Religion is the opium of the people. It is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of our soulless conditions.-Karl Marx
“Monthly Mindfulness Zoom session starts in 10 minutes,” Chimed the automated google calendar alert.
“I should go,” I thought. But why did it feel like such a drag? My therapist wants me to do at least 20 minutes of mindfulness practice every day, this counts.
I logged in while still fussing with my headset and my audio settings. I haven’t been able to get my setup quite right since I sent my old, corporate client’s computer back.
Other co-workers from teams all over the country are already chiming in. The COO is already on the call.
Glad I showed up. I haven’t been logging very many billable hours this week, I wouldn’t want to be missed in the free meditation session, I don’t want to look like I don’t care about improving myself.
Our mindfulness expert is a pleasant mannered woman with bleach blonde hair and bright pink lipstick. She is sitting in front of a neutral backdrop with chakra symbols stenciled onto the, residential wall behind her. A fake palm tree with fairy lights looms over her on the left side of the frame.
Not a bad set-up for this sort of gig. If she was fancier I wouldn’t trust her and if she did less, people might think she isn’t trying. I put some effort into not contemplating the layers of post-colonial and capitalistic disassociation required to make this zoom call happen . It won’t be productive.
She kicks the session off with a call for a deep breath focusing on whatever two words come to mind as most “true” for us in that moment, “Check in with yourselves and share in the chat.” I get my headset paired just in time to start the first deep breath.
All I can feel is the giant knot in my shoulder and an overwhelming weight, I can only describe as weariness.
I’m still breathing in but my co-workers are already chiming in to the chat with open and cheerful sentiments. I’m still breathing out when I type “sore, wary”. She repeats my words back to me in a slightly pitious tone.
“Let us start with a body scan, starting at the top of the head,”
Oh I know this one
I take a deep Breath in and I’m still breathing in and she has already forcefully breathed out and she’s giving more instructions.
“Now the neck.”
In that breath I had already moved to my chest. Okay back to my neck.
“And Let out another deep breath.”
I haven’t finished filling my lungs with the last in-breath. I can’t get in sync. I make sure my palms are turned up in the proper meditation position and wiggle in my chair. I give a little wiggle with my out-breath to try to settle in.
“Now scan your body. Where are you feeling the most tension or strain? “
Oh here is the part where we breathe into the part of our body with the most tension.I got this!
I start taking in a long slow breath imagining I’m filling the stabbing knot in my neck with happy, warm loving space.
“Now imagine a warm blanket.”
Blanket thing? We’ve never done a blanket thing! Ok blanket I’m draping myself with the warm -
“Maybe it’s right out of the dryer”
Cancel blanket draping. Initiate blanket out of the dryer. Do not think about how you need to clean the laundry room.
“Wrap that part of yourself with the warm blanket and feel ensconce you with comfort”
“And now your at the precipice of…”
A cliff?!?! In the space of that very pregnant pause, I’m totally contemplating the cold hard edge of steep and windy dropoff.
“A warm body of water.”
Cancel existential dread cliff, initiating my South Pacific fantasy reel.
I imagine the salty, azure lagoons I only know from the pictures in my clients vacation photos and the shots of The White Lotus. My bare feet are patting down fine, toasty sand. I wade in and float my consciousness as instructed.
Chime!- It’s another reminder. I try not to peek but I’m scared I might have forgotten a client meeting. “Order back-to-school lunch box” it says. My daughter is only nine, she can’t get vaccinated yet. I have been putting off getting her ready for school with as much earnestness as she has had in looking forward to going back to class and seeing her teachers and friends.
“And now take in one more long, deep breath.”
I take another breath and open my eyes but I’m ahead of things again. She says we’re slowly wading back out. My breaths are still too long and slow to sync with the instructions.. I slowly wade my imagined self out of my fantasy beach and take in the two computer monitors in front of me.
“Chime!” Another Notification “Your Chase Card credit statement is ready”
“Now take one more deep breath and focus on the two words that speak your truth now at the end of the session.”