You Have Bees in Your Head (and Ants on Your Skin)

I try to meditate the proper way. I really do. But it feels like I have bees buzzing around in my head. So many thoughts zipping this way and that. And I don’t even go for the long haul. The Breathe app on my watch only allows five minutes, max. But the bees buzz the whole time and seldom will they be silenced.


How is it that I can go all day perfectly fine? Yet when I try to sit still and calm myself, tiny itches sprout up all over my body. It’s like I have ants marching across my skin. I once read that these phantom itches are the ghosts of bugs unwontedly squashed by your foot.

So how does one get a decent calmness on?

My father, who has delved into Buddhist meditation, tells me that the thoughts should be viewed as clouds in the sky. You note them, but then let them drift on. Our tendency is to follow these wisps of an idea and let it develop. Often I emerge from these mini-meditations inspired with a new project. 

But I don’t think that’s the entire point. You see, I’m also a statistician (the product of two accountant parents) and numbers hold a significant portion of my attention. Thus I track my heartrate for each of these Breathe sessions. I’ve never gotten below 72 beats per minute. And often I land in the mid 80s. So how do I calm my cluttered mind?

I find that slipping into art soothes me. Coloring a sketch or rereading a section of prose allows my brain to slip into a default mode, such that the worries and concerns flitting inside my skull settle down for a few moments. That’s why, no matter how many mediation sessions I do, nothing relaxes me more than jotting a little sketch or doing a bit of writing.

So if you’re like me, and the bees keep buzzing in your head, try using your art as a way to meditate. Even if it’s just working through a coloring book. Whatever it takes to get those bees back in their hive.

Tim Kane

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