Archives for posts with tag: breathe

I ended the evening, yesterday, in pain. A lot of pain. Stiff from driving, too. I had an unexpectedly delightful day doing nothing much that was actually productive, which for being a Saturday seems just fine to me.

Yesterday. Lush and beautiful and filled with the scent of flowers, trees, and meadows.

I had a car for the day, and took advantage of that to go hang out with my Traveling Partner and a friend around lunch time. Good food, good times. I spent the rest of the afternoon smiling, driving out in the countryside, through smaller, more rural, more distant (from work) communities admitting that I know damned well I don’t want to reside in suburbia full-time forever, and realizing I am looking for a house that is too compromised for location. (Simply put; it would be worth having to drive the commute, and have that commute still be an hour-long, to come home to a little house in the countryside.) It was delightful to be sufficiently rural to stop the car and hear only breezes and birdsong, rather than the continuous low hum, buzz, and rumble of humanity’s ongoing earthbound conquest of resources. I don’t think I’m ready to live in a bus, or an RV, or a yurt… but I’m probably less removed from that consideration than I think I am. lol

By the end of that delightful day, I was in more pain than I could easily manage, and had gone from “oh, I think I like this particular compact SUV quite enough to get one…” to “damn, I am hurt – I definitely don’t want to get one of these… I need something that doesn’t cause me to feel beaten by a professional boxer every time I spend half a day driving!” I’d rather have something that feels as comfortable to me as my Traveling Partner’s car…but about half its size. lol I find myself disliking the way life seems to dangle shiny things in front of my monkey mind to go wanting for. It irritates me to want more than I need.

Last night I crashed fairly early, being quite sleepy and tired. My sleep was restless, and interrupted by one of the more terrible nightmares I’ve had in a long while. I was trapped in it, too, and unable to “lucid dream” or alter the experience in any way. “Terrifying” doesn’t go far enough, and any detailed description I could provide from the remnants that linger would simply upset me, so let’s not do that. ย I found help, within my dream, from our friend’s huge white dog that I met just yesterday – unexpected to have him turn up in my dreams, but I woke this morning smiling at the recollection, with my hand dangling off the side of the bed thinking “who’s a good boy?” and wanting to pet the unseen presence that was not in any way actually there (or actually visible – it was just a moment of dream lingering as I woke). ย I woke from my nightmare with no residual terror or stress, aware of where I was, and feeling safe. This is something new. He’s a sweet, but quite colossal, white dog that I find just a bit scary, myself, in spite of his genuine niceness – he’s just that big, and I just have baggage. It doesn’t surprise me, as an afterthought, that my sleeping consciousness found him to be a suitable dream warrior to call upon for help. ๐Ÿ™‚

…So… The morning and the day start well, in spite of pain, in spite of nightmares, in spite of sleeping so restlessly. I am eager to face the day ahead, planning to give myself a manicure, do some housekeeping and laundry, and maybe spend some time in the studio, or in the garden. It’s a first-rate day to put my nightmares behind me promptly, and begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Yesterday quickly descended into further emotional distance, and definite anhedonia. I found myself asking “the” question, too: “Am I depressed?” It had crept over me fairly slowly, then finished with a slam – the house I was going to go see, out in the countryside, went pending right about when I got in to the office. I was bummed.

There are sunny mornings.

This particular source of frustration comes up pretty regularly, and house-hunting is becoming a big downer, mostly because frustration is my kryptonite, and also because the process itself brings me into regular contact with an industry built on corruption, with little in the way of healthy pro-consumer regulation. (Seriously, I’d be pretty appalled to walk into, say, Ross and pick out a pair of jeans, carry those to the register, and have some other customer take them out of my hand, step in front of me in line, and firmly tell the cashier “I’m willing to pay more than you are charging for these, so they’re mine.” That’s hard to deal with over and over again.) I just want to go home. No, I mean, seriously, for me the entire process of house-hunting is 100% only intended to let me “go home” – to a home that is mine, that I can count on, that I can make my own and improve or change, and make more secure and comfy and safe. Having to throw regular exposure to frustration into my day-to-day experience by choice (particularly over something so heartfelt) is … yeah. Hard. Icky. Discouraging.

There are mornings that seem strangely gray.

I reached out to my Traveling Partner and let him know my weekend was upended and as a result quite unplanned. I was mostly venting, and not reaching out to change his plans. He understood – and we miss each other regardless of our plans. He suggested coming to hang out, if that sounded good to me. I was still struggling with anhedonia; nothing sounded good at all. ย He helpfully prompted me to consider my experience through another perspective; my physical health. Recognizing my pain management challenges, my poor quality sleep, and the basic frustration of ย house-hunting and how that affects my mood, generally, put me in a better place for the day, and I even found my to making new plans that really suited where my heart is, combining some hang out time with scouting other areas for livability, that might be good choices for future house-hunting.

Each moment, however similar seeming in some detail or another is entirely its own experience.

I committed to sleeping in today, and I did – I woke at 6:30 am feeling fairly rested. A leisurely shower felt delightful. My coffee is hot, and I feel fairly chill and merry this morning. Sleep is a very big deal.

Yesterday’s sunshine has given way to today’s steady drizzle. Fuck I hate driving in the rain. LOL Still… lovely day to enjoy a drive in the countryside, in no hurry to get to the end of the day.

A different morning, a different place, another moment to begin again.

…I guess I’ll begin again. There are verbs involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night I dealt with my anxiety, and comfortably resolved that. Win! Progress. Practice. It wasn’t any sort of trophy-winning event, and my “victory lap” will be just this handful of words, a later reminder for another day, perhaps, that it does pass, and it can be eased. It wasn’t over anything consequential, but it was very real, very visceral, the sort of mind-binding gut-punch of stress and fearfulness that anxiety is so famed for. Meditation still works. It still wasn’t “easy” – and I’m honestly not even sure I would call it meditation, considering the challenge I had calming my monkey-mind even long enough to take a few breaths…but…I went easy on myself in the moment, emotionally, understanding that the anxiety itself promotes a certain restlessness. I patiently returned my consciousness to the moment, to my breath, to a timeless mental space in which anxiety cannot thrive. No tv. No music. Just practice. It was, after a time, highly effective. There were indeed verbs involved, and even moment by moment my results varied. There’s no fighting it, though; we become what we practice, and continued practicing of calm… I became calm.

I slept poorly last night, although I did sleep more or less sort of through the night (my sleep tracker notes periods of wakefulness, and very little deep sleep, but I have no clear recollection of waking so often). I woke with the alarm, head stuffy, eyes watery… back aching. It’ll be a good day for physical therapy. I hurt. I manage my pain in a similar way as with anxiety; practices that tend to offer relief, practiced routinely, and given still more attention when I hurt more than usual. In this case, appropriate medication, yoga, yes meditation for this too, and a little later, dancing (to sort of force those stiff joints into a state that accommodates movement). I also spend more time considering things that don’t hurt than things that do, and once my symptoms are properly treated, I move on to distraction; shifting my attention to something else quite engaging, and letting the awareness of my pain recede into the background.

It’s a pretty ordinary work morning. Nothing fancy. Nothing noteworthy, really. Ordinary stuff right here. If I let myself get all worked up over a moment of anxiety, or a painful morning, I have the power to amplify both. If I take care of the woman in the mirror in the best way I know how, I have a shot at easing both. So many choices, so many verbs, so many results vary; it’s a very human experience.

It’s time to begin again.

It’s that time of year; my Traveling Partner is gearing up for a season of journeys, adventures, trips, visits, away time, festivals, events, shows… he will be going (a lot) and doing (a lot) and it is not my lifestyle choice to be so… busy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Inconveniently enough, our wedding anniversary and my birthday both fall in this same rather busy, utterly over-booked, time period. It could be awkward if I were someone different than I am. lol

Most years we don’t do much about our anniversary. Last year, we spent a remarkable weekend away together on the coast, and it was magical, romantic, and delightful. Attempting to repeat that experience by merely repeating the experience manages to be not at all how that works, and I know better than to force it (experience is a great teacher). Other relationships, other needs, perhaps; I know that in this one, I don’t need an annual moment of recognition to feel loved, valued, or to celebrate the delights in this shared experience… and I cherish those moments most when they occur without being scheduled. Maybe next year? The year after? Some year when we both earnestly need a getaway and time alone with each other, and nothing more will do? This year, we’re both busy with other things, and that’s okay, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

My birthday is weird like that, and different, too. It’s “my day”, by choice. For many years, after I turned 18, I insisted that everyone else also honor my day with me. I like presents, but it wasn’t about that – it was about agency, free will, and being the one to get to call all the damned shots for a change. I fought the powerlessness I felt in life, generally, by being a petty dictator once a ย year. The fact that there would likely be cake, or dessert of some sort, and a great deal of (my idea of) fun doesn’t really change the fact that I was also pretty demanding about things going my way. Once I understood that being a mini-monster once a year doesn’t really “balance the scales” in a life of learned helplessness and frustration, I let all that go. It wasn’t that hard; my birthday is still “my day”… but that’s just me being me, on my own terms, on my day, doing my thing my way and enjoying myself in a life filled with many other such days. It not only doesn’t require a party, it doesn’t require any outside participation. lol ย I enjoy spending time with my Traveling Partner, but it doesn’t have to be on any particular day – including the one I was born on. No idea what I’ll do with my birthday this year… maybe go camping. ๐Ÿ˜€

…I do like presents, though, and find myself hoping my Traveling Partner doesn’t actually forget my birthday, and perhaps brings me something back from somewhere interesting… ๐Ÿ˜€ (Still very human!)

Looking at it another way…

I am taking a moment this morning to appreciate being loved – this person I am, as I actually am, quirks and weirdness and mad moments and all. I’m taking a moment to appreciate this strong partnership that allows me to be me – the me I actually am, without demands that I be otherwise. It’s a nice feeling to wake up with. It’s not a passive thing, there are verbs involved here too, and practices; my own affection for the woman in the mirror is a large part of what gets me here. It’s got to be okay with me to be who I am, before it is at all relevant whether it is okay with anyone else. ๐Ÿ™‚

You may be in a different place in life, or with yourself… that’s okay too; if you want to be somewhere different than you are, you can make that journey. There are verbs involved. You’ll be having your own experience. Your results may vary. It’s okay, though; you can begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone camping. I can’t recall now why that is. I remember what sweet relief being camped out under the stars can be… So… Why has it been, seriously? More than a year? My gear stands packed and ready, and my Traveling Partner will be off on his summer travels soon, and this year leaving the car with me looks like a thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Convenient for so many reasons! Heading into the trees and reaching distant trailheads, areย surely among those reasons.

It’s been nagging at me since yesterday; June is near at hand. The weather will be lovely for camping, most likely, and summer just beginning. This morning I sit down purposefully and make reservations, securing a favorite tent site. When I get into the office, I’ll request the time off. ๐Ÿ™‚

A favorite spot waits for me.

My “last” camping trip was cut short by my lack of preparedness and the fairly irksome discovery that I had forgotten both my bee sting kit, and any coffee at all, proved to be too much for me. (I’m very human!) I went home feeling vaguely, somewhat playfully, “disgraced”. I can do better, and knowing that I can, and didn’t, continued to bite at my consciousness like a stinging insect for some time after that. I did actually go camping last yearย (that other wasn’t really the most recent trip, at all) though it doesn’t linger in my memory with so much clarity, it too is a recollection tinged with “failure”. I went to a distant trailhead, camped under the stars during a meteor shower, but struggled to enjoy it because it was one of those super popular locations that everyone thinks is their own secret find, and it was over-crowded, swarming with hikers, picnickers, rowdy party folks hollering from camp to camp through the night, and headlights sweeping through the trees all night long, as weary travelers arrived, discovered there was no room, and turned around to drive on. Not really a pleasant trip as much as checking a trail off a list, and doing so rather half-heartedly, once it proved to be – for now – beyond my abilities to get to the summit. I could go there, and try that again, except that the crowds were just not my thing at all. I head to the trees to be alone without all that. lol

I have everything I need to just go camping on a moment’s notice. It came in handy during the recent power outage; I simply lit candles, started a fire in the fire-place, and invited friends over to chill. No panic. Camping generally feels easy like that, too, these days. I quickly get set up, and then quickly shift gears to slow things down, stretch time, and soak in the sounds, scents, and sights of the forest. I spend most of my time hiking, reading, writing, and meditating. I take pictures. I sit quietly. I sit quietly a lot. I could do all these things at home. I do all these things at home. Camping takes them to another level of inner stillness, and turns my attention more fully inward; there are no escapes from self out among the trees.

I’m eager to go. Eager to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚