True Confessions of an Imperfect Meditator

Posted by Kelley Bren Burke on

Last week I found myself drinking wine, doing sit-ups, and meditating. All at the same time.

I found myself drinking wine, doing sit-ups, and meditating. All at the same time. 

Last Friday, I opened a bottle of wine after dinner with my husband Chris. I lay down on the couch with my book and a glass of wine. Chris told me he was going to meditate, so I decided to meditate with him instead of reading. We’ve been using the 10% Happier app for guided meditations lately. The meditations on this app often have 3-5 minute video intros with teachings about meditation. 

Chris chose a meditation that I had done recently. I got bored during the video intro, so I started doing sit-ups. During one sit-up, I noticed my beguiling glass of red wine on the table next to me. What the hell, it’s Friday. I started taking a sip of wine on some of the UP parts of my sit-ups. 

I glanced over at Chris. He was sitting upright, quietly, with his eyes closed. Only then did I realize my lunacy. 

Sometimes I’m a lil’ aggressive in my approach to self improvement. I know this about myself, but I hadn’t experienced a moment that displayed my tendencies quite so exquisitely. I was doing sit-ups and drinking wine DURING meditation. I burst into laughter. Fortunately, Chris is used to me being me, and this was a classic Kelley moment. 

Further confessions of an imperfect meditator

A few days later, I was lying in bed after my husband’s alarm went off. It was time for him to get ready for work at the hospital. 

As part of my well-being regimen, I spend a few minutes in bed setting my intentions for my day and counting my blessings. I was cuddling with our dogs in our cozy bed. I didn’t have to rush out into the freezing Minnesota morning. I’m so grateful.

Then I rolled over and grabbed my iPhone and lazily clicked on Facebook. My friend had shared this post:

Those cuddly grateful thoughts flew right out the window. Every morning is a fresh hell with this Trump presidency. 

Thinking about Trump is the worst possible way to start my day. Okay, change gears. Time to get up and meditate. I went to my meditation chair and flipped through my meditation app, looking for a helpful topic. I saw they had one on anger. Perfect, I thought. I clicked on the anger meditation, and saw that it was 24 minutes long. Ain't nobody got time for that, I thought. 

Instead, I choose a ten-minute mindfulness meditation. The man leading the meditation kept repeating the instructions to mindful labeling in his calm meditator’s voice. 

"If you visualize something during meditation, label it as 'seeing'. If you hear something, label it as 'hearing'. If you feel something in your body, label it as 'feeling'."

I felt smug. I’ve been doing variations of labeling during meditation for about a year and a half.

“Got it, dude,” I said.

Nonetheless, he persisted. “Seeing . . . hearing . . . feeling . . . And if none of those apply, simply label it as ‘gone’.” 

“GOT IT, DUDE!” This time I said it really loud. 

My husband was in the kitchen packing his lunch. I had been narrating my experience to him this whole time, and he laughed. He kissed me goodbye and left for work.

I decided to buckle down and meditate. I was freshly recommitted to it. Then our dog Gracie piped up with her signature high-pitched bark. She barked for about three minutes while I meditated and seethed. I interrupted this to text Chris:


I laughed. The meditation ended. Time for coffee and another day of well-being and self improvement at the Burke household.

Are you an imperfect meditator? I'd love to know! If you liked this post, please comment or share it with your friends on social media. 

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment