In March I signed up for a free 21-day online meditation experience with Oprah and Deepak Chopra entitled “Shedding the Weight, Mind, Body and Spirit.”
Don’t laugh at me.
I signed up because:
- Duh. It was free.
- The last year and a half of my career has been very stressful but I can’t afford nor do I have time for therapy. This deal was only 20 minutes a day and I could do it in my nightie before sunrise.
- As a result of the stress, I have eaten the entire city of Spokane trying to sooth my bottomless pit of anxiety and do not want to move to a new city just to feed my stress baby. My PEOPLE live here. And while I am pretty comfortable with my body, this shit has gotta end at some point.
- Because I really don’t want to buy bigger pants. Clothing shopping stresses me out.
So. Since I have been doing some regular chubby yoga and learning a little about how to heal my messed up Chakras and have yet to be struck down by lightning by whomever punishes people for breaking the Catholic rules, I figured I’d be safe to listen to what Deepak had to say about why my ass has gotten so big. He IS, after all a doctor, in addition to being a new age, alternative medicine, metaphysics, spiritual healing gazillionaire.
Besides. I’m a Catholic CONVERT. We have different rules. But that is waaaay off topic and for a different blog post.
I have always loved Oprah, despite the fact that we have opposite views on a lot of things. I really think she has been good for the world and has helped so many people with her gifts of giving, sharing and opening our eyes to new ideas. She certainly changed my life when she did a show years ago on how a good bra really DOES make a difference in how you look. I had never before paid attention to the fact that one of my bras gave me “double boob syndrome” which is just “AAAAGH!!!!!!” once you are no longer blind and SEE. Now, yes, that’s maybe one of her more shallow topics. But that particular episode of “Oprah” caused me to begin paying attention to myself.
Which is powerful.
I’m not saying being all obsessed about my physical appearance is powerful. Nor is it my jam.
For instance, I came across this funny post on Facebook called “How High Maintenance are You?” where you gave yourself points for things like:
- Wears High Heels
- Wears Makeup Daily
- Nails are painted
- Brows are waxed
- Wears a lot of jewelry
- Shaves Everyday
- Gets Massages Regularly
- ETC ETC
If you got 20 or more you were high maintenance; 50 and you’re SUPER high maintenance; 100 you’re pretty much a supermodel/queen of a small country.
I scored a “2” out of a possible 119 points. Which is quite frankly a little embarrassing. I would have gotten a ZERO if my two point opportunity had said “Colors hair more than three times a year”. I suppose I should put out a little better effort for the people in my life who have to look at me.
But I probably won’t.
What I think IS powerful is when you pay attention enough to KNOW yourself and can still be comfortable hanging out, whether you wear high heels and jewelry or are someone who doesn’t really MIND five-day old stubble on your legs.
Because everywhere you GO, there you ARE. So why not make the relationship as enjoyable as possible?
It was with this thought in mind, plus the fact that I was starting to develop TMJ from all the chewing, that I started my 21 day morning adventure in my nightie with Oprah and Deepak. I tuned in religiously. Every single day for 21 days, I lit my candle, put on my headphones (so as not to wake up the home front at 5 am) and sat on the comfy meditation pillow that my bestie gave me a couple of months ago.
In each session, Oprah goes on first for a couple of minutes. I have to admit that in the beginning, it was hard not think about my double boob conversion experience when I heard her voice. Or how I should change my sheets at least weekly and throw away my pillows after a year on account of the terrible yuckiness that happens to pillows from our dreadful heads. (Another life changing episode of “Oprah” and one I wish I was still blind to). But I knew she was the perfect person to have empathy for my steadily growing girth and help me to either heal it or accept it. She had her own background music, kind of upbeat and perky, while she spoke about her own experiences about meditating and shedding the weight that we let harm our spirit. She would usually end with a bible verse or line from a favorite poem leaving me almost every time thinking “Yes, that.” Then she would introduce Deepak and the background music would get more serious and mystical.
Enter Deepak with his mesmerizing Indian accent, which gave me the giggles for the first few days. (Being serious is a struggle of mine.) He would start with a centering thought. One example: “I let negativity and darkness dissolve in my light” and we would repeat it a few times together. Then he would speak of the burdens that we let weigh us down and how we can release these burdens, which are of the ego, when we go to our true self, which is pure love and light. He didn’t focus much on my (or anyone’s) excessive back fat. Which was comforting.
THEN he would say the mantra which, according to Wikipedia is “a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, a word or phonemes, or a group of words” which in this case were in Sanskrit, that help to “induce an altered state of consciousness”.
‘Aham Prema’ was one mantra, which means “I am love.” He would repeat it several times. speak a little more, then say the mantra a few more times to help launch the meditation portion, which started at the sound of a soft chime and continued for about twelve minutes, the mystical music playing softly.
One morning during the meditation portion, despite me trying to focus on repeating the mantra and breathing, I couldnt stop thinking that the background music sounded like a song from my younger years “Do You Know Where You’re Going To”.
So things went a little cattywampus inside my head for a bit. Only a few of you reading will understand most of this:
- Do I like the things that life is showing me?
- Oh I really do!
- Who sang that song?
- Dionne Warwick
- No. She sang “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”
- Wo wo wowo wowowowo
- I haven’t been to San Jose in years. Since I was a kid with my dad.
- It was Diana Ross.
- She was so pretty.
- Did Deepak plagiarize her song? Would he DO that?
- Interesting: all three are D names and I think they are all in their 70’s now. I wonder if this is significant.
- I’m so sad Donna Summer died. How long ago was that? She’d be 70ish too…
- I miss Diamond Lake and Donna Summer playing on the 8-track in the ski boat…
- “I Feel Love.” That was one of her songs.
- I am love.
- Aham Prema.
- Breathe H
Now. What I have learned from my past experiences meditating is that I have a monkey mind. And what I KNOW is that this is perfectly okay. Thoughts and emotions flow in and out of our minds at whatever pace our current state of being is in. They are not good or bad, they are simply THERE. And then they are not there. And then they are there again. I like to pretend that my thoughts and emotions during meditation are feathers floating around me. When they get in the way of what I need to see, I just gently blow on them (Breathe H) until they float softly out of my current line of vision.
And here’s the thing: if we have the power to do this, then the things we believe to be burdens can become blessings. It really and truly is up to us to let our light dissolve whatever is blocking our ability to sit with ourselves in total loving acceptance, which in my case usually comes with giggles, monkey thoughts and at least for now, some jiggly fat.
It’s amazing how light a person can become in such a short period of time just by breathing on a few feathers. And while I might not know where I am going to, I know it will be amazing getting there. If I let it.
Twenty one days sitting mostly quiet with myself (and the Oprah/Deepak team) helped me to know this more clearly. I’d recommend it to anyone. Even to people who scored 119 on the high maintenance test and are clearly getting regular massages. I’m not jealous of you at all.
Namaste brats. Ha!