Now that Halloween is over, you don’t have an excuse to obsess over candy, costumes, and creepiness, but you still have your neurosis.
Neurosis, as defined by the dictionary, is a “relatively mild mental illness not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress… ” You might know it as a behavior like: worrying about the amount of candy you need to buy. And then realizing, if you give two pieces to each child, you don’t have enough candy for the entire neighborhood. Of course, you need to buy more, but rationalize that you’ll only buy the brands you like just in case the horde of kids don’t show up, you might as well eat what you enjoy. But don’t eat too much candy, you remind yourself because the sugar will expand your middle and eventually cause diabetes. And then you’ll die.
Or you might picture yourself as the obsessive compulsive “Fright Night” decorator like Claire Dunphy in the latest Modern Family episode. When she tries to out-decorate her obnoxious, medical marijuana-selling neighbor to win a scary house competition, leave it to precocious teen Alex, dressed as Tess McGill from the movie Working Girl, to “help her mom realize that putting on a scary Halloween is what helps Claire feel like an edgy, not boring mom.”
Even if Halloween didn’t raise up any neurosis from the dead, the holidays should do it for you. Thanks to retailers and grocery stores like Wegmans, staff was stocking shelves with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah-themed decorations on Halloween. I know because I was at Wegmans searching the aisles for one more bag of candy (I bought two).
With Thanksgiving in 25 days at this writing, many moms get hostess neurosis in an attempt to recreate a Norman Rockwell-style dining experience. We stress ourselves to the point of tears just to achieve Martha Stewart perfectionism – though it doesn’t exist – and in hope of avoiding a repeat of last year’s dysfunctional family drama.
The good news is that you haven’t lost complete touch with reality; you’re just a little “bent.” Or as my son would say, “Mom, you’re cray-cray.”
Like many people, I strive to become more mindful by practicing meditation and yoga. What really happens as I cleanse my inner windows of perception, is that my neurosis tends to bubble up anyway. Despite my wish to remain open, I hold tight to my old ways. It’s unavoidable, according to Pema Chödrön. The point is not to use meditation and yoga (or even medical marijuana) to avoid feelings of inadequacy or uncomfortableness, but embrace your neurosis.
“We can’t stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention to give them.” writes Deepak Chopra in his 7 Myths of Meditation post. In this spirit, I’m going to embrace and celebrate my neurosis today, and everyday – right after I get rid of all my leftover Halloween candy.
What do you think?
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