…More practice. You knew I was going there, right? I suspect I am fairly predictable about this topic. There’s just one hitch; it’s all a bit like a game, in some respects, and we’re dealt some cards, given some pieces, or exist with some details of who we are/what’s going on, and the practice is what we do ‘on our turn’. We still each start somewhere. I’ve been a fan (and Hero) playing SuperBetter for awhile. Jane McGonigal’s book, just published, arrived last week. Like any tool, or any practice, there are verbs involved – but it is a fantastically fun, helpful, and supporting way to build a practice, and take a journey toward a goal. Better still, however many times I set one practice or another aside, it’s there for me to resume when I choose to; I can begin again.

I can’t quite pinpoint the ‘true starting point’ of this journey, anymore. Did it begin with a game at the dinner table with my traveling partner, and the many tears that followed that moment? Not really – I was already going somewhere with myself. Maybe it started with the break up of the previous 15-year-long relationship? No, I definitely felt I was ‘on a journey’ before that moment, too. It wasn’t when I turned 40…but it may have been shortly afterward…or shortly before… it matters what I count as revealing, and instructive. It matters what I choose to include as being worthy of the journey I am now on. Any starting point I choose from the past tends to look worthy of calling ‘the beginning of this journey’ if I open my heart to accepting that have I faltered many times along the way… and when I do that, I have to wonder if perhaps I have always been on this journey, and perhaps it is so much less significant and grandiose than I want such a profound thing to be – Is it simply that I am living my life? Starting moments, ending moments, moments of great change, moments of ennui or confusion… one being, one woman, one journey, continuous change on a journey of self-discovery?

Is there any need to deny myself the experienced profundity of the journey I am on in this time, to accept that the journey is, and has been, ongoing “all along”? Thoughts over coffee, on a lovely morning; every day starts somewhere.

With autumn comes pain.

With autumn comes pain.

This morning, the journey of this one day of many begins with pain, rather a lot of it, and I’ve done what I can to put my attention on other things, having taken steps to ease the pain, itself. Giving it a lot of direct attention makes it more prominent in my experience, and although turning my consciousness to other things doesn’t reduce, eliminate, or ease the pain in any direct way, it at least distracts me from it in some moments. Not this moment. This moment I am writing about pain, because pain is where I am. Do me just one favor today? When you find yourself confronted with elders moving slowly, or awkwardly, take just a moment to understand that they do so because they are in pain – the sort of every moment of every day pain that if you ask them about it they may answer that they are not in pain – not because they don’t hurt at all, but because they don’t hurt more than that. It sucks, and I find myself reluctantly facing far greater awareness of all those moments in all those younger years when my impatience with the slow movement of elders frustrated me excessively, and wishing I could go back in time and if not be helpful, at least not be such an impatient dick about it.

I’d like very much to move quickly through my morning, myself, with easy efficient movement – and that isn’t an option on my menu this morning. “Choosing not to hurt” amounts to taking carefully timed pain medication, practicing yoga, and yes – just being patient with myself early in the morning, before the yoga, and before the medication kicks in. Right now? I can barely move without grabbing something else to give me leverage, pulling myself upright, supporting myself for balance if I have to lean over or down, and all of it hurts. Mornings like this one are best when I think to slow way down first thing, and be extra patient with myself, letting yoga begin with the natural movements needed to get out of bed in the first place, and stretching my muscles slowly, unfolding my spine from unknown sleep postures into something more vertical and aligned before I even take a step…my bladder does not always cooperate with that idealized version of getting up in the morning…sometimes my lack of executive function on waking results in nothing at all like a morning ‘routine’ and I lurch around the apartment awkwardly before I remember to slow down and take care of this fragile vessel.  This morning I am getting a taste of what my old age might really hold for me, at least with regard to my arthritis, my mobility, and my experience of pain and movement. Taking care of me and practicing good practices to nurture the wellness of this fragile vessel seem incredibly important – a time machine would be nice right about now; I would try to persuade a younger me to take better care, sooner.

Would I really go back in time and risk changing who I am now? That’s an interesting question for another day.

Today is a good day to practice the very best self-care. Today is a good day to be aware that the people ‘in my way’ are indeed people, and they are having their own experience; kindness is free, and I can’t know someone else’s pain. Today is a good day to change the world.