Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thoughts on Meditation or Whatever

A few months ago, I checked out a book called Transcendental Meditation from the library. I didn't read it, because ironically, I didn't have the time.

I was going through a phase where I thought that meditation might change my life (it might) and I started devouring articles, blogs, kitschy infographics and book snippets to beef myself up on the topic. Turns out, thinking about meditating and actually meditating are nowhere near the same thing. Thinking about meditating and not meditating after having thought about it and read about it produces anxiety. And although I'm sure meditation itself would help relieve the anxiety, it should be obvious by now that quietly letting go of my problems through steady breaths and a connection to my deeper self isn't exactly my neurotic jam.

We have a dog, named Murphy. She'll be three in November. We purchased her through a local breeder (I know, I know, I know) and she was the runt of her litter. When we brought her home, she was a whopping pound and a half, a staggering, pot-bellied, snorting little French Bulldog who captured our selfish little hearts and gave these two fiercely independent married people a cause to rally around.

In January of this year, Murphy had her first seizure. In February, she had another. March, April, one seizure each. In May, when we came back from vacation, she had a staggering grand-mal seizure that almost killed her. Her body temp hit 106.2, she couldn't stop convulsing, and she spent 24 hours in an emergency hospital, while we worried at home, praying that she would make it through the night. She came home with a loading dose of phenobarbital, and we started the drug-laden seizure management journey that's still continuing today, something like a frustrating Candyland with a lot more uncertainty and aggravation.

Because Murphy is a short-nosed breed, and because of the overheating danger that kicked off the seizure chain reaction, we haven't been able to take a lot of walks in the Texas summer. Instead, in the early mornings and late evenings, we blow bubbles.

Oddly enough, Murphy loves bubbles.

And I mean, she LOVES bubbles. She runs across the yard like a lightning bug on acid, snapping and jumping at bubbles, panting and smiling at you as you try to get the perfect stream that doesn't go too high or crash into the ground. 

But her favorites? Her favorites are the huge, giant bubbles. The impossible, how-did-you-get-the-lung-capacity-to-make-that-happen, giant bubbles that almost bounce across the airstreams in the backyard. She'll practically bite them off your bubble wand mid-breath, if she sees them coming.

The thing is, you have to really concentrate to blow the big bubbles. You have to get the distance of your mouth to your wand just right, you have to maintain your breath throughout the entire bubble-blowing process, and you have to know when to release, otherwise the bubble quite literally bursts in your face. 

Controlled breathing. Timing. Focus. Release.

And wouldn't you know it - somewhere during blowing bubbles with my epileptic dog, I learned to meditate. 

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