Archives for category: Healthy Living

So, training on a new tool ended yesterday, in the sense that the trainer has left the building to return to her regular day-to-day experience elsewhere. My work week ends in a handful of hours after one meeting. It would be so easy to give myself a moment of self-congratulatory joy, celebrate an achievement, and be done with that… but… that isn’t how new knowledge (or new practices) actually work. The learning is a beginning, only. Then come the verbs. The practice. The repetition. The iterations of improvement over time. The learning curve. Skill building. Improvements. Refinements. Enhancements. Efficiency building. It’s even a cycle. Each new thing learned, practiced, and “mastered” leads to yet another new thing learned, which must be practiced, and mastered, which leads… yeah. So.

Weekends are also a thing. I’ve got a lovely long one ahead of me. I’d planned to spend the Autumnal Equinox on the coast, but this training week was important (remains important, it is simply now in the past), enough to cut a couple hours out of my planned time, resulting in a change in plan. Truly, though, what canceled my trip to the coast was a splash of inspiration urging me into the studio, which… yeah. That comes first whenever I can make it so. 😀

Beginnings and endings, and an unfinished self-portrait waiting to be completed.

I sip my coffee content with this moment. Eager to return home to my weekend. Eager to linger at leisure at the edge of the rainy day deck garden with a coffee too late in the day, unconcerned because the day of leisure will be followed by another. I am even eager to throw routine out the window, to stay up late in defiance of healthy sleep practices, to sleep in on a “work day” (helloooo, Friday morning, I’m looking your way!), to play the stereo loud, to be – without looking at the clock. Just anticipating the delicious leisure moments ahead, I feel myself relax. I need this. 🙂

I’m pretty good at routines. I’m less skillful about breaking them. It’s not generally wise, but sometimes I do learn best from my challenges when I explore them, gently. Am I ready for some chaos? I’d better be…

…Anyway… I can always begin again. 😉

A quiet rainy morning begins gently. My arthritis pain has flared up, because, of course it has. No arguing with rainy days, chilly nights, or autumn, generally. Summer is fading fast.

My coffee is very tasty. I enjoy having the espresso machine up and running.

Work seems to be proceeding in a pleasantly routine way, in spite of spending the majority of my short week in training. That bit, by itself, is fairly stimulating, almost exciting. There’s something about learning new things that are useful that “wakes me up” in some way that is just a bit beyond the usual.

Not a fucking thing about this morning is “ultimate”, “epic”, “amazing”, “tragic” – or any other adjectival excess. Life is far less commonly extraordinary than it is quite routine and average, although a quick glance at the morning headlines would lead one to expect quite the opposite is the case. I frown at the screen in front of me, resenting the constant “advertising” and manipulation. I turn that on myself with no ill-intent; I use a lot of fucking adjectives, myself. 😉 Perspective? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe consumers burnt out on hyperbole are hard to market ideas, goods, and services to, or harder to engage, generally? (Myself, I use adjectives primarily because 1. I naturally use them when I talk about things, and 2. I’m trying to communicate the contents of my thoughts to someone who can’t share those directly in pictures, or emotions.) (I do over use them like crazy, I’m not unaware of it. It is about sharing, rather than persuasion.)

I let my consciousness move on.

I woke to the alarm, this morning. Once I reached the kitchen to make coffee some minutes later, I was irked to note I’d left dishes in the sink. Not okay (with me –  your needs, and results, may vary). Well shit. Clearly not “epic”. 😦 Nor is it “the ultimate” anything at all. It’s also not “a colossal disappointment” – I’m just mildly annoyed with myself for having let them go until morning because, well, I hate that messy shit, specifically with regard to dishes in the sink. It’s to do with me, and what I value and appreciate for quality of life. I can do better for me. I sigh quietly in the morning chill, and promise myself coffee once the dishes are done. I feel grateful that I had turned on the heat after returning home to rainy autumn weather, Sunday evening. It is in all respects a fairly ordinary morning. I’m disproportionately pleased with that as the day begins; it’s enough.

I sip my coffee. An Americano this morning. I listen to the rain fall and the “ssssshhhh ssssshhhh” of cars passing by on the street. Busy street at some times of day, busier than I’d like. No kidding; I’d love to have some acreage to get sufficient distance from all the goings on of my fellow human beings to hear only bird song, breezes, and the sound a leaf makes when it hits the ground. lol That’s not going to happen here. I love this little house, and I am content, but it can’t be described accurately as “quiet”. It is not. The moments themselves are somehow quieter than the environment ever is, generally. The quiet I do find is the sort that is cultivated within. For now, and most of the time, this is enough.

I look at the clock. It’s still dark outside. Nonetheless, I decide to get on with things. It’s not “epic” timing, it’s not “the ultimate moment”, it’s not “an awesome opportunity”, and I’m not expecting an “amazing experience” – but it is an adequate moment to begin again. 🙂 That’s enough.

I got home so brain-tired yesterday that the rainy day commute did not have the power to stress me out; I had no fucks left to give, in the gentlest nicest way. I just could not do anything beside safely gently drive home, park the car, and then… well, just basically nothing at all. lol

The rain continued to fall off and on all evening. I sat quietly enjoying the sound of it. Meditation. Yoga. A mug of hot tasty broth. A small glass of port, sipped slowly while I chatted for a few minutes with my Traveling Partner. Quiet. Merry. It was a lovely evening.

I slept restlessly, waking every two hours or so, checking the clock, returning to sleep. I woke ahead of the alarm, but close enough; I got up early. Yoga. Strength training. A shower. A very tasty almond milk latte that shows I have been practicing; best so far. A gentle morning, in spite of my arthritis pain.

I am eager for the long weekend ahead. No occasion. Well, me. That’s my occasion. It’s the autumnal equinox, and I am taking a long weekend to meditate, and to paint. It’s only blip on the radar this morning, of little consequence, although I have a to do list waiting for me each evening that is intended to see all the housekeeping completed before the work week ends. (How’s that going, so far, then? LOL) I’m contentedly resigned to the high likelihood that I’ll actually spend Thursday afternoon on all of that, simply because the beginnings of this week are so crammed with work-day activities that I am utterly exhausted when I get home in the evenings. It is what it is. I don’t give myself any shit about being human very often anymore.

I am mildly irked about having to go in to the office on Thursday, which jammed up  my original plan to camp on the coast and meditate on the shore over the long weekend, but the goings on in the office are not just a big deal; this particular bit is about/for the work I specifically do, so… yeah. It’d be hard to delegate that. I don’t even want to. Aaaaaand… inspiration struck me, which matters a great deal, and I need to take the new studio space for a test drive. 😀 So. Change of plans. A painting stay-cation, and I am eager to get on with it. There’s still the rest of this week, as short as it is, to get through… so.

I finish my coffee, still staring at that to do list. I find myself noticing that several listed tasks are sufficiently “quiet” that I can knock some of this out before work…

…A good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday got off to a great start, and finished, rather literally, with a bang. Well, more of a crash. I got tail-ended in rush hour traffic. No “lol”, no emoji, no minimizing, no catastrophizing; I got hit from behind by an inattentive driver while I was stopped, with sufficient force to leave an impression of her license plate frame in my bumper. It wasn’t what I planned for the evening, it certainly wasn’t what I expected, but it is a thing. It occurred.

I’m okay.

It was a generally weird day that stands out a bit in a sort of “report card” fashion, because quite frankly an ever-loving-shit-ton of stuff (all super strange oddball outliers of events and circumstances) went peculiarly sideways yesterday, a lot of it rather inconsequential, some of it to do with money, all of it touching on the sorts of things that would have grievously triggered me even a year ago. I’d have been emotionally incapacitated, flooded, and completely overwhelmed by a day like yesterday. It most likely would have sent me crashing into a period of learned helplessness and despair that could last weeks, punctuated by reactive relief-seeking acting-out that wouldn’t have helped at all, probably made things much worse.

This morning, I am relaxed after a good night’s sleep. I feel pretty comfortable physically. I’m still on for my trip down to see my Traveling Partner, and don’t seem to be dealing with any significant after-effects of yesterday’s experiences. Things seem quite fine, actually. As though yesterday were entirely separate from today in every way, other than being adjacent to one another on a calendar page. So. Apparently it is possible to “enjoy” a day of utter chaos, with some destruction and loss, and yet somehow not go to pieces, not melt down, not lay waste to whatever is left to hold on to… It’s possible to do a bit better than merely survive what is uncomfortable, chaotic, and destructive. That’s some good news right there. 🙂

I got hit hard enough that I felt light-headed and strange when I got out of the car. Wobbly. Worried about my back, my neck, my head – the other driver. Late into the evening I continued to wonder if the persisting headache was from being struck, or just another persisting headache like so many? This morning – no headache. That’s enough. I slept well, and I feel comfortably able to get back in the car and drive down the highway. Road trip!

Today feels like a good day for beginnings. I find myself hoping this particular day includes a big reduction in the quantity of weird shit going on compared to yesterday. lol Yesterday was a bit much to take, and I’d started to feel a bit.. hexed. Still… wow. How much more well-prepared for living life am I, that yesterday didn’t destroy me? Didn’t even blow me off course! That’s… yeah. Wow. I gotta stop celebrating at some point, though; it is far to easy (for me) to let a moment of celebration become a careless presumption that I am “entirely well” or in a place where I “don’t even have to worry about any of that”, and I lose myself in a quagmire of poor decision-making and frivolous use of resources, and find myself both accountable, and unprepared to care for myself. Like a kid taking the training wheels off their bike for the first time, then falling on their ass. I’d like to avoid that fall.

I find it best to have my moment, enjoy recognizing the progress I have made, and return fairly quickly to practicing the practices that support my wellness over time, and that meet longer term needs, and keep me on a path that supports my goals. 🙂

So, this morning I begin again. Again. I make choices. I get up gently when the alarm goes off. Yoga. Strength training. A leisurely shower. I check my list and begin doing the small things I’d want done before I return home: top off the aquarium, make the bed, tidy up a few things, drop my kindle in the side pocket of my bug out bag. I look around before I sit down with my coffee to write a few words before the weekend really gets going; is this the home I want to come home to? Will I feel “welcomed” when I return? Will I be comfortably able to just walk in, set down my bag, and chill? Satisfied that I have met the needs of a future me (only days into the future, but you know, we haven’t met, yet, and I do want her to be welcome when she gets home) I relax and make an Americano.

I sip my coffee contentedly. I take a few minutes to check in with friends. I smile thinking about a moment in the office, yesterday. I’d seen a colleague looking a little… well, we’re both veterans, and he had that look of being “stuck in a different moment” and avoided eye contact. I reached out over our messaging service a little later and just asked him how he was doing? He said “I’m good”. I wasn’t sure I believed that, but it’s not necessarily helpful to pry people open like clam shells. I replied “Awesome. Big plans for the weekend?” He sent me an emoji back and commented “That’s a solid buddy check right there. I had a moment, earlier. I’m okay now” and proceeded to tell me about his upcoming plans. We shared a bit. Turned out I felt the need for some support too, but it was less obvious to me that it was to him. The power of connection. The power of relationships and shared experience. That interaction was one high point of a strangely chaotic and messy day.

I’m not sure I’ll ever fully leave some of life’s pain behind me. I don’t really expect to entirely clean up all the chaos and damage – but it is pretty fucking splendid just to be able to live my life without everything seeming to crash down, over and over and over again, like a house of cards in a strong breeze, any time something goes a little sideways. Progress. Incremental change over time. Lots of practices. Lots of verbs. Lots of choices.

Oh hey, look at the time! There’s a highway just over there… and a journey to make. I’ve got a map for this one, but even in this instance, the map is not the journey, and I have to make this trip, myself. 🙂 I’m having my own experience.

It’s definitely time to begin again. See you on Sunday – in the glow of evening light, perhaps? 😉

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. 😉