Last week, I bought two lots of tickets – something that always makes me happy. In two weeks, I’ll be heading to the Lake District to see my friend and fellow writer, Caroline Batten. Last time I went was in 2011, and it was fab. This time, she’s threatened to make we walk up Old Coniston Man. I’m up for the challenge. It should be nice – not only to catch up, but to talk geeky book stuff. Her book, #forfeit will be out soon and I can’t wait to start shouting about it. We can have a pre-launch party in the countryside 🙂
I also booked a flight to Madrid for August where I’ll spend a couple of days before heading west to a centre to do my first ever Vipassana meditation. Gulp.
It’s funny, when I was in India, I met so many people who had done it. They all positively raved about it, but I’d scrunched my nose up and said ‘no, thank you very much.‘ I’d tried meditating at home before and it just didn’t work. I never managed to stop thinking and, if anything, I felt more stressed afterwards than before. And not being able to speak for 10 days? Get real.
And then, I went to Thailand. I started doing the Thai massage course, and after practicing on a fellow resident at my guesthouse, I felt…weird. Stoned – like I’d smoked the biggest joint ever. My limbs were floppy, and my head was….blissed out. It dawned on me that, while I was giving the massage, I hadn’t thought about much beyond the massage, passing energy from myself to them and focussing on what I was doing. That’s when it clicked for me. I wanted to be able to get that focus and feel that way without having to massage someone to do it. There was a girl on our course who taught yoga and was very much into meditation, and she taught me a few basics. Like understanding that meditation isn’t necessarily about emptying your mind, because your mind can’t really do that, but that it’s about quietening it down and being able to focus. With that explained, I got it. Using a technique she told me about, I started meditating and I’ve done it every day since. I looked online, read about Vipassana and some blogs of people who’d done it, and booked myself a place.
I would never, ever, have imagined that my next trip abroad would be to go and sit in a centre with no communication with anyone else at all for 10 days, while spending a good 12 hours of each and every day in meditation. Never. But, again, it’s all to do with travel. I’ve had my horizons broadened, and in this regard, it has to be for the better. I’m hoping it will teach me how to react to things in a different way and how to really, really focus. Every writer has procrastination as their bed-fellow.
I just want it to be a more casual relationship.