Archives for posts with tag: don’t be so negative!

I had a restless night and woke often. No reason for it that I know, and I wasn’t distressed by it or anxious about it. I got up a couple of times. I went back to bed, and to sleep, each time, too. My coffee this morning was exceptionally good, and I got the temperature ‘just right’, which in this case means that it was cooled off a bit before I clumsily spilled most of it over my desk, and into my lap. Aside from the vulgar exclamation that resulted from hot coffee unexpectedly landing in my lap, spilling my coffee didn’t distress me either.

I hadn’t planned to write this morning at all…the family is heading south for the weekend to attend a wedding. Work is such that I can’t also go, and I am home – when I’m home – for a solo weekend. I had planned to set aside my writing this morning and instead hang out with my traveling partner… I made coffee, and went to feed my fish and get my stuff together for the day, and called over my shoulder as I walked down the hall “I’ll be back in a few minutes…”. I got no verbal reply, but I don’t generally expect people to be skillfully verbal at that early hour, and pre-coffee (for coffee drinkers).  7 minutes later, I returned…to silence and the twilight of dimmed lights; my traveling partner had returned to bed. Right now, in this moment, that’s not a big deal at all, but my initial reaction of surprise could so easily have led to feeling hurt, or frustrated by the miscommunication, or perhaps I might even have slowly talked myself into feeling ignored, dismissed, or neglected. On his side of things, he could perhaps have chosen to return to bed, annoyed that I didn’t remain with him to hang out… or perhaps he was simply tired.  The variable nature of language, on top of our way of constructing our perspective of life and love from a combination of language and thought, puts us at grave risk of OPD – of causing ourselves pain by inventing drama, based on assumptions that haven’t been tested, expectations we haven’t shared, or words that we haven’t said out loud. I chose differently this morning.

Darkness and illumination, and a moonlit evening walk.

Darkness and illumination, and a moonlit evening walk.

Other than some spilled coffee, this morning is a lovely one. The night preceding it was wonderful and loving and connected and satisfying. There is enough coffee remaining to easily enjoy some minutes reflecting on the delicious moments of the prior evening. Do you ‘waste time’ daydreaming? Do you savor pleasant experiences, really reflecting on joy, pleasure, contentment, and the positive experiences you have? Does it feel like a waste of time to pause to really enjoy a moment? I’m noticing how much more generally rich and satisfying life is seeming to be day-to-day when I spend as much (or more) time simply enjoying what feels good, really giving those experiences my time and attention fully – thinking about the good times in great detail and lingering there in my recollection of my experience, rather than ruminating over what frustrates me, or troubleshooting what isn’t pleasant. I’m not saying there’s no value in ‘figuring things out’; we can’t easily change what we don’t understand, or so we’re taught (I have my doubts about that, now). It’s become clear to me over time, though, that I was investing far too much time and mental bandwidth in attempting to troubleshoot what didn’t work, wasn’t fun, or was frankly unpleasant or undesirable, without real success at changing it. I have learned that ‘change’ is a verb, and relies on both choices and actions, and doesn’t have much to do with how much time we think on the thing we wish to see changed.

Autumn from another perspective; a change of perspective has a lot of value.

Autumn from another perspective; a change of perspective has a lot of value.

If my character and state of being, generally, is my metaphorical ‘climate’ in life, and my moods and feelings are the ‘weather’… a single moment, however challenging, is little more than a raindrop, or a droplet of mist. Perspective is huge…and is a more significant part of my experience than any one drop of rain, by far. The time we spend mired in negative thinking, contemplating what doesn’t work, what hurts, what frustrates… well, that definitely generates some stormy weather, and if the science is right, it also has climate change potential.

Rainy days sometimes have rainbows.

Rainy days sometimes have rainbows.

Today is a good day to enjoy the weather, and to dance in the rain. Today is a good day to enjoy life guiltlessly*, whatever the challenges. Today is a good day to invest more time in what feels good*, than in what hurts. Today is a good day to change…the weather. 🙂

*Please note, neither of these statements is an endorsement of being a callous dick, or of treating other people poorly while pursuing one’s own agenda, or for undermining the well-being and success of others in order to gratify one’s  own short-term pleasures. Wheaton’s Law still applies, and compassion and kindness are still relevant, moment to moment; I’m just saying treating ourselves truly well is worth the time and effort, and can be comfortably balanced with treating others similarly well.

I woke at 1:37 am to a loud bang. I returned to sleep. I woke again at 4:21 am for no reason that was obvious, and went back to sleep again. When I woke to the alarm, it was a bit as if I was never sleeping. My brain seemed pretty busy from about 1:37 am on until the morning alarm. Mostly playing mc chris’ “Tarantino” on repeat in the background of my consciousness. What’s that about? My back aches with the ‘everyday pain’ of arthritis. Yoga is difficult this morning. Sitting with good posture is difficult.

My coffee is neither creamy nor sweet.

This morning these are simply my experience, my observations. I feel pretty positive and basically ‘okay’ as an emotional being. It’s a nice change from Wednesday.

Wednesday, a bit like this.

Wednesday, a bit like this.

Yesterday wasn’t bad at all. It started well, ended comfortably, and aside from a distinct lack of physical comfort in my experience, the day proceeded well between the beginning and end.  Yesterday’s high points? Love, and roses.

"Baby Love" rose [Scrivens, 1992] first to bloom in my garden this year.

“Baby Love” rose [Scrivens, 1992] first to bloom in my garden this year.

My very human experience has its ups and downs. This morning is still so new there’s no knowing. I meditate, sip coffee, study, do yoga, and prepare to face the world. I feel, for the moment, content and complete, in spite of my arthritis, in spite of pain, in spite of the headache, the bitterness of my coffee, or the slightly sick feeling of mornings. A little later than now, I’ll leave for work, probably have to remind myself to grab my cane before I go; it is an encumbrance as much as a help, and like I child I tend to abandon it anywhere I happen to sit down, if I happen to stand up with ease when I return to movement. lol

In spite of pain, and the unsteadiness of my knees lately, I still walk as much as I can. I’m still getting in about 5 miles a day, about 3 of that is commute, spread out over the morning and evening, and 2 miles for a walk midday. If I ‘give my knees a rest’ and allow myself to succumb to the illusion that not using them will somehow put things right, I put myself at risk of gaining weight, pretty much immediately. I keep walking every day I can put weight on my knees and ankles at all. (I’m heavier than I’d like to be, and very much aware of the toll that is taking on my knees and ankles. Stabilizing my weight below 200 lbs is within reach, and I’ll be very happy to hit that benchmark.)

Still, the pain is what it is, and it is part of my experience. As much as I look forward to the beauty of spring, and a lovely walk on a nice day, there’s a bit of a ‘Little Mermaid” element to it; every step may be painful. Growth has often felt that way to me; every step painful, journey and destination worth the difficulty.

Pain is a shared experience. Most people have some. It’s odd to be in a group of people and observe that one person commenting on their experience of pain or discomfort tends to launch a round of compare/contrast statements, with some one-up-man-ship thrown in for flavor. I try to stay out of those, and regret it when I launch one. Few things result in feeling less heard about hurting than everyone else chiming in about how much they also hurt. Everyone wants to feel heard about pain.  I’m not sure anyone ever does.  Our own pain is so visceral. The pain of others tends to be far less so.  I have been working on compassion first, sympathy, understanding – hearing that this human being speaking to me is hurting, and recognizing their experience, without sharing mine, even out of sympathy. (Allowing them to have their experience, feel nurtured and supported, and not diminished by my experience, or denied the opportunity to be individual. ) I don’t know that it does or does not ‘work’ any better than countering every tale of discomfort with one of my own, but it seems likely to be less annoying or dismissive.

It’s Friday. Looks like a quiet solo evening on the calendar. I find myself hesitant to be at all excited about it. I’d rather not become invested in the outcome and have to deal with disappointment if life throws some changes in the mix. I’m eager to spend some time on my writing and dive deeply into meditation without a timer, clock, or deadline on the other side.  It’d be nice to look forward to doing that pain-free, but that’s unrealistic these days, so I don’t bother about the pain until it speaks up with enough force to be a real game-changer.

Friday. Black coffee. A backache. Spring flowers. A quiet morning. This is not only ‘not bad’ – it’s actually pretty good.