There is a Multi-Ring Circus in My Brain.


There is a multi-ring circus in my brain.

In the Big Top, Breathing is a ringmaster who performs perpetually, whether anyone is in the stands surrendering their awareness or not. It’s not long before the side shows draw me away.

In this tent, memories of when Thurman Munson(1) lost his head.  There are only a few of us present, but we have a good laugh.

In the next tent, the freak show of the future is featured, in which I am in an emergency room (with Ralphie because it is too hot to leave him in the car) where we have rushed to tend to Fletcher who was hit by a car while stubbornly riding his bike to the shore.  Ah, the future. It never disappoints. In my future they let dogs in hospitals. 

It’s back to the Big Top, where Breathing is performing daring feats of….nope, still just breathing. Feel it in your nostrils, feel it in your belly, then wander off again.

Between circus rings, I wonder how I am able to sit in the sun with a sweatshirt on when it is 87 degrees. As long as I am meditating I don’t seem to feel the heat. Weird. Fletcher says he wants a new pillow that is “robust,” which strikes me as an odd description for a pillow.  I do like the word ‘robust’ though, and vow to use it in a sentence today.

“‘Grandma did you do your kegels today?’ I shout.”  These words come to me as a brilliant first line of a short story I discovered I need to write at just this very moment – the only moment that exists, so I should focus on it and be aware of it, my meditation guide(2) tells me.  He tells me I need to befriend my pain at this moment, the only moment that exists, and become intimate with it. He tells me this in a voice that sounds like a chill Woody Allen. Imagine Woody saying the word “intimate” and try not to get creeped out.

In the next ring, the beautiful horse from the farm down the street is cantering around and around and around.  It is dappled gray and fat.  A beautiful woman swings and splits and stands upon it, yet its movement is constant, constant, constant. The rhythm of its canter synchs with my breathing. I wander back over to the Big Top.


I bring awareness to my breathing and manage to keep it there for more than a nanosecond. Perhaps I should spend more time in the Big Top. My guide insists I am doing great and that this is how it’s supposed to work – no matter what bizarre things go on in my head, no matter who arrives on my brain porch, whether my thoughts include pain or cancer or when I’m going to clean the sand out of my car, I just keep bringing my awareness back to my breathing. Then I notice that the cotton candy machine is in the Big Top so I bring my awareness to that as well.

I refer here to Thurman Munson the stuffed NY Yankees mascot doll, not the crackerjack Yankees catcher that was its namesake, although both had tragic endings.
 2 Jon Kabat-Zinn is a great meditation guide. I’m using this: Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief – Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life
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