I meditated yesterday.
Finally, after years of resisting it, thinking I don’t have time or just plain forgetting, I did it. I don’t know what made yesterday the right day to begin but I found myself seated in the sun on the hardwood floor in my living room. Being a fan of achievable goals, I set my iphone to ring after 10 minutes.
After several fidgety moments, I noticed a lot of plans, so many things undone, the endless list streaming like ticker tape in my mind — get classrooms ready for january, do I have the construction paper for Ben’s school project? I should check our balances and see if we’re overdrawn…
Fear. I said this aloud to myself and then went back to counting my breath.
Planning, fear of not doing enough, of not being enough, strategizing. Trying to wrangle all the ducks and put them in a row.
Just count your breath, I told myself, my mind a slippery fish. One, two…
I started to pray, which I decided was a better use of my mind that was clearly running amuck.
Please God, allow me to be of service, give me clarity and confidence to do my best work as an artist, mother, partner, friend. It went something like this. And that calmed me down.
Then I thought of the pendulum that Ben bought in Colorado. We came across it at an arts and crafts fair at the local farmer’s market. There was a woman there selling gorgeous rocks and crystals, jewelry and pendulums.
“They are for dowsing,” she explained. “You can ask it a yes or no question and it will give you an answer.”
Ben was particularly taken with one that had a gorgeous fluorite crystal hanging at the end of a silver chain.
“Do I have forty dollars?” Ben asked the lady.
We watched as the pendulum swayed. It made a line in the air, didn’t twirl in a circle but went back and forth.
“It’s telling me no,” said the lady.
“Right!” he exclaimed. “I only have twenty!”
Ben scored this 20 dollar bill in a moment of parental desperation. After having croup for several days, we got a prescription for a steroid that might help with the cough. Imagining a day of airplane travel with Ben hacking like a seal, we decided to give it to him. Trouble was, it smelled like rubbing alcohol. (And likely tasted just as bad)
We pulled out all of our best tricks. “Here is a big piece of chocolate Ben! Just swig it and this can be yours…”
He took a sip and spat most of it out. “It’s burning my mouth!” he said.
Shit… I muttered under my breath. We only had a half a dose left and he refused to take anymore. “I don’t want your chocolate!” he shouted from the other room.
Then I pulled my wallet out. Ben’s really into cash these days so I had to pull out the big guns. I offered him five dollars but it was a no-go. He was playing hardball.
I found him on the toilet coughing.
“Ben, do you know that when you have to do something really scary, you can put your arms in the air like a superhero or like a super duper strong person and it helps you feel stronger?” I put my arms in full Wonder Woman posture and in my best Tony Robbins imitation said, “Yes! I can totally do this! I’m strong and I can rock this!”
He watched me from the toilet, a half-smile creeping over his face, not sure if he believed me.
“Seriously,” I said. “I watched a researcher talk about it just the other day.”
“Let’s do this Ben!” I bounded into the kitchen with him. “Put your arms in the air in your best Superman pose!”
“Okay, Ben.” I walked over to my purse. “I’ve got a 20 dollar bill here with your name on it. This is my last offer. Get over here and let’s do this!”
He sprinted over, downed it as fast as could and then cheered for himself. “I did it!!!!!!” he shouted and waved his twenty in the air.
Ben bought the pendulum in Colorado. Approximately 45 minutes later while we had burgers and fries, he regretted it. “Now my twenty is gone!” he whined.
It was a good lesson about money, so I considered how long to let him sit with buyer’s remorse. But I secretly wanted the pendulum. So I told him that just this once, I would buy it from him.
We lost the pendulum.
I searched in every suitcase, toiletry bag, wallet and purse in the house. It has been weeks and it still hasn’t turned up. I started to wonder if the pendulum didn’t want to be found.
But as I sat on the floor meditating, a voice in me said, “The pendulum is in that little bag you put your tampons in.”
I ran to the drawer and found the bag. There it was.