• Paula Tiberius

My Thoughts Are Like Toddlers

A lot of bloggers who are also parents talk about their kids, and it can be really boring. It’s kind of like comics doing jokes about the differences between cats and dogs. How can you possibly make it fresh? My kid cracks me up all the time and I always have the urge to share it, but then when I write it down, it sounds so cutesy I can only send it to my mother. Sometimes I even imagine my mother would be bored, and I just write it in my journal instead. Lately as a further step of restraint, and also due to the increasing frequency of cute moments, I’ve been simply taking a deep breath and thinking: Just enjoy the goddamn moment, would you? Not everything needs to be written down.

So what’s more interesting than writing about kids? Why, of course the unique and original ideas that spring forth from my fertile imagination like the chthonic birth of a Greek god. Yes, those brilliant insights for which my 34 Twitter fans are sitting on the edge of their seats. Nuance! Detail! Originality! I make a living from ideas and thoughts, but how much control do I really have over them?

This evening at yoga I was trying to not think at all, practicing my one and only meditation technique which entails imagining each passing thought being wrapped up in a box and drifting away from me.  I haven’t been meditating for very long, I admit, but the technique is quite effective. It also makes me examine my thoughts and thought patterns, which in turn make me wonder how I’ve ever been able to write anything interesting, ever.  My thoughts are like toddlers. They run around my head screaming Lalalalalala! and banging pots and pans together. They distract me constantly, pulling on my brain, acting like they invented the concept of attention. It’s really hard to control them, and even when you do, it’s short-lived and fleeting.

For example:

I’m focused on keeping my mind blank. I am at one with the universe. What’s in the fridge right now? Is there enough Parmesan to make that pasta thing, or should I just eat the leftover burrito? I’m wrapping up that thought in a box and sending it on its way. I do not need to think about food now. I’m back to the flickering candle flame, which represents my focused mind.  I can’t believe she said that to him. What a bitch. I’d like to punch her in the face. Okay, I’m wrapping that thought up in an extra strong box – not cool to be violent when you’re meditating! Be a better person, would you? What’s the point of learning how to do this stuff if you can’t even control your temper when you….And wrapping up that thought and it’s floating away. Flickering candle. Was that the symbol I had before? Maybe the flying bird was better? Flying bird. Yes. But is it? Then you’ve got wings flapping. Is that calming? Pick a fucking symbol. The symbol itself doesn’t matter. Sure it doesn’t matter to you because you’re in the zone. I’m stuck over here with all these thoughts running around like they’re in a bouncy house. Well that went well. It’s a process. There’s always tomorrow.

I want to teach Violet that it’s important to live in the moment and to control her thoughts. The irony is that she’s so in the moment right now as a wild and intense two year old, but by the time she’s ready for a concept like this, all that wild energy will be trapped in her head the way it is with every adult struggling to stay calm in the face of constant mind chatter.

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