Archives for category: Oregon Trails

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone camping. I can’t recall now why that is. I remember what sweet relief being camped out under the stars can be… So… Why has it been, seriously? More than a year? My gear stands packed and ready, and my Traveling Partner will be off on his summer travels soon, and this year leaving the car with me looks like a thing. 🙂 Convenient for so many reasons! Heading into the trees and reaching distant trailheads, are surely among those reasons.

It’s been nagging at me since yesterday; June is near at hand. The weather will be lovely for camping, most likely, and summer just beginning. This morning I sit down purposefully and make reservations, securing a favorite tent site. When I get into the office, I’ll request the time off. 🙂

A favorite spot waits for me.

My “last” camping trip was cut short by my lack of preparedness and the fairly irksome discovery that I had forgotten both my bee sting kit, and any coffee at all, proved to be too much for me. (I’m very human!) I went home feeling vaguely, somewhat playfully, “disgraced”. I can do better, and knowing that I can, and didn’t, continued to bite at my consciousness like a stinging insect for some time after that. I did actually go camping last year (that other wasn’t really the most recent trip, at all) though it doesn’t linger in my memory with so much clarity, it too is a recollection tinged with “failure”. I went to a distant trailhead, camped under the stars during a meteor shower, but struggled to enjoy it because it was one of those super popular locations that everyone thinks is their own secret find, and it was over-crowded, swarming with hikers, picnickers, rowdy party folks hollering from camp to camp through the night, and headlights sweeping through the trees all night long, as weary travelers arrived, discovered there was no room, and turned around to drive on. Not really a pleasant trip as much as checking a trail off a list, and doing so rather half-heartedly, once it proved to be – for now – beyond my abilities to get to the summit. I could go there, and try that again, except that the crowds were just not my thing at all. I head to the trees to be alone without all that. lol

I have everything I need to just go camping on a moment’s notice. It came in handy during the recent power outage; I simply lit candles, started a fire in the fire-place, and invited friends over to chill. No panic. Camping generally feels easy like that, too, these days. I quickly get set up, and then quickly shift gears to slow things down, stretch time, and soak in the sounds, scents, and sights of the forest. I spend most of my time hiking, reading, writing, and meditating. I take pictures. I sit quietly. I sit quietly a lot. I could do all these things at home. I do all these things at home. Camping takes them to another level of inner stillness, and turns my attention more fully inward; there are no escapes from self out among the trees.

I’m eager to go. Eager to begin again. 🙂

 

The busy-ness of life finally caught up with me. Cold symptoms that I woke with yesterday morning seem no worse today, nor are they diminished. Fatigue yesterday resulted in hours of napping, and an early bed time. I didn’t sleep particularly deeply, but my sleep was satisfying and uninterrupted. I managed a few minutes more than 8 hours and woke feeling deeply rested, in minimal pain. Skillful self-care today should result in being fully rested and prepared for another week of work. It’s not fancy, but it is sustainable. I sip my coffee contentedly and begin to plan my day.

I take a break from writing (and day planning) to meditate, and sip coffee watching the soft gray dawn slowly becoming a lighter shade of rainy gray morning. I return to my writing unmeasured minutes later, but the lush green of the lawn and the dark green-black of the pine silhouetted against the gray morning sky continue to pull my eye from my writing to the window, and the world beyond this quiet space. I continue to sip my coffee contentedly. This moment, right here, is a very nice one, and I am enjoying it fully, and without criticism, judgement, or negative self-talk.

Just beyond the window, the soft gray dawn.

Yesterday I shared a visit to the nearby Farmer’s Market with a friend. She was having a tough time with her emotions and reached out for support. We took time for coffee, conversation, and strolling the market together. She talked about life, love, frustrations, and yearning for… something. I listened. She asked questions, I offered perspective – mine (it’s all I have). We deepened our friendship and our connection as we walked and talked and shared the morning. It feels good to count her as a friend. She is in a very young place in life (no surprise; she’s not yet 21) and feels adrift in a sea of choices and misinformation. No rule book on this playground. No map on this journey. We are each having our own experience. She is as wholesome as any 21st century girl-next-door can be, and filled with the turmoil and power of reactivity, passion, and emotion. She’s very human. We both are. It was time well-spent, and part of life’s curriculum for me as much as it may be for her; I sometimes struggle to build healthy friendships with other women (the chaos and damage being what it is).

The rest of the day unfolded quietly as a series of naps, and interludes of wakefulness that were relaxed and easy. It was a good day for it. I’m in less pain today, more rested, and don’t feel sicker. I’m satisfied that my choices met my needs. This morning will probably lead a similarly quiet easy day of housekeeping, meditating, and reading, as the gray spring sky spatters the windows with raindrops, and the last cold breezes lingering from winter toss the trees and the wind chime. No doubt later I will see geese and ducks, jays and crows, and my squirrel neighbors visiting the feeders as I sip coffee; it is still too early, now, for any of that besides me sipping coffee. 🙂

For now, I linger over my morning coffee unready to begin any daytime activities that require more of me. It’s that quiet time between waking and doing. The rain begins to fall more heavily, and I find myself regretting that I’ve no firewood, although it is not actually cold enough for that to make sense… It would be pretty. 🙂 I watch the rain fall beyond the window. It’s pretty out there too, just… wet. I laugh out loud in the quiet stillness of my studio; I am fearless about rain. I enjoy the rain. It’s a good morning to hike the level paved trail of the park beyond my window, and I settle on a hike as a lovely start to the day. The welcome-home embrace of a warm shower afterward will feel luxurious and sensuous. The morning begins to take shape in my thoughts.

Today is a good day to hike in the rain, to laugh with a friend, and to take care of this fragile vessel.  Today is a good day for self-care, and for living in this moment right here. Today is a good day to practice being the person I most want to be. While I can’t be certain these small things will change the world, they seem a good place to begin again. It’s enough. 🙂

 

 

 

It’s been raining a lot. There have even been landslides. That’s something that definitely gets me thinking differently about homeownership; houses perched on hillsides hold less appeal. Mostly, though, I think about the rain, when it is raining. I enjoy the sound of it, the smell of petrichor, the strange changes of scene as storms sweep through town. I watch off and on, all day, through endless windows that wrap the office.

I left the office at the usual time, which is “later than I meant to”. Some of the most productive conversations seem to begin as I leave the building. I’ll work on that. 🙂

Rain in the distance.

It was raining when I left, but it was that gentle misty rain on a warm-ish evening; it seemed of little consequence, and I enjoyed the feel of it. The skyline on the other side of the river was obscured in places by low hanging clouds clinging to hilltops, and a certain gray sort of moving density that hinted at an approaching shower.

I walk on. It keeps raining.

Sure enough, the shower caught me just as I reached the bridge. I smiled in spite of being caught in the drenching down pour long enough to be soaked in spots. I smiled as I waited out the worst of it from beneath the bridge. I smiled as I walked on, once it had passed. It seemed an easy enough journey home.

It makes sense to seek shelter from the storm.

I headed home eager to enjoy dinner. I arrived home to discover I was out of literally everything I had considered making. I shrugged it off, had something different, and looked forward to a relaxed, quiet evening. What I actually had was quite different; I had noise. A lot of noise. I had the noise of a professional carpet cleaning service (the sort with a loud van operated vacuum and pump system of some kind), which commenced sometime after 7 pm, and was still at it well-past 8:30 pm (on a “work night”). The parking spaces are just steps from front doors and thin walls that keep out basically no noise, so it sounded more or less like that truck was parked in my kitchen. I spent the evening wearing hearing protection. It rattled the walls. It rattled my consciousness. It was inescapable. The headache and anger were pretty nearly inevitable. Because I am up at 4:30 am, I’m usually at least trying to get some sleep by 8:30 pm, most nights, or at least making my way in that general direction for the attempt. That wasn’t going to be possible; it took more than 90 minutes from when the noise finally stopped (at 8:47 pm), for me to be sufficiently at ease to sleep. Meditation helped. Meditation (almost) always helps (me) with a great many things associated with emotional reactivity, regardless of the cause.

I woke rested, and in a good place. Tired. Not enough sleep. This too shall pass, like a rain storm. The rain passed. The noise stopped. Sleep happened. Lack of sleep will also resolve, in time, because change is a thing. In most respects, an utterly ordinary Thursday.

I look over the new list from my Realtor, and smile, sipping my coffee; even this “will pass”. Eventually, there will be a house, there will be an offer made and accepted, there will be a closing, and there will be a move. There will be excited bliss, a sort of relief, great contentment. There will also be paperwork, and small moments of homeowner reality-checking-frustration-driving-angst-making moments of doubt and inconvenience, and there will be a home, nonetheless. It’s what I am working towards, and incremental change over time, and the inevitable outcome of practicing suggests that if I simply keep at it, patiently, persistently, refraining from taking a process personally, I will find myself transformed (into a homeowner)(with massive debt)(and a mortgage)(instead of renting)(and the freedom to really make a home that meets my needs over time).

Another day. Another beginning. Another opportunity to make the choices that bring me closer to being the woman I most want to be. Today it’s enough.

 

Yesterday as I walked through town on my the commute into the office, I found myself fighting a feeling of urgently wanting to “just keep walking”. I walked through town wondering about neighborhoods I’d never seen. I took a couple sort-of-scenic detours down streets less familiar. I even slowed my pace a bit to more fully enjoy the moment. It was hard to fight off the feeling that I just didn’t want to be forced into a cubicle, a labor-box, in return for money… I wanted to walk on. I wanted to put miles on my feet, and feel the morning breeze in my hair. I wondered how far along the Willamette River I could go, along the paved walk of the Eastbank Esplanade, and where the day would take me if I only simply walked and walked and walked…until…

I pause in the usual place, and gaze across the river to the city that has been so much of my life for so long.

…I pause in the usual place…

…And then I arrived at my usual destination, quite properly grown up and adult, and sat down at my desk with my coffee, and got started doing all of the things. I started the day looking forward to hanging out with my Traveling Partner in the evening; by the end of the day, which was upon me rather abruptly and somewhat unexpectedly, I was tired to the point of regretting making any plans that did not include quiet, meditation, and an early bed time. lol Some adult I am. 😉

...And on the other side of the work day, I return home.

…On the other side of the work day, I return home.

Actually… I did okay on the adulting. I enjoyed my morning walk. I allowed myself my emotions, and the freedom to let my imagination explore other potential choices. I showed up where I was expected to be for a day of planned employment. I worked well and efficiently, and got things done that needed doing. Tired at the end of the day, I reached out to my partner in a comfortably self-aware fashion, and suggested a reschedule – because I needed rest, and a late night would potentially impact days to come. I got home, and took care of me. I think, just maybe, I still struggle a bit with how very different my thoughts on adulthood are as an adult living life, than I expected to from the youthful perspective of someone not yet quite adult. (I had no idea I’d value sleep so fucking much, for one thing. lol) 🙂

Here it is today, again. Time to begin again. Again. I wake. Do some yoga. Meditate. Enjoy a shower. Dress. Sit down with my coffee to write. I’ll ride the train over the hill, then walk through town to the office. I’ll work my shift, and return home. I’ll enjoy a brief evening, in some modest way, and call it a night sufficiently early to get adequate rest and still rise again, well before 5 am. It is an adult life built on my choices, directed by my goals. I’m not imprisoned in my life; I’m building something. It takes time.

I look ahead to the weekend with a smile. Right now, it’s enough.

Tomorrow… I’ll begin again. 🙂

 

 

A steady rain falls this morning. I woke a number of times during the night, and it was raining then, too. My dreams were lively, rich in surreal detail, and graphic, but lacking in emotional content. However grim the imagery was, I felt nothing; my brain was just “taking out the trash”, clearing buffers, wiping away bits and pieces left behind that serve no useful long-term purpose. No nightmares, just data processing in moving pictures. It’s important that our consciousness be ready for a new day, it only makes sense that while I sleep, my brain is busy in cycles, resting, getting caught up on things, resting more.

(Note: I am not a sleep scientist, this blog post is not science, my subjective experience has not been rigorously scrutinized and peer-reviewed, following years of replicable research. There are people doing those things and they are very much worth reading! I’m using words, to share my subjective experience, my own thinking, lacking in any hardcore vetting against known science. My writing may serve someone a useful purpose, be helpful, or an entertaining read, but please don’t settle on me as settled science; do your homework. Use your critical thinking skills. Walk your own mile.)

I woke feeling more than usually rested. I woke feeling more rested yesterday, too. Both mornings follow days with much less involvement with my handheld device, my computer, or the internet, generally. I feel less distracted moment-to-moment. I feel less emotionally volatile. I am less easily frustrated. I feel more content. I find myself wondering how many generations of saturating all-day computer use human beings will commit to before becoming actually able to fully multi-task their consciousness, for real? (No, you can’t. There is science on that.) No doubt over time our consciousness will change with the tools we use regularly, we are adaptable. We become what we practice. Epigenetics is real. Our children’s children will have different characteristics than our Great-grandparents did. Some of those differences may indeed be cognitive. More to the point in this moment, though, is that setting aside the complicated dense multi-channel continuous streaming information into my consciousness for a couple of days has had real value on my overall state of being. I feel more relaxed. My rest is more restful. I feel calmer, less anxious, more easily able to “hear myself think”. I think I may have gotten more done, too, using my time more efficiently, and spending no minutes staring into a repeating feed full of copies, memes, and reshares for unmeasured hours of the day.

A favorite trail was flooded. It was necessary to choose another way.

A favorite trail was flooded. It was necessary to choose another way.

The rain continues to fall quite steadily. It rained yesterday, and I enjoyed the short hike I took through the park in spite of it. Time well-spent, in the wind and weather, breathing the fresh air, seeing the trees tossing in the wind, and hearing the water birds on the marsh calling to each other. This morning the rain is falling harder, enough harder that some of the fun of hiking would be washed away in it. So… perhaps not this morning…

Favorite places for a moment of meditation are flooded, too.

Favorite places for a moment of meditation are flooded, too.

I’ll spend the day taking time for being here, now, and enjoying (or enduring) what is real, and live, and in front of me. Tidying up a bit more. Taking out the trash, the recycling, and maintaining order. Those are useful practices, too. I have found that the state of order – or disorder – in my environment reflects the state of order – or disorder – in my internal world, as well. My consciousness seems only ever as ordered as my environment. Keeping my head, minding my emotional wellness, tends to result in more will to keep my home tidied up and very neat. Keeping a tidy orderly household seems to promote and support my cognitive wellness. I don’t know what the science says about all that; my experience confirms it for me, and as “ways” go, it works for me. 🙂

Today is a good day for practicing practices. Today is a good day to enjoy the woman in the mirror. Today is a good day to be open, to be kind, to be aware – and mindful that change is. It may change the world – we have that power. 🙂