yet applied my mascara.
Poor bloke. He was literally on his way to work and his capitalist hippy wife was descending into a puddle of wailing gibberish. He was a bit torn as to what to do next. I love him dearly, but his ability to deal with really messy emotional stuff is a bit limited and his normally feisty, independent, the world can go and screw itself wife was sitting on the edge of the marital bed dripping snot and tears everywhere in between gulps of air and heavy exhales of breath.
Honestly, I should get a bloody Oscar, it was epic! Cate Blanchett eat your heart out!
Happily, he chose to sit next to me and give me a hug and tell me that we’d work it out and it would all be alright in the end, which is basically all I needed to hear. It’s probably all any of us need to hear when we’re in this kind of state. And whether, in that moment or not, you choose to believe that it will be alright in the end, most of the time it is alright in the end and the thing that you thought was the end of the world, turns out not to be at all and you feel a little bit silly.
EPH is a darling, and all this means is that you were able to admit the stuff that had been wearing you down.
I trotted off to the Body Street place for my weekly torture session and they’d placed a beautiful bunch of red roses in my changing room, which made me cry . Honestly, it was as though I was pregnant all over again. It’s a good job there weren’t any injured puppies in the vicinity, otherwise I’d have been toast.
During my first pregnancy and my maternity leave (I did once have a proper job where I got benefits and everything), I’d taken to watching ‘Pet Rescue’ during the day and during those moments when I was breast feeding and trying to drink a cup of hot tea without being disturbed I would sit sobbing, watching small puppies being rescued from various dire situations. In the end, I had to ban myself from watching it as it all got a bit too much.
I have since asked my Wise Friend who knows about this kind of metaphysical stuff about this phenomena and he says it can happen. That people who start practicing TM can feel emotionally worse before they feel serene and calm the whole time. I feel that this is something nice I can be aiming for, because the idea of blubbing like I did yesterday every couple of days as my Chakra Cupboard is given a thorough spring clean does not fill me with joy.
No, I am aiming much more towards the serenity of a ball of cotton wool, thank you very much indeed. Because in my head, enlightenment or ultimate cosmic bliss as it’s known in TM circles must feel a bit like being a ball of cotton wool. I mentioned this to Pip earlier today and she fell off her chair laughing.
It’s true I did...in retrospect, I may not have shown a proper amount of support .....In my defense I am the last person that you should discuss this bollocks with because I just don't believe in it. I think that your calm comes from recognising what you are suppressing and then dealing with it...chakras, transcendental meditation, fucking reiki...oh hang on there's a unicorn......
So, life goes on. We navigate the labyrinthine rules we’re all supposed to be following, except those who aren’t and I notice that the tide is turning. My mother would be proud of me today. I attended a demonstration which was about giving us our freedoms back and controlling the virus in a much more Swedish way and then I learned something quite shocking which I wouldn’t normally report in this light hearted blog, but it was too shocking to ignore and actually, if mentioning it here, helps one person out there feel better, then it’s worth a small detour from our usual musings.
My Wise Friend told me of two business owners who had committed suicide in the past month because they’d lost their businesses due to the restrictions we’re living under. They both left wives and children behind. Those two deaths, coupled with the two I already knew about at the start of lockdown - again men who ran businesses which then went under due to lockdown - makes four. That’s in a tiny city like Edinburgh with a population of half a million.
I am lucky. I have EPH. I have good friends like Pip who buy me beautiful bunches of flowers for my birthday which she had specially selected for their artisan qualities and I have comfort. I have people around me who tell me everything is going to be ok and I know that it will.
My tears will dry and my weird sobbing will stop as I practice my TM and in the meantime, I want you all to know that wherever you find yourself right now, it will change. There is always hope. It will be alright in the end.
Freedom is everything and love is all the rest.
I’m off to meditate now and then have a gin and tonic. Not sure which one works best.....answers on a postcard please.