Archives for posts with tag: breathe

It’s early evening. Or… late afternoon. I guess it depends on how you count the hours, and when you dine – or end the day. This once, let’s agree it is early evening, though the twilight before nightfall is quite a way off still. I am sipping a glass of ice water after a leisurely soak in the hot tub, and some yoga to ease tense muscles. I am thirsty, and almost peculiarly I am not completely worn out beyond usefulness, which is a nice change of pace for this time of day. It’s been a pleasantly productive day of work, and I’ve managed to be genial, relaxed, and content all day. I have not burdened myself with the additional stress of self-imposed ridiculous deadlines or “production goals”, nor worn myself thin with too many “yes” answers and not enough “no” answers. I have enough left in me to write, and likely even to prepare a meal later. What did I do differently…?

Let me count the ways I did things differently today, and the things I tried:

  1. I gave myself a lovely few minutes before ever beginning work to reflect quietly on the day ahead, and give some thought to what I hoped to get done – and to realistically plan ahead the things I probably would not get to, without giving myself any shit over it, or making any excuses.
  2. I focused on, and completed, the few specific tasks I had committed to, and having left myself some room to do so, I was able to pick up a handful of other helpful things and get those done without any pressure to do so, nor any sense of failure if I did not.
  3. I took real breaks, and made a point to walk away from work – the way I often recommend to other people, and often fail to do for myself.
  4. I had real conversations with real humans, and during those conversations I focused on that human I was speaking with, and really listened to what they were saying. (Doing this, and getting it right, was the most difficult thing I did today!!)
  5. I took care of myself when I got home from work… yoga, a hot shower, a soak in the hot tub, and this quiet time spent writing, all fill that requirement.
  6. I did some site maintenance on my blog that I’d been putting off and feeling crappy about.
  7. I updated my to-do list without rushing to do any of it just yet.
  8. Each time I experienced a moment of anxiety, I gave that feeling a minute of my attention, and some self-compassion. I paused long enough to practice self-soothing, and to consider what might really be driving that moment of anxiety, without judgment or shame. I even learned some things by doing so.

Not bad. In fact… (I feel) pretty good. I’m pleased by this feeling of being settled and centered, at the end of a work day. It’s a good feeling. Comfortable.

“Anxiety” 10″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic 2011

…My anxiety surges as if on cue. I’m okay. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I look it in the face – “why now?” Probably simply that success (on this issue) is a little scary, itself. I’ve struggled with anxiety for so long, it is a little… weird… to contemplate who I am without it. That seems very human, and acknowledging both the emotions/sensations and the humanity of it, I feel myself relax again. Less anxious. Good deal.

Perspective matters. “Emotion and Reason” acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow 2012

I see my therapist Wednesday. Our first in-person appointment since before the pandemic. Wow. Milestone.

My Traveling Partner sticks his head in for a moment. “How’s your writing?” he asks, pleasantly. No stress between us. This also feels very good. My anxiety fucks both of us up. lol I gesture vaguely at the screen, “I’m writing about anxiety, things I’m doing differently to handle it, stuff we were talking about…” He nods looking serious and hopeful, “That’s promising…” he says (or words very like that – I may already have forgotten precisely what he said).

…It’s time to begin again.

Staying on the path is a choice, and there are verbs involved.

The sun rises later these days than it did back in June. The Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow. It’s quite early and I am at a local trailhead adjacent to a meadow, not far from home. I am waiting for the sunrise, drinking coffee, yawning, and wishing I had slept in. I’ve got my camera ready for my morning walk.

My morning camera walks serve a purpose; they get me out of the house with my camera for a bit of fun, exercise, and “me time”, and they also give my partner a shot at some deep sleep. (When I am asleep I sometimes snore, and when I am awake I am often a bit clumsy and noisy at least until I am fully awake). This approach works for us, but tends to be a seasonal solution. Already I have begun to resist waking up so early, where in past weeks I struggled to sleep during these early hours. The later sunrise is the culprit.

…The early hours betwixt day and night are a good time for meditation and reflection.

An orange glow begins as a thread on the horizon, becoming a sort of messy smudge as minutes pass. Still not enough light for my lens, and the trail alongside the park and meadow, which passes through a vineyard, is still quite dark. I wait. I yawn. I tried to snatch a few minutes of nap time for myself, but the mornings are now also too chilly and I don’t even doze off for a moment – I just yawn. lol

Waiting for the sunrise.

…I think about work and routines and future mornings and finish my coffee. I develop a cramp in my right foot and shift in my seat until I can easily massage it until the cramp eases. The western sky takes on hints of ultramarine and dark lavender. The eastern horizon becomes more peach and tangerine, with swaths of gray-blue clouds sweeping across the sky. This is not wasted time; I love watching the sun rise.

The dawn of a new day.

The sun is up. The coffee is gone. I’ve gotten a good walk in and snapped some pictures. My Traveling Partner sends me a message; he is awake. The day begins in earnest. I have no idea what today will bring… looks like it’s time to get started and find out. 😁

The morning is very overcast. The meadow is dull and dry looking this morning. I sit with my coffee in the grass, on the compact three-legged camp stool I keep in the car. My camera is set up, but the birds are shy this morning. I sit watching the colorless sunrise, and listening to the noise of my tinnitus and… helicopters? Yep. It’s the air show weekend. No wonder the birds are laying low this morning.

Another sip of coffee. I manage not to fall on my ass as I set the cup down abruptly hoping to quickly get some shots of a small mouse or vole or other small mammal in the grass. I failed to make the adjustments needed quickly enough to get the picture, and subsequently also missed a small yellow bird who decided to stop precisely where my camera had been pointed. Yep. It’s one of those days. lol

I reach for my coffee and knock it over. lol

The air quality seems poor today. It’s warm again this morning, and very muggy. I don’t envy folks attending the airshow; it’s going to be uncomfortably hot before noon. I definitely don’t feel like I am missing anything by not attending. The constant sound of aircraft overhead makes me tense and cross. The heat and humidity leave me feeling irritable and sticky.

There’s nothing on my calendar for today. I had planned to go camping again next week, but the heat discouraged me, and as it turns out I have a final interview with a job I interviewed for this week… so I canceled my camping trip. Very adult of me. lol I plan to enjoy today as part of my weekend.

Lanscape crews turn up… I expect they’ll mow this lovely meadow, and I am feeling annoyed by that.

Is it me, or is it this moment? I notice that I am already struggling to manage my pain, on top of “everything else”. Sounds like it’s me. I give the landscapers a wave and start gathering up my gear. There’s a pleasant park on my route home, a lovely spot for meditation. I will relocate, and begin again.

Hello, Monday, look at you all decked out with interviews and meetings like a proper work day. 🙂 Feels good – less because there are meetings and interviews on my calendar, and more because in spite of that, I feel relaxed and… free. Now to the business of finding a job that preserves that feeling of contentment and freedom… or more specifically does not undermine it. I don’t expect any of the interviews I have scheduled this week to be “instant win” lotto tickets. It’s rare that things work out that way. There’s a process, and it may take weeks or months. I breathe, and relax into it.

The critical practices today feel likely to be 1. acceptance and 2. non-attachment. Walking a path that just has me awake, aware, and feeling okay with what is will be more rewarding than fussing and struggling. I smile into my coffee mug; absolutely lackluster K-cup office coffee, here in the local co-work space.

My Traveling Partner has work of his own today, and rather than interrupt each other’s flow inadvertently, I went “in to the office” today. It’s a nice option to have, and my first time being between jobs that I could still quite easily “go to the office” to do job search related work. 🙂 It feels comfortably professional, and somehow fitting. I feel “ready” for each call and meeting, simply because the backdrop to the experience is … work. lol Human primates are hilarious.

…The A/C in the office is too cold. One more reason to embrace working from home; control of the climate controls. LOL

It’s already time to begin again… Where will this path lead?

I am feeling relaxed and hopeful. Encouraged. Genial. Quietly merry. The quiet of the evening is occasionally and quite joyfully interrupted by my partner’s laughter. He is hanging out with his son.

My partner calls out to me, inviting me to the other room. I join him there and he hands me a cool new 3D printed fidget toy he printed to try out a new filament. It’s super cool, and he gifts it to me. A nice detail to add to a lovely day.

Pretty!

Emotions come ango, like waves. If I exhaust myself fighting the ebb and surge of my emotions, it does nothing to improve the quality of my experience, and results less joy, less often. By “riding the waves”, being present, feeling my feelings and taking thoughtful, considered actions, and practicing both presence and non-attachment, I more deeply enjoy my experience – and my emotions.

I sip on this glass of ice water, and play with the new fidget toy. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Feel the plastic rings twist between my fingers smoothly. I smile. This too will pass. I make a point to savor this moment.

Tomorrow is soon enough to begin again.