Archives for posts with tag: meditation

My week started out pretty rough. My sleep health wasn’t good. Nightmares (again), and disturbed rest. Flare ups of emotional volatility, partially due to the poor sleep, partially due to “whatever” was driving that. I mean, I’m not unfamiliar with my own issues, I know what’s up. Political and legislative attacks on women’s health care options. Political shenanigans (seriously??) regarding basic good sense medical care during a pandemic (the heights of ignorance are astonishing). I’ll admit I’m offended that medicine, medical care, or the healthcare system are politicized in the way that they are. (Although, just being real here, I’m also offended that those are “for profit” industries, too.) Then, on top of the stressors this background crap presents, we’ve got people objecting to ending our endless war in Afhganistan. What the fuck?? I get it, it’s hard watching those media images of terrified people trying to get out of their country – away from war – against limited time, and limited transportation resources. My PTSD flared up hard. Rough. I don’t really want or need to deep dive the details; ruminating on the start of a downward spiral is not especially helpful (for me, now).

I’m okay right now. Yesterday was pleasant, too, and Thursday was better than Tuesday, so… “nothing to see here”. 🙂

The “downward spiral” of a flare-up of a mental health condition isn’t new for folks who deal with it. It’s frustrating. Terrifying. Causes a deep sense of futility and despair. All the work to heal… all the therapy… the expense… the effort… and then… still human. Still capable of suffering. Still wounded. Still struggling. It’s hard. It’s also super real. Are you in it? Sliding down? Scrambling for any possible hand-hold to slow the progression downward? I feel that. I see you.

This time was better, for me. I didn’t slide as far as fast. I didn’t get mired in my own bullshit, blinded and deafened to anything else. I was able to ask for – and accept – help. I was more clear, with my words, about what I was going through, and be more open. I was able to stall the slide – which still kind of wows me, sitting here this morning, with my coffee and my contentment. I’m pleased to acknowledge the very real progress I’ve made that I could not see, sense, or appreciate on Tuesday. Was it Tuesday? Monday? Earlier this week. 🙂

My Traveling Partner was taken by surprise by my flare up. He was a support super star, after the initial chaos rocked him off center. I not only stayed open to being supported – which was hard for me – he also stayed committed to supporting me. I know that couldn’t be easy. Apologies were exchanged, where appropriate, and the love we wrapped each other in was authentic, and deep and abiding.

I guess I’m just saying… don’t just give in to the slide down. Breathe. Take a nap. Drink enough water. Handle your self-care. Walk in the sun. Take a day off work. Get some exercise. Let it pass – it will, eventually, but let that happen. Don’t hang on to the pain and the chaos. Distract yourself from your ancient pain, don’t just sit there picking at the scabs. I mean… I’m no expert, I’m just saying, you have options. 🙂

You’re stronger than you know. You’ve been through a lot. You’ve got this. Begin again. ❤

The waves hit the beach in a regular cadence, still managing to be quite varied and individual. The sound of it is thunderous through the open balcony door. The sky is azure, broad, vast, and seemingly infinite-of-horizon. The mild beiges and tans of the sandy beach separate land and sea quite conveniently. The numerous rocky outcroppings of various sizes just “offshore” become a fun festival of tidepools when the tide is at its lowest. The weather is “perfect” (for me), neither chilly enough to require a fleece or sweater, nor hot enough to make bare feet on sand uncomfortable. I walked miles yesterday, and again this morning. It feels good to feel so solitary, so conveniently. I’m not far from home (about an hour’s drive), and the beach is certainly not deserted, but in every practical way, I am far from the routines of every day life, and wrapped in solitude in spite of the nearness of other stray human primates scattered along the beach, walking with their thoughts, their dogs, or their families.

…I even went walking among the tidepools before I had my coffee this morning! I did not want to miss the revelations that low tide has to offer. 🙂

Tidepools to explore

I returned to the room after coffee and a bite of breakfast – a bit of a luxury. [Side note: I love “brunch”. My Traveling Partner is less enthusiastic about being up and dressed and out the door dealing with other human beings first thing, just for a meal as easily made (and often better quality) at home. I enjoy the variety and lack of effort (no cooking, no clean up). So, when I take time away, I definitely look for a choice opportunity to get breakfast or brunch. 😀 I’d even plan an entire weekend away around a really noteworthy brunch… I’ve got one or two of those on my “do this someday” list. LOL ]

Today, I’ll spend more time writing, reflecting, and letting my brain “get caught up” – clear that overloaded buffer – and then return to the beach for more miles and minutes.

I’ll be quite content if this little getaway is no more productive than a series of walks and naps, honestly. This is one way I recharge. 🙂 Making a point to take this time to recharge is one way I ensure I am most able to be my best self, and fully participate in a wholesome healthy way in my relationships. When the relationship I have with myself is not sufficiently nurturing or self-supporting and emotionally self-sufficient, I lose traction on being able to skillfully provide loving support and nurturing to my partner. 🙂 That was a hard won lesson to learn, and I sometimes feel I must be quite a bit stupider than I feel day-to-day that it took me so long to understand that.

…I do miss my partner, though… funny how these emotions exist side by side, mixed up together.

The coffee in the hotel room is quite horrible. I have no idea why otherwise nice hotels persist in providing these absolutely shit little drip coffee machines, with ancient packaged ground coffee of similarly terrible quality in these rooms. It would not be notably more costly to do just a little better than that. Hell, an electric kettle and a good quality instant would be an improvement. LOL I knew what to expect, so I made a point to bring along a better quality of coffee, so… it’s at least drinkable, more or less.

The beach, easy to see through the open balcony door, begins to fill with people. It’s after 10:00 am now. Time to begin again. 🙂

Heat wave. Already hot this morning. Slept well, woke refreshed. Felt… content. Balanced. Merry…

…Whole.

Off to a good start on a hot day. Things slide sideways, slipping gently, somehow inevitably tilting toward irritation in spite of a great starting point. Best efforts. Humans being human.

I put aside my coffee and go for a walk before the heat of the day might stop me, or just make the experience miserable.

A favorite park has finally re-opened after all the damage during that last winter storm.

Muggy warm air filled with the sound of mowers, small aircraft taking off from the nearby municipal airport, and swarming insects seemed to cling to me as I walked across the parking lot to the start of the one open trail. It doesn’t really go far enough to satisfy the need, but it has been a long while and I have missed this place. I walk the trail twice. I take note of the wild roses in bloom – there look to be three distinct species growing in this wooded area. I spot ripe thimbleberries, but none within reach – too fragile for commercial agriculture, they are a rare special treat, tiny, soft, and mild. The birds will get most of them. Piles of cut up trees give some insight into how much damage the storm caused. Every few feet, there’s a pile of logs and branches on either side of the trail. The forest is full of huckleberry bushes, but I don’t see flowers or berries, yet. On my way back down, before my second walk of the trail, I realize I haven’t stopped at a favorite bench… I never saw it! Weird… I begin to really look for that thing, that expected thing, as I head back up the trail. My focus results in missing other details. Something more to think about.

Oh. Reality is what it is. Expectations are shit we made up, and cling to.

It was a lovely morning for walking, in spite of the heat. In spite of the changes all around me. In spite of a less than picture-perfect lovely summer morning. Expectations and assumptions can so quickly undermine a potentially lovely experience. I mean… I even know that. It still trips me up more often than I care to count.

I put on some music. Sip my rather delicious iced coffee – I’ve been planning this iced coffee on a hot summer morning for days. Really looking forward to this moment. I made coffee ice cubes to go in it. I sip it thoughtfully, savoring the moment that is, instead of yearning for another. It may not be what I expected, but it’s quite pleasant, and that’s enough. Maybe I’ll finish it on the deck…

My Traveling Partner and I both hurt today. Pain sucks. Aging is a mixed bag of qualities, and pain is just one of many experiences… We both try to avoid taking it personally, or lashing out at each other in a short-tempered moment of our frustration with the limitations of these very human forms. He says “maybe you should just avoid me today” – right about when I was thinking of saying gently that I’d give him some space because I’m hurting that much today. lol It’s generally an exceptional partnership, even when one or both of us is in pain, or just generally not being our best selves, together.

I sip my coffee and reflect. I think about the walk, the summer morning, recalling the sights and scents, and the feel of the air around me.

Just because there’s sunshine where I’m sitting doesn’t mean I’ll find illumination.

I walked, reflected, observed, and gave myself that time I need to spend with the woman in the mirror. It’s good to get perspective. I mean… I find it so, myself. 🙂 I don’t always do a good job of making time for me, and for what I need from and for myself. I could do better there. More practice? Obviously. I know where I’ll start, too; a familiar place.

I am rereading the Four Agreements; a worthy starting point on any journey of self.

Funny thing about The Four Agreements? It was my Traveling Partner who first recommended it to me. Good basic practices to practice that tend to heal a lot of hurts and limit a lot of negative self-talk. That seems so long ago now.

Treating each other well has reliably tended to start with treating myself well, and as it turns out that has nothing whatsoever to do with buying things, and everything to do with reflection, perspective, and practices that build resilience and emotional wellness. Boundary-setting. Testing assumptions. Confirming expectations. Being flexible and adaptable in the face of change. Being there for myself. Being kind, and treating the world as gently as I am able to. Good self-care. Getting enough rest. It’s a lot to juggle, and I suspect that I half-ass a lot of it, just trying to do all of it… but…getting things ‘half right’ or ‘half finished’ is still a more useful result than never making an attempt to be my best self at all. Incremental change over time. I get better at something each time I attempt it… eventually. Learning is a process. Change is often a verb. I keep at it. Incremental change over time requires both time, and increments.

Feeling frustrated and challenged can sometimes mislead me into thinking I haven’t improved – a lot – on a lot of little things that had been far more problematic before this journey began. That’s a shame; it robs me of my chance to celebrate small wins. I think on that while I sip my coffee, gazing into the sunshine beyond the window.

I hear the A/C come on. Then I feel it. I recall the heat of the morning as I walked the wooded trail, and think about the apartment in which my partner and I first began sharing our lives… and that roasting, horribly hot all-drama-all-the-time summer some 11 years ago; no A/C. I feel grateful for the A/C, definitely… but the love matters most. We brought that with us, to this place, across years of shared challenges, growth, change, loving moments, and petty arguments – it’s a very human experience, and it’s hard to imagine spending life differently and still enjoying it as much. I sip my coffee thinking about my partner (my lover, my best friend), and the pain he’s in today. Maybe I’ll bake oatmeal cookies? Would that help? (I don’t know why it would, it just occurred to me to wonder – sometimes I have a mind like a child. LOL)

There’s enough of this coffee left to enjoy a few moments of summer morning on the deck before it gets to hot to enjoy… seems like a good time to begin again. 🙂

The seasons sometimes seem to change so peculiarly. Like, nope, not summer yet… not yet… not yet… NOW! Summer! lol It’s definitely a summer morning, this morning. Warmer than it seems like it should be, shortly before dawn, and a big muggy – I still enjoyed my walk, before work. It’s a nice start to the work day. So far the day is pleasant and mild – I know the afternoon will be a scorcher. It’s been in the news.

I think about ripe summer strawberries fresh from the garden, and cherries on the neighbor’s cherry tree, one temptingly loaded down branch dangles over the fence, beckoning me to turn my attention to the bounty of summer. It’s a work day; it’ll have to wait. 🙂

I sip my coffee, grateful for the pleasant start to the day, grateful to be in minimal pain this morning, grateful for A/C and modern conveniences like refrigeration, potable drinking water, and indoor plumbing. It wasn’t that long ago that sweltering days in the weather forecast would mean days of pure misery, cold showers, and trying to drink enough water or eat enough frozen ice pops of one sort or another to stay “comfortable” (for some versions of comfort – some summers it was enough just to succeed in not falling over from heat stroke). I look out the window, over the fence, beyond the pear trees; the wall of my neighbor’s house is illuminated by the early morning sun as it climbs to it’s preferred summer vantage point. It’s very bright. I smile; I’m grateful to be sufficiently wise to refrain from looking directly at the sun – some people are not similarly fortunate. 🙂

So. Another day. Another week. Another summer. Another moment to reflect with gratitude on how fortunate I really am to have come so far. Another chance to begin again. To reflect. To grow. To do better.

…I’ll get right on that, as soon as I finish my coffee. 🙂

This morning I had what I thought was an excellent starting point for the morning, and had the intention of writing. I never got to it. I enjoyed coffee with my Traveling Partner, had a pleasant walk before work, and enjoyed a productive day of work. My partner has a project going that keeps him quite busy. I love seeing him deeply engaged, learning new things, and occupied in a way that puts his mind to use on something worthy of his talent; it’s profoundly inspiring.

I’ve been painting. That’s part of what kicked my intention of writing off to the side, actually. I sat down in my studio, with my coffee, but facing “the art side” of the room, instead of the “office side”, and found myself whiling away some minutes before work gazing at new canvases – time I’d intended for writing, consumed on nothing more (or less) than inspired daydreaming. I’m even okay with that, I just wish I’d taken notes – even just a word or two – about what I was thinking before my head was filled with colors and thoughts of paintings yet to be painted. I’m pleased to be doing creative work again. I’m not sure what pushed me into the creative zone again… I don’t think it’ll be helpful to overthink it, so I am just enjoying it.

Funny… I’m finding myself wondering if the updated lighting in the house has any part to play in my re-emerging creative energy? I know I’m sleeping better, and when I wake the very gentle middle-of-the-night lighting doesn’t prevent me going back to sleep at all. I’m waking more gently too, and feeling rested and less cross. I’ve known for a long time that I loathed the infernal beeping of my alarm clock for a long long time – any alarm clock, really, and it doesn’t have to beep, and for basically all of my existence that I’m aware of. Bells. Chimes. Ringers. Clangers. Clappers. Buzzers. Doesn’t matter. I have no liking for them. Now, waking to a soft fade-in of light (and not any shining directly into my eyes), and having done so enough to be quite confident I won’t “miss my wake-up” or oversleep, I sleep so… comfortably. I even slept in yesterday. 🙂 Nice. Is that what’s stoking my creativity? Is it the acoustic treatments all around the house that removed the annoying echo and softened the sounds, generally? Such a quiet house, now. I feel more relaxed even thinking about it.

…And also, thinking about the love that has gone into it. Time, sure. Money, too. Considerable effort by my Traveling Partner, too (I’ve been getting to mostly just enjoy the ride on this one)… More than any of that, though, has been the obvious real love and care my partner has put into these projects, each detail another conversation about what matters most, what I may need, how this or that technology can ease some challenge, or enrich our experience of each other, or our life together. It’s pretty mind-blowing to be so well-loved, and it’s a bit to live up to, too. The pandemic has been hard on each of us differently… I wouldn’t want to have had to do it with someone else, though, I’ll say that. I’m glad he’s here. I’m glad he’s been here. I’m fortunate to be so well-loved (and he’s said similar things to me). This evening, that love we share finds me in my studio, on the other side of the work day, writing in the evening – and smiling to think how well that worked out… he needed some time to work on some complicated details of the smart home stuff. I’m happy to write for a few minutes and give him that time – I know that supporting each other pays off in some pretty amazing ways. 🙂

I hear him in the other room, letting me know he’s done for the day. I breathe, relax, and smile. It’s time to begin again.