Don’t Just Do Something…

…Sit There.

It’s a classic, really, and if you want to try it out, why not join me for thirty days of sitting? You can sit whenever you want, for however long you want, and in whatever style you like. (Although I do request if you choose to use the time to get yourself in tune with Great Cthulhu, you put in a good word for me.)

You don’t need to sign up for a daily email or follow a Twitter account or even tell me you’re going to do it. You just have to do it.

The only — and I mean only! — form of accountability is a daily check-in here:

You can fill the form in right here in this post; I’ve also made it a page here on the blog that you can bookmark and come back to.

If you want the nuts and bolts intro to meditation, Tara Brach’s (free!) one is marvellous. She’s an incredible dharma teacher dedicated to providing lots and lots of resources for free. If Buddhist meditation isn’t your thing, don’t worry; she’s not out to convert you, just give you a few ideas. If new ideas aren’t your thing — I think you may be at the wrong blog.

I know lots of us are feeling pushed to do somethingright now, things are bad, and we have to fix them and oh my Dagon it’s just getting worse, we have to do something — and ’round and ’round we go and worse and worse we feel and less and less we do. And what we do may not be of the most helpful because we’re freaking the hell out and no-one thinks clearly when they’re freaking the hell out.

Take five minutes (or ten). Sit down (or don’t). Close your eyes (or don’t). Count your breaths (or don’t). And give yourself a chance to quiet the noise in your head and the noise coming at you and think of what the right thing, the appropriate thing, the helpful thing to do is. Maybe it’s showing up for a march and demonstration next Saturday. Maybe it’s knitting a bunch of hats for your friends who are going. Maybe it’s signing up to volunteer with the ACLU. Maybe it’s emailing your representative every day. Maybe it’s starting to “look for the helpers” so you know you’re not alone. Maybe it’s starting to work with your therapist to figure out how you can get yourself to a place where you can do one of those things without damaging yourself.

I’m not much of a cheerleader and I mean it when I say there are no emails or Tweets or anything associated with this. I might change up the graphics on the form — or I might not. But I do believe that sitting down to be quiet for five minutes a day can’t possibly hurt you or anyone else and it might help you.

Not Stepping on Kittens

This post stems from a conversation I had with @sarahjosmiley earlier this week. It can be hard — really, really fucking hard — to remember what you enjoy when you’re not feeling great. One of the common symptoms of depression is that things that experience teaches you should feel or smell or taste or just be good for you — aren’t. Everything takes on a kind of sawdust’y state of being and — well, it just all sucks.

And I mentioned that I had thought of making a list so I could remind myself when everything tastes like sawdust that not everything always tastes like sawdust and that these things in particular are high on the list of not-sawdust’y-tasting things.

I think that metaphor got away from me but you get the idea. The list was initially a joke stemming from immediate post-election-result slump but the more it recurs to me, the more I think it’s, if not an actually good idea, at least an idea with potential amusement value.

Anyone who sings Julie Andrews at me will immediately and with great pleasure on my part be defenestrated. So. Fair warning.

  • Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and, now I’ve let myself discover them, RiffTrax. Commenting on TV shows, radio broadcasts, books was how I grew up. My father and I spent many evenings after my mother went back to teaching — she taught primarily night classes — watching movies and, basically, ‘riffing’ them. If you picture Bob and Louise’s “Burn Unit” from Bob’s Burgers, you wouldn’t be too far off except we didn’t channel-flip to do it. As a result of all this, not only can I riff like a fucking pro, I can play ‘spot the actor’ like some people can reel off sportsball stats.
  • Bad movies. No, really. Bad horror and sci-fi. I love ’em. Cardboard plates covered in tinfoil pretending to be spaceships? Rockets that fly with a clear flame coming out the back end? Cold light that makes you invisible? Corpses that drain entire pools of blood? Sharks that can walk on their fins? Radioactive monsters where you can see the costume head wobble atop the poor actor’s head? Groups of teenagers determined to ‘uncover the secret’ of the local haunted location despite dozens of people having been killed there before? God, yes, sign me the fuck up. (Except for Cabin in the Woods. I hated that.)
  • Books. E-books, .pdfs, hardcover, paperback, even spiral-bound in a pinch.
  • Happy comments on my fanfic.
  • Other people’s fanfic.
  • Really, really good historical writing. I’d say ‘nonfiction’ more broadly but there’s subgroupings in there that really don’t speak to me at all. Good history, on the other hand — man, there’s little that’s better. Even chocolate.
  • Speaking of — chocolate. I’ve been getting into Taza’s mid-range dark lately. Ah-fucking-mazing either as bar ‘eat it by the chunk’ or to make hot chocolate. Or brownies.
  • While I’m on the subject, baking. But mostly baking if I can give it away. I love feeding people. If you come near me and I have the opportunity, I will try to feed you in some fashion. Thank you for letting me.
  • Crocheting. This is along the same lines as baking: I love making things to give away. It doesn’t have to be to someone I know — I’ll just as happily donate a bag of scarves to the local shelter as I will make a shawl for a dear friend. I love the idea that the thing I made will make someone else warmer or happier or well-fed-ed-er. Oh, dear.
  • Doctor Who. Classic, new series, I don’t care. I’ve said jokingly many times that I’m not particularly clear on God but I believe devoutly in the Doctor.

So my point here was less to make a list of things I like for the purpose of trying to amuse you as it was to point out something that maybe you might like to do for yourself. Although if I amused you, great!

But, seriously, I’m writing this down in my notebook; I’m giving it its own special page; I’m going to add to it. Not that it needs saying again, but it’s gonna get rough in here and we’re all going to need this kind of list to remind ourselves of why we keep getting out of bed every day and putting one fucking foot in front of another. So do it. Make a list. Put stickers all over it. Write it in glitter ink. Stick it up above your bed. Frame it. I don’t care if it’s pages of pictures of hockey players’ butts (you might want to rethink the framing in that case but, hey, you do what works). If you will look at it, and take a breath, and be able to find that place inside yourself that lets you keep going and reminds you that the effort is worth it, put it the hell on there.

And — and this is another blog post because this one is already too long but this is important — don’t let anyone talk you out of putting something on there that you know should be there.