Archives for posts with tag: be here now

It’s a lovely morning, so far. Well… I mean… Okay, it’s drizzling – I can hear the rain against the front walkway, and the “shhhhh-shhhhh” of the tires of passing cars on wet pavement. The skies are gray, and the sun seems slow to rise. My coffee doesn’t taste particularly good…just… adequately “coffee” to get the job done. I slept poorly, restlessly, and woke often. My face hurts – and it’s too soon for more Ibuprofen, because I took it during the night, on one of the several occasions I was briefly awake. So… “lovely”? May not seem the obvious descriptor. Hell, I’m even a tad cross. lol

I’m okay right now.

Here’s the thing; my heart is free. I’m a friend to myself. I build healthy relationships. I’m generally contented. Life is, more often than not, very much pretty okay, most of the time. That’s something. It’s even, comparatively speaking, quite a lot. I’ve come a long way from the precipice on which I stood (metaphorically), as recently as 6 years ago. Only 6 years? Holy shit – and dragging very little drama behind me. 🙂

…I walked away from a lot of bullshit and some bad poorly chosen relationships to get here. The decision-making did not often feel “easy”, but looking back on it, a lot of it seems quite obviously necessary now. So, I smile and sip my fairly unpleasant tasting, and refreshingly cold, coffee, listen to the rain, and note the loveliness of the morning; it’s an experience generated from within.

I allow myself the moment to reflect and appreciate the journey, thus far; soon enough, it’ll be time to begin again, with a fresh new day, and a long list of shit to get done; it’s a good day for it. 😀

My face is not hurting as much (after my recent tooth extraction). It’s day 7. The stitches will begin to dissolve and healing continues. I can mostly drink normally, but I’m not quite to “hot coffee”, yet. There are still so many foods that are a poor choice, and I am quite careful about what I eat or drink, and how I care for the empty tooth socket while it heals. Weirdly, I think the tiny wisdom tooth left behind, rather stoically, all alone in the corner, seems to be… bigger? Am I… teething? The weird ache in my jaw seems to suggest so – or at least that other teeth are “settling in”, having more room, now. My tongue tells me that the gap left behind when the molar came out is notably smaller than it was the day of the extraction. Strange. I mean… I’m not objecting. I’m just observing.

…The cold of my coffee feels good in my mouth. My thoughts move on to other things.

Meditation is a favorite practice; it’s like opening a box.

I find myself in a strange place during meditation, letting things go. Practicing gratitude – and forgiveness. Seems a good morning for it. I finish my coffee and look at the time. This moment here is as good as any for new beginnings. 🙂

A deep breath, a smile, and a quick check that I’ve got what I need to begin the day, and I set off to build a good experience on this lovely morning. There is no map, and that’s okay, too.  🙂

I don’t think I actually ever gave thought to how often, or how much, “suction” place a role with regard to the general state of a human mouth. lol Having a molar extracted, and the resulting perforation of my lower facial sinus, with all the requested after-care that follows, is definitely an education in maintaining mindful awareness. The balance between “aware” and “self-conscious” – the latter of which tends to cause more moments of “sucking on my teeth, in some fashion – is, itself, a very new thing to explore (all over again). It generally… um… sucks.

(I’m aware of how dreadful that pun was, and nonetheless I spend five minutes wracked with mirth, trying not to laugh literally out loud, nor to stifle my laughter in any way that might result in disturbing the healing of that tooth socket, with the realization that my situation literally illustrates the point I was making the first place driving still further laughter. What a morning. What the fuck is the point of “uncomfortable merriment”? Why is that even a thing? lol)

Eating is complicated. Drinking is a major challenge. Even sitting around, generally, reading, watching a video, or just being thoughtful, seems to continuously put me at risk of subtly (or less so) “pulling” at that wound in my mouth with some quantity of suction unintentionally. “Rinsing” my mouth requires a rather delicate approach, since any sort of “swishing” technique likely involves – you guessed it already, I bet – suction. It’s not the very firm sucking-suction of deliberately sucking on something (like a straw) that trips me up; it’s the common everyday rather mild suction of things like holding my tongue to the roof of my mouth, or drinking from a container with a small opening, or… swallowing. lol That last one plagues me – it is unavoidable. I’m not bitching, I’m just saying; there are techniques involved that I did not already know.

I woke to rain. I find myself wondering how the Praying Mantis hatchlings are doing. They hatched yesterday, from purchased egg cases that I put in the garden in the spring.

There appear to be hundreds of wee mantises on this one rose bush, basking in the sunshine.

The dense foliage of the reliably well-leaved out rose bush on which I placed them offers a lot of places to hide safely, and with my container garden being very near a forested green space, and birds coming and going at the deck feeder every day, there is plenty of food for the young mantises – and plenty of predators to be concerned with. I spotted them fairly quickly, when I went out to water the garden.

I watched them for awhile.

I watched several quite skillfully avoid a largish, probably quite frustrated, garden spider who had also taken up housekeeping in the rose bush. I was feeling certain that sooner or later, the spider would have her meal, when a young mantis turned the tables on the predator-prey narrative, and began to enjoy her first meal – of spider. Wow, Nature, way to present a life lesson!

I watch awhile longer. Choices. Verbs. Sunshine. Moments.

I felt huge peering down at the wee creatures in my garden. Some of them stared seemingly fearlessly, curiously, back at me. I felt a tickle on my arm, and notice that one, then several more, have jump from the bush to my arm, and my hand, as I held my camera outstretched for a closer shot. I use the opportunity to give them an easy ride, slowly, around the garden. It delighted me to see each jump off to a new location in a hanging basket, potted salad greens, a bucket full of blooming flowers, or another rose. I remind them to watch out for spiders, before I go back inside.

I woke this morning to rain. It only makes sense to wonder how the little new comers are doing. Coffee first, I decided, and here I am – with a drink bottle (selected specifically for the size of the mouth of the bottle) partially filled with cool-not-icy-cold coffee, listening to the rain and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. I give some thought to where I might take my walk today; it’s the weekend, and I’ve been enjoying being out on the trail again, rain need not slow me down (it’s not rainy hard, just sort of dripping gently). Muddy or slick trails would be less than ideal… maybe along the waterfront? The well-paved trails are popular, so it’s not likely to have the same “away from it all” feel as I might experience on a wilderness trail, or even a suburban forest trail miles in, further along than an easy walk with a child would take one – still a lovely walk, worth taking. The city is reliably a beautiful and varied view.

Some other rainy morning, along the waterfront, and a view of a city I love.

…I keep coming back to this not-excessively-painful-but-definitely-wholly-uncomfortable-and-quite-inconveniently-tender-complicated-to-care-for wound in my mouth; it distracts me. I also find my thoughts returning to the wee newcomers in my garden. I can’t do much about the extracted tooth; the jaw and gum need time and care to heal. I can, however, satisfying my curiosity about the mantises – verbs are required. A moment of action is all that is necessary…

The smell of freshness, summer rain, and petrichor fill my senses when I step out onto the deck. The sound of rain on the big leaf maples is musical. It isn’t raining hard; just a steady misty drizzle, barely hard enough to be explicitly rain. I check “Baby Love”, the rose on which the mantis young found themselves on their very first day, eagerly seeking signs that “the kids are alright”…

Petals have fallen in the rain, but the wee mantis young take the rainy day in stride.

I spot first one, then another, then several, then, as my eye begins to calibrate to their shape and color, their plentiful numbers are revealed. Most have simply stepped around to a convenient underside of a leaf, or even the narrow protection of a stem. A few just stand out in the rain, damp, seeming unconcerned.

They are everywhere I look. A good metaphor for so many things I sometimes struggle to see that are “right in front of me”. 🙂

A few minutes of writing, some coffee, a rainy morning… I’ve been most particularly tempted by this deliciously rainy summer morning… I think I’ll begin again. 🙂

In the garden, or on the trail, it’s a lovely time to embrace this “now” moment. (Your results may vary; there are verbs involved.)

I’m very carefully, and rather peculiarly, sipping my room temperature coffee, seeking to do so without creating any suction or pressure in my mouth, to avoid disturbing the healing progress of the small perforation of my right sinus. Rather tediously complicated. It’s not specific to coffee; anything I eat, anything I drink, all comes with this new challenge. lol. I’m not bitching; it is what it is, and one thing it happens to be is an opportunity for greater mindfulness. So… I’m careful, present, very much aware. Sip after careful sip, sort of sliding the liquid down the opposite side of my open mouth, swallowing without closing my mouth. LOL I’m okay.

No suction. Doesn’t sound that difficult, or inconvenient, in the abstract. I was not sufficiently aware of how much “mouth stuff” involves some amount of suction or pressure. 🙂 I’m learning a lot.

…Still… A lot of what inconveniences me turns out to be a useful opportunity. Another example? Distance without social media; giving up social media has resulted in a growing feeling of distance from dear friends. It wasn’t that we were closer with social media, we weren’t, at all. We were simply easily able to eavesdrop on each other’s lives and experience the sensation of remaining quite close and caught up on things, without making a legitimate effort, or being present in an authentic way. Now? I have to put the effort in. I have to make a point to reach out. I experience the lag that goes along with snail mail, or the sound sensitivity that is part of my experience of talking on the phone, or the inconvenience of noticing, again, that I’ve written several letters – days or weeks ago – and failed to mail them. No social media gives me a huge opportunity to live up to value of these relationships by showing some effort. (I’m not saying I’m doing a great job of it – I’m not, so far – I’m just pointing out the opportunity very much exists.)

This morning, limited by this perforated sinus, and heading into the office, I have still more opportunities. Opportunities to gauge my emotional wellness, resilience, and ability to manage day-to-day stresses without the (admitted) crutch of nicotine, for example. Opportunities to be my best self in commuter traffic. Opportunities to make reasoned, considered choices, throughout a new day. Opportunities to rise above personal discomfort, grief, and practical challenges of being a human being, midst other human beings having their own experiences. Opportunities to communicate more skillfully, and to love and be loved. A new day filled with opportunities – and choices – and verbs. 🙂

The 4th of July holiday came and went fairly uneventfully. I am not of a mind to “celebrate” national independence by wastefully expending colorful ordnance. Not so much my thing. No stress in it, these days, it’s just that I’m unclear on what I would be celebrating, at this point… So… with my ability to enjoy tasty holiday tidbits impaired, and feeling frankly a tad injured, and needing to rest and recover, no celebration at all seemed much easier than a pro forma celebration of a flag. Certainly, I have no emotional connection to, or investment in, the banana republic display going on in the nation’s capital. lol It was a quiet day, of reading mostly. 😀

I glance at the time. Attempt another caution sip of coffee, and look to the opportunities of the day ahead; it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

My eyes opened at 3:00 am. No surprise. I went to bed early, sleepy, and tired, and earnest about being well-rested for today’s life pop-quiz; tooth extraction. lol So… I guess I’m well-rested. 🙂 I spent the extra time on a leisurely shower, yoga, meditation, and then… comedy. Humor. Laughter. Light-heartedness. Joy. Sure, why not? Got a few extra minutes? To what better use can you put it, than a few moments of merriment?

The clock ticks on. We are mortal creatures (at least for now). Grief is a thing, part of our experience as human beings. Sorrows come and go. Hurts happen, some of those become festering wounds. We rage and storm against perceived slights, and harvest personal resentments from our carefully curated personal narratives. Anger, too, is a thing that is part of our experience. It’s too easy to let the “dark side” of our emotional spectrum to take over; it’s powerful. So powerful. So… I make a point to invite in the joy, the merriment, the humor, the contentment. I let happiness wander in to join the fun, whenever possible. While I’ve given up on treating my emotions as my enemy, I recognize that some emotions are definite “party crashers”, uninvited, generally unwanted, and totally willing to just take over, and suck the fun out of life. Making a real point to seek out the positive and uplifting experiences helps a lot, by building resilience, and a more positive implicit experience.

Where to begin, though…?

It’s hard to go wrong with good basics…

I sip my coffee, contentedly. I feel okay about the tooth extraction, less anxious after doing some reading about typical experiences, after-care, and looking at x-rays online of how that particular tooth commonly fits in a human jaw. All of that helped reassure and calm me (your needs – and results – may vary). I feel ready. My time is managed to support after-care (no work tomorrow, I can stay home and take it easy), although I won’t be eating any enticing holiday foods. lol I pause for a moment of gratitude; I have a good dentist, with whom I am at ease, and was able to get a prompt appointment, the day before a holiday, simplifying the time needed for after-care. I’m fortunate.

I’m surprised, again, by how really good gratitude actually feels… 🙂 I spend a few moments happily appreciating things for which I am grateful… this can of room temperature coffee, for example, which allows me to easily and conveniently support my coffee habit even while waiting on an appointment to have a painful tooth extracted. Oh, hey, and the weird glue-y stuff the dentist used to protect the exposed stump of this tooth, until the day of my appointment, so I can eat, and rest through the night, and drink water (and, um, room temperature coffee). I’m grateful for the good night of sleep I got. Grateful for the running water and indoor plumbing. Grateful to see another sun rise. 🙂 All good stuff. I begin to feel a wholesome feeling of being uplifted – nothing going on aside from this simple exercise in gratitude. It’s nice, and also quite portable, convenient, and inexpensive. 😀

I sip my coffee, smiling, pleased to have shifted an experience fraught with anxiety to one characterized by contentment, and positivity. I glance at the clock, aware of my commitment to being in the office a bit early, since the day will be shortened by this appointment. This feels okay. It’s enough. 🙂

It was a weekend of long walks in the sunshine, of fresh ripe blackberries, of farmer’s markets, and of grilling. It was a lovely, easy, relaxed summer weekend. Enough. More than enough. I let the recollection put a smile on my face this morning, as I sip my coffee, and prepare for a new day, a new week, and a new beginning. 🙂

All of the richness and warmth of the weekend, though, wouldn’t be “enough”, if I were to refuse to allow it to be; I could so easily choose to demand more from my experience and find myself mired in discontent and dissatisfaction. (I know this for certain, because I was once that person.) This morning the choice is to enjoy each of the small things I do enjoy, and to savor those experiences. I let them fill me up and become substantial in my recollection, and, over time, they become quite prominent in my implicit memory, and useful towards building emotional resilience.

…So practical. 😀

This week will “feel different” in the office, mostly simply to do with changing the office, itself. We’ve moved the work from one location, to another, although not very far. The two locations have a very different “vibe”, and quite a different arrangement of space. I’m eager to observe how these differences change other behavior than my own. It’s a work thing. lol Still, I’m eager to get going with it, and find myself considering leaving for work early, although few people will be on site, or working, as early as I generally get in. It’s the momentum that I’m after. I feel eager.

…Oh hey, “eagerness” is returning. I smile, feeling welcoming, and positively-inclined toward the experience of feeling eager. 🙂 It’s not much to hold onto, but any little foothold that helps me on my way up and out of last week’s pit of raw grief and existential disappointment is worth enjoying. 🙂 Grieving is such a personal thing. It will be a long while before I’m anything like truly being “over” my mother’s death – but, fortunately for my mental health and quality of life, feels like I am very nearly “over it enough” to see the color and joy begin to return to the day-to-day. 🙂

I take a moment for pictures of flowers from the weekend, before I begin again. 🙂