Archives for posts with tag: meditation works

My mind rarely really rests. When I sleep I often dream vividly, rich in detail, color, emotion, and confusingly real-seeming. When I am awake, driving, shopping, handling some task or another, I am often also “writing” poetry or blog posts – that rarely see publication, having inconveniently become more than my limited memory buffer can store. It’s a continuous internal lecture or conversation with myself. Pause a human being in front of me, chances are I will, at some point, begin to do something rather like attempting to make conversation, but with such high risk of becoming a monologue that eventually, I am likely just chattering away without purpose or focus, or worthy content, even if I actually wanted to sit and read quietly, or work. Not talking when I don’t want to talk requires practice.

I like living alone for something besides the “solitude” (which can, I admit, occasionally become lonely); I like it for the “cognitive stillness” and emotional ease. I like it for the cognitive rest I am now able to get, at least now and then, with so much less work to reach that quiet place.

I have a pretty firm, well-established meditation practice. Meditation has helped me build emotional resilience, a calm “center” I can return to with relative ease, and a certain chill something or other which has made life considerably more pleasant, less volatile, less chaotic, and enduringly characterized by contentment. I don’t know that I would call myself “happy”; it’s not a word I’m so prone to using, at all, these days. It’s a mental magic trick that makes more people unhappy than happy to be focused on the pursuit of that elusive beast as a goal, so I stopped doing that. I don’t “pursue” contentment either; I build it. I build it sustainably on healthier choices, and healthier practices. I have been regularly surprised by how much of the forward progress has been entirely dependent on my own decision making, and my own actions.

Meditation did not “cure” my PTSD, or “fix” my injured brain. Meditation is, however, a reliably good practice for improving my day-to-day experience of my life, and that’s enough heavy lifting for one practice, surely. 🙂

It’s a busy brain, broken or not. I wrote 3, maybe 4, really fantastic blog posts in the past 24 hours – in my head. Catchy titles, engaging and amusing openers, fanciful plays on words with layered meaning… gone at the next annoying intersection, or distracting other moment. lol I woke with a completed utterly beautiful bit of poetry in my head at 3 am, got up to pee, forgot what I was thinking on my way back to bed. This morning, upon waking for the day, I have only the recollection that it ever existed at all still remaining. I play “Tribute” in tribute, and giggle over my coffee; these moments of creativity, lost, forgotten, omitted, or overwritten, litter my life experience. I can’t take them personally after so long. lol

A new day begins. So do I. Another day to write, to love, to feel, to practice – to live.

It is a quiet morning. I slept in, and managed to do so in spite of a ringing phone next to my bed, left turned up from the night before. I woke minutes before my exhausted, distressed traveling partner arrived at my door. At this point there is little about my leisurely morning that differs from many other leisurely mornings; I have my coffee, and this safe and quiet place, and I am writing.

There are differences; each day, each moment, each experience differ subtly one from another, however similar in most regards. Today, some differences are small (I spent the morning writing notes on holiday cards, checking addresses, and getting them into the mail – as usual, at the last possible minute). Other differences are more significant; my traveling partner is sleeping in the other room, exhausted but feeling safe and able to sleep in this quiet space. I am ‘standing watch’, quietly writing and drinking my coffee. We care for each other in the face of any challenges the world throws our way, and today he earnestly needs to rest, to give in to sleep, until he wakes rested and able to reason clearly. My vigil affects the content of my thoughts and the emotional tone of the morning. I take time for me, too, ensuring I don’t inherit my partner’s stress (which could potentially render me less able to be rational and supportive). Quiet mornings are excellent for meditation. Meditation is excellent for maintaining perspective and balance in the face of stress.

Today balance is important, most particularly that balance between honest recognition of difficult circumstances in a relationship, and not over-stepping the boundaries as friend, lover, and partner by dictating decision-making in a ‘you need to…’ or ‘you have to…’ sort of way; there’s no win in doing so. The outcome of telling a loved one what he or she ‘must do’ about a problematic relationship is rarely anything other than later stress and agita over the outcome, whatever the decision-making may have been. So, I do my best to simply love my partner well, and listen deeply, and answer only the questions asked, and to do so honestly but without attempting to persuade or influence – to ‘be here’ for my partner, without making demands on his decision-making, whatever my own opinion may be. I sometimes feel as if I am holding a very detailed map… pointing at the map… and saying ‘you see where this is going?’, but it is truly not for me to make decisions about a relationship I am not part of, or to plan the route on a journey that is not mine.

I pause for a moment of compassion for the Other in the equation, feeling complicated emotions myself – a soup that includes concern, sadness, frustration, anger, and a very real helplessness. I have no power to improve things in any way, and no words to share that could change how many verbs are involved, how many choices are being made – or not made – or to ease the suffering, so much of which is self-inflicted. I take a few deep breaths, and think back on other years, other relationships, my own challenges, and as I exhale I let it all go. This one isn’t about me.

Storm-tossed, damaged, emotionally flooded - there is still a chance to begin again.

Storm-tossed, damaged, emotionally flooded – there is still a chance to begin again.

Today is a good day to practice those practices associated with listening deeply, with non-judgment, with acceptance and compassion. Today is a good day to practice those practices associated with not taking someone else’s experience personally; we are each having our own experience, truly. Today is a good day to avoid diving in to ‘fix’ something that isn’t mine, and that I haven’t been asked to fix. Today is good day to ‘be here’ for a friend, a lover, a partner – and to understand that sometimes just being here is enough.

Restless agitated nights, strange dreams that are not quite nightmares…stiff sore joints, fatigue, unimaginably intense emotions…impatient with drama, but removed; more uninterested than unable…and so few words. I’m not feeling moved to write, much, and even talking feels a bit forced and ‘necessary’ more than pleasant. Strange quiet days. I want to spend more time meditating; real life isn’t leaving much room for it in my days.

Things aren’t bad, I simply don’t have much bandwidth for more than being, right now. Work is good. Relationships take more work than I’d like – or expect. I still work on letting go of expectations; they are a big driver of discontent and drama.

Spring is coming. Soon I’ll be 51. A year, already? Wow. So little time to enjoy the many enjoyable things, so little time to sit on mistakes and watch them fester into hurt and resentment, so little time to overlook the small gestures that really mean ‘love’, so little time to pause in stillness and observe… so many things to choose, because they have value, and so many things that can be chosen that provide nothing of value…I hope I choose wisely.

…I’ve got to be getting back to that.

Spring in my garden.

Spring in my garden.

It’s been days since I’ve taken time to write. Time during the week is now quite limited; I’m back to work. I’ll figure it out. It’s really just a matter of new priorities, a new routine, and new balance to find.

Still more questions than answers...kind of feeling my way around in the dark, much of the time.

Still more questions than answers…kind of feeling my way around in the dark, much of the time.

This post isn’t likely to be profound. I am sitting, writing, thinking, and reached a point where reaching for this made some sense.  Funny, I feel okay. A lot has changed for me in just a year, and I’m still okay. I wasn’t always sure I would be.

It’s a lovely quiet Saturday, taking care of me: laundry, yoga, meditation, some reflective writing, some correspondence, a couple great lattes, a good book, a few episodes of Archer. I feel content.

Today I am compassionate with myself, and today I am gentle with my own heart, and the hearts of others. Today is a good day for tenderness.