Archives for posts with tag: ACT

By the time I got home last night, my brain was just… done. I don’t even have any particular recollection of the evening, aside from a brief chat with my Traveling Partner. I crashed out a little earlier than “on time”.

I wake this morning to a gray storm-cloudy not-quite-sunrise of a dawn, after an interrupted night of otherwise deep sleep. The morning seems both very ordinary, and also a little strange, and a bit surreal. I have the peculiar subjective sense that I’m seeing things differently than usual, but can’t pin down anything obvious. A potential sign of mental fatigue requiring better rest than I’m getting. I’m not surprised, if that’s the case; I’ve been giving a bit more than all of myself at work for the past several days, working to complete a complex bit of analytical work in advance of a deadline. I haven’t been sleeping particularly well. I dream about work. I’m super glad this is the last work day in my week. I’m ready for some rest.

I pause to appreciate a small change that has developed over time; I am more aware of the rhythms of my experience. I more easily observe when poor quality sleep becomes, over time, an impediment to cognition and emotional balance. I am more likely to be aware when the pattern of my emotional “weather” changes over the course of the day, in such a way as to indicate I am more deeply fatigued than I may realize. I am more able to recognize when – and how – I need to step up my self-care, to support and nurture this fragile vessel for further lifetime’s enjoyment. It’s nice. (It took – and takes – practice, and my results vary.)

I think about a friend I know is suffering right now. I think about how far I’ve come, and how little certainty I felt then that my experience would change. I had no understanding that change could bring me to “now” – or that “now” could be this good. I still have some shitty moody angst-y despairing or angry or irritable, frustrated, rage-y moments. That’s what they are, too. Moments.

One moment of many.

Lately, for the past 2-3 days only, I’ve been waking feeling pretty generally content but finishing the day feeling moody, disappointed with life, frustrated, and angry without any particular cause that makes sense. It was last night, sitting quietly with my fatigue and making no point to distract myself from it, that I became re-aware that deeper, prolonged mental fatigue, tends to also coincide with that pattern of slowly losing emotional resilience over the course of the day. I am more self-aware and inclined to observe my experience without judgement these days, and it’s delightful to note that the pay-off seems, in this instance, that I will be able to avoid some unfortunate meltdown or freak out, that would ordinarily go down just at that point that I am not aware how deeply fatigued I am, at the end of some long (probably joyful and exciting) day, because instead I’ll get some damned rest this weekend. 😀

…I make a point of checking my calendar, of course… Well. Obviously, a weekend which I am counting on for rest is that rare weekend fully booked with events, errands, and tasks. LOL Shit. I sit smiling under my furrowed brown, chewing on my lip, mildly frustrated, a tad annoyed… I’m replacing the car windshield; a non-negotiable errand that needs to be done. No room for change there. An appointment with my stylist for Saturday… I could cancel a haircut and reschedule… but it’s hard to get those Saturday appointments. So. A great opportunity to point out how good self-care intentions go sadly wrong. You can say “I told you so” when I’m cross and moody on Monday morning. 😉

I won’t be running myself ragged this weekend, in any case. I’ll make a point of resting, and treating myself with care, gently, because I matter to me. Camping next weekend. My birthday the weekend after that. I suddenly feel tired before those events even get to “now”; my brain is reminding me to take getting some rest seriously. I sass myself silently with a smile and daydream about relaxing out among the trees next weekend. I’ll certainly get the rest I need then, but I know that doesn’t change how much rest I need, now. 😀

Fatigue changes the emotional weather, and the emotional landscape. Just saying. I have become more aware how important it is to get the rest I need.

Speaking of rest… it’s already time to go and do and be. One more work day – then rest.

 

I woke ahead of the alarm after a restless night. The apartment was 77 degrees when I woke, which was 5 degrees cooler than when I went to bed. Even some strategic open windows and a fan going were not enough to cool the place down much. Now I sip my coffee, all the windows wide to the pre-dawn breezes and cooler air. I’m hoping to get the indoor temperature down to 70 or less before I go to work; it’s another hot day, but forecast to be only 82. Tonight won’t be so stifling hot in here, if the day is no hotter than that, out there. 🙂

Because the windows are open, I am listening to the chorus of birds waking as the sun rises, and it is now, in every practical sense, summer. The birds were up before the sun. The cacophony of peeps, chirps, tweets, whistles, calls and responses, twittering, and trilling become a more complex grander song of morning than any one bird could sing. The commuter traffic beginning in the audible distance, and the sound of a later-than-usual freight train on the siding a mile or so away are not enough to drown out summer birds. 🙂

Just before the sun breaks over the horizon, I see the slimmest crescent of moon just at the edge of the treetops. As the sky begins to lighten, it disappears. The lawn at the edge of the patio is revealed with the sunrise; it is covered with geese and ducks contentedly sleeping in, heads tucked down, just one sentry looked out for cats and kids.

Summertime

My Traveling Partner checked in yesterday, just at about that time when it had become more difficult to stave off worrying, having not heard from him for more than 24 hours past the end of the calendar event. The timing was most amusing. I’d barely completed my thought, “how long would I wait before doing something about nothing hearing from him reasonably becomes a thing I’d want to do…?”, when my phone buzzed with a message from him, letting me know he was on his way back. Well…so… clearly the answer to my question was “a little longer”. lol I feel more at ease now, in some subtle way, just from knowing he’s okay. I definitely don’t enjoy having doubts about that, real or imagined. 🙂

The sun is not yet quite “up”. The sky is light, a pale wash of cerulean blue, with a hint of orange along the horizon, showing through the trees. No clouds. Still… it’s a good moment to begin again. 🙂

Smiling and sipping coffee, feeling content with the moment, and starting the day, I find myself thinking about art, about life, about “home”, about the future, about what is and what isn’t, and what could be, and what is less likely… I am relaxed, and okay with the moment. It’s a pretty ordinary moment.

I am aware, too, that as recently as 2 years ago, this state of contentment and ease was not only not the day-to-day experience I had of life, it was not even common. I sometimes wondered it this experience could even be real. I think about the changes I’ve made over time, the different choices, the practices – particularly making meditation, hiking, and reading an everyday part of my life. Changes of heart. Changes in thinking. Changes in relationships. Changes in jobs. Changes even in personal values. Yes, there have been verbs involved, and choices, and practices – and my results have varied. Still… incremental change over time is a thing. A very real thing. It’s just sort of slow, sometimes, and it requires me to commit to the practice in front of me more than to the outcome I may think I want out of it. It has mattered to treat myself truly well, and to care for the woman in the mirror as a partner and dear friend, and as an ally.

Storms or sunshine…

What about you? Where are you on your journey? Are you content? Are you at ease with yourself? Do your choices build on your values? Are they meeting your needs over time? Are you the person you most want to be?

You can begin again, any time. If not now, when?

Hey – good morning. 🙂 Thank you for reading my blog. Have I said as much recently? I actually really appreciate each of you who make time for me, however often that may happen to be. Thought I’d say so, and make this sort of about you, for a change of pace. 😀

I start the morning with music, this morning, beats breaking on the shores of my waking consciousness just about the same moment the sun breaks through the cloudy dawn sky for the first time. I’m smiling and feeling pleased that I remembered I really wanted to say “thanks”. I would write, trust me on this one, even if no one at all read these words; I know this because I’ve kept a private journal since I was quite young. My earliest recollections of asking to make some government-green fabric-covered blank book my own for that purpose suggest perhaps as early as 9 or 10 years old, although I only clearly recall doing so since I was about 13.  So… the words in my head flow like spice on Arrakis. I’d be writing, regardless.

I stopped writing privately, more or less completely, for a couple years…late in 2011, until early in 2014, because I had turned my words on myself as some sort of self-destructive weapon of peculiarly insidious self-harm, and it was so completely damaging that silencing myself was less painful. Without words, my painting erupted in a fierce period of production in acrylic – and emotion. I was a fucking wreck, and I was “coming undone“. I’d hit a wall by December 2013, and a period of bleak and despairing self-reflection suggested it was time to call it, to fold, to walk away from the game.

“Broken” 14″ x 18″ acrylic and mixed media with glow.

I started this blog in January, 2013. I wanted to write. I was rather afraid to just write my own words privately to myself, anymore. I was pretty sure that bitch in the mirror wasn’t looking after me, and I wasn’t sure I even cared… but I was scared of what I’d find in the privacy of my own thoughts, alone. My relationships were in tatters, one of them absolutely abusive on a level that was doing me acute immediate emotional damage daily, the other quite precious to me and promising things I could not reach or make real, because I didn’t even know how to try, or how to “hold up my end”, and I was pretty certain I was, myself, laying waste to the hearts of everyone who got close to me. Possibly on purpose, but I didn’t even know how to sort all that out. I was on the literal bleeding edge of finally going through menopause. I was at the tail end of detoxing and recovering from psych meds I may never have actually needed at all, and that had wrecked my health and poisoned me. It all sucked very much.

“The Price We Pay” 14″ x 15″ acrylic on canvas with glow, mirror, and ceramic shard details, 2013

I went down my list of things to do before I checked out. It mattered to me to attempt to minimize any collateral damage. The first thing on my list was to update my will. The last thing on my list was to see a therapist… one more try, right? “Due diligence.” I don’t really know for sure why I started this blog. I don’t remember. Perhaps in part out of resentment of a moment of cruel and annoying discouragement in a failing relationship (“Well, don’t expect to be able to keep up on something like this every day…” she’d said smugly, “I‘ve been keeping a blog for awhile, and you will probably just lose interest in a few weeks, and don’t expect that anyone will read it…”). It was not, initially, intended in any way as a lifeline – not on purpose. It became one, because somehow it added people who matter to me to my experience of life – and to whom I might matter, in return. That, itself, mattered. It mattered a lot, as it happens. 🙂

If you’ve been reading since the beginning, you probably know about a lot of this, if not explicitly, then by inference. I’m still here. I have real joy in life these days. I live a life built on contentment, sufficiency, perspective, and mindfulness. This journey, this blog, these words, are all part of that – part of me being here, now. There have been days since that dark December full of madness when the thing that kept me tied to life itself has been this blog… and one person I could not bear to let down. So… thank you. Thank you for being here.

Most specifically, thank you for your occasional comments. I’m surprised how often they come on just the right day, observing something that is astute, insightful, meaningful, and cherished long after the day the words are typed into a text box, or shared as a private message via other means. Thank you for being authentically you. Thank you for sharing. I’m delighted when I discover that someone dear to me, that I know in real life, is also reader – I don’t assume anything specific about who reads my blog; I still write for me. I am incredibly moved each time I discover that among you are people I actually know, because I know that you know more than what is written. We have shared some very human experiences, and more than likely if you know me in real life, you have those odd opportunities to see me before/after writing some particular blog post, or understanding just a bit more about the context, the subtext may be far less subtle, the metaphors blunt and obvious – and still you’re here. Holy fuck, that’s… wow. And if you don’t know me in real life, that’s no less profound for me; you read past my spelling mistakes and are never cruel to me about them. You value my words for what they are, and lacking the hints of what is going on behind the curtain still find value in my words. I am moved. I appreciate you.

Anyway. Today – just this for you; thank you. I’m glad you are here. I think of you often. I wonder how your day is going, and whether there is some way I can speak more clearly to some moment we share, in the abstract. I consider you, every time I sit down to write; it’s part of what has saved me from myself, actually. It’s you I consider when I consider my words. I seek to be authentic and real, without being hurtful or unkind to you. You have helped me learn to be kind to myself. 🙂

You matter to me. Namaste

“You make it sound easy…” I probably sigh and frown any time I hear that from someone. I don’t mean to diminish the real effort involved…in… anything. Choices. Changes. Practices. Beginning again. Being. Becoming. Nope. Not “easy”. I just keep at it, is all, and hope to notice change when it begins, to savor it as it continues, and to appreciate how far I’ve come. I am enthusiastic about living life – because that, all by itself, is something that has changed about me; I embrace life. It’s sort of new. It’s something I fought myself for, fair and square, and no… it wasn’t easy.

Battling depression, anxiety or rage? Not easy.

Working to lose weight – and I don’t mean that 5lbs you don’t find aesthetically appealing, I mean the sort of excess weight that could be life-threatening – losing weight at all? Not easy.

Struggling to gain weight? Not easy.

Making a change of heart that results in not being sarcastic and mean all the time? Not easy.

Learning to take care of oneself, with real affection and love? Not easy.

Walking away from relationships that don’t work? Not easy.

Building relationships from a place of authenticity, vulnerability, and openness? Not easy.

Saying no? Not easy.

Saying yes? Not easy.

Embracing change? Not easy.

Facing the human being in the mirror, fully honestly each and every day? Not easy.

Going after what I really want from life? Not easy.

Accepting myself precisely as I am, while also seeking healthy growth and positive change? Not easy.

Gnothi seauton? Not easy.

Mindfulness? Not easy.

Practices take practice. I am not making light of things when I remind myself that “there are verbs involved” – it is a literal truth; choices are an active thing. Practice requires efforts be made, and repeated – repeatedly.

I don’t know what your personal goal on this journey is, or even whether you have one that seems specific and concrete. There are no promises that you will get there – but if you just keep at it, you’ll get somewhere. No scorecard. No progress report. No letter grade. No performance review. No fucking guarantees of any kind. Life is just you and your choices out there on the trail. The destination is the journey. Every step is an act of effort, and some experiences feel easier than others. 🙂

Begin again. ❤