I've touted myself as a monk in a minivan since I meditated my way from panic to peace.
I spent a year learning stress reduction techniques and life lessons from the wisest, most compassionate teachers, healers and mystics I could find.
I thought I'd achieved lasting inner peace.
So why, just because this is an election season, have I fallen prey to the prognostications of panicking political pundits? The screeching of tense talking heads on TV is threatening to erode all the progress I've made.
"Chill out," I want to tell Chris Mathews, Chris Wallace and Chris Hayes. "Hold that thought!" I want to tell Chuck Todd. David Gregory is making me anxious. Morning Joe is making me miserable. I am trying to stay balanced and grounded while everyone around me is twitching and tracking polls.
Every word out of every candidate's mouth is being analyzed. Every spin doctor is pandering and throwing punches. Like the singing contestants on The Voice, who must face each other in "Battleground Contests," President Obama will be confronting Mitt Romney again onstage tonight at their last debate. His supporters are anxious, his detractors are ratcheting up the pressure, the judges and coaches are preparing their critiques before the performances have even started, wardrobes are being worried about, and I'm hiding in bed.
President Obama, the pundits say, can't be too hot, and he can't appear too cool. He can't appear too smart, or he'll be too professorial. He can't make a stupid gaffe or he'll seem out of touch with our pain. He can't get angry, and he can't be passive. He can't call Mitt Romney a liar because that wouldn't be presidential. He can't sit still while Mitt Romney spins the facts. Or lies.
He can't smile too much, or he'll be a clown like Joe Biden. He can't scowl, look down at his notes, shake his head or frown.
I could never run for president.
What would pundits say about me if my every move could be scrutinized? If someone installed a hidden camera in my house, they'd be shocked by all the time I spend in bed. I'm a writer, and my laptop settles into the folds of my bathrobe perfectly. Why use a desk when my bed is so cozy?
"Does she ever get dressed?" I can imagine Chris Matthews screeching.
"Does she ever get out of bed?" I can see Bill O'Reilly smirking.
"She's up in the middle of the night munching on cookies!" I can imagine a svelte young pundit revealing.
"If she'd cut down on caffeine she'd sleep better."
"If she'd get more exercise her writing would improve."
"She's too laid back."
"She looks sort of anxious."
"She never stops checking her Twitter feed."
"She spends way too much time on Ebay."
"Can you believe how long it's been since she's written anything decent?"
"Why doesn't she buy some new pajamas?"
"Or clean her laptop? It's filthy!"
"She's a lazy, out-of-it wimp!" I can imagine Andrew Sullivan saying about me.
That is, after all, what he said about President Obama, while criticizing his performance in the first debate. And Andrew Sullivan counts himself as a supporter of the president.
With friends like that, who needs frenemies?
"Let him who is without sin cast the first pun," I'd like to say to the people who are revving up my nerves instead of inspiring us all to vote. One man's wimp, after all, is another person's dignified president.
What if we just followed this election for ourselves, moment to moment, living in each actual moment as it happens, without checking to see how anyone else on the planet is interpreting that moment? Wouldn't that be a better way to prepare ourselves to cast ballots?
Wouldn't that be a better way to live at all times, especially during such important times? I can imagine all of my teachers and therapists nodding their wise heads.
When I meditate regularly, I am less reactive to the world and more reflective. So I'm "upping my meds" during the last days of this long presidential campaign.
I'm trying not to prejudge anyone. I'm trying to listen to substance instead of spin. I'm not soliciting everyone's opinion. I'm trying to shut down the noise in my head. I'm hoping to hear what people are saying instead of how all the pundits are reacting. I'm trying to think for myself and use my own mind. I'm vowing not to jump to conclusions. To sit still and listen. I hope to stay calm so that I can process complicated ideas. I'm trying to manage my emotions so that I can hear, think and speak clearly.
Maybe I am actually a monk in a minivan.
Or a bathrobe.
For more by Priscilla Warner, click here.
Priscilla Warner co-authored The New York Times bestseller "The Faith Club." Her new memoir, "Learning to Breathe -- My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life," is published by Free Press. Follow her on Twitter on Facebook or on her website.