Be Mindful of the Animals

In an effort to minimize the effects of fibromyalgia on my life, I am doing daily mindfulness meditations. It’s going about as well as one would expect: my mind is railing all over the place and doesn’t want to be focused or calmed. Shocker.

So I sit (or lie down) for 10 long, slow, painful minutes and focus on my breath. I follow the rather nasally, recorded voice of the meditation instructor as she directs me to imagine myself in a meadow alongside a brook.  Then I am supposed to picture myself as fresh flower. A solid mountain.

Except what my mind in really focused on is if our newish dog is going to kill me. Lilly’s drive to be alpha dog is rather . . . intense. So is her drive to annihilate anything that moves. Since we’ve had her, she’s killed a bird, a chipmunk (we think), numerous bees, and she swallowed a cicada whole. She also repeatedly attempted to take the life of the same porcupine. Hello!! QUILLS!!!! Basically we have a power hungry, 17-pound killer dog who’s few crayons short of a full box.

So I’m sitting there on my blue batiked cushion sort of imagining myself as a flower and mostly wondering if the dog is going to lunge at my fragile and exposed neck.  I’m also vaguely hoping that Tikki, our cat, will save me. After all, five of her six ends are sharp. Except that Tikka probably isn’t even in the room. She considers it beneath her to be anywhere near the overly emotional, slobbery dog. I’m sorry . . .  did I just see you use your tail to express feelings? Amateur. 

So, instead of imagining myself as a dewey flower, I decide to crack one eye open. You know, to make sure I’m not in mortal danger. This is what I see:

"I would eat you but you won't fit in my mouth."

“I would eat you but you won’t fit in my mouth.”

This is unsettling to my mindful mind. I pause the meditation recording and lock Lilly in the bedroom. I re-settle myself on the cushion and take a cleansing breath. I return to imagining myself as a flower.

After a few more cleansing breaths, I hear an almost imperceptible creak, and the soft padding of paws. “Phew,” I think. “The cat. I’m saved!” I open my eyes for a reassuring glimpse of Tikka:

Maybe I could fit part of your head in my mouth . . .

“Maybe I could fit part of your head in my mouth . . .”

Apparently, Lilly has creepy opposable dog-thumbs and can work a door knob. Maybe she’s not as dumb as we thought.

This time I shut her behind two closed doors and return to the meditation. I re-settle. I am feeling very flower-like. Then I have that sudden, strong feeling that something isn’t right. I open an eye:


“I could definitely eat you. But it wouldn’t be dignified.”

So. I blame the animals for my lack of progress.

What about you? Do you have any favorite mindfulness exercises and/or books?



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