10 Minutes of Nothing

I sat outside for 10 minutes at lunch time. I did nothing. I closed my eyes.

This video inspired me. Taking a 10-minute break connected me to my senses. I felt the sun on the back of my neck. I heard hip hop music from a car stopped at a traffic light nearby. I opened my eyes and saw a sparrow, a few feet away, tilt its head.

I thought about the mastercard bill I have to pay. I strategized about meeting my daughter before one play practice today and after another. I wondered if it would be good enough if she had only a slice of pizza for dinner.

I felt some things. I thought some things. But I did not get bogged down in my thoughts or feelings. I hopped from thing to thing like the sparrow.

There may have been a few moments when I entered a state beyond thinking or feeling. I drifted into the sky. I saw a gold frame against the sky. What happens when you frame infinity? I thought, How funny – that there are stars in the sky during the daytime too. I don’t see the stars, but I know they’re there.

I thought, I have to work on my Magical Realism curriculum for the 10th grade World Lit class tomorrow. I added that to the part of my mind that contains the long To Do list.

I slowed my breathing. I glanced at my phone 9 minutes had gone by. One more minute to sit. One more minute to think about nothing. Closed my eyes. Heard a strange tapping. Then, I heard footsteps crunching. I opened my eyes. A mother and her teenage son walked in front of me, serious, going somewhere.

Meditation is watching a movie in my mind. Being a bystander. Not hopping on stage. I am not the star of the film; I am a witness.

Focus. Calm. Clarity.

***

I learned about this video and 12 others that inspire at Let Why Lead. We are part of the 31 days of writing campaign.

yoga and my manic mind

At the end of yoga class today, when the lights were turned off and the meditative music was turned on, my mind did not automatically rest. I found myself composing Facebook status updates, mulling over possible writing topics, questioning my kids’ afterschool activities, on and on.

Today, in addition to the sound of slamming lunch trays in the adjacent cafeteria, I was also distracted by a baby crying right outside our class.

yoga class from creative commons

Jen, my teacher, said, “Breathe and repeat the word, ‘Inhale’ on your inhale and ‘Exhale’ on your exhale. This will help you block out the noise.”

At first, I didn’t mind the sound of the baby’s cry. Not too much. Until after a while. Then it was really irritating. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. “Will someone feed that child? Give her a binky!” Iwanted to yell.

The good thing about hearing a baby cry is that eventually the crying stops. Sweet relief. Thank you Jesus!

And eventually, my manic mind stopped fretting too. For a minute at the end of yoga, I drifted. Got silent. Like the baby, I descended into a place of contentment. It was really nice.

I forgave myself and everyone for everything. I felt only love for the whole wide world, even, and especially, that crying baby.