Part 6: Ha-ha-ha-heartbroken

We’re going to practice mindfulness.

Make yourself nice and comfortable. Some people find it helpful to smoke. Obviously if you don’t smoke this won’t help at all.

Close your eyes and think about your breathing. As you breathe in, remember to alternate this with breathing out (footnote: not at the same time – you aren’t a trombonist. Or if you are, you may wish to put down your trombone). Feel the cool air going into your body, and the warm air back out again. It doesn’t really matter which hole it comes out of.

Focus on your breathing. Breathing is good! Breathing means you’re alive. (footnote: If you find you aren’t breathing, you may want to stop here)

Some people find it helpful to listen to something soothing. I advise the older reader against anything involving running water, or One Direction.

Now think about a beautiful place. Imagine you are lying under an umbrella on a lovely deserted beach. In the distance you hear waves lapping against the shore, and a gentle breeze rustling the fronds of the palm trees. It doesn’t really matter where your beautiful place is, but it should never be the Ikea ball pool.

As you breathe (Remember! In and out!), begin to count down slowly from fifteen to one (beware: watching Countdown or Fifteen to One will not induce mindfulness. It will merely create the illusion of slipping away into another room from which there is no return. Deal or No Deal on the other hand will however help you to reach mindlessness quite quickly)

By now you will be feeling relaxed and warm. Yes, thoughts of the everyday will pop into your mind, but just let them go! (footnote: this is no time to be planning a patio, or wondering where you get the gas from for the blowtorch thing that means you can make crème brulee).

Begin to become aware of your head. If it helps, it will be the large device through which you are breathing. Now think about relaxing your head. Allow it to loll. Loll is a beautiful word, and you will want to play with it on your tongue for a moment, but just let it go.

Become aware of your eyebrows – try not to think about the last time you got them seen to, but relax them. Think about your mouth, and as you do, think about relaxing it by, for example, shutting up.

Relax your chins – no-one can see you, and frankly, no-one is really watching – relax your arms, your legs, your stomach and your bottom. If you have breasts, allow them to fall naturally into your armpits. If you don’t have breasts, you may instead have a penis, so just let it go. It will be fine for a while.

You are aware of sounds around you, of the feel of the chair on which you sit, of your breathing, of the room temperature, but these are of no consequence as you are calm, relaxed and in a beautiful place.

While you’re in there, try to bring to mind a person. Someone perhaps from your past. Maybe someone who broke your heart. Try to remember how it felt, and if it helps recall, poke your eyes out with a stick, and make yourself sick.

See this special person with their special person. See them laughing and having lots of fun.

Got it? Try to make it very real. See their joy, smell their fragrance diffusers, taste their baba ganoush. (footnote: whatever)

Breathe deeply. Focus on your lovely beach.

Now see those two people throwing things at each other. Hear your once adored shouting “I hate you! You broke my heart! I loved you and all you did in return was treat me like shit! How could you do that to me? I loved you!” See the actual snot.

There we are. It feels good doesn’t it?

How to intellectualise shopping: Maslow – Part One

Shopping (along with post-its and Smart meters) is what sets us apart from the animals. History shows us that there is evidence of shopping dating back to earliest civilizations, but, like Pilates, it was mainly only undertaken by women (footnote: Pilates was not invented by Pontius Pilate but by his wife Tess). However, in 1943 something happened to change all of that.While people were busy fighting the Second World War and keeping all right minded people free of fascism, Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist, put forward his theory that people shop on five different levels. (This idea of course was taken on later by shops who now offer shopping on many more levels, some of them basement). His life’s work culminated in our ability to understand how shopping can now be categorized and therefore be taken seriously. Psychologists usually love nothing more than a two by two matrix but Maslow, having visited Egypt wanted to find a theory that would work in a pyramid and thus his hierarchy of needs was born. In essence, he said that our needs have to be gratified sequentially and we cannot achieve our potential until lower order needs are satisfied. This, in short, means we can’t get excited about Cath Kidston if we want a Nando’s. (footnote: some of us never get excited about Cath Kidston. I once thought I had hypoglycaemia but I’d just inadvertently stumbled into a CK and was trippy on polka dots and roses)

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