10-Minute Meditations: The Chatter That Goes On In My Head

Yesterday, I lied about writing up the chatter that goes on in my head. No, yesterday’s post–the first of the ten-minute meditations I’m making myself do each day–is more like what comes out of my head when I focus on one thought and channel that train of thought onto the page. (It’s not particularly coherent, I know, but that’s what appears when I sit down and launch into written language.)

What goes on in my head is much more tiresome and repetitive. I think about all the things I need to do, or remember to do. Like cleaning the house. I ruminate on cleaning the house quite a bit–to the point where I feel like I’ve done something already, and then the next thing I know I look in that corner and the mess is still there and I’m convinced I’m a worthless schlub that’s incapable of taking care of a house.

You see the problem with this kind of process.

Just the other day, I had a five-minute stare-down with a silverfish I found on the bathroom door. (I myself was seated on the toilet.) Over and over, I thought to myself: I’m going to kill that thing. I’m so going to kill that thing. After I’m done sitting here, I’m going to get up and walk over and squish that little slip of hairy legs and antennae with a wad of toilet paper. I wanted to inscribe this on my memory like Hamlet scratching “avenge my father’s most foul murder” on the tablets of his mind. (Hah! See what I did there? Shakespeare Is Everywhere! SIE!!!)

But we all remember how well Hamlet’s tablet-scratching went. He says those lines at the end of Act 1, right after meeting the ghost of his father. “Remember me,” the ghost says before he disappears. And then Hamlet says, in essence, “By gum, I’ll remember!” Then he spends the rest of the play remembering, or goading himself to remember, or testing himself to see if his father’s injunction is worth remembering, or chastising himself for not remembering the right way.

This is how my mind works. Any task–cleaning the house, squishing a bug, even working on my writing–goes through this painstaking process. I am not spontaneous. I guess this is also why I loathe Hamlet so much: he reminds me too much of myself. Friggin’ Prince of Denmark.

And I think I’ve overrun my ten minutes by now. I’m not much of a clock-watcher, either, unless there’s something I must must must do, like pick up my kid from camp.

And that sentence at the top of the last paragraph? I rolled that over and over in my mind, trying to keep it there before I forgot it. That happens a lot with things I’m unwilling to forget.

Must write that down, must write that down.


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