One good reason to meditate.

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.

The pendulum

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.

Buyer’s remorse

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.




  1. Bridgette P.
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I so appreciate the honesty in your writing. I’ve not made the time to meditate lately and I have been feeling very out of sorts the past couple of weeks. I think I need to make the time…for myself, for my sanity, for that little voice that knows the answers.

  2. Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I am totally laughing at the ending. The Universe has a wicked sense of humor, doesn’t it? I love that you meditated, are trying. I will think of you when I practice, and it will help me stay on the cushion. Do you know about Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project? She offers such good meditation instruction, support, life wisdom, ( I think you might dig her πŸ™‚

  3. Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been meditating too πŸ™‚ I find it helps oh so much.

    You’re such a beautiful writer, Andrea. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Beth
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Meditating and tampons…hmmmm. Oh Andrea, there is so much sincerity around this intention (to meditate, or sit there and breathe, whatever we end up calling it). What I have learned is just what you wrote. This is the experience, everything you saw in your mind. Why, there it is. All of that. And then the breath again. And then…tampons. Yes, that’s it! We sit with what we notice and become a kind witness, a curious companion, of all these things as they come (inhale) and go (exhale). Over time, my friend, if you just give yourself a little room to sit with that and let judging mind just be judging mind, you’ll see kind mind just be kind, happy mind, sad mind, and it all becomes ok and even bright and …. well enough said. You are on this path and may you keep finding intention to carry on this little experiment. –B

  5. Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I knew you had it! Great story πŸ™‚

  6. amy k
    Posted December 15, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    i sure do love you.

  7. Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    OMG I love this story! It makes me want to meditate, which I contemplate all the time and wonder why I don’t just do it! Cheery Smiles your way…Laura

  8. Posted December 16, 2012 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    Wow…. I will get back to meditating tomorrow!! thanks for the big reminder. I played with my pendulum tonight… Super magical;)

  9. Posted December 16, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you, thank you for a laugh, a giggle tonight. I SO needed it. Ironically, I went back to meditating this morning. Also had that slippery fish mind. One of my teachers suggested imagining yourself sitting on a rock by a waterfall and watching your thoughts just slide right on over the falls. “There’s a thought. Theeerrrre’s another one.” Perfect metaphor for the fish!

    And as for the power of the green…when *my* Ben had his big scoliosis surgery 3 years ago he didn’t want to do his breathing exercises (and since they’d deflated one of his lungs to do the surgery, he HAD to get it moving again asap) and if he didn’t he wouldn’t get discharged. I also tried this and that. Nothing worked. Then, sitting there one afternoon I suddenly realized that money talks. I offered to pay him for each level he could reach on the breath measurer (no idea what it’s actually called): if he hit .075ml, I’d pay him 75 cents, .100ml $1, .125ml $1.25, etc. (or something like that). We were down $200 in 24 hours BUT we were out of the hospital, too. Best $200 I EVER spent!

  10. Moyra
    Posted December 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Ah, now, 5 mins a day will make the difference even. Just sit and every time you notice your mind following a path of thought bring it back to focusing on how it feels to breathe in through your nose. Or just feel, ( feel being the important word) what it is like to be human. That’s it. Just keep bringing your focus back to how you feel. If you can do 5 mins. 10 is usually possible. Its the best thing you can do for y ourself ever I think. Gradually as you practice, your mind will generate fewer thoughts. Or it will still generate them but you will be able to let them go more easily. Practice is the key. We practice meditation. We don’t. ‘do it’. Just being. That is what it is. It’s being.

  11. Posted December 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    just laughing and smiling and so grateful for this sweetness and honesty and oh how the bargaining and losing and finding and and and hits so home… and all of a sudden sitting down to meditate after lots of not meditating sitting down. THANK YOU!!

  12. Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    I’ve stopped by and read often but never commented. Just wanted to say thank you. Right now we need the reminders of magic that exists in our every day when we quiet long enough to hear the magic whisper.

    (BTW – your pendulum will always find you when you need it…sending love)

  13. Robin Troxell
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    β€œBen, 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, β€œYes! 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.

    OHMYGOSH you are the bestest mom ever!!! I’m the “take this b/c I told you to” kind πŸ™ But I am going to try and embrace that superhero posture trick for myself AND my kids!!! As always, so glad when I wander back over here!!! Happy Holidays!

  14. Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Ahhhh – you’re so awesome!!

  15. Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    this is a great story… thanks for sharing it andrea πŸ™‚

  16. Posted January 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I love that voice!

  17. Lori
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Please be VERY CAREFUL with a Pendulum.
    You have to protect your energy when you use them.

  18. Eva Barth
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    you make me smile, Ben keeps me on my toes and at the same time, I’m thinking I need a refill on my happy pills! Keep Swinging…

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