Archives for posts with tag: Epsom salts

It’s Monday morning. I woke with some effort, to the alarm, and still struggle to ‘really wake up’. I slept well and deeply, and woke up only once, and at an unusual hour. At 3:17 am I woke, thinking I heard a noise. The noise was the sound of a front door buzzer pushed twice in rapid succession “bzzzt bzzzt”. It seemed an actual sound, but whatever actually woke me didn’t do so with any ease. I was incredibly groggy and dizzy, and there was nothing at the door – or elsewhere that I noticed – and I returned to sleep so quickly that I wonder now if any of it was real – even the waking up and getting up, parts.

I’m having trouble waking fully and getting my brain online. I am groggy even now – more than an hour after waking. The sky is still quite dark. Dawn has moved later into the morning. I am impatiently waiting for my coffee – which I am having some trouble making with skill, because I am not quite awake. I take my time with it – and successfully stop myself from rubbing my eyes while I am making coffee, avoiding rubbing coffee, coffee grounds, or hot water in my eyes. This morning, that feels like a major success. 🙂

The morning is cool, and I feel the cool air filter in through the open patio door and the vertical blinds. I am drenched in sweat after making coffee and feeling peculiarly overheated. Hormones? Please, no, not today…it is, after all, Monday. I take a deep breath of the cool morning air, and fill my thoughts with the memories of the weekend as I fill my lungs with fresh scents of this summer morning. I took the additional ‘taking care of me’ step of un-syncing my work email over the weekend, and resetting my smart device so that my work email will only sync manually outside of work hours, reducing the likelihood that I will waste precious life-time on work-related matters by reflex or habit during leisure hours. It is powerfully freeing to return to a lifestyle when work is limited to those occasions that it is scheduled for. I needed the break, badly, and don’t easily set those boundaries with myself unaided – which definitely makes setting those boundaries with colleagues challenging. My traveling partner had observed rather firmly quite recently that I was not taking the best care of myself in this area; change was needed.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the morning with my traveling partner, unexpectedly, and to my great delight. It was a lovely treat, although he arrived distressed and agitated. The level of day-to-day drama in his experience at home is much higher than mine, here at Number 27. I did everything I could to support and soothe him, and even though we shared some [perhaps unnecessarily] emotional moments together, I cherish the time with him. He made a point of following through on his commitment to provide me with some technical support (my bluetooth wasn’t working, and my own troubleshooting did not resolve the issue), and in the process uncovered the likely cause; I had peripherals plugged in to USB ports in a sort of willy-nilly random way, primarily intended for cable management, without regard to USB 3 ports, or always-on ports, or what devices need what sorts of ports, and having no particular understanding that those details were important I had created conflicts. I feel a moment of sympathy; it’s probably just as hard on my laptop to be mine, as it is for people to live with me! This morning, though, there is music. (And yesterday evening, too.) 🙂

Change is. Progress happens. We are at a disadvantage if our understanding of the world becomes 'set in stone'.

Change is. Progress happens. We are at a disadvantage if our understanding of the world becomes ‘set in stone’.

We enjoyed coffee together, and conversation, and laughter, once the technical work was finished. It was hard coming to terms with one facet of aging; I am struggling to remain current with technology, now. Poignant and emotional for me, frustrating for my traveling partner; there is no room for crying during technical support. He’s a decently good sport about it, and although somewhat impatient with me, and frustrated by my emotionality, he makes a point of hearing me. That’s enough. I got by on that, and we moved on with the morning. The high point of my afternoon was soaking in a hot bath, listening to Barry White, and talking on the phone with my traveling partner – an experience I could not easily have had the day before (my stereo sounds way better than music played over laptop speakers). 🙂

My point is that the ups and downs don’t have to be tragic, or an unrelenting buzzkill; we’re all people, having our own experience, and it is sometimes an emotional one. How we treat each other – how we treat ourselves – can be accepting and supportive and aware, and emotions pass. The respect we give each other – each having our own experience – and consideration we give each other while we do so, are a big deal; they define our character, and define the love we share. An honest apology, no excuses, goes a long way when we are not at our best. Our loves are not a dumping ground for emotional toxic waste, and when we share hurts, strong emotions, moments of anger, it’s urgently important that we follow-up with consideration, with compassion, with recognition of their difficult experience sharing that moment with us. Being open isn’t solely about sharing who we are, and how we feel – it’s also a willingness to listen deeply, to be present in the moment when our love sets boundaries, or tells us we’ve caused them pain, and accept the consequences of our actions with honor, with respect, and providing reciprocal support. In this, too, there are practices to practice, verbs involved, and room to grow – and incremental change over time can seem so slow…because that other person can matter so much.

I am taking the morning slowly.

I am taking the morning slowly.

It’s a Monday. This one begins, for me, on a foundation of adequate rest, and good self-care. It would be lovely if that were an absolute assurance of a great week, but I know that there are verbs involved, and plenty of decision-making, and opportunities to communicate with clarity and practice good practices that support my needs over time. This morning, waking so slowly, it is as if I have a head start on slowing down, perhaps there is greater potential there than I understand?

Today is a good day to take things one at a time, with consideration, listening deeply, and recognition that each of us is utterly and entirely human. Today is a good day to be aware that the relationships matter more than the challenges. Today is a good day to ask for help when I need it, and accept help when it is offered. Today is a good day for beginnings; a good beginning has all the potential to change the world. [Note: there are verbs involved, and your results may vary.]

I woke early this morning, and I woke gently. I felt good, and simply wasn’t going to back to sleep. It was 3:02 am. Too early, even for coffee. Not too early for meditation. Not too early for yoga. Eventually, it was no longer too early for coffee, either. So far a lovely morning in every sense; it contrasts the strangely emotional weekend, full of powerful lessons, opportunities for growth (some of them passed up, frankly, in favor of less worthy actions), and although it began in difficulty and drama, it finished gently and in love. There’s nothing simple about the life of a human primate in the 21st century; I had a rough weekend, emotionally, and woke this morning realizing I made choices that made it much worse. (Good one, Awareness, way to stay on top of things. lol)

Perspective still matters, even when I'm not looking.

Perspective still matters, even when I’m not looking.

A couple of deeply connected moments yesterday really shifted my perspective on the weekend, and in light of my challenges in the moment, on life and love as well.  It’s pretty awesome when life throws me a freebie in the way of a living metaphor, a teachable moment, or a lifeline…this one wasn’t that, but totally worth it, anyway.

One such moment, I admit I was openly weeping at a train station. Between the PTSD and the vagaries of getting through menopause, I’ve learned to find a certain acceptance of tears, even public ones, though I am not truly comfortable with weeping. I stood there in the sunshine, tears slowly making their way down my face one by one largely unnoticed. A small girl watched me intently, and for one moment we made eye contact, I tried to smile or mold my face into something less scary for a small girl than an older woman crying – that can’t present a very desirable outlook on adulthood, and I don’t want to blow the fun of it for some child. She frowned, more puzzled than distressed, and walked away. Moments later, there was a tug on the hem of my shirt, and I heard an adult woman nearby exclaim “Chelsea! Don’t bother that woman!”. I looked down into Chelsea’s face, her wide open unfrightened gaze met mine and she extended her small hand, in which she had a fairly large flower, drooping from a long stem, no doubt snatched eagerly from some nearby border or bit of landscaping. The bright orange of it pulled a smile through the tears and I accepted her gift and returned her smile. She said to me in a fairly grown up practical tone “It won’t live very long; I picked it for you. You should enjoy it right now, before it’s gone.” She was quite serious, and spoke to me with a tone she probably picked up from her mother, or a teacher, firm and no-nonsense, she was earnest with me and determined that I hear her. I looked at the flower as I held it, and courteously thanked her. “I will enjoy this very much right now, thank you, Chelsea. This is very kind; I needed a moment with a flower to brighten my day.” She beamed at me and affirmed confidently “They’re growing right there” she points to the border along the edge of the parking lot, where there were indeed a number of bright flowers swaying and bobbing in the summer breeze. “I won’t be here next time, you’ll have to do it yourself” she said, almost sternly, but with honest affection for another human being. A lovely moment. A lesson. Thank you, Chelsea, I hope you show the world a thing or two along your journey.

Enjoy now; too soon the moment will be gone.

Enjoy now; too soon the moment will be gone.

A contrasting moment, later the same morning, occurred when I chanced to have a conversation in passing with a woman running an adult foster home. She cares mostly for brain injured adults; injuries so severe that a lifetime of full-time care is what remains of an injured human. We chatted briefly, curbside, about her operation, the community, the neighborhood… I asked her what kind of people she provides support to, what sorts of injuries and conditions. She told me she works primarily with folks with severe TBIs who have limited mobility, impaired life skills – in short, people who need full-time care because their TBI was just that devastating, and their prognosis for recovery is that grim. Wow. Then she said something that took my breath away… “…except frontal lobe injuries. I’m just not equipped to deal with that.” She went on a few words more that I half-heard through the sudden ringing in my ears and the pounding of my heart. What I heard in my heart was ‘not your kind’. I found a quick polite end to the conversation and departed. I found a quiet shady parking lot and broke down in heart-felt sobbing; real crying, no bullshit. I wept without reservations. I’m not sure, now, quite why.

It was a turning point on the day. I spent the rest of it trying to ‘get things right in my head’ on a number of things I suddenly felt pretty sure I didn’t actually understand well at all. It was a good afternoon to stare into the face of my fears about my injury and realize how much worse it really could be. Perspective. I contemplated how practical life can force us to be, however kindly and well-intentioned we are when we begin. Perspective. I wondered if the woman running the adult foster care home understood, when I admitted I, myself, have a frontal lobe injury, how incredibly patronizing her forced attempt to make it right actually sounded (“Well, and look at you! How good you are doing!”). I wondered why it really mattered, any of it, in a world where small girls are savvy enough to hand out flowers to people who need them.  Perspective.

I wondered, too, why my day was so…difficult. As I stood again at the train station, preparing to head home, I recalled something said to me quite some time ago about the physical side of emotional wellness. Something about the necessity of addressing physical things with physical remedies. I recalled the morning, the first moment of the day… and realized I’d put myself at a profound disadvantage; I failed to recognize the physical outcome of being startled awake, and had been living all morning with my PTSD just raging in the background, and wandering around loose in the world wondering why I felt so disordered and shitty. lol. No. Way. Seriously? Oh yeah, still human. I went home, took care of calories, connected with a partner, took medication to address symptoms, meditated, enjoyed a long soak in Epsom salts, did some yoga, and spent the afternoon reading. When evening came, my partners and I enjoyed it; it was lovely.

Like a lighthouse on a rocky shore.

Like a lighthouse on a rocky shore.

Perspective matters. There’s no overdoing that one, and no ‘down side’ I’ve yet found. Today is a good day for perspective. Actually…today is generally a good day, so far, with amazing potential. Today is a day someone will change the world.

Yesterday was productive, in spite of lingering dizziness, arthritis and headache pain, and a significant shortage of sleep. It was also quite a nice day, with one bit of emotional difficulty in the evening, which didn’t last long and which I wisely followed with an early bed time. Although I only managed about 6 1/2 hours of sleep, it was an improvement over the 4 hours the night before. 🙂

The emotional challenge du jour wasn’t any great mystery, either, it was simple a matter of humanity. In pain, tired from lack of sleep, tired from a long busy workday, excited to see the traveler returned home, I was more volatile that I realized, and took a partner’s irritation and hurt very personally in a moment that was handled poorly. There is a reason so many of the things I am learning to do to support and care for me are referred to as ‘practices’; mastery is not the point. The opportunities to practice are decision-making points. Will I choose wisely? Will I practice? I did last night, and the evening ended well, after I took a time out and took care of my needs (a long soak in Epsom salts, meditation, yoga, nutritional support).

No dizziness this morning, and I feel a tad foolish. I may have given myself two days of vertigo by making a poor choice to try out my partner’s exercise hoop… I had a hoola hoop when I was  kid, and it seemed a fun moment to give it a try as an adult. I just didn’t stop to consider that my fused spine, held together with confidence and surgical wire, might rule this activity out for me. At no point did my brain helpfully point out that perhaps a leisure activity that applies a lot of twisting motion to the very location of my spinal fusion might be a poor choice. I paid for that oversight, but find myself fairly appreciative if that is all it turns out to be.  It could be much worse. 

Things nearly always ‘could be much worse’. When I’m having a shitty day it can be hard to hang on to that thought, but it’s a great observation for perspective. There are people smarter than I am, by far. There are people who are funnier. There are wiser beings and people with much greater ambition. There are some moments in life that blow me away with how awesome and moving they are. There are good days and bad days. Generally, regardless how else any given moment is defined by any one human being – including me – things could be ‘much worse’.

Perspective matters; life looks very different to the wee spider on this rose, than it does to me.

Perspective matters; life looks very different to the wee spider on this rose, than it does to me.

This morning’s meditation and yoga were a gentle opener for what will likely be another lovely day. I’ll do what I can to refrain from setting myself up for failure by building up my expectations; expectations have proven time and again to be a detour off my path that rarely leads anywhere I want to go. Still, as with most mornings, there’s no particular reason to expect the day will turn out poorly, either. It is a day, like so many, that begins with a pleasant morning.

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Does a wee spider have expectations?

Today is a good day for love – and for listening. Today is a good day for compassion – and for following through on commitments. Today is a good day to appreciate the efforts of others, and to recognize that most of the time, most people, are doing their best. Today is a good day to be kind, and to be patient. Today is a good day to change the world. 

However small we may feel, our choices matter.

However small we may feel, our choices matter.