You’re not doing it right

Meditations for the Modern Perfectionist

Meditation #1

Breathe deeply. Let any tension you are feeling melt away. It is melting away like so much butter in a pan. The pan isn’t hot. Don’t worry about the pan. It doesn’t have to be butter.

Breathe deeply. You are lying on a beach. No, not that beach. You’ll never clear your mind on that beach. Remember that time you went to that beach and there were kids, and you found a hypodermic needle and got sand fleas? Do you really think you’ll find any peace on that beach? Try the other beach. No, not that one. That’s too sandy. Yes, there can too be a beach that is too sandy. It happens. The sand can be too coarse, like the beach you’re imagining.

Breathe deeply. You are lying in the sand. Okay, not the sand, on a towel on the sand. Feel the sand between your toes. There will be sand on the towel. The sand itches between your toes. You forgot the sunscreen.

Breathe deeply.

**

Meditation #2

Breathe deeply. Find yourself in a forest, a glade of trees. You can hear birdsong. Those birds are very loud. They’re loud, and when you look up, they crap on your face.

Breathe deeply. Hear the wolf cry. You’re alone here. Those wolves sound like they’re circling all around you. Really, really alone. Look at your iPhone. Five percent battery life and no charger.

Breathe deeply. Is something burning? Do you smell that? Maybe the coyotes are warning you about danger, like Lassie. Probably nothing. Probably just a fire from a cottage where a sweet old woman lives, like the one in Hansel and Gretel. Your iPhone just died.

Breathe deeply.

**

Primary Mantras

Are you going to wear that?

Yes, Helen does have great legs, but you have strong hair. And your hands.

Global warming is indeed your fault. It’s your car.

You’re not really trying very hard. Be honest.

**

Meditation #3 — Mountain

Breathe deeply. Picture yourself atop a mountain. A beautiful, lush mountain. Yes, most mountains are snowy, but this mountain has no snow. Or snow if you prefer. I guess if you like to be cold. It’s your vision, I’m just guiding it. Yes, snow.

Breathe deeply. You are in the lotus position. Ignore the pain in your hip. You look to your side, and you see a tiger. A fierce, tiger, slowly walking toward you. Do not worry. The tiger loves you. The tiger is love. Fierce, carnivorous love. Love with big, big teeth.

Breathe deeply. The tiger is now close to you. You can smell its breath. It’s surprisingly sweet. Perhaps peppermint. Or fennel. “Shhh,” the tiger says, “Shhhh.” But the tiger has no lips, so it sounds like “Slrrrrr, slrrrrr.” Your heart fills with compassion for the poor, lipless tiger. Sharp teeth.

Breathe deeply.

**

Secondary Mantras

You’re right. It’s cancer. Elbow cancer.

Your mother never had this problem.

Emily Blunt and John Krazinski are so cute together. Don’t they look like they’re just smart and fun and really enjoy each other?

You’ll do better next time. If there is a next time.

Sure, you could take the day off.

Meditation #4 — Magical Grocery

Breathe deeply. You are at a magical grocery. Yes, a grocery that is magic. Go with me. Perhaps it is sparkling. Perhaps everyone floats down the aisle. You pick up a small basket at the door. This one has magical grime and residue. Pick another. Take out your magical antibacterial lotion and wipe your magic hands.

Breathe deeply. You are roaming the aisles of the supermarket. You see a spill, perhaps olive oil, or chocolate milk, or creamed corn. Whatever your spill, that signifies your soul. No pressure.

Breathe deeply. You are perusing magical dinner choices and you look up and see Johnny Carson. He doesn’t seem like a very happy man from what you’ve heard, yet he was beloved by many. Unhappy, yet beloved. Puzzle that out while you are deciding what to have for dinner. Chicken pot pie. Pizza rolls. Perhaps a gyro.

Breathe deeply. You take your magical basket to the cashier marked “12 Items or less.” It should be “fewer,” but you magically let it go. The woman in front of you clearly has 17 items. In fact, if you count the eggs as separate items, she has 28. Fuuuuuuuck Heeeeerrr. Johnny Carson picked a better aisle. In every way.

Breathe deeply.