Archives for posts with tag: ACT

I woke up to this simple message, “I’m on the road”. My Traveling Partner is heading home. I smile over my coffee; I’ve missed him a great deal.

…If I were paying less attention to my state of being that I am, I might perceive this experience to be an anxious one. The homecoming of past partners wasn’t reliably a joyful thing, and I may still have some baggage from that journey. It’s also, likely, a simple enough matter of practice; being attentive, present, aware of my experience – physically, as well as emotionally – and letting go of any assumptions about “what it all means” that could rest on old pain. It matters to allow new experiences to be new. 😀

This morning I contentedly sip my coffee and consider what remains on my to do list. Sunday is generally my day to care for hearth and home, and to prepare for the upcoming week. Working such items off a list seems a good fit for the day, and not any kind of anxious or overly-eager-to-impress kind of flurry of activity. I’ll do as much of the usual Sunday work as I’d ordinarily expect, and throw in a couple tasks specific to preparing for my partner’s homecoming (still just housekeeping details, honestly, nothing out of the ordinary), and be content with that. 🙂 I sip my coffee, pleased to have a plan.

The weekend has been a restful one. Yesterday’s forecasted heat wasn’t all that bad, and things didn’t warm up until quite late in the day. Most of the morning a soft misty rain fell, and I read, napped, and listened to the rain fall through the open patio door for hours. It was lovely, and I must have needed the deeper quality and additional quantity of rest; I went to bed on time last night, and slept through the night.

I eye my coffee suspiciously for a moment, until I recall that just yesterday afternoon, I’d refilled the grinder with new beans. Different beans. My mouth wasn’t fooled, although it took my brain a moment to get caught up. I’m still waking up. I pause to be present in this moment, more deeply, more aware. I feel the cool air that pours in from the open patio door swirling around my ankles as the room cools off. I feel the heat of the mug in my hands, when I pick up my coffee cup. I feel the slick, subtly concave surface of the keys on my keyboard slide under my nimble fingers as I type, and the ache in my back that eases when I correct my posture, again. I hear a dog barking in the distance, and my tinnitus. A car passes on the road just beyond the driveway. I yawn, and stretch, and smile, thinking “hear I am!” and the day begins.

Another sip of coffee, looking over my list of things to do today. It is already in the “ideal order”, more or less, although I spot a couple improvements, and because I find it satisfying to do so, I move things around a bit. Still sipping coffee and writing, the tasks themselves will go so much more smoothly if I approach them efficiently – and they’ll take less time. 😀 Time is precious, and I would honestly prefer to spend it contentedly reading on the couch, listening to the wind chime ringing in the background, than on housework…so… efficiency, then? 😉

It is not particularly early in the morning. In practical terms I “slept in” a bit. It’s also not particularly late; it is rare for me to be able to sleep at all late. It’s simply “now” – a lovely Sunday morning. I smile at my half finished coffee, and at the clock. A new day, a new beginning – it’s unlikely that this humble list of house work and chores will change the world at all, but it is, nonetheless, a new beginning, and these simple acts of service to hearth and home, and self-care, change my world, quite a lot. A worthy start on beginning again. 🙂

Even more exciting, and much more worthwhile, than The Bottle Cap Challenge! Yep – and we can’t even opt out, not really. It’s The Communication Challenge – the one where any given pair or group of human beings attempts to communicate ideas, across the vast chasm of differences in perspective, filtered through individual experience and assumption-making, using poorly defined terms. lol Oh my.

…It’s not always easy, is it?

Yesterday, my day was literally filled with variations on the theme of challenging communications. It was an interesting assortment.

…Team communications…

…Individual entirely non-work-related social communications…

…Communications overheard in passing by uninvolved-but-now-interested individuals…

…Communication with people who lack emotional intelligence…

…Communication with people far more emotionally intelligent than I am…

…Communication with people who have a clear – but also hidden – personal agenda at stake…

…Direct communication…

…Misleading communication…

…Necessary and also delicate communication…

…Frank communication that was “long overdue”…

…Heartfelt warm communication…

…Tense, purposeful, communication in which I, myself, had a clear (and also frustrated) agenda…

…Dispassionate routine communication of factual details…

…Passionate communication of concerns…

…Communication advocating a position…

In some cases, some of those were a single conversation, others were common occurrences in several conversations; there are so many opportunities to communicate, in a single day. Some conversations were easy, comfortable, helpful, or merry. Other conversations felt like work – real effort was involved in “getting an idea across” or in truly listening with my whole attention to ideas I felt disinclined towards, to the point of being reluctant to hear the speaker out. It was a very interesting assortment of moments.

I arrived home, tired, at the end of what felt like a long day (because it was), and definitely ready to stop communicating. LOL

…I’m sure I learned something. I know that during my struggle to relax at the end of the day, fighting off a surge in anxiety that was making sleep difficult to come by, I was pretty certain that mastering my greatest communication challenges would have a lot to offer in the way of reduced stress, because damn, I was definitely stressed out. I sip my coffee and think about that.

I think over the communication challenges in which one or more parties to the conversation showed signs of stress, or frustration; how can I do better? Create a less stressful experience? Listen with greater care? Be more patient? Define my terms more clearly? Slow down enough to avoid being provoked? All of these seem like excellent steps. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I contemplate the very nature of “being provoked” in conversation, and wonder… to what end? I definitely have some room to grow here. You, too, probably. 🙂 Everyone.

…I promise myself another reread of The Four Agreements. I consider, with some amusement, that none of the books on my reading list are specifically on the topic of effective communication, most especially considering how much of it I need to do, day-to-day. lol I think about how little real coaching, encouragement, mentoring, or development, we provide each other as human beings… Where did we get this notion that so many things in life will just sort of “happen” over time? It’s rather strange, is it not? 0_o

I tell myself “the weekend is almost here”, then tease myself for the lie; it’s only Wednesday, and frankly, weekends do not have curative powers. We’ve all still got the lives (and baggage) that we do. The way out is through. 🙂 Another breath. Another exhalation of breath. Another moment. The wheel continues to turn.

I’m not perfect. Still practicing. There is so much to learn – and so much I can do to be more the woman I most want to be. I see daybreak turn the sky from dark – to slightly less dark. I am reminded that seasons do change, and that moments do pass. It’s time to embrace a new one, and begin again. 🙂

I slept in. It’s a lovely summer morning, before the heat sets in. Water is heating for coffee. Internal plumbing means I have hot water on tap for a refreshing shower, and air conditioning keeps the place comfortable for the heat of the day. I caught sight of a bunny down in the yard, from the deck this morning, as I watered. I’m not in any particular pain, right now. I feel good in my skin. So much goodness in this one moment.

A chipmunk grabs a quick bite before darting away.

A bit like small, timid, creatures expecting to be hunted, sometimes we handle our best moments fearfully, ready to dart away at the first “sign of danger”, waiting for disaster to strike, or convinced we don’t “deserve” it, or that it isn’t real. :-\

This morning? I’m just enjoying the moment, and this fine cup of coffee, which I’ve only now finished making. It feels like summer, and I am content to enjoy that. I’ll also note that “this”? It didn’t come naturally. I used to face all the good life had to offer me with terrible anxiety – certain that it would all be “taken away”. Soon. That perspective made it super hard to really relax, and really wholly enjoy myself. Contentment stayed out of reach. Happiness was largely out of the question. Life felt harder than it had to.

I’m not sure how to convince or persuade that there is another way, besides living another way, making other choices, and sharing my experience. Your results may vary. We each have to walk our own hard mile; we are each having our own experience. Still. This is a great place to begin a new journey. Or this. Hell, if you’re into reading, there are stepping stones and mile posts all along this path. Yes, it does require effort. Yes, it’s work you’ll do the rest of your life. I’m not trying to discourage you by calling it “effort” or “work”, either, just being real, reading about doing what it will take is not at all the same as doing the things it will take. Still… the effort, for me, has been very much worth it.

…It’s a lovely sunny day. My coffee tastes good. My heart is at ease. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I am getting over this cold fairly quickly, and chose to work a partial day from home to balance the urgent needs that are to do with work, with the also urgent need to care for myself. So far so good. 🙂

I woke to a misty rainy morning. I stood in the open doorway to the deck with my coffee before dawn, feeling the cold Spring draft coming up from the seasonal stream beyond the yard. It was lush. Lovely. Chilly. So very quiet, at least until the early commuters began to make their way down the road toward the city.

I worked awhile. I enjoyed my coffee, and laid plans to see work in progress through to completion, based on new information. I considered open projects, and took on tasks I was up to. I worked, comfortably. I can reliably say I didn’t get anyone else sick with this, today. 🙂

In between the work spaces, tasks, and actions, there was Spring. The misty pre-dawn twilight became a rainy gray dawn. It is now a soft neutral gray morning, a steady rain falling, small stinging Spring droplets, almost just a mist, but falling densely enough to soak through clothes rather quickly. I watch it from indoors, smiling. The garden doesn’t mind the mist, the chill, or the rain at all. Seedlings sprout. New shoots break through bare soil. Birds and chipmunks explore the changes since yesterday, hoping for a bite of breakfast.

Spring.

I answer emails from friends once I’ve ended my few hours of work for the day. There is so much satisfaction in doing so. I feel connected, visible, enriched, and grateful. Hell of a good start to the week, in spite of being sick.

Spring. Today. This moment, right here. It’s enough. 🙂

Well, new job… new opportunities for contagion. lol Shit. I’m sick. Oh, it’s not any sort of dire life-threatening sort of thing, just an annoying virus of some kind. It began with robbing me of my appetite night before last, but I didn’t really notice that. Yesterday the tickle in my throat, and a spectacular fit of sneezing heralded the coming of the new virus with more certainty. By midday, in the office with it, the weakness, aching joints, and fatigue, joined the party, and I went home to take care of myself. I think my Traveling Partner may have it, too, but I was too sick yesterday to be at all clear about that; he was an absolute pro at providing nurturing and care, and if he was sick, too… wow. It wasn’t obvious, and as sick as I was, we enjoyed our time together.

…I meant to actually just go to bed, and to do so early. What I actually managed to do was sit around wrapped in a fuzzy blanket staring blankly at the television for several hours, then went to bed. lol I woke too early, but also too… awake. Now? Now I’m up. It’s a new day. I get started canceling plans; I am still feeling ill, and there is no good reason to expose my friends to this. I’m already looking forward to that moment when I… just go back to bed. Self-care first, and some coffee, then I will yield to the call of warm blankets, and a quiet room.

Mindfulness will not prevent a head cold. A great meditation practice will not prevent me from feeling confused, weak, and ache-y, when I’m sick. This is just real. I keep grinning every time I consider the “new love” excitement of realizing that mindfulness practices really were helpful for me – every day, every moment, significantly improved with them – and how easily I was tempted into enthusiastic cheer-leading, and also into gradually slipping into thinking errors about what it was capable of doing for me. Great self-care means practicing all the practices that support my wellness – emotional and physical – without putting any one of them on such a high pedestal that it becomes a set up for failure, over time. I’m not dissing meditation or mindfulness, at all, I’m just pointing out that – as is often also the case even with the medicines we take – no single practice (for mindfulness, for self-care, for emotional well-being, for physical health…) can do 100% of everything we need – for everything we need. Just… It doesn’t work like that.

I’ll still meditate today, if I’ve the mind for it. It’s an important practice, a foundation of my emotional health, and I get a lot out of it. I’ll still practice mindfulness, as much as I am able to while I’m feeling ill, and whether sick or well, it’s a practice I find worthwhile for keeping me grounded, realistic about life, and able to maintain a clear perspective on the things that matter most to me. I’ll shower, and practice good hygiene. I’ll make the effort to eat healthy calories. I’ll drink water. I’ll rest. No one of these great practices will cure the common cold. It is what it is. They are what they are. Only that.

…Imagine how awkward, uncomfortable, disappointing, and frustrating it would be, if I fostered a belief that meditation would cure my cold… and then it just didn’t. I might be angry. I might give up on my practice, and lose the benefits it does provide me. I might lash out at others, or rhetorically, spreading my feelings around my tribe or community, and undermining the practices of others with the festering wound of my disappointment and my sense of failure. I would wonder if I were “doing it wrong” and whether it’s “all bullshit”. What a lot of wasted emotional bandwidth. 😦

Meditation has been a practice that has served me well, thus far. I continue to practice. I value the effect it has on my day-to-day experience. I am emotionally more well, in the context of having a committed meditation practice. It’s still only what it is, and it can’t be more than that.

Today I have a cold. At some point, I’ll meditate awhile, and when I’m done with that… I’ll still have this cold. These experiences are not related to each other, and that’s entirely okay. This? This is not my best writing. It is, however, a parable. A moment to pause and reflect on what meditation is – and isn’t – and what it do – and what it don’t do. 😉

Once I’m over this sickness, I’ll definitely begin again. 😀