2021: The year I vowed to become more ‘zen.’
As you know, I already have a house full of oxygen dispersing plants – surely that already puts me one step ahead in terms of my fresh journey to calm?
I think it goes without saying that 2020 was a terrible year. Don’t get me wrong, I feel extremely fortunate to have exited the year with my health, my job, and my loved ones, as I know this was sadly not the case for so many. I have no right to complain; I know that. But for personal reasons, I did find 2020 difficult to contend with at times. We endured stresses centered around buying our first house, navigating months of agonising home-working, and trying to raise an unruly puppy that I genuinely believe may end up on Crimewatch one day.
Throw an already fragile mental state into the mix, and you have a tumultuous 12 months to report!
The Voice of anorexia smelt my weakness a mile off and reared its ugly head once again. It grappled with my veins, snaking its way to the surface of my skin and seeping back into the forefront of my mind.
I came out of 2020 feeling frazzled. It had been a year drowned in delirium and anxiety. I quickly recognised the fact that I had lost large strips of myself along the way. I no longer felt like the person I had been prior to the pandemic. I felt totally lost, to be honest.
I made a list of resolutions (‘Eat less Marmite,’ ‘Stop buying plants,’ ‘Come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to marry Richard Madden,’ etc, etc), which I vowed to work my way through in 2021. I was determined to reclaim my old self: the bubbly, openly eccentric, happy-go-lucky, confident girl that I used to be known for.
The first thing I did was treat myself to a stash of inspiring books to aid my new-found dedication to a more peaceful existence. Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy’ and Vex King’s ‘Happy Vibes, Happy Life’ were two particular reads that I joyfully sped through. Their uplifting and thought-provoking messages radiated from the pages and whispered some much needed spells to my soul. Believe it or not, I already felt in a better frame of mind!
‘Try meditation’ was the next item on my specially devised 2021 bucket list.
I’m extremely hot-headed by nature. I get riled fairly easily, be it by junk mail, or people who insist on sneezing multiple times in a row.
My top gripe is definitely slow walkers, especially those who refuse to move over to allow the faster striders amongst us (ME) to pass.
I’ve always been aware that while I’m generally an upbeat individual, there are times that I do need to work on my stress levels and learn how to not ‘sweat the small stuff.’
I had today off work – like most people in the world at the moment, I have a back stock of annual leave to take before the holiday year ends, attributable to the fact that nobody has actually been able to leave the country for the last 12 months.
Today has been glorious. I went for an early morning run, and felt the first tinge of spring in the air. The verges were laden with drifts of snowdrops, and sunshine-shaded daffodils cheerily popped their heads up from every angle.
I was basked in calm and gratitude with every step I took.
Yes, I thought, today is the perfect day to start meditating.
Following an argument with the husband over who was going to answer the door to Hermes when they arrived, I stomped off upstairs. His point of view was that he was working from home, so couldn’t be disturbed. My point was that I was dressed in hugely unflattering post-run attire: a pair of a fake-tan stained pair of joggers, fluffy bed socks emblazoned with pictures of Mike Wazowski, and a cacti decorated t-shirt stating ‘Surrounded By Pricks.’
Naturally, I won the argument, and pointedly slammed the door of my office to enhance my latest victory.
I wrote a few pages of my latest book while rapping along to verses of Nicki Minja’s ‘Anaconda,’ before deciding to take the plunge and get my zen on!
I found a ‘Beginner’s Guide to Meditation’ on Youtube, and settled on the floor of my office to indulge in this new phenomenon.
... I’m not gonna’ lie – I found it bloody hard!
How hard can it be to relax?! I hear you exclaim.
Very! Is the answer. VERY!
I have an extremely active mind that CONSTANTLY pings from one project to another, pretty much 24/7. I’m even productive in my dreams, for God’s sake! Honestly, my dreams usually consist of visions of me hanging the washing out, or running 5ks with a gang of iguanas.
I’m constantly busy and somewhat wired with creativity, and very rarely do I sit and do ‘nothing.’ Even when I do allow myself a rare night off writing and running to enjoy some TV, I have to pair it with painting my nails, or making extensive lists in my many ‘to do’ notepads.
I tried to switch off today, I really did, but my God, it was a challenge.
Here are just some of the thoughts I had during the entire duration of the 12 minute guided meditation:
1) If that flamingo plant falls off the top of the bookcase and onto my head, I’ll probably end up with concussion, at the very least.
2) M&S have released some new Marmite and cheese hot cross buns in time for Easter. I NEED to buy 7,089 packets and eat every single one.
3) It is bad that I’ve eaten three quarters of a tub of Biscoff spread in just 9 days?
4) Is the heating still on? I should really and turn it off.
5) And the water.
6) Is that the landing light I can see through the gap at the bottom of the door? I’ve not left that on as well, have I?
7) Marmite and cheese hot cross buns, though! Oh my GAAAAD.
8) I wish I hadn’t turned my head to the left. Now all I can see if my Aloe Vera plant, and it looks dry.
9) I really need to water it, like, RIGHT NOW.
10) It can’t wait.
11) Okay, okay - it can wait. I’ll do it as soon as the meditation is over. How long’s left? I feel like I’ve been lay here for hours!!!
12) Marmite and cheese hot cross buns. Good lord, I can almost taste them.
13) I think I’ve started to hallucinate. The hamster cage no longer looks like a cage; simply a giant mound of hot cross bun.
14) Have I got an irregular heartbeat? I feel almost panicky when I breathe in for too long.
15) Maybe I’ll ring the doctors later.
16) Second thoughts, I’m pretty sure the doctors have blacklisted my number. Some people are such hypochondriacs. That ‘some people’ is me. I am a hypochondriac.
17) Why have I got Craig David ‘Rewind’ in my head? I haven’t heard that for years! That’s one to listen to in the shower later! Must make a note on my phone as soon as this is over so that I don’t forget!
18) And Shaggy ‘Hey Sexy Lady.’ What a tune.
19) I think I’ll book a spontaneous solo trip to Belgium.
20) MARMITE AND CHEESE HOT CROSS BUNS.
... Next week, I’m attempting yoga!
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©