Archives for category: Frustration

My evening was not ideally productive and this morning I notice that somehow the evenings this week have seemed to slip by with very little getting done, and few of my intentions being realized. It’s those damned verbs piling up like speed bumps along  my journey, becoming unfinished (or unstarted) tasks, slowing me down. I frown at my hands for no obvious reason, as I contemplate the long list of crap I hope to get done before I get in the car and head south to see my Traveling Partner this weekend.

Damn, I love how much more I see him, now that there is a car parked in my driveway. lol In general, I don’t mind the drive, and find that I don’t lose anything by it. I find it agreeable to have two 4-hour blocks of time spent in solitude, almost in a state of meditation, driving a familiar route, seeking that comfortable state of calm and contentment, “playing by the rules” and keeping a commitment to safety. It is both a game and a journey, and I’ve yet to even turn on music. I just drive, focused on driving well and safely, and eager to see my Traveling Partner, but also not stuck on specific details like departure times, arrival times, or “being there long enough to make the trip worth it”, or any of that. I just go. Love. Return. I do it with as much presence as I am able to maintain, as continuously as I am able to maintain it.

Other drivers are analogous to “other people’s drama” on my physical road trips. I use moments of frustration to practice practices like reframing the experience of the moment based on an alternate possible understanding – changing my assumptions about other drivers can change my experience. Did that guy “cut me off” because “he’s a jerk” and “a shitty driver”? Is there a chance that he legitimately didn’t realize he’d left me so little following distance, and was perhaps, instead, feeling the pressure of that much faster car tailgating him in the fast lane and just trying to get over out of that guy’s way? Did that person who slammed on their brakes in front of me need to brake at the last minute because there was something in front of them, too small for me to see, or did they realize they missed their turn and panic for a moment? Is that person riding the center line an inexperienced driver feeling insecure at high speed?

Distracted drivers – I struggle with compassion for your experience, I admit it. Get off the fucking phone. Put down your device. Stop fucking around with the buttons and knobs you can’t quite see on the console and just… drive your damned car. lol (Yep, still human!) You get my point, though; I play some games with myself to make the narrative I create about what is going on around me less “me vs the world”, less a personal attack and more just humans being human and chaos of circumstances. Instead of those long drives being endlessly tedious, they have become opportunities to practice, to build emotional resilience, to explore what it means to be human, myself, and even to grow a little. 🙂 Weekend well spent. 😀

Buuuuut… There’s still shit to get done here, before I go, to take care of the woman in the mirror, and to provide myself with the homecoming experience I most enjoy. I like to come home to an orderly home, no dirty dishes, no laundry that hasn’t been put away, no disorder, no “catching up” to do, no loose ends, bed made, carpet vacuumed… as though I care about my quality of life (which, I do). So, this evening, unfortunately, won’t be particularly relaxing, nor will the remainder of the morning; I have shit to do. lol One thing that doesn’t need doing? I don’t need to pack. I’m so glad I updated my bug out bag for regular use; it’s ready to go. I have literally nothing to pack. I’ll dress, grab my handbag, my keys, my bug out bag – and leave. It’s that effortless now. 😀 (Way to go, Me! Nice job taking care of you. ❤ )

I look over my to do list, sorting things to put stuff I can easily take care of this morning at the top. Run the dishwasher, check the fridge for things that may spoil if left over the weekend, take out the trash, make the bed, clean the toilets… Some stuff just has to wait: it’s too early for the noise of vacuuming, putting away the rest of the laundry has no excuse – I just don’t feel like doing it this morning. lol Looking over my list, thinking through the details, it’s clear that there is less of this irritating day-to-day stuff than it felt like there was, and more “bigger deal” stuff that can comfortably wait for next weekend, like hanging paintings, unboxing the last of the books, installing the new shower head, and other assorted final moving in details. What little stress I may have been feeling dissolves. There’s not even an hour worth of fussy odds and ends of housekeeping to do, really. That’s a nice feeling.

I look at the time. Sip my coffee. There are things to do. I’ve got a list. It appears to be time to begin again. 😉

I had a weirdly difficult day yesterday. My mood quickly soured during the morning commute, though I couldn’t pin down quite why; it wasn’t that bad. I made good time. Drivers were the usual assortment of human beings being entirely human. I shrugged it off and restarted my experience with a cup of coffee, and the completion of some relatively easy-but-tedious tasks that had been pushed off earlier in the week. Satisfying.

My day continued as a rollercoaster ride of along a spectrum of emotions, hitting lows of vague frustration and irritability, riding brief highs of satisfaction, contentment, or eagerness. Up and down. Again and again. Hours of it. Day’s end found me eager to begin the weekend, but the commute home was an unpleasant continuation – more of the same. It was a bit like playing the game of living with all the settings on “difficult”. lol

Something was definitely nagging at me, keeping me irritated, and as much as I wanted (very much) to blame something external, I have come to terms with how often whatever is “up with me” is generally something both within me, and within my own control. So… I went looking for it in the one place I know to check, my meditation cushion. 🙂

Search within; it’s closest.

Yeah…so… I didn’t get anywhere definite with that, but I did feel better. Calm. Content. Balanced. I let go of the irritation. I regained my smile. Throughout the evening, I still caught myself punctuating unexpected moments with a discontented sigh, or a deep cleansing breath. I didn’t take it personally, and the evening was quiet and pleasant.

I woke this morning with a smile, a calm heart, and a clear awareness of what had been aggravating me so deeply in the background; I was thinking about buying a new car. I was considering it with a great deal of excitement. I was taking steps in that direction without really considering all the consequences of the decision. I’ve embraced having a car, and the convenience of getting around with greater ease than public transit allows, but it is a bigger car than I’d ideally like, if I had chosen it for my own needs. I’d love a sub-compact SUV, something with some guts, maybe a little sporty… I pre-shopped over days, and made plans to do some test drives this weekend, with some eagerness (I can just go do this!)… Although… I’d already also planned a quiet productive weekend at home, taking care of home and hearth and meeting other needs, that do indeed need to be met… The conflict implied in that bit of planning nagged at me all day yesterday without really being sufficiently obvious to resolve with any ease. This morning? I get it. I don’t need a new car. I don’t need a different car. I have a car. It’s in good condition. It’s comfortable. It is fuel-efficient. It is safe. It is enough. (More than enough.)

The garden calls to me; there are roses to deadhead, weeding and watering to do… and moments to enjoy.

Feeling like lost balance has been restored. I canceled test-drive plans. It isn’t “time” to buy another car, or a different car, or a newer car. I have what I need. There are other things I would use limited resources for, financially, and it would be an exceedingly frivolous move to buy a new car right now. I decide to put my attention on my actual needs, and take care of the woman in the mirror with greater skill – by telling her “no” on this one. 🙂

I haven’t even finished moving in yet! The studio remains unfinished, and not yet work-ready.

I finish my coffee while I finish reviewing my budget and looking for opportunities to be comfortably frugal, more focused on legitimate needs, and things I can take care of that would be significant quality of life improvements (a car would not qualify; I have a nice one already). I’ve got quite a list of such things, as it happens, and a weekend to do some of those things. 🙂 It’s a good place to begin, again.

 

This is not a public service announcement, I’m just saying; it’s dangerous to drive if you are distracted. It’s also annoying bullshit for people stuck behind you while you scramble to adjust your music, or futz with your phone, or play with some device, or turn around to scold a child, or whatever the fuck it is you thought was a higher priority than attending to the processes involved in driving that fucking car which you are behind the wheel of. omg. Seriously?

I was behind one shortly after I left the parking lot at work. The first 4.4 miles of my commute are along a fairly narrow stretch of two-lane road, intersections at each block, cross walks between those in many locations, and cars parked along both sides. It is a favored area for diners, shoppers, and urban adventurers, many of whom seem positively unaware that “rush hour” exists as a concept, and so they mill around in the early evening, darting out between parked cars, ambling across crowded streets without hesitation or consideration of the flow of traffic. The drivers, similarly, are a mixed mess of folks who are overly considerate of jay walkers, and jerks who don’t even stop for pedestrians at cross walks with active “walk” signals. The cars are usually bumper to bumper. The speed limit is posted 25 miles that entire distance; when there is any gap in the traffic at all, drivers tend to speed up to fill it, as if specifically seeking to prevent even one more other car from turning off a side street into that 4.4 mile long line of irritated inattentive human primates. This driver and I were among them. At any light at which that car was the first car waiting at the light, I frustratedly waited after the light turned green for the driver to notice that fact (the first time long enough to miss the light completely, the next 4 times I tapped my horn after a “5 count”). This puzzles me; I’m watching the fucking light, waiting to continue. I am driving my damned car. lol This anecdote does not lead anywhere particular – choose your own lesson, if there is one to be found, but damn it – if you are driving a fucking car, do that. Just drive.

Do the thing you are doing in life, in this moment, with your whole attention, just generally! (No, you do not “multi-task well”, no one does, there’s science on that, and you are missing out on moments of your life by thinking you do and continuing to cultivate this fractured consciousness.)

I’m not even kidding. I don’t use my phone while I’m driving, unless I park, shut off the engine, and get back on the road when I’m done. I don’t prefer to take hands-free phone calls, and don’t answer the phone for anyone but my Traveling Partner without actually parking the car. I’m working to break that habit too; he loves me, and waiting for a call back is worth his time – and my safety. Driving is a complex set of interconnected processes. Distracted driving is an unreasonably risky behavior.

End rant. Begin day. 😉

Not my alarm – I woke up ahead of that one, this morning. We had a fire alarm go off in the office yesterday and evacuated the building. Turned out to be a mistake by a construction worker, I heard. These things happen. What came next was hard; it had triggered me.

My anxiety and symptoms of my PTSD flared up. The noise of the alarm itself worked my nerves over as I calmly and efficiently left the building with haste. What got me, though, was “civilian behavior”. My anxiety continued to increase the longer I was exposed to the chaos and disorder of folks ambling down the stairs in distracted confusion, chatting about the day, and milling around outside very close to a building they had no reason to believe was still safe. I began scanning the crowd for an unseen enemy – we were all so exposed, to vulnerable, they seemed so unaware. The hyper-vigilance lasted the remainder of the day. My startle reflex was turned way up. My chest felt tight. My mood had become detached and mildly aggressive, “battle-ready”. By the time the all clear was given, I was no longer “safe for work” in some difficult to describe way, but had meetings left in the day, and workload to attend to.

I did my best. I went home as soon as I could. The commute was just more verbs and more practice. My startle reflex is dangerous in commuter traffic; cars or people approaching from my periphery reach my consciousness as an imminent threat. My hyper-vigilance combined with my agitation, anxiety, and aggression, result in a seething mess herding powerful machinery capable of killing, down crowded streets, too slow to feel satisfying, frustratingly slow, and being wholly made of human, I really just wanted to go home and cry quietly until the feelings passed.

My face still hurts this morning from gritting my teeth the whole way home.

I’m okay. I did get safely home. No one got hurt. No fender bender. No angry tirade – either on the road, or in the office. I managed to keep my shit together, and that’s something to pause for, to be aware of, to value – and this morning I sip my coffee focusing on the recollection of what worked, and how well, and less on the alarm itself, or the “civilian behavior” – people are people. My coworkers are not machines. They are not soldiers. This is not (no, seriously, it’s not) a war zone. My coworkers were the ones being rational; there was no cause for (the) alarm. 🙂 Admittedly, I still think they would do well to move with purpose in an emergency, to gather in an organized fashion and take a count of folks on their teams to be sure every is safely away from danger… but… they’ll probably need to actually experience danger to understand how important that actually is. So. There’s that.

This morning is so much more ordinary. I take a moment to be mildly irked with myself that my mental health situation last night threw off my timing getting ready for the weekend. I’m behind on my “to do” list. lol I’ll get over it. Yesterday was hard. I’ll get over that, too.

The sun is not yet up… I think I’ll get an early start on a new beginning. 🙂

The commute yesterday was ugly. I was calm. People drove badly. I drove calmly. The trip home was slow, traffic density was high, and it was a hot, muggy day. I arrived home… still calm. New. Nice. It was almost a pleasant drive in spite of the shitty traffic and terrible driving behavior of some of the other drivers. This was not a coincidence, or serendipity; I built those moments myself, with mindful awareness, non-judgmental compassion, and frequent reminders that we each see ourselves at the hero of our internal narrative, generally, and are each having our own experience. That jackass ahead of me, weaving back and forth over the yellow line? Human. Like me. Probably trying to see ahead – past the large truck ahead of him. Perspective. (I was still super glad that he finally turned off that road, and it was most definitely a bit annoying to see him stray over that yellow line again and again, but my annoyance was my own to deal with, and literally nothing to do with him.) The entire drive passed in this fashion.

I got home. I spent the evening relaxing, doing a couple things around the house – but mostly relaxing. I may have needed that more than I understood; I also went to bed a tad early, and without reading, or meditating, or any sort of dilly-dallying, was fast asleep so quickly I didn’t have time to consider the day. I woke to the alarm, rested, and feeling mildly distracted, as if torn from a pleasant dream. It’s been a lovely morning. I’ve taken good care of this fragile vessel, and the day starts well. I think I’ve finally come to a comfortable decision about the change in my transportation resources (having a car) and what kind of commuting options I have (both the driving sort, and the transit sort), and I’m finally ready to update my budget and my planning with the necessary details.

This morning, adulting feels rather comfortable and natural. It’s a nice change. I smile and sip my coffee and enjoy the moment of acknowledgement, and the feeling of ease. My smile deepens as I allow the awareness that, yes, “this too will pass” – even the pleasant bits are really fairly temporary. Always were. It’s totally okay. They come and go, and holding on ferociously can’t prolong them, it only makes the pain of their impermanence linger. So. This morning I feel light. I enjoy this carefully hand-crafted moment, as I did the moments in commuter traffic, or standing at the sink washing the dinner dishes, or standing in the shower feeling the water flow over my skin, or looking through my closet for something to wear and feeling content that anything I choose – I am still this person that I am, and I am loved. It’s nice. I highly recommend enjoying moments – and making the choices that result in more pleasant ones than unpleasant ones. There may be some verbs involved. Your results will likely vary (I know mine do). No doubt, you will have your own experience.

I look at the time. I’m eager to begin again. 🙂