Archives for posts with tag: breathe

Yesterday was… hard. Tears came unexpectedly, and fairly often. Like punctuation for sentences I didn’t expect to have emotional content. My context had become emotional. It was difficult. It was strange. It is ongoing, although reduced in frequency and amplitude. It still comes in waves.

I went to work because I often find routine very comfortable and sustaining in times of turmoil and crisis. I went home early because punctuating sentences in professional conversations with floods of tears feels like a loss of dignity, feels inappropriate, and, frankly, is hard on other people; we don’t all live equally authentic lives. That’s just real. (It’s not a criticism.) My Traveling Partner was kind, supportive, and very much “there for me”.

I made a dinner of crab cakes – seasoned as my Mom would have enjoyed – with a healthy salad, and a luxurious, but quite tiny dessert. I celebrated her life, in my thoughts. I would not call it an easy evening, but I went to bed contented and generally okay with “things”, and slept through the night, untroubled by my dreams. I woke, and got through the first 15 minutes of the day before I remembered… she’s gone.

I sat down to write, with my coffee, and tried to reset my thinking a bit, to shift explicitly away from sorrow, firmly. My thinking, my recollections, and the feel of my day kept twisting out of my grip. The result was not what I expected, but I’m okay with it.

The morning ticks by, not unpleasantly. I’m just in this weird limbo; fighting the grieving without meaning to put up such resistance, struggling to “let her go” in my own heart, and unsure what I even mean by that. Was I clinging, in the first place? Who is this sorrowful hearted creature fluttering within me? I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I do a classic “body inventory” and get more comfortable with my physical experience, shifting my awareness back into “now”, over and over again. I find myself literally “twisted by grief”, shoulder aching, head aching, neck aching, less in that familiar way, and more like a reminder to be present… or else.

A favorite groove turns up on the playlist this morning, and in that peculiarly meta way I have of listening to music, seeking a useful message in the lyrics, it reminds me; it’s not all about me. I link it, and giggle out loud; it’s really not the sort of thing one would usually associate with grief, grieving, or… um… adulthood. lol I smile, and feel the ache in my face, self-conscious and strange, that results from just a simple smile. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. This, too, shall pass. This morning the words hold some comfort, and I embrace them. I feel the suggestion of a possible return to normalcy at some future point – there’s comfort in that, too.

…It’s been a while since I spent a morning listening to music. There’s a certain heavy bass experience that somehow lifts me. I chase it, track by track, feeling it in my body. I roll back years of lifetime, track by track, looking for a certain something to lift my mood, to crack open my heart and let the love pour out.

Somehow, time passes. I find my way to one more beginning. I’ll start there… well… here. A summer morning. A cup of coffee. A bit of work to do. Surrounded by love. It’s a good place to begin again. πŸ™‚

I woke up easily this morning, a nice change from yesterday. Rather oddly, I woke with the whisper of a dream left behind still resonating in my consciousness. Words lingered, although I could no longer recall the dream. “You’re not the good guy, here.” And, “This isn’t about you, at all.” Interesting observations, suitable for many occasions – but I don’t have any context. The dream had already faded.

I’m not “the good guy” here, though, I’m sure of that; I’m a human being, living my life. Only that. Sure, I like to think I am doing my best. Sometimes I actually am. By many practical measures, it isn’t always the case, though; I could sometimes do more, better. That’s real, and very human.

This isn’t about me, at all. Well, much of it is not, that’s also quite true. Most of it, maybe. Like, seriously, almost any detail of any moment I can be present for, still just isn’t much “about” me. I’m here, living and being, and (in this case) drinking coffee…and even this moment, right here, early in the pre-dawn gloom, isn’t much “about” me. It’s about a typical Thursday morning. It’s about this cup of coffee, and this handful of words. It’s about this headache. It’s about the morning traffic, and the sound of little birds in the hedge beyond the window. I’m such a small part of this moment – and not in any “bad” or diminishing way. It’s just that there is so much more to… all of it. I’m just one consciousness present in this here-and-now. Taken in the larger context of “everything else”, my breath, and my very life force, are minuscule. That’s okay, too; there’s a lot of life to live, and a lot of details to take in. If I spend all of my energy on my small concerns, I’ll miss a lot of other stuff. lol

I stop drinking coffee long enough to meditate. Nice morning for it. Today, it does nothing for the headache. I hadn’t seriously expected that it would, but sometimes it does. If nothing else, it often gives me perspective on life that makes it seem of less consequence.

…I realize rather abruptly that I’d forgotten to take my morning medication when I got up. I go ahead and do that, once I’ve poked around in my recollection of the morning a bit, trying to be sure I’m correct about that (doesn’t do anything good for me to take it twice, I promise you that!) – I wash it down with coffee, feeling vaguely guilty about doing that (it’s supposed to be taken with a glass of water…). I let that petty shit go.

My body is uncomfortable, this morning. This fucking headache. Why do I call it a headache, I wonder? It is also a terrible bit of pain in my neck, and a weird jabby stabby sensation in my ear when I turn my head, sometimes, and also a rather horrible permanently cramped up trapezius, particularly painful along the top, from my neck to my shoulder. These pains all feel related to each other, and nothing much helps, so far. I think I would endure it more easily if I knew what the problem is. I’ve been in significant pain since about 1990, when my osteo arthritis developed, I don’t really expect to ever be entirely “pain free” again in my life… I do my best to care for this fragile vessel skillfully, and ease the pain as much as I am able to without poisoning myself or wrecking my health in some other way. It could be worse. I’d just like an answer to the question “what the fuck??”

Fuck. A glance at the clock reminds me of the work day ahead. Pain and employment are not really the best-ever combination of experiences, and it requires so much to stay ahead of the irritability, the distraction, and the misery of it. I breathe. I let it go. We all walk our own hard mile. We’re each having our own experience. Unavoidably, the pain I live with is the worst pain I can imagine; it’s what I know. Each one of us has our own challenge, and I am certain I have coworkers whose pain is more severe, whose life contains more chaos, who woke this morning frightened, or sad, or angry, or needing a moment of support and consideration. I can, if nothing else, do my best not to add to any of that, myself, and to be considerate, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. I can, at least, try. Another breath. Another sip of coffee. Another moment to consider how fortunate I am to be mostly fairly healthy, all things considered, and to live with pain that doesn’t debilitate me to the point that I can’t work at all. It could be so much worse.

…Fuck this headache, though! Neck-ache? Whatever. Fuck all of that painful nastiness.

It’s time to begin again. I’ve got to work with “the materials on hand” in this life, and unfortunately, pain is a thing. I breathe through it, finish my coffee, and turn to face the day as the sun rises. πŸ™‚

I catch myself sitting for some minutes, quietly, just… staring forward at this page. I sat down, as usual, with a hot cup of coffee, warm from my shower, (and today, smelling like sweet peas and violets) and that was… 23 minutes ago. Since then? No words. Not really thinking “about” anything. Just… sitting. I finally notice, shake it off, and sip my coffee. Huh. Very drinkable. Was it really only 23 minutes…?

I sit awhile longer, this time with the addition of sipping my coffee, contentedly. Some mornings, I’m fairly well awake before my feet hit the floor… this? Is not one of those mornings. lol My head is foggy. I could as easily go back to sleep this moment, without even taking off my boots, as lift a finger to make any sort of effort, in any direction. My brain helpfully reminds me to start the dishwasher before I leave the house. The reminder exists, mocking me just a bit; I’m quite likely to forget even with the thought to remind myself still lingering in my consciousness, unless I get up this instant and take care of it.

I sit here quietly, still, sipping my coffee. I am not remotely concerned about the dishes in this moment. πŸ™‚

Music? No, I struggle even to lift my fingers to type, this morning. Searching a playlist and putting on headphones sounds like work. I continue to sip my coffee, grateful that it has cooled off enough (due to all the fucking time wasting and sitting around) to simply drink it. I need this cup of coffee this morning; it is the blurry boundary between sleeping and waking, today. lol

Although I risk dozing off, I know that meditation also tends to help me fully wake up and get my consciousness going, so I get comfortable, and prepare to sit a few moments longer, with purpose; awareness, resilience, and a deep down calm that supports a busy work day.

I take the time I need, and support the human being I am, on a journey to becoming who I most want to be.

After the meditation? A new day begins. πŸ™‚

β€œLife should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~Hunter S. Thompson

…And all the new beginnings that that implies…and perhaps a few more.

I put quite a bit of time, enthusiastic daydreaming, and research, into the trip I planned to take this past weekend. I never did the one thing necessary to bring it to life; I did not begin the journey. I just thought about it. LOL There’s a lesson in there. An allegory. A metaphor. A parable, perhaps. The weekend did not lack of significant XP, however; it was an adventure, a brief journey, and an interesting progression of emotions and events, nonetheless. πŸ™‚

I needed wide open space, and big sky – and found it close to home. There’s a lesson, here, too.

My birthday has been well-celebrated. A new year of life has been kick-started, decisively. There has been feasting, entertainment, the company of friends, and so much love! Errands were run. Housekeeping got done. The garden was cared for. A humble adventure has commenced.

My first orchid. A wee adventure with which to start the year.

It’s been a fast, relaxed, and delightful handful of days, in spite of news of my Mother’s decline. There will be time to process that in full, and there is no need to rush, or to force it down into a dark quiet corner of my heart. It is what it is; we are mortal creatures, and of all the things that will inevitably pass, our brief mortal lives are one of the most challenging to let go of… and then that greater challenging of letting go of those we love. No user’s guide for this one, either. I sometimes feel I am fumbling around in the dark with my emotions. I know that my emotions haven’t killed me yet. πŸ™‚ I’ll get through this, too.

I think about the beautiful broad expanse of meadow, and the scent of wildflowers on the breeze.

I smile, letting the details of the weekend unfold in my recollection. What a lovely time to share with my Traveling Partner.

Life’s pleasures don’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Life’s beauty doesn’t have to be costly to be lovely.

I sip my coffee. It’s Monday. I shift gears to “now” and remind myself of the path ahead. The year will continue to unfold. What will July hold? What of September? And the holiday season with my Traveling Partner right here at home? What of the future? And the unanswered questions in life?

Where does this path lead?

It’s time to find out. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

56 today. Feels a lot like 55, yesterday. lol I’m okay with that, too, and chose a lot of what it has taken to be here, now. I sip my coffee looking back on the year with considerable contentment. It was a year well-lived, and greatly enjoyed – even if the first half was largely spent “being there” for my Traveling Partner, as he extricated himself from a sticky, damaging, abusive relationship (and doing so at some expense). I lived my life, and my values, and that matters, so much.

The garden is lovely. My coffee tastes good – the sort of great cup of coffee that leaves a thirst for more, once it is down to the last sip. I’m home, enjoying the day, in the middle of the work week, celebrating life, and love, and self. I feel rested. The forecast is for another very hot day (above 90 F). I’ll finish here, and take my coffee out onto the deck, water the garden, and meditate.

The pointless loveliness of a flower is, for me, rich with meaning.

This all feels so… comfortably ordinary. This isn’t a feeling that I’ve spent a lifetime with; it’s new. Well, relatively new. New enough for me to be acutely aware I have not always “lived here” in this way. The takeaway, this morning, is that healing is frankly very possible – for a lot of us, many of us, most of us (perhaps), and that’s incredibly powerful. It requires a lot of self-work, a will to be wholly frank with oneself, open, able to reassess implicit assumptions and biases, skilled at recognizing those internals attacks that hold us back, and tear open old wounds unexpectedly. It sounds like so much to have to take on, and it feels… impossible. Overwhelming. Isolating. Depressing. Devastatingly permanent. At least, at first. Is it weird that getting from hell to my garden has been a journey that begins (again and again) with a breath, and ends on a meditation cushion (again and again), feeling content, and whole? If it ever really ends. I could call yesterday an ending…

…But isn’t this morning a new beginning? Am I not here, beginning again? (I assure you, I am, at least for now, in this mortal life.) It’s been a journey. I’ve had help along the way – and I’ve needed it, and often felt unable to ask for it. Being able to accept it when offered, was an excellent place to start. I pause for gratitude. I think of my Granny. I think of friends. I think of my therapist. I think of my Traveling Partner. I haven’t made this journey alone, except in that limited way in which is happens to be mine.

Dinner with friends last night was celebratory and beautiful. It pushed aside, however briefly, the news I’d gotten moments earlier that my Mother is ill… like… end of life ill. Rejecting care, ill. Wrapping things up, ill. My heart, for the moment, is surprisingly light; she has been, in my life, a source of intellectual inspiration, and I find that I am not able to disrespect her thinking on this important choice in life. I feel the hint of the pain to come, like taking a sickening blow the back of the head – I know the pain is coming, but it isn’t here, yet. I’m okay, right now. We are mortal creatures; even life is something we must let go, sooner or later. I’ll call her later. I’ll find words to say.

Beginnings and endings. Mortality. Choices. One pure moment of real contentment, a spot to stand in life’s chaotic stream that feels calm, for just a moment, one deep breath in, released as a sigh – contentment saved my life. I found I could build and sustain it, and that in doing so, happiness could find me, and I could stop chasing it. It’s not permanent. None of this is.

I’ll always remember my Mother’s age; she’s twenty years older than I am, and the dates are rather close. Easy. I suspect I won’t find it so easy to remember when she passes… 56? 57? 58? When it comes, it is likely to hit a year that seems insignificant in so many other ways… (and let’s be real; most of the details of our individual lives are fairly insignificant) I guess that seems reasonable. Isn’t her life of more value to me, even in its end, that her death ever could be?

Beginnings and endings. Birthdays. We live. We celebrate. We die. “This too shall pass…” Even life. Make it worthy through your choices. Take care of the fragile vessel in which you reside. Love with your whole heart – and yes, include yourself. Be present. These are all choices within your reach… if your baggage is in the way, just shove that shit to the side – and begin again. ❀