Archives for posts with tag: ACT

The quality of the sleep I am getting seems good. I’m not waking during the night. I’m getting to bed at an hour that results in no less than 7 hours of sleep, which I seem to be getting. I’m consuming carefully measured quantities of caffeine, and limiting that to early in the day. I mentally run down the list of carefully selected good sleep hygiene practices that I rely on to get the most out of my resting hours…

…Regardless of all that, I am particularly groggy upon waking to the alarm these last couple work days. My body feels rested. My brain feels unready for the new day. I’m doing my best to properly wake up, to be thoughtful, coherent, ready for the day. So far this is more an exercise in effort than any sort of effective achievement.

A moment in the garden on a summer evening.

I sip my coffee and contemplate the summer heat. The garden isn’t as lush as I’d like it to be. Summer heat. I’m often away all weekend. The time taken to water during the week, before work, and again in the evening as the heat slowly begins to fade to cooler night-time temperatures, really makes a difference when I’m not at home to do it on weekends. This past weekend many of the roses bloomed in what seems a rather early second blossoming of loveliness and fragrance. I take a moment to feel grateful to have gotten to see it.

This year, just one flower.

Peeking out from the summer foliage, a single flower blooms on Nozomi, a delicate miniature rose that is a long-time favorite that I’ve had since… 1993? This year she’s only bloomed this once; she is usually among the most prolific bloomers among my roses. I make a mental note to re-pot her this winter.

“Feeling overwhelmed” is an experience fairly common to being human. Seems more common these days, for more people, although I’d begun to experience it much less myself. Starting in November, 2016, it has become, once again, plenty common for me, as well. “It’s all just too much” is the feeling. I give myself a little internal moment of real understanding, because, as feelings go, the most appropriate response to the feeling of “it’s all just too much” is simply “yes, yes it is” followed by “we’ll get through this, together”. A deep breath. A sigh. I move on from the moment; every moment passes.

I think over an interaction with a friend from earlier this week. She was feeling overwhelmed to the point of tears. “It’s all just too much!” A moment of sympathy and support rather quickly became quiet frustration and puzzlement, as it became apparent that she was investing in her feeling of being overwhelmed by building that and growing it, rather than sorting it out and easing her own suffering. Attempts to support and help her weren’t seeming either supportive or helpful, as she quickly interrupted anything helpful, soothing, or perspective-offering, (that could have just as easily been used to calm herself) to reinforce her self-inflicted, home-grown, utterly subjective internal experience with quick contradictions, veering tangents, and distractingly vague exclamations of distress. She quickly shored up her powerfully negative narrative each time I attempted to bring clarity or calm to the shared moment together. So frustrating. Eventually, the time-sensitive nature of schedules and calendars intervened. I went on with my day. She went on with her tears. I am still puzzled at the whole thing; it’s hard to fathom someone not actually accepting the help and support they’ve sought out. I still just don’t get it.

…I don’t have to “get it” – a lot of what is going on just isn’t at all about me. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. That’s not only okay, it’s necessary; I can’t shoulder the burden of all the world’s chaos and damage alone. I manage my piece as skillfully as I am able. I try not to add to the pile. 😉

Still groggy, I check the time. Well, damn. It’s already that time again. I hit that metaphorical reset button, look out the window into a pre-dawn sky that reminds me summer will end, and likely sooner than I expect. It’s a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

It was a less than ideally comfortable moment, last week, when my therapist so frankly and calmly observed that I seemed “unwell” and that “we” need to work on that. He doesn’t play when it comes to mental and emotional health, that’s sort of his whole deal, but the “we” who needs to work on my mental and emotional health? Yeah, that’s me. He’s a great resource, but the verbs entirely belong to me. lol

I explored his observations over the weekend. I considered his words – and reconsidered mine, in context. I contemplated where practices were failing me, and was frank with myself regarding practices that were not being consistently practiced, or perhaps were less than effective, over time. I made some changes, because change is a thing, and embracing it can really work in my favor (and has, more than once).  My therapist proved to be quite correct about a number of things. It’s a journey. I’m very human. There are ample opportunities to begin again. lol

I already feel more balanced, contented, stable, and confident that “things will be okay”. It’s a good place to be on a Thursday, ahead of a work day, in the middle of a week that has been rather busy. I’m looking forward to the weekend. (I’d really like to sleep in.)

I’d started feeling really overwhelmed by my “to do list”, which just never seems to diminish, and had some “permanent” items that seemed sort of… stuck there. lol I’ve been tackling those one by one, now. That feels pretty good. I’d begun to avert my eyes from my list of shit that needs to get done… because I didn’t really feel like doing… any of it. Oh my. A hint of depression had apparently crept into my emotional life. Too much OPD? Oh, hell yes. LOL That shit’s toxic. It’s definitely depressing to be exposed to too much of that crap.

I’m not very skilled with depression. Despair is a familiar demon, but depression? Less so. I failed to notice the weight on my experience. My sluggishness and apathy seemed inexplicable to me. The constant fatigue and lack of fucks to give in life, generally, was foreign. Thankfully, depression is a familiar form for my therapist, and he recognized it, pointed it out, and provided me some direction. Win and good. I feel myself getting back on my path. Most particularly, building on the firm foundation of a weekend spending loved and loving, I feel each day improve upon the one before it, as my “to do list” slowly dwindles, and order is restored to my experience. 🙂

It’s okay to get help, when we need it. I hope that you do, if you are struggling, alone. 🙂

My Thursday is off to a good start. I may not save the world, today, but I’m on track to enjoy my experience. Sometimes, that’s enough. 😀

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. 🙂

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. 🙂

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. 🙂

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

Tuesday it was Kate Spade. This morning, I read that Anthony Bourdain has also taken his own life. I pause for a moment to consider the engaging chef whose books and television shows entertained and educated me. I enjoyed his wit. The headline “Anthony Bourdain Has Died” didn’t prepare me for the further information regarding his suicide. There’s a certain different ache in my soul when I read of suicide…

…I know what despair feels like.

Well, shit. It’s a scary, seriously frightening and frustrating world these days. I get feeling overwhelmed by despair. Some days it is hard not to. We will see, for days to come, articles about suicide help lines, and some analyses of what drives people to take their own lives. There will be salacious gossip about the lives of the fallen. Someone will share a recent article about the high rate of senior or veteran suicides. Most of the people who read those will shake their heads, and turn away, unaware someone dear to them is on the brink of making that major “life” decision.

Connect with your loved ones, your friends, associates, and coworkers. Be sure to mention that they matter to you in an authentic way, and be real about it. It’s not about hyperbole and fake compliments, and it isn’t necessary to use superlatives. Easier to straight up give voice to that thing they do that you enjoy, or count on, or appreciate, or wish you did as well – or, fucking hell, just have lunch, or coffee – make time. Be present. Don’t rush those connected social moments; they are what matter most in our days. There’s no knowing when someone may choose to check out, and while you may not be able to change their mind about it, you can, at least, enjoy who they are while they are here.

On the other side of the equation, please consider sticking around awhile? If you’re considering a firm end to the chaos, and stress, and trauma, and struggle, and despair… please, just for a moment, consider that there may be other things you have yet to try. There may be practices that improve your experience, even if they don’t change the entire world, itself. Incremental change takes time – please give yourself some. Someone, I promise you, will miss you if you go.

I stayed. There are a lot of verbs involved, but it has been, very much, worth it to have stayed. I’ll go on with that, with staying around I mean, because things got better. Things continue to get better. I can’t promise that for you, but I can assure you that choosing change results in changes, so long as you do the verbs. 🙂 Your results may (will) vary, and the changes you choose in life may be somewhat askew from the changes you subsequently find unfolding around you, but change is. Despair isn’t particularly sustainable, it’s just annoyingly difficult to see through when we’re feeling it.

There’s one irksome thing about suicide that never fails to leave me feeling bereft and discontent; I don’t know why. No, I mean… I don’t know why. That’s what leaves me feeling so bereft and discontent. I’m not sure there’s any solid “why” to suicide. Surely, people have their reasons. Many leave a note behind, but often those are not public, and even when they are public, they leave so much left unexplained – as if I think there is, or should be, a reasonable explanation when despair overtakes someone. Despair is shitty enough to be its own reason.

One more time, I let the “why?” go, and pause for a moment to say good-bye to a fallen soul. I pause for regret. I pause to appreciate, to mourn, to find personal solace after a time. I pause to be aware I am, myself, okay right now… as though it could creep up on me, and take me by surprise, myself…

…Then I begin again.

I woke at 4 am. The headache nagging at me had all the signs of likely being caused by dehydration, in spite of the quantity of water I am drinking. I need to be drinking more; it’s just that dry here. Fresno is, more or less, a city snatched from a desert by sheer cussedness. It’s not the most hospitable climate for human primates, but we adapt pretty easily.

With effort, and considerable awkwardness as my muscles protest, I get up, get a big big drink of unbelievably icy cold water from the near-frozen bottle of water in the tiny (working, quiet, convenient, appreciated) fridge. I think I’m going back to bed. I’m not. I don’t. I’m awake.

Fuck this headache.

I drink more water. I check my email. I rather pointlessly hunt for the tiny earring back that fell to the floor when I got up; I forgot to take my earrings out last night. In spite of the early hour, I was that tired. No matter. I give up; I’m not even awake at that point and the effort is wasted until sometime after sunrise. There is only one working light in the room, and it doesn’t illuminate much at all. lol

I drink more water. I’ve been drinking more than a gallon of water a day. It’s not enough. This is Fresno.

So hot.

I’ve a journey ahead, and find myself feeling a pang of reluctance to return “home” so soon. How is this place not home? I mean… yeah. I could, still, call this place home. I miss these friends. I miss the life that had been developing, before I moved, chasing “love” (sex, actually, and maybe security). A different path might not have brought my Traveling Partner and I together, so, no regrets, really… But, oh this place! These friends. I miss a great deal of what “here” has to offer. It’s hard to leave so soon.

…On the other hand. I miss my own place. This small room confounds me. lol I am traveling quite light on this trip, and I’m missing a few things for everyday expected comfort. I can’t paint… no art supplies. 0_o In this heat, I don’t have the energy for hiking and shooting nature photographs. The heat exhausts me; I slept in every morning but this one. That peculiar sleep of desert folk, where the best deepest sleep really begins shortly before dawn, after the night has cooled off all that it will. It makes sleeping in quite effortless; it’s the best sleep. This morning I woke early with a headache, having somehow not consumed enough water yesterday. It’s a bit annoying, really; I was looking forward to the sleep. :-\

The Author will pick me up around 8am, and we’ll go out to breakfast somewhere sort of near the airport before he drops me off to people watch and read before my flight departs. I’ll arrive home, hours later, after a layover, after ride from the airport to my residence. There will be the moment of relief. The setting down of bags. The discerning glance around the place as I note how well or poorly I have welcomed myself home, based on how thoroughly I prepared for that moment, before I departed. A shower. A quiet evening. Then… back to the routines of life. Not as if this trip hadn’t happened – it has been too profoundly rewarding and connected for that – more grateful to have had the experience, and the opportunity to see so many people so dear to me, than anything else. A needed vacation.

Headed back to a cooler climate.

Still with the fucking headache? I drink more water, and look at the time. It’s time to begin again. 🙂