Archives for posts with tag: breathe

Awake. Okay with it.

I woke thirsty. Drank water. My neck felt twisted and my shoulder felt cramped. I did the exercises from my recent physical therapy work.

My tinnitus is loud in this quiet. I listen to it. I listen to my heartbeat. I listen to my even, relaxed breathing. For a long while, it seemed like. I realize I am drifting in and out of my dreams. I am dreaming that I am awake. Realizing this wakes me – the sound of a single startled out loud laugh breaks the stillness.

I sit up, check the time and write these few words. I sit quietly for some little while…

I guess I am for sure sleepy enough to sleep, at this point… I suppose I’ll do that next.

I’m annoyed. Not my best look. I don’t like how feeling aggravated feels. When these feelings, so personal, crop up in interactions with friends or colleagues or loved ones, it’s worse. I guess I kind of expect strangers to be occasionally unpredictable, occasionally unpleasant, or antagonistic, or irritable. I suspect I don’t leave enough room for people close to me to have those moments, too. I feel reliably hurt when someone “comes at me” unexpectedly over something that seems, to me, to be inconsequential – or at least not worth all that negative emotional energy suddenly coming my way. It’s too easy to center my experience as what matters most. Hard to find the right balance of agreeable, kind, compassionate, empathetic, approachable… and do that while also managing skillful boundary setting, deep listening, and non-attachment. It’s a very human experience. I get mixed results.

…I keep working at it…

I take a breath, have a glass of water, and walk away from the moment. “Let it go,” I remind myself, “it isn’t personal; we’re each having our own experience.” Words. For an instant I feel myself resist – embracing those hurt feelings, and my initial flare-up of my own anger and aggravation feels so… important. At least momentarily. I have that “what about me?” moment. Very angst-y, very cross. Another breath. I let it go. Again. I sit down at my computer to work it out in words. (Thanks for listening.) I put on a video – rain falling on a country road. It’s the background noise I’m looking for. It tends to help push the tinnitus into the background; it’s loud today.

…My Traveling Partner comes into the studio with an ice tea for me. He glances at the title, and back at me, as he hands me the tea. “That’s nice.” he says. I think I detect a hint of sarcasm. I’m not certain. I’m a bit tone deaf to some of those conversational nuances (and it’s why I have worked at not using those sorts of things myself, with mixed results). I worry that he thinks I am writing about him. I figure he’s probably been with me long enough not to read into one of my titles what my intent – or content – actually may be.

…The iced tea is very pleasant, but with a hint of something… bitterness, maybe? He had said he did not like this batch. I don’t taste bitter very well (at all?)… and many people dislike bitter flavors if they are strong. So… maybe that’s it? Maybe there’s a metaphor in there somewhere? Something about individual perspective, and subjective experiences…?

I feel like a jerk when I take some small moment of discord as a personal attack. I guess that’s appropriate; it’s not ideal, and hinders pleasant social interaction. I contemplate whether an apology is due (usually, if I’m wondering, then yeah, it’s due)… and what, precisely, I am considering apologizing for – because that matters. Sarcastic non-apologies, or defeatist passive-aggressive attacks phrased as apologies are neither helpful, nor are they any sincere reflection of regret. I reflect for a moment on what it is I regret, from that moment, right now…

There is a bee, in spite of the chilly day, nosing around in the pear blossoms beyond the fence. I only see the one, and I wonder if the bee feels like it has happened upon amazing abundance… or is just doing bee things, unaware of it’s solitary moment in the pear tree? You can spare me the word of caution against anthropomorphizing the life of a bee. I get it; bees are not people. Well… I mean… they are not what we understand ourselves to be as people…but I’m not sure we truly know all there is to know about the consciousness of other sorts of creatures than ourselves. We barely have any fucking idea how we work, or what our consciousness “is”. lol

Chilly day. Tasty iced tea. Pleasant bite of lunch with my partner. A moment of human failure worth a word of regret. All part of this very human experience… I breathe, and get ready to begin again.

I am awake in the wee hours. No stress, I am simply awake, for the moment. I crashed eary, hard, definitely expecting I might sleep through the night, though my Traveling Partner turns out to be correct; I woke up, a few hours later, and here I am. Awake in the quiet still hours before a new day begins.

Yesterday was strange. I think it was, good, though. That’s how I recall it. I spent the morning running errands. came home, settled down to relax… A spontaneous suggestion by my Traveling Partner put us headed up the highway to see something in person that disappointingly wasn’t there to see. I had suggested calling before we went… No harm done.

I got home honestly too tired to cook. We’d grabbed a snack on the road, anyway. I was also too tired to realize I was too tired. I completely set things up to make dinner…chopped things, mixed things, readied this-n-that for cooking. My partner noticed my efforts, and also my lack of real engagement; I was on autopilot, exhausted. He suggested having a fancier than usual lunch the following day, instead, if the preparations would keep…? I agreed, grateful for the help sorting things out, and unconcerned about things keeping or not.

…Lunch today will be yummy, and pretty easy; everything is ready, just needs to come out of the fridge beforehand. Convenient.

Sitting up, awake, for this little while, quietly, does not prepare me for the sneeze that catches me by surprise as a yawn overtakes me. Who knew sneezing and yawning are so thoroughly incompatible? lol The heat comes on, a soft whisper in the background that seems to encourage sleep… Yeah, I could go for more of that.

Another yawn. I wonder what tomorrow holds…

The frown finally lifted. My jaw finally unclenched. My sheer-force-of-will pleasantness in meetings eventually resolved to simply being pleasant. I let go of being angry, in favor of feeling angry, which eventually let me look beyond my angry feelings to my hurt feelings, and then eventually to just letting shit go. Now? I guess I’m “quietly over it”, and it’s enough. Ideally, small things stay small. It’s not always easy to see that through from intention to outcome. It takes practice.

Neither societies nor relationships are (ever) “perfect”, not really; both are made up of human beings who are themselves entirely “human” in all the error-prone meanings of that word, and compounded by the very (very) subjective nature of our individual experiences. Hell, it’s not even a given that we’re all “doing our best” – or that any one of us is capable of a personal best of sufficient real-world value in any objective way. It’s an inefficient system, at best.

Work keeps me occupied. I pause for a break and reconnect with my Traveling Partner. The gray skies beyond my window seem to reflect back our own individual moodiness, today. Suitable backdrop. I think we’re past it, though, with “clearer skies”, though not exactly “sunny”. Metaphorically, I’m hoping for sunny skies (and sunny days) ahead. Funny thing though; the metaphor of climate and weather with regard to emotions and relationships breaks down a bit if pushed too far – we don’t control the actual weather, but do have substantial control over our emotional “weather”. Oh, for sure, not 100% of the control we might like to have, sometimes, and sometimes what we most want to control of the emotional weather isn’t ours to decide at all. Communication takes effort. Listening is work. Kindness requires practice – even for people in love with each other. “Being angry” is easier than taking the time and care to really process feelings of anger with real consideration, self-compassion, and without adding drama to someone else’s experience. It’s hard. It’s worth practicing, and improving over time. It’s worth failing at it and learning from that, and continuing to practice. Incremental change over time is slow – and it’s hard as hell to make the same room for someone else to fail and grow, as it is to do that for myself.

It’s a pleasant afternoon. My partner brings me a small serving of gelato. I take a break to enjoy that, and review what I’ve gotten done today, and what I’ve got coming up tomorrow. There’s so much to get done before the year ends – and it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

It’s 3 a.m.

I woke unexpectedly. Like… fully awake. Even “rested”. Mind restless. I wander around the hotel room aimlessly for some minutes. Drink some water. Use the restroom. I finally just put on jeans and a sweater, my coat, and went outside into the fresh air for a few minutes.

The night air was mild. The city sleeping around me is quiet. There was a sea breeze carrying a hint of nearby ocean along with it. The sound of the wind pushing between the buildings overcomes my tinnitus for awhile. I stand in the twilight of street lights in the wee hours, alone. I enjoy the quiet. I enjoy the breeze.

For a moment, I am not in any pain at all. I stand quietly enjoying the moment without asking it any questions.

Back in the room, some minutes later, I open a fresh bottle of water, cold from the refrigerator, and take an antacid. Now, here I find myself, at 3 a.m., sipping water in the glow of the laptop screen, writing about a sleepless moment in the wee hours, alone in a strange city. It’s not any sort of remarkable moment, either. I’m just… here. Awake at 3 a.m.

My alarm is set for 5 a.m. with a busy work day planned ahead of me. I could stay awake. I could return to sleep. It doesn’t matter too much which I choose to do, really. If I don’t – or can’t – sleep, it’s not a big deal; I feel relatively well-rested as things are now. If I can – and do – return to sleep, it’ll be nice to get a bit more rest; these long work days take a lot out of me.

I sit quietly a few minutes. No agenda. No stress. Stalled for a moment, without stress, just sitting quietly. I sit. I breathe. Slowly I begin to feel the soft edges of sleepiness begin to wrap my consciousness in a foggy blanket.