Archives for posts with tag: meditation

Are you rushing to get to work? Rushing through waking up, showering, dressing? Rushing to be out the door “on time”? Breathless with anxiety before you even start the car? Already thinking about the day ahead in such specific detail that you’ve “borrowed trouble” to fret about before you even have any in the moment?

I used to do that. I don’t now. It was a good change to make, to slow down in the mornings. 🙂 Maybe not life-saving, but certainly life-changing. I went from a fairly tightly timed morning routine that took 17 minutes from the alarm clock to the click of the front door closing behind me, and reliably got me on the bus heading into town 3 minutes later (the stop was just across the street from my apartment). Any deviation from my routine put me at risk of being late to work, and I had huge issues with time, timeliness, and time management, at that time in my life (I wasn’t bad at it, just really tense and weird about it on this whole unnecessary level). Being late – or thinking I might be – was a fast track to temper tantrums and treating people poorly (myself included). It was a shitty way to live, and it didn’t make me more efficient, or even on time more often.

What do I do now? It’s pretty low tech, honestly; I get up earlier. Like, I get up a lot earlier. I get up “earlier than I need to” by quite a bit. Most variations in desired arrival time at work don’t require me to change when I get up in the morning, that’s how much earlier I get up. Right now, it’s easily 90 minutes after my alarm goes off before I need to leave, and I could as easily leave the house fully 3 hours after I wake up and still be “on time” from the perspective of a salaried employee, and I sometimes do. It’s lovely, really, to be genuinely awake when I leave for work, to be able to write at leisure even on work days, to have adequate time to dress, shower, do some yoga, and even meditate before work – and still have time to write. It puts me on the path to being my best self each day.

I got home last night tired and frustrated by feeling the cold I thought I was over trying to make a comeback. I really don’t need the hassle or inconvenience, and I sat quietly frustrated, tears of exhausted aggravation coursing down my face for some minutes. Just… tired. I skipped the company summer block party over it, too. Came directly home. No chores. No video entertainment. No music. Hell, I didn’t even pick up a book. Just sat, staring rather blankly, sipping chicken broth or tea, until I was “sleepy enough” to just go lay the fuck down and rest. I was asleep early. I slept hard. Deeply. Uninterrupted. I was irritated by the weird repetitive noise that woke me – my alarm. It took nearly a full minute to figure that out and shut it off. I turned the lamp on and off a couple times, puzzled why the noise was not stopping. lol Usually I am awakened by the subtle “click” sound that immediately precedes the alarm actually going off. lol

I definitely needed the restful night. I woke feeling more myself. Still cross about this cold trying to come back – and of course, immediately as the fucking weekend begins. That’s becoming a source of real frustration for me, lately; the weekend is my one real opportunity each week to get some legit downtime, and it’s so rare any more to just enjoy one. I’m sick. Or traveling. Or moving. Or I’m sick. Or I have tons of shit that just must get done, non-negotiable. Or I’m doing something for someone. Or I’m sick again. Or I’ve gotten injured. Or I’m traveling. Or… I need to slow down. Again. And maybe not just in the mornings. Mornings? I’ve got those down at this point. 🙂

It’s a journey. No single change, no one practice, solves for X in every one of life’s equations. There are more verbs. More opportunity to do more/better, while also practicing skillful self-care, and figuring out what is actually worth doing well and more often. Being and becoming are a massively challenging jigsaw puzzle, and the pieces not yet fit into the puzzle are all jumbled up together in an untidy pile; sometimes it isn’t clear which pieces are most valuable in any particular moment. I’m still such a beginner at this being human thing!

I finish my coffee. Take a deep breath, look at the clock, and exhale slowly. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

My coffee is tasty. The house is comfortable in the pre-dawn chill of a summer morning. The air quality is still pretty poor as smoke collects in the air from distant fires. My mind is more or less… blank. I’m not quite awake yet, at all. I take another sip of my coffee and stare at the screen. It too remains “a blank page” for some minutes before I finally just drop that into the title field, and sit quietly, drinking coffee, aware.

This is not an unsatisfying moment. I am not feeling frustrated. (I chuckle as I write those words, immediately hearing my Traveling Partner’s voice replying in my head “Well, how are you feeling?”) I am feeling content. Just that. This moment does not seem to require more.

We create our experience with our choices, and our understanding of it is a carefully crafted narrative we make up ourselves, that may or may not accurately reflect the details of our experience (or any other – we’re seriously really good at making shit up and convincing ourselves it is real). This particular experience, here, now, is built on my choice to relax and accept that I may not have anything noteworthy to write about this morning, and to fall back gently on “just putting words on a page”, “thinking out loud”, in real-time, unedited and uncensored. I smirk at myself using the word “uncensored” in the context of this particular morning; there’s nothing about the morning thus far that would require, or benefit from, censorship anyway. 🙂

I’ve caused myself so much stress, anxiety, suffering, and heartache, just by insisting that I do more, faster, so often. The arbitrary performance standards we set for ourselves (and each other) often have no basis in what works, or what matters most. Sometimes they are just numbers pulled out of thin air. Why let life become stressful over made up shit? Seriously. Same with our internal narrative; we often make up a story about our experience that is based on untested assumptions, unvoiced expectations, and wholly unrealistic fantastical details that are in no way factual – then we let it stress us out. (Note: consider not doing that!)

This morning begins another work day. One more after that, and it’s the weekend again. 😀 I’m ready for it… but first, I have to live today, in this moment, present and engaged, and doing both things and stuff. lol Have to? Get to.

…It’s already time to begin, again. 😀

It feels good to be getting more miles on my feet, as I get used to commuting on public transit again. Well… I mean to say is that I feel the benefit of it, as the miles creep past ever so slowly, on feet that hurt, an ankle that chronically and fiercely aches, cane in hand, taking my time with it, making sure to breathe, and regularly reminding myself to correct my posture to a more fully upright gait. lol It’s complicated. I hurt. I do love walking though… I’ve missed it. The slow moment to collect my thoughts. The occasional lovely flower tucked here or there along the way. The scents of flowers and trees and the feeling of the breezes on my skin. All lovely. Hell, I don’t even mind when the rain comes, and I find myself walking in it. I’m okay with that. I’ve got a rain poncho tucked in my day pack. I’m ready.

Ready feels good.

Each day another journey.

Each day the walk to the bus stop feels easier. I am encouraged by that. I’m a tad irked with myself for letting my fitness, generally, fall behind a bit. Having a car made that way too easy, and living a life largely free of day-to-day OPD (Other People’s Drama), I failed to discover soon enough that often what pushed me out into the world to “walk it off” was indeed the need to escape drama or bullshit (my own or someone else’s turned out to be irrelevant). No drama or bullshit? No need to escape. A busy life, and the joy of so easily being able to hop in the car and “go farther” with such ease quickly resulted in driving more than walking, and walking turns out to be very much a “use it or lose it” sort of skill. Well… I’m back on my feet. lol

My feet hurt. I feel very mortal. lol

There are certain to be shitty mornings when I just can’t even. I haven’t sorted out what that looks like from this address, yet. The closest bus stop is about 200 ft away, but on a line that doesn’t begin running buses until much later in the morning that I generally leave for work. So, okay, maybe that means on a rough morning I start my work day later? That seems do-able. I smile and move on from that. It’s not a question that needs an answer this morning.

I sip my coffee and pull myself more fully upright again, noticing that the pain in my back (that I’ve had since yesterday) most definitely does not respond well to bad posture. It’s still fairly intense, sometimes taking my breath away if I forget about it in one moment, only to be reminded of it in the next when I move, or breathe, or… anything. Fucking hell. Aging sucks. What on earth did I do to get this result?? Rather oddly, I noticed on the bus ride last night, it seems to be associated with which direction my head is turned, and I found myself wondering if maybe I sat looking out the window to the right on the bus ride Saturday for too many hours…? I commit to trying to get a seat on the left side of the bus today to encourage left-side-looking… maybe I’ll find some relief.

I glance at the clock. New beginnings come a bit earlier on the bus. lol It’s already time to lace up these boots and begin again. Doesn’t much matter what’s aggravating me in this brief passing moment – I can walk it off. 😉

I’m sipping my coffee thinking about my adventures yesterday, and comparing the experience of making a journey from the driver’s seat, or the passenger seat. Same distance to cover (in life, as well)… same route… different hands at the wheel. Different decision-maker. Different outcome? Maybe, maybe not – but definitely a different experience.

As the driver, I tend to be watchful and vigilant, wary of obstacles, and alert to the “important” details – which nearly always have to do with getting from the start to the end of the journey, rather specifically, and sometimes to do with the timing. As the passenger, I tend to be more interested in the journey, itself, the scenery, the surroundings, and even the conversations along the way, or the music on the radio, and my physical comfort. The focus is shifted away from the practical details of the driving itself.

I’m finding it worthwhile to reflect on this; far too often I entirely overlook “the passenger experience” when I am driving – not enough mental bandwidth? Lacking in mindfulness? Merely overly focused and purposeful at the exclusion of having a little fun, too? Left brain versus right brain? No idea – I am simply aware that often, when I am “the driver” in life, I tend to be rather specifically stuck on the details of doing the driving, and too often miss out on some of the potentially equally (more?) important details of enjoying the journey, itself, for what it is.

I’ll probably turn this over in my head much of the day, as I go about the business of leisure, and self-care, and housekeeping, on a relaxed summer Sunday. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee and smiling this morning. The day begins well, and doesn’t seem to be complicated by any of the crap and minutiae that had been weighing me down last week. I feel… lighter. It’s a pleasant feeling.

I scroll through my feeds a bit; I spent the weekend mostly disregarding social media and enjoying the good company of my Traveling Partner, instead. It was a worthwhile change to make. We relaxed, laughed together, watched some great super hero movies, and enjoyed a weekend of intimacy, connection, and merriment. No drama. No bullshit. It was quite lovely.

The headache I had on Thursday robbed me of any particular inclination to write. Friday wasn’t much better, although by day’s end, it had finally gone. I could have resumed Saturday, but decided on a weekend wholly dedicated to love and loving. (I knew you’d understand.) This morning feels more than little like the weekend was a firm “reset”, returning me gently to what works best, more aware of what matters most. I hope that’s more than a feeling. I sip my coffee, while a certain merry smile plays at the corner of my lips; there are verbs involved. No dodging that.

I struggled with my mental health for years, before I understood how much my partnerships also mattered. I tried this treatment, that treatment over there, and assorted bits of pieces of woo cobbled together from the assurances of others and things I read. I’m glad I kept trying – it eventually led me through failure after failure to a distillation of desperation, fear, and futility that happenstance eventually dropped on my current therapist’s desk. That was a life-changing appointment. It began a domino-effect of changes in my life, job changes, changes in self-care, changes in day-to-day practices, and even including ending relationships that tended to invest in the damaged bits more than in my wellness.

Keep trying. Begin again. Start over. Keep practicing the things that do work. Let go of the things (and relationships) that don’t. Over time, things get better. Life gets better. The chaos can begin to be sorted out. The damage can be healed. We become what we practice; inevitably, as we learn practices that support our wellness, and lead us to becoming the person we most want to be, we “find our way”.

Keep trying. Begin again. Start over. Find your way. It’s slow going. I won’t lie. It can feel pretty pointless sometimes, when it seems like all the successes are so small in scale, and the chaos and damage so… vast. Don’t lose heart – most of that is an illusion. The scale of the chaos. The magnitude of the damage. Our relative value in the world. The worthiness of the journey. We make up a lot of our narrative, in our own heads, so our own mental un-wellness sabotages the very clarity we need to assess our mental wellness in the first place. Harsh.

I start coffee number two as a Monday begins. Every day a new beginning. Every new beginning a chance to be the woman I most want to be. No doubt a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂