On Meditation and Poetry and Neil Fischer’s [As if the moon could haul through you]

CarolynOliver_MountAuburnCemetery_October2014I’ve been thinking about mindfulness lately, which is, I realize, sort of ridiculous; instead of thinking about mindfulness, I should just be mindful, right?

I do try, but then there’s always something in the back of my mind– a project for a client, how much Christmas gift-planning I have left (hey, I start early but my Decembers are very relaxed), books to read, reviews to write, wondering if my son will ever outgrow the vegetarian-except-for-bacon-phase, wondering what color I’d paint my front door if I owned a house with paintable front door (purple, but what shade?), how often I should be checking to see if Leonard Cohen is going on tour again,  which houseplant I’ve brought closest to death this week, how much I wish Parks & Rec season 7 was on right now . . . and so on.

I have a few friends who practice meditation,and they seem calmer and better adjusted than I feel, but every time I think about getting a meditation app or reading a book about how to meditate, I’m distracted by something (often a small something who likes to wear three shirts at once, demands very specific, non-findable episodes of Super Why, and recently expressed a need for a “poem-book,” thereby bringing his mother to tears).

Which is all a long way of saying that my one small step toward meditation is reading poetry. Sometimes—most of the time—I can’t read a full collection, but one poem? I can do that.

So this week I’ve been reading and re-reading Neil Fischer’s [As if the moon could haul through you], which is gorgeous, and is about clearing the mind, even if it fills the reader’s with heady images (“the purl of south-bending river”—I swooned, almost).

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10 thoughts on “On Meditation and Poetry and Neil Fischer’s [As if the moon could haul through you]

  1. I love some of the things you said were preoccupying you. Purple door, bacon-eating child, and I totally relate on the house plants. This poem is to me beautiful but incomprehensible. It totally lost me.

  2. I think that for some of us the best way to be mindful is to just do something we love and that is relaxing for us. For you, reading poetry is perfect. Reading books for a lot of us, obviously. But, I also find going for walks to be meditative. It’s really the only time I can let my mind wander. Even though it is still occupied with many thoughts, they are whatever thoughts I want and not ones I don’t want, like What’s for supper?; Who has dance lessons today?; How am I going to get the cats and the new dog to finally get along?; etc… It was kind of fun, actually, getting to ‘know’ your thoughts. 🙂

    • That sounds wonderful. I wish I were a better walker; I remember reading somewhere that C.S. Lewis would take very, very long walks on the weekends, and walk whenever he could during weekdays. I’d like to cultivate that kind of practice, but it doesn’t seem likely tell my son’s in school!

      • When my kids were little, I would put them in the stroller for as long as I could! I would even squeeze all three into the double stroller, which I ended up using until it completely fell apart. We would be crossing the road, and the back tires would fall off and roll away. The drivers were very patient with me. 🙂

    • Thank you! Seriously, the whole front door issue takes up way too much of my time. I fantasize about owning a house all the time.

      I bet your list o’ thoughts would be much more interesting, not to mention deeper . . .

  3. In preparation for my transatlantic flight this summer, I started using an app called Pranayama, which guides you through breathing exercises. I was (am) surprised by how much it helped ease my considerable anxiety about the whole thing – to the extent that the flight home by myself was a breeze. You can set the app for as little as seven minutes. I just ended up doing it here and there in the weeks leading up – nothing organized at all. But I liked it and I do think it helps me be more mindful. Now that I’m back in school. it would probably be best for me to find a specific time of day to just sit and breathe because I’m not doing it as often as I was during the summer. But anyway, for me, that app was a good way in to ‘meditation – light.’

    Hope you are doing well! xxoo

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