Archives for posts with tag: MBSR

“I need to find balance.” I woke with the sound of the words in my head, as if snatched from my dream. I may have said them aloud, and thus woke myself a moment ahead of the alarm. The sensation of the thought was as though I were a playful youngster, standing over the fulcrum of a see-saw on a playground, applying pressure first to one leg, then to the other, as the motion of the thing shifted back and forth, fairly ceaselessly. I felt no particular frustration, nor did it seem surprising that balance was only a goal, and did not seem achievable in any final way. It seemed quite practical and real that balance continued to be something to seek, to strive for, to pursue gently, with greater or lesser success from moment-to-moment, always ahead of me, never quite secured. I woke feeling quite settled and content, nonetheless.

I sip my coffee this morning, cold by intention. I give a moment of thought to a friend’s recent fairly successfully book release; no surprise, it’s a good book. I think about a manuscript of my own, ready for publication, quietly waiting for me to find balance.

I think a bit about work; balance is of value there, too.

I see another new doctor, today. I am hoping for a step forward in basic healthcare. Feeling hopeful, I attempt to sort out my thoughts for the appointment, and become aware of the amount of baggage I’ve been carrying around labeled “fuck doctors, fuck health care, fuck this headache”. I give myself some patience, a moment to be heard, and put some of that down, so I can start fresh with a new doctor (again), and maybe find balance.

Thinking about my appointment gets me thinking about my health, generally, which I sometimes think is “pretty good”, and other times figure is likely killing me in the background, while I’m sitting around watching Rick & Morty re-runs. 0_o Grim, right? Yeah, I could do better. There are so many verbs involved!! Finding balance, proper balance, between effort and stillness, stymies me. I let myself think over my missteps, and also celebrate moments of solidly good choices and forward progress. Again, balance. 🙂

My work shift will be later today, after my appointment. My routines are broken, and I am even planning to head down south to see my Traveling Partner, leaving from work, on a Friday afternoon. (What am I thinking??) I want to spend more time with him. Miss him dreadfully. Two nights. A day. Morning coffee, then home again to do the work thing another week. I peek at my calendar as the thought crosses my mind. Next weekend I’ve got a weekend at home to rest, and to catch up on things here, again. Balance. It really does seem to work like a teeter totter or a seesaw. (Are those actually different things, at all?) Well… I guess it is progress that I over-correct less often. 😉

One thing, then another, back and forth, a little here, or a little more over there, finding balance. It’s time to begin again.

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. 🙂

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. 🙂

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. 🙂

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

Tuesday it was Kate Spade. This morning, I read that Anthony Bourdain has also taken his own life. I pause for a moment to consider the engaging chef whose books and television shows entertained and educated me. I enjoyed his wit. The headline “Anthony Bourdain Has Died” didn’t prepare me for the further information regarding his suicide. There’s a certain different ache in my soul when I read of suicide…

…I know what despair feels like.

Well, shit. It’s a scary, seriously frightening and frustrating world these days. I get feeling overwhelmed by despair. Some days it is hard not to. We will see, for days to come, articles about suicide help lines, and some analyses of what drives people to take their own lives. There will be salacious gossip about the lives of the fallen. Someone will share a recent article about the high rate of senior or veteran suicides. Most of the people who read those will shake their heads, and turn away, unaware someone dear to them is on the brink of making that major “life” decision.

Connect with your loved ones, your friends, associates, and coworkers. Be sure to mention that they matter to you in an authentic way, and be real about it. It’s not about hyperbole and fake compliments, and it isn’t necessary to use superlatives. Easier to straight up give voice to that thing they do that you enjoy, or count on, or appreciate, or wish you did as well – or, fucking hell, just have lunch, or coffee – make time. Be present. Don’t rush those connected social moments; they are what matter most in our days. There’s no knowing when someone may choose to check out, and while you may not be able to change their mind about it, you can, at least, enjoy who they are while they are here.

On the other side of the equation, please consider sticking around awhile? If you’re considering a firm end to the chaos, and stress, and trauma, and struggle, and despair… please, just for a moment, consider that there may be other things you have yet to try. There may be practices that improve your experience, even if they don’t change the entire world, itself. Incremental change takes time – please give yourself some. Someone, I promise you, will miss you if you go.

I stayed. There are a lot of verbs involved, but it has been, very much, worth it to have stayed. I’ll go on with that, with staying around I mean, because things got better. Things continue to get better. I can’t promise that for you, but I can assure you that choosing change results in changes, so long as you do the verbs. 🙂 Your results may (will) vary, and the changes you choose in life may be somewhat askew from the changes you subsequently find unfolding around you, but change is. Despair isn’t particularly sustainable, it’s just annoyingly difficult to see through when we’re feeling it.

There’s one irksome thing about suicide that never fails to leave me feeling bereft and discontent; I don’t know why. No, I mean… I don’t know why. That’s what leaves me feeling so bereft and discontent. I’m not sure there’s any solid “why” to suicide. Surely, people have their reasons. Many leave a note behind, but often those are not public, and even when they are public, they leave so much left unexplained – as if I think there is, or should be, a reasonable explanation when despair overtakes someone. Despair is shitty enough to be its own reason.

One more time, I let the “why?” go, and pause for a moment to say good-bye to a fallen soul. I pause for regret. I pause to appreciate, to mourn, to find personal solace after a time. I pause to be aware I am, myself, okay right now… as though it could creep up on me, and take me by surprise, myself…

…Then I begin again.

I woke at 4 am. The headache nagging at me had all the signs of likely being caused by dehydration, in spite of the quantity of water I am drinking. I need to be drinking more; it’s just that dry here. Fresno is, more or less, a city snatched from a desert by sheer cussedness. It’s not the most hospitable climate for human primates, but we adapt pretty easily.

With effort, and considerable awkwardness as my muscles protest, I get up, get a big big drink of unbelievably icy cold water from the near-frozen bottle of water in the tiny (working, quiet, convenient, appreciated) fridge. I think I’m going back to bed. I’m not. I don’t. I’m awake.

Fuck this headache.

I drink more water. I check my email. I rather pointlessly hunt for the tiny earring back that fell to the floor when I got up; I forgot to take my earrings out last night. In spite of the early hour, I was that tired. No matter. I give up; I’m not even awake at that point and the effort is wasted until sometime after sunrise. There is only one working light in the room, and it doesn’t illuminate much at all. lol

I drink more water. I’ve been drinking more than a gallon of water a day. It’s not enough. This is Fresno.

So hot.

I’ve a journey ahead, and find myself feeling a pang of reluctance to return “home” so soon. How is this place not home? I mean… yeah. I could, still, call this place home. I miss these friends. I miss the life that had been developing, before I moved, chasing “love” (sex, actually, and maybe security). A different path might not have brought my Traveling Partner and I together, so, no regrets, really… But, oh this place! These friends. I miss a great deal of what “here” has to offer. It’s hard to leave so soon.

…On the other hand. I miss my own place. This small room confounds me. lol I am traveling quite light on this trip, and I’m missing a few things for everyday expected comfort. I can’t paint… no art supplies. 0_o In this heat, I don’t have the energy for hiking and shooting nature photographs. The heat exhausts me; I slept in every morning but this one. That peculiar sleep of desert folk, where the best deepest sleep really begins shortly before dawn, after the night has cooled off all that it will. It makes sleeping in quite effortless; it’s the best sleep. This morning I woke early with a headache, having somehow not consumed enough water yesterday. It’s a bit annoying, really; I was looking forward to the sleep. :-\

The Author will pick me up around 8am, and we’ll go out to breakfast somewhere sort of near the airport before he drops me off to people watch and read before my flight departs. I’ll arrive home, hours later, after a layover, after ride from the airport to my residence. There will be the moment of relief. The setting down of bags. The discerning glance around the place as I note how well or poorly I have welcomed myself home, based on how thoroughly I prepared for that moment, before I departed. A shower. A quiet evening. Then… back to the routines of life. Not as if this trip hadn’t happened – it has been too profoundly rewarding and connected for that – more grateful to have had the experience, and the opportunity to see so many people so dear to me, than anything else. A needed vacation.

Headed back to a cooler climate.

Still with the fucking headache? I drink more water, and look at the time. It’s time to begin again. 🙂