Archives for posts with tag: breathe

The morning begins gently. I’m packed. I check in with my Traveling Partner. I’ll be making the drive later today…

My thoughts get caught up in all the things that are not “now”, so quickly. I catch myself stressed about the drive, about the budget, about circumstances, about the news, about the world, about the fate of humanity… next thing I know, I’m not even enjoying my coffee. Shit.

I hit a mental restart button and begin again. Other thoughts. Other intentions. I have a glass of water. I do some yoga. I meditate. I remember something I meant to pack, get up, get it, pack it… and somehow I’m once again already living “later today”, instead of “now”. Well, crap.

I hit a mental restart button and begin again. I water the container garden on the deck, in the pre-dawn chill of a lovely Spring morning. I fill the bird feeders. I make my bed. I feel and breathe and enjoy this moment, right here. I feel my smile spread through my whole body, and my shoulders slowly slip back down where they properly belong; I hadn’t noticed they’d crept toward my ears with the stress of “forward thinking”. I smile, wondering how it is that we are so easily distracted by moments that are not now… and find myself, yet again, living in moments that are “later today” – and even tomorrow, next week, next month, next year… and yesterday, last week, last month, “this year so far”…

I hit that mental restart button still again, and smile at the clear requirement to start over, many times. It’s as if living present in this moment requires… practice. lol Practicing awareness. Practicing breathing. Practicing letting go of attachments. Practicing refraining from “throwing that second dart”. Practicing being present building on so many other practices. There are still verbs involved. I still have to take the actions, myself. My results still vary…

…It’s all still quite worth it. My life has improved a lot since 2013. 🙂 How many times have I taken that breath, and whispered to myself “okay, so… begin again”? I haven’t counted. “How many times…?” isn’t a question I need to answer; it has nothing to do with this moment, right now. 😉

It’s time to begin again.

 

“I need to find balance.” I woke with the sound of the words in my head, as if snatched from my dream. I may have said them aloud, and thus woke myself a moment ahead of the alarm. The sensation of the thought was as though I were a playful youngster, standing over the fulcrum of a see-saw on a playground, applying pressure first to one leg, then to the other, as the motion of the thing shifted back and forth, fairly ceaselessly. I felt no particular frustration, nor did it seem surprising that balance was only a goal, and did not seem achievable in any final way. It seemed quite practical and real that balance continued to be something to seek, to strive for, to pursue gently, with greater or lesser success from moment-to-moment, always ahead of me, never quite secured. I woke feeling quite settled and content, nonetheless.

I sip my coffee this morning, cold by intention. I give a moment of thought to a friend’s recent fairly successfully book release; no surprise, it’s a good book. I think about a manuscript of my own, ready for publication, quietly waiting for me to find balance.

I think a bit about work; balance is of value there, too.

I see another new doctor, today. I am hoping for a step forward in basic healthcare. Feeling hopeful, I attempt to sort out my thoughts for the appointment, and become aware of the amount of baggage I’ve been carrying around labeled “fuck doctors, fuck health care, fuck this headache”. I give myself some patience, a moment to be heard, and put some of that down, so I can start fresh with a new doctor (again), and maybe find balance.

Thinking about my appointment gets me thinking about my health, generally, which I sometimes think is “pretty good”, and other times figure is likely killing me in the background, while I’m sitting around watching Rick & Morty re-runs. 0_o Grim, right? Yeah, I could do better. There are so many verbs involved!! Finding balance, proper balance, between effort and stillness, stymies me. I let myself think over my missteps, and also celebrate moments of solidly good choices and forward progress. Again, balance. 🙂

My work shift will be later today, after my appointment. My routines are broken, and I am even planning to head down south to see my Traveling Partner, leaving from work, on a Friday afternoon. (What am I thinking??) I want to spend more time with him. Miss him dreadfully. Two nights. A day. Morning coffee, then home again to do the work thing another week. I peek at my calendar as the thought crosses my mind. Next weekend I’ve got a weekend at home to rest, and to catch up on things here, again. Balance. It really does seem to work like a teeter totter or a seesaw. (Are those actually different things, at all?) Well… I guess it is progress that I over-correct less often. 😉

One thing, then another, back and forth, a little here, or a little more over there, finding balance. It’s time to begin again.

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. 🙂

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. 🙂

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. 🙂

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday went by fast. Too fast. I ended the evening feeling a bit rushed, pressed for time, hurried through things, short on bandwidth… and a little stressed. You too? It’s a fairly common experience for adults I know – what about you?

Did you do anything about it? Do you know that you can?

I halted mid-rush, somewhere in between watering the container garden on the deck, feeding the fish in the aquarium, yoga, and a shower… I… just stopped. I paused for a moment in front of a painting that hangs in the hallway (in a space that’s really a bit dark for that one), and really looked at it, vaguely surprised to see it, as if unaware I’d hung it there in the first place. I took a minute. For breath, for life, for a moment – for me. There wasn’t really any reason to be rushing around like a mad woman. Is there shit to do? Yep. Am I the one that’s got to do it? Again – yes. Does everything have to be done with equal fervor right fucking now? Ahem. No. Not at all. Not even possible – and the attempt to make it so isn’t just silly, it is exhausting. It also tends to dial up the intensity on life’s background stress, quite a lot. So.

I stood quietly looking at this painting with new eyes. Giving myself over to really seeing it. I turned and looked at another. And yet another after that. When I moved on with things, it was a comfortable pace, and a relaxed approach to the evening – and to life.

I sip my coffee this morning thinking over that moment, and many that preceded it during the day, contrasting the hurried moments, the frantic moments, with the chill moments. Which are actually more productive, realistically? Which bring more joy? Can I have/do both? My own answer is a clear and unequivocal “yes” – but there is an effort of will involved in managing it. I find myself needing to pause, now and again, because over time the pace of life seems to accelerate rather unpleasantly.

We are mortal. That’s still a thing, even in the 21st century. We have yet to improve upon that, or fix it, or, really, limit it in any noteworthy way. So, given that this may be my one shot at living well, at living beautifully, at living life from a perspective of contentment and joy, it seems wholly worthwhile to figure out how not to be so damned rushed all the time. lol 😀 Still working the bugs out. A quick pause to reset is what I’ve got for now that I know is effective.

I begin the morning with coffee and music. I almost overlook writing, and valuing this time, pull myself out of the news – pausing for a moment to slow my thoughts and breathe deeply – and write (here I am!) for a few minutes. There isn’t time for everything – we have to choose. Choose wisely.

Time to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday was a jumble of times, timing, movement, awkwardness, people, more people, and still more people… and cramped airplane seating. Every detail went according to plan, right down to making sure to drink adequate actual plain drinking water before I got to Fresno.

Sometimes basic self-care is really really basic.

A dear friend – one of the dearest – met me at the airport, and I’m so glad we had settled on this plan rather than getting a rental car! Change is a thing, and I’ve not been back to Fresno for something like 20 years… and… wow. The fantastically efficient freeways (pay attention, Portland) are both efficient, and quite fantastical, and I doubt I would have had an easy time of fighting my recollection and implicit understanding of place and placement while trying to cross town during “rush hour” on a Friday in what is now, let’s be realistic, a strange city. Win and good; we had a lovely evening visiting with still more friends, after checking into my room.

I’d love to just skip over the room, but there is a certain tawdry lack of elegance, paired with the most basic fundamentals of “a place to stay the night”, that makes it quite noteworthy. I can’t call it a terrible room… it’s clean, secure, and has ample space to move around, and the bed was well-made with clean linens, and I slept through the night without interruption. But. This place is quite old. It was old when I lived down here. There don’t appear to have been any particular upgrades or improvements. The bare linoleum suggests the 80’s, though, so perhaps the run-down look, and lack of amenities is merely a small roadside motel just trying to hold on and keep costs low? The mouldings are broken in places. Two outlets don’t work – and all the appliances and lights were unplugged when I arrived. The curtains are poorly made, and mismatched. The shower stall is tiled but very dark, and very small, almost seeming to be an afterthought. There is a tall table and a couple of tall stools – no chair. The bed is big, and as firm as if the mattress were built of… a box. A literal wood box. I know there’s actually a mattress there, though, because it is also very noisy. When I went to bed, I rather figured I’d keep myself awake all night. Nope. I woke rested, and headache-y (thanks, Fresno air), with the dawn.

The room felt stuffy when I woke, so I opened the windows feeling both surprised and relieved that there were screens on them. I turned on the ceiling fan, pleased to note the tops of the blades had been cleaned very recently and it efficiently moves the air around without spraying down a cascade of dust. The sun hadn’t yet risen, and I showered, dressed for the day, and enjoyed the sunrise as it slowly cleared the hillside on the other side of the road, beyond the front window. This is a place. I could be here – or I could be “there”, wherever “there” could happen to be. Either way, I have the tools I need to enjoy this moment with the woman in the mirror, if I allow it. It’s a pretty amazing choice to have.

I hung out with my friends until late in the evening. Got to meet the long-time partner of one friend, and their young daughter, who has not yet decided that I am an acceptable human being. I’m okay with that. Better that her agency be respected now, and that she has a chance to learn to use skills for social discernment now, rather than leaving her without them to break her own heart again and again against the rocky shores of what dicks people can be. I met a pack of dogs, who find me to be an entirely acceptable human. So… there’s that. It got later than ideal for dinner, and we all went out for dinner somewhere near-by-ish – the drive was every bit as good as the meal. I’ve missed these dear friends. Already the weekend is quite wonderful.

I sip my iced coffee beverage, smiling about the limited options for such things in the local market, undisturbed by any of that, and feeling content. The view beyond the window is one of rolling golden hillsides, oaks, and stone, and I feel at home. The breeze is still cool and comfortable. I tempt myself with the fantasy of not having to turn on the fairly dirty looking air conditioner, based on this delicious morning breeze. I know I’m being silly; it’s going to be quite hot later, and the sun is already beating down on this place right now. I frown at the thought of the air conditioner, expecting it will likely fill the room with cool air… but… also some sort of less than ideally pleasant odor (most likely cigarette smoke). I’ll no doubt find out later. lol

I miss these views. I miss this place. I miss these friends, even though they are generally very much within reach through the magic of internet connectivity. This spartan room doesn’t allow much opportunity to avoid deep meditation, and self-reflection, and I find myself appreciating that quality over all my bitching… this, right here, is very much what I’ve been needing. It’s been a year, so far, rather intensely dense with OPD and foolishness, and finding truly restorative down time has been challenging. Now? Now it’s time to find some breakfast…. 😉