Last night, late in the evening while hanging out with my traveling partner, I caught myself sniffling a bit. I shrugged it off and really thought nothing of it. Some minutes later, sniffling again, my traveling partner looks at me with a thoughtful expression and matter-of-factly notes “You got it. You got my cold.” I sort of brushed that off, hey – probably not? Maybe? Please? By the time we called the night over, I was sneezing.

This morning I woke too early, stuffy head, hearing muffled on one side, painful scratchy throat… I’m sick. Damn it. How tediously, grossly human. New job, new sickness? Nope, that’s for later, most likely; that one usually hits me about 3 weeks into a new call center job. lol I still have that to look forward to. This is more a souvenir of my traveling partner’s recent travels. Germs from afar! Like a present!  :-) I’m still smiling, still laughing… probably spending much of the day in bed. I’ve still got work tomorrow. Shit. Sick at work in an open office environment is both unpleasant to endure, and likely to encourage the spread of this wicked whatever-the-fuck-it-is. I’m fortunate that I can simple grab my laptop and make haste for a smaller space in which to work, safely away from coworkers. I take a moment to feel grateful I spent yesterday on laundry and housekeeping.

This writing is interrupted regularly for dealing with the biological outcomes of being ill. I find myself wondering “why bother?” knowing I’m unlikely to get around to saying anything particularly meaningful. I frown at that thought, and wonder a bit morosely if I ever do; life filtered through the misery of sickness. lol I’m okay. It’s a cold. It sucks, but it’s very human.

I write a bunch more words, about nothing much at all. I delete them due to lack of substance. I write a bunch more words, about mundane details of life. I delete them, too, due to a perceived tone that seems subtly whiny, and carelessly inattentive to points of privilege I am fortunate to enjoy (a roof over my head, a secure place to sleep, potable hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, a private bathroom, a well-stocked pantry, a fast internet connection… an internet connection, at all… there’s a lot that is easy to take for granted). I’m sick, and my writing reflects it. There are a lot of people who have a rough time of things in life. I’ve just got a head cold.

It is a head cold though, and having one feels miserable. Safe social practices make sense: hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, refraining from close contact, refraining from sharing utensils, food, or beverages, avoiding food prep tasks for other people’s meals, bleaching counters and surfaces – where possible, as I go. It’s not a lot, but these steps tend to slow the spread of illness. Even as sick as I am, I’ll take these steps as consistently as possible; being sick sucks, why would I spread that around? I “play it like a game” to stay mindful of good practices, since being sick also tends to cause a certain lack of fucks to give about pretty much everything else. I “win the game” if no one else I interact with catches the cold.🙂

Today is a good day for exceptional self-care. Today is also a good day to be mindful that I’m ill, and that illness is contagious. Today is a good day for a large box of tissues, and a handful of practices, and a good book.🙂

Morning came early today. 4:00 am on a Saturday seems earlier than necessary. I started the day with meditation, then yoga, quietly piecing together my self-care from the tattered remains of routines torn down by more spontaneous others. My traveling partner sleeps in his bedroom. His visiting son occupies another. I am awake, quietly, with my coffee, my laptop balanced in my lap, on a cushion.

The evening ended oddly. A wrong note in a beautiful symphony. A terse “you’re just wrong” interrupting an explanation, and an abrupt good-night hug and the evening was over. Human primates, still primates. In the moment, it felt dismissive and rude to be treated with disrespect, however inconsequential the detail. This morning I’m inclined to let it go; my traveling partner is as human as anyone. It was a moment, and the moment has passed. That it lingers in my recollection is more a matter of needing to take care to ensure that my hurt feelings don’t fester, and that I take time to acknowledge them, myself, and treat myself with respect and kindness. Emotional self-sufficiency for the win.🙂

As with any choice, there are verbs involved.

As with any choice, there are verbs involved.

The kindest people are capable of being unkind. The most peaceful people have the potential to be provoked into a moment of violence. The loftiest of goals is only a daydream, without actions. Our most heartfelt beliefs have no substance that we don’t give them ourselves; reality does not care what we believe. The people who profess their love for us are also most likely to hurt us, most often and most deeply. We are most easily hurt by those who matter most to us. I sip my coffee and consider these assumptions. They are part of who I am. I accept them, generally, as fact. Are they? Experience suggests they are, and I’ve learned hard lessons that tend to reinforce these ideas as true in my own life. Still… I don’t know that these are factual statements, only that they are statements that tend to express some experience I have had, myself, as clearly as I am able to express it.

Learning to comfortably accept that we are each having our own experience has also been a journey to understanding that our ability to empathize, to understand, to “relate” to each other builds on a peculiar thing; the tendency to assume shared qualities of mind, of thinking, of values, and of experience in those with whom we share life, which is in no way actually assured. We really are each having our own experience. There is no reason to assume you know what I know, that you have lived what I have lived. We are tempted into it by the vast quantity of shared and common experiences we do have… but there is so much more to each of who we are than what we tend to assume about each other, or perhaps even ourselves. There’s a limited amount of “we”, really, and it isn’t always quite where I think it is, myself. Oddly, we are also so much more similar than we tend to think of ourselves… it’s… complicated.

In context, the larger context of a lifetime, a moment of impatience or rudeness is minutiae, hardly worth a second thought.🙂

It's hard to unsay the words.

It’s hard to unsay the words.

The sky is just beginning to lighten. Occasionally I hear stirring in another room. A cough. A shuffle. A bump. Living creatures, living. Outside, too, life; ducks on the marsh call back and forth, disturbed by passing runners, and songbirds are commencing their morning announcements. Life. I sip my coffee and wonder what the day holds.

This here, this now, this is enough.

It’s amusing to me, this morning, that it took the better part of six months to stop reliably waking up before 5 am, even without my alarm set. One week of work, and this morning is a day off… and I comfortably and easily wake precisely at 5 am. No alarm. I could be sleeping in… only… I am no longer sleeping.

dododo

It’s always “now”, and the day begins.

An unreliable rain is falling. I’m sure it means to be a rainy morning for the effort the sky seems to be making, but so far it seems only a few moments of rain, and at best just a brief pattering of raindrops on the flue cover, before giving up. A half-hearted sort of rain. I’ve planned to be camping this weekend, with my traveling partner and son. My traveling partner was quite ill yesterday, and it seems unlikely he’ll be over it for a weekend of camping in the rain and chill of autumn approaching. I don’t yet know what the weekend really holds. It’s still quite dark outside.

I could expect to sleep in, and let the morning be wrecked out of frustrated expectations. I’d rather just get up, make some coffee, and enjoy the morning as it is, and so I make that a choice.

I could be invested in planning details of the camping trip that may or may not happen, and become irritable over plans not coming to fruition, or any number of life’s reroutes along the journey. I could be annoyed by the rain. I could be disappointed by my partner coming down sick, and become irritable over how inconsiderate I would also then feel. I’d rather simply enjoy the day, as it unfolds, maybe camping – prepared for it – maybe not – prepared for that, too, and enjoy life’s journey as it is. This too is a choice.

I could choose differently. Moment-to-moment, my will is my own – most particularly when I make it so. More verbs. Choose.🙂 Today is a good day to choose wisely, to choose joy, and to choose contentment. These are choices, my choices. What will you choose?🙂

I crashed out on time. I slept deeply through the night. I woke with the alarm clock, feeling alert, refreshed, and clear-headed, with my brain “firing on all cylinders”. Outstanding. I mean – it stands out, from recent mornings, generally. lol

My coffee is hot, sippably so, and tasty. My morning has flowed from yoga, meditation, showering, and dressing, to this point here, with my coffee and a few pleasant minutes to write a few pleasant observations about a generally pleasant morning. It’s Thursday, and I’m planned to be out of the office tomorrow, so I’ll be making today count.🙂

I breathe, and smile quietly to myself. I sip my coffee. I feel content and prepared for the busy day ahead. My brain tries a relatively amateur sneak attack, whispering to me “this too shall pass” with a mocking tone. I chuckle aloud. It sure will. That’s just true. I’m even okay with that. Hell – today, itself, might end differently than it feels it is beginning. Even that feels okay in this moment of contentment. I’ll just enjoy this one, right here, thanks.🙂

Getting started.

Getting started. Work requires verbs – the right verbs for the job.

Sometimes one or another practice will seem to require too much of me (meditation often falls into this category of practices), and I fail myself now and again, overlooking one or another practice that I actually rely on for physical or emotional wellness, and the result is usually quite exactly what I might expect had I actually planned to abandon that practice. I practice meditation because it benefits me over time. If I discontinue the practice, I lose ground fairly quickly in the area of emotional balance, becoming more volatile, more irritable, and less approachable. Same with yoga. I practice yoga because I benefit from it. If I discontinue the practice, I lose ground fairly quickly in the area of physical flexibility, mobility, and ease of movement, and that only takes a day or two. Each practice I’ve taken up and maintained has been maintained because that practice has specific value for me, day-to-day or over time – sometimes both.

Persistence is worthwhile – all that incremental change over time takes time, and beginning again is a thing that often needs to be done (in my own experience). No persistence means limited pay off.  It’s not rocket science. I mean, it’s literally not rocket science. Neuroscience.😀 It’s true – there is supporting science for so many of the practices that work for me! I’m not a scientist myself, and I have built my reading list on the insightful work of minds far more educated in the science of the brain and of the mind than my own.

I expect to be spending a lot of time studying new things for a while, things outside myself, things related to work, to the world, to changes other than those I have fostered within myself and invested in so heavily over the recent months. New software, new processes, new teams, new projects, charting a new course in life with new peers and colleagues also working to make a difference. That feels pretty good… and a little strange. I find myself feeling I need to live up to my work – which feels both wildly exciting, and a little nerve-wracking. Delightful. A tad scary. I feel inspired – at work. How odd. Beautifully alien in my own experience. I am savoring the experience.

So. Today wraps up the first week on the new job. So far, so good – and that’s enough.🙂

I’m tired tonight. It’s evening, and it’s been some time since I took time for writing in the twilight of the day’s last few minutes. It feels different, and for a moment my fatigue eases. That doesn’t last long.🙂

A new view.

A new view

I’m tired. New job. New commute. New routine. Less leisure time (by far) – and less time for self-care. Everything is compressed into the few hours that frame the work day. The lost time is my least favorite quality about employment. Still, with some organization, some memory aids, and a commitment to practice, today went better on the self-care side than either of the first two days.🙂 It’s enough. There’s more time to practice.

Tonight I am a woman of few words, having used those I had earlier in the day. I’m tired. “Brain tired” more than body tired; today I immersed myself in new puzzles, new programs, new processes, new language, new culture, new ideas, new collaborative partnerships, and began the work of building new processes for a new way of doing things. Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe the peculiar limbo in which I find myself cognitively. South Park plays in the background. Tonight it is too intellectual for me. I zone out as I write, one sentence at a time, checking the previous sentences of the paragraph each time. Spelling? Well… that’ll be a best effort, and I’m content with that.

The evening light is fading. I am too. It’ll be an early night tonight, and all the self-care I can gently manage in the time between this moment, and the moment I fall asleep. I need more practice. I suppose, tomorrow, I can begin again.🙂