Archives for posts with tag: Just One Thing

My head is still buzzing with the distracting excitement of the show last night. My tinnitus reminding me there is value in ear plugs. My hallway is short two paintings that recently hung there, now hanging somewhere else. My “art closet”, filled with work carefully stacked by size, is one painting less full today. I am groggy. I am too much awake to sleep more, though I need more sleep. My eyes feel like they are covered in sand paper, and my iced coffee does nothing to quench my thirst (how the hell am I so damned thirsty?). I have a drive ahead of me – hours down the highway, on a weekend likely to be “a long holiday weekend” for about half the long-holiday-weekenders out there taking time off for 4th of July travels.

Between the lake and the sky, there is a distant horizon, whether I can clearly see it or not. “Lake & Sky; Infinitely Blue” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow.

Begin again? Right now I can barely just continue. lol The headache developing could be dehydration… or lack of coffee… or fatigue… or… well… I’m a fucking mammal. A being of light wrapped in a meat puppet that I think I control. lol Who the fuck knows what all the potential missteps and annoyances may actually be? There are probably a lot of possibilities I wouldn’t even know to consider. S’ok. One thing, then another. I shower. Do some yoga. Water my garden. Drink water. Drink coffee. Meditate. Post about the art show (hey, it’s the 21st century, this is a routine form of communication now). Pull myself together a bit at a time, giggling every time I pause to consider that a great many of the Friday night Party People who attended the art show – or the after party – are just finally wrapping things up and going to bed. I’m glad I got a couple hours of sleep.

Here comes the day. It’s the weekend. I’m eager to see my Traveling Partner. Eager to enjoy the day, building on this lovely moment, right here. My heart feels light in spite of the world being rather irksome. It’s something to savor, to build on, and to enjoy. It’s not just okay to feel good in dark times – it’s really rather necessary. Without the good times, emotional fatigue can set in, and then what? We’re no good to each other if we are not able to feel what is good and pleasant and right in our moment, in our day – in our world. So. Today seems a lovely one to take a breath, and enjoy this bit, while this enjoyable bit lasts.

…Then later, I’ll begin again. πŸ˜‰

It’s here. The longest day. The shortest night. A dim-not-dark pre-dawn sky. A sunset will follow later, so much later, and then a lingering twilight late into the night – then, Summer, Fall, Winter… the wheel keeps turning.

Summer Solstice, 2018, before dawn

Yesterday ended on a bizarrely anxious note. It’s really super uncomfortable having to recognize that the United States is squirming as the government leads in the direction of fascism, while the population struggles to resist. Uncomfortable barely describes it. I was able to sleep, which brought relief, and I am exceedingly fortunate, individually. That’s something. Yesterday was hot. I took cases of bottled water to protesters downtown on my way home from work. I thanked them for being there. The traffic home was pretty terrible, but I didn’t feel it so much as I felt I’d done something to help.

…Of course, halfway home, I found myself facing a critical inner voice reminding me that plastic water bottles are an ecological nightmare… and companies that bottle water are draining life-force (and life-giving water) from communities all over the globe for profit. Shit. This is harder than it looks.

The anxiety had me in its grip well before I got home. Every conversation I’d had at work resurfaced to be re-evaluated through a lens of insecurity, panic, and fear. Every decision got questioned. Every moment reviewed, critiqued, and used to build further fear-driven anxious narrative in my head. I got home, heart pounding, breathless, and on the edge of a panic attack, doing battle with myself. I fluttered around the apartment distracted and wretched for a few minutes – the air conditioning was a relief, and in that moment of appreciation, I found a hint of relief, something to hold onto for just a moment.

I took a deep breath, and felt myself relax as the coolness in the house wrapped me, and soothed me (it was a really hot day here). I stood looking out at the container garden, still feeling anxious, and aware of the hot day on the other side of the glass. “Right, well, I can at least water the garden, even if everything feels crazy right now – no reason to punish flowers…” Out into the heat I went, but the awareness of the waiting air conditioning was working on my mind in a nice way; I knew I would be comfortable again, soon. I slowed down. Took my time to really water everything thoroughly. I filled feeders. I rinsed and re-filled bird-baths. I tidied and swept. I weeded some pots, removing still more peanuts that had sprouted, thanks to busy squirrels.

I returned to the coolness indoors considerably calmed. The anxiety came and went a bit all evening. More like a nuisance neighbor I’m on good terms with, but would rather not see all the time, than like an attacker that has overpowered me. I felt content with the improvement, and sleep came easily when time came to sleep. I woke feeling rested, and ready to start a new day…

It is the Solstice, today. Hell of a good day to begin again. America is still full of Nazis – we ought to do something about that. We can. We have choices. πŸ™‚

I have choices. So many choices – in life, in work, in relationships. There are so many verbs involved. Keeping up takes effort, practice, commitment… omg, just spelling it out, it all seems so daunting! One thing at a time, though? Not so bad. I don’t need to “fix” an entire broken world – or even this one entire broken human being staring back at me in the mirror. That’s no longer my approach at all – I just need to water my garden. Maybe tidy up a bit. Do a little weeding. Meditate for a few minutes. Get some dishes done. It’s just one thing, not everything, right now, all the time. “Everything“is super hard – I mean, have you seen all the shit that needs something done about it?? Too much. All that’s needed, really, is “enough”. πŸ˜‰

I think I’m ready to begin again. πŸ™‚

The past day was pretty spot on for great results. I’m sipping my coffee and giving some thought to the previous 24 hours. I’m very human, and this moment taken to look over how yesterday went, without harsh criticism or reflexive judgmental nonsense, is a practice I favor, although it is worth noting that it also requires me to practice mindful awareness, perspective, and non-attachment, with some skill. A bit of pre-coffee word-juggling to begin a Wednesday.

Here’s a squirrel.

Yesterday I managed to stay the course for practices, goals, intentions, planned workload, errands, housekeeping… and this morning I still find myself looking upon the previous day favorably, contentedly, and without any hint of stress surfacing over some thing or other than I did or did not do. Nice. Win and good. I probably get fewer “experience points” for such an easy day, but this morning I am feeling accomplished, secure, satisfied, and rested. It’s lovely.

…and also a chipmunk.

It’s also work.

It was a good day, and not without effort to make it so. I fought impulses to snack compulsively. I fought impulses to wander off from all manner of things that needed to be done. I fought the temptation to collapse into a chair at the end of the day and do nothing. I fought the inclination to just not follow through on a variety of things I had set my intentions upon, earlier in the day. It was an all day battle with my inner teenager. Yesterday, I won. Today? No idea. I guess I’ll know tomorrow. πŸ˜€ Tomorrow? Yeah… that’s a ways off, from this moment, and rather than borrow stress from a moment that doesn’t exist, I stay with this moment, here, feeling content, and wrapped in love.

It’s kind of a weird time in my life. I’ve had times when most of the stress and complications in my life came from my relationships, others when it sourced with work pretty reliably, sometimes it was all in my head, and still others when it was all those things, or some combination. This is a very different time; almost none of my stress comes from my personal or professional life, at all. My stress exists largely as response to events in the world, these days. There isn’t much I can do to act on events beyond my control, besides all of the things that anyone else can do: letters, phone calls, protests, charitable donations to worthy charities that spend their funds on their actual causes, speaking up frankly in groups, speaking truth to power, using my privilege as an umbrella to support those less privileged, and spending my own resources with great care, such that very little of my own money goes to endeavors, or people, which I object to. Oh, and one last one; definitely not doing, myself, any of the hateful things I see going on in the world. (Oh, hey… it kind of looks like there are a lot of things we can each be doing about “the world”… but… are you, though?) Doing those things matters – but it doesn’t ease the stress in any noteworthy way. That has to come from other practices entirely. My stress lives within me – it’s a reaction. What I do about that is entirely within my hands. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee wondering “what is enough?” and considering the chaos in the world, without allowing my outrage to boil over. I haven’t read the news this morning. It’s best to let that wait, I think, and give myself a chance to start this lovely morning without all that. I take time to appreciate feeling good, myself, right now, in this moment, right here. That has value – it helps build the emotional resilience that will keep me steady later. That has more value that I can possibly overstate… it’s worth practicing the practices that build resilience, trust me; sooner or later, we all have to begin again, somewhere. πŸ™‚

…Now seems a good time.

What a week. Glad it’s behind me. Relieved to feel satisfied, pleased, and accomplished, instead of terrified, anxious and regretful. It could have gone differently. I am content with the outcome.

Stress is a weird thing, though, right? I mean… once I’m stressed about A, then it’s far more likely that unrelated experiences B, C, or D may also feel more stressful, or seem to be cause for concern. I crashed out last night feeling terribly blue, struggling in a sticky web of anxiety-lies and insecurities being launched at me from within, by an anxious, stressed, fatigued brain. I wept. For the world? It seemed so at moments. Other moments, I just felt “cracked open” and unable to hold anything back however small, however simple – even some lovely tender moments felt like pure heartbreak, and I cried, merely because there was too much emotion to hold back any longer. My executive function limitations hit me in my emotional life pretty hard. This week that was more obvious than most weeks in recent months. It’s been a peculiarly emotionally stable year.

I went to bed worried, even, about my relationship with my Traveling Partner. No reason for it, really. At least, nothing I could easily identify. I woke this morning without that insecurity or doubt, feeling rested, anxiety gone; I’m excited about the road trip ahead of me. 3 day weekend with my lover? Yes, please! Sign me up. πŸ™‚Β 

Fuck, I am so glad my “default setting” is no longer despair. I feel fortunate to have survived the first 50 years of my lifetime. Emotions come and go. Like weather. “Who we are” is less volatile, less mutable, and sometimes feels rather… permanent. It isn’t. It’s more like climate; tends to be what it is, but still changeable over time. We become what we practice. No kidding. It’s a slow thing to change the climate – but it can be done. Choose wisely. πŸ™‚

Are you unhappy? Make changes. There’s no map on this journey… it’s rather like setting off on a road trip to see someone you love, unclear of specifically where they are, but with a direction in mind… generally. lol This may help. πŸ™‚ It’s a favorite of mine for reinforcing healthy basics; do the opposite of everything it suggests. lol (Here’s a follow-up on that…)

Maybe something simple this morning? One thing that could be easily improved by one little change in your decision-making, habits, or actions? Start small – committing to a marathon, while breathless from walking across the street may be a bit unmanageable. It’s so easy to become discouraged. I’ve been there…

After years of frustration, despair, and inactivity, I decided to go to the Farmer’s Market, one year. My feet hurt all the time, stupefying medication and unmanaged pain had pretty much nailed me to my couch between work shifts. Doing so would mean a two block walk uphill (barely) from the light rail station. I look back astonished (because I regularly go to the Farmer’s Market quite easily and comfortably, now, and often walk miles, not just blocks) – it seemed hard then. It required effort. Commitment. Patience with myself.

I don’t look at it the same way now, at all. My perspective has changed with my experience over time. Incremental change over time; it wasn’t easy the first time, the second or third times, the fourth time… but eventually, it sure didn’t seem hard, and then… at some point… almost unnoticed, it became quite the natural thing to easily and comfortably do. (For my less physically able readers out there, I’m using an example familiar to me, only, and part of my personal experience, no intention of falling short of being inclusive, but I see where my example could be. I regret any aggravation, or sense of being left out of my consideration that this may cause. Start small, is all I’m saying. πŸ™‚ )

It’s a good reminder for me, too. There is further to go. There is more to do. I still struggle with my weight, health, and fitness. There are changes to make. There is future progress out there on the horizon to be experienced. Incremental change over time takes both time – and verbs. A lot of fucking verbs.

Oh hey, look at the time! It’s definitely time to begin again. This journey won’t make itself. πŸ˜‰

Have you ever considered how strange it is that we put so much into the idea of a resume or curriculum vitae to get the job we want…but don’t put anything like that kind of time into detailing our experience and qualifications for a new relationship? That seems odd to me, given the greater importance of connecting with others over ’employment’, to the quality of our human experience.

Have you ever considered how strange it is that we allow ourselves, that is to say many of us do and much of the time, to treat people we care about, and even love, less well than we treat relative strangers, or colleagues? This also seems very odd to me.

There is likely a valuable understanding or change of priorities to be gained by giving these thoughts more consideration. Certainly, if nothing else, I find myself curiously moved to attempt to write a ‘relationship resume’ just to sort of ‘see where I stand’ in the love market! (I keep myΒ resume up-to-date routinely, whether I am job hunting or not.) The elements that catch my attention are the simple and fairly classic format: an introductory paragraph or ‘personal statement’, relevant education and certifications, a list of relevant skills, and then the important experiences on which I hope to build my future. I’ve never taken a look at me domestically or romantically from the perspective of a resume. It seems a worthy exercise in self-knowledge and preparedness for life and love…possibly fun.

All the practices...

All the practices…

This morning I am using one of many practices to defuse the anxiety I woke with. I woke early. My sleep was adequately restful, I suppose, but interrupted and waking more than half an hour early often has the potentially to start my morning with some irritability. This morning, I also woke to find my aquarium lights didn’t come on. I stubbed my toe heading to the bathroom. I dropped most of my pills into the sink instead of into my mouth. I spent the first several minutes of the morning feeling nauseous. None of it has proven especially challenging so far – I have practices. This morning, distraction – intellectual sleight of hand using problem solving, and learning – has gotten me past most of it. That, and meditation and breathing.

It still blows my mind how powerful breath is; in any stressful moment, pausing to take a few deep cleansing breaths, exhaling fully, and doing so with disciplined awareness, and self-compassion is often enough to nudge me well past any serious turmoil to a place where I can manage things more comfortably. Breathing. Who knew?

Randomly, I observe that I’m over 500 posts here now… and often find that I, myself, benefit from re-reading something I wrote some time ago, working out some similar challenge or puzzle, or just being very human and valuing the reassurance that “I’ve got this” that I sometimes find in words I have written before…or, still struggle with, and could use some perspective. It’s a bit much to wade through more than 500 posts, and I’m rarely so certain I know just what I’m looking for. Instead, I generate a random date and read that post from a new perspective, or look at the dashboard to see what older posts are being read most by other people – and tap the zeitgeist by rereading that one, along with ‘everyone else’.

Have you ever considered how small a number ‘everyone’ may sometimes be, by the implied parameters of a statement? That seems odd to me…but I definitely do that, myself (see above).

Thanks for reading. My writing is another practice that has a lot of potential to calm me, and lower my anxiety, and I appreciate your help with that.

Today is a good day to practice the practices. Today is a good day to change the way I see the world.