“Feel your feet on the mat. Feel the air around you. Enjoy being present’ – said a yoga teacher, once.
“Feel your feet on the mat. Feel the air around you. Enjoy this feeling of truly being present’
It’s 7am, I was on a roof in Kings Cross and taking part in a summer solstice yoga session underneath a pretty breathtaking early morning London sky.
Pretentious, perhaps. But, present? Present I was not.
My mind was anywhere but on my inner chakras. It was on my day’s to-do list, on the text I sent a friend two days previously which still had received no response. It was on my chipped toe nail varnish and the fact that I didn’t have as good a ‘form’ as the others in the class. It was on the belief that the instructor was internally chuckling at my inability to downward dog and the eternal fear that my top was riding up and frightening the group with my midriff whilst I did everything in my power not to stack it. It was on a conversation I’d had with my boss 3 weeks ago, overanalysing the response. It was with a look my boyfriend gave me on Sunday that I couldn’t decipher was a look of love or one of utter contempt.
It was not on my feet, or on my mat.
But every single other place it could be.
See, ‘being present’, is a phrase that makes me – owner of a chaotic mind – chuckle.
I’m not sure if it’s something I’ve ever felt.
Like, I don’t get what those feelings everyone talks about of ‘calm’ and ‘tranquility’. I’ve never really known it.
There’s too much going on up here. My minds more akin to a jumble sale than a hygee inspired scene.
See, nine times out of ten, I can’t fully enjoy the thing I’m doing.
Like, I’m there but I’m also really not there. If that makes sense?
For instance, it’s the lead up to Christmas, and whilst everyone is all jingle fucking bells, my festive fear sets in. Everyone will hate what I’ve bought them, everyone will think I’ve not spent enough time on the gifts. My annual ritual of buying a first set of presents, before returning all of them because I loose confidence in my decisions to go back a re-buy everything whilst sending myself into a right old tizz is on the horizon. I can’t enjoy Love Actually and mulled wine on the South Bank because guess what – I’M WORRYING ABOUT EVERYTHING WITH A LAYER OF FROSTING ON TOP.
I’m on a city break and whilst everyone else talks about ‘escaping’ for a long weekend, I do escape but not for long. Each new road, new phrase, new place to stop for a glass of wine is like an alarm bell. God, they hate us cos we’re British. I’m not being very city break-y. I’m in Scandinavia and I don’t look as cool as all of these 9ft6in blondes around me. I’m spending too much money. I’m not spending enough to really get to know the place. I secretly really want to lay down but I can’t because I’m on holiday.
I’m on a beach, staring out at the waves and rather than feeling that inner calm so many describe. I mean, I see the sea and it’s nice. But instead of just hearing the lapping water, my mind fills with panic that I’m wasting valuable moments just starting that could be better spent doing something more worthwhile that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m worried that I should be expanding my mind reading books I’ve got no interest in and worrying that back at home, my week in the sun has resulted in everyone I’ve ever known and loved having the best time without me and realising life’s better when I’m away. I’m worrying that I’ve not done more idle laying about. That actually I should be relaxing more (ha, I know, as if). That I’ve never lived abroad and that maybe I’ve left it all too late. That we should really be getting lunch, because if we don’t eat lunch now we might not be hungry enough for dinner later. That I’m spoiling my holiday worrying so fucking much.
I’m at a hen do, and although I am there and I am joining in and laughing along with the crowd my head might as well be in Timbuktu.
For with every ‘cheers’, every drinking game and every cock joke comes an unbridled fear that I’m not doing it right. I’m not being a ‘proper’ hen, I’ve not made as much effort as everyone else on dress up night, I don’t look as good in shorts and I can’t keep up with the shot taking because shots make me ill and I don’t want to be but also I don’t want to be the girl that doesn’t do shots. I’m worried that I’m taking too long in the shower and annoying the others that are still sparko because they weren’t awake at 7am thinking ABOUT EVERYTHING OTHER THAN SLEEP. Concerned I’m not helping out enough with the washing up. Concerned about how long I’ll take over-analysing the photos. Concerned I won’t feature in many because everyone thinks I’m the weird girl that worries about stuff and doesn’t have fun ever.
In short, in life, it often feels that my body is very much at the party. In fact, wait a minute it’s dancing along to the music , having a gin and has a plastic penis on it’s head.
My mind, however, is always at a different party. A rubbish party. Somewhere really shit.