By KAZ COOKE
This global trend for mindfulness and meditation makes me want to take a big, deep breath – and then distort my face into a Munchian maw and shriek until my blood pressure goes ballistic and my ears blow off in a cartoony way.
It’s genetic, I think. My nanna’s motto was, “The devil makes work for idle hands”, which, while leading to some objectionable macramé, does seem to have taken hold as the central philosophy in my own life. I can’t just watch TV – I also have to have something in my hands, like sewing, or a bowl of peas to shell, or an engineer.
Friends tell me that I am really, really bad at doing nothing. Even the idea of doing nothing is discombobulating. It makes me want to immediately start making an outrigger sail out of old napery, or design a sort of pulley system I can use to haul baskets of oranges up the stairs. Or start writing a romance novel set on the island of Fang a Tof’u, which I need to check the spelling of on Wikipedia immediately. (It’s Fangataufa, BTW.)
This is how I remember my nanna; she was always doing something. She could and did crochet an antimacassar out of old hankies, churn her own butter and slaughter a chook.
And now I can’t stop either, although I’m not being so useful or self-sufficient. I’m checking Twitter, or doodling, or looking at pictures of other people’s houses on an interior design app and wondering if this inexplicable global wall-antler fetish will run forever, or thinking about a hilarious thing I could have said at the right time, which is now about three weeks ago, and isn’t it excellent that there is an actual person called Boaty Boatright.
I have never understood it when people claim they were “thinking about nothing”. At any given time, I am thinking about eight things, at least seven of them useless. When researching my ebook, Sex With the Lot, I watched some DIY-style raunchy videos from “women-friendly erotica websites”.
They were deeply offensive. I have no idea what the protagonists were doing to each other because I was transfixed on the motel-style manchester and wallpaper. How anybody can get aroused on floral nylon with a double valance is a sorrowful mystery to me.
Then I started to think about who invented the valance, and remembered that Holly Valance is now married to some British squillionaire called Mr Candy. I don’t think this is what it meant by “mindfulness”. Although it certainly feels like mind-fullness.
I tried meditation. I had a tape that got you to close your eyes and imagine you were in a hot air balloon, which loosened its rope bonds and floated gently into the air. How terrifying is that? As the Californian accent droned on, I could only start to wonder how a balloon “loosened” anything – what is a balloon doing with free will?