Archives for posts with tag: make the effort

This morning was definitely an autumn morning. The deck rail was frosty. The air was crisp and cold. Afternoon is approaching. The day is still cool enough to be quite obviously autumn. The sunshine has a friendly welcoming appearance, but lacks real warmth. (I’m not even complaining, just noticing.)

One sunny morning.

I take a slow relaxed approach to my break. I spend some time thinking about far away friends, old friends, distant family, and letters I mean to write. I promise myself I’ll take time for that… I am doubtful of my commitment to it, although I love writing letters. Strange.

I take a deep, relaxing breath of autumn. I taste the fall leaves and hint of forest and creek on the breeze. I marvel at the blue sky overhead. For a moment, this is more than merely “enough” – it is “everything”. 🙂

I take time to soak in the moment. Then, I begin again.

I woke in pain this morning. Ah, but, I am also undeniably well-rested. That’s something. I scrolled through my feed too early, not quite awake, and fucking hell, the news is not very pleasant. On the other hand, there’s also quite a lot of hopeful news, and, historically, a lot of forward momentum, too. So… I guess that’s something to hold onto. Back and forth – finding “balance” is its own challenge. Like a pendulum or a see-saw, my experience, mood, perspective, and general sense of both wellness and self, shift, swing, adjust, wobble… It’s kinda crazy up in here. You, too?

Where is your fulcrum? What do you pivot on? What supports that search for balance, and soothes your stress? For me, it’s “now”. Just that, and it’s pretty basic, uncomplicated stuff. I come back to this present quiet moment, right here. If “now” is also really super shitty (and not the national or global heart-wrenching what-the-fuck-is-going-on “now”, we’re talking about our personal right here, this instant, “now”) I may need to walk on, get some distance, and work from some other slightly future “now”, when I get to it – more often than not I simply need to let go my attachment to something or other I’ve begun to cling to emotionally, and be truly present, myself, in this “now” right specifically here where I am, myself.

A flower. A moment. There is effort in tending my garden with care.

I woke in pain. Yeah, that sucks. Could be worse pain than it is. That’s something. Perspective is a big deal. I don’t focus on other moments of worse pain, though, that’s sort of backwards, as it happens. I sit gently with my thoughts, contemplating entirely other things than pain, at all. There’s the art show tomorrow night. That’s a thing. I’m excited about it. I consider the work I’ve selected, and what all I may need for the evening, generally, and the pain slips from my consideration for a time. I share a moment of conversation with a far away friend over my coffee. I water the container garden on the deck in the lavender light of dawn, before the summer sunrise. Perspective helps me find balance.

Carefully selected work waiting to be seen.

I sip my coffee, already past that irksome moment when I observed I’d yet again allowed myself to run out of “easy options”. I smirked at myself, leaning on the counter for support, hurting, painfully aware (literally) that the state of things is entirely my own doing, for me to manage. There’s plenty to make coffee with; it all requires effort. Effort, I point out to the woman in the mirror, is not a swear word, and is, in fact, a goal. Making more of it results in greater emotional and physical wellness, and connects me more fully to the things that matter to me most. There are verbs involved, and don’t I know it! I pull myself upright with a sigh, and make a pour over. My coffee is very good this morning. Better than convenient. Better than easy. Made with love. There’s a lesson in here somewhere.

Back and forth with myself all morning. Finding balance. Using perspective. Making an effort. Practicing practices. I smile and sip my coffee.

…Then sneeze, spilling coffee in my lap, and rather hilariously also sneezing it all over my keyboard. Damn it. Already time to begin again. 😉

This morning I had to admit it; I’ve hit a wall. I’m stalled. I sat for almost an hour staring into the text editor of my blog, fingers – and mind – motionless. What the hell?

I scrolled through Facebook rather mindlessly. I put that aside, aggravated with myself. I tried to read the news, but I don’t actually want to fill my thoughts with that garbage, either. lol I put on music, which satisfies me and fills that cognitive void, but doesn’t “fix” anything. I update my “to do list” – rescheduling all the crap I could have done yesterday to be things I intend to do today. Then I move them to tomorrow. Omg. Seriously?

I pause everything for meditation. No timer. No agenda. Just a few moments of alone time with the woman in the mirror, breathing. Shifting gears from thinking to practicing awareness, only, is what got my attention more clearly focused on this bit of stalled progress. More awareness of the underlying fatigue, the yearning in the background, the loneliness competing with the delights of solitude, the world in fierce competition for my attention with the things that truly matter most to me, personally. It’s a puzzle. How do I snatch my attention, energy, and effort back from the agendas of the media, my employer, and the world?

…With great commitment and a lot of practice, I suppose… there are verbs involved. So many verbs. lol

I get back to my “to do list” and my coffee. I consider the one or two tasks that keep being reliably postponed, rescheduled, pushed off for another day, and wonder if I am allowing those, and my reluctance to deal with them, to derail me generally…? Or… Am I “just being lazy”? (Whose words are those, I wonder?) When I examine the tasks on my list that I’d like to finish up, I can see there isn’t even 2 hours of real work involved… I just… yeah. I just haven’t been doing those things. This is a less than ideally productive approach. lol

Tonight won’t be the time for all that, and it feels inconvenient to want to wipe that list clean now. I smile into my coffee, aware my impatience is one more way my primate brain seeks to distract me from simply doing; I can lead with my frustration and annoyance, become invested in the emotional experience and … not do anything about the things that create the experience. Uh-huh. Well… okay, so I specifically don’t want to do things quite that way, so I get up from my chair, in the middle of my writing and do one thing, and cross it off the list. I sit down smiling, and continue to sip my coffee.

Did you know that checking things off the list gives me a boost? It does. Fairly similar to the feeling of reward and satisfaction I feel when I receive a like on a post, or when I get a notification that someone has messaged me. It’s a very real chemical reward, but does require the bit of effort needed to go from seeing the item on the list, to completing it, to checking it off. I’ve noticed just checking off shit I haven’t done does not produce the same effect – although adding something to the list that wasn’t listed, but got completed, in order to simply check it off is every bit as rewarding as checking off something that has lingered on the list for ages. Do you keep a list? Have you noticed that little jolt of good feeling chemistry, and a sense of accomplishment, when you check things off that list?

Here’s where the verbs pile up, though, like rush hour traffic; I know these things about my experience, and still find myself stalled sometimes, and not doing the verbs. Very human. How to get past that? Push on. I don’t have a better answer. Do one thing. Then do another. Make a point of it. Turn off the TV. Turn off YouTube. Disconnect. Do the thing. Then do another. Make a point of it. Check it off the list. Did something not listed? Add it to the list. Check it off. Repeat. See something else that needs doing? Add it to the list. Do it. Check it off. Repeat. There is a path to completion – it is paved with verbs. lol These chores are not going to do themselves!

Time to begin again. 🙂 I’ve got this list, and a bit of time before work…

My busy week has been nothing like “routine”. I’m still smiling. I did not see my Traveling Partner last night, as we’d planned, the hour of evening was later than we’d figured when my hair appointment ended, I’d started the day quite tired already, and my partner considerately suggested I get the rest I needed and embrace the late Thursday night ahead without additional fatigue. Good idea. I agreed. I’m still smiling. I’m alert. Rested. In no particular pain in spite of the rainy morning. I am ready for a late night! Bring it!

It’s been a busy week, sure. It has, however, been more ups than downs. More successes than failures. More challenges overcome, than challenges that thwarted me. More wins than losses. More beautiful moments than aggravating ones. I suspect that this is the truth of life, generally, much of the time, for most of us – if we can find the sweet spot in our perspective from which to view our experience.

This morning I sip my coffee and practice a favorite practice – I take the things I need to practice it with me everywhere I go: memory, experiences, presence, and a kindly disposition toward my very human self. I start simply enough, by remembering something, maybe looking through my recent photographs, or contemplating a moment, conversation, or experience – one that felt really good. That’s the important bit; start with something that feels amazing, before working towards transforming the perspective on a less comfortable moment. Because that’s totally possible too, and does not require compromising my values, telling myself pretty lies, ignoring painful truths, or constructing a fake narrative, it just takes some understanding, some compassion – and some practice. (I learned to transform some painful, awkward, or uncomfortable recollections into recollections with positive value more or less by accident, through the practice of “taking in the good“, and I don’t have “steps” to offer to make that a reliable thing; it requires practice, no avoiding that.)

Did the phrase “working towards” cause you to lose interest? Yeah… You’re probably going to have to get over that. Just saying. There are verbs involved. The effort must, in fact, and unavoidably, be your own. 😉

A beautiful way to say thank you (to me) (because I like flowers) (in vases) (and being appreciated). Flowers from colleagues. My work space smells like a garden. 😀

The complicated week has been dimpled with beautiful moments. A promotion. An appreciative gift of flowers. Smiles from colleagues in moments of shared success and celebration. A festive dinner out with my Traveling Partner and a dear friend. A delightful outcome on new hair color. It’s not even over yet – and there’s still more to appreciate, to pause for, to savor, to relish, to sit with in gentle contemplation over a great cup of coffee, too early in the morning. 🙂

So look, my life isn’t “perfect” (and that’s not a thing, so let that go now!) – my arthritis pain has been kicking my ass all this rainy chilly week, and I’ve had an on again/off again headache that has chased me for days. My schedule is a so far off routine at this point it is wreckage, calendar in useless tatters, which is deeply uncomfortable for me. My sleep, until last night, has been of exceedingly poor quality, offering little rest. A wee fish in my aquarium died. The first time my Traveling Partner ever saw my new place, my bed wasn’t made – which bugs me. The powerful “Me, Too.” meme unfolded on Facebook and Twitter, which although powerful and extraordinary, was also painful, uncomfortable, and saddening. Life is not about perfection. We are human. So human. Pain is a thing. Sickness is a thing. Emotional anguish is a thing. Running late is a thing. Being ditched is a thing. Disappointment is a thing. Setting ourselves up for failure is a thing. Learned helplessness is a thing. This is a “choose your own adventure” sort of experience – and you have choices. But…

It isn’t “easy”. It does take practice. It is utterly necessary to “do something” about “that” – whatever it is. 🙂 One thing at a time, and it’s okay to take it slow, to fumble, to get it wrong, and to have to begin again…

…like…

…a bunch of times.

This is your experience. The craftsmanship involved in making it a “good one” (defined by you) is yours.

This morning I’m fortunate to be sitting in the sweet spot. It’s been a busy week. I’m still smiling. That’s enough. 🙂