Monthly Archives: December 2011

Notes on not being distracted


Meditation, yoga, and the other practices of slowing down and being in the moment have never really been for me.

The person with the calm countenance and perfect posture assuring me that my mind will empty out, resisting all my internal chattering, if only I just keep at it has never fully convinced me. I’m aware of the benefits of a focusing practice, and one that is rooted in the body, but mine is highly idiosyncratic and doesn’t involve a pillow, mat, or sweating.

There is a chorus in our household these days, that starts early in the morning and persists late into the night. “I’m pooping, Mami, I’m pooping me.” Over and over, the refrain, and over and over, the pulling off of the training diaper and the positioning on the padded potty seat. Only one out of a dozen trips to the bathroom results in anything of note. Mostly, we sit around together, Mariel and I, waiting for something to happen.

Believe me when I tell you that the temptation to do something–anything, really–while sitting uncomfortably on the edge of the bathtub, my right knee dangerously close to the heated water pipe, waiting for poop–or not– is strong. I’d love to read one of the months’ worth of magazines that sit on both sides of our writing desk, or one of the many books I’ve intended to read this year. I could use the time to look at my to-do list or to transition from computer to notebook in order to continue the thought that has been interrupted a half dozen times in the past 45 minutes.

I’d love to do any of that, but I don’t.

I have found these days of toilet training to be challenging. Sitting around and waiting isn’t my forte. Sitting around and waiting without having some sort of distraction is even less innate. The waiting is uncomfortable… not because it has anything to do with poop, but because it demands that I sit quietly and just be.