Archives for category: Anxiety

Well. That was a night of something other than rest. lol Nightmares woke me around 2 am. It was almost three before sleep caught up with me again. My dreams, thankfully, shifted gears, but… the content was strange (very) and fantastical… something about a church service breaking out into a raucous, violent, drunken party in the basement of a building in which corporate performance reviews were about to be given out under (for some reason) strict secrecy. There were Leprechauns in attendance (whether they were party-goers or work colleagues wasn’t at all clear), and for some reason, the professional folks were all wearing pajamas, and big screen tvs were showing Saturday morning cartoons. Very odd. Let’s never discuss it again. LOL

…Being awake, sipping a hot cup of coffee, seems a relief, and a clear return to normalcy. 🙂 It’s enough. I yawn through these first sips of coffee, tired after the 3rd (4th?) consecutive night of fairly bad sleep. These things often go in cycles, so I refrain from taking it at all personally, and figure, more than likely, the rough sleep is due to the injured shoulder; it is a pain that is disrupting my sleep. I feel it every time I try to turn over, every time I lay on my right side, and my sleep ends up interrupted, restless, and not very deep. Lots of opportunity for dreams, and yes, nightmares. I remind myself that I already have a doctor’s appointment scheduled, and look at my calendar. It’s not on my calendar, so I look it up online, and add it – and invite “my work self”, so it’ll be on my calendar in the office also. 🙂

Nothing to see here – all routine human stuff, the business of living life. 🙂 I’m okay with “average”, “routine”, and “normal”, and drama is not welcome here…so… yeah. I get back to sipping coffee, and feeling this shoulder ache. lol

My thoughts careen through memories and random stream-of-consciousness weirdness for a time.

I breathe, exhale, relax, and sit present with the pain in my shoulder, and the tinnitus in my ears. It’s some time before I realize some of what I’m hearing is traffic beyond the window, and some of it is the fan on my computer. Another sip of coffee, contemplating the day ahead, gently (work has been intense, lately). The cup returns to the stone coaster on the desk with an unexpectedly loud clunk, and I shoot a suspicious look at cup, coaster, and fingers still wrapped through and around the white porcelain handle, motionless – as though freezing for a brief instant somehow mitigates the loud noise in the quiet room. LOL

…I wonder, for the first time, why the hell I am using a stone coaster with a porcelain coffee mug, early in the mornings, in a very quiet environment, when I am specifically cultivating the quiet? This seems an inexplicably counter-productive choice. Shouldn’t I be using a soft, silent, coaster, perhaps of cork… or… fake fur…with googly eyes? I quake silently with mirth at the mental image of a fake fur coaster. (Omg, I need more sleep. lol)

Something about the mirthful moment is a reminder of recent inspiration; my Traveling Partner shared something artistic (a painting technique), and I found it inspiring, fascinating, and potentially very suited to my artistic approach. I’m excited about the weekend to come; maybe I will spend some of it in the studio? The idea becomes a smile, another sip of coffee, and a moment – it almost becomes a plan. My eye roams the room… paint… glitter… glow in the dark… canvases… Yeah, I’m overdue to get some creative work done. I think I screwed myself attempted to exorcise the toxic demon that is an X of mine by way of paint on canvas; an individual so utterly vile, so irredeemably poisonous, that even finishing the representation was hard to approach, and the likeness sits unfinished on my easel, holding me back. Maybe I should “finish” it with some quick machete work, instead? The idea amuses me, maybe enough to finish it properly, let go, and really, finally, completely move on.

…It’s the forgiveness that’s hard, isn’t it? Once we have been wounded badly enough, deeply enough, damaged thoroughly enough, the forgiveness becomes… difficult. It’s hard to stay with the awareness that the forgiveness isn’t about the person who hurt us, not really, it’s about us, ourselves, letting go. Forgiveness doesn’t absolve someone of the wrongs they have done. It’s not an excuse, and does not condone bad behavior. From my perspective, the forgiveness simply allows us to move on, to admit to our pain, to refuse someone who has injured us any further opportunity to command our attention through their hurtful acts; we can walk on, and leave them to deal with their own pain, their own chaos and damage. Not my circus, not my monkeys. It’s a letting go that mitigates some of the damage, releases us from the powerful hold someone who has hurt us can maintain, and lets us get on with our own lives. There is no lasting requirement to see the forgiven one again, ever, or interact with them, or pretend we were not hurt, or to allow any further damage. I think what makes forgiveness hard is that it is clearly more kind, and more compassionate, than vengeance or punishment – but even though either of those (or both) may be entirely deserved, they do a lot of damage to the person needing to deliver them. It’s a bother, and a weird puzzle.

I can’t have vengeance, and I can’t punish that X, ever, enough to “make things right” – there is no amount of punishment available that could do that work. It is what it is. (Maybe we’re all someone’s villain?) Forgiveness tastes bitter in my mouth, like unripe fruit; I haven’t been ready. That portrait has mocked me, now, for months. That X does not “deserve” forgiveness… then I remember; my X may not “deserve” the relief that forgiveness may bring… but I do. 🙂 Forgiveness is for the one forgiving. Forgiveness allows us to walk on. I guess it’s time. After all, what are they to me, now? Nothing and no one; it’s time to let them go in a proper and final way. I’ll feel so much better – and I’ll finish that damned painting. LOL

I glance into my empty coffee mug. Obviously. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

A few years ago, a much younger version of me was heading home from work, it was late, a hot evening, and… the train seemed to be late. The later it got, the more anxious and agitated I was becoming. There was already so little time. The more stressed out I became, the more bothered I was by even the slightest restless movement of other aggravated commuters – and the longer we waited, the more of us there were. Frustrated clueless conversation reached me from various pairings of “been waiting” and “just got here” commuters; that was making me angry, too. “Just stand still and wait!” I snarled quietly under my breath. In fact… I had, at one point, gotten to the “teeth-grinding and sub-vocalization” level of stress and pure, distilled frustration. I wanted to rip my damned heart out of my chest to stop the pounding.

…I just wanted to go home. That’s all.

Yesterday morning, on the way in to the office, I observed that there was a rail interruption for construction, and a shuttle-bus detour provided, on my usual route to work. I didn’t think much about it. It did add some minutes to my commute, but at 5:30 am, that’s not exactly noteworthy – and there are no crowds, just stoic sleepy-eyed commuters quietly heading to work on auto-pilot.

After a very busy, very weird, day in the office, I headed for home quite a bit later than usual – or planned – and made my way to the train platform. I didn’t see anything much to be concerned with, and I wasn’t troubled by the awareness of that bit of construction… I mean… they were probably done? Or… maybe I forgot? It wasn’t on my mind, is what I’m saying, even after I saw the sign.

Oh. Huh. Well… I guess that’s a pretty big project.

Pre-occupied with my own thoughts, I got on the train, and promptly forgot about the construction. Some few minutes later, the train stops. I look around puzzled and realize I’m at the last stop; the detour. Time to grab a shuttle bus… wait… where are the buses? I see a lot of passengers milling around waiting. Hell, the transit company is giving away free shave ice to the passengers waiting in the heat (almost 90 degrees F, a bit more than 32 C). No shade anywhere. It’s hot, and people are cross about waiting. An absolute raging douchebag pushes past a substantial queue of passengers growling “where do we get on the shuttle? where do we get on the shuttle?” squeezing past people with strollers, elders on walkers, and women in burqa’s to get to the front of the line. So rude. I’m irked, but… I breathe, and let that go.

We wait, and wait longer. I see transit employees on walkie-talkies beefing about the delay with the buses. I can see that traffic patterns have been interrupted to accommodate shuttle buses, there are cones, barriers, and signs everywhere, and frustrated workers in oranges vests – and more walkie-talkies. A bus arrives, after a time, and we all crowd on it. Finally. It won’t be long now. I’m almost merry – I’m at least content. I’m heading home.

So… about that.

Quite a crowd, waiting for a train, on a very hot day.

I ease myself past groups of strangers. I notice that even considering the construction, it seems odd that the platform is so crowded. It looks like more than one train’s worth of passengers. I overhear someone complain that they have already been waiting 20 minutes. I keep walking, to the far end; it looks less crowded.

10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes later… no train. More shuttle buses have continued to arrive. There are easily 200+ people waiting on the platform, crowded together, fussy, irritable, frustrated with waiting, growing more and more impatient, and potential for conflict increases. Giving the matter some thought, I realize I will not even want to try to crowd onto the first train that eventually arrives… maybe take an Uber, or… a bus? I make my way to a shady spot at the edge of the park alongside the platform. I exchange expectation-setting messages with my Traveling Partner. I hit my vape a couple times. I drink some water.

Well…so… the traffic around the construction is such a snarl, and being peak rush hour on top of that, and Uber was going to cost me dearly (on this whole other unreasonable level), so that was out. The estimated time for the closest bus I could walk to that would take me more or less directly to where my car was parked was a bit of a walk, followed by a bit of a wait, and then quite a long ride… the train would be faster, when it got here… So. I waited.

The crowd was sufficiently large that getting them in one shot from eye level was difficult.

More people accumulated on the platform, until it was clearly no longer safe for more, and they spilled onto the track that was not in service, and on into the edge of the park, where I was seated in the shade, at the edge of the piled up human stress-puppets, all waiting for the train. Still no train.

By the time the next train arrived, there were easily 300 commuters waiting for it. Trust me, they don’t hold that many. No way I was going to take that train. Maybe not the one after it, either. I watch people push on, crowding each other. I sat back, away from all that, having a vape, and watching the afternoon sunshine slowly turning golden as the sun began to sink lower in the sky. That train left so crammed with human beings, they were literally pressed against the doors and standing two abreast in the aisles as it pulled away. No thank you. The next train looked much the same, but as it left, there was actually room on the platform to stand and wait for the next, which came in just 5 minutes.

(As it turned out later, in addition to the construction snarl, a transit employee confirmed that there was the additional hassle of someone having thrown a shopping cart in front of a moving train, further east on the westbound line, resulting in the transit company having to remove that train from service, and clear the track – and backing up trains rather a lot, creating the fairly horrible delay I’d found myself caught up in.)

I got on the train, no pushing, no snarling, no frustration, and took a seat. All the seats ended up full, and a handful of folks standing – that’s what the train generally looks like in the evening, as I head home. People were a bit more tense and aggravated than usual, and there was a crying baby (the shrieking “I’m fucking pissed and you just don’t get it” crying of a confused, discontented, uncomfortable, too hot in the summertime, baby who has no will to be consoled). At one point, the entire train had to be stopped over … drama and bullshit. Tempers flared over priority seating for disabled passengers; a seated disabled woman with a child in a stroller refused to yield her seat to a woman insisting she was “more disabled”, rail-thin, appearing intoxicated, pushing a wheeled shopping basket. All hell broke loose when rail-thin woman touched the seated woman’s baby, as if to move the child out of her way. People were yelling. I was more than a little surprised it didn’t break out into a proper brawl. Other passengers got involved. Eventually the driver call-button was pushed. That’s when the train was stopped, and held, at the platform, while the driver intervened. The rail-thin woman was ejected from the train by the driver, firmly, although he did point out (and truthfully) that another train followed closely behind his. We continued our journey. The baby commenced to crying again.

At each stop, a few more passengers disembarked. It got quieter. The train reached my station, and I got in my car, and went home (by way of the grocery store, for salad ingredients for a dinner that we didn’t have, because it was late, and we were neither of us very hungry). I enjoyed a pleasant evening with my partner.

So… simple. So… easy. No freak out? Nope. No tantrum? Nope. No snarling at other people impatiently because… “omg, what the fuck??” Nope. I was pretty chill the whole time – in spite of the heat. (lol) It’s summertime, and that means construction, and construction delays, and… well… I don’t know. I’m fine. It wasn’t a big deal.

Who is this woman I have become over time? She’s pretty patient about construction delays, cranky passengers on crowded trains, shrieking babies, and douchebags who line-jump crowds on hot days. I like that about me… I sip my coffee and wonder when I became this woman, and what did I practice that got me here? Did the meditation get me here? The reflection and perspective-seeking? The savoring small pleasant moments and building emotional resilience over time? The creation of, and existence within, a calm and generally contented environment at home? I’m not perfect; I’m surprised. I fully expect that some time in the future I’ll lose my shit over something dumb (I have priors)… but… last night? Last night wasn’t that time. 😀

This morning? Pretty nice morning. My coffee is just okay, but it’s still coffee, and I’m grateful. I load up the dishwasher, and set it for a delayed start to avoid waking my partner (who I think I already woke with my bumbling around half-awake after the alarm jerked me from dreams of love and contentment). I consider the commute ahead of me. Maybe I’ll drive in. LOL I smile to myself; a good start to the day. I look at the clock… definitely time to begin again. 😀

I slept decently well, and more or less through the night. My coffee is delicious, mild, and the mug comfortingly warm in my hands. I make a point to let go of a small, fairly petty, moment of resentment that attempts to develop; I changed the grinder settings for the coffee grinder at my partner’s suggestion, and my coffee this morning is better. I wasn’t resenting his suggestion, only the lack of understanding that I hadn’t set the grinder as it was with any deliberate intention; it had gotten jostled, and since then I haven’t gotten the settings quite as I like them. I’m pleased with the current settings. The resentment is irrelevant, and lingers only because there was no moment of explicit understanding to satisfy them, when I spoke up. It’s silly to hold on to that, and not at all helpful. 🙂

It was a good weekend. Short. Well, the same length as usual, but feels short. It was a weekend well-spent. I got good rest. I enjoyed a couple great trail walks. I enjoyed the company of my Traveling Partner. It was pleasant.

I woke in a weird place. Maybe it was my dreams? I just feel vaguely… out of step, or as if there is “something going on” that I’m not actually noticing. I know from experience that it doesn’t do to invest time and emotion into such things; they are often illusions, and where they are not wholly imagined, they will be revealed or sort themselves out, in due time. So… I let that go too.

I think about the honeysuckle blooming along the trail I walked this weekend; it reminded me of childhood and “back home”.

I take a breath, exhale slowly, relax, and sip my coffee. I repeat this a handful of times, until I find myself feeling strangely silly; the inclusion of the coffee makes me giggle, although, for me, it is quite common on a Monday morning. The weather report forecasts a very hot day. I’m grateful for air conditioning – although, and this is true, I’m also grateful for blue skies, and sunny days. 😀 Gratitude to spare.

The vague unsettled feeling I woke with begins to dissipate.

It’s another work week, and already time to begin again. 🙂

I’m counting down hours until my Traveling Partner is home again. I’m counting down days until my camping trip. Right now, this moment here? I’m counting down minutes until this coffee is cool enough to drink! lol

…Here’s the thing about all that, though; none of it is “now”. This now. Right now. This present-tense moment, right here? It isn’t about a future moment that may (or may not) happen at all. I know, that hints at a certain grimness, but the future is the future, and we don’t know with any certainty what that future will be. It’s the flip side of “this too shall pass”… So, um, “that stuff, also, hasn’t happened yet, at all”. lol

I pull myself back to the present moment. If nothing else, it is a wholesome exercise in waking up to the new day, shedding whatever baggage crossed over into my waking consciousness from my dreams, letting go of the “what ifs” and untested assumptions on which I could, if I prefer drama and disappointment, build my day upon. Starting fresh with what I observe, here, now, and how I feel in this moment, physically. My coffee is still too hot to drink. The street beyond the driveway is still quiet. The sky is dark, reminding me that the season is slowly changing, and that soon summer will become autumn. I feel relaxed, and comfortable in my skin, and the casual clothes I put on for the day. The pain I woke with seems familiar, and manageable. Although my coffee is too hot to drink, the mug feels warm in hands, a luxurious counterpoint to the morning chill in the room, artificially imposed by the air conditioning. (That reminds me to adjust the temperature to a “day time and I’m not at home” temperature, from the “night time and I sleep best in a cool room” temperature.)

….Ah! That first sip of coffee… so good. Well, I mean, realistically – as good as coffee can be, and only if you’re into coffee (I get it, I really do; it’s not everyone’s thing). lol How does this coffee really taste? Smooth… (not a flavor!), mildly astringent (also more of a feeling), something like… roasted bark… or… damp cardboard… or… I’m not sure. It tastes, to me, like “coffee”. It’s black. Hot. Feels good in my mouth. Comforts and refreshes. LOL I guess I’m a bit vague on what it actually tastes like. I let all of that go, and simply enjoy the experience.

I attempt to apply the same principles of non-attachment, awareness, and presence, to the experiences of waiting for my partner’s homecoming, and even to looking forward to my camping trip. This moment is best lived… well… live. 😀

…I complete that thought, and immediately find myself contemplating the weekend that is just behind me, already drifting out of this present moment, into some other moment that is also not “now”. lol Fucking monkey-mind, always at it. I let that go, too. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let those past moments recede into the background, again, and pull myself back to “now”. Whups – there’s that tricksy daydreaming and anticipation of future moments, back at me again. Damn it. Another breath. Another exhalation. Relaxing and letting all that go – again. I see-saw between contemplating some past moment, and looking ahead to some moment that is not yet now; all very normal and human. I keep pulling myself back to “now”. It’s just something that requires practice, and there is no stress or perturbation in it for me, not these days. Progress comes in due course; incremental change over time, well, it takes time. I know I’ll likely practice for a lifetime, regardless – this is one of those instances in which the journey itself very much is the destination.

My coffee, now, is precisely the correct temperature for comfortably drinking it, while also having the subjective experience of “hot” coffee. It’s very relative; my idea of “hot coffee”, and yours, likely vary by some degrees. I have a friend who drinks it near to scalding hot – I don’t even make coffee with boiling water. I have other friends who just don’t ever drink coffee hot – iced coffee 24/7/365. We’re each having our own experience. 🙂 (Hey – cool metaphor! lol)

I check the time. Monday already, and an entire new week ahead of me. Doesn’t matter. The entirety of the lifetime behind me doesn’t “matter” much more, in one particular regard; it isn’t “now”. The moment I’ve got to work with, at any given time, is just this “now” moment, right here. I’m not encouraging any sort of FOMO or YOLO foolishness, or painful clinging to things-that-are-not-now, either. I’m just saying, and I’m not the first to suggest it; be here, now. It’s an ideal starting point on all manner of journeys, physical, metaphysical, and beyond. Actually… it’s damned difficult to start anywhere/when else – and attempting to do so is a sure fire impediment to making any real progress.

I smile, and sigh contentedly. The sky is lighter now, a shade of pale blue-gray, with a hint of violet at the edge of darkness, and a hint of peaches and pinks yet-to-come at the edge of the sunrise. I finish off my coffee. This opportunity to begin again isn’t going to handle itself; there are verbs involved! I breathe. Exhale. Relax – and finish my coffee. It’s definitely time to begin again.  🙂

 

I woke up to this simple message, “I’m on the road”. My Traveling Partner is heading home. I smile over my coffee; I’ve missed him a great deal.

…If I were paying less attention to my state of being that I am, I might perceive this experience to be an anxious one. The homecoming of past partners wasn’t reliably a joyful thing, and I may still have some baggage from that journey. It’s also, likely, a simple enough matter of practice; being attentive, present, aware of my experience – physically, as well as emotionally – and letting go of any assumptions about “what it all means” that could rest on old pain. It matters to allow new experiences to be new. 😀

This morning I contentedly sip my coffee and consider what remains on my to do list. Sunday is generally my day to care for hearth and home, and to prepare for the upcoming week. Working such items off a list seems a good fit for the day, and not any kind of anxious or overly-eager-to-impress kind of flurry of activity. I’ll do as much of the usual Sunday work as I’d ordinarily expect, and throw in a couple tasks specific to preparing for my partner’s homecoming (still just housekeeping details, honestly, nothing out of the ordinary), and be content with that. 🙂 I sip my coffee, pleased to have a plan.

The weekend has been a restful one. Yesterday’s forecasted heat wasn’t all that bad, and things didn’t warm up until quite late in the day. Most of the morning a soft misty rain fell, and I read, napped, and listened to the rain fall through the open patio door for hours. It was lovely, and I must have needed the deeper quality and additional quantity of rest; I went to bed on time last night, and slept through the night.

I eye my coffee suspiciously for a moment, until I recall that just yesterday afternoon, I’d refilled the grinder with new beans. Different beans. My mouth wasn’t fooled, although it took my brain a moment to get caught up. I’m still waking up. I pause to be present in this moment, more deeply, more aware. I feel the cool air that pours in from the open patio door swirling around my ankles as the room cools off. I feel the heat of the mug in my hands, when I pick up my coffee cup. I feel the slick, subtly concave surface of the keys on my keyboard slide under my nimble fingers as I type, and the ache in my back that eases when I correct my posture, again. I hear a dog barking in the distance, and my tinnitus. A car passes on the road just beyond the driveway. I yawn, and stretch, and smile, thinking “hear I am!” and the day begins.

Another sip of coffee, looking over my list of things to do today. It is already in the “ideal order”, more or less, although I spot a couple improvements, and because I find it satisfying to do so, I move things around a bit. Still sipping coffee and writing, the tasks themselves will go so much more smoothly if I approach them efficiently – and they’ll take less time. 😀 Time is precious, and I would honestly prefer to spend it contentedly reading on the couch, listening to the wind chime ringing in the background, than on housework…so… efficiency, then? 😉

It is not particularly early in the morning. In practical terms I “slept in” a bit. It’s also not particularly late; it is rare for me to be able to sleep at all late. It’s simply “now” – a lovely Sunday morning. I smile at my half finished coffee, and at the clock. A new day, a new beginning – it’s unlikely that this humble list of house work and chores will change the world at all, but it is, nonetheless, a new beginning, and these simple acts of service to hearth and home, and self-care, change my world, quite a lot. A worthy start on beginning again. 🙂