I’m groggy this morning, and fighting fatigue and arthritis pain. Well, not ‘fighting’ them, so much as acknowledging and accepting them, doing what I can to improve the situation, and moving on. Yesterday was one of those busy sorts of days that pushes the limits of endurance, and skill, and ends with a feeling of profound satisfaction in job well done, which was awesome. This morning, however, I am groggy. I was so tired after work yesterday I crashed much earlier than usual. After a couple of hours of deep sleep, I spent the night waking more or less hourly in response to my brain tossing work-related questions at me all night, which I dutifully woke myself to answer, before returning to sleep. It was not the most restful night of sleep I’ve ever had, and waking to the infernal beeping of the alarm, which rarely happens, isn’t a pleasant experience for me.

I feel ‘behind’ on everything this morning. My consciousness feels fuzzy and somehow always arriving late for the moment I’m in. There’s not a lot to say about this state of being. It is what it is. It will pass. It is relevant but unimportant. It’s ‘weather’, not ‘climate’.

Yoga, meditation, a shower, espresso, correspondence, Facebook… and now, a few moments, a few words, the rhythmic sound of fingers on keys; a new day begins.

I have no keen observations on my very human experience this morning…only observations of the most mundane sort: my room is untidy, in spite of my love of order, and this is telling. I tend to descend into disorder under stress. My hands are not as neatly manicured as usual, and I’ve bitten my pinky nails down to the quick; this also tends to be limited to times of stress. In the past 10 days, I’ve had two headaches that felt like transient ischemic attacks, which I had fairly regularly for many years, but which I’d not been having for a long while (about 4 years, I think). I associate that experience with stress, too, although it could perhaps be something else altogether.  Interestingly, I don’t feel – emotionally – as if I am under a lot of stress.

A moment of stillness can change so much.

A moment of stillness can change so much.

I take time to meditate a few more minutes, and return to writing feeling calm and content and soothed. Keeping an eye on stress matters. It’s not generally necessary to exist under that amount of stress; I have choices I can make to alleviate a lot of it. It helps to know where it is coming from. In this case? Work. Yep. Simply that.  I experience some internal conflict over it, because on the one hand – it’s amazing work, I’m good at it, and I’m valued… but feel some performance pressure, nonetheless, to really ‘wow’ the company I work for.  Pretty common, I’m sure. On the other hand? Well, frankly… I don’t place a high value on being an employee, on ‘gainful employment’, or on ‘having a job’, because these are not experiences that define me as a human being. There is so much more to me than work! I’d happily retire this very moment, if I were financially prepared to sustain a simple life of sufficiency for the 30-60 more years I might be around. I’m not, so I can’t… the stress I’m experiencing comes from being aware of how little I actually ‘care about’ work, in the face of how much pressure there is to do it very well right at the moment. Quite a balancing act.  I find myself surprised every time I meet someone who claims to really want to be employed. I’ve been working on figuring out how to be retired since I was about… 18. I have stuff I’d like to do, and so little time for me…

My at home partner becomes a traveling partner tomorrow.  I’m sure I’ll miss her.  There’s a small amount of stress there, too… both partners away for days means a weekend of painting, and I’m so excited about that time for myself, that I have the sense of it being ‘inappropriate’ or somehow unkind. Silliness, and I recognize it as such, but there it is. I am so very human.

I take another moment or two more for meditation, self-compassion, loving kindness, and awareness of how good it feels to have this time to meet such an important need for myself. Content solitude is a precious gift of love, and I’m eager to honor it, savor it, and take advantage of it creatively.

Awareness and presence need no excuse, but do require practice.

Awareness and presence need no excuse, but do require practice.

Today is a good day to be who I am. Today is a good day to be considerate of myself, and others. Today is a good day to celebrate small successes, small victories, and everyday joy. Today is a good day to appreciate that we’re all experiencing our own pain, and to be mindful that a moment of compassion can make a big difference in the world. Today is a good day to be gracious, and to be generous. Today is a good day to change the world.