I woke with a headache this morning, and I woke several times during the night, returning to sleep with relative ease. The headache matters, and it is necessary to maintain awareness of the impact of disrupted sleep over time; my reactivity tends to increase over days and weeks of disrupted sleep. The headache, like much of my day-to-day pain, also doesn’t ‘matter’ in the sense that I make an effort not to be limited by it or allow it to call my shots, this can also put me on the path of lost balance, and lost perspective; I try so hard my own frustration becomes the bigger issue. Menopause or not, it seems I am lingering at the gates of Hormone Hell, too – or at least driving around that neighborhood in circles, lost. Night sweats. Hot flashes. Irritability. Difficulty maintaining a comfortable emotional connection to another.

Today is still an entirely new day, all potential, choices not yet made, reality not yet fully determined… I will do my best with it. Making the best choices in each moment is not the easy thing it sounds like it could be; I observe that whether something ‘sounds easy’ sometimes depends as much on the words as their meanings, which can be misleading. (Is there anything at all in my experience that has no potential whatsoever to be misleading?)

My coffee is good – and it was easy. I find myself being critical with myself, momentarily, for ‘not drinking it fast enough’ as I yawn through the morning, thus far. Day-to-day I can be ludicrously hard on myself, demanding far more of me than makes sense, or is even needed. The damage I’ve done to myself with the constant internal bullying, berating, and lack of satisfaction or encouragement has piled up over the years, and become part of the chaos and damage I fight now. I take a moment to adjust, to back up off of pressuring myself to drink coffee faster, and remind myself how lovely a leisurely morning, unhurried, unpressured, really feels.

Yesterday was challenging, not horrible, and had some wonderful moments to it. The finish was difficult; I was volatile after therapy and tired, and that can make me pretty unapproachable. People who like and love me still make the attempt and while I love that people are willing, and value me that much, it comes with risks and I ended up in tears over something fairly mundane, and feeling hurt and angry on a level that far exceeded what the event could possibly require. I took a walk in the night, enjoying the feeling of the icy rain pelting me for a couple of miles, and filling my lungs with the fresh cold air. Self-soothing, for me, often requires a combination of exercise, distraction, meditation, and distance that a long walk really captures; I sometimes feel as if I am ‘walking away from what is hurting me’. I contemplated how difficult it must be for my traveling partner to discover through the outcome alone that I am sometimes not as strong as I appear. It is one of the peculiar challenges of pursuing change and healing; change happens fast, but I am making active choices and using verbs, and my demeanor and affect do not always give away the contents of this fragile vessel, or the effort involved in being the change.

I made the wise choice to take a sick day yesterday, with some urging from my partner. I’m glad I did – and I think it sucks that the world, in general, benefited thereby, and he still ended up dealing with the grief and bullshit, himself. That seems particularly unfair. (I keep ‘checking the contract’ for life and living – there’s nothing at all about things being fair; this, too, seems unfair. lol)

Today’s okay so far. I’m tired. I have a headache. The increase in my Rx pain medication has been helping, but doesn’t really kick in for about an hour after I wake. I hurt, and I am patient with myself about that, at least so far.

Today is a good day to be less hard on myself. Today is a good day to remember that acknowledging where I am is necessary to get somewhere better. Today is a good day for good choices, and mindfulness that the good choices themselves have value, whatever the outcome. Today is a good day to remember free will is shared equally; we are each having our own experience…

Love in the World

Love in the World

…I wrote those words as the yelling started in another room, not even 6:00 am. OPD. (For the unfamiliar, that’s ‘other people’s drama’ – but often those ‘other people’ are those dearest to me). It wasn’t the raised voices of anger as much as the raised voices of frustration, hurt, and confusion, and it conveyed powerful stress in seconds. I add to my own stress and anxiety my concerns about the safety of the household in my absence while I am at work; today suddenly feels less safe, and less secure. I haven’t seen physical violence directed at people by anyone living here, but one member of the household is a destructive force to be reckoned with when upset nonetheless – and I do mean seriously destructive. The destruction of several door frames, doors, drawers, dishes, and a 25 year-old mahogany sideboard I lovingly hauled around the world for years testify to that. Many of my paintings can’t be hung because falling to the floor would damage them, and the risk is too high; doors have been slammed so hard here that paintings popped right off the walls and crashed to the floor. I don’t like discussing it, but it is real, and it is part of my experience; these are, in fact, experiences I promised myself I would not endure again. It’s wanton destruction of an utterly inappropriate nature (from my perspective), and it’s hard to determine whether anything at all is sacred; setting explicit boundaries about what is sacred to me hasn’t been effective. The sudden lack of household calm says a lot, and for me at least it amounts to a substantial loss of quality of life because it recurs with regularity. I dislike emotional weaponry; it tends to be both imprecise and very damaging, regardless who it is pointed at, everyone in the vicinity is feels the impact. This morning it’s my traveling partner who is ‘down range’, but we’re both stressed and concerned, and we’re both affected. I will go to work anxious and trembling, and my traveling partner will be working at home, dealing with his stress and trying to remain calm and productive after the difficulties of the morning. Doubtless it will continue to stress and trouble everyone involved for some hours, and my writing feels constrained and self-conscious as I struggle with my words. I know from experience that secrecy begets continued problem behavior, as well as isolating me from support and the comfort of being heard; I struggle on, hoping to say only enough to feel heard, and to be accurate about my own experience of the moment.

This moment is harder than others. I don’t know what’s next, at all. Also hard. This too shall pass.  I will continue to do my best, practice my Big 5, take care of me, treat others well, make the best choices I can, and hope that these are ‘enough’, somehow.

Today is still a good day to be less hard on myself. It’s still a good day to do my best. Today is still a good day to take care of me, and make good choices – hard choices, too, some days. We are each having our own experience, sure, but we’re all in this together. Treating each other well may be the one thing we can all easily do to save the world from our own destructive power.

What do you see when you look at the patterns in your life; your choices, or circumstance?

What do you see when you look at the patterns in your life; your choices, or  your circumstances?