Archives for the month of: May, 2017

One more work shift, and then…

Soon…

I’m overdue for a few days out in the trees. Waking to birdsong Taking long leisurely walks that turn into vague concerns about being sufficiently up to the challenge and finish with a feeling of accomplishment – and laughter. Getting by on my own preparedness and self-sufficiency. Watching small forest creatures live their lives. I’m overdue, too, for being too hot, too cold, and having too many bug bites… yep. All of it. The aches, the pains, the moments of doubt, too. I’m down for all of that. The wakeful bits during the night, hearing something in the darkness, feeling uncertain – I’ll manage. I’ll enjoy the hiking, the reading, the sketching, the writing, the taking of pictures, and cooking by a fire. I’ll enjoy the stillness of unmeasured time. I’ll frustrate myself with the one thing I managed to forget – whatever that turns out to be, I’ll think I really really needed that.

Nights may be “too” cold.

Mornings I may feel stiff.

Yoga in the dirt? Eww… or… Meh. Okay. It’s really not a big deal. ๐Ÿ˜€

Ants… bees… spiders… mosquitoes…

Miles of trails.

Hours of quiet.

Measured distance from everything else that brings me closer to the woman in the mirror – no mirror required.

I’ll be back soon – Sunday, sometime, most likely. Then? I begin again. ๐Ÿ˜€

The destination is the journey.

I woke easily this morning. Well, actually, I woke easily several times between midnight and 4 am, when I actually got up. I stood in the shower far longer than actually necessary, just enjoying the sensation of warm water on bare skin. I meditated, on my cushion in the open doorway of the patio, wrapped in pre-dawn breezes, just a little bewildered by the darkness (in spite of how commonly it is indeed fully dark before the sun comes up).

I sipped my first coffee, almost gone now, the remnants quite cold, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed. I notice that one particular friend keeps getting my attention with shares that hit my nerves in a very unpleasant way. I do react – and my reaction is this; I unfollowed that friend, and looked up the page that seems to be the source of most of the problematic content, now blocked at the source. Just that. I’ll bring it up directly with them later and discuss honestly.

…I pause with some wonder to observe that neither “unfriend” nor “unfollow” are yet in my dictionary. Those both seem to me to be proper 21st century verbs, so I make a point of adding them to my dictionary.

Today is a common enough work day, a Tuesday. I expect it to be busy; it is both the Tuesday following a holiday Monday, and it is also the Tuesday in a very short week during which I will go camping. I’ve no idea what the day holds, beyond work. Maybe I see my Traveling Partner, maybe I don’t. In either case, I’ll likely end up with the car tonight, and the hope is to leave straight from work for my camping trip, later this week. You’ll have to find new reading material for a few days… ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll be back at it, probably sometime Sunday.

I feel myself “shifting gears” into a much more “now” state of mind, which brings my attention to the potential that I’d drifted farther from day-to-day mindfulness, generally, than I may have understood. Hmm… The camping trip seems needful and well-timed. My monkey mind begins to fret a bit about being out in the trees, no connection, no social media, no news of the world, just a woman, a consciousness, some gear, and a series of moments to experience wrapped in forest. I need this chance to reset – to begin again, on another level. I am hungry to satisfy appetites that have gone without attention for too long. I am ready to walk new trails, and to pause for thought. I am ready to take my leisure – because there’s nothing else on my agenda.

I feel, very briefly, a hint of the momentary anxiety that will come and go while I am away from home; it’s one of the reasons I do go. If I can avoid dealing with some sorts of things entirely, I totally will – to my detriment. Being out among the trees, alone in the forest, more or less completely self-reliant (let’s be real; I’ll be in state park, it’s not that remote, and I’ll even have the car if an emergency arises) sort of forces me to deal with all of the things. Nonnegotiably, I am without distractions. It’s why I go. It’s even why I hike; I’m out there to be alone with myself, undistracted by the many choice distractions modern life offers. It’s one part of me “finding my way” – literally translating a journey of heart, soul, and healing into miles of walking, a journey on foot.

An associate of mine uses origami instead, and his journeys are depicted in paper sculptures, tiny, bright, and entirely beautiful. Even his monsters are adorably cute, rendered in paper. There are a lot of ways. He has found his. I have found mine. Have you found yours?

The sky lightens, finally, and I see the reason for the intense early morning darkness. The day is cloudy. The sky is padded and puffy with dark gray clouds, no break between them. The sound of traffic is muffled. I remind myself to pull my rain poncho out of my camping gear. It looks like it may rain. It would be rather silly to be unprepared for it, because I was preparing for something else, later. lol

Well… it looks like time to begin again. Shall we?

 

 

No kidding. I’m super cross. Grumpy. No idea why, but it is enough to pull me back to my desk. I’ve tried things. I’ve done stuff. Blah blah practices… (eye roll)… verbs. Fuck. I got hit with varying results this afternoon.

Small things are rubbing my emotional balance the wrong way, like grit or sand or finely ground glass mixed into a lovely custard; my pleasant day is unexpectedly less pleasant. I know I can get past this bad bit – and it isn’t that bad, just sort of irritatingly irritating in a way that feels chronic – and isn’t at all (and won’t become so unless I invest in maintaining this experience). So… I sit down here with words to sort it all out and if not “make sense” of it, at least gain some perspective.

My gear is packed – but it is not yet “the day”, and although I am now fully packed up and ready to hit the trees, and the trails, I’ve got a couple more work days ahead of me before that moment arrives. Irritating. Understandably so; I’m eager to hit the trail and find some quiet out among the trees, but the time is not yet now. Frustration – any sort of frustration – is my kryptonite. So. There’s that.

Soon…

“Things” have been aggravating me – and a lot of it falls rather uncomfortably into the large bucket labeled “not my circus, not my monkeys”, things I could so easily let go of entirely, if only I could entirely let them go. LOL ย Friends who are dear to me descending into the steaming pile of “horrible to watch” that is domestic violence definitely causes me some stress, more so now that they are “back together”. Fuck, I have seen that terrible cycle far too many times, and lived it too many times myself. There’s a fine line between “being there” for my friends, and enabling domestic violence, and I’ve had to set clear boundaries that at this point any hint of violence will simply result in a phone call to the police, non-negotiable. (How many fewer years of violence would I have sufferedย myself, if my neighbors had been unwilling to silently tolerate it, or look the other way?) Still, it’s stressful to be aware of its nearby presence, and I feel uncomfortable with it, and far more so because over days it has gone (in conversation) from “violence” to “a misunderstanding” (trust me when I say that violence is no misunderstanding, regardless how it begins). The discomfort is irritating, too. Local hate crimes are also pinging on my consciousness and adding stress to my experience – and that’s a major driver to get out into the trees; I need a break from society. Politics, too, and the news, and the constant ads and “sponsored content” in my “news” feeds… all stressful, all bullshit, very little of it with any legitimate value. Irritating, indeed. None of any of these things are “about me” – letting them all go would be the ideal thing, and I’m finding it difficult to do. So. There’s that.

A huge measure of my stress was apparently hidden in concern about my Traveling Partner, too. He’d said “Monday” when I observed that his calendar said “Sunday”, last week. Okay, no problem – although the lack of calendar accuracy is more sand in my custard, because I count on that planning and explicit expectation-setting when I make my own plans. Okay, okay, still seriously small stuff… although… if anything did happen to him, I would have no idea when to act on that, and could lose precious time by waiting too long to raise an alarm or seek help. It’s his choice to manage his plans in this fashion, though, and we’re both adults. Monday. That’s today. Okay, no problem… only… when? It’s felt like a long Monday as the hours have passed without a word. Shortly after 3 pm, he reaches out, we connect, and I feel much less background stress as a result. Good enough for this moment.

Minutes continue to tick by. Breaking down the stressors into manageable pieces provides me with the perspective I need to really let all of that go, and my contentment with the day is restored, refreshed, renewed – and I can begin again. Again. lol

I woke to a gray morning, cool, overcast, threatening rain without yet raining. I didn’t take time to fully wake before throwing the windows open to the cool breezes, and filling the place with birdsong and fresh air. I had dressed, still not yet quite awake, and fumbled with my phone before losing interest in the clumsy comedy. It was while I was making coffee that I actually started to wake up, becoming more aware, first, of how awake I was not, initially. I took my coffee to my meditation cushion and sat a while, watching the morning become a day from that vantage point, without actually meditating, at all.

I’m not sure I’m quite awake even now. There’s time for all that. No rush. I’m off work today.

The meadow and the park beyond are a lush assortment of shades of green: bright, dark, yellow-y, more blue, browning at the edges, neon on the tips. It’s beautiful. So much of what lives is a shade of green. I sip my coffee and observe. Still working on being actually awake. Starting with being aware. A bright-eyed red wing blackbird stops by to check on my progress with some skepticism. He has a bite of breakfast, and calls to his buddies in the neighborhood, perhaps about the quality of the meal, before departing.

I sip my coffee and breathe, simply existing in this moment of contentment and calm without letting it slip away unnoticed. I can’t overstate how much it has mattered to do this – just this simple thing. Savoring the simple joys, the sweet moments, the easy times, and really giving in to allowing these sweet pleasures to be important, to be as much of everything in their time as I ever allow something moment of grief or ire to be… then… Then moving on in life to this new place, where it is the sweetness that is by far the more valuable experience, cherished wholly as it exists, looked back upon more often than I look back on tragedy, and shared as words, as memories, and indeed being appreciated in an active way. Verbs. It’s a journey; there always seems further along to go than the place I am standing right now, however far I have come.

Speaking of journeys; my Traveling Partner will likely return sometime today. I smile thinking about it, even though I know there is a chance we won’t actually see each other. The turn-around time between this thing and that thing is quite short this week, and I think he’ll be headed out again with only the briefest opportunity to see each other, if any exists at all. lol I grin knowingly thinking about last year’s promises to spend so much more time together through the autumn and winter months. It didn’t happen that way. We snatched what time we could from busy lives. I have rare bitter moments about it, but the freedom we give each other to go, do, and be, on our own agendas rather than living lives constructed by some recognized cultural framework, penned in by other people’s expectations of love, is part of what makes loving each other so precious in the first place.

I break out in unexpected laughter, startling the birds away from the feeder. Damn I write long, weird sentences! LOL I very much write the way I talk, actually, and the commas tend to fall where my speaking the words would place them…but… If you don’t know the rhythm of my speech, how would you “hear it”? Do I leave readers struggling to make sense of things because I happily (sloppily) mix metaphors – and tenses? What about this major overuse of ellipses? This can not possibly be librarian or linguist approved. ๐Ÿ˜€ Shit. Still happily grinning at myself, my fingers continue to tickle my keyboard, and words continue to flow. We’ll get through this, together, yeah? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today is a good day to begin a journey – or begin it again.

A picture of a rose in my garden, on a sunny day. Beauty needs no excuse. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a lovely morning. Cool without being chilly. The sound of birdsong is carried over the meadow on flower scented breezes. The apartment begins to cool off quickly. I sip my coffee and wonder why I am anxious, without really digging at it ferociously…more a gentle sort of “Huh, that’s peculiar…” sort of a thing.

Beginnings are not all the same.

I slept restlessly, but I did get the rest I need. It’s a very short work week, since I have Memorial Day off, but also had planned my first camping trip of the year for next weekend. This “short week” is the likely source of my anxiety; there is still the same amount of work to do. I’m excited about my camping trip. I am overdue for really getting away, setting everything down, and taking my ease for a couple of days of unrestricted leisure out among the trees. I find that the same time spent at home doesn’t work out to quite the same result as time spent out there, surrounded by trees and plants, no device connection, and plenty of quiet time to meditate, to read, to hike, to sketch.

I sometimes find myself anxious out among the trees. My results vary there too. There’s no escape when it hits, it has to be mastered in some way, or at least endured until it passes. It always does pass. It is a lesson in beginning again. It is a lesson, sometimes in a literal way, in “turning the page” on my own narrative and resuming things just a bit further on. I have resorted, even, to simply writing “I am anxious in this moment”, then actually physically turning the page in my notebook or journal, and continuing to write. Sometimes this obvious trickery works. lol Most of the time it doesn’t, but peculiarly even in those moments when it doesn’t work so well, I still find comfort in turning the page on my anxiety.

Anxious moments are pretty horrid. They do come up with fair frequency, even now. The change, mostly, seems to have been that they no longer just grow and grow until they take over my entire experience, backing me into a corner, making me small. They remain, generally, moments. This is a bigger deal than words convey.

I look my anxiety this morning in the face with some wonder; it neither gets worse nor gets better to be so frankly acknowledged. In this moment, it merely exists. I breathe. Check my posture. Gaze out at the lovely meadow as the sun rises. Sip my coffee. Again notice the anxiety. Another deep cleansing breathe. The softness of the meadow breeze on my skin creates a smile that tugs at my face, competing with my anxiety for my attention. I yield to the smile, noticing the precious breeze. I keep at it, observing the simple delights of the morning one by one, between deep full un-rushed breaths. My anxiety begins to recede, initially as a peculiarly tidal experience, at first coming and going, coming and going, with my breathing. Over minutes it fades into the background altogether. If this were a bound paper journal, this would be the point at which I would turn the page…

It’s time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚