Archives for posts with tag: let it go

New day. New cup of coffee.

I woke abruptly, way too early for a day off, although it’s likely I got enough rest. I woke from peculiar bad dreams that felt a bit as if I were “having someone else’s nightmares”. I woke with a nasty headache, but otherwise not in much pain. Stiff. Cranky. Feeling a bit inclined toward keeping to myself until the fog of recent bad dreams dissipates.

It is a new day. An entirely new, fresh, day, as yet uncommitted to anything in particular. I’ll probably do the housekeeping I’d planned to do yesterday, and ended up blowing off in favor of a joyful relaxed day with my Traveling Partner. Later though; right now is time for coffee (and waking up).

It’s lovely to have a three day weekend. Memorial Day, though, weird “holiday”. More an “observance”, for me, than properly a holiday. A day to be reminded of the high cost of war. I sip my coffee and think about fallen comrades. I’m 57 next month, more of my comrades have fallen since the war than fell during the war. I lost touch with most of the survivors of our war when I left Facebook. I mean, I have their email addresses, though. I sip my coffee and think about emailing them. Maybe on Veteran’s day?

One day closer to moving. Still too far out to begin packing things into boxes (I may find them useful between now and then…?), but we’ll likely begin doing that next weekend. Plenty of time yet for planning, talking, sharing, thinking out loud about this or that feature in the new place… I enjoy it.

So… here it is, another day. Another opportunity to be the woman I most want to be. Damn I wish I weren’t so grumpy in the morning. :-\ I stare at my coffee. First cup. Maybe the second will ease this pounding headache? There’s a new episode of Rick & Morty to watch… could be a useful distraction from my bad dreams. The lingering fog of my dreams dissipates slowly this morning. There’s very little left besides the unease left behind (and the recollection of a shadowy figure staring into my window), but that’s not an ideal emotional context with which to begin the day. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let that go.

…It’s time to begin a new day. It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜€

 

Every day I am trying to walk my path with my eyes open. I don’t always succeed, but then, few things manage to achieve “always”, or, for that matter, “never”. Those require an unrelentingly high standard of proof. lol I do okay, generally. One step at a time. One practice at a time. One beginning at a time. I just keep starting over, and keep walking. Somewhere along the way, I’ve managed some personal growth. I’ve managed to develop some interpersonal relationship skills. Hell, I have even managed to develop some tact, though I use it less often than would perhaps be welcomed. I am very much a “work in progress”, and my perspective on that, these days, is that there is no “final exam”, no “finish line”, no end in sight – it’s all about the journey. The walking of the path, itself, and the living of this life, is the point. No destination matters as much. I’ll get where I get. I’ll get there when I get there. I try to do my best every moment I can, along the way.

…Still totally human… My results vary.

Today, I write at the end of my day. I’d forgotten I hadn’t written, until the work day ended, and I went back to my blog to review what I wrote in the morning, from the often weary perspective of the other end of a busy day. How’d I do? That’s sort of the point of “checking back”. πŸ™‚ That – and catching spelling mistakes I missed. lol (For real – totallyΒ  human.)

My thinking is sometimes very different later in the day. Real life has had a chance to take the shine off my morning optimism, perhaps, or the day has frustrated or amazed me. Sometimes, I’m so groggy in the morning that my thinking is clouded, simple-minded, or my meandering musings fairly pointless, and my afternoon or evening perspective is sharpened by events that have been more fully considered since the morning. My perspective changes. My results of the day vary. I’ve wrestled with emotion, or found myself struggling with reason, or failed to find a balance between the two. Today, though? Just a day… room to grow.

My Traveling Partner sticks his head into the studio “Do you want to play a cool game and kill some time?”, he asks with a smile. “No,” I smile back, “I want to finish my writing.” He sticks a playful tongue out at me, and closes the door. I’m suddenly stricken by intense anxiety – baggage. Personal demons. Personal demons carrying my baggage. Seriously? This, again? Even knowing my partner has occasionally nagged me for not taking time to do the things that help me maintain balance – and sanity – and that he loves to see me invest some portion of my effort and energy in doing things I love doing, because they are part of who I am; I’m sitting here terrified that he may be hurt and angry, feeling rejected, because I did not drop everything immediately to rush to his side, this time, right now. I don’t berate myself over it. I go gently; there’s real damage here. This? This is scar tissue from decades of abuse in other relationships. This is what surviving sometimes looks like. There’s still “clean-up” to do. Still some healing self-work that needs to be completed. And that’s okay. It’s certainly very human.

I correct my posture. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I imagine myself gently-firmly taking heavy bags from the hands of the exhausted demon carrying them, and setting them down (really imagining it very clearly), on a curb perhaps, or next to a dumpster. I imagine walking away – away from this baggage. Away from that exhausted, defeated demon, standing alone, and a tad puzzled.

…We get to choose our path. We get to choose over and over again. We become what we practice.

I smile to myself. It’s clearly a good time to begin again. πŸ™‚

This too shall pass. I sip my coffee and sigh, this morning. I’m groggy. I could go back to sleep, so easily. It’s a work day, though, and I will log on to my work laptop in a few minutes, and get started. The work day felt pretty short, yesterday (it wasn’t). Will today?

Yesterday’s moment of tension, between my Traveling Partner and I, is still on my mind. It wasn’t a big deal, and it wasn’t about him, or us. I had a moment of feeling “overwhelmed”…by circumstances, by demands on my time, by lack of cognitive bandwidth, by a sense that I somehow wasn’t doing enough to actually take care of myself, and I started weeping over the need to do one more thing in what had already felt like a very busy day. It didn’t last long, and once the moment passed I was more easily able to reflect on it (and take time to meditate, properly, for a few minutes). What was up with all that? I’m not sure, and I’m not sure it matters. If I were a younger woman, I likely would have called it “hormones”, just based on the way it swept in and swamped me, and then simply dissipated. I have a sip of coffee, and let it go. That moment has passed.

This coffee is good. My shoulders ache, an extension of the pain in my neck, and back. I breathe, exhale, relax… I go through all the physical therapy stuff, looking for relief. I go through my history, on YouTube, and remove all the COVID-19 stuff, all the Democratic campaign stuff, all the stuff clicked on absent-mindedly that I don’t need clogging my feed… maybe the content will improve? Small steps to improve the quality of my experience, generally. I glance at the time, reluctant to yield my consciousness or my soul to the work world, again, so soon. There is more to do, and to enjoy, with life’s precious few mortal years, and this morning I find myself more than usually resentful of having to maintain “gainful employment”. I’m yearning for “a proper rest”…

…Then it hits me; once source of background stress is simply the right-now reality of having to let, now, two little vacations go, over COVID-19. Restrictions on gatherings, closures of state parks, closures of many retailers not determined to be “essential”… I was really looking forward to a spring camping outing (and entire week out in the trees), but the reservation has already been canceled by the state park system, as a recent measure to limit the spread of the pandemic. I am “dealing with” the prolonged stay-at-home social distancing mandate pretty well, generally, but this morning? I also find myself seriously peeved about a vacation planned for May becoming… not a thing, after all. I could certainly still take the time off… but… how will it be any different than any day at home, right now? I sigh, and stare moodily into my now-cold coffee.

I breathe, exhale, relax… and let all that go (again). Another breath, another opportunity to let it go. Again.

And another breath. Another opportunity to let go. I make the effort to feel it effortlessly.

And another breath. Another letting go. Another effort. It amounts to practice.

We become what we practice; so I practice calm, and contentment. I practice non-attachment. I practice breathing. I practice letting go.

…I practice beginning again. πŸ™‚

It’s a groggy slow-ish sort of morning. The commute was easy. The coffee adequate to the purpose. My thoughts are still fuzzy around the edges and glitchy with sampled dreams from a night of continuous sleep. I listen to the sounds of freeway traffic beyond the window of the office, as I get my day started.

It is too early for deep thoughts, or complex emotions. I still have them. Attempting to “stuff them down” or suppress them is ineffective; I neither manage to entirely put them aside, nor do I satisfy them. I redirect my attention to work tasks, but find myself still distracted by the internal demands for my attention. Interesting. Clearly, there’s something on my mind that wants to be given attention. “Another time.” I tell myself, but I also know how fickle this brain can be; later today I won’t even remember this moment. It’s such a small thing. Finite. Momentary. Fleeting. Unimportant. πŸ™‚ I let it go, again.

I sip my coffee. As of tomorrow, a year at this job. Nice. πŸ™‚ I’m still enjoying it. Even nicer, still. πŸ˜€

This is also a moment to recognize that my Traveling Partner and I have been close – intimate friends, lovers, partners – for 10 years, now. It’s just a little mind-blowing to recall where we were as people, ten years ago. Who we hung out with. Where we lived. What our relationships were like. What sorts of things we were up to, day-to-day. Life is quite different, then, and now. A reminder that so much more of life is built on impermanence than ever rested on an unchanging “happily ever after”. πŸ™‚ I’m not unhappy about the changes over time – most of it has been an obvious improvement, with the occasional detour through challenging circumstances that provoked a lot of personal (and shared) growth.

…10 years, though…? That’s quite a chunk of lifetime. I sip my coffee and wonder how often my Traveling Partner questions the desires and decisions that brought us together, and keep us together now? Does he ever wonder what life would be like without the encumbrances of attachment? Does he ever yearn for some place or experience that feels out of reach in the context of our relationship? Does he feel loved and supported in our relationship? Does he ever consider walking away from “all of this” – not out of any hurt or animosity, but simply to feel the path beneath his feet take him somewhere entirely new?

I glare into my coffee mug with some annoyance… cold office-quality drip coffee is less than ideally satisfying. Another sip finishes it. I expect I’ll get another cup, anyway, soon enough. I laugh out loud in the stillness of my office, reminded of cups of coffee that were both much worse for drinking, and far more costly (than “free”)… the moment of gratitude becomes a smile of appreciation. This is definitely one of those “this could be much worse” moments. I yield to the gratitude, and invest my attention there. It’s very nice having coffee available. It’s quite lovely to have enjoyed 10 years with my Traveling Partner – and I hope we enjoy many more, together. It’s a comfortably secure feeling to have a job I enjoy, and to be with it for an entire year and still enjoying it. All of it very much “enough” – it’s a good life. I’m grateful for it – I’ve been in far worse circumstances.

…This coffee cup isn’t going to refill itself. I suppose it’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

I’m feeling frustration and despair, this morning (yep, still morning, and not even 4 hours into my day). I’m struggling to pull myself out of the emotional muck, and find perspective. I’m working through the tedious effort involved “letting shit go” and “moving on”. I’m forcing myself through practices that both my intellect and my experience tell me definitely work, but I’m also having to fight a frustrating, pervasive feeling of resistance to the effort, and futility about the likely outcome. This moment right here is hard. Not what I had planned or expected for this first day of the new year. :-\ Fuck 2020. I mean, so far…

PTSD is an absolute motherfucker of a mental health condition. No need to exaggerate, or attempt to persuade; if you’ve been there, you know. If you love someone who has PTSD, you know. Flare ups, episodes, freak outs, flash backs, cognitive distortions, and the frustration, despair, depression, guilt, sorrow, grief, or anger that follow any of those, aren’t as predictable as they might seem they would be, and come at us unexpectedly – in spite of the fairly lasting certainty that we’ll experience them again. Trust me, it’s not a pleasant sort of “surprise”.

I’m having a rough New Year’s Day. Well. Sort of. Right now, I mean. Actually, only about an hour of it was unpleasant. Confusing, surreal, and scary – also good descriptions. Now I’m just… sorting myself out and trying to find my way.

Are you having a rough New Year’s Day, too? Have you handled your self-care skillfully? Are you in a (physically) safe place? Have you taken time to breathe, maybe even meditate? Can you convince yourself to take a step back from the problematic moment? Can you take that a step further and reflect on impermanence (“this too shall pass”), and non-attachment (letting it go)? Can you put your spun up consciousness on pause long enough to reflect on the small things for which you can feel grateful (yes, even right now)? (Anger and gratitude don’t easily exist side-by-side in the same moment.) Do you have a useful distraction at hand (a healthy one), like completing a task that requires some focus, or simply reading a book? (Or writing… see? Here I am, and it does work pretty well, for me, generally; your results may vary.)

…When “things blow over” (assuming you didn’t wreck someone’s property, or injure someone, or do or say something with lasting serious consequences), at a minimum, you’re probably going to have to deliver real apologies to people affected by your PTSD (yeah, I know, it fucking blows, because you already know you most likely won’t receive the same in return, however hurt you feel by the circumstances; it’s not a fully equitable, reciprocal world, and human primates can be dicks – you’ve got to let that go, too, in favor of simply being the person you, yourself, most want to be, because there is real healing in that). An apology is a relatively small thing, isn’t it? Just deal with it, graciously, compassionately, and accept that your “issues” really do affect other people, in some ways every bit as much as your PTSD affects you directly, only… their experience is the only one they can actually feel. Your experience of being disordered, broken, wounded…? They only understand any of that in the abstract, and yes, even if they also have their own PTSD issues to deal with. We have a limited capacity to truly understand each other, however commonplace our experiences may be. We are each having our own experience. For people hurt by a loved one’s PTSD, those sincerely intended, genuine, unreserved and unconditional apologies for the damage done really do matter. Say you’re sorry so you can move the fuck on.

“Stop catastrophizing” may be some of the least useful “advice” ever offered from one human being to another. Just saying – it’s a lot like suggesting that someone should calm down, when they are upset. Well-intended, often potentially correct, inasmuch as it would be helpful (and wise) to do so, but… who can hear the words and then act on them with fond appreciation for the concern? Like… no one, ever. LOL Not how that works. Still… if you can, it’s worth taking the steps needed to shift gears from catastrophe and despair to something, anything at all, less bleak. Small steps are fine. Incremental change over time may be all we can rely on in such moments. While you’re at it… breathe.

One of the nuisances of PTSD is how long it can take to “bounce back”, emotionally (the chemistry of emotion is tricky shit). I’ve been less than consistent with my meditation practice over the past year, and it shows; my resilience is less reliable, less deep, less durable, and I feel it today – it may take me hours (instead of minutes) to recover a positive sense of self, and move on with my day open to any outcome other than this bullshit right here, now. I feel sapped, and vulnerable. I take another drink of this water (self-care 101; if you’ve been crying, you need to drink more water), and remind myself that my “episodes” were once much more severe, lasted a great deal longer, did real damage, and the recovery period was measured in days and weeks, not hours, or minutes.

Progress made is not lost just because one moment goes sideways – it just feels that way. Expect that to be a thing, and be willing to give yourself a fucking break. This shit is hard.

Every word of this today is for me, now. I write, and read it back, paragraph by paragraph, as I go. I am reminding myself, practice by practice, of what it takes to maintain emotional wellness, and attempting to make good on that promise to myself. The feeling of internal resistance has dissipated, which is progress.

In the background, I hear my Traveling Partner slaying monsters of one variety or another; video games are another excellent “escape strategy” when a peaceful morning explodes in emotional chaos. He’s got his own hard mile to walk, and I don’t doubt being my partner makes that all much more complicated. I listen to the measured cadence of his game-play, and find it calming. I pause my writing long enough for a self-inventory of where I’m at right now. I still feel sort of muted and a bit blue, and may be prone to being easily hurt (emotionally) for some hours to come. I put that aside, reminding myself not to take shit personally. My head aches. The ringing in my ears almost deafens me if I turn my attention to it. I feel wrung out. Fatigued. Emotionally bruised. Having a bite of lunch helped. Drinking some water helped, too. The lingering feeling of personal failure and disappointment is a bummer, but, and this is true; it’ll pass.

Hell of a start to a brand new year. I expected better of the day – and of myself. It’s not “too late”, though. I can hit the reset button, any time I choose… right? I consider how best to make use of the moment; there is growth and momentum in mastering the chaos and healing the damage (more than any pleasant easy moment can offer). It’s definitely time to begin again… again.