Archives for posts with tag: anxiety

There are other voices than mine. There are other lived truths than the truth I live myself. There are other perspectives, other viewpoints, other angles from which to consider each very human moment. There are other tales to tell, told by other travelers. Each existing alongside all the others, their existence, itself, does nothing to diminish the truth of the others; these are narratives. Subjective experiences of being human, in all its wonder, glory, pain, and joy. I tell mine here, my way. πŸ™‚

A friend posted on Facebook recently that she is undertaking her own healing journey, walking that hard mile, processing trauma, seeking healing, and that she had started a blog. She started a group, to post to, understanding that perhaps not everyone wants to share that journey with her. I appreciate the consideration. I respect the journey; I’ve been on my own such journey for a while now. I reflected back on that moment when I decided to start a journey, and a blog, and considered how that “went down”, and the reactions I’d gotten at that time, from friends and loved ones (a fairly discouraging mix of disinterest, distance, and patronizing comments, generally, and a couple folks sincerely interested in being supportive). I asked myself, explicitly, “how do I want to ‘be there’ for my friend, and her experience, right now?”

I provided a reply I hoped would be welcoming and supportive, and accepted the request to join her group. Why would I not? Reluctance to be triggered? I grant you; it’s a risk. (People in my life spend a lot of time opening up to me about trauma, as it is. I’ve survived it so far.) People need to feel heard. They need emotionally secure relationships in which to open up about what hurts them. Me, too. Can I “be there” to support that? Of course I can. It’s on me to set and manage my boundaries, if it gets to be too much, and even that is a way of being there for a friend or loved one, setting that powerful example that it is also okay to set boundaries, and showing what that looks like, in practice. Practice. Yeah – and also, because I, too, am entirely made of human, I need practice, myself. Practice at listening deeply. Practice at maintaining perspective on past trauma. Practice understanding that we each walk our own hard mile. Practice at “being there” for others. Practice, frankly, at being the woman I most want to be – in every interaction, every moment, on every day. Words are just words. It’s the verbs that make changes come to life. It’s what we practice that matters; we become what we practice.

This morning I read the first of her posts (that I’ve read). I savored her voice. The difference in her style of communication. I read from a place of non-judgmental acceptance, and non-attachment. Her tale is not my tale, however similar some details may seem; she is having her own experience. I listen with empathy, consideration, compassion. I listen deeply. I recognize her humanity, her unique experience. I acknowledge the human experience beyond the words. I nod quietly, more than once. “I know you,” I think to myself. Still, I also allow her her moment; we are individuals, with our own experiences, our own pain. We’re in very different places on our individual journeys. That doesn’t matter as much as “being there” – being present, aware, and compassionate – because although we are each having our own experiences, we’re also “all in this together”. I sip my coffee and contemplate the journey stretching ahead of her.

Ask the questions. Do the verbs. Begin again.

I was sipping my coffee between moments in the studio when I really noticed; there’s a tree missing from the view beyond my deck.

What I expected to see…

It’s not a great picture, and I warn you now, it isn’t from an identical perspective – and perhaps that’s why it nagged at me so much. Something is different, I spotted that right away, but figured, in the gloom of twilight, last night, that perhaps it was just more winter, fewer leaves, more lights in the distance… something.

…what I see today.

There’s a missing tangle of mostly-dead tree. Obvious as anything could be, once I allowed myself to really see it, absent my expectations. There’s something to be learned from that.

The healthy heart-wood of the stump left-behind, quite evenly cut, about 18 inches from the ground, tells me it was not lost to misadventure or high winds. Willful. Probably well-intended. I feel sad about it anyway, thinking about the owl that had been making her home there. The squirrels using it as a freeway ramp to the tree nearer the deck. The loss of privacy from neighbors beyond. Just… the loss of a tree. It’s painful. Oh, I’m sure a dead tree just hanging out there on the steep edge of the yard, where it suddenly drops off just past the fence, was a hazard of some sort, to something, but… fucking hell. I’m getting a little sick of people just taking my fucking trees away every-fucking-where that I move. Irksome.

There’s much to learn from contemplating this change. Trees fall. Trees are cut. Impermanence is. Non-attachment helps with the pain of circumstantial misfortunes. We have choices. Trees can be planted. Trees sprout. Trees grow.

I sip a delicious afternoon coffee – a perk of having a 3-day weekend, afternoon coffee always feels like luxury to me. πŸ™‚ I contemplate impermanence, and change – and choices. I think about seeing. I mean, really seeing – eyes and mind both open to what may be new and changed. I contemplate acceptance; change can be hard. Recognizing what has changed is not without it’s own challenges. I breathe. Relax, and consider what I am practicing, and what I want to achieve. I think over conversations with my Traveling Partner; this last visit was rich with thought-provoking, inspiring, observations, and discussion. Connected. Insightful. Loving.

We become what we practice.Β (Remember, “trees take a long time” πŸ˜‰ )

Even on the days I feel strongest, most well, most balanced, healthiest, most prepared to adult on all cylinders, even if I feel like a super hero – I’ve got my Kryptonite. We all do. When I am mindful of my limitations, my boundaries, and skillfully setting and managing expectations with others, I can plan around all that. Kryptonite is different; it’s that emotional weakness, trigger, or character flaw that trips one up most often, sometimes quite unexpectedly.

What’s your Kryptonite? Mine happens to be frustration. :-\ Life would seem much “easier” without it. lol

My day started easily. Gently. Rather routinely. The commute was effortless, and efficient. I already had my weekend plans sorted out. My day is locked into a plan pretty comfortably, too. I got into the office feeling relaxed, and ready.

Fat fucking lump of Kryptonite sitting right in my inbox. LOL

Breathe. Take a step back from that shit. Remind myself none of this is personal, really, almost never. At all. Another deep, relaxing breath. This? Not about me. If I make it about me, then it becomes toxic – and I “lose my super powers”. lol Metaphors work for me.

I get a fresh cup of coffee, return to my desk, and get on with things. Re-set. Restart. Reboot. Do-over.

Begin again.

A friend gave me a small sign, says “Speak Gently”. It sits on my desk, part of the background at this point. For no particular reason, it was really in focus at a couple points today. I paid attention. Some things I expected to go very badly, weren’t so bad. That’s something.

…It also feels better to depart from the enormity of the stress and emotional back-pressure that often seems to accompany raised voices, frayed nerves, or terse dialogue. That much I definitely appreciate. Sure. Verbs. Reading is a verb, yeah? I read that sign, and heeded the caution – with the thought of a dear friend in mind, which was even nicer still.

Now a gentle evening, and even the self-talk is bordering on tender. Certainly, I’m giving myself no grief at all this evening, as any lingering twilight is overcome by night. I feel content, and relaxed. It’s enough.

The day seemed much more complicated in real-time. This moment here doesn’t seem to hold any shards leftover from all that. It’s behind me. I look around here, in this place, in this moment, and see a few things I could take care of before bed… Then… I run out of words. πŸ™‚

Sipping my coffee this morning, after an interrupted but generally decent night’s sleep, noticing my anxiety coming and going. Thinking about the practices that have been most effective, specifically, for my anxiety: meditation, long walks (another form of meditation, in a practical sense), consistent self-care, good nutrition, adequate rest… All effective, and taken together the result is often very nearly no anxiety at all. Except… well… this means my wellness, particularly my emotional wellness, relies on a handful of verbs.

Verbs.

Verbs, people. Verbs.

I’m sitting here sipping my coffee, feeling my anxiety surge and recede, again and again, amorphous and not specifically associated with anything obvious. But… what about my practices? My self-care? All the things?? Why am I still anxious??

β€œAnxiety” 10β€³ x 14β€³ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic 2011

It could be that I’m anxious because verbs have little power on the printed page, and only evoke their real power once put into action. Seriously. I have not yet put my ass down on my meditation cushion, this morning. Nor have I taken a walk. I haven’t actually taken even one step toward putting a verb properly into motion, quite yet. I’m sitting around in a t-shirt and yoga pants drinking coffee and scrolling through feeds. So. Anxiety? Sure. It’s a thing. I still deal with it. Verbs are only useful when they are actually in use. “Action words” sort of presume that there will be some action. lol

I have some thoughts about what to do with the day. I’m anxious about those notions. I have a “to do list” waiting for my attention. I’m anxious about that, too. Money? Anxiety. Health and fitness concerns? Anxiety. Work? Anxiety. Leisure? Anxiety. Fucking hell. I definitely needs some relevant verbs this morning, and just writing sentences that use them is not going to be particularly helpful. πŸ˜‰

Looks like I need to begin again, with some verbs. Action words – and actual actions. πŸ™‚ I know what works, but knowledge alone is not going to get the job done (and this is, generally, true in life). Is knowledge truly power? I suppose it depends on what I do with it.

Beautiful momentum.

Time for some verbs. Time to begin again.