The closest I’ve gotten to meditation was the time that I modeled for a figure drawing class.
I wasn’t able to move so I spent the entire 3 hours staring at the same spot and trying not to think thoughts.
This mostly just led to a slight panic and intense internal brainstorming.
I may have left the session with forty new business plans.
Recently, over breakfast with one of my favorite people, they shared with me a new concept for meditation they’d discovered.
Instead of trying to not think, they’ve been looking at it as allowing their thoughts to simply pass by without engaging them.
So, the other day during some down time I took a minute to close my eyes and thought of a place that would be relaxing for me.
The first image that came to mind was a basketball goal.
I watched my thoughts dressed as basketballs floating over the rim like the cow who jumped over the moon.
Initially, I scoffed at myself for that seemingly odd choice.
But, I remembered my nights spent escaping there.
The house we lived in for the formative years of my life was an old farmhouse.
Small, white, falling apart at the seams.
It was meant to be torn down before we moved in.
But, my mom spoke with the owner and he gave us the chance to live there.
He couldn’t understand how anyone would be able to live there, but, to me it was beautiful.
My mom put a lot of love and attention into decorating and for the first time that I can remember there was room for each of us to have a make-shift bedroom.
My room was really a den that served as a walkway to my brother’s room and to the bathroom. My other brother’s room was actually just the back porch.
But, it was a home and we felt like kings.
Beyond allowing us to rent, our landlord found ways to help us make money.
My brothers would mow the lawn and I would baby-sit.
He even gave me a reference when I applied to work on the horse farm down the road.
He took a kind and giving approach to our family, something that he didn’t have to do.
At one point along our time there he paved a section in front of his work building and put up a basketball goal for my brothers.
Both of my brothers were gifted ball players and having a goal at home was something to celebrate.
At this time we had a step-dad who had a hearty addiction to crack-cocaine and a violent temper to compliment it.
When I couldn’t find another way out, I’d run to the basketball court.
I’d shoot baskets until I couldn’t anymore,
then, I’d lay on the pavement, the cool court on my skin and I’d listen to the screaming in the distance.
I’d stare at the sky counting stars and watching airplanes fly overhead.
I used to imagine that one of them would somehow see me.
They’d recognize that I could be more than that.
They’d rescue me.
Sometimes, I’d daydream about being someone on the plane.
I’d make promises to myself that I’d be different.
I’d leave as soon as I could and I’d really make something out of my life.
It’s a habit I sort of clung to I guess,
that need to run.
To be alone in order to collect myself and dream of a new reality.
I can remember all of my different spaces over the years and their own unique comforts that they’ve brought me.
The windowsill in Chicago, the dock at college, the roof of my Jeep, the banks of the seine, the swing outside of my grandmother’s house, cafe’s.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be great at meditation, but, I do know that I’m grateful to have learned early on that I can find solace anywhere I may be in the world, that all I need is a little quiet, a little bit of hope, and shooting a few hoops never hurt either.