Archives for posts with tag: enjoying the moment

There’s a certain level of skill required even for feeling good, I’ve found. This could be part of the whole PTSD/TBI package of lingering chaos and damage, I don’t really know; it is part of my own experience, though, and it’s something I have learned to account for. Feeling good haphazardly, willy-nilly, without regard to those many good practices that support my day-to-day well-being is a poor choice. With (self) care, I can relax and enjoy feeling good along with anyone else… without it, feeling good becomes the foreshadowing of some later “unexpected” (utterly predictable) tantrum-to-come, once I’ve exhausted myself with good feelings and likely accompanied that with being over-stimulated, and failing to get the rest or nutrition I also need for lasting good health and well-being. It’s just not as easy (for me) as passively feeling good. There are still verbs involved.

This morning I have choices. A great day ahead that begins with brunch with old friends promises considerable excitement, joy, and feelings of the good variety. So, this morning my day also begins with firmly adhering to those practices I know serve me well: limiting my caffeine intake, doing some yoga, getting a walk in, drinking plenty of water, taking my medication on time, getting enough rest, meditation, and spending some time on tidying up. I’ve been up since 5 am (I slept in), and “brunch” is scheduled comfortably for 9 am. Plenty of time to take care of this fragile vessel. 🙂

The details matter. The practices matter. There are verbs involved. New beginnings. Repeating what works. Being present. Choices. (So many choices!)

I’m feeling pretty good today. It’s still time to begin again. 😉

This morning I woke ahead of the alarm – it is, after all, a Monday. A new work week begins, and even between periods of employment, I am “working”. I spent the weekend painting, and aside from a visit with a friend this afternoon, and a possible dinner date with my traveling partner, I’ll be painting today, too. 🙂

I start the morning with meditation, then on to yoga, then coffee, music, and as I sit down to write, I am delighted to find my traveling partner also up for the day, and online. We exchange a few words. It’s a good morning, so far. The apartment fills with the fresh clean spring air, filtered through a couple of rainy days. I close the patio door, and the open windows, and turn the music up. I’m enjoying the music, and I keep the playlist going while I write; it’s a good day for music.

It seems an eternity ago that my experience of my life, day-to-day, was characterized by a quiet durable misery that I invested in considerable effort to keep to myself, feeling both frustration and shame any time it erupted into uncontrolled expression of intense emotion. When I began practicing practices associated with improving my emotional balance, resilience, and self-sufficiency, I lacked conviction that any long-term change was really likely… I mean… I’d already been enduring, long-term, a state of chaos and despair over time that utterly defied the generally pleasant reality of my current experience at that time, as well as many attempts to change it. I practiced anyway. I began again. And again. I kept at it. One practice I continue to practice is a sly one, focused on improving implicit memory and decreasing negative bias – because that negative bias thing is an ass kicker of destruction, insidious, cruel, and hard to avoid. It has been the simplest of practices, and one of the most pleasant; I spend time lingering over the recollection of pleasant events and experiences, I savor them both while I have the experience – which takes practice, itself – and also making a point to enjoy the recollection, to share those experiences, to invest more time in enjoying them, and considering them, than I do ruminating over what didn’t go so well, or doesn’t feel so good. It’s really that simple. Seems inconsequential, doesn’t it? And… at first… it didn’t seem to have a profound effect that I could point to and say “Aha!!”. Not at first.

Incremental change over time is a thing. There are verbs involved. Practices are practices because they require practicing, and in some cases that is a lifelong thing, not so much a ‘task’ that is completed and done with. Results vary. Expectations and assumptions about outcomes can totally screw with the outcome of this simple practice, too. We are so human… I don’t exist as ‘a positive person’ as any sort of default character quality with which I was born… I have become someone with a generally positive experience, incrementally, over time – with practice.

Roses and a rainy day. One moment of many.

Roses and a rainy day. One moment of many.

This morning I am taking time to enjoy the day, to enjoy love, to enjoy life – to enjoy the experience I am having now. I am my own cartographer – this looks like a nice spot to pause for a moment. This moment. 🙂

I got home yesterday with a well-developed list of things I felt needed to get done, after a weekend of painting, mostly mundane things like vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom – housekeeping basics that got pushed to the side because I was painting. I got home feeling decently energetic, and somewhat enthusiastic about getting these few things done…

I didn’t touch my list of chores last night. Oh, I know what I like, and waking this morning to small reminders of what didn’t get done last night is mildly annoying, but not worthy of self-deprecatory internal dialogue, or beating myself up emotionally. I enjoy living beautifully, and each moment being its own opportunity to be a beautiful moment… last night I enjoyed the moments quite differently than I had planned to. I blame the figs. 🙂

A metaphor, a connection to a larger history, a tasty treat.

A metaphor, a connection to a larger history, a tasty treat.

I got home in the usual way, on foot. Having taken a comfortable seat long enough to take off my hiking boots, socks, and relax a moment, I quickly lost interest in doing housework. Rather than be evasive about my change of heart regarding the evening, I took a chance on me and a dove head first into ‘now’, just as it was then. “Softening my tone” toward myself is sometimes a challenge, and I paused to consider needs over time versus needs in the moment, and made a light snack to stave off low blood sugar later, in case I found myself meditating for a long while.

I spent quite a time simply enjoying the small green figs, actually. I took my time with them, enjoying the scent, the flavors, the look and feel of each one, individually. Each sweet bite reminding me of late summer figs, fully ripe, carefully selected of those that had fallen, enjoyed with my Granny as a young girl. I remembered that summer that we got rather drunk off those naturally fermented fruits, warmed in the sun, and found ourselves giddy with laughter, on the ground (she, being the adult, rather appalled to have gotten her young grand-daughter quite drunk on summer figs). My mind wandered. I contemplated figs and humanity. Figs have been available for eating, substantially as they are, since before the dawn of human kind…that’s…wow. Historical. 🙂 I nibbled at the lush sweet flesh, thinking about a paper a dear friend once shared with me, about the humble fig, and it’s symbolism, and it’s appearance, and as I recall also its place in biblical lore. I thought, too, about nature shows, and the many sorts of primates and mammals that eat figs. I recalled a friend recently saying she wasn’t sure what a fig is, and hadn’t eaten one… and how peculiar that seemed to me, as though somehow I expected figs to be part of our genetic memory as primates (if that’s a thing). Sweet, tempting, delicious figs…their flavor and the scent of their sweet flesh lingered in my memory long after I had eaten the last one. Twilight had come.

A small plate of delicious figs easily distracted me from planned chores, and I chose to care for myself differently.  I spent the evening meditating. What was left of the evening after that was spent on small pleasures, and self care – catching up with friends, doing yoga, having a shower. It matters greatly to treat myself well, and as much as I enjoy a tidy home, there is indeed a great deal more to life than housework, and I am a higher priority for me than the vacuuming is. Finding the balance is an ongoing process of questions, answers, and verbs being applied. Last night was well spent; after a weekend painting I needed to spend some quiet time simply being in my own company, and didn’t recognize it until the moment was in front of me.

Still, there’s the matter of home and hearth, and self-care isn’t at all the same as self-indulgence – and that list of chores isn’t going to do itself. Definitely some verbs involved, and tonight the music at home will be the sort to carry me, dancing, through the tidying up. All that will be later. It is morning, now, and I am sipping my coffee, and considering the day ahead. I have dinner out with my traveling partner, tonight, and I am eager to enjoy his company, and charming conversation. It matters little where we go; the point is to enjoy the time together. He is away this weekend, and any time our paths diverge for a few days I make a point to enjoy his company before he goes, even if only for a few brief minutes snatched from a busy work week.

lighthouse

However stormy life may be, love is a lighthouse guiding us safely home to calmer shores.

I have my own weekend plans, painting and meditating, and I’m eager to see where the weekend takes me.

Today is a good day to get things done. Today is a good day for loving embraces, and warm greetings. Today is a good day to celebrate small successes, and to value what works well and easily. Today is a good day for appreciation, and a good day for joy. Today is a good day to be fully present for my own experience; I, too, am part of the world.

It’s not every evening that I break through something that’s been holding me back. The walk home from work began in the usual way; I left the building, and turned left. It all respects it was a similar summer evening walk home as most have been. At some point, soon after I started, I made a choice to… just walk.

It was not as hot as it has been, and the humidity doesn’t bother me much. I walked along past familiar things, thinking familiar thoughts…and then, I let even those go, too. I just walked, breathing in the heavy summer air.  No cause to rush; I had no plans on the other end, nothing to achieve beyond what I had in that moment along the way, and I felt content to stroll. I passed by a spot where the cooler air of evening-to-come was beginning to gather among the dense vegetation, lifted by whatever sorts of things cause currents of air to move along. The coolness of it brushed my arm before the subtle scent of blackberries, perhaps fallen or crushed under foot, reached my nose. I breathed it all in, almost pausing, reluctant to pass by.

Around the bend, down a hill, along a walk way open to the sun most of the way, with groves of trees here and there, well-spaced and well-mannered, sharing the moment with me as I walked past, through, beneath. Scents of parched pine needles mingle with the lusher, richer scents of the sodden earth of landscaping gone mad; sprinklers, used and over-used, nurturing dense expanses of mown lawn between trees in groups like cliques of high school girls – all of the same sort, gathered quite closely together, saying nothing as I pass. The trees are filled with birds. Some sing their song as I approach, silent while I am too near for comfort, and resuming as I walk away. Others, blue jays, and crows, call to me – setting boundaries, or perhaps sharing news of the weather, insistent, demanding.

There is a buzzing, chirping, peeping din to the left of me as I walk past the shallow lake at the end of the park. The persistent woosh of the cars on my right, somehow similar, but different – less pleasant, and only beginning to fade as I make the left through the park. I forget the sounds of traffic again and again as I walk. I don’t reach for my phone. My thoughts are… not really thoughts. I am walking. Breathing. Listening. I am aware, but not wary. I am alert, but not vigilant. I am content, without self-soothing. I am simply walking.

I turned away from home, as I got close, and walked further than needed, through the park, along other paths. Just walking. Breathing. Listening to the birds, and the frogs, and seeing the clouds shift and change as the sun crosses the sky toward twilight. No pictures. It didn’t seem to be part of the experience. When I did reach home, I felt welcome, comfortable, and…something else. I’m not sure what. Something nice. Something that feels steady, and reliable…like a promise to a friend that I know won’t be broken.

It was easy tonight to make a healthy meal without negotiating with myself, or promising more or better some other time. Easy to tidy up without fighting a child’s impulse to play at the expense of commitments to self. Easy to take care of me. Contentment feels easy. The evening feels easy. All the practicing? Right now all of that feels… easy. Worthwhile. For the moment? Natural. It’s a journey. I guess I’ve walked a bit farther than I had before. Tonight that’s enough. 🙂

When I worry, it’s nearly always about something that is a potential consequence of something or other already seemingly set in motion by an action or choice made sometime previously. I rarely feel anxiety, or find myself worrying, about the moment right now. At least for me, that isn’t how worrying works. I wonder, though, if whatever it is that is causing my stress hasn’t happened yet, why am I worried? If the action or choice made that has the potential to result in the worrisome outcome hasn’t yet – why, again, am I bothering to worry? Worry seems mostly pretty pointless, and of less real value than good planning, being engaged in the moment, and making the best choices I know to make, moment to moment.

I woke this morning feeling very groggy, and haven’t quite shaken it off. Interestingly, after some minutes of consideration of the blank page in front of me, the paragraph above is what came of it. No particular reason why, although I have been contemplating some experiences relevant to decision-making, free will, and choices in the past few days.

Wednesday morning flowers, a lovely metaphor for a moment of illumination.

Wednesday morning flowers, a lovely metaphor for a moment of illumination.

Yesterday was a good Wednesday. Better still, it was a good appointment day. Circumstances seem, generally, to be unfolding in a comfortable way. It’s a pleasantly comfortable feeling, and although I woke feeling groggy, I am enjoying the morning’s calm greatly. It feels like a morning to be practical, and to deal with practical things. It feels like a morning to continue good self-care practices, and to handle day-to-day tasks with efficiency. There’s no loss of pleasantness over any of that; the practical things are as much of life as the whimsical ones, and have their purpose and their place in my experience.

Each choice I make does have consequences, some good, some less so, some having no specific quality along that spectrum. I make my choices based on what I anticipate the consequences will likely be; I live my life from the perspective of what the outcomes of my choices actually are [from my perspective]. Expectations are what arise when I am so focused on an anticipated outcome that I don’t notice the unintended consequence that may have also occurred, or the very different outcome that resulted altogether, instead. Attachment is that bit of nastiness when having noticed that the outcome wasn’t what I expected, I don’t let go of the expectation and I create struggle within myself, and the burden of the resulting discontent. All that makes it every so clear how important this ‘now’ moment truly is; I can be awake, aware, engaged in this now moment, observing the developing consequence of previous actions, continue to adjust my perspective, adapt my understanding to the moments in motion, and walk a brighter path altogether – perhaps not entirely free of attachment, nor immune to the power of expectations, but more easily able to recognize my own humanity, treat myself with compassion, and make needed course-corrections in my decision-making, based on best meeting my needs over time. Incremental change – incremental decision-making – and practice.

I’ve spent too many years bullying myself. I finally took notice of how much that hurts me, and how much it tends to reinforce old damage, bad bits of out-dated programming, and how much it interferes with growth and progress. I think I can easily take the time to treat myself well – not just good physical self-care, but really truly appreciate myself, the work I’ve put in so far, the wonderful qualities of mind that I value in myself, and show myself a little self-compassion and simple kindness day-to-day. I’ve been pretty hard on me.

Wednesday afternoon flowers, ending a day filled with light.

Wednesday afternoon flowers, ending a day filled with light.

Today is a good day to be kind – to myself, too. Today is a good day to let worries go; they either haven’t happened yet, or they are already behind me. Today is a good day to appreciate the powerful beauty of a sunrise – or a daydream. Today is a good day to enjoy myself, enjoying my self, enjoying the world.