Archives for posts with tag: breathe exhale relax

I am sipping my coffee slowly this morning. Enjoying the gentle pace of a morning on which I slept in, instead of getting up super early and slipping out with my camera in my hand to catch the sunrise. Felt good. I must have needed the sleep.

My coffee this morning is good. Prepared with care. Hot. The heat of the mug warms my hands, and the pleasure in the sensation reminds me that Autumn is not that far off. It’s September 2nd – one month ago I was laid off. I’m doing okay, though. There’s so much life to live that gets pushed off to the fringes of a work week, and for now I am able to simply live those moments just… whenever. Feel like writing? No problem. Want to put my feet up and read a book? Easily done. Any time I might want to put more time into preparing a meal? The time is my own. Hiking, giving my Traveling Partner a hand in the shop, spending time in the garden, getting some housekeeping done… none of it is strange, fancy, or honestly even at all noteworthy. What makes it significant is that I simply have the time. The time is mine. That is actually pretty luxurious.

I sip my coffee feeling secure and content. Job searching isn’t even the whole of my life right now. Not at all. In the time while I am not working, I also work on gaining and updating credentials on this-n-that. Lovely to have the time for study. I’m also working (still) on my cooking skills (just now I’m working on improving my Italian style cooking), and preparing for an upcoming visit from my partner’s son. If I am already back to work by the time he arrives, there’s plenty of money to go/do/see – and if I am not, there is plenty of time to enjoy whatever we’re doing. It feels like a win all around.

I feel fortunate. I sit with that awhile. It’s the kind of feeling that is easy to forget later, if I don’t take a moment to really savor it, fully aware.

I continue to sip my coffee, enjoying the quiet of the morning. My Traveling Partner was already up before I woke, and already on with his day. I think about the day ahead, and how best to enjoy it without having half an eye on my email all day. I am still hoping for an offer on a recent excellent interview, but it doesn’t do to get wound up about it; sometimes these things take time. I’m not “waiting” on it in the sense of halting all other job search activity – the day-to-day tasks of taking a look at what is available and applying for what fits my skills, my nature, and my needs continues unabated. 🙂 I am “waiting” on it in the sense that I’d really like to get this particular job, and am eager to have the outcome.

I plan to spend much of the day working on the website for my partner’s business. 🙂 Keeps me productively occupied on tasks that feel like work. I know me; it doesn’t do to let 100% of the timing of “work/life balance” fall away or to allow good habits of managing time and tasks to be extinguished over a couple weeks of not working. LOL I’ll need these later!

In most ways, the weekend has started. It’s a pleasant Friday (and possibly a hot one, though I recall my partner saying it might be cooler this weekend and good for working in the shop). Life and business go on. This coffee cup is empty and it’s already time to begin again.

This morning I’m all smiles. I had a lovely day with my Traveling Partner, yesterday. It finished well. Life feels balanced, and I am contented. Sure, sure, still looking for a job, so there’s that, but I don’t see that it has any requirement to be a massive continuous buzzkill every minute of every day… or… any minutes. Ever. I know “this too will pass” – doesn’t matter whether it’s a good mood, a bad mood, a wonderful moment, a tragedy; moments are moments. Transient. Finite. Limited. Very little in a single human life is so dire that despair is truly warranted (that’s one of the things that makes despair so terrible and terrifying – it feels like “everything”, and it’s very “sticky”). I enjoy the smile on my face, take a sip of this glass of water, and listen to a video that makes me smile with such tremendous delight it’s hard to move on to the next one. No, I’m not linking it; delight is not “universal”, and what tickles me so profoundly may be disturbing or offensive or puzzling for someone else. No point. Hit up Google or YouTube, find your groove. 😉

Different day, different meadow.

I went to the nearby nature reserve this morning to get shots of birds. I got there just at daybreak; first car into the park. Choice. The summer-scented air was fragrant with meadow flowers and a hint of marsh. The morning was very quiet and quite overcast. I grabbed my gear and walked down the path to a spot I know is a good one for taking pictures of birds. No birds. It was rather as if the wildlife decided to sleep in on this quiet gray morning. I walked on. Snapped some pictures of flowers, the skyline, reflections on the water. Kept walking. Eventually my Traveling Partner pinged me.

My last trip was more “productive”, if I choose to define it that way – there were more birds.
I got a lot of chances to improve on my skills at taking pictures of birds that day.

There’s no expectation that I’ll cut my camera time short when my partner wakes, although I do try to “stay gone” long enough for him to sleep in, should he choose to and find himself able. Still… not much going on in the nature park, so I turned back and walked back to the parking lot. I passed a lot of other visitors with cameras. By the time I was within view of the parking lot, the path down to the meadow looked like a fucking camera convention. Individuals and groups, each taking some favored spot, waiting, watching, hoping for a great shot of… something. (Anything – other than each other.) lol I see a lot of really fancy gear as I pass other visitors. I could easily be overcome with dissatisfaction and “gear envy”…but it’s not my way. Like, I mean, explicitly not my choice to be thusly overcome; I get some great shots with my modest gear. I enjoy it as it is. It’s often so much more about location, timing, and willingness to walk on, or sit quietly awhile, and less to do with the gear, generally. 🙂 A lot of life is like that. Even mindfulness practices – anyone can (people often do) spend a ton of money on coaches, consultants, therapists, or “specialists” to learn to sit quietly, breathe, and relax. (It’s even possible to take an expensive destination retreat at an actual monastery, should you have the desire and the resources. It’s not necessary to do so, though, at all.) It’s not even a certainty that spending that kind of money on breathing exercises and mindfulness practices will “pave the trail” for you more skillfully than taking it upon yourself to read a book and begin practicing practices. It’s more about the verbs than the dollars.

…I’m one of those people, by the way. No kidding. I was at the edge and still spiraling down, and I felt wholly defeated. I spent a notable amount of my limited resources on therapy. Doing so saved my life. Looking back, I can see how easily I could have made that journey, perhaps, without spending that money…only… I didn’t, because I wasn’t able to. I did not know what I did not know. I needed that help. So I did the needful and took steps to get the help I needed. Did my therapist do more than point me in the direction of reading different books, or helping me practice other practices? Oh, for sure. Real therapy. I needed a lot of help making that healing journey (that is still in progress), and part of that process was gaining a better understanding of my actual legit issues. Still… it is possible to make a healing journey without a map. It isn’t about the money.

I prepared my reading list so that someone who maybe can’t at all afford the expense of therapy in their here-and-now could still benefit from the foundations of the journey I’m taking myself. I write this blog for that same reason – and also because I often find that I “fail to take my own good advice” because I’ve lost perspective over time. This blog is something of a repository of my notes about this journey, and my changing perspective over time – a reminder that it can be done, because I’ve done it, just in case I find myself doubting. (I’m very human.)

What a lovely morning this is, so far. It may last the day. It may not. So much of that is up to me. I’ve got choices to make. Practices to practice. Verbs to put into motion. It’s time to begin again.

Good steps to begin a journey:

  1. Do something differently. (Follow-up)
  2. What about self-care?
  3. Maybe just don’t be in your own way?

Good cup of coffee in front of me. Great track playing over the headphones. Pleasant summer morning. Great partnership wrapping me in love. My Traveling Partner is in pain today. Me too. Not as bad as a cold winter morning, but it’s there in the background. We’re kind to each other anyway, and it’s a pleasant morning. The playlist plays on. The coffee has cooled to “drinkable”, and the day begins to develop as I sip it and think. It’s a Saturday. I’ve got one errand that will take me up to the city, and aside from that the weekend stretches out ahead of me, unplanned.

It feels pretty good that my time is, for now, my own. I’m making a point to thoroughly enjoy that. My eye wanders for a moment – my studio is filled with my camping gear, stacked sort of neatly(ish) behind me. That won’t last. I’ve got another camping trip planned for next week… will I go? Will I replan? Will I cancel? No idea. Doesn’t require my attention right now. LOL I let that go.

Today is a good day to be present. A good day to enjoy myself – and my time with my partner. A good day to finish projects in progress. A good day to look ahead to new projects. A good day for another cup of coffee.

It’s a good day to begin again. 😀

Omg, just… fuck this entire day, already. I’d laugh but I’m still working through pulling myself back from the brink of this absolutely pointless and unproductive tantrum. Honestly, I suspect I’m just thoroughly “peopled out” and then some; I really really really earnestly and most definitely just need a real break and some time (days) alone. It feels like one thing after another, right now, and I’m at grave risk moment-to-moment of losing perspective. I mean – it could be worse. I could be living a life that puts me at real risk of actual harm. This is not that. I could be struggling to survive at all, and this is not that, either. I’m just fussy, and over having to attend to the demands of others around me (without regard to whether those are reasonable, or whether I’m paid to deal with those). Over. It. I need some me time, and I’ve let this need go unmet too long, most recently simply because I was too sick to enjoy the plans I had made to meet this need – the postponement was necessary. Now I’ve just got to get through this week…

…One new beginning at a time.

So, yeah. I’m cross. My morning hike was okay. The sunrise was lovely. It was fine. Hard to find real satisfaction in it; my Traveling Partner woke while I was out on the trail. Our first (digital) interaction was complicated by my involvement with other things and his pre-coffee state. Misunderstanding and miscommunication – sorted out before I returned home, but before any of that, it distracted me from my own experience and what I was doing (for myself) in the moment. Later I got to be talked-down-to by a stranger helping my neighbor next door. He could not have known I am an artist and I work in color – a lot – or that I’m knowledgeable about such matters. A discussion between my partner and I about the color the house next door is being painted opened the door for this other person to “helpfully” interject his opinions. I managed not to bite his head off, but I was on the edge of being rude when I firmly dismissed his opinion and turned my back. Two or three more such moments, in the context of the work day, stacked up on each other and I’m just fucking done. I have shit to do, and prefer to be quietly productive and not interrupted. So far, even that isn’t working out ideally well.

I end up starting my Monday cross with the world, and daydreaming about my upcoming camping trip intently. I keep pulling myself back to the work in front of me – which reminds me how irritable I am, all over again. Not my best bit of adulting, today. I let my irritability keep driving me to follow-up on the details. Power bricks all charged? No? Do that. Hey, how about that Kindle? Am I taking it? Maybe? Is it charged? No? Do that, too. Camera batteries all fully charged? They get their turn on the charger, too. Are my toiletries packed for camping? I make a note to tackle that on a break, later. Little details that matter out on the trail; I just keep at it. The thoughts come. I put them to use. It’s one way to burn off some of this irritation through useful activity. My results vary, but I figure if I just keep at it, eventually I’ll be over my bullshit.

No idea what the noise outside is… sounds like someone cranking an engine that will not start. Could be something to do with the painting going on next door. A construction project in my partner’s shop? I just want to work. I just want to stop hearing things. My tinnitus is so loud… how is there still all this annoying noise?? I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Remind myself to let it go; none of this, not any of it, is at all personal – even my irritability is likely more symptomatic than “about” anything happening right now. I put on noise canceling ear-covering heavily padded headphones. No music. Just… quiet. It’s that day. At least right now. Now I’ve simply got to nudge myself in the direction of beginning again…

I think the words as I type the title of the post. “Pause for a minute” is often decent advice, as free advice goes. Confused? Slow down, pause for a minute, let the busy brain get caught up on things a bit, and then sort shit out. Writer’s block? Lacking inspiration? Pause for a minute, look around, take a deep breath, and consider the moment, itself, and all the things immediately at hand. I often find that enough to grab a hint of an idea, or a flash of inspiration, enough to move on with. Feeling sad, defeated, frightened, angry, resentful, or overwhelmed? Pause for a minute, let the thoughts come and go, feel the feelings without acting on them, and really “be there” for yourself in that difficult moment – what would you say or do to support your bestie, if they came to you with these feelings? Give yourself a minute to think that over. Choose action, instead of succumbing to reaction.

It’s not too much to ask of oneself to pause for a minute. Even two, or three, or five minutes. We’re talking about less than 0.5% of the entire 24-hour day. 🙂 Surely we all deserve that much (and more) of our own time, for our own purposes. 😀

…I don’t bring it up for any particular reason. I just sat down to write. Came up with nothing much, but I’ve got a minute, and a fresh cup of coffee, and this blank page in front of me… so… I paused for a minute. Here we are.

Taking a minute to pause and reflect, to catch up, to rest, or to sort things out for myself is a low-cost solution to a lot of life’s challenges.

Easy enough. Step 1. Pause for a minute. Step 2. Breathe. Step 3. Begin again. 🙂 Are you ready? It does take some practice…