Archives for the month of: January, 2017

I had to remind myself last night, and again this morning. Last night, I hit that point in response to a “pics or it didn’t happen” reply to a comment I made, supporting inclusion and diversity, and being a welcoming human being. I laughed out loud when I read the troll’s demand – I mean, honestly, in all frankness, that isn’t actually how reality works. The lack of a photograph isn’t really a determining factor in whether something is or is not “real”, or whether it happened, or whether you experienced it, or whether that is your perspective. I took a step back. Happy to enjoy the moment of laughter, instead of taking the bait. I moved on with my evening.


This morning, again, I got sucked into Facebook, reacting to expressions of hate and frustrated by the weird skewed perspective some people have taken on. I endure only so many “what the fuck??” moments before I remind myself that one of the fundamentals of our very human consciousness is that we are easily able – and prone – to just making shit up that fits our world view and calling that “true”, without any particular attention to whether it really is true, or factually accurate, or even loosely based on something someone actually may have once experienced, ever, at all. It must be equally frustrating to be a person whose world view is constantly challenged, fought, disputed, denied, contradicted, or laughed at… Oh. Wait. That’s like, literally, all of us. Human primates. Damn we’re fancy. It’s not always useful and in our favor, but holy cow we can make some shit up, and then insist it is important.

The hate is hard, though. I’m saddened by the quantity of fear and hate in the world. It would be lovely to halt the tide of hate. I guess… one thing I can do, myself, is to choose not to hate. I’ll work on that. I’ll start by asking clarifying questions, instead of reacting based on my own assumptions. I’ll work on staying mindful that each of us likely thinks of ourselves as the good guy in our own internal narrative. I’ll treat myself, and others – even those with very different thinking – with consideration, empathy, compassion, and start interactions from the assumption that we are all trying to improve things, from our own perspective. Maybe I will learn something useful along the way. Hate is hard work to sustain, and not very productive. 🙂

Still, and again. The very best practices work that way.

Still, and again. The very best practices work that way.

To be clear… I’m no less angry by what I see going on in the news. I’m no less concerned about fascism taking over America – that’s some scary shit, and it’s not okay – but blinding myself with reactivity and stress renders me one more agitated voice in a crowd, and could result in the sort of emotional fatigue that could quickly become learned helplessness. So. I breathe. I back up out of the comments. I think about what matters most, and how to be the woman I most want to be; this is my life. I take care of me, and do my best to take action in the world, in the ways I can – and I do it without disadvantaging anyone else. It’s a good place to start. It’s enough.

America is fucking scary these days. I’m pretty sure I never imagined, once the Cold War ended, that we’d be standing on the brink of war, again, ever. Which… was silly of me. We’re primates. No “better” or worse than other primates. Fancy, but yeah. Primates. We fight over shit. We crave power, but having power corrupts our thinking and behavior. We draw imaginary territorial boundaries, and then fight over those. I wake to it in the morning, first thing. I go to bed at night fighting the anxiety it causes.

I remind myself to breathe. To relax. I put digital media aside, and remind myself also that this moment, right here, alone in this room, is not a scary moment, nor a scary place to be. I find comfort in now. I re-center myself right here, in this moment, in the quiet. It’s a practice because once I turn away from this moment, reach for a device, a connection, or respond to an email, I start wrapping myself in distress and despair once again. It’s necessary to continuously check myself; I am okay right now. That’s important, because in my okay state, I have the emotional resources to help another. So. Taking care of me, and maintaining a gentle readiness for action.

Life continues for all of us, even in the face of unexpected disruptions in routine, in order, and in the day-to-day sense of security and safety. It’s dismaying to see the clock rolled back on corruption and civil rights so suddenly – but I do see it. I’m not blind. I’m not turning away. I’m not excusing it or pretending it isn’t happening. I protest. I resist. I object. I call it out. I begin again. Like the signs on the bus say “See something? Say something.” America, I’m here for you. I don’t care what race you are, or what religion, or what lifestyle you embrace, or whether you have finally attained citizenship – we are all American.

Yesterday, I invited some of the neighbors over for coffee. Women I see and talk to regularly. Immigrants and refugees, lovely women rebuilding their lives in America. I see them as American. We sip coffee and talk about our fears. We lean on each other. We share laughter. They are from Syria, Algeria, and Libya – my own ancestry is primarily English and German – also immigrants and refugees. Every American who is not an indigenous American is an immigrant, a refugee, or descended from one. How the hell are so many of us also racists? It’s so vile. (This is why we can’t have nice things.) My neighbors and I talk together over our coffee about racism – here in America, and in the places they have come from. We talk about our fears, and the future. We talk about the way laughter in the face of our fears heals our hearts. We talk about community. I introduce them to South Park. We laugh some more. We make plans to watch South Park together again next week. 🙂

Later, in the evening, I share time well-spent with my Traveling Partner. We talk about many of the same things as with my neighbors, earlier. No surprise; good-hearted people everywhere are shocked, appalled, ashamed, angry, bewildered, and outraged. We hold each other. Share our fears. Find solace in intimacy. We talk together about the future, hopeful that there is one – neither prepared to wonder whether that’s realistic. The “Cold War vibe” is very real. He admits to his concerns. I make observations that we’ve been here before, and that there have been other presidents sick with evil, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and hate before. The calm in my voice doesn’t do enough to camouflage my own feelings of doubt and insecurity. We support each other. It was a lovely evening, generally, and I feel grateful for his support in trying times.

Everything I do to enjoy life, and to share that joy, makes life more enjoyable all around, generally, and improves the world. Every time I drag myself from my self-crafted pit of anxiety and despair about the world, to experience this moment right here, now, for what it is, savoring my experience, cherishing it, and favoring myself with my own affection, respect and consideration, I improve not only my own experience right now, but also ensure that I have the emotional resources to carry on when times are genuinely tough. Taking care of the woman in the mirror matters, too.

Today is a good day to be and to become. It is a good day to reflect my values in my choices and my actions, and the way that I interact with the world. It is a good day to be kind, and set clear boundaries. It is a good day to be there for someone else. Today is a good day to change the world. ❤

Thrown off balance and freaked out by what you are seeing in the news? I get it. Scary.  Seriously, though, however hard “now” is, however scary and rocked to your core you feel in this moment, breathe. Just that – breathe. Stay with that until you begin to feel settled (don’t keep checking, as though watching water to boil, just breathe and let the process unfold). Be aware of your body. Take a moment, and just be. Struggling with it? Begin again.

Some moments are hard. Crazy hard. Chaos can be terrifying, and most particularly when it catches us by surprise. Breathe through it. Don’t fight it. Just breathe. Take a moment. Get the oxygen you need to live. Feel the tension in your body and start letting that go. You can. There are some verbs involved. (Notice that “breathe” is a verb.) This too shall pass. No kidding. Change is. (You faced change to get to this moment, here.)

A change of perspective can be really helpful.

A change of perspective can be really helpful.

It’s hard to turn away from the political mayhem, even briefly. Those of us who care deeply, and feel great compassion for others directly affected by the hate and xenophobia and greed of the incoming administration – as well as the sheer incompetence due to lack of any relevant experience – are frightened and frustrated – what do we do to make things right? What can we do to help?  Others, driven less by compassion and more by fear, or hate, or greed, are likely also feeling disrupted and stressed out to see associates they didn’t understand would object, protest, or refuse to participate. suddenly rising up in organized protest, literally everywhere, and even calling people out for being racists, haters, bigots, and just basically completely vile, instead of quietly tolerating it. Families are torn apart by partisan bickering and refusal to communicate in a rational way. Whole industries are thrown off course by the weird hailstorm of executive orders spewing forth from a seemingly unhinged Washington. It’s understandably hard to look away… but… now and then, for sanity’s sake, you must. You’ve got to also take care of you. This isn’t going to be a short journey, and we need every decent human being to endure, and carry on… And you need you, too, so very much.

Embrace a peaceful moment. Breathe. Repeat.

Embrace a peaceful moment. Breathe. Repeat.

Take a minute and breathe. Have a coffee with a like-minded friend. Relax with a book, or a few moments of quiet. Watch the birds. Play with your kids. Go for a walk. Something that gives your heart a moment of ease, pleasure, and even joy. You need it to keep you going; we’ve got to pace ourselves for the long fight. It’s revolution, now, you see. Change is coming.

I’ll probably avoid saying much else about all of this. I’d like to focus my writing on more positive things – the practices that work, the day-to-day eye-opening moments that push me forward on life’s journey, things revealed, and baggage set by the wayside. I have already learned the lesson that when I focus on nothing but the pain, nothing but the challenges, nothing but the fears, my life becomes a painful, challenging, fearful place to endure my mortal time. I’ve grown beyond that, generally; it’s taken miles of walking, hours of practicing, and the slow incremental changes over time that result from doing my best moment to moment to be the person I most want to be. We become what we practice.

We become what we practice. Think about that. There’s nothing there that says “don’t be angry” – and there are things worth being angry about – but being angry, over time, without a break for good self-care and moments of joy, we become anger, and unable to experience our lives in its absence, unable to view content through any other lens. Be sure to take a break from anger, from outrage, from fear – there are other things to be. Don’t forget to be Love. ❤

He has his own agenda.

He has his own agenda.

This morning I woke feeling much better than yesterday, happily over being sick. A crow called to me from the tree top beyond the studio window with a stern reminder that the world beyond includes more moments that those being endlessly revisited, repeated, and recylced in the news. I linger over my coffee, bird-watching. I leave writing for later. Yoga, meditation, a lovely chat with my Traveling Partner, and the weekend’s housekeeping all seem more important, this morning, than the news; I’ve already read it once, you see. The rest is repetition, and there are healthier things to put on repeat. 🙂

Today is a good day to be. Today is a good day to breathe. Today is a good day for verbs. Today is a good day to ask “how can I help most?” and do that thing. Be in this moment. Be who you are. It’s enough.

I work for a company that has a small interaction center. (We used to call them “call centers”, but the world has gone way beyond phone calls, these days.) My work supports that interaction center. Working in an interaction center, in an open office environment, working closely with more than a hundred other human beings, sharing a kitchen, sharing the restrooms, sharing surfaces, dishes, and utensils, comes with a higher than usual risk of contagious illness. Just as I arrived home from running errands yesterday, happily thinking about the concert I’d be going to later, I was ruthlessly struck down by some microbe to small to see, of unknown origin – but probably work. It is what it is. What it was, last night, was uncomfortably and rather grossly biological, miserable, and spent with unpleasant symptoms of sickness. I didn’t go out. (I hear the concert was fantastic.)

I don’t remember when the worst of it had passed. I don’t recall when I collapsed into a restless interrupted sleep. My fever broke sometime in the wee hours, around 4 am, I think. I woke very late in the  morning (for me), feeling some better, sort of, still plagued with this headache, guts emptied out completely in one fashion or another over the course of the preceding hours. I get up dizzily, committed to coffee, and wanting to check in with my Traveling Partner, so that he wouldn’t worry whether or not I survived my miserable night. I know, I know – I sound so dramatic about it, but truly I was miserable. I feel some better, enough both to piss and moan about how miserable I was, and also enough better to drag myself out of bed, dizzy, and attempt a cup of coffee. That’s a headache I’d like to avoid later, if I can… So far so good.

I had an entirely other blog post in mind, inspired by yesterday’s shopping trip… but no. Today I rest. I drink fluids. I care for the woman in the mirror and this fragile vessel. 🙂 Today that’s enough.

Today is not what I expected it to be. Yesterday either. They are, however, what they are, which is something I can count on. 🙂

I woke to the alarm, and enjoying the luxury of another hour of sleep. I had meant to reset the alarm before I went to bed, and forgot. I was pleased that I remained sufficiently relaxed to actually return to sleep for that last luxurious deliciously restful hour. I enjoy my second coffee, lingering over a conversation with my Traveling Partner. I watch the sunrise blushing shades of orange, peach, and tangerine. I laugh when I notice my observation of the sunrise sounds a lot like… breakfast. I realize I’m hungry and make some oatmeal. Morning.

I put on my favorite playlist to dance through morning chores and find myself moving things around a bit, putting tracks at the end that are less enticing these days, taking a few off, adding a few new ones, bumping some recent earworms to the top of the list. There’s value in mixing things up a bit. Change and the surprise of the unexpected seem to do a lot for my general cognitive health, and similarly – although I love order – I find that “too much routine” can result in inflexible thinking, and crossness in the face of everyday chaos that needn’t be the cause of distress. So. I’m mixing things up a bit. 😀

Later I will handle some errands that are the reason I took the day off work. The day ends up over-committed, but I’m not experiencing that as stress today; if I need more time, there’s always another day. Well. Approximately always. I am mortal. Eventually the days run out. Today, more than anything, the goal is to stay on track, and take care of my longer terms needs with each task and moment of decision-making.

Make the day yours.

Make the day yours.

Today is a good day for good self-care. The world is what it is – the woman in the mirror still needs my care and attention, too. 🙂