This morning I woke feeling anxious. There’s nothing wrong, as far as I can tell. I am not in pain or struggling with difficult circumstances. It is a lovely chill morning, nearer to summer than to spring. I slept with my window open to cool the apartment overnight; it had gotten quite hot after the heat of the day, yesterday. The community of crows that lives in our neighborhood wake much earlier than the people tend to, and they woke me to join in the delights of morning – or perhaps they just didn’t realize I had hoped to sleep in? 🙂

Life is full of lovely moments, and beauty - I have to choose to see it.

Life is full of lovely moments, and beauty – I have to choose to see it.

Once I was up, and sipping my coffee, the anxiety had passed – although like a bad tooth, I could feel it any time my consciousness poked at it. I take a moment to appreciate the time I had taken to put to rest any unrealistic expectations about mood management and ‘happily ever after’, while I was moving in. Waiting for anxiety or disappointment to set in to take care of unreasonable expectations and unverified assumptions is an exceptionally efficient way to make things so much worse when they go wrong – and things do go wrong now and again, regardless of how ideal life may seem in some other moment. This morning isn’t so bad. I’m just experiencing some feelings of anxiety – and they are primarily very physical feelings, rather than being a wholly emotional experience. I sit back with a smile as I write those words – the physical feelings of anxiety are very like another emotion, a generally positive one – excitement. Eagerness, too, feels a bit similar to anxiety, on the physical side of things…and this morning I have plans about which I am quite excited, and eager for the morning to wear on such that it becomes ‘time to go’.

Recognizing that my ‘anxiety’ is actually ‘excitement’ and ‘eagerness’ allows the pieces of that experience that drive stress to dissipate; without the perception that something is ‘wrong’, these feelings are no longer ‘anxious’ at all.

Sometimes taking care of me is as simple as enjoying a flower in my garden.

Sometimes taking care of me is as simple as enjoying a flower in my garden. Sometimes I am that flower.

I continue to enjoy my morning coffee, and to watch the sun rise, filtered through the blinds of the ‘dining room’ window. (Trust me, this small space that is so heavenly to me doesn’t really rate identifying the ‘dining room’ and ‘living room’ as separate spaces. lol) I smile, thinking about yesterday. It ended well; I sold a painting, and bought a comfortable chair for my apartment, and a modest, practical set of pots and pans. It still delights me to observe how conveniently money works to simplify the conversion of art into needed goods. The transaction was a very practical demonstration of money as a spendable form of human effort. (From my own perspective, it has no other legitimate value or purpose. I suppose that says something about who I am.)

"Sunset Silhouette" 12" x 16" acrylic on canvas w/india ink 2014

“Sunset Silhouette” 12″ x 16″ acrylic on canvas w/india ink 2014

I enjoy this small place that is my own. I feel content here. It is strange to be so aware that the good feelings associated with living alone cause some anxiety, themselves, and a certain feeling of uncertain restlessness – particularly when things are going especially well.  As a result, I am more aware this morning that even the very good feelings I enjoy so much may take some practice to handle skillfully – perhaps as much practice as managing feelings of anger, despair, grief, frustration, or hurt.  When I am over-eager, or excited to the point of fidgeting and bouncing through my experience, I tend to make poor decisions, and may lack needed awareness of consequences; there are opportunities to improve through meditation, and mindfulness that are as powerful as learning to comfort myself when I am hurting. When I am content for longer periods of time than I am used to, I am prone to taking that experience for granted, and becoming unreasonably frustrated and disappointed when things go wrong; here, too, practices that improve perspective, self-compassion, and mindfulness also ease the rather mundane and unnecessary stress of a challenging moment on a lovely day.

Awake and aware, each day is a new experience.

Awake and aware, each day is a new experience.

This morning, I am both content, and excited about my morning – and I am taking time to care for this beloved darling broken self that is mine, before I head into the world to face what is real about what is also delightful. I stick with my self-care practices, instead of allowing excitement to drive me forth, unprepared for the day. It may seem a small thing, and in this lovely moment it may even seem unnecessary – it will matter very much later, when I am tired, or frustrated over something small, that I took time to take the very best care of me this morning. Yep. Even living with less stress, and more contentment, there are verbs involved. It is still a journey, and an exploration – I am still my own cartographer.

Today is a good day to enjoy my self – and enjoy the world.