Archives for the month of: January, 2015

Yesterday had its challenges. New physician, time for a physical, and that means medical history questions. I’ve come a long way… it’s still hard to watch dispassionate professionalism morph within minutes to troubled compassion…then…appalled saddened dismay. It’s hard to answer some of the seemingly simple questions; the ‘when’ questions about surgeries become ‘why’ questions so easily. Questions about ‘how it happened’ easily become tears. I left my appointment really proud of my strength; I said things yesterday I’ve never been able to just say to a doctor before, and I didn’t need a tissue, just some time to breath.  It felt like a A+ on a report card. It felt like an achievement. I headed home feeling… proud of myself.

I arrived home feeling something too… only… what? My traveling partner observed fairly quickly that my demeanor and tone seemed a bit ‘on edge’. I held on to some hope that I could just get past that with some small effort… and then I just didn’t. Within minutes some perfectly unimportant moment of tension, resulting from a bit of miscommunication, turned into a PTSD reaction, complicated by a disinhibiting brain injury. I fell apart – how could I… why can’t it… why doesn’t it ever seem to end…? My traveling partner caught the emotional blast head-on, and performed a heartfelt act of emotional heroism; he rolled with it and supported me with a best effort that proved to be ‘enough’. Neither of us was aware in the moment that I might be reacting to my appointment – I didn’t take time to evaluate that sort of thing until later. I was too busy trying.

My dear love’s stroke of genius  – an intellectual distraction and a shared creative project – pulled me back from the brink of hysteria and rage, and along the way opened my eyes to a couple of things I may be able to use, for myself, later on (hint: there seem to be ‘lucidity’ gaps in the chaos these days; I am hoping to learn to take advantage of them).  I need time to think them over before I share more. Actually – I need quite a bit of time, to think a couple of things over that I have lacked ‘the time’ to really meditate on and process fully.

My choices reflect poor self-care practices, and I need a break from a whole host of small things draining my bandwidth and my emotional resources.  Specifically? I need back all the time I currently spend on digital information. It’s crept up on me over weeks and months – bad habits returning. So, I’m taking a short break from the digital empire, logging off social media accounts, distancing myself from email communication, and here, too… setting a specific expectation that I’ll be gone for a few days, taking care of me. Sort of an ‘elimination diet’ for the mind, I suppose.

The sun rises; even on the busiest morning, taking time for a sunrise matters.

The sun rises; even on the busiest morning, taking time for a sunrise matters.

Today is a good day to watch the sunrise. Today is a good day to invest in the very best self-care. Today is a good day to say ‘thank you’ to the people who support us, even when we hurt them most. Today is a good day to take a break from the world.

I hadn’t really noticed I’d lost sight of ‘the future’ until I was inspired to plan on something a bit further along on my calendar – more than a year away. I’d been bouncing between past and present, working to hold myself firmly in the moment…and forgot about the future, more or less completely, which seemed odd once I noticed it.

I’m sipping my coffee this morning, feeling something sort of anxiety-ish, and recognized that I am actually excited, which is quite a different feeling. I find it hard to focus on things that matter less than this idea that hovers in the distance, still just a plan, and an intention. I am planning a solo hike in the Olympic National Park. I was inspired by a recent article about the quietest places that remain within reach, places where one can stand in stillness and not hear the sounds of humanity’s machines in the background. The Hoh Rainforest is one of them, apparently. I’m not sure the ‘where’ really matters at all. I could as easily be planning a solo hike in the Grand Canyon, or Death Valley, or the high desert of southern Oregon, or the Yukon wilderness…all remarkable places, all with wilderness within reach, all having that ‘remote’ quality that so often accompanies a sense of stillness. It is, rather obviously at the moment, the planning that matters most.

One detail of this fragile 'now'.

One detail of this fragile ‘now’.

There are actually quite a lot of places of beauty and wonder to see in the world. Seeing them before they are gone seems like a good idea. I’m not ready to do 2 weeks in the wilderness alone, quite yet, though – thus the valuable planning time, equipment testing time on shorter hikes and camping trips nearby, and study. Yes, I’ll actually be studying the trail, the history of the area, the local flora and fauna, reading trail reports from other hikers, looking at maps with great care, reading FAQs from the Forest Service… and daydreaming of a long long walk with a big big smile.

The map is not the world...

The map is not the world…

There’s a lot to consider. I enjoy the planning, and the anticipation, and the focal point on the horizon of my future…more than a year away. 15 miles down the trail would be a poor time to discover I forgot my bee sting kit… or didn’t break in my boots… or really can’t carry enough food for the trip… I’d rather get all of it worked out beforehand, as much as possible – to do literally my best planning to enjoy a great experience is the goal.

Small details sometimes have big impact.

Small details sometimes have big impact.

I had a notion to check on something small that matters to my self-care, and happily report that SuperBetter now has an Android app! I’ve been waiting for this – I’m not at my workstation at the best times/places to use SuperBetter most effectively. The Android app is a delightful upgrade there.

It’s funny that although all these things are important, something else that I finally understood more clearly soaked into my consciousness about communication, following a really enlightening conversation with my traveling partner yesterday morning before work. I hadn’t previously understood a basic concept of hierarchy in delivery of information that can be applied easily to spoken word, and although after-the-fact it seems odd that I hadn’t understood it (to the point of being vaguely embarrassing after more thought), it is an idea with power and value; deliver the highest level summary first. Answer the yes/no question with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). It’s the listener’s opportunity to engage, and that is the fundamental starting point of conversation, shared interest, and connection. I have long tended toward verbosity. You probably already know that. 😉 I am eager to see where this new understanding may take me, and how it may affect my relationships.

Today is a good day to arrive at a new starting point, and begin again. Today is a good day to consider the future, too. Today is a good day to plan a journey – don’t forget to bring a map! Today is a good day to remember that the map, however detailed, however lovely, however accurate it may seem, is not the world.

Some of these winter mornings – and evenings – are quite foggy here. I don’t mind. I love the mystery of it, and the sense that with each step I am crafting the very fabric of existence from my thoughts and imagination. I know that’s not a practical sort of perspective on existence, but it’s a fun one, and on foggy days I enjoy it greatly.

Walking in fog; it's a metaphor.

Walking in fog; it’s a metaphor.

Each day is another step on a very peculiar journey. I’ve made some progress along the way – and some mistakes. I practice appreciating the progress, and learning from the mistakes. They seem worthwhile practices.

I slept well last night, and my coffee is hot and tasty. I am in pain. Simple observations of my experience seem sufficient this morning. I look at the day ahead without expectations and prepare to accept, moment-to-moment, how human I am…mistakes, harsh words, moods, awkward moments, and all. I do not know where life’s journey leads, but I keep heading down my path, eyes wide with wonder, and present in the moment.

Today is a good day to be the cartographer on this strange journey. Today is a good day to take a better look at my map. Today is a good day to remember that the map is not the world.

Sometimes growth and progress feel a bit like a fancy pattern of dominoes lined up carefully in a row, standing, waiting…for one small push, and having received it, they topple one into the next, as necessary as breathing, to a conclusion that sometimes both surprises, and also seems rather obvious.

Yesterday was a good day. It was not without emotion, but emotions were not overwhelming or disabling me. Work was work. Home was home. I was feeling a tad on the practical and ‘no  nonsense’ side by the time I got home. Still, it was a pleasant evening of hanging out. Uneventful. Calm.

I felt inspired off and on, and excited to explore new thinking on old pain…and took notes all day. Looking those notes over this morning, there is an evident thread of hurt and frustration woven through the narrative of the day that only shows up in the brief, sometimes terse, observations that although significant seeming, were a distraction from the workload facing me. I look back on them and wonder how much of it is truly relevant; damn little of it is at all inspiring now. I am at a place in life where it would certainly be a goodness to give up day-to-day employment to focus on my own needs and agenda…but our society isn’t really set up that way, and the financial obligations of adulthood find me continuing to maintain employment.

I’m committed to slowing things down a bit, and taking care of me. The timing is right for planning the upcoming hiking/camping for the year, and I enjoy the planning and anticipation, itself. I’m eager to be out among the trees, in the stillness, just being. Quiet and content, and able to hear my own thoughts for more than 5 minutes at a time…trees rustling in breezes…small creatures approaching with cautious curiosity…home. This week I think I made a small breakthrough with regard to emotional self-sufficiency, love, lust, and sexual needs. Explaining it well would require words I have not yet mastered, but I feel more connected within myself, which has apparently been holding me back of late. There’s some other stuff, important on the inside… perspective… identity… self… other… (and much, much more!)

I didn’t sleep well last night. Meditation sort of… consumed a bunch of time unexpectedly. Then there were some lovely minutes of cuddling. Then… I was awake. Awhile. A long while. No fussing or anxiety to it, I just wasn’t sleeping. I went back to meditating at a number of points, which I have been finding definitely keeps the anxiety at bay. I feel okay this morning. I know I’ll be tired tonight. Managing good self-care throughout the day will be critical, and I make a point of taking note of that need for attentive self-care, and set a small number of extra reminders for today; later on I may not be my sharpest.

Here it is another day. Will I learn something new? Will I make good choices and treat others well? Will love find me in some unexpected moment? Will sorrow? I hear the espresso machine in the background and I think of love… and coffee. Today is a good day to make good choices. Today is a good day to take the time to take care of me. Today is a good day to slow down for a moment, and really just savor it. Today is a good day to change my experience.

Taking the journey with my eyes open, and walking a mindful path... what will I see?

Taking the journey with my eyes open, and walking a mindful path… what will I see?