Monday, October 28, 2013

Thrum: A Continuous Rhythmic Humming Sound

There’s this odd sound I’ve been hearing in the bathroom. For the last week or so I’ve been aware of this low bass-range sound. No water is being run, there’s no flushing. Honestly my first thought that the boys’ X-Box set up was too loud. Damn that sub-woofer! But see, first time I noticed it; it was 6:00 am. The house was still except for this subtle but distinctive thrum, in… the walls? The floorboards? I’m not sure of the source, all I know is that I have been hearing it every time I go in the first floor bathroom.

Weird thing is no one else has heard it. I don’t understand this. When I bring Dave or one of the boys in the bathroom, there’s silence. Embarrassing silence.

So – I’m wondering – is this all in my head?

::Checking::   Nope. Doesn’t feel like a psychotic break to me.

My natural inclination as a storyteller is to then get frustrated. WHY CAN’T I EXPLAIN THIS CORRECTLY!  WHY CAN’T I MAKE THEM HEAR IT TOO! Seriously, don’t we hate to not be able to convey something?

Getting the story right, having someone feel what you feel, making someone understand the complexity of a given situation, this is a crucial part of writing.

Because life is uncertain, and I could be waiting for a long time to have the stars and planets align, and I might never feel a full convergence, I can’t wait around any longer to move forward. So this last year I have been tackling one issue after another. Health stuff, work stuff, family stuff. And I know that everyone else does too, but I’ve had a lot of things piling up. Not bills or dirty laundry (those only pile up during Condition Orange/Red times.

Ultimate Writer's Retreat
My pile has been full of bigger stuff. I still have a backlog, but I’m taking action as often as I can. I’ve definitely refocused on writing. Not just writing, but writing for purpose. Got to try and tell the story the best way I can, and earn more money! I recently went to a writer’s retreat to learn how to best apply my talents. Fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about this. 

Another coolio thing I’ve been doing is to start yoga again. It’s very pleasant, except when it hurts, which is a good part of the time, but still it’s worth it. And I so want to get back to karate, I miss it. But my joints are still too fragile.

Neat thing though, yoga and karate have a lot in common. Both have a special mat for one thing, which actually is an accoutrement that is not even necessary to really practice either. But it’s a fun comparison, and I’m all about the fun. 

Also in karate and yoga (and this is true in other sports and arts too), you learn to approach breathing a different way. Weirdly, in my karate class, we would forget to actually, literally, breathe while doing certain things like performing a new kata (form), or during kumite (sparring). I know one of my weaknesses was during the “150 punches” exercise. 50 for power, 50 for technique, and 50 for speed, alternating with a partner, taking turns holding the bag after every 50.I’m fine on the first 100, but for the speed punches, I totally lose my breath. Ugh.

In yoga, it’s ALL about the breath. Of course we know the physiology, that inhaling and exhaling at the right times helps with muscle expansion, blood flow, etc. But focused deep breathing accomplishes something else. It prepares you for meditating.

What is meditating anyway? I know a teeny bit, hey, I read Eat, Pray Love. And a few years ago, I bought one of the Dummies books on meditation, I thought it might be a good thing for me. But I couldn’t focus enough to get past the first chapter! (And right there’s a lesson in irony, don’t ya think?) But I know the basic concept, if you can get yourself in a relaxed enough state, you can clear your mind and come away refreshed. That’s the very crudest and basic explanations, and I’ll add that the practice involves control. 

I won’t expound any further, because I won’t do the subject justice, that’s for sure. I do know that meditating is a way to let go of outside bullshit that distracts from proper awareness. It’s like that old joke when someone asks you NOT to think about a pink giraffe. Now there you go. Pink giraffe’s are leaping through your mind now, right? You’re welcome.

When you know you’re not supposed to think about anything consciously during meditation, it’s damn hard to do that. The mind keeps filling with such baloney. Even the important stuff “must donate to the food bank, must get flu shot” all those thoughts have to be banished. I have no clue how to do it and I really don’t try.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be accomplished. I’m just feeling too squirrely typically to be bothered. I’m realizing though, that learning to meditate could be a good and necessary thing.

Don’t we really want to be present when we need to be? Don’t we really need to cut out extra BS in our lives that don’t really count? I don’t mean carbs and soda, or designer purses and DVDs, I mean wasteful emotions and thought processes. 

Singular Focus
Another thing about meditating is the mantra. The word mantra has been diluted and manipulated to sometimes mean a slogan, a tag line, a motto, or an affirmation. But in meditating it’s meant to be a sound that produces a vibration, or a simple word that will give you a mental focal point. 

I know I want to have better and clearer intention not just when it comes to my work but in all aspects of my life. I’d like to be able to learn how to meditate, to take the practice of looking to that inner focal point, and then translate that power to laser focus on whatever else needs attention.

Too bad I can’t laser in on what’s causing that weird continuous rhythmic humming sound in my house. Like meditating, I haven’t figured it out. But I think, at least in my life, if not in my house plumbing, what I need to do is to find my mantra to focus on, I need to find my own thrum.