I’m like a proud papa every time I read the “Crazy Love” blog from former Eagle-Tribune colleague Grace Rubenstein. She focuses on a topic near and dear to me, and despite the torment she surely suffered when I was her night editor, she honored me early on by asking for my feedback. Her latest post is particularly good, and I have thoughts about it.
She writes about how a drifting mind can be an unhappy one:
I can over-think, over-analyze and worry with the best of ‘em. My mind is constantly moving. Yet in the past few years as I’ve learned the practices of meditation and yoga, I’ve found what peace can come with quieting what yogis call “the monkey mind.” Of course, my mind is still scratching fleas, swinging from branches and throwing bananas most of the time. I have a long way to go. But the more I practice, the more often I can catch the monkey in the act and calm him down.
A mind adrift is one of the most debilitating parts of OCD. Everyone suffers from a limited attention span from time to time. It’s part of what makes us human.
But when you’re a clinical OCD case, that mental drift doesn’t go away after you’re done with whatever boring activity caused it in the first place. It grows as the day progresses, like a tidal surge that leaps over a sea wall and floods out the road so traffic can’t get through. That’s how it happens in the brain.
The obsessive thought floods that critical part of the mind a lot of other mental traffic needs to pass through. From there it’s nothing but disaster.
Grace is lucky to have found meditation and yoga. The truth is I’ve never had any interest in either of those things. My therapist, who specializes in stress reduction exercises, is always pushing yoga on me. Between sips of the coffee he tells me to stop drinking, I tell him there’s no way in hell I’m going to do yoga.
Am I being an ass about it? I’m sure I am. But that’s where my head is at for now.
I’ve also been lucky enough to find other tools to keep the drifting down to a minimum. There’s the medication. There’s the years of extensive therapy and a change of diet. There’s my 12-Step program. And there’s prayer, which I guess is to me what meditation is to Grace. Without my spiritual development, I’d be nowhere today.
My mind still drifts, especially during a long conversation with just about anyone. It’s much better, but it’s still there. And when it is, I find it almost impossible to stop.
So if my eyes glaze over as we’re talking, try not to take it personally.
And please accept my apology in advance.