Stressed Out Meditation

Stressed Out Meditation

Life is stressful. So, I recently purchased a meditation CD. But I’m not sure it’s helping. Take a listen and tell me what you think.

For most of us, life is getting more complicated, faster-paced, and more stressful than ever. My suggestion: Slow down. Breathe in. And listen to a meditation CD. Just not the one that I recently bought.

For most of us, life is getting more complicated, faster-paced, and more stressful than ever. My suggestion: Slow down. Breathe in. And listen to a meditation CD. Just not the one that I recently bought.

Welcome to this audio relaxation program. Over the next 20 minutes, you will learn how to block out the worries and cares in your life. You will walk away feeling calm, with a renewed energy. Let’s begin. Take off your shoes and sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.

Now, take a deep breath in through your nose. As you do, notice how it feels a bit harder to breathe deeply than it used to. That may be because of your recent weight gain. Breathe out – through your mouth.

Let all the stress empty out of your body. Remind yourself that there is no point worrying about being woefully behind in your sales quota. Let it go. With just two weeks left in the quarter, you’ll never make it. Breathe in.

Begin to notice how the muscles in your shoulders and neck seem extremely tight. To release the tension, relax each muscle group. Flex your fingers and toes. Let them go completely limp. As you do this, clear your mind of anything that is weighing on you, especially this morning’s news that your son is flunking Algebra and English – and just about everything. Looks like he’ll be re-taking 9th grade. Breathe out.

Slowly raise your arms and legs, flexing each limb and then relaxing. Let all the stress flow out of your limbs, much like your retirement fund is flowing down the river after paying for the new roof that leaked after the storm of the century. It’s only money. You can’t take it with you. Breathe in.

Continue your progressive muscle relaxation and move to your core. Notice how tight your stomach is starting to feel. This is natural when visualizing your wife’s rage that you spent $800 on golf clubs instead of patching the roof before the rainstorm as she told you to do. Breathe out. Begin to visualize a happy place – far away from your wife. Perhaps a spring meadow filled with tulips and daffodils. Isn’t it beautiful? Now imagine how you will actually get to this peaceful meadow, given that your car’s engine is making that unsettling grinding noise. It could mean your transmission is about to go. Probably not. Forget I even mentioned it. Breathe in.

When you’re feeling stressed, think about your pet, Bongo. He never worries about ANYTHING. Try to be more like him. Don’t give a second thought to the priceless bedroom carpet he chewed to pieces last weekend. You wanted it replaced anyway, right? You’re a good dog, Bongo. Yes, you are!

When you’re feeling stressed, think about your pet, Bongo. He never worries about ANYTHING. Try to be more like him. Don’t give a second thought to the priceless bedroom carpet he chewed to pieces last weekend. You wanted it replaced anyway, right? You’re a good dog, Bongo. Yes, you are!

Lie down on the floor. Give your arms and legs a good, long stretch. Let’s try another visualization. Imagine you’re on a sailboat that is taking you away to a tropical paradise. Feel the soft, warm spray of sea water on your face. Banish those recurring thoughts of the leaking roof you have to replace. And the $12,000 cost.  Breathe out.

Picture an idyllic Caribbean island coming into view. Now imagine pulling up your sailboat on a white, sandy beach surrounded by palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. You are greeted by a throng of people, welcoming you to your own island paradise. Notice how familiar they look, all bearing an eerie resemblance to your company’s Board of Directors, to whom you will present your disappointing quarterly sales numbers in 45 minutes. Breathe in.

Now it’s time to return to your day. Begin to open your eyes slowly. By now you are feeling relaxed and rejuvenated – ready to face the world with a new sense of calm and serenity. Oh look. There’s an envelope on your desk. It appears to be from your credit card company. A bill for $8,400, which is roughly $8,300 more than you have in your checking account. Breathe out.

Notice how your heart is starting to pound more quickly. Become aware of the profuse sweat streaming down your brow. By now you may experience your stomach tying up in knots. This is perfectly normal. Just lie back down on the floor. Keep breathing. Curl up in the fetal position and contemplate that you have lost all concept of time. In fact, based on my calculations, there is no way you’ll ever make it back to the office in time for your sales presentation before the Board of Directors, which starts in 30 minutes. Thanks to the jackknifed 18-wheeler blocking three lanes of traffic on the interstate, you have a handy excuse.

And breathe out. This concludes this session of your meditation relaxation CD. Have a carefree day.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook. 

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015. Edited by Betsy Jones.

Warning Signs You May Be Experiencing  Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (K.I.D.S.)

Warning Signs You May Be Experiencing Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (K.I.D.S.)

Every single day people from all walks of life learn the upsetting diagnosis: They’ve become another statistic in the global pandemic of K.I.D.S. While there are many effective methods of prevention, as of today, there is no known cure.

Every single day people from all walks of life learn the upsetting diagnosis: They’ve become another statistic in the global pandemic of K.I.D.S. While there are many effective methods of prevention, as of today, there is no known cure.

Just as our nation is grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic, it appears there is another crisis rapidly spreading throughout the world. Over the past 50 years, throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, there has been an explosion of reported cases of Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (better known by its acronym, K.I.D.S.). No socio-demographic group has been spared by this invasive and intractable outbreak. In fact, I myself have been waging my own personal battle with K.I.D.S. for over twenty years.

According to humanitarian relief agencies’ longitudinal studies dating back to the 19th century, the number of known cases of K.I.D.S. is at its highest level in human history. Alarmingly, it shows no signs of reversing its upward trend. For millions of couples facing the long-term ordeal of K.I.D.S., there is no relief in sight and social distancing is simply not an option.

Scientists have been unable to unlock the mysterious inner workings of K.I.D.S., but its origins have been conclusively linked to a combination of alcohol consumption combined with unprotected sexual contact in the vast majority of cases. Warning signs that you may have contracted K.I.D.S. include an inability to maintain an orderly household and an increasing disregard for clutter and chaos. Another warning sign includes a dramatic degree of social distancing by adults who have not been exposed to K.I.D.S.

What makes this epidemic of K.I.D.S. so debilitating is that there is very little anyone can do to combat it. Once contracted, in the vast majority of cases, the condition, while not usually fatal, typically lasts the rest of their lives. People coping with even the mildest form of K.I.D.S. often report that the condition gets progressively more difficult to manage over time, as the virus mutates in appearance, continually grows in size, and in later stages becomes increasingly resistant to attempts to control it. As people struggle to adapt to living with K.I.D.S., they report that close friends they’ve known for years but who have not contracted K.I.D.S. often avoid them like the plague.

Early stage K.I.D.S. is often associated with significant sleep deprivation lasting up to eight months. During this “incubator” period, common side effects include a significant decline in the victim’s range of vocabulary, typically accompanied by an uncontrollable urge to speak in a high-pitched chirpy voice about successful bowel movements.

Scientists have identified an alarming phenomenon in people suffering with K.I.D.S. – a noticeable deterioration in their mental faculties. They speculate that this intellectual impairment may be caused by prolonged exposure to vacuous television programming dedicated to letters of the alphabet or possibly due to being subjected to endless recitations of drippy songs about Baby Belugas or beautiful days in the neighborhood.

Surprisingly, after a few years, some K.I.D.S. sufferers have reported brief intervals of partially regained lucidity and brief episodes where the worst aspects of K.I.D.S. appear to go into in remission. They can sometimes regain normal sleep cycles and are able to enjoy more adult-themed TV programming. There have even been reported instances in which people living with K.I.D.S. have experienced momentary fits of laughter at birthday parties, zoos, and little league games – but these anecdotal stories have yet to be substantiated with empirical evidence.

One of the most common ailments afflicting people with K.I.D.S. is a perceived loss of control, independence and spontaneity. They often report feeling chained to endless cycles of vehicular transport to soccer games, piano recitals, and doctor’s appointments, taking the place of time previously used for hiking with friends, playing tennis, and working out at the gym. As a result of this hard-to-break cycle, another common side effect of K.I.D.S. is unsightly weight gain and a marked decline in concern for personal appearance.

It is common for people with advanced stages of K.I.D.S. to experience wild swings of emotion and increased levels of stress. If you encounter an otherwise rational adult barking out phrases like who do you think paid for that? or would it kill you to say, ‘thank you?’ or because I said so!, the chances are high the person is battling K.I.D.S. There are many reports of K.I.D.S. wiping out a couple’s entire long-term savings. Some studies suggestion that this steep decline in personal net worth is most severe for people who have been struggling with K.I.D.S. for 18 to 22 years.

The good news is that there are glimmers of hope. For some people facing an uphill struggle with K.I.D.S., symptoms of frustration and exhaustion tend to fade about the time when the financial strain of managing K.I.D.S. has passed its peak. There are dozens of documented cases where victims of K.I.D.S. can resume relatively normal lives somewhere around 18 years from the onset of the condition, engaging in conversations about politics or professional sports teams or taking long drives that no longer require emergency pit stops to eliminate bodily fluids.

Theories abound as to the primary cause of an incurable condition suffered by adults called Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (KIDS), but a recent study suggests prolonged exposure to rainbow-colored aliens with annoying, chirpy voices may be a contributor.

Theories abound as to the primary cause of an incurable condition suffered by adults called Kronic Incessant Disorder Syndrome (KIDS), but a recent study suggests prolonged exposure to rainbow-colored aliens with annoying, chirpy voices may be a contributor.

While there are several effective methods for the prevention of K.I.D.S., currently there is no cure. The unsettling reality is that the existence of K.I.D.S. has become a global epidemic. Ever since my wife and I first received the shocking diagnosis more than two decades ago that we had both become exposed to K.I.D.S., our lives have been consumed just trying to manage this condition.

But here is the oddest part about this chronically overwhelming, exhausting condition. Even though coming down with K.I.D.S. has radically turned my life upside down, drained my life savings and caused me endless sleepless nights, I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had never gotten K.I.D.S. It’s one lifelong condition for which I hope they never find a cure.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base. 

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law

You Have the Right to Remain Silent – My Recent Run-in with the Law

[The following is an approximate re-telling of a recent traffic stop I had with local law enforcement for a moving violation. The events of my run-in all happened exactly as described below. Well, almost exactly.]

traffic-stop-speed-limit-signIt was 7:22 am on a Wednesday. I was driving northbound on Main Highway like I always did this time of week. But this time, there was a problem. I was running late for my regular Wednesday meet-up with a buddy of mine. Let’s call him Terry, because, well, that’s his name. Terry was waiting for me at our regular rendezvous, a place called Terry’s Corner (honest). My buddy Terry is a big deal in this small town. But Terry was going to have to wait. Because, like I said, I was running late.

I knew I shouldn’t have downed half a six-pack of Mountain Dew Live Wire first thing in the morning. My heart rate was through the roof as I raced down the highway in my silver Toyota minivan, desperately trying to make up time. I saw the speed limit sign. It read 50 mph, just like it always read this time of day. Some things never change. I looked in my rear view mirror. Drivers were climbing up on my tail. Maybe I was just imagining things, but it looked like the guy behind me wanted to run me over. My heart started pounding. My palms got clammy. I could barely hold onto the steering wheel.

My mind buzzed with all the things I had to do today. Little did I know that my agenda was about to take a major U-turn – because just as I was writing the previous sentence, I zoomed past a parked trooper. In that instant, the cop pulled onto the highway, flashed his lights, and started in hot pursuit.

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Fifty Shades of White

Fifty Shades of White

50 shades of white - crayonsWhen I was first learning how to color in 1st grade, my art teacher taught us about red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black and white. Pretty much all the colors I’ve needed ever since. Then I got my first box of 64 Crayola crayons. It blew my mind. So many colors I had never imagined. One called Reddish Orange. Another one called Orangish Red. And Indian Red, which I could not in clear conscience draw with until they renamed it Native American Red.

Recently I learned that Crayola has actually retired 34 colors – including Lemon Yellow, Teal Blue and Thistle. Did you know that for the rest of eternity there will never be anything drawn in either Burnt Umber or Magic Mint? And yet for reasons unfathomable to the normal brain, they continue to crank out that annoyingly wimpy color, Periwinkle.

They’ve replaced the retired colors with nouveau-sounding ones like Asparagus, Bittersweet, Inch Worm and Tumbleweed. What the hell color is Inch Worm?

It’s hard enough for my 8-color-palette brain to grasp the difference between Sage and Mint. More astonishingly, for all the colors in Crayola’s 64-color box, I’ve discovered there are literally hundreds of shades of white. When did that happen?

My artist wife and I were discussing what color to paint her art studio. Apparently, it’s important that artist studios be painted in neutral tones like white – I have no idea why. I had suggested Bubble Gum Pink, but apparently that’s not quite neutral enough pour ma femme artiste. No, she insisted, it had to be a shade of white. A shade of white? Hmmm….

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According to Google, I am a Terrible Person

According to Google, I am a Terrible Person

Google Tim - magnifying glassUntil about twenty minutes ago, I thought I was a decent person, a loving father and all in all, a fairly responsible citizen. But I am starting to have my doubts. You see, I recently published a humor book on parenting called YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE – Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time.

I sent out press releases and then did a quick online search to see whether any of my promotional activities were paying off. So, I googled my name – TIM JONES. Uh oh. The results were rather surprising.

On the positive side, I found several search results about the book and recent VFTB articles I’d written. But that’s not all I discovered. Turns out I’ve lived a far more interesting and varied life than I’d ever realized. And I have a dark side. A disturbingly dark side.

Apparently, despite what my kids have been saying about me for the past ten years, I am “highly intelligent.”Google Tim - IntelligentSo intelligent, in fact, that I earned a Ph.D. and joined the ranks of the faculty at Cardiff University in Wales.Google Tim - Cardiff UAccording to my profile in the Faculty Directory, my interests include “airborne particulate pollution” and “remote sensing in resource exploitation.” I have no idea what any of this means. I must have been drunk when I wrote my faculty profile. Had you asked me before today what my interests are, I would have listed football, sleeping and bacon.

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