Archives for posts with tag: be kind to yourself

Well, last night the guy repairing our A/C came by, fixed a thing, and wryly admitted that doing so hadn’t fixed the A/C. Something entirely else is wrong, and there are parts to be ordered, and it’s fucking hot, in the middle of summer, and uncomfortable as hell, and…

…And my Traveling Partner enjoyed the stifling hot uncomfortable evening in good company, together. It was fine. Hot, sure. Summer, definitely. We drank plenty of water. We stayed comfortable. I enjoyed a cool leisurely shower at some point. Later, I went to bed. It was hot. I still slept. As soon as the outside temperature was equal to, or less than, the inside temperature, we opened the windows to the breezes, and let the house cool down with the night temperatures.

I woke to the sound of rain, very audible through open windows. Lovely. The smell of petrichor quickly dissipated the last of the smell of burning electrical components of the A/C. The house is comfortably cool. I make a cup of tea and sit by the open door to the deck for some minutes, listening to the rain fall. I am thinking about how often what feels catastrophic in life is, after all the fuss and bother, really not that big a deal after all. 🙂

I listen to thunder in the distance, and the shhhhh-shhhhh of the earliest commuters heading down the rain-slick hill beyond my window. I consider how often a moment of patience, of non-attachment, of perspective, have preventing me (lately) from over-reacting to what seems catastrophic in some moment. It’s rarely helpful to treat some circumstance as catastrophic; so few really are. It’s a trap. Stuck in some past or future moment, we let our fear, or our anxiety, or our baggage, call the shots. It’s generally a poor choice.

We could have treated a failed A/C as a catastrophe (it isn’t). We could have bitched endlessly and ruined our shared good time together. We could have been nasty to the repair guy who showed up very late, and then “couldn’t even fix it”. We could have been sour with our landlord, who lives far away, and chose the repair guy based on cost and convenience to himself. Doing those things would not have fixed the A/C faster, and most definitely would have created problems in those helpful relationships. And…seriously? Are there not much more important things to be stressed or angry about than the damned weather, and an A/C failure in summertime? lol The entire fucking planet definitely needs us each to be our best selves – but that’s also a journey, and “the best I can do” right now, in this moment, is likely not the best you can do, or the best some repair guy can do, or the best someone else, over there, can do… we’re each having our own experience. We do well to do our best with each other, because we’re also all in this together. Less a contradiction, than something to meditate on. 😉

…So, we did our best to simply deal with the A/C failure, as we do with so many things that go wrong in small ways (which is most things, when they go wrong in some way), and this morning? The rain falls softly. The air is cool and fresh, and the day unlikely to be quite so hot. Good enough.

I sip my cup of tea, thinking about a friend in recovery. Life took a pleasant turn toward success and security for him, and… he relapsed. Fuck. Recovery is already hard without that. I find myself wondering if he knows to forgive himself? If he will remember to begin again, and simply go forward, counting his recovery time from a new date, or hell, even simply acknowledging that we fail, we fall, we stumble, we struggle – and it’s okay; we can get back up and start over. It’s a hard mile to walk. I wish there were anything at all I could do to make it easier for him. I reached out and let him know I’m still here if he needs to talk. I wonder if he understands? He’s taking steps. Even this mess doesn’t have to be catastrophic, but he’s blinded by his regret and shame, and weighed down by guilt and a sense of “letting people down”. Fuck that’s hard. I want to tell him to let it go, to trust that the rain will come, the wheel keeps turning, and this, too, shall pass.

(I hope you’re reading this one, that you get what I’m trying to tell you, and that you are okay. You can begin again.)

My morning started a bit early; the clock tells me it is time to get up. Well… sure…? lol I sip my tea content to be where I am in life, and present in this moment. This morning, after years of practice, years of new beginnings, years of “resetting the clock” and walking my own hard mile, it feels pretty easy, and very natural. It wasn’t an overnight transformation, although there were many epiphanies and “light-bulb moments” along the way – mostly, there was a lot of practice. I see on the calendar that I’ve got an appointment scheduled with my therapist; I scheduled it during a stressful time, shortly before my Mom died (was that really only a couple months ago?). I had to reschedule it, and there it sits on my calendar, in the middle of a week I’ll be out of town for work. lol I smile; rescheduling it doesn’t feel like a catastrophe, either. I don’t actually recall quite why I wanted it, from the vantage point of this rainy morning over a hot cup of tea. Progress. Incremental change over time.

I send my therapist a request to reschedule our appointment, finish my tea, and begin again. 😀

 

I’m sipping my coffee and marveling, a little awestruck, but not in any pleasant way, really, at the quantity of posts, reposts, and shares in my feed that are seriously… emo. Like… bleak. Self-denigrating. Depressed. Blue. Despairing. So many of these are also coming from friends and associates I understand to be lovely people, from the perspective of my experience of them as individuals, in some cases gifted, warm-hearted, and thoroughly promising samples of what humanity is capable of, which… is weird. People who simultaneously appear to be on a journey of growth and improvement, and also appear to be mired in negative assumptions and self-loathing. That’s a lot to take over a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. (Personally, I’d rather not have to wade through all that suffering; I’d rather have brunch.)

I find myself wanting to answer each such post. To correct the thinking errors. To correct the mis-assumptions. To fact-check. To lift people up, by giving them tools to prevent themselves from drowning in their own bullshit. It’s not that easy, is it? A lot of people are ever so carefully crafting that experience. Building the narrative that supports it, with great care. Seeking emotional support and feedback from others who will nurture the suffering – instead of nurturing that human being who is their friend. Drama creeps in from the edges pretty quickly. I breathe. Let each one go. That is my own challenge; to refrain from reacting to each new outrageous self-deceit posted by a friend. Sometimes, attempting to correct these things only reinforces them by way of repetition and sharing. (See? We have learned something from social media!)

For fuck’s sake, people, try not to hate yourselves. Let go of hating each other, too. Try to assume positive intent. Oh, I know, you’ve been hurt – or soaked up the residual lessons resulting from the hurts your parents and community perceive, invent, or celebrate. (Quick aside for the white people in the room; no, this doesn’t get us off the hook for being aware of our privilege, or make it okay to shrug off generations of abuses delivered to others, or in any way defend the heinous institutions and practices that have held back our brothers and sisters of color. You’ll want to let that go, too – real wrongs definitely do need to be made right, and I am calling bullshit on racism, sexism, and xenophobia, just in general.) It’s time to let go of treating yourself like shit. That’s what I’m saying.

If nothing else, don’t be a dick. Not to yourself. Not to other people. Not – perhaps especially not – because you think it’s “just a joke”. When the humor comes at the expense of someone else’s injury, it’s not funny. If you’re laughing at other people’s pain, maybe spend some money on therapy instead? Sort that shit out. Why do I care? Because when we treat ourselves poorly, mock others for our amusement, and allow the world to strip away our humanity, we create a shitty experience for everyone involved. Why does it even have to be like that? Truth: it doesn’t. We can each choose differently.

My friends are all – each and every one – so special to me. I see your charm, your wit, your heart. I enjoy your merry laughter, your presence, and your forward momentum in life. I worry when you are in distress. I celebrate when you triumph over adversity. I celebrate your milestones. Your self-loathing? I’m betting neither of us really benefit from that. Maybe consider letting that go? You are so worthy. ❤

Really? You only need to begin again. Like, but a whole lot of times, probably, and yeah, it’s a slow transformation. It’s there for you, though. So am I.

It’s a journey with a lot of stairs to climb…

I’m sitting here, awake early, watching the slow lightening of daybreak becoming a new day, stormy skies overhead, the sounds of traffic muffled and distant. I was sitting here thinking something or other… and like a jigsaw puzzle piece which has an obvious placement, without searching for it in this moment, I recognize that the verbal form (figure of speech?) to say that something is or is not “supposed to…” is an indicator of an assumption being made. Damn that is so entirely obvious. I mean, by definition, I think I “knew that”…only… now I also “get it”. Well… An improved understanding on any terms is nonetheless an improved understanding. Maybe I also actually already understood that fairly deeply… and only this morning experienced the ‘a-ha!’ moment of “getting it” – detached from the actual experience of making the connection at some other point? Perhaps the feeling is simply a feeling, like so many sensory or emotional experiences, and potentially prone to error?  I don’t know how all the variables of learning, understanding, reasoning, and the sensations of experience epiphanies actually work, and admittedly, I am also aware that my “novelty recognition circuitry” is pretty impaired. 🙂

I do think, in this moment, that I now understand more easily and with a greater sense of clarity that assumptions don’t work (than I had previously), and the understanding is based on also understanding that using the phrasing “supposed to” straight up shouts that one or more assumptions that do not align to reality are being made. It’s a helpful thing to be aware of in conversation.

It’s not the first time I’ve been slow to catch on to something, although quite commonly it’s something humorous that I’m not getting, specifically. There are any number of little quirks and oddities of character that result from brain injuries. Like Witzelsucht or “Gourmand Syndrome“. It often gets me wondering how many “eccentric” or “quirky” people historically actually had some sort of brain trauma? We have barely scratched the surface of what there is to know about the brain… and… we’re using the brain itself to do the work of learning more. I wonder if “conflict of interest” ever comes up… I mean… consciousness itself may have a stake in how much we understand. And then, too, if everyone – or approximately almost everyone – has some sort of brain trauma, over time, what is “normal”? Who decides that? Why do they get to decide for everyone else?

A stop along memory lane, Cafe Schenk, Pfersee.

A stop along memory lane, Cafe Schenk, Pfersee.

I continue to sip my coffee quite contentedly. It’s a Monday with a couple appointments, and some hang out time with my traveling partner at day’s end. I don’t have much on my mind, aside from my health, and that mostly because I am over 50, and didn’t do a great job of taking care of my health when I was much younger, rather than due to diagnosed illness. (You! There are on the couch, 20-something me, you do not need that additional tasty slice of torte, and you’d do well to try to get some damned sleep. Please?? And please leave out some reminders for 30-something me to get off her ass and get some exercise! It’s all going to matter so much, later.) Pretty routine stuff for now; I’d do well to lose a few pounds, and to get into better shape. Physical therapy and keeping an eye on calories and nutrition, walking more (more than that), and getting enough rest are a good starting point. So many damned verbs.

It's a journey.

It’s a journey.

The challenges of the past few days seem less threatening in the cool morning air, with the security of fresh hot coffee warming my hands. How much of my experience is illusions built on emotions, sensations, and assumptions? How much of that can I replace with observation, mindful acceptance, and non-judgmental awareness? Questions for a Monday. Today is a good day to be the change I wish to see in the world – I say it often; this morning I hear the words, and listen to the meaning. There are still verbs involved. I know that my results may vary. I’m okay right now – I can begin again, any time. 🙂

When I worry, it’s nearly always about something that is a potential consequence of something or other already seemingly set in motion by an action or choice made sometime previously. I rarely feel anxiety, or find myself worrying, about the moment right now. At least for me, that isn’t how worrying works. I wonder, though, if whatever it is that is causing my stress hasn’t happened yet, why am I worried? If the action or choice made that has the potential to result in the worrisome outcome hasn’t yet – why, again, am I bothering to worry? Worry seems mostly pretty pointless, and of less real value than good planning, being engaged in the moment, and making the best choices I know to make, moment to moment.

I woke this morning feeling very groggy, and haven’t quite shaken it off. Interestingly, after some minutes of consideration of the blank page in front of me, the paragraph above is what came of it. No particular reason why, although I have been contemplating some experiences relevant to decision-making, free will, and choices in the past few days.

Wednesday morning flowers, a lovely metaphor for a moment of illumination.

Wednesday morning flowers, a lovely metaphor for a moment of illumination.

Yesterday was a good Wednesday. Better still, it was a good appointment day. Circumstances seem, generally, to be unfolding in a comfortable way. It’s a pleasantly comfortable feeling, and although I woke feeling groggy, I am enjoying the morning’s calm greatly. It feels like a morning to be practical, and to deal with practical things. It feels like a morning to continue good self-care practices, and to handle day-to-day tasks with efficiency. There’s no loss of pleasantness over any of that; the practical things are as much of life as the whimsical ones, and have their purpose and their place in my experience.

Each choice I make does have consequences, some good, some less so, some having no specific quality along that spectrum. I make my choices based on what I anticipate the consequences will likely be; I live my life from the perspective of what the outcomes of my choices actually are [from my perspective]. Expectations are what arise when I am so focused on an anticipated outcome that I don’t notice the unintended consequence that may have also occurred, or the very different outcome that resulted altogether, instead. Attachment is that bit of nastiness when having noticed that the outcome wasn’t what I expected, I don’t let go of the expectation and I create struggle within myself, and the burden of the resulting discontent. All that makes it every so clear how important this ‘now’ moment truly is; I can be awake, aware, engaged in this now moment, observing the developing consequence of previous actions, continue to adjust my perspective, adapt my understanding to the moments in motion, and walk a brighter path altogether – perhaps not entirely free of attachment, nor immune to the power of expectations, but more easily able to recognize my own humanity, treat myself with compassion, and make needed course-corrections in my decision-making, based on best meeting my needs over time. Incremental change – incremental decision-making – and practice.

I’ve spent too many years bullying myself. I finally took notice of how much that hurts me, and how much it tends to reinforce old damage, bad bits of out-dated programming, and how much it interferes with growth and progress. I think I can easily take the time to treat myself well – not just good physical self-care, but really truly appreciate myself, the work I’ve put in so far, the wonderful qualities of mind that I value in myself, and show myself a little self-compassion and simple kindness day-to-day. I’ve been pretty hard on me.

Wednesday afternoon flowers, ending a day filled with light.

Wednesday afternoon flowers, ending a day filled with light.

Today is a good day to be kind – to myself, too. Today is a good day to let worries go; they either haven’t happened yet, or they are already behind me. Today is a good day to appreciate the powerful beauty of a sunrise – or a daydream. Today is a good day to enjoy myself, enjoying my self, enjoying the world.