So this weekend, Lafayette's "8 Mile," part of our consolodated government, hosted a conference on mental health and therapeutic techniques. It consisted of a variety of talks, with a variety of speakers. One of its purposes was to provide continuing education credits for councilors in southern Louisiana.
So what was I doing there?
Well, first of all, I only went to one talk. My mom is on the "8 Mile" committee, so she had a lot to do with organizing this whole thing. Which had a lot to do with my dad volunteering his time to give one of the talks. My dad and I are going to start doing some stuff not so unrelated to this in the near future, so he thought it would be useful / beneficial for me to tag along for the show before I start working with him.
The talk that he gave was about creativity and creative visualization. One of the most important aspects of creativity and productivity is actually relaxation. can you believe it? Of course, I already knew this... I've been studying Cognitive Science for 4 years, almost have my PhD, took one of my comprehensives in Creativity, and studied under one of the top emeritus creativity scholars in the world today... So, I know a little bit about current research on the topic.
Anyway, to show the group effective and easy strategies for relaxation, my dad ended the talk with a guided meditation.
The talk was at a hotel; a lot of the attendees were from out of town. We were sitting in one of the conference rooms -- standard set-up, chairs facing the podium in front of the room. He said for us to get comfortable because we were going to do some relaxing. A lot of us moved to the back of the room so we could lay on the floor. He put on a microphone and started to tell us "how" to relax. Tighten all your muscles and relax them... Breathe deeply... etc, etc.
I got SSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOO annoyed!
Yeah, I was really relaxed, of course, but also really pissed off... ANGRY. And I'm not really a very angry person. And my parents are pretty cool people. And obviously, we're pretty close. So why was I getting so mad at my dad?
But he's guiding us through this meditation, and I'm just getting more and more relaxed but more and more aggrivated at the same time.
This is sortof a strange feeling, to feel a relaxation and a resistance to it at the same time... It's not terribly uncommon in people who can't let themselves go; those people don't like to meditate because they don't like to relinquish control. But I'm NOT one of those people. I meditate all the time. I teach Kundalini Yoga!
So I was laying there, thinking, I am so pissed! I want to run out of this room right now! I am SO relaxed and SO uncomfortable!
Then, I realized why: Growing up, having the "cool people" parents that I have, we never got spankings as punishments. And our punishments were not called "punished." They were called "consequated." How obnoxious! When I was 11 and I couldn't go out and play, it was because I was "consequated," who ever heard of an 11-year-old knowing the definition of that word?
Anyway, part of my "consequation" would be to have a discussion with my parents about what I had done wrong and why it was wrong. Sounds much less awful than it really is... These "discussions" usually consisted of my dad talking, my mom sulking, and a lot of resentful uh-huhs on my part. To make matters worse, he would talk really slowly (something that I always interpreted as sortof saying "you're an idiot so I'm going to talk slowly so you can understand"). He'd also talk real calm and deeply. These discussions would last at least an hour and a half. TORTURE! Seriously, if he'd of just spead up the speech a little bit, maybe I could've gotton out of there in about 15 minutes... (I should mention that one perk was that sometimes the discussions did give me a chance to tell my side of the story: why I had done what I did, why I didn't think it was wrong at the time, why I wouldn't do it again etc... In these rare occassions, I usually didn't get grounded... It's a wonder I'm not a lawyer!)
Anyway, today, laying there all relaxed and pissed, I realized that dad was talking in his "consequating voice" as he walked us through the meditation!
I talked to him on the phone a few hours after the talk was over. He asked what I thought about the presentation. I said, "Well, I gotta tell you, I hated the meditation part." Then I explained why.
He said, "Well, I guess that makes sense!" (laughing) "When we'd have those discussions, I was trying to remain calm, be clear, and make sure you understood what I was saying!"