Archives for category: health

I’m in pain this morning. Routine morning in most respects, in spite of the pain. Maybe the pain itself has become fairly routine after all this time? I’ve lived with the arthritis pain in my spine for a pretty long time… about… 30 years. 30 years? Wow. It has been a long time. This morning I manage it as well as I know how to do with the tools available. Yoga and stretching, first. Meditation (it does help). An OTC pain reliever (it doesn’t help much, but it’s a “next step” that sits somewhere between the yoga and the Rx relief on the path of escalating steps).

My first cup of coffee is long gone. I drink water for some while before I move to make the second cup. My Traveling Partner joined me for coffee a little while ago. That moment is behind us, already, and the work day begins to unfold. The sky is a bit less horrifically altered by smoke, and the air a bit less foul. Progress. Still… the day manages to feel entirely routine, in general.

I drag my mind away from the physical pain I am in, and back to the work in front of me. I do that two or three times before I finally just take a break to deal with it properly. Probably a day of it ahead of me. I sigh out loud in the quiet room, reminding myself to be patient with people, and kind; we can’t see what that other person is going through, and often make fairly poor assumptions from a casual glance. I resolve to be “the nicest person in the room”, if I can…

…Sounds like a lot of new beginnings ahead of me today.

No, seriously, today I’ve got this headache… It’s probably a result of the poor air quality right now. I’ve had plenty of water, and my usual amount of coffee. I slept well. My posture and balance seem pretty ordinary. I’ve gotten some exercise this morning. I feel fairly confident that I’ve ticked all the appropriate everyday self-care boxes. I still have this headache, and the change I can’t control, which is the “weather”, seems the likely culprit as a result. It’s “fire season”… I guess that’s a thing now. Winter, spring, summer, fire, fall, and back to winter. :-\

…Another sip of water. Another work task. I nibble away at my writing between things. It’s not my best. I’m struggling with this headache, and the effort has to be enough.

I breathe, exhale, relax… and exist with this headache. It will pass, I remind myself. That’s enough for now.

 

It’s a Friday morning. A busy morning. A mostly sort of routine-ish morning. I’ve got my coffee (#2), and a day of work ahead of me. I’ve got errands to run and a reminder on my calendar. I’m okay with all of that, and feeling mostly sort of relaxed, and generally fairly organized.

The noise of contractors here at the house is a bit much to take. Calls and meetings would be affected. I’m fortunate to be able to easily reschedule all but one. I focus on work, then catch myself holding my breath – too focused. I take a break.

Take breaks. Mean it when you do; really step away, and take a minute to “just breathe” and maybe even let your mind wander! When I returned to work, I felt fresh and comfortably focused without stress or anxiety. It’s enough to notably improve what is already a decent morning. I sip my cold coffee, content and relaxed. It’s enough.

Before the work day began, this morning, I embarked on what I hope becomes a regular element of my new normal, my new morning routine; I went for a walk. It was only a mile, and really just around and about my local neighborhood, brisk, cane in hand, smiling and waving to neighbors getting their day started. It was pleasant. I felt energized for the day ahead by the time I returned home. It’s not a hike in the forest or anything, but it’s a nice contribution to my general wellness and fitness.

I discover a pleasantly inaccessible bit of green space within the neighborhood.

It’s a nicely level walk, on suburban sidewalks, nestled in the countryside, tucked between a local highway and the “old” version of that route. Since I sometimes walk very early, as early as those last dark pre-dawn minutes, straying from the pavement would present needless hazards for my messed up ankle. I take my cane, and my patience with myself (and my middle-aged, less-than-ideally-fit-but-working-on-it limitations), and enjoy the journey for what it is. A gentle moment with the woman in the mirror as the way ahead becomes steps fading behind me. I see things I missed before, each time I make the trip around the neighborhood; it’s still very new.

I stop near where the creek that runs behind the house becomes a mere trickle, and wonder what is holding back the flow?

I walk on, wondering what “holds back my flow’ in life, love, and art… just… you know, “along the way”, and how can I “do more, better” without exhausting myself, or finding myself mired in resentment or resistance? I think about the need for healthy breaks, and how that improves my productivity at work… There’s something to learn here.

…I drink some water, and begin again. 🙂

 

The morning starts well. A soak in the spa. A hot cup of coffee. A soft gray daybreak. A great (explicit) new rap track. There’s so much potential in a new day. Later there’ll be work to do, maybe errands to run, effort to be exerted, or conflict to resolve, but right now? It’s just this quiet moment, early on a Thursday morning. I don’t know what the future holds in a post-pandemic world (or if there even will be a post-pandemic world for humanity, at all…). I don’t know who the next president will be. I don’t know what tomorrow has to offer. The future is undecided.

What do I want life to look and feel like? That’s a good question to ask, to answer, and then to reconsider. What quality would I want to characterize my general experience of life well-lived? My answer to that question has changed over the years. My understanding of “success” has changed. My understanding of “what life is about” has changed, too. What I want for myself – and of myself – has changed. I sip my coffee and think about that. Who does the woman in the mirror most want to be? What are those qualities that are most likely to ease me into the life I most want to live, long-term?

…I suspect I’m either “late to the party” on some of these questions, or simply prone to having this conversation with myself regularly, forgetting all about it, and having to do it again. 🙂 It feels a bit adolescent, but in my own adolescence I felt pretty sure of most things, in my grim angry cynical way. My level of “certainty” about life probably impeded my growth and forward progress, if only by preventing me asking some significant questions of myself. I’m okay with uncertainty these days – which is pretty useful, since there’s a lot of that around. lol

…It’s a nice morning for reflecting on life, over a good cup of coffee. Decent playlist, too. 🙂

I think about life in the context of this place, this dwelling, this address, this community – this is where I am. It’s been a complicated journey of 57 years. As my coffee begins to grow cold, I think about where this path may lead, accepting the uncertainties, embracing the practices that tend most to keep me on this path I’ve chosen. I feel fortunate, and make room for a moment of gratitude. It’s not that there haven’t been some terrible moments in life, some damage to heart and mind and body (some of which I feel even to this moment, now) – but those experiences don’t define me, now. They are not “who I am” – only what I’ve been through.

I think about a conversation with my Traveling Partner early in the week, about self-care, and my unfortunate lack of consistency in such things. He’s got a point, and I know that – and for every good practice I develop, there’s another I need to reinforce, and become more consistent with. It’s an ongoing thing (and why they are “practices”). I think about this day, ahead of me, right now. So far, so good. There’s more to it, and I can “do more/better” with my self-care practices. No criticism, no self-loathing – I’m not beating myself up over it, just reminding the woman in the mirror to make the worthy effort. It’s needful. It’s worthwhile. I benefit greatly from those moments, and am bettered for taking care of this fragile vessel with all the skill I have, and all the energy I can muster for it. 🙂

…New day, new beginning. Time to begin again.

I woke up groggy and in pain. My Traveling Partner, strangely, was already up. I made coffee, and retreated to my studio to wake up and get my shit together before interacting with the world – or my partner. Pain makes me super cranky, and fairly pre-occupied, which is both commonplace and also total bullshit (to have to deal with). I sip my coffee and look at pictures of flowers in nursery catalogs online. I am thinking about Spring, although it is quite a way off, on the other side of a winter that is not yet here, beyond a summer that has only barely started. lol Long-range planning makes for an excellent distraction.

I know that at some point, this coffee will be finished, and a new work day will begin. Sometime, between this moment and that one, I may soak in the hot tub and try to ease the aches and pain of arthritis and middle-aged-ness. It’s a lovely way to start the day (and week). A helpful luxury that has reduced the amount of pain I’m in, day-to-day. I’m grateful for that, and grateful for a partner that knows how to care for the hot tub (and is teaching me the things I need to know to do so, myself).

Pain sucks. I straighten my posture, and take a deep breath. I exhale, and relax, and allow my awareness of things that don’t hurt to become more prominent in my experience of self, right now. It’s not a cure for pain, but it helps, some. Later, if it is still this bad, I’ll take something for it, before I start the work day. One thing at a time… and next? I’ll just begin again. 🙂