Sunday, October 12, 2008

Meditation and Guitar Hero Part 3: The Final Chapter

If you are just just starting the story, you should begin here.

If I could draw a cartoon of myself, this is what it would look like. A gigundus head filled with words and phrases and images, of plans and lists, of retold conversations, of categorical meanderings. The head would be 2/3 of my total self. If you think I’m kidding, I actually had someone tell me that was exactly what my aura looked like. About 15 years ago I used to go to a chi kun massage therapist. An amazing woman who had studied with a master in China. She was the only entity on the planet that could do anything about my migraine headaches before vasodilators were invented. One day, while I waited for my appointment, the master that she had studied with in China and who was staying at her place, he started talking to me in broken English, but mostly Chinese and I couldn’t understand a word he said. The more I looked perplexed, the faster and louder he talked at me. Finally, my massage therapist came out to the waiting area and I looked pleadingly at her for help. She cocked her head to the side, spoke to him in Chinese, and then started laughing.

What’s so funny?

Master Wong says you look like an upside down pear.

At first I thought she got it backwards and this old healer was telling me to take some poundage off of my big fat ass.

She smiled.

No no. Nothing you don’t know already. He says you think too much. All of your chi, all of your energy is in your head. That is why you have headaches.

Well, duh.

My massage therapist moved to Maui ten years ago and my head has been blowing up like a balloon off and on ever since.

Back to last summer, my elephantized metaphorical head, and my inability to get the constant stream of chatter to shut the fuck up so I could find out where I’d put my happy place. I mean, I couldn’t go for two hours walks and exhaust myself every day. Well, I could. It WAS summer. But I was enamored of blogging and wanted a quicker fix for my conundrum.

Blogging equals writing equals a creative outlet.

Blogging came with fringe benefits: Internet friends and blog buds.

Sitting in front of the computer for too long at a time couldn’t be good for my long term health care.

Not meditating and not centering oneself is not conducive to being creative.

A freaking vicious cycle of events was presenting itself.

In June there was Father’s Day as well as Son’s B-Day. They collaborated and together they acquired an X-box and the infamous game – Guitar Hero. Except for Son, we are not a big video game family. Husband, Daughter and myself have never joined Son for long when he’s gone through video game fazes. But we weirdly bonded over Guitar Hero. It started with Son and Husband. Which was fine with me because they weren’t on the computer and I had the office and internet all to myself. Then Daughter got on board. One day they pushed, pressured and cajoled me into trying it out.

I WAS BLOODY FRICKIN AWFUL. Screech scratch. Booed off the stage.

Son gave me some pointers.

I barely made it through “easy” level on Pat Benetar’s Hit Me with Your Best Shot.
But I was transfixed by those descending color notes. I started getting up before everyone (not unusual here –I am the early riser in this family) to practice. A video game. Who’d have thunk?
Before I knew it, an hour or two would go by, where I would tell myself, just one more song.

Was I hooked on the feel of air guitar??? Not exactly. It actually aggravated my carpal tunnel crapola.

The thing that hooked me the most was that in order to follow those descending notes, in order to score the highest for a song (OK. Highest on the easy level. WHATEVER.), I COULD NOT THINK. Incessant conversations were banned from my brain. Needless prattling and list making and planning and all that mind fucking chatter was cleared.

After my Guitar Hero session I would do my 10 minutes of yoga stretches and 15 minutes of “meditating.”

Once school started I stopped my jam sessions. I stopped stretching. I stopped even trying to get back to attempting transcendence. I recently read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now I’m convinced I need to go to an ashram in India and get professional help to find the silence and stillness while sitting cross-legged.

Until I can work that out, I’m heading for the X-box. Or a stretch and a silence. Whichever works.


Kate Lord Brown said...

Now I get the sunsets! You live in the most beautiful place on earth. Loved your posts on meditating. I too have butterfly mind (prefer that idea to monkey mind chattering away ...) Meditation *and* the chance to be a rock god before breakfast ... that sounds tempting.

K Dubs said...

Love it! LOL
Now Rock Star has come out and you can sing or play drums. Go figure.
Good for you for finding something that finally worked!!

Anonymous said...


cheatymoon said...

I knew where you were going with that. Good stuff. This is a classic *whatever works* situation. I've had the same experience with Tetris. Shuts down the chatter, for sure...

If you need a traveling companion for India - I'm in. Bali afterward, 'k?

InventingLiz said...

That's funny, ever since the beginning of this series I've been meaning to ask if you had read Eat, Pray, Love and if not, to recommend it to you!

But, who needs to go to India when you have Guitar Hero?

Pseudo said...

KLB The sunset last night was breathtaking. Then, a few hours later I watched your cloud video...

Kathy, Starr, and Liz - Yes, sometimes one has to go with what works.

Movie - I'm in for both - India and Bali. Let's say - once the boys are safe to leave on their own...

Just B said...

Love the story in the three parts!

I, too, have a chatty little friend in my head who loves to analyze and worry. She just never shuts up really.

That good, but all too elusive, writing groove is when she is quiet. As hard to attain/maintain as any meditative state!

May have to try guitar hero...

hillgrandmom said...

totally with you here. I get desperate to shut the chat in my head. So my way is also playing games online. Unfortunately no 'Guitar Hero'. Sounds good.

Rhea said...

That's so awesome. Who knew Guitar Hero was good for brain quieting?! I love it. I'm going to forever picture you as an upside down pear now. You might as well change your profile picture to that. :o)

Pseudo said...

I SHOULD change my profile picture to that.

Kristan said...

That actually makes a lot of sense... I'm similarly terrible and if someone tries to ask me a question I'm off for like 8 bars, bleh.

Guitar Hero should add that to their marketing:

"Kids, you'll love it. Parents, YOU'LL MEDITATE. Sounds weird, but trust us."

Jay Jay said...

Great story Pseudo. I have also had a go a guitar hero and I know what you mean.

I think a lot of women have the same problem, too much thinking and worrying. I also have read Eat, Pray, Love and think the same I need to to India and then Italy for the eat part.


Pseudo said...

Kristan - you could go into advertising! LOL

Jay Jay - Looks like you, Moive and I could take an astram trip someday...

Anonymous said...

So that's the attraction to Guitar Hero...that i understand...

and i think you may have just precipitated one of those flash of insight moments for me

quieting the voices is something i only notice i need to do when i TRY to meditate...obviously i'm really in denial and out of touch...the whole auto-pilot thing may be why i'm feeling like life is just going by in a now i really feel i need to shake up my life, thanks for that!!

Mama Dawg said...

Now THAT'S an awesome story and one worth waiting for. I love how it's a video game that did it for you. Mine's sitting on my swing on the front porch BY MYSELF.

Anonymous said...

No way: 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' was MY first song too! Wow!

As a musician, I turned my nose up at Guitar Hero when it first came out. It's not playing an instrument, I said. It's not understanding music, I scoffed. But then I tried it with my son, and it's FUN! And I agree, you can't think while you're playing. Yay!

Pseudo said...

Mama Dawg- I've always wanted to sit on southern proch swing. That's gotta be the best.

Goodfather - yay for not thinking once in awhile!

Lynn - the piggy bank painter said...

Hey, I am reading Eat, Pray , Love now. I am in Bali with the medicine man. I wish I had the time and money to do what she did for a year. Count me in on the ashram visit.

We don't have guitar hero, but dd has a gamecube and some supermario games, think that would work?

Pseudo said...

Hi Lynn - I don't know, you might just have to try it ; -)

I wish I could go off for a year too. Each leg of her trip had its own appeal.

Anonymous said...

Guitar Hero got me thru some pretty rough post surgery days. It forced me to concentrate on something outside of my pain and my own body.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

So Guitar Hero will stop the little voices in my head. I'm gonna have to look into this. This was a great story. I love how you told it in 3 parts. Not me, I prattle on forever. I think you found the right outlet for your creativity.

Pseudo said...

24 - does playing Guitar Hero count as PT for you?

SMB - Looks like after our food throw down, and full tummies, we will have a Guitar Hero mjam session.

Anonymous said...

love it, this 3 parter was absolutely great (& never who'd believed it about the video game clearing the mind but hey whatever works...)

btw, i am finally reading the book. india is slowing me down (but) i finished italy lickety split. which totally indicates... whatever.

(btw... the north shore is my ashram.)

Pseudo said...

Shaunna - NS is my astram too.