I’m only three months into my daily meditation routine, but I can already see some changes. Overall, I feel less stressed, even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and I am able to watch Prime Minister’s Questions without shouting and swearing at the TV screen.
I have a terrible record of dealing with airline companies, having once been threatened with arrest on a Virgin Atlantic flight for using the F-word. I was six months pregnant with my second child and suffering from round-the-clock morning sickness and a bad back when I let slip some foul words in a heated argument with an air hostess over lavatory access.
And as recently as April I raged against a customer service rep at British Airways for refusing me a refund for a cancelled flight. But this week, I had a vastly different experience when calling up British Airways to enquire about flights, all thanks to my new routine of meditation and breathing exercises. Admittedly, I had to take quite a few extra deep breaths before I picked up the phone and I kept a note in front of me on which I’d scribbled a reminder to myself, ‘keep it together. No shouting or swearing’.
Progress notwithstanding, I’m nowhere near to finding my inner Buddha, and I still snap at the kids regularly. Then again, how can anyone find Nirvana in a house populated by moody teens and aggrieved pre-teens? In such circumstances, I consider my current progress nothing short of a miracle.
Thus far, meditation has not had much impact on my tendency to swear loudly at other drivers while navigating my car in busy London traffic. Habits die hard, some more so than others. In a moment of contrition, I contemplated setting up a swear jar at home but decided against it once I realised just how much money I’d haemorrhage as a result. For as my younger daughter likes to remind me, no one swears as prolifically in our house as I do.
Six months ago, hearing the prime minister’s voice on the radio was enough for me to explode in a salvo of expletives, but these days I keep my cool. What’s the point of yelling at someone who can’t hear me? While there is little I can do to stop Boris Johnson and his posse of incompetent ministers from destroying the country, I’ll be damned if I let them ruin my mood as well. Raving and ranting, otherwise known to be excellent skills of mine, won’t achieve anything other than making me feel depressed.
I’ve always been fascinated by people who choose to live off-grid, be it the Unabomber or peace-loving hippies, and while I’m not quite ready to take the leap myself, I take heart in the fact that there is life beyond corrupt politics and pandemics and I am doing what I can to live that life, one day at a time.