Archives for posts with tag: MBSR

The text this morning was to the point, although not as abrupt as I imply in the title of this post. I feel grateful that my sister is right there, with our Mother. For a moment, I imagine this stern, strong, witty woman who raised me, pushing her chair back from a crowded card table, folding a less than ideal hand, and heading into the kitchen to refresh drinks. That memory is of a lifetime ago, in a far away place, disconnected from my experience of “here” and “now”. Do I want her to “hear my voice”? “Non-responsive” doesn’t sound like she’s likely to register voices… we’ve spoken recently, and regularly – is it enough?

…We don’t have a “Book of the Dead”, in our culture… It’s a strange random thought, a forerunner to intense grief.

There are tears in my eyes. I resent them; it’s too soon. Life stretches ahead of me, while I reach my thoughts – and my heart – across great distance. Imagining her as I remember her best; in her late 30s, in her early 40s. Strong. Determined. No bullshit. Rapier wit. Iron will. I observe the characteristics in myself that I most likely got from her; my tenacious loyalty. My intellect. My commitment to being a good provider. My reluctance to walk away from a bad decision. My willingness to hide my emotions for far too long. My laugh. That same laugh that her Mother had, too. I hear Granny’s laugh in my recollection. I feel, for a moment, my Mother’s warmth – like summertime in my heart. I sip my coffee and celebrate this woman who made me.

…Grieving comes soon enough. It’s important to examine those cherished moments as treasures, with great delight, and excessive merriment, and not allow the tears to wash those away. They matter so much more than the tears ever could.

Life didn’t have a map – you did okay with that, Mom. No reason to expect death to be more difficult to master; in a sense, we prepare for it all our lives, don’t we? Striving, clinging – and learning to let go. Good fold, Mom. Safe travels.

You are part of me. My journey began with you.

I sit quietly with my coffee, remembering life with my Mom. My “origin story”. Some details are fuzzy, others crystal clear. Some moments remain painful to this day, others bring me immediate joy when I recall them. One thing is certain; she will not be forgotten. Tears later. Coffee now. I wish she were sitting here, sharing that with me, right now; I have so much to ask, and now there is no time… 

I woke up easily this morning, a nice change from yesterday. Rather oddly, I woke with the whisper of a dream left behind still resonating in my consciousness. Words lingered, although I could no longer recall the dream. “You’re not the good guy, here.” And, “This isn’t about you, at all.” Interesting observations, suitable for many occasions – but I don’t have any context. The dream had already faded.

I’m not “the good guy” here, though, I’m sure of that; I’m a human being, living my life. Only that. Sure, I like to think I am doing my best. Sometimes I actually am. By many practical measures, it isn’t always the case, though; I could sometimes do more, better. That’s real, and very human.

This isn’t about me, at all. Well, much of it is not, that’s also quite true. Most of it, maybe. Like, seriously, almost any detail of any moment I can be present for, still just isn’t much “about” me. I’m here, living and being, and (in this case) drinking coffee…and even this moment, right here, early in the pre-dawn gloom, isn’t much “about” me. It’s about a typical Thursday morning. It’s about this cup of coffee, and this handful of words. It’s about this headache. It’s about the morning traffic, and the sound of little birds in the hedge beyond the window. I’m such a small part of this moment – and not in any “bad” or diminishing way. It’s just that there is so much more to… all of it. I’m just one consciousness present in this here-and-now. Taken in the larger context of “everything else”, my breath, and my very life force, are minuscule. That’s okay, too; there’s a lot of life to live, and a lot of details to take in. If I spend all of my energy on my small concerns, I’ll miss a lot of other stuff. lol

I stop drinking coffee long enough to meditate. Nice morning for it. Today, it does nothing for the headache. I hadn’t seriously expected that it would, but sometimes it does. If nothing else, it often gives me perspective on life that makes it seem of less consequence.

…I realize rather abruptly that I’d forgotten to take my morning medication when I got up. I go ahead and do that, once I’ve poked around in my recollection of the morning a bit, trying to be sure I’m correct about that (doesn’t do anything good for me to take it twice, I promise you that!) – I wash it down with coffee, feeling vaguely guilty about doing that (it’s supposed to be taken with a glass of water…). I let that petty shit go.

My body is uncomfortable, this morning. This fucking headache. Why do I call it a headache, I wonder? It is also a terrible bit of pain in my neck, and a weird jabby stabby sensation in my ear when I turn my head, sometimes, and also a rather horrible permanently cramped up trapezius, particularly painful along the top, from my neck to my shoulder. These pains all feel related to each other, and nothing much helps, so far. I think I would endure it more easily if I knew what the problem is. I’ve been in significant pain since about 1990, when my osteo arthritis developed, I don’t really expect to ever be entirely “pain free” again in my life… I do my best to care for this fragile vessel skillfully, and ease the pain as much as I am able to without poisoning myself or wrecking my health in some other way. It could be worse. I’d just like an answer to the question “what the fuck??”

Fuck. A glance at the clock reminds me of the work day ahead. Pain and employment are not really the best-ever combination of experiences, and it requires so much to stay ahead of the irritability, the distraction, and the misery of it. I breathe. I let it go. We all walk our own hard mile. We’re each having our own experience. Unavoidably, the pain I live with is the worst pain I can imagine; it’s what I know. Each one of us has our own challenge, and I am certain I have coworkers whose pain is more severe, whose life contains more chaos, who woke this morning frightened, or sad, or angry, or needing a moment of support and consideration. I can, if nothing else, do my best not to add to any of that, myself, and to be considerate, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. I can, at least, try. Another breath. Another sip of coffee. Another moment to consider how fortunate I am to be mostly fairly healthy, all things considered, and to live with pain that doesn’t debilitate me to the point that I can’t work at all. It could be so much worse.

…Fuck this headache, though! Neck-ache? Whatever. Fuck all of that painful nastiness.

It’s time to begin again. I’ve got to work with “the materials on hand” in this life, and unfortunately, pain is a thing. I breathe through it, finish my coffee, and turn to face the day as the sun rises. 🙂

I catch myself sitting for some minutes, quietly, just… staring forward at this page. I sat down, as usual, with a hot cup of coffee, warm from my shower, (and today, smelling like sweet peas and violets) and that was… 23 minutes ago. Since then? No words. Not really thinking “about” anything. Just… sitting. I finally notice, shake it off, and sip my coffee. Huh. Very drinkable. Was it really only 23 minutes…?

I sit awhile longer, this time with the addition of sipping my coffee, contentedly. Some mornings, I’m fairly well awake before my feet hit the floor… this? Is not one of those mornings. lol My head is foggy. I could as easily go back to sleep this moment, without even taking off my boots, as lift a finger to make any sort of effort, in any direction. My brain helpfully reminds me to start the dishwasher before I leave the house. The reminder exists, mocking me just a bit; I’m quite likely to forget even with the thought to remind myself still lingering in my consciousness, unless I get up this instant and take care of it.

I sit here quietly, still, sipping my coffee. I am not remotely concerned about the dishes in this moment. 🙂

Music? No, I struggle even to lift my fingers to type, this morning. Searching a playlist and putting on headphones sounds like work. I continue to sip my coffee, grateful that it has cooled off enough (due to all the fucking time wasting and sitting around) to simply drink it. I need this cup of coffee this morning; it is the blurry boundary between sleeping and waking, today. lol

Although I risk dozing off, I know that meditation also tends to help me fully wake up and get my consciousness going, so I get comfortable, and prepare to sit a few moments longer, with purpose; awareness, resilience, and a deep down calm that supports a busy work day.

I take the time I need, and support the human being I am, on a journey to becoming who I most want to be.

After the meditation? A new day begins. 🙂

I woke early. Ridiculously early. 2:22 a.m. early. lol Doesn’t wreck the taste of my (early) morning coffee, and I am content to be here, in the early morning quiet, a bit earlier than usual.

…To be fair, I went to bed early, too, as a result of not really sleeping the night before; I was just wiped out, after a busy day of working through the fatigue, and the extra work of seeking to manage my moment-to-moment behavior in the context of shared work, all day, with colleagues I respect, and who see me as both adult, and as a management professional, well… yeah… I was exhausted by the time I got home. My Traveling Partner kindly suggested I just go ahead and go to bed, fairly early in the evening. Realistically, I was a bit too stupid with fatigue to think of that. LOL “Bed time” came early last night. I’m up early this morning. No surprise. No stress. Good coffee.

I sip coffee. Breathe. Relax. Let the stray thoughts come and go. Let fears and doubts go. Another breath. Another moment. 🙂 I think back on moments from yesterday – not the work moments; the work moments will take care of themselves in the context of work, when I am in the office and on the clock, once again. Nope. Those don’t need my attention right now. Instead I am thinking back on flowers, on the scent of the early morning breeze, the smile of a friend in passing, a hilarious joke I’d already forgotten; this is a moment for building a firm foundation of emotional resilience through a favorite practice. I am “taking in the good“, and enjoying my morning coffee, contentedly.

Even the flowers in urban landscaping can become a meaningful moment of delight, contentment, and joy.

I think back to an earlier starting point on this journey, and how much misery filled my moment-to-moment, hour-by-hour, day-to-day experience of living. It often felt so entirely pointless. It was, at first, a major challenge to “find” even small moments of anything wonderful, beautiful, uplifting, joyful… and here I am, a couple years down this very strange path, and in spite of the often overwhelming seeming miseries and hardships of the world, I can find a moment of joy to savor, almost any time, almost anywhere. It’s a nice change. (Yes, of course, there were verbs involved, and a lot of practice. Worth it.)

A moment of will, a decision to “let it go”, and the choice to turn attention to something small, something beautiful… can change the character of an entire day.

I breathe. Relax. Repeat. Moments to contemplate simple beauty. Moments to savor a good cup of coffee in the chill of morning. Moments to enjoy being, without an agenda, without the stress of time or timing. Moments, so often, are enough. Stuck in a shitty one? Breathe. Relax. Let it go. Just let that shit go. Take another breathe. Sky still blue? Are you okay, right now? Another breath, another moment. Repeat as needed. Take a walk. Keep breathing. Let the stressors weighing you down fall away for a moment – you can pick those up later, if you really feel you must. Another breath, another moment. Another choice.

…I catch myself thinking about a singularly unexpected (and challenging) moment, yesterday; a colleague’s emotional investment erupting to the surface, catching me by surprise. I value their opinion, and experience. I spend a moment considering a question; what do they need to feel heard, on this? I make a point to set a reminder to follow up, to take time to listen deeply. I don’t know everything. This is a shared journey.

…Then I let that go, too, and return to this quiet moment, and this delicious cup of coffee. Soon enough it will be time to begin the day, for now, this moment here is quite enough. 🙂

Yesterday, along with my morning coffee and some hang out time with my Traveling Partner, I was relaxing and found myself appreciating how easy life feels, and how far I’ve come… Lovely feelings for what they are, but of course, these too are transitory parts of the experience of life. Later in the day, I got a healthy reminder; the damage has been done.

Sometimes it’s sunny in the garden of my heart, sometimes it rains. Roses can bloom, rain or shine.

No kidding. It’s possibly not about where I am in life now (rarely is, really), and when I find myself faced with a moment of struggle, a challenge, a bit of emotional bad weather, I sometime forget in that moment, that a lot of this chaos and damage was built so long ago that the “schematics have been lost”. I don’t easily understand why, sometimes, old hurts surface, or why shitty programming is still a thing, ever. It is what it is. I don’t lay down and die over it – that seems excessive. Still. I have moments when I feel hurt, or confused, or struggle with learned helplessness in a great relationship – over shit that damaged me decades ago, in shitty relationships. That’s just real.

…Some of the damage we sustain in the course of a lifetime is quite permanent. I know, I know, hardly the usual message of positivity, but hear me out here; that’s still okay. We become what we practice. It’s nearly always improvable. It’s not that I can’t heal – I know incremental improvement takes time. When I’m feeling really fine, and quite excellent, comfortable in my skin – and in my relationships – that is 100% when I am least watchful for life’s next lesson. There definitely is always a next lesson. lol

An otherwise lovely moment went sideways for me in a moment of learned helplessness colliding with my brain injury. I dithered. I stalled. I literally could not act upon an otherwise routine bit of circumstance. Embarrassing and a tad scary for me. Frustrating and probably hurtful for my Traveling Partner, taken by surprise by my absolute failure to “use my words” or affirmatively respond to this particular situation in any effective way. We let it go, with effort, both realizing it likely wasn’t something I could have done anything about, just then. It felt exceedingly awkward. The rest of the evening passed, for me, somewhat laboriously; I felt self-conscious, raw, insecure, and that I had failed to successfully adult in any legitimate way.

This morning, I let it go, again. It’s a new day. An entirely fresh start. A new beginning. That really matters this morning. I grab that opportunity with both hands, and hold on, then laugh at myself… because this, too, will pass. lol I sip my coffee, breathe deeply, and practice non-attachment, however unskillfully… lots of things take practice. 🙂