One thing I do know about making a great cup of coffee in the morning is that the wait for that first sip is greatly shortened by actually turning on the stove, coffee machine, espresso machine, or whatever device or process gets things going. lol Apparently I learned this, this morning at about 6:30 am, after waiting almost an hour, not noticing the time passing, and finally wondering ‘where’s my coffee?’.

Yep. First thing this morning, 100% mindfulness fail. [Metaphorically picks self up off the playground, dusts off knees, straightens clothes, moves on.]

This morning, also very uncharacteristically, I ‘hit snooze’ when my alarm went off. Not the easy way, with the snooze feature; I don’t even know how to use that when I am not quite awake because I don’t use it. Instead, I squinted at the clock next to the lamp I had turned on out of habit, and reset the alarm for a half an hour later. If I’m going to try to grab more sleep, I’m not playing around with 6 minutes! It’s a rare choice; it means cutting into my leisurely morning time, but I slept badly, and my interrupted sleep did not provide the rest I needed. When the alarm went off this morning, I was not able to wake myself more than it took to reset the alarm and return to sleep. I didn’t even turn the lamp off.

These are some of the effects stress has on me that quickly worsen if I don’t practice really excellent self-care. Today is a day full of opportunities to choose – what are the choices that will result in the best self-care outcomes over time? I sip my coffee and consider it. The weekend is almost here – it’s tempting to shrug off my needs and push taking care of me to the weekend, but doing so likely would be more compromising than self-supporting, and could have hidden professional consequences due to noise sensitivity or loss of emotional resilience.

Yes, supporting me is important to me. I’m not afraid or ashamed to say so; I’m just not reliably skilled at it. One of the things that stressed me out so much yesterday (that is truly a small thing in the moment, but that for me presents real terror in the future) was a news article quoting a presidential candidate as saying Americans ‘need’ to ‘work more hours’ – what a load of bullshit! If anything, it’s criminal we’re not all happily thriving on a 32 hour work week, with overtime prohibitions, at a higher hourly rate of pay. There are certainly enough other people who would like to work, and many of us are indirectly robbing the marketplace of job opportunities by continuing to be pressured into working longer hours as it is, instead of insisting businesses hire the staff they really need to do these jobs, and go ahead and take the appropriate hit to their bottom-line. Human beings are not components, and exploiting them for profit ought to result in the exploited similarly profiting, themselves. Okay, okay, end rant. I know I should not be reading the news – definitely not on a therapy day, when my emotions are out in the open, and I am all raw nerve endings and shards of damage. It’s at least not a best practice for me. Media trolls bait me way too easily.

I continue to sip my coffee and consider my day. I am tired and not well-rested. My head aches, as does my back. I could quite possibly go back to sleep right now with great ease, even after my coffee. [Speaking of coffee, this morning’s words are fueled by St John’s Coffee Roaster‘s Misty Mountain Hop espresso, a roast with an interestingly complex flavor. I enjoy this local coffee roaster both for their coffees, and their great customer service.] I may choose to leave work ahead of my usual end of day and try to get the rest I am needing, rather than pile on more fatigue and stress and risk aggravating my symptoms, or finding that I have exceeded my ability to manage my injury efficiently. It’s a hard call; like so many working adults, I often find myself capitulating to the needs of the business that employs me, to my detriment both short and long-term. I often ask myself what a paycheck is really worth, and whether I am being appropriately compensated for expending my limited life force – and time – in this way.

As with great coffee, the tasks I face  – large and small – have steps, and between the steps there are choices. The choices matter. The ability to choose matters. The outcomes… yeah, those  matter too – and it isn’t always clear to me which outcomes are connected (truly) to which steps, and which choices. Lab rats in mazes have a much easier time of things, I suspect, although perhaps it is very similar. I am learning that when I can let go of the expectations and assumptions that drive reflexive choices in favor of employment, in favor of social image-craft, in favor of mainstream society’s demands (or frankly in favor of anyone/thing but what I want for myself and the world I live in), over time my outcomes tend to sort themselves out in a positive way without much other investment beyond generally choosing as mindfully as I can to take care of me while doing no harm. (That’s ‘doing no harm’ to people, living things, and the world we share; I am not bamboozled into thinking corporations are people. They are not.)

Flowers do not have to be cultivated, or bred into complex forms, to be lovely. It is enough that they are flowers.

Flowers do not have to be cultivated, or bred into complex forms, to be lovely. It is enough that they are flowers.

It’s a lot of words to say ‘today I will take care of me the best ways I can, and I will put me first’, isn’t it? 🙂

Today I will tend the flowers in the garden of my heart.

Today I will tend the flowers in the garden of my heart.

Today is a good day to take care of me; when else will I get to it? Today is a good day to recognize that the world, too, is part of me and needs my very best care, my best choices, and a handful of verbs.