Archives for category: Healthy Living

I woke with a silent groan, about half an hour before my alarm would have gone off. Stiff neck. Headache. Aching back. Well… shit. I do some yoga. Shower. More yoga. Some stretches I learned in physical therapy. Coffee. Now I’m sitting here feeling completely fantastic managing to pull myself together sufficiently to go to work. This morning life feels very much the journey through the darkness without a map that it is; and this path is not paved. lol

…Well… It could be worse, right? I’ve got heat, power, and indoor plumbing. Potable drinking water (as far as I know). A secure home. This cup of coffee. A partner who loves me. It’s a good life, in spite of the aches and pains. I sit sipping my coffee, focused on my generally good quality of life, and take it in. I savor the feeling of being loved. I savor the feeling of warmth when the heat comes on. I savor the sense of safety. I take time to appreciate that I’m not out in the rain on a cold night. I consider the merry little Giftmas tree in the living room. I feel the sensation of the smile on my face. As practices go, I can’t beat gratitude, and presence, for an early morning boost. Maybe I even hurt less, although it’s tough to say for sure; it definitely is of less consequence that I am in pain. 🙂

Being 100% real, it’s not “effortless” to lift myself up. It’s not automatic to feel grateful or appreciative in some difficult moment. It’s not “easy” to take a step back from conflict or frustration, to be a better version of this woman I most want to be. It’s not “my nature” to be reliably gentle, tender, kind, and considerate. I work at all of it. I practice. I make changes. I reflect on the outcomes of my actions, and my words. I give a lot of wholehearted apologies; I make a lot of mistakes. No map. This journey through the darkness across an uneven, unpaved, metaphor, offers some major opportunities for growth. Nothing about that is comfortable, or easy.

Every morning, and a lot of other moments, too, I begin again. I start all over – new day, new opportunities. Failure isn’t terrifying, it’s merely part of a growth process. (Saying that doesn’t make it less difficult in the moment.)

I keep sipping my coffee, trying to wake up fully. Another short night. I woke up around 3:00 a.m., and went back to sleep for an hour (sort of). I haven’t managed even 6 hours in any given night, once again, in days. (It would no doubt be helpful to get to bed at an hour early enough for that to be possible, in the first place.) I set a reminder on my wearable, and hope to get to bed “on time” tonight. I rub the sleep out of my eyes, still trying to wake up.

…And already it’s time to begin again.

I woke early. Headache? Sure, fine, why not…? Coffee? It’s good. Brain? Foggy.

I put on headphones and queue up some music. I breathe. Exhale. Relax, letting my shoulders drop. I hadn’t noticed they were stiff, tense, and up around my ears. I feel my jaw unclench. Wicked little headache. New one? I’m not certain. I breathe. Listen to the music. Exhale. Relax. I hold my attention on my breath, observing my physical experience. Toes gripping the pedestal of this office chair. I place my feet on the floor, and allow them to relax. Still breathing. Exhaling. Focusing on my breathing. In. Out. Feeling the music fill my consciousness. Track changes allow me, momentarily, to hear other sounds of morning: cars passing outside, the heat coming on, the muffled sound of my own breath from the other side of the headphones. Breathing in. Exhaling. Relaxing, again. My breathing is relaxed and even, and in spite of feeling pretty foggy (I woke way too early), and this headache (which I could frankly do without), I feel pretty okay this morning. A good Monday so far, even if I did wake up at 3:20 a.m.

I sip my coffee, and think about holiday cards, old friends, and the double-edged razor-blade of social media; so easy to stay in touch, so much general ill-effect to take advantage of that technology. Another breath. Another exhalation. Another moment to let go of assumptions, and expectations, and the outrage machinery of modern media. I’m content with this cup of coffee, and this Opiuo track.

Weird weekend. It was full of peculiar little ups and downs, and although there were some moments I easily could have done without, I nonetheless recall the weekend as a good one. I got much done, and my studio is sufficiently tidy to be suitable guest space in a pinch, which feels almost strange after a year of clutter. I smile, appreciating my Traveling Partner’s hints and suggestions, falling short of nagging, but persistent as reminders that I, myself, wanted to create order from the chaos that developed over the year, and during the prior year when I traveled so much, myself. I look around feeling content and satisfied. I eye the next couple of tasks. There are several. Easier to do them, now, though – more room to work. 🙂

I smile recalling my Traveling Partner enjoying the squirrels and chipmunks with me, this weekend. Beautiful memories. Will I always recall these moments? I savor it for some minutes, recalling in detail our shared delight in the antics of the wee chipmunks, and the plumpness of some of the squirrel “regulars”.

With my Traveling Partner’s help, and largely due to his weekday efforts, the house looks lovely. Tidy, comfortable, well-organized; it’s easy to feel good here. I sit for a minute, sipping my coffee and feeling wholly grateful that I am not having to handle all the housekeeping and chores alone. I smile quietly, similarly grateful for a partnership that supports my overall wellness, and even to the point of gently insisting I don’t just sit around, however much I really really really just want to rest, quietly, in a favorite comfortable spot, watching squirrels, or videos. lol It’s sometimes super annoying to hear the hint to get up and move around some – doesn’t matter whether it comes from my phone or my partner, really, but taking the hint and fighting the desire to just sit is likely to be a huge positive for my longevity and health later in life. So… I fuss a bit, then get up anyway. By the end of an evening, I’m just so tired, and often in so much pain… but each opportunity to get up, move around, and do some small thing before sitting down again, is an action toward a longer, healthier life. 🙂 I get up, get a glass of water, or pick out my work clothes, or carry something from where it is to where it more appropriately should be. I get up, do the dishes, or take out the trash, or pick something up, or tidy something else. I get up, go to the garage for a case of fizzy water, or a roll of paper towels. I get up, make a cup of tea, “just stretch my legs”, or use the restroom. Fighting the desire to “really relax” can be hard; a lifetime of stress whispers in my ear that this is the “one path” to finally getting past all that to some imaginary experience in which there is no stress, no pain, no fatigue…

…I sigh aloud in the quiet room. There’s no such thing as the perfect utopian experience of ease; even that takes verbs. Action. Effort. I sip my coffee. I notice the time. Meditation, yoga, a shower… waking up too early makes for a leisurely morning of good self-care. Trade-offs. Regardless, there are nearly always verbs involved, effort, will, action, getting down the path to find that life was well-lived, and characterized by contentment, and an experience of ease and joy. Slow things down, sure – life can definitely be way to busy – but stopping altogether? Maybe not the best idea, however fatigued I may feel. lol

I’m still groggy this morning. My coffee helped little. I find myself looking forward to the cold morning air wrapping me in refreshment as I head to the office. Random thoughts on a Monday crowd my consciousness. I smile. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee and listening to some “deep house” music, and thinking about change. I’m smiling, and enjoying the steady low thump of the beat, and looking around my messier-than-usual studio; signs of change. My smile deepens to a grin, and I think about the lovely evening my Traveling Partner and I shared, and how strange it is that the joy of the evening was the shared experience of embracing change. 🙂

…It was sort of spontaneous. I’m not sure whose suggestion it was, really, a change of arrangements, furnishing, spaces, things could be moved… from here… to there… I’m not usually especially open to such things (no reason to resist the admission, I have real issues with my environment being “disrupted”, and have had some fairly childish tantrums over something being “in the wrong place”).  There we were… the idea out in the open, and it didn’t feel scary or unsettling or disruptive at all; it just made obvious sense. I’m pretty sure it was not my idea, but on hearing it, I was almost immediately taken with the common sense of it, the improvement in flow of daily life, the efficiency, and yes – order – to be gained. We went from idea to “let’s do this thing” in actual seconds. We were off our asses and actually making change happen within minutes. There’s more to do, but we’ve gotten well-started on the thing, and, yeah, I really like it.

…I slept better. Weird, because the rearrangement of objects and placement within the household did not have anything whatsoever to do with the bed, bedding, or nighttime qualities of the room in which we sleep (it was mostly about closets and bathrooms). lol I definitely did sleep very well last night. 😀 Related? Unrelated? Doesn’t matter. I enjoyed the positive experience of change, and the changes we made result in our shared space feeling even more like “us” and quite a bit less like “my place and my partner is moving in”. Feels really good, honestly, and more… coherent. More orderly.

I’m feeling pleased and comfortable and contented; a very positive reaction to change. I don’t always feel this way about such things. I take time to savor it. I’m honestly so tickled, I also try a different perfume today. lol I’m possibly less pleased with that outcome, but admittedly; change can be hard for me. It’s a small step forward to be open to novelty, even on a small detail like fragrance. It’s a small step that needs to be taken again and again, to preserve “neuroplasticity“. Good stuff there. A way forward. A way through. It’s one of the foundations of “beginning again” and practicing practices for making the long journey from trauma to being the person I most want to be. 🙂

I glance at the time. Finish my coffee. Today is my Traveling Partner’s birthday (certainly one human life I am eager to celebrate!) – and it’s time to begin again. 😀

The house is quiet. Cool jazz plays in the background, softly. I sip a small glass of sherry, sweet, smooth, and deliciously raisin-y; it tastes of luxury, and satisfying moments. I look back on a gentle, fulfilling day of celebration, utterly lacking in any hint of drama, stress, or conflict. The day was spent harmoniously, in the good company of my Traveling Partner. It’s been a memorable Thanksgiving Day, peaceful and connected. Intimate. Romantic. Fun.

Dinner for two was effortless; we went out. We went to dinner sharply dressed in our best “going out to dinner on a holiday” clothes, subtly coordinated with each other’s choices. There was no particular wait; we made reservations well in advance. There was no traffic, really, most people were already at home, in their kitchens, or with their families, making merry their own way. It was an easy evening out. The meal was quite pleasant: good food, great service, worth the price paid. The drive home? Similarly pleasant. It was, in the simplest terms, an easy, delightful, holiday spent wrapped in love. My Traveling Partner looked fantastic. My mirror suggested to me that I looked pretty wonderful, too. The mingled scents of his cologne and my perfume complimented each other well, and were applied with care so as not to overwhelm dinner.

…I don’t know what else to say… this was my experience, this year. I’ve had others. My results, over a lifetime, have varied. This was one exceptionally pleasant, relaxed, and satisfying- an intimate holiday.

…I’ve much to be thankful for. Not just this grand date out with my love; also, just generally. Here in the quiet, sipping my sherry, I consider my life in context. I consider all the many unspoken “thank you’s” due here, or there, or again, just generally. Not all of life’s lessons are “easy”, and sometimes, the cost to learn them is pretty fucking high. Still, close attention to the curriculum, and learning (and growing), and becoming more this woman I want to be is worth it, so far, and the payout seems to be lovely moments (or days) such as this. It’s enough.

…This too shall pass. lol Just being real; clinging to this moment wouldn’t serve me well. As with clinging to any other moment (or notion, or assumption, or expectation), clinging to this charming here-and-now experience would set me up for failure in some other moment. So, I sip my sherry in the quiet of evening, content with what is, and not much concerned with anything else. There is time for this, here, now. It’s certainly worth savoring.

For me, Thanksgiving kicks off “the winter holiday season”, which will last through New Year’s Day. There’s much to enjoy, to explore, to wonder upon… It is a “season of gratitude”, and also of contemplation, consideration, and change. It is a season to be most generous, and also a season to let go of ego, and share the journey for a little while, to reach across the strange chasms that separate “us” and “them” to become “we” for awhile. It is a season to receive gifts graciously, and to forgive with an open heart (and open mind), aware that we’re all in this together, although we are each having our own experience.

…This can be an amazing life. Slow down. Enjoy some of it. Stop yelling for a minute. Hug someone you love. Care about your loved ones more than you care about being right. Laugh – yes, and even at yourself. Is any moment of anger really worth sacrificing the beautiful lives we could have instead, so easily? I’m just saying… use your words, not your weapons. (It should go without saying that well-mannered, reasonable, people do not take up arms against their loved ones in a moment of anger, for fuck’s sake. …And killing them? Just… no. Do not do that. Ever. Just… no. That’s not love. Ever. At all. Shouldn’t have to say that… unfortunately, it’s clear from the news that some folks did not get that memo. 😦 )

…I sip my sherry and dispel the grim thought that one thing I am truly grateful for is that I survived my first marriage…

I’m definitely grateful I didn’t spend the day cleaning and cooking, and then find myself also having to clean up afterward. Been there (fuck that). Today was unreservedly joyful, and so emotionally rich and satisfying, I hesitate to mention it for fear it may burst like a soap bubble. I needn’t worry so. It’s already so quiet now…

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful warm Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe you didn’t, this year? In that case, there’s still some good news; you can let this one go, and simply begin again. 😉

Don’t get sucked into the hype. I mean, generally, right? Also – here. Good advice from random internet strangers is… random, strange, and if one is very very fortunate, may also be “good”. No reason to assume it is accurate, or going to work for you, or reliably successful for everyone who tries it, or even a good value. True of the internet, of holiday catalogs, of Black Friday sale prices… Yep. If someone is pushing hard for you to buy one, try one, or trust one… there’s likely some measure of profit in it for them. Just saying. 😉

This cup of coffee is good. I slept well, besides the strange dreams about spending too much for too little. lol

Last night was fun, and tiring, and I have happy memories and another pair of shiny boots. Not as shiny as the pair my Traveling Partner shined for me; I’m out of practice. By the end of the evening, my shoulders burned from the effort. Still, we had a great evening, spent in each other’s pleasant company, while I shined my boots. He coached me through details of the way he does it, himself, I did what I could to pay attention, while not becoming distracted from the actual process I was actually doing. 🙂 I’m happy with the results. Ordinary enough Chelsea boots become beautiful, gleaming toes seeming to smile at me. Like a delicious emotional sundae, contentment, satisfaction, and love all swirled together. 😀

I crashed hard at the end of the evening. I slept through the night, deeply, as far as I can tell. I woke easily, at the end of my dreams, shortly before the alarm. A nearly perfect night’s sleep, for me. I woke feeling pretty good, and with my sense of self-in-space (proprioception) decently accurate (so, not clumsy), and not in any noteworthy amount of pain. Nice. I sit with the comfort of being me in this moment, for a few moments more. It’s not only pleasant to feel good, to feel comfortable in my skin, it’s helpful to make a point to enjoy that, explicitly aware of it, and unashamed. I find that it helps shift feelings of “always hurting” or “always being sad” that built over time (a long long time), to a more contented sense of self, less focused on the pain I have (when I have it).

…Lots of parentheses this morning… I wonder what’s up with that? 🙂

My eye lands on the elegant holiday catalog on my desk. Beautiful photographed foods, advertised as “gourmet” and certainly presented in a most spectacular way… prices that seem very much consistent with the visual appeal. I’ve order such things, a time or two, for special occasions. I almost always end up less than ideally satisfied with them; the pictures and descriptions are a fantasy. I think I am paying for a reality. The results vary. lol I’d be better off learning to make/cook the item I think I want, in most cases, or finding a local retailer of fine foods, or goods, or services. Shopping appeals to my nature. Laboring to learn a new skill, and practicing to become sufficiently masterful to get a “catalog quality” visual result to present to guests, or give as a gift, or even enjoy for myself? Maybe just a bit less enticing. lol It’s a lot of work, and “easy” appeals to my nature far more. Guess which is likely to be the emotionally and cognitively healthier choice? Yeah… not “easy”, for sure. Easy gets me fat. Easy finds me becoming lazy and slow. Easy feels so good, though… like streaming an endless video playlist, or having a favorite beverage on tap, or having household automation, or… yeah. We don’t serve ourselves well to make our lives to “easy”. Effort is part of our experience.

…Still sucks to work hard, to want to rest so badly, and to have to just keep on going. It’s part of what drives us (me, for sure) to seek “easy”; fatigue.

This morning I sip my coffee, occasionally peaking at my shiny boots, which are so beautiful and so satisfying, and then at that catalog – so enticing and colorful, so convenient! There’s a lesson here… about ease… about value… about moments… I haven’t even opened that catalog this year. I’m definitely wearing the hell out of these boots. 😀

Where will you begin, when you begin again, this morning? Chasing ease, fighting fatigue, grasping at convenience? Sitting down focused and purposeful, handling a task that matters to you, satisfying yourself with your own work? Something in between? I admit; I want the outcome I get from my efforts to also be convenient and easy. It’s not a thing, really. lol My Traveling Partner loves me enough to endure my somewhat irritated look, when he reminds me I set expectations about doing a particular task for myself (nearly always some self-care detail) – less nagging than I sometimes suggest. He cares. He knows how good it’s going to feel, for me, to wake up the next day with those boots shined, or the kitchen tidy, or… whatever it is.

Holy shit, though, that guy… not only does my partner shine a wickedly gleaming pair of boots, he pulls his weight on the housekeeping, too. I came home to a place so tidy, last night, it was (and is) “catalog ready”. 😀 He even made a point of locating, and bringing in, all the holiday decoration stuff for me – adding ease to my experience. Even found an excellent spot for my rather ridiculously large holiday tree. lol So much wow. A proper partnership. I sure hope I said “thank you” enough… I feel very loved, this morning (and, honestly, most days, more so than I can adequately – or comfortable – describe). 😀

My mind wanders away from love, past “easy”, and on to the many things I see around me that I’d like to get done. This studio isn’t going to tidy itself up! And oh, hey – it’s time to begin again. 🙂