Excuse me, Mrs. Suter. Here’s the inner peace platter you ordered with a biggie-sized cup of patience and a side of calm. That’ll be $8.99.” Oh, if only a restaurant like this existed! Since it doesn’t, I went on a quest to replace the chaos in my life with a little tranquility. I desperately needed some quiet time and aloneness. Not that my boys aren’t delightful and precious, but holy cow, they can be, well, you know. You have children, right? So my journey began…

I enrolled in a yoga class.

The four-week course promised “centeredness” and a “release from daily stresses.” It sounded perfect. Until my husband got the bright idea to join me. I discovered during our very first class that my groom is a circus freak. I, on the other hand, failed to even complete a simple “downward dog.” By the end of the four weeks, I was even more off balance, while my husband was reveling in the glory of his perfect “King Dancer” pose. I decided to track down serenity on my own—without the human pretzel.

I tried aromatherapy.

One day I was sniffing lemon essence to relax my core and the next day I was peppermint huffing for energy. All it did was make me hungry. I decided to try a therapeutic massage. After my 50-minute session, I was so relaxed I couldn’t do anything. I was a jelly donut of lethargy and realized this wouldn’t work either. I needed something in the middle, you know, where my “third eye” is supposed to be.

Next up: my husband’s inversion table.

All you do is strap your ankles onto the board and flip yourself upside-down. Apparently, you have to be super careful not to engage in this up-turned activity unsupervised or you could get stuck. Yessiree, there I was, hanging by my ankles, blood rushing to my head until my eyes felt like they were going to pop out. I freed myself before I lost consciousness.

I moved on to meditation.

This required seclusion, so I locked myself in the bathroom. Step 1: Breathe. I totally had Step 1 down. Step 2: Clear your mind. Uh-oh. The more I tried to think of “nothing,” the crazier my thoughts became. Random, odd notions began littering my mind: Why do lawn gnomes wear hats? What if chocolate tasted like broccoli? Maybe it does and we just don’t know it. I was incapable of doing Step 2. Maybe if I chanted something Zen-ish I could void my mind of these—life’s greatest mysteries.

(knock, knock)
“Ommm…” (knock, knock, knock)
“Mommy? Whatcha’ doin’?”
“Meditating, honey.”
“What’s medicating?”
“Medi-tate-ing. I’m finding inner peace.”
“Peas? I hate peas! We’re not having peas for dinner are we?”
“Ugh! Coming…!”

Thus ended my search for quiet calm. It’s probably a good thing. All of that peace would have surely collided with my outer chaos and caused a cosmic explosion. So, for now, my Chakras will have to remain more Chaka Khan than aligned. My “center” will have to plummet earthward, right along with my buns and my boobs. And maybe, just maybe, that’s the point: to stand in the middle of a very loud life and search for tiny nuggets of stillness. Precious, fleeting, pea-sized moments to savor amidst the pandemonium. All far better than being twisted up, hanging by my heels or inhaling a manufactured odor. It’s the fragrance of a life in action and very far from being at peace. And I think that’s exactly how I like it.

Jane Suter is one funny mom.

Illustration by Colleen Johnson.