I woke groggy and in pain, and lacking the welcome feeling of being rested. My head aches, my sinuses are stuffy, and the room feels hotter than the temperature says it is. As a collection of smaller experiences, these could be symptomatic of a head cold coming on, but in this instance, I think perhaps I slept too long in a position that wasn’t ideal for my head and neck, and slept poorly on top of that. I shrug it off, deal with it, and move on with the morning without reading into the experience or catastrophizing it.

I ache today. Pain is pain, I suppose, and in this case much of it is to do with the physical awkwardness of the way I approached painting this past weekend, working mostly on the floor, which required a lot of getting up and down, and sitting cross-legged on my rolled up yoga mat as a cushion, with extra leaning, reaching, and bending. It doesn’t make me regret spending the weekend painting, or even that I chose to work on the floor. I’m simply aware that my discomfort today is a price I am paying for it. It’s barely worth bitching about; as expenses go, it seems quite a bargain, since I am more often than not in some amount of pain much of the time, regardless. 🙂

I could make all of it worse, if I choose. A lot of people seem inclined to do so, enhancing their negative moments with additional emotional luster and investment in nebulous made-up root causes or “back stories” that imbue the tale with more dimension. I could borrow from my assumptions (also fully 100% made up in my own head) and sprinkle on some unfulfilled expectations of the world, or circumstances, or some other human being, and mix that in with those assumptions, and the moments of hurting that life requires I endure, and that pimple of a difficult moment is now grand drama of the highest order. It could make for much more interesting writing, I suppose, than my patient (with myself) humble (because – fuuuuck!!) observations of my experience, day-to-day… only… I’m not really doing this “to be interesting”. I’m sharing what I can of what has often been a challenging enough experience (without enhancements), because it helps me when I am able to “find my voice”… and also because when I struggled most, myself, in life’s darkest moments, it would have helped me then to hear that voice… from anywhere. So. I’m here for me. Here for you, too, perhaps, as a byproduct of rather haplessly reaching across time to a woman that doesn’t actually exist in my own mirror so much these days, just in case she (or someone very like her) is staring back at you.

I smile and sip my coffee. I enjoy a moment of “wow, I’ve come a long way”. I take a moment to also appreciate how much more prepared I am for dark times that may eventually return. “Wellness” can be rather unfortunately relative, and it would be a fool’s game to sip my coffee on a pleasant morning smugly certain I am “well”; PTSD and a brain injury don’t really work quite that way. I can sure improve my quality of life, my resilience, my skill at self-care… I can practice mindfulness, heal my heart over time, and be generally well, most days, most of the time. Complacency about it isn’t on the table for me. I’ve taken that journey a time or two, also. Sometimes reality hits back. Sooner or later, I may find my nights filled with nightmares, without knowing why, or I may find that arthritis pain degrades my sleep quality until my resilience and wellness are reduced, and I am less easily able to bounce back from stress or think clearly, and reach that point of fatigue when the cognitive impact of my TBI becomes quite clear, and my thinking disordered. I don’t reach for those moments… but I also no longer fight them, or the reality of those moments being an occasional part of my experience. I’m ready. Mostly. Generally. It sounds easier when I read the words than it ever feels in real life… but… yeah. Mostly pretty ready to be the woman I am.

I practice not making a difficult moment worse than it is, every time I have one, these days. I do my best. My results vary. There are verbs involved. Choices, too.

This morning I woke aggravated over something small and stupid. I could have used that to build on my physical discomfort and had a really shitty morning with minimal effort. I chose differently. It’s a pretty nice morning, aside from pain, and honestly – I’ve been in worse pain. I’ve got work on my mind, but even that could be “worse”… I’ve worked worse jobs (for companies I have literally nothing good to say about after-the-fact). Life isn’t like that now. It’s so important to be awake and aware for the good stuff, too. 🙂

Today is a good day to enjoy the day as it is. Today is a good day to choose wisely, to begin again, and to walk on. Practicing mindfulness may or may not change the world; it is enough that it has changed my experience. Today is a good day to practice.