How to chill the f#*% out
August 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
Lying in bed this morning I found my mind jumping from one crazy thought to the next: ‘I wonder what happened to my old friend Trudi Burfitt. Funny how you miss people from… Lions are sooooooo awesome with their big furry manes and their… Man, my balls itch, like reeeeally itch… I want a pool, no I need a… how hot is Miranda Kerr? Fuck Orlando Bloom with his awesome name and his brilliant archery skills. He can… Oh wow, kidneys. What’s going on with my… Gee, Adriana Xenides died young. Life’s pretty cruel when all is said…’ And so on.
Now, I’m a guru. I’ve trained like a Jedi to tame the rogue elephant that is my mind. But often, still, I find myself at its mercy, and this morning I just couldn’t find room between my thoughts. They were like epileptic sardines thrashing into each other, sharing vital organs, keeping each other alive, and it was pissing me off. On one hand my mind was like: ‘Fuck you, out-of-control thoughts, just give me a break and I’ll buy you a… Jesus, I wouldn’t know what to do with Miranda Kerr even if she… Gotta piss. I gotta piss before I… Poor Adriana. Hey, and poor Amy Winehouse. Addiction is a terrible disea… Kookaburras!’ And on the other hand, my mind – the same mind – was pleading for quiet.
Then I remembered something, something that will change your life forever, something I’m gonna share with you right now. Remember in Primary School they’d line you up with your classmates and say, ARMS LENGTH APART. And without thinking you’d stick both your arms out to the side, putting some space between you and the kids next to you. Such a simple way of organising a bunch of rowdy tweens, no machinery required, no cattle prods, no screaming blue murder, just, ARMS LENGTH APART and fwooosshh, there you had it! It was almost as if – after having other kids leaning and swaying and rubbing and dribbling all over you – you craved that space. Suddenly you were being given permission to push away the clutter of other smelly little bodies, to create an exclusion zone around yourself.
Well this morning, I recalled that age-old instruction and calmly issued it to my thoughts. ARMS LENGTH APART. And all of a sudden they fell quiet, stuck out their weird little thought arms and shuffled an arms length apart giving me space to move between them. I could walk between Miranda and Orlando, skip between the awesome furry Lion and my throbbing kidney. There was light, silence and stillness between them. Even Adriana’s premature death was OK because there was an arms length between her and Amy, giving me room to ponder each of their tragic plights in isolation of the other.
So when you’re in bed, or driving, or playing cricket or Yahtzee, or making love to your partner of the hour, and those crazy waves of thought come crashing in, make like a schoolyard Moses – ARMS LENGTH APART. That vital half-a-metre between brain spasms might just get you through. (Or it might not and you should hit the Xanax. Your call.)