Archives for posts with tag: keep practicing

Some of my “favorite” practices feel the most difficult… or… it’s at least accurate to say that some simple-seeming practices present me with my greatest challenges. It doesn’t much matter whether it is the brain injury, or the PTSD, or the circumstances, or the particular relationship affected by either my ineptitude or the lack of proficiency on some thing or another… difficult is difficult. “Hard” is subjective, in this case.

This evening I’m watching the light fade, filtered through the window shade, and thinking about an important simple-but-difficult practice, “listening deeply“. Practices need practice. Maybe this is more accessible?

…Maybe this is relevant, too? (I know, I know, none of us want to think so, but, …_) I’m just saying.

Paying attention, really listening (instead of “waiting to talk”) isn’t “automatic” – and some of us really really have to work at it. I’m even saying that there is legitimate intimate and social value in doing so. It’s worth it to get to be a “good listener”. So… I focus on the practice.

I seriously need more practice, too… I cut people off while they are still talking, way too often. It really doesn’t matter whether I’m correct or incorrect about where the conversation is going – cutting people off that way, interrupting, is rude. I am aware this is something I need work on. I work on it. Practices need practicing. I can tell I still need more practice. So… yeah. Working on it.

…I get interrupted too. A lot. At work, at home, out in the world… I’m not the only human being who would benefit from working on my listening skills. I suspect maybe a whole bunch of us, maybe even “most”, would find life and relationships improved by tackling this important life skill.

So. Here I am. Sitting in the afternoon light of a winter day, and wondering “fucking hell, how do I still suck so much at this particular skill?” I mean… it’s meaningful to me, it matters to me, it is a lot of what I want when I converse with someone – that they listen to me. Just seems reasonable that they’d want the same…and yet… I still need so much practice.

…I sigh out loud, rubbing my aching neck…

…It’s time to begin again.

Today is weird. I mean… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a day. lol

The morning was lovely. I shared my morning coffee with my Traveling Partner. Mornings together over coffee are becoming a routine, which tends to crowd writing out of the morning plan. I enjoy my partner’s company. We never know how long we get to travel life’s journey with any one special human being, do we? I’m enjoying the moments as they come.

The work day became a busy bit of chaos unexpectedly quickly. I frankly over-reacted. Not in any notably dramatic way, I just took the moment more seriously than it proved to be worth, given time. One of those “oh. this is not an actual problem at all” moments. I would have benefited from taking a minute, taking a step back, and giving the whole thing some thought… Very much as I too-often, too-insistently, too-ineffectively sometimes suggest someone else do, in some other moment. Very fucking human. At some point, something clicked. I took a breath. I had more context. I rather literally “shrugged it off” with a shrug, when I realized how little the circumstances really mattered, in fact.

…Now I’m sitting here feeling just a little silly, and feeling vaguely fretful about purposeless anxiety and bullshit over nothing, and wondering again what the simplest steps to being the most balanced, calm, reasonable version of myself would be… I look to my day-to-day practices for some minutes, just “thinking things over”, then noticed something… I am finding myself “pretty balanced”, and I’m feeling very calm. There wasn’t anything particularly “unreasonable”, or unpleasant or harmful or rude, about my behavior at any point… just a day, with a bit of unexpected chaos. Handled reasonably. Progress over time. πŸ™‚ Keep practicing.

I take another breath, and begin again.

I had gone into the office yesterday, and I stuck it out for more than half my shift before calling it a day and going home to be sick more efficiently. I crashed out and slept most of the day away, waking briefly for tea, broth, or a slow woozy chills-and-sweats journey to the bathroom. I slept through the night without waking, when the time came. I woke this morning, still feeling symptoms, struggling some little bit with a stuffy head. Better, but not over it. Today I’ll work from home.

The hard part right now is not over-working myself when I do start feeling better. There are sticky notes all over the house reminding me to slow down and to pace myself. lol A short and unexpected bout of coughing catches me by surprise. Time for a cup of coffee or tea – some hot liquid of some kind.

…And I manage to somehow screw that up… coffee ground, drip cone ready, kettle on; I let work distract me as soon as I logged into work tools, and never heard the kettle’s quiet “click” letting me know the water was hot. Yep. Still sick. I paused when I realized what I’d done (or more accurately, failed to do) and quickly restarted that process, and sat down with a satisfying hot cup of coffee, that went cold before I drank it, because I got caught up in work. LOL Oh my. It’s gonna be like that, is it?

So, I resign myself to work, and capitalize on my early morning energy and willingness to focus on it. The headache I’ve still got, and the stuffy head, suggest I won’t be working any long hours. Probably for the best. πŸ™‚

The self-care details do matter. It’s a complicated puzzle, though. On the one hand, I know that taking contagious illness into the office drives absenteeism as other people succumb and call out, day after day. On the other hand, there is nearly always also the subtly conflicting messaging that we have an obligation as productive adult citizens to commit to the agenda of our employers and show up. There’s work to be done! Are we really that sick??! It’s a weird and counter-productive conflict that seems to be so commonplace most of us fail to even gain traction on the idea that maybe, just maybe, our employers have a specifically pro-work agenda they are focused on that doesn’t support wellness at all – and can’t. I’m fortunate to be able to take the work-from-home option when I need to, but can’t help but also take notice of my own discomfort with making the choice to take care of myself. If I were a school kid, I would not be going to school today, and I’d stay home bundled up in bed. Period.

Is adulthood defined as “having reached the point in our maturity when we can efficiently take over the day-to-day management of our own employer-serving exploitation”? Well… that sucks. 0_o

Today I’m working on taking care of me, and making the attempt to make that the focus of my day. I’m no good to my employer if I am too sick to function. I’m no good to myself if I work myself literally to death.

Self-care matters. I do, actually, care about myself. So… there’s that. πŸ™‚ Time for a hot cup of coffee that I can enjoy while it is still hot. πŸ˜‰ I’ll just have to begin again.

 

Yesterday was lovely, generally speaking. Good start to the dayΒ sort of morphed into a pleasant commute that became a productive and jovial work day that finished softly with an errand, a slightly different route home, and gentle conversation with my Traveling Partner, before winding down and becoming a peculiarly early bedtime that was also a night when I did not easily fall asleep. lol All in all, a lovely day.

I make a point to take a few minutes to look back on yesterday, specifically because it was a good day. We so easily fall into the habit of obsessing over the details that were raw, or annoying, or didn’t work out, or which trouble us, picking at those moments like sores – we can’t help but keep fussing with them, but allowing that to become who we are results in a fairly poor quality of life experience, and I’ve been practicing differently. I let myself contentedly gloss over most of the small moments that “missed the mark”; I am entirely unconcerned with those. I focus on what worked. I contemplate good feelings. I smile and remind myself about the bits that were unusually pleasant and replay those in great detail while I sip my morning coffee. I practice “taking in the good“.

I smile again when I remember I just ordered Rick Hanson PhD’s new book, too; “Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness“. I chuckle when I also recall the remnant of youthful cynicism that suggested, last night, that there “wouldn’t be anything really new in this…” in subtle discouragement… but… I can’t help but also be very aware that “we become what we practice”, and that whether this is fully 100% new material is not actually relevant to having a good experience of living life. It matters more to practice the practices that support me on this journey to becoming the woman I most want to be. πŸ™‚

So far, today is another pleasant day, in a life that is largely characterized by contentment, these days. It’s hard to want to “begin again” when “now” is, in this moment, quite easily enough. πŸ˜€

I’ll just be over here practicing. πŸ˜‰

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˜‰