Here and now, ‘I love my busy mind’

This week a friend and I were commiserating about our inability to calm our minds. Coincidentally, the next day another friend posted this on Facebook:

Busy mind for blog

Nighttime. Inevitably that’s when my mind goes into overdrive—planning schedules and menus, making mental lists, writing blogs in my head, replaying recent encounters and conversations, worrying about family hundreds of miles away … endless scenarios.

Not that it’s in low gear in daytime, either. Likely I have what Buddhists call a monkey mind, one that jumps from one thing to another with lots of associated thoughts rushing around.

Or maybe I have short telomeres.

A two-year-old study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science suggested that restless minds could be linked to aging cells. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, looked at whether being able to focus on the ‘here and now’ predicts better health and longevity. They measured telomeres, little caps at the ends of cells’ chromosomes, to see how fast bodies were aging. Telomeres shorten with age and, sure enough, women with wandering minds had shorter telomeres.

The scientists advised brief periods of mindful breathing to calm minds. Really?! That’s exactly what I can’t do, and neither can my friend. Back to our conversation: I told her that I am aware of the accolades and benefits of meditation but have never been able to keep my mind from, well, thinking. She shared that when she began dating her husband, who can meditate for hours, she tried meditating for his sake. He encouraged her by suggesting that she continually count to 10 for a half hour and if a thought entered her mind she should start over. “I never made it to two,” she told him.

This is the same friend who several months ago proclaimed “I like my busy mind!” when a mutual friend was preaching to us about “being in the now.”

Me, too. Thank you. Her statement vindicated me.

busy mind 2

Oh, how I struggled to pay attention to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now CDs while driving to and from work several years ago when that was all the hype. But I constantly backtracked to play what I missed while my mind took me elsewhere … totally out of the now.

Certainly I get it that “now” is all we really have, but my mind appears to be addicted to two-way time traveling. And apparently I like those rides.

I don’t buy that aging excuse, either. I honestly can’t remember not having a busy mind. Or mouth.

While I profess to having tact and a filter, I admit to often blurting out what is on my busy mind. Frequently it comes totally out of the blue, to the dismay of my boyfriend who has no clue what I am talking about. He maintains that I talk too much. In fact, he relishes (always) winning our playful challenges of who will talk first.

busy mind 3

Must be true, though. My ex-husband, a police chief, once gave me what I initially thought was going to be valuable advice: “If you ever get kidnapped, start talking. They will pay me to take you back.”

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About Lorrie DeFrank

Retired and relishing the time to write about anything concerning people 65 and older, which is everything.
This entry was posted in 65 plus and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Here and now, ‘I love my busy mind’

  1. kingofob says:

    This quote works to keep me in the moment:

    “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
    -Lao Tzu

  2. My new mantra! So profound. Thank you!

  3. narife@cfl.rr.com says:

    Another great one – I have the same problem – must be a family trait – only regret is not falling to sleep at night – hey, I am not alone lots of people have this addiction- just sorry you are one of them. My love, Nancy

  4. mary says:

    I never ever want to miss even ONE of your posts, Lorrie. I think that says it all………

  5. murpheyshaw says:

    I like this one . . . However, I don’t have a talking problem, I have a listening problem . . . but don’t all men?

  6. Joan says:

    I had to read a few paragraphs a second time because your post reminded mind to get busy and wander off to think about other stuff. I was drifting back to the past and contemplating the future, so I had to pull myself back to the present. So, now I have read your latest blog post and happily in the present, as Ho Chi Minh, or Mao Tze Tung, or General Chow or Little Kim said. Oh, wait!! Please see above: it was Lao Tzu. Well, my mind is thinking about going to bed, so I’m back to the future. My telomeres are getting hopelessly shorter.

  7. You are hilarious, Joan! I should have used that clever writing technique. Yep, let’s blame it on those telomeres!

  8. Jeff McCartney says:

    Lorrie, I have found the following, used in the order listed, have helped me sleep: 1. Ten minutes of Zen. 2. A glass of warm milk. 3. A bottle of Scotch!

  9. That would definitely do it, Jeff! Thanks for reading my blog.

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