Last week, I went to the doctor to find out why I don’t sleep, can’t lose weight, want to throw things at people for no apparent reason, view crying as a competitive sport, the list goes on. It was a pretty good day – work was calm, nobody on my team was in the midst of crisis, the sun was shining, my hair was surprisingly chill, and all cylinders, as they say, were firing just fine. And then, the doctor said this: “Your adrenal glands are not so great.”
Say what now? My whose-it? Just kidding. I’m all too familiar with adrenal gland drill. I’ve been contending with these resistant little buggers ever since Oprah went off of network television and they don’t seem to want to play nice in my internal sandbox. So delicate and sensitive to stress. And, in my case, as exhausted as new parents. Overworked and undernourished, they continue to wreak havoc with my hormones.
“Oh, really?” I fire back, smiling, as if it were a surprise. As if I were getting ready to throw a manila folder with pictures of the doctor and his mistress engaged in lewd acts on the desk (almost 100 percent sure there’s no mistress, just my vivid imagination and too many days spent watching “Your Cheating Heart Sunday” on Lifetime Television). I don’t know why, as if bribing him would get me anywhere. They’re my adrenals, for goodness sakes.
“Are you meditating?” he asked. Are you meditating? I say in my head, in the mocking tone of a seven-year- old. Yes! Well, uh, no. Not really. Actually, I’m not sure I appreciate the question, sir, because it’s just causing me even more stress. Because a) I know I should be, and b) he pegged me like a small destroyer in the vintage game of Battleship. Caught me in the non-act.
Now, I must say that many have proposed the notion of meditation to me, especially in recent years as life has gotten faster and harder and my stress has ratcheted to new heights, including my husband “Zan” (a pet name some friends have given him combining Dan with Zen, since he’s so mellow), who meditates like a professional athlete. The rationale being that meditation in any form would be the perfect salve for my somewhat tightly wound personality (okay, I’ll own it). And yet, for some reason, I’ve been resistant to the idea. Why? No clue. Because theoretically, the thought of quieting my mind for any length of time seems utterly delightful. Impossible, but still delightful.
And yet, what does it say about a person who, in practice, repels the idea of laying still, simply breathing, letting a long cool swath of no-judgement air bathe over her like tropical pixie dust?
In all fairness, I know the sensation, because I have meditated from time to time, in short bursts—inspired by my husband or some article or book or some new-fangled theory about meditation shrinking the size of my thighs. And I will admit: the few times I was able to slow down enough to focus on breathing, it was downright dreamy. A trance-like state I certainly wouldn’t mind replicating. And yet, when I sit down to try these days, my mind becomes the Indianapolis 500 of bad thoughts–about what I have to do at the office, how mad I am about presidential politics or my neighbor never putting her dog on a leash, and whether or not I’ll ever be able to fit back into the size eight jeans I bought 12 years ago and keep as a vigil to my former self. (The answer is no, by the way, not until I get a handle on my stress.)
What to do, what to do?
I know, I hear you: Let go. Yep, I have seen my own talk. And I am with you! In that spirit, I lay out my options (this is how you do it folks):
- Option A: Sell everything we have and let go of this busy and stressful existence for something more primitive, like life on a desert island somewhere close to a Nordstrom’s outlet store.
- Option B: Replace my big corporate job for the 10 to 2 shift at Starbucks, stocking new mugs and managing the cash register (but not as a Barista because, frankly, that looks like it can be quite the stress fest).
- Option C: Make pretend I’m perfectly okay and simply ignore any and all symptoms of adrenal distress.
- Option D: Find a warm and comfortable spot at Philadelphia International Airport, a good wholesale florist who believes in the concept of bartering, and a peach tunic for every day of the week and set up shop in the United Terminal preaching love and peace. (Although peach really does wash me out.)
- Option E: Have some Ben and Jerry’s Whirled Peace and worry about it tomorrow. (Hey, I like this option! But no, sigh.)
Good solutions or not, they’re simply just not possible for Type A personalities like me, that are a) always on a diet and b) washed out by light pastels. So, in lieu of throwing it all away for the life of a Jewish Hari Krishna, the alternatives are this (says the doc): More natural supplements. Prescription hormones. Gentle forms of yoga and Pilates (goodbye Jillian Michaels and P90X Tony—well, I won’t actually miss you…). And, dare I say it: Meditation.
If you’ve got any better suggestions, I am all ears. Say, do you meditate? If so, do share!
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Jill Sherer Murray is an award-winning writer and speaker who studies creativity, relationships and self-growth. She is also the founder of Let Go For It®, a lifestyle brand dedicated to helping individuals let go for a better life. Jill’s TEDx talk as well as her advice column, Big Wild Love: Let Go For It® were created in service to her loyal and growing fan base, who seek support in the act and the art of letting go for the love they desire and deserve. Follow Jill @letgoforit on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.