Archives for the month of: October, 2015

I feel anxious. Well, no…actually, I don’t feel anxious at all from the perspective of emotion. What I feel feels like the emotion I call anxiety (and maybe it is, in some fashion), but there is nothing in my experience of the day to support such a feeling – or to cause it. What there is, though, is noise.

I woke up in tremendous pain this morning, and feeling quite stiff. I did all the usual things to cope with that physical experience, and looked forward to a relaxed day, contentedly doing laundry and watching the rain fall.  I’ve had that, so in that sense the day delivered well on its promise; the chainsaws were unnecessary, and unexpected. Yep. Chainsaws. Chainsaws and a pneumatic log splitter and an air compressor. It is not anything like a quiet Sunday, now. Today the landlady and her husband are cutting the lumber from the recently felled trees down to size and stacking it. I am unfortunate that the wood was piled directly in front of my apartment when the trees came down. The woodpile on which the newly cut wood is being stacked is on the other side of my apartment. The split logs are being carried via wheel barrow – quite possibly the noisiest one ever – around my apartment, along the sidewalk just outside the long west wall, currently strewn with small gravel rocks and mud, so making a rather horrible grinding noise as the wheelbarrow is dragged along on what sound like triangular wheels. I am surrounded by the sounds of work on a fucking Sunday. I don’t know how to communicate to people that getting some quiet actually matters for my physical health as well as my emotional health. There just isn’t any way for someone to understand what they don’t understand. It is unlikely that my landlady has any real awareness of what the persisting noise does to my consciousness; saying that it ‘affects my mood’ doesn’t adequately explain things – it would affect anyone’s ‘mood’. It does.

I wait it out. It will be over sooner or later. I can’t meditate. I can’t focus to read. I can’t write with any ease – even masking the noise with other noise isn’t helpful, I feel cross and aggressive. I certainly wouldn’t be able to nap, and I’d very much like to. I can’t paint or draw. I feel frustrated and on the edge of anger – and I know that it isn’t really about any of these emotions; this is a physical reaction to very irritating stimuli. I go through the steps of meditation even though my consciousness feels raw and irritated; I breathe, and I breathe again. I let go of the aggravation and relax – and I do it again. I just keep repeating gentle practices and processes. I find myself frustrated and help myself over it. I start feeling angry and aggressive, and I take a few more deep breaths, and remember the landlady’s face; she wasn’t enjoying doing this work on a Sunday, herself – it certainly wasn’t ever ‘about’ me. That small moment of compassion and sympathy matters, too; taking the time to view another person as fundamentally human also, and equal in the value of their experience compared to mine makes me far less likely to be inclined to place blame, make demands, or lash out in anger. It’s a worthwhile pause for consideration.

The way ahead is sometimes obscured with fallen leaves.

The way ahead may sometimes be obscured with fallen leaves.

Eventually the laundry is done, and a nice casserole for supper (and tomorrow’s lunch) is made. The house is generally tidy, and the bed remade with fresh linens. I see the sun peek through gray skies for the first time today. It’s finally quiet, too. A lovely hot cup of tea might be nice… or a bubble bath… a short nap might be quite pleasant… I breathe in the quiet, and feel myself relax as the quiet becomes more real minute by minute. I am pleased that I didn’t let the noise get to me, today; there’s still so much of the day left to enjoy. 🙂

It’s been a very comfortable pleasant day. I slept in, and slept deeply. I walked to the farmer’s market, and assembled a very nice picnic lunch, and loaded it into my pack. I headed into the trees for a few more miles and hours of autumn leaves and birdsong.

Autumn rose hips along the trail.

Autumn rose hips along the trail.

Yesterday was okay, too. I did some great work, but had had so little rest I was more or less a zombie analyst, and didn’t notice the day go by, and don’t really remember that much about it. I got home shortly before 6 pm, and was crashed out not long after that. I was up again around 9, and stayed up some little while before returning to bed, and to a deep sleep rich with surreal dreams. Stress reaches this point where it both disrupts my sleep and requires ever so much more than usual amounts of rest to recover from it. I slept a lot last night. I napped this afternoon after my hike – one of those sudden urgent naps when sleep simply overcomes me and I must succumb to it.

Tonight is gentle and easy. The deep consciousness encompassing sleep of my nap this afternoon left me wrapped in drowsiness. I’ll probably go to bed early again tonight. No reason not to; one of the perks of adulthood is the opportunity to choose rest. That great boon is sometimes forgotten in the fuss and bother of all the other sorts of things I think I ‘have to’ get done; choosing rest, real rest, is sometimes the best thing I can do for myself – or my partners.

I am okay. I’ve still got work to do – this fragile vessel isn’t going to heal itself without some practices and some verbs. This broken brain needs a little support, structure, and patience to find some better ways to handle small challenges. Sometimes I am going to fall short of my expectations – or fail to meet my own needs in some important way. I’ll begin again. One step at a time, one practice at a time, one moment at a time – I can begin again.

It may not be the shortest path - but this journey isn't a race, or a contest - I'll just keep walking.

It may not be the shortest path – but this journey isn’t a race, or a contest – I’ll just keep walking.

It’s been awhile since I was awake in the wee hours. I woke in tears with no recollection why I might be crying. I got a drink of water and ‘checked for monsters’ (walked through the small apartment quietly drinking my glass of water and assuring myself all is well). I went back to bed. That was more than an hour ago. I wasn’t going back to sleep, and the tears just kept sliding across my face. So.

It’s been a long while since I was awake in the wee hours. It wasn’t so long ago that it was a frequent thing, destroying my rest, throwing me off-balance, and fatiguing me well beyond any healthy sustainable point. I’m glad it isn’t every night any more. I’m appreciative that it isn’t even every week; it’s become quite rare… But I’m awake now. Tonight I am not sleeping through the night.

The wakefulness itself causes me no great stress. The feelings of insecurity and doubt, on the other hand, drive anxiety. On top of existing work stress, and common enough life stress,  I add stress in a valued, critically important (to me) relationship that suddenly feels far less secure than I generally take it to be. I am unsurprised that I am awake, or that I am overcome by waves of emotion attached to the thoughts about my experience: sad, insecure, doubtful, angry, hurt, frustrated, disappointed… did I mention sad? I did not get out of bed at 3 am to ‘enjoy’ the experience more intensely; I got up to reduce the intensity. I was not finding much success with distracting myself and getting back to dream land lying there in bed. My thoughts kept carrying me back to sad.

There is no miracle pill for sad wakefulness, or the tears that won’t quit at 3 am. There are a great many practices that ease my suffering, though. I get up and do some yoga; the focus on my physical body, and easing physical stress feels good. I drink a glass of water; crying makes me thirsty. I meditate, nothing fancy, no soundtrack, no light – just sitting in the stillness, in the darkness, focused on my breath, no timer – just time. I write. With just a few words in the night, I pause the flood of emotion to look at things from a more abstract observational perspective, giving myself a little distance from the hurting, and a chance to ‘edit the language’ as I see it in text on page instead of lit up boldly in the chemistry of my brain. It actually does make a difference [for me] to take the time to remove or change the adjectives and adverbs, correct the syntax, re-evaluate the thinking. So much easier to do that seeing it in written words [for me]. I read my experience from the edited perspective. I read it again. I am no longer crying.

Tomorrow is a work day. I haven’t set myself up for success there by being awake during the night – but being awake during the night and crying generally has an even less desirable outcome, emotionally. I feel valued to take the time with myself to ease the suffering I am experiencing, however much I can. I am definitely having my own experience. There is no lover here to hold me in the darkness and tell me everything will be okay – and maybe it won’t be. It generally will be, though, for at least some values of ‘okay’.

Small stressors keep piling up. The loss of aesthetic beauty of my wee home. The loss of day-to-day quiet here. The increasing tension and discontent in the workplace. The increasing insecurity and doubt in an important relationship. The lack of personal skill at coping with it when solitude becomes loneliness. The loss of intimacy and physical contact in my every day life. The chaos brought to my life through the exterior work being done in the community – it’s actually stressing me out to see paintings stacked differently for the convenience of contractors, or to see the A/C just sort of …sitting, no good place to store it, and such a small apartment. Lingering bitterness – not over old hurts themselves, but over the lack of being understood, the lack of consideration – or even awareness. I guess this is when I get to put new emotional resilience to the test, and find out whether all of the time and practice invested in emotional self-sufficiency will be enough to survive on. I’d like to thrive. It’s on my list of nice things to do for me. Maybe another time.

I feel very alone right now. Oddly, I notice the ticking clock – and realize there is no additional stress to being aware of the sound of it. I find some comfort in that. It’s a small thing, but it is meaningful that the ticking of the clock does not cause me stress, or anxiety. You know… sitting here in the darkness, at 3:34 am, that’s enough. It’s at least something – it’s incremental change over time. I think I’ll go back to bed.

It will be dawn soon enough. I will begin again.

It will be dawn soon enough. I will begin again.

I am enjoying a quiet evening. It isn’t a spectacular evening in any noteworthy way, but it is quiet, and relaxed, and satisfying; I am content with… ‘now’? Something more than that, but I lack concise straightforward language to describe it. Maybe I will stumble upon just the right word that means “I’m okay, by my own will and effort, the nourishment of love, and a future lifetime of healthy practices, and this is a damned fine cup of decaf on a chilly autumn evening and everything is just fine”… that’s the word I am looking for. 🙂

I could just enjoy this lovely moment.

I could just enjoy this lovely moment.

I have been in pain all day. I walked home slowly, more of a stroll, phone put away in my handbag, enjoying the geese and squirrels at play, and the autumn leaves fluttering to the ground. I got home, and did some yoga, and had a light dinner. I enjoyed a long soak in a hot bath, after meditating for some while. It was lovely. I’m still in pain. Doesn’t really matter that much right now.

I don’t find myself moved to poke and prod at my consciousness, or over-explain life’s endlessly mystifying curriculum to myself. This feels like an evening to relax, and to ‘reap what I have sown’ – there has to be room to appreciate progress, to enjoy moments, to be grateful for growth, for beginnings, for love… It’s a nice evening for all of that, and pain seems somewhat irrelevant for the moment.

I am relaxing here, sipping my coffee and listening to jazz. I am in the middle of a number of books – I nearly always am – and this sweet gentle evening is progressing such that it seems very much inevitable that I’ll be reading one of them in some imminent future moment, legs folded beneath me, coffee cup carefully perched on my knee, or cradled in my lap, lost in someone else’s words.

This is quite lovely. Isn’t that enough? I very much think it is. (Your results may vary; there are verbs involved.)

It’s a quiet evening, and I am alone with my headache and my arthritis, by choice. By mid-afternoon, my pain was just too much to find the thought of spending time with anyone else particularly enticing, and I asked my traveling partner for a rain check – as eager as we are to see each other, to cuddle, to laugh together, I am sometimes a bit of a lost soul when I hurt this much. Spreading that poison around is not a gesture of love.

Be love.

Be love.

I walked home thinking about the many ways that lovers communicate, and wondering how it is than anyone can ever justify being vile and inconsiderate to someone they love. Think it over for a moment – and just about at that moment when you’re at the edge of excusing some bit of heinous nastiness you may have recently visited upon someone you love by saying you didn’t mean to, or couldn’t help it – think about how many times you’ve shown greater self-restraint and not said something you felt was justified… because it could cost you your job. A job. I walked and wondered. How often have I – even with the little self-restraint as I can sometimes muster at all – how often have I held myself back from some angry remark  for a fucking job – but shown so little courtesy to a lover, or partner, that I would allow myself to say something that might be intentionally hurtful, diminish their value to me, or threaten their security in the relationship itself? Even once is too often! Even once is entirely incomprehensibly inappropriate between lovers. Seriously. Those sorts of words, those sorts of moments of unrestrained hostility are not love. Not only are they not love – they are not even adult. The anger of hurt children. Well…yeah. I do have this injury…  but… I don’t really find that my injury excuses treating someone I love worse than I treat my coworkers –  and I can do so much better, I mean, this is love we’re talking about! If I can generally and with exceptional reliability refrain from most bad behavior at work – how can I ever ever say to someone I love that I couldn’t do better in the way I treat them at home? It does take practice, but how is that not entirely acceptable, and needful? Isn’t love of far greater value than a job? Isn’t love worth practicing?

We choose our path, our words, our actions.

We choose our path, our words, our actions.

I’m not sure why I was thinking about all that, specifically, as I walked home. It’s been a very long time since I have had to deal with any of that. Shadows of old baggage. Remnants of nightmares. Maybe some relief that I’m not still ‘there, then’ with relationships that were a profound source of new pain. Relief that I am so much less heavily invested in old pain, too. Tonight I hurt – but it is only the more manageable hurt of headaches and back pain. Feeling my heart break hearing angry words is on an entirely other level of hurting, and there are no pills or prescriptions for heart breaks – and I am grateful to love and be loved by someone who recognizes the value of being love.

Perspective. What matters most?

Perspective. What matters most?

Attachment is a funny thing; I get so hung up on some detail that I earnestly want to be very real, and find myself unable to have the beautiful thing that is, or I fail to recognize what works for me because I am too busy struggling with what I’ve lost or can’t have. We are such complicated fucking monkeys. lol

Undisturbed by solitude.

Undisturbed by solitude.

I am enjoying the evening with myself. Listening to music I love. Feeling valued and respected by a man I value and respect in turn. Feeling valued and respected by the woman in the mirror. Content and unshaken. It has taken some hours to write even 683 words, and I wonder about that, too; I seem to write using fewer words when I write in the evenings, but it generally takes me much longer – and I’m not as certain that I’ve said what I thought I meant to… or anything worth reading significant, or insightful. I’m not bitching. I’m not feeling particularly critical on any point. It’s more the emotion that goes along with the funny face, head cocked to the side, of something I can’t quite fathom… “quizzical” is a word that comes to mind…only…it’s the wrong word for the moment. lol (…And here we quite possibly see the effect of fatigue on my injury as I begin to struggle to find words. Often. It is a source of ongoing frustration for me, but I don’t gloss over it anymore, or try to fake my way out of it; vulnerable frankness is a better fit for me. Your results may vary.)

I am tired. I still hurt. I am happily grooving to favorite tunes I’ve never heard before as I write. Think. Write some more. This is my life…at least…this is part of it, and it’s a really good part that I enjoy find meaningful. In this moment I can comfortably say ‘this is a really good part of my experience’ and it feels secure, safe, and comfortable; unthreatened. I don’t need this moment to also be the next moment. I am not regretting some other moment. No forever. No expectations of some moment beyond this one; I am so much more comfortable enjoying this one right now, just as it is. I have a slow back and forth conversation with my partner in the background while I write. It’s not an interruption; the conversation is paced to the things we are each doing, where we are.

Just in time to sit, quietly, to be still, and to listen...

Just in time to sit, quietly, to be still, and to listen…

The evening winds down slowly. Tomorrow I can begin again. 🙂