Jenny: Hot Tub Timed Meditation

So I’m a little stressed.  I was stressed before I hit the deer, discovered I’m probably going to be looking at people sideways in a couple of years, and found out there was no cake in my future.   Now I’m interacting several times a day with an app that yells at me (figuratively speaking) if I don’t eat breakfast.   I’m making progress, my numbers are coming down, but they’re not coming down fast enough, especially that bottom line blood pressure number.   I should be seeing better results.  I’m Jenny Crusie, damn it, I do everything well.  Okay, not relationships or housecleaning or cooking (the smoke alarm went off last night while I was making salad), but a lot of things.  THIS thing.  THIS THING I SHOULD BE DOING WELL.

Okay, I’m a little more than a little stressed.  But nothing I can’t handle.  I’ll just research it.  [Googles.]  Aha, meditation is good for blood pressure.  (There were ten things that were good, but that wasn’t much help since it said to reduce caffeine (I don’t use caffeine), quit smoking (I’ve never smoked), and quit drinking (I don’t drink).)  But meditation, I can meditate, I bet.  I bet I’d be good at meditating.  I bet I could win a medal at meditating if there was a meditation competition.  Yeah, meditation, that’s the ticket.

Except I’m a little tense.  But taking hot baths makes me less tense which I found out two days ago.  The one yesterday wasn’t so good because we ran out of hot water (the tub in the master bath is the size of a small quarry) but the one the day before was excellent.  So maybe if I meditate in the bath . . .

[Google.]  Relaxing baths are excellent for blood pressure.  So how to meditate.  [Google.]  The Relaxation Response.  I’ve heard of that.  That’s been around for years.

So step one is sit in a relaxed position.  No problemo, I’ll be in a hot bath tub with the jets going.

Step two, close your eyes.  Yeah, yeah, got that.

Step three . . . how many goddamn steps are there?  SIX?  Jesus wept.  Okay, step three, relax all your muscles, starting with your feet.  Really?  How many muscles can there be in feet?  I should google . . . no, focus.  This may be why you have high blood pressure, lack of focus.

Step four, breathe through your nose, saying “one” on the breath out.  Okay, I’ve had allergies since I was born, I’ve breathed through my nose maybe a total of ten hours in my entire life.  So I’ll breath through my mouth (Jenny Crusie is a mouth-breather) saying “one” on the exhale.

Step, five, continue for twenty minutes.

TWENTY MINUTES?  What am I, made of time?  I’m supposed to breathe for TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES?????

Okay, maybe this is why I have high blood pressure.  Calm down, deep breaths, saying “one” on the exhale, you can do this, Crusie.

Step six, maintain a passive attitude (snort) and if distracting thoughts appear, concentrate on breathing and the repetition of “one.”

Okay.  No problem.  I drag my blood pressure things upstairs and while the bath is running, I take my blood pressure as a comparison point.  147/84, pulse 88.  That’s a rapid pulse for me, mine is usually in the seventies, but I’ve been reading about meditation and it’s been upsetting me.  The 147 is a little high for me but the 84 is sadly normal.  Let’s see what a hot bath can do.

8:10: I get into the bath, I’m breathing in and out and saying “one.”  Why “one”?  Why not “om?”  Why not “hmmmm.”  Why not “Alan Rickman is a hottie but I wish he hadn’t gotten that face lift?”  Well, that one would be distracting.  Where was I?  Right.  Inhale, exhale, “one,” inhale . . .

8:11: . . . exhale.  I have nice feet.  I can see them there propped up on the end of the tub.  I beat myself up for all my failings, but I never tell myself, “Crusie, nice feet.” Of course, the Vaseline helps tremendously . . . oh, crap, meditate, Crusie.  Inhale, exhale, “one,” inhale . . .

8: 12: . . . exhale.  If this works, it’s going to be hell for the rest of the family since this swimming pool of a tub uses up all the hot water.   I can see me telling Sweetness and Light that they’re going to have to take cold baths because Fake Aunt Jenny has high blood pressure.  Actually, Sweetness might buy it, but Light would be all, “Forget that, I’m taking my bath first.”  Little bastard.  She’s so much like me.  Where was I?  Inhale, exhale, “one,” inhale . . .

8: 13: . . . exhale.  You know, I don’t like saying, “one.”  It doesn’t feel right.  It makes me tense.  I should not have to say “one.”  I can just breathe.  Inhale, exhale, inhale . . .

8:14: . . . exhale.  God, I’ve been doing this forever.  The twenty minutes has to be up.  (Looks at clock).  FOUR MINUTES?  Are you kidding me?  I have to stay in here another SIXTEEN MINUTES??  Crap.  This hot bath is making me tense.  Wait.  I could get a blog post out of this.

8:15: (Plans blog post.)

8:16: You know what would be good with the blog post?  Pictures.  (Fumbles in purse next to tub, gets phone.)  Krissie took a picture of herself in the tub, I could do that.   (Takes pictures. Looks at pictures.)  Dear god, does high blood pressure and diabetes make you look like a corpse?  This is awful.  Krissie looked so cute.  Why don’t I look cute?  Where did those dark circles come from?  I’m sleeping just fine.  Hell.  This is no good.  (Puts phone back in purse.)  Where was I?  Oh, right, meditating.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, what time is it?  Really?  REALLY?  FOURTEEN MORE MINUTES?  Jesus, how do people do this without losing their freaking minds?  INHALE, DAMN IT.

8:17: Fuck it, I’ll read a magazine.

8:18: I can’t read this magazine in the tub, the light’s too bad.  Hell.  Inhale, exhale, inhale . . .

8:19: . . . exhale.  I’ve got to clean some of the stuff off that shelf.  I don’t do knickknacks, how did all those knickknacks get up there?  They’re my knickknacks, I definitely put those knickknacks up there, but really, I am so not a knickknack person . . . Meditate, damn it.  Inhale . . .

8:20:  . . . exhale.  I really do have cute feet.  I should take pictures of my feet.

8: 21: Here are my feet being coy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:22: Here are my feet meeting for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:23: Here are my feet overwhelmed by their environment.  I bet they have high blood pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8: 24: Here are my feet doing an impression of Krissie in a bathtub with Alan Rickman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8: 25: WILL THIS TWENTY MINUTES NEVER END?

8:26: I don’t have to stay in here for twenty minutes.  It’s my bathroom.  It’s my bathtub.  IT’S MY LIFE AND I DON’T HAVE TO STAY IN THIS BATHTUB FOR TWENTY MINUTES.  Of course, it’s also my blood pressure.  Inhale . . .

8:27: . . . exhale.  Jeez, I’m like a beached whale in this tub.  A healthy woman’s waist is 36″ or less and mine is 44″.  I told Lani that and she said, “Are you sure?”  Yes, I’m sure, I measured with a tape measure.  Those things don’t have glitches.  Damn low tech tools.   Inhale . . .

8:28: . . . exhale.  Why is chocolate pudding a minus .5 in NetDiary?  If +5 is good and -5 is bad, how bad can one cup of sugar free, fat free pudding at -.5 be?  My lunch salad was a +7.  I could have another salad tonight.  That would give me another +7.   PLUS FOURTEEN!  Then I could have another pudding.  That would only be a total of minus one.  That would give me a thirteen plus the apple and the fish for dinner but I don’t remember what those counts are and anyway, wouldn’t I have to divide by something to get the day’s number?  Lunch, dinner, a snack, divide by three?  Carry the minus five? Fuck it, I’m having more pudding.  Where was I?  Inhale . . .

8:29: . . . exhale.  I’ve been in this tub for three days.  THREE DAYS.  (Old Dogs and Goddesses joke.)  Surely it’s been twenty minutes . . . oh.  Nineteen minutes?  Really.  Okay, I can do one more minute.

8:30: and EXHALE!  HA!  Told you I could meditate.

Okay, who are we kidding, that was worthless.  (Hooks self up to iHealth and starts blood pressure thingy.)  I should be watching kittens playing or something, that would lower my blood pressure, not a stupid breathing thing in a bathtub with jets, the jets were probably really bad for me–

116/68.

Really?  Dear god, that’s NORMAL.   Wow.  Meditation works.  Who knew?

Here’s a picture of me, meditating awesomely.

 

107 thoughts on “Jenny: Hot Tub Timed Meditation

  1. Ylva Hedin says:

    LOl! Hahaha That could have been me! soo funny… I cant acually meditate like that.

    I have to do stuff and meditiate at the same time. Like walking the dogs in the woods. Or doing the dishes… thats the best. doing the dishes and relaxing… 😀

  2. Micki says:

    LOLOLOL! Laughter is the best medicine, and I swear you just lowered my blood pressure by a few points. Fave moment: imitation of Krissie in the tub with Alan Rickman.

    Wishing you continuing success with the bath meditation plan (-:. It’s good for us, too.

  3. ROFL laughing! I didn’t realize there was a webcam watching me try to meditate. I’m with Micki, the Krissie and Alan imitation was the best!

    Like her, I meditate while I walk. But maybe this is something you have to build up to. You know, 2 minutes, 3 minutes… that’s where I fall down with traditional sitting on the floor meditation because either the Doberman comes in and gives me kisses OR one of those adorable teens of mine is heard yelling, “Mo-om, where’s the…?”

    But you’ve given me blog inspiration. My yoga attempts yesterday were definitely blog-worthy.

    Keep at it. You’re inspiring me when I need it most!

    • Jennifer says:

      I have taken umpteen meditation classes and have been forced to do it off and on through my strange schools since kindergarten (I still don’t LIKE doing it though, mind you), and I can give you tips on making it easier:

      (a) take a class because it forces you to do it– I hate dropping things I want to do to sit there blank and bored on my own free time.

      (b) try to do it for only 5-10 minutes at a time. Set a damn timer if necessary.

      (c) if possible (obviously not gonna fly in winter), go do it outdoors because doing it inside reminds me of all of the cool things I could and would rather be doing than fucking meditating.

  4. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Oh, man, this was toooo funny — and way, way too close to home.

    As part of my attempt to keep my blood pressure under control, I go regularly for shiatsu massage, which I can highly recommend — if you get a good masseur/masseuse — because, by the end of each session I am feeling cold (although fully clothed) because my blood pressure has dropped, taking my body temp with it. Cool in many ways. And, because shiatsu is sort of zen, usually I come down a ratchet or two mentally.

    Anyhoo…

    Yesterday. at my massage, I went through pretty much the same as you. Mind wandering off, then inner voice saying “relax, relax, stop thinking and relax…”. Which worked about as long as between your inhales and exhales.

    So….as usual at the end of the session, I asked my masseur (a true master) which lines he worked in this session (’cause there was some new stuff). He just smiled and said, “well, no particular line, but your breathing was pretty rapid, meaning you were pretty tense mentally, so I just tried to clear the chaos away”….

    Which did succeed fairly well, considering I wasn’t helping him at all.

    (Except that the firing neurons by the end of the session were firing more softly and more dreamily…)

    So I’ve got that going for me…

  5. I am DYING here! LOVE the Alan Rickman feet, the six steps, the whole damn thing. Reading this makes me feel almost normal, so thank you for that! And now, since you’ve got me stressing a little, I’m going to go take my blood pressure.

    Hang in there – you ARE Jennifer Crusie, and you can do anything!

  6. I laughed out loud at the Alan Rickman feet!

    You know saying his name in a room of women is equivalent of screaming ‘squirrel’ in a dogpark.

    ALAN RICKMAN.

    There I did it. Let see if anyone likes this post.

    • Deborah Blake says:

      Very cute feet 🙂 And I’m with Nan–why is your purse in the bathroom?

      I’m always saying I’m going to get back to my meditation practice. Any day now… But I am a big fan of Tai Chi, which is both meditative and exercise at the same time. How efficient is that?

      And I love hot baths, but in the last few years they seem to trigger my hot flashes, which I’d don’t love. Sigh.

      This was a wonderful post–I know it did great things for my blood pressure, even if it didn’t help yours.

  7. Diane (TT) says:

    So, if you get positive feedback (normal BP) from meditating in the bath, will you do it again, or was the experience too stressful to repeat?

    Must get ready for the day – miles to go before I sleep!

    • Oh, I’ll do it again. It made me feel better even when I didn’t know it was lowering my blood pressure. I just have to make sure the rest of the family is covered for hot water.

      • Jenny–

        First of all, I laughed SO hard at this because it is exactly how my attempts at meditation have gone.

        Second, if you want to save the hot water, one thing you could do is boil a couple big pots on the stove and add those to less-hot water in the tub so you don’t drain the hot water heater. My mom used to do that for me and my sister as kids when we would visit our great grandmother.

        Good luck with future bathroom meditations!

      • Deborah Nicholson says:

        You are a fabulous, best-selling author. You can afford a bigger or 2nd or bottomless (new style) water heater. Or if not, you can probably raise the temperature of your present one (not to the danger zone, just a degree or two) and that will make the water hotter so you can mix less in with the cold water and there will be more for others. Unless I remember to do that, I can only lather, rinse (forget repeat).

      • romney says:

        We have one of those boilers that boil the water as it goes. Way more efficient apparently. Limitless supply of hot water, but it never does more than you need so you save money. Apart from what it costs to put the boiler in of course. Changed my life! Now I can even top up lukewarm baths to make them neverending.

        • German Chocolate Betty says:

          Yeah, we’ve got that too. First off, no water heater to maintain (and replace!) and second, you never, ever, ever run out of hot water. Ever! Woohoo!

          • German Chocolate Betty says:

            Oops, I meant “no water heater” in the sense of there’s no “storage tank”, ’cause the water heats as it flows through the system. Best ever.

  8. Oh god, this could so be me – I can’t meditate because my mind is too busy. I do yoga but am not fond of corpse pose – I pretty much just fall asleep at that point. Not fond of baths because I get antsy. The last time I had a massage, the therapist kept shaking me and saying “relax!”

    No, I don’t relax well. Why do you ask?

    The times when I’ve found myself closest to a meditative mind state? When I’m working on my sewing machine or on a pottery wheel. Maybe you just need to find some other sort of “active” way to meditate?

    BTW – though I love the feet pictures, pretty sure that having a phone handy while you are supposed to be meditating in the tub is also potentially disruptive to meditating 🙂

  9. Kat Peterson says:

    Good for your blood pressure.  I suspect that the lovely time you were having frolicking in the bath did you plenty of good.  I’m fascinated by the idea of integrated health care, the idea of creating health by caring for mind (the intellect), body (the physical– exercise, diet, rest), and spirit (intuition and emotion).   Problem is, is that my intellect tends to be kind of bossy.  Tends to sarcastic, snarky inner talk to my intuition, wants to run off with all the available time, wants to fill every silence.  Sound a little bit familiar?  Meditation is tough for me.  But!  if I actually pull it off my intuition comes up with some really great stuff, and the clear space makes it way easier to point my intellect at the prize (as it were).  The physiological benefits are also clearly important.  

    The counting backwards thing doesn’t work for me because a) it lacks charm and if my intuition is going to come out and play it needs at least a little bit of whimsy  and b) counting is an intellect activity and as I said– bossy.  What does work for me is to incorporate movement into the mediation.  Tai Chi is by far my favorite mode– you have this lovely little dance to do, and you get to focus on feeling the Chi.  The savasana pose at the end of a yoga class (actually the entire class now that I think about it) is another good one.  You’re pleasantly buzzed from the exercise and your intellect has an assigned task of checking in with all the body parts.  I hesitate to suggest this, but I’ve spent hours in workshops that focus on breathing.  The Franklin Method seminar on the diaphragm was a revelation.  Who knew?  You breath all damn day, and yet there’s so much to think about.    It could be helpful for the asthma.  People (haven’t tried this myself) also find that focusing on an object, usually a candle flame I think, works too.  Perhaps you did that experiment with your feet?  

    Anyway I wanted to say keep up the fight or don’t give up the struggle, neither of which are appropriate to meditation, but you know what I mean.  It really is worth the effort.  You just have to tell your intellect, very gently, that it has to be quite for a bit and give intuition a turn.  Yes, I see myself as manager of a seriously unruly collection of semi-independent parts.   Oh, and I know from experience that when the systolic drops below 92 , you go down like a sack of sand.  Lucky for me, the nurse was a good catch.

  10. Hah. My meditations go kind of like that. I also meditate while cleaning stalls, and walking. It is a lot of internal dialog, interspersed with a lot of (mostly internal) “shut up, meditate!!”

    Making things I am too busy to meditate. And yet I am also too busy to tell myself to shut up.

    I wonder if your blood pressure goes down when you are painting or crocheting?

  11. Okay, so great post–really cute and I love the pics, but here’s what I came away with: Why in the hell does Jenny have her purse with her in the bathroom?

  12. The waist is the part above the belly fat, right? Good!

    My mind is often restless, so instead of actually meditating, I just read about it. When my life is very overwhelming, I pull out my Pema Chodron (“When Things Fall Apart” is a good one.) Just reading it makes me relax. Hmmm, where is that book?

    Thanks for the early morning laugh. Your feet are quite sassy.

  13. Nancy F says:

    LMAO I just about snorted oatmeal through my nose when I saw the feet pictures. I would say the outcome is positive! We all meditate in different ways, the trick is to find the way that works for you. Maybe in the bath with frolicing kitten knicknacks on the shelf?

  14. Windrose Betty says:

    I tend to think the whole point of meditation is just to get your body to slow down and relax. Sometimes I find it’s not so much about clearing your mind and making it empty as it is about letting the random stuff bounce around in there without paying too much attention to it. The only thing I will do is, if my mind starts to focus on negative thoughts, I will forcibly direct it to something fun and then leave it alone to wander as it will.

    (I will be squirreling away the feet pictures in this blog as something to use as a re-direct. I snarfed water on my keyboard. You are awesome.)

    Honestly? I truly think it’s just helpful to take a little bit of time out of your day to relax, to pamper yourself, to be the priority for just a little while. Whether you call it meditation or making silly feet in the bath or “communing” with a good book while on the potty, it’s just you and a little down time, shutting out all the stress and the “but I have to …” thoughts and worries, for just a little while.

  15. Mary says:

    Wonderful post…I’m the same way…on a side note you don’t want to go through this thing and an “e” in certain places? It would sure help me breathe better…

      • German Chocolate Betty says:

        Yeah, I wanted to say something but thought, wow, it’s Jenny Crusie, who am I to correct her???

        (One does not criticize goddesses…especially when they’ve just gotten out of the tub!)

  16. I have tears from laughing so hard. Trying to decide whether to show Richie the Alan Rickman picture. He was already a little horrified that I put a picture of me in the bath up on the internet .

  17. Jenny,
    My meditation teacher says most people are incapable of thinking of nothing and uses guided visualization for that reason when she teaches. It’s about visualizing breath and energy moving in your body. I could talk you through a routine of hers if you like. Although, it seems you did really well on your own.
    And don’t sweat that bottom number on the blood pressure reading. The bottom number moves more slowly than the top. It’s more of a long-term measure of your blood pressure. The top number moves incredibly easily up and down, moment by moment. So the average top number will come down much faster than the bottom.

  18. Oh that was wonderful!! It’s so me! My favorite part: “Meditate, damn it!” On another note Meditation Oasis has some WONDERFUL podcasts on iTunes. I use them often. They have many many many podcasts for different occasions. My favorite is just the Music for Meditation- only downside is the dude talks at the beginning so repeating can kinda give you a rough wake-up call, but other than that woohoo!! Check them out!!

    Looking forward to reading more!

  19. Susan D says:

    Ahh. Do what works. Don’t do what doesn’t work.

    How about a stronger bulb in the bathroom light, then you can read and relax. Just don’t fall asleep and slip under.

    Okay, the inhaler. I get it. I thought it was because your purse once went walkabout and we all had to invoke St. Anthony to find it on the back terrace.

    Love the feet.

  20. Juliet says:

    OMG!!! I almost spewed coffee on the keyboard! I should learn that I cannot drink and read a post here at the same time.
    Have tried to practice meditation on and off for several years, and I go through phases when I’m actually able to do it. It is much more about figuring out a way to clear your mind and let go of stuff, and it helped immensely to go to a guided meditation group the first several times. (wonder if there’s a podcast to which you could listen while in the tub?) Once I found the mental state of being a few times, I could get back there much more easily.

      • Jennifer says:

        Those also help a lot. Especially when they come with timers.

        Seriously, at the very least you can peek at the clock and think, “Only three minutes to go of trying this and I can stop” on bad days.

  21. If you want to save hot water, you might want to try the Jacobson method. It works wonderfully in a warm room on a soft yoga mat. The idea is to first tense every body part (beginning with your feet) and then relax again consciously. It really makes you aware of how un-relaxed you can be. When they gave me a class about that in my rehab month last year, I almost fell asleep. (Of course, I have very low blood pressure to begin with.) I’m sure there are audio instructions for iPods to be downloaded somewhere, and it’s so easy to do because you don’t need to fill a quarry-sized bathtub first. Plus, you can breathe the way you want.

  22. Courtney says:

    That is me 100%. I am exactly like that when I meditate!

    Fave moment–Krissie imitation! I’m still laughing. Thanks for improving my blood pressure today!

  23. Brenda (Betty Boop) says:

    Holy CRAP! That was the funniest thing I’ve ever read and since I own all your books, that’s sayin’ somethin’ right there.

    I’m stuck in a hotel this week, in the middle of Girl Scout cookie sales and 10 Akita puppies at the house (my parents now hate me) and this just made my entire week. It also reminded me exactly how long it’s been since I’ve posted anywhere — my apologies.

    I have to go and pick up my lung. I snorted it out when I read “Krissie’s legs with Alan Rickman in the tub” (me too, Krissie, me too!)

    And Jenny, I wish I looked that flippin’ cute in the tub. Seriously a new level of adorable, which I’m sure will make you cringe when you read it.

  24. Jane says:

    Your feet are very expressive. Good job on meditating your way to lower BP numbers. I’ve never really tried to meditate in a sit and breathe kind of way. Like some others have said, certain activities are meditative to me. Walking my dogs, washing dishes, things like that.

    I’ve got to go with Theresa on the blood pressure numbers thing. I have had some seriously high readings – the kind where the docs eye you with concern that you’ll pop a vein right in front of them. My cardiologist, my favorite doctor ever, is very clear that for most of us the kind of numbers in your first reading are not ideal but they only cause problems in the long term. In fact that reading isn’t even high enough for him to want a phone call from me. I’d have to stay over 150 for a week or so before he wants to hear about it. You’ve been working on a lot of things for just a couple of weeks. Once you get your arms around these issues I bet the numbers head down.

  25. fiveandfour says:

    That was pretty much a narrative of every time I’ve ever purposefully attempted to quiet my mind and force myself to relax (only with thoughts of my own friends, feet, and celebrity boyfriends, of course).

    I’ve had to come up with alternate relaxation techniques to keep from stress-vibrating myself into oblivion. One of them does involve a bubble bath (to help with the hot water issue, I get out the big pots and boil water and use that to kick things off), but I *have* to have a magazine or a book to read and something iced to drink close at hand (which I choose and prepare while the water is heating). Sometimes there are extras like pedicure stuff or a deep conditioning treatment for the hair. 20 minutes goes by in a flash with the right bathing accoutrement, I find.

    I also go for walks outside. I’m amazed at how often I can start out grumpy and come back happy just 15 minutes later. Plus when doing this from home, the dog goes with me and ends up happy, too – always a bonus, making the pets happy.

    One of my favorites is exercise with loud music. I know getting to a place where exercise sounds fun or relaxing means a lot of mental, physical, and emotional hurdles to jump over for a lot of people, so they end up feeling more stressed trying to get into it instead of less, but I believe one of the mistakes a lot of people make when getting started is thinking they *should* like this or that activity, it’s good for them, they have to stick it out, dammit!, so they end up frustrated and burned out by the whole concept. I think if you can find an “entry exercise” – something chosen purely because it’s enjoyable, even if it does’t meet all of the exercise criteria one ultimately wants to meet – it can help build confidence and enthusiasm, it can help get one into the routine and mind-set of making this a natural part of every day life, and it can sneak you past some/all of the barriers to starting that seemed so overwhelming. The Monday of exercise blends into Tuesday, you see Wednesday in sight and figure you can get through it too, then you find you’re over the hump and feel like now that you’ve come this far, Thursday and Friday are doable.

    I hear some people find cooking relaxing. For myself, eating what someone else has cooked is much more soothing. Especially when I don’t have to clean up after, another thing some people actually like and find relaxing (it takes all kinds, I guess).

    I also recall reading somewhere that watching television brings your brain activity to a level that’s even lower than experienced while sleeping, but I suppose those results would depend upon what one is watching as well as one’s tolerance for the types of shows that can slow the brain waves to such an extent.

    Anyway, my rambling point is that there are many roads to Zen so don’t be discouraged if meditation isn’t the right one for you. Good luck finding the one(s) that can take you there even when you’re trying to complete the journey in 20 minutes or less.

  26. Thanks Crusie. The picture of your feet being Krissie in the tub with Alana Rickman caused me to have explosive laughter and wake the baby. The fact I can’t do dishes now is all your fault for being funny. I expect restitution. Or an ARC of your next book AT LEAST.

  27. I love, love, love this post. And you look fabulous! And so do your feet. You made my morning, now I’m going to mediatate.

    A simple one: You can put the focus on breath, heart, or light. Draw in your breath and add “hoo” on the exhale. You envision breath as a cloud of pale golden light.

    I love the one for light. You sit quietly, eyes closed, envision white light tinged with gold flowing through your body. See it come in through your feet and up and filling your body and being released through the top of your head. Then you bring the light back through the head and out through the feet. Then you time it with your breathing, on the inhale draw the light up and release it. On the exhale draw it in through the crown of the head and out through the feet. It’s wonderful. And afterward, stay on the floor and take a little nap.

  28. Robin S. says:

    Ok, this was hilarious. But I have, finally, learned to keep my mouth away from the computer while eating and reading here.

    I will throw one more thing at you – exercise for the long haul. You’re a side-tracked runner, you know the benefits. Go buy some shoes. Though I should warn you, if you don’t start using them they will add guilt by neglect. I bought a pair of retro’s that I wore in the 80’s in an attempt to jump start myself. I keep shoving them under the end table by the door, but they keep sneaking back out to stare at me.

    Also, where’s the clutter? Snif. You said you live in clutter and that bathroom looks pretty darn good. Snif.

  29. I second the suggestion for tai chi. The years I did it regularly I had terrific blood pressure. I fell away when I moved to Florida but I’m looking to start up again. It also did great things for my balance, flexibility and overall joint health.

  30. Cathy M says:

    This was a great post as I’m on my way this afternoon for a check of bp and to have some blood work done for my health coverage plan. They give us a nice gift card if we do certain health related activities. (Yes, I’m motivated by money – more for books.) The only thing I have to watch is my bp, so I really enjoyed your meditation experience. I’ve been working on mine and it’s usually okay, but I get “white coat syndrome” when I go to doctors, so I’m prepared for wacko numbers.

    I would also recommend diaphramatic breathing for helping with relaxation. My husband teaches it to his rehab patients to help cope with pain and I know it helps me if I’m feeling stressed.

    I really loved the pictures. Obviously relaxing in the tub frees your creative genius. Don’t fight it, embrace it.

  31. Michele/Twin Betty/Cherry Squared says:

    That was great- just the laugh I needed today.

    I am so jealous…I wish I had a big tub to take hot baths. I have a puny tub that barely covers my legs when I want to take a bubble bath. DH has made it up to me by getting me the Cadillac of shower heads- it has one big sunflower sized head for normal showering, plus a second shower head with all of the massage settings.

  32. That’s *exactly* how mediation works the first time most people try it. Trouble is, most don’t have control and experiment blood pressure readings and think it’s not working. So they (we, oh ok, me) stop. I did start again though. (And stop) [Oh shush, truthful brain] Ok, I’m definitely starting again. Maybe now. 😀

  33. Well crap. I must remember to copy my comments before I hit submit. And I was shamelessly plugging my brother who is a Chinese Doctor. (Okay, Doctor of Chinese Medicine.) He can meditate. I cannot.

  34. margaret kwasniuk says:

    too funny, just when you think you are in control…life throws a sucudal deer in your path and life goes to hell in a handbasket. thanks for the blog i really needed it today. laughter has to be the best type of medicine.

  35. Wow. Except for liking the feet, and tolerating the bath, that could have been me. That’s exactly how my attempts at meditation go. (I think the hyperbole and a half lady should cartoon it out, adding to the cannon of life experiences I fully identify with.) Although you did take cute feet pictures.

    I gave up my girl card long ago: I do not understand taking baths. I shower. I’ve had precisely 1 relaxing bath in my adult life in a very narrow but deep tub in Vienna after hauling a huge suitcase up several flights of also narrow stairs. Every other bath made me want to run screaming within minutes. The don’t stay warm enough to read for any length of time, and I get my books wet. Maybe I just don’t have nice bathtubs, but even so, I tried the nice bathtub at the hotel in Thailand, and still, 5 minutes tops before fleeing in annoyance.

    I get through shavasana at the end of yoga by practicing my Cued Speech handshapes. Or picking an instructor who does a guided meditation – that I can do. But just empty my mind? My mind doesn’t empty.

  36. Oh, and about you… did the blood pressure stay down, or did it snap back after your body cooled off? I can see your blood pressure lowering while all the capillaries in your extremeties were dilated from the heat. And if temporary lowering helps things, keep at it, sure, but I can’t think it was your frantic meditation that helped the blood pressure. And your pulse would be elevated after climbing stairs anyway. Can you do a repeat test? Measure your stats before you hike up stairs, after you hike up stairs, then after you “meditate” in a lounge chair or bed for 20 minutes. see how it compares to the bath.

    • It came back, but even that little respite was probably good. And it’s going lower as I take my meds and change my diet. Next up: exercise, which is supposed to have an even greater impact.

  37. Meggrs says:

    Not only are your feet adorable as hell, the last pic was lovely, too! And I think you should do the “5 Minute Bunnies” method of acting out stories–with your feet, in the tub. You could make….oh, I dunno. Upwards of tens of dollars?

    Either way, your post rocked.

  38. S says:

    omg – this was hilarious! The imitation of Chrissie in the tub with AR just finished me off. I once signed up for ‘free’ meditation classes and it took me a while to realise they were trying to induct me into a cult! The penny dropped one Saturday session when they did 15 minutes meditation and then spent an hour lecturing us on how women should dress more modestly (as most of us were in jeans and sweats, we were hardly auditioning for the Whore of Babylon!) They also read an interminable essay from their founder (I could never remember her name so I used to refer to her as Shiri Fajita because it was awfully close to what it sounded like and I can remember anything with food in it). What truly repelled me was that the essay was poorly written. How could I possible worship that??

  39. Mermaid Scribbler says:

    I laughed so hard that I almost woke the baby up from his BEST NAP EVER – which shows you just how funny this was. Naptime is sacred. 🙂

  40. Mermaid Scribbler says:

    OK – About pudding – If you aren’t a fan of the avocado, maybe try tapioca and doctor it? I googled healthy pudding and found a delicious sounding maple walnut pudding on Disney Family’s site. Also, (and I haven’t done this in years because I can’t do coconut), but it is possible to make a type of whipped cream out of coconut milk. By a can of regular (it won’t work with lite) coconut milk found in most grocery stores. I’ve always found it in the Asian food section. Anyway, put it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Open it, and carefully scoop out the cream. Put it back in the fridge to chill – I think. Whip it until it is stiff. Then, put it back in the fridge for about an hour (I just remember it is temperamental until the last chilling, and then you can do anything with it). You could sweeten it with agave nectar which isn’t uber-healthy, but does process through the body differently than sugar, so it better for your glycemic index (right term?). You could use maple syrup, too. I used stevia a few times since it is a natural root, but it is tricky. Anyway, at this point you can add crushed berries, and I would assume you could add cocoa or whipped bananas. Or you could skip the hassle, eat the pudding, and just make it a rare treat. Good luck!

  41. Linda says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Loved the blog. I laughed so hard my husband stuck his head around the corner to see what was so funny. Had to read it to him (just like I do your books). Thought he was going to roll on the floor laughing.

  42. I laughed so hard I had to grab for the tissues…yes, you do have cute feet :-)But then the rest of you is cute too.

    Maybe you just shouldn’t meditate. Some people can’t. I think I mentioned on Aargh that I managed it once and scared the crap out of my self cos I thought my brain had gone missing. An old Chinese therapist told my daughter she should never meditate, ‘Not good for you,’ she said wagging her bony finger. We think in pictures, that’s who we are. To put a stop to that is wrong…for us. 🙂
    Pat your dogs, play your favorite music and dance.

  43. That was hilarious! And I want your bath.
    I like the Brain Sync meditation cds/downloads. You listen with headphones and it’s supposed to help stimulate the right brain waves. They have guided ones and non guided.
    My brain still rushes around with them but I always feel better afterwards.

  44. Lynda says:

    Thank you! I’ve felt like crap all week and your blog and especially the feet pictures gave me the first real laugh I’ve had in days.

  45. Briana says:

    Since I think laughter is supposed to have a good effect on blood pressure, I believe you lowered mine by your meditating. That’s some powerful meditating you’ve got. And the pictures are hilarious.

    I think 20 minutes is a long time to start. And I have meditated somewhat successfully/regularly at times. Yoga helps, too, because it’s a “moving meditation” where you are focused on your breath and on your movements, so there is less space for other thoughts to fill in. I do the classes on yogatoday.com and enjoy it. (Free weekly class that changes each Sunday/Monday and archives if you become a paid member.)

    Yay on the lower number! They all will come down, it just takes some time.

  46. ChelSierra Remly says:

    In the movie, ‘Eat Pray Love,’ Ketut says: “Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.” (liver = heart)

    I’ve been doing that, and it does work. I started out with 5/10 minutes a day. Then switched to doing it as much during the day as possible. I’d wake up and start smiling all over, on the outside and on the inside. I put a ‘dance’ in my steps/movements. When anything annoyed, angered, or irritated me I’d squash that mood and put a smile on it. (I’d surround the bad mood and make it as tiny as possible.) I’d put on music that made me want to move, and that was uplifting.

    I went for a week and a half without the mean voices that berate me and remind me how much of a useless waste of space I am. They pop back in from time to time, but that’s better than the all day buffet I used to be. I think they’re popping back in from time to time because I’ve slacked off the smiling/dancing. I need to do it long enough for it to become a habit. Something that I’ll do from now on. Forever. So that the ‘dirty energy’ stays away.

    I think I read somewhere it takes two weeks of doing something to make it a permanent habit. So I’m trying to go two weeks with this attitude. But I’ve had these mean voices most of my life, so I may need to do a couple of months instead.

    My Mom always tells me, “You can get glad the same way you got mad.” And she’s right. By smiling when the crap hits the fan, I get glad by squashing the mad.

    I’m wondering though, if a therapist would say this was a bad thing. We’re not suppose to hide/suppress our feelings, because they could come back with a vengeance. But then, we’re told to accept the things we can’t change … and smiling seems like a good way to accept things we have no control over. hmm … it’s working for now. Maybe I’ll have found something else to help get me through by the time I reach the explosion point. lol

    • I don’t think it’s suppressing your feelings. You have both happy and sad stuff inside you and you can foreground whichever you want. You’re not denying the bad stuff, you’re just not dwelling on it.

      Must try this. Smiling Therapy.

      • Micki says:

        I was going to mention the Smile Meditation, too. Does anyone remember Lilias, Yoga and You? She came out with a four-part DVD (?) many years ago, and one of the final meditations was the Smile of the Buddha or something. (-: It sounds absolutely nut-ball. You smile THROUGH your ear, and through your eyes . . . and yet it feels really wonderful! Wonder if it’s on YouTube . . . .

        The other crazy meditation I like is one where I visualize little janitors sweeping the stress out. They start at the toes, sweep all the stress out, then go up to the feet, and sweep it all the way down out the toes, etc., building up the body in increments, and sweeping all the way down to the toes everytime. (-: I often fall asleep before they hit my brain. Which may explain something.

        Neither of these take 20 minutes . . . I can only meditate that long when I’m not feeling well, and I think that sort of turned-off brain is actually called “dozing.”

        • I did something like that with creative visualization when I was recovering from cancer surgery. I visualized those little scrubbing bubble things scrubbing out my cells. Surprisingly helpful.

      • ChelSierra Remly says:

        Oh, yes, please do. And if it works for you, give us a blog post. Pass on a good thing.

        I think Lucy’s blog helped me get in the right frame of mind to realize that Ketut might just have the right suggestion for what was ailing me.

    • German Chocolate Betty says:

      The smile thing does work. Actually, I have been trying to remember not to frown about things people say, ’cause it is not always appropriate to smile (sometimes people think you are making fun of them). If I don’t frown, I don’t feel so negative. It’s like the facial muscles pull the “mental” muscles up or down accordingly. And, when I can smile in the situation, I find that it really does lift me up.

      It’s sort of like doing a “mood lift” while doing a “face lift”…

  47. Not the time to measure your blood pressure: right after carrying things – purse, pressure reader – and walking UPstairs. No good ever came from this.

    Monday night, at the end of guided meditation, we were (meditatively) lying on the bottom of a warm accepting tropical sea looking up at lulling waves (mundane life) at the top, feeling bliss. Only I couldn’t stop conjuring manta rays and sea worms. Think I failed that session of savasanna.

    Today went for an annual scan of the-no-longer-there thyroid. Phone call from the endocrin guy a few hours later startled me to the ceiling. They NEVER call unless it’s bad news. Then the desk person, who has an accent, said I was “%&#stable.” WHAT?

    Turns out calling is new office protocol and the diagnosis is “s-t-a-b-l-e.” (Yes, I spelled it.) After all was cleaned up, I put desk person on my pagan prayer list, for which she sounded grateful. Now I’m going out to the neighborhood Mexican joint and ordering a deep-bowl margarita. After which someone can measure my blood pressure.

  48. Well, MY blood pressure is lower now, that’s for sure! I rarely laugh out loud on my own and I laughed until tears came. Lovely. Now I have to share with people, especially my BFF who is on my case to meditate All. The. Time. I’ll show him about meditation!

    The feet pics are awesome, as is the blurry one of you. My favorite part is at the beginning where you said the smoke alarm when off when you were making a salad — that’s as well as I cook, too!

    I’m bookmarking this for when I need a pick me up … ever.

  49. annie says:

    generally speaking, immersing your whole body into water is good for your blood pressure. I don’t remember *why*, but it’s a thing that helps a lot with random pregnancy related BP issues. Meditation is awesome too, but only if it doesn’t stress you out to meditate.

  50. Karen Poling says:

    Please try Gentle Yoga, not regular but Gentle. It doen’s matter what shape you’re in. It and Tai Chi really reduces stress and is fun. Not to mention makes you more limber.

  51. “But meditation, I can meditate, I bet. I bet I’d be good at meditating. I bet I could win a medal at meditating if there was a meditation competition.”

    HAHAHAHA. [gasp] Oh god, Crusie, you’re killing me. You sound JUST like my older sister. She’d win too.

    And yeah, meds are much more effective when you take them. As is exercise, when you actually do it. Or so I’ve heard.

  52. Kieran says:

    St. Francis of Assisi, the cool hippy of his day, meditated a LOT. And I can’t remember if I read this in Sue Monk Kidd’s WHEN THE HEART WAITS or somewhere else…but he supposedly thought of his thoughts like birds, and his head was the nest, and they kept trying to land there. So what he did was calmly acknowledge the bird thoughts and shoo them away.

    The “monkey mind” (wow, another animal analogy) is very difficult to tame. It wants to keep chattering and pulling on your coattails for attention. Learning to meditate is like developing a muscle. It takes time. Becoming aware of each thought and gently sending it away is basically it.

    Eventually, you can reach a level of awareness that is almost frightening in its depth and breadth, but in 25 years of off again/on again meditating, I’ve only achieved this state really once. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be there every day. It was like I was on a natural high that I didn’t want to escape, but it was so shocking and powerful, it was weird coming back to plain old reality.

    Most times, I just get more focus and peace and hopefully all those physiological benefits that come with lowering stress levels.

    Good luck, and please don’t give up! There are so many great things that can come out of it.

  53. CatScott says:

    OMG, I almost died laughing!

    I’ve been known to meditate. It’s something I learned how to do when I was a teenager. I was better at it then than I am now. I even used mediation for pain management back then!

    Me then: (-.-)

    Me now: (O.o)

    I have to work at it now. I mean, come on, meditate for 20 whole consecutive minutes?! You said it perfectly: “What am I, made of time?”

    Neil Donald Walsch, who is great, put up an exercise on his FB the other day. He instructed to close your eyes, empty your mind and to take deep cleansing breaths for 10 seconds. Ten seconds I can do. It’s helpful when you get frazzled to just chill the eff out and take a breath. Of course if you get good at the 10 second meditations you can keep adding on time. I say start small, succeed and build on it.

    My preferred form of mediation is a visualization technique I’ve been using for almost 20 years. I go to a beautiful Bahamian beach, with it’s white sands and crystal clear waters, to a beautiful beach house, that changes as I see fit, and I hang out with a giant sea turtle named Turtle.

    This is a space that I’ve carved out for myself within myself. Your location can be anywhere. It does help to have some type of water, though. Water is a key element in relaxation and healing. Some people are lakes, some are rivers and others can be oceans. It’s anything you want.

    Mine’s a smidge ironic because I’m not a particular fan of the ocean, sand or sun. I even break out in a rash in the sun, but my visualizations are very relaxing. 🙂

  54. The Alan Rickman feet is a classic — I laughed so hard. Went down to my sewing room and I was still laughing. Thank you — I needed that. Not sure about the meditation but I’m pretty sure reading this blog helped my blood pressure.

  55. I can’t believe I missed this yesterday. I’m laughing so hard, my husband knows I’m not working. (oops)

    That’s about how I meditate.

    I was going to go to a relaxation guru woman once. I was stressed (lots of pain in my neck and shoulders) and I was supposed to go have one of those really deep pressure point massages (only, I hate for people I don’t know to touch me, so I kept postponing it) (plus, she kept YELLING at me on the phone because I kept postponing it, not exactly the enticement to HURRY UP AND GO LET HER SQUISH ME)… but anyway, she was so disgusted with me, she fired me before my first appointment (well, the many-timed-postponed-appointment). However. She told me of a trick she uses to relax when All Else Fails, and that is a super hot bath with both Epson Salt and Baking Soda. (1 cup each, if you have a regular sized tub. For the Quarry, put 2 to 3 cups each. We have a quarry, and I did 3.)

    I, frankly, thought she was full of crap, (you know, the yelling kinda tipped me off), but I thought, hell, it’s baking soda and epson salt… cheap, easy to try. She declared it’s something about the way they combine chemically in the water that realllllllllly relaxes your muscles.

    I was a freaking wet noodle trying to crawl out of that tub. Seriously works. Just do not try to drive or navigate any dangerous stairs after climbing out.

    • Oh, thank god, I’m not the only one who hates massages. I always felt bad about it, but basically, it was, “I don’t know you, why are you touching me?” I may have issues.

      So tomorrow we get epsom salts and more baking soda. I’ll make Lani try it first. She’s all over the baking soda.

    • I believe it allows you to absorb magnesium through your skin, which really relaxes your muscles. However,I could completely be mis-remembering my RN mother’s advice. I”m too tired to google it, but I know it works!

  56. Kelly S says:

    Probably should be adding this comment to the post where you share you have AMD, but am lazy, sorry.

    Read this on Women’s Health site (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/natural-hair-color?cat=19892) and had to share, for Theresa, if not Jenny.

    Women have a higher risk than men of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye condition that can cause blindness. And fair-haired females are especially prone to AMD, says Svetlana Kogan, M.D., founder of Doctors at Trump Place in New York City. A diet rich in the natural compounds lutein and zeaxanthin—found in kale, spinach, and snow peas—can help fend it off. Kogan suggests munching on one cup of the green veggies every day.

  57. MJ says:

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    I made my husband read this, especially because he uses baking soda baths to survive the winter. (Except he doesn’t linger in the tub, which I don’t understand; “fast bath” to me is an oxymoron.)

    “How many goddam steps ARE there?” and “What am I, made of time?” have instantly become part of the family lexicon.

  58. jude says:

    You are definitely tough on yourself–meditation is a practice developed over time. Pretend Jenny Crusie is human, not a superhero, and cut her some slack. 🙂

    I wonder if your blood pressure goes down when you are immersed in something creative like collaging.

    I took a free tai chi class many years ago, I was amazed at how relaxing it was. Might be worth a try.

    Hang in there!

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