That’s a simple enough observation to share on a quiet morning; it gets easier with practice. It’s true of nearly anything one might practice, and would go without saying for that reason, only… I don’t know about  you, but I regularly forget that. I’m not looking to achieve perfection through practicing; it’s enough that practicing helps. I’m delighted that both the practicing and applying the skill, task, process, or practice I am practicing does get easier. With practice. 🙂

Like pictures of flowers, it's worth it to practice.

Like pictures of flowers, it’s worth it to practice.

Yesterday had all the potential in the world to go very wrong. I had taken my dose of Rx pain relief the night before, and rather carelessly just toss the bottle back into its place without being particularly mindful that I had just taken the last dose. As in, I had run out. I work hard to prevent that from happening because the outcome of unexpectedly withdrawing from it is not pleasant. I didn’t really think I was at risk – there was another whole bottled right there…only… there wasn’t. That was an entirely different medication, and the re-fill of my pain-killer hadn’t yet arrived in the mail. That seemed no big deal in the morning, at least initially. I was in a great mood and not much pain. So I shrugged it off and went on with my day. Before I even got to work, my mood started to turn, and I felt this simmering anger in the background that I couldn’t explain – it was a lovely day and I felt great when the day started.

By the time I got to work I felt inexplicably resentful, cross, short-tempered and hostile. Being ever so human, my brain started to craft explanations that seemed reasonable, which – since there wasn’t anything wrong to cause the feelings I was having, didn’t bode well for the future of the day, or my mood.  Later, some juxtaposition of thoughts and observations drove me to take a ‘time out’ in a quiet corner and meditate for a moment or two, and as I gently considered my being, I realized I was in a lot of pain. A lot. That’s when the smile broke through, and my shoulders relaxed, and the ferocity building in my heart died away; of course I was in pain, I hadn’t taken my pain medication. The last piece slipped into place and I recognized that the medication I hadn’t taken easily accounted for the entire experience. My experience immediately improved. I still hurt. I spent the day in a lot of pain. I still had that headache, and withdrawing from a pain-killer unexpectedly does suck – but it’s totally survivable, only mildly unpleasant. Certainly, it does not amount to an emotional betrayal of any sort, and there’s no call to allow it to ruin a productive work day.

I spent the rest of the day almost merry. I phoned my physician, asked to have the Rx refilled at the local pharmacy. My at-home partner offered to pick it up on her way home so it would be waiting for me when I arrived. Emotional crisis averted. I even thought to pay myself on the back for not allowing my emotions to rule – or ruin – the day, and enjoyed a moment of quite celebration – practicing the practices definitely making an every day difference.

Yoga is harder when I’m in pain, but getting through a sequence that addresses that pain reduces the pain I’m in.  That’s one practice I definitely intend to keep.

Meditation doesn’t come naturally during an emotional storm, or an angry moment, or dark despair; that’s why it requires practice, and making that commitment has resulted [for me] in more emotional resilience, more awareness and presence, less fearfulness and anxiety, better sleep, and a deep sense of calm that is easier to reach. Another practice I’m fully committed to; it’s the most powerful Rx I’ve ever had for some of what ails me.

Self-care practices go unnoticed in the lives of so many people. Observation in my own experience tells me, sadly, that much of what is wrong with the world is how poorly we treat ourselves, care for ourselves (or don’t), and tend to our own needs; we are rarely able to do better for others than we can do for ourselves. I’m fairly strict with myself these days, in a loving way, about being on time with medication, getting enough sleep, eating right, and staying on track with fitness goals – because when I treat myself well, I treat the world well, and enjoy my experience more.

A lovely day to treat myself well, and enjoy my experience more.

A lovely day to treat myself well, and enjoy my experience more.

Today seems ordinary enough, in a very pleasant way. Today I’ll take my time, savor the moments, and enjoy my experience. Today is a good day to enjoy the world.