Archives for posts with tag: meditation

It’s today, already? Again? Wow – a whole entire new day ahead of me to get started with. I’m not feeling especially ambitious about it, but… there are certainly more than a few things I’d like to start, start over, work on, or finish… so… there’s that. lol

…I could so easily go back to bed for a few more hours…

Well. It somehow manages to be time, already, to get my things together and head to the office. The weekend was quite delightful, and still very much present in my experience of this moment, right here. Time to let that go, while still enjoying the sensation and recollections of it. πŸ™‚

This moment, now, is very much enhanced by remaining firmly within it. Present. Here. I finish my coffee, ready to begin again.

I woke up at 4:00 am. I didn’t need to. It was even my thought to simply return to bed after getting up to pee and getting a drink of water… but that turned into feeling a bit warm, and standing in the cool open patio doorway for a few minutes, which became turning on the aquarium light, which became checking my phone for messages “just real quick”, which became a question about whether it was worthwhile to just stay up at that point… and… unsurprisingly, I stayed up. I attempted to negotiate with the inevitability of it by staying in my most comfy clothes… by not turning on the grinder for hot coffee and just grabbing a can of cold brew… by not turning on more media… none of any of that actually changes the circumstances at this point. I got up at 4:00 am on a fucking Sunday morning on which I was very much looking forward to sleeping in… and I feel alert and rested. lol

It seems a good morning to practice “non-attachment”. In this case, directing that practice toward my “plan” for the day, which is already utterly irrelevant, since no single element of any of the original planning for this day has remained untouched by events and decision-making that followed that planning. lol Fuck it. Free fall through the day? Thanks, I shall. πŸ™‚ I’m getting better at enjoying the planning without remaining attached to the plan. It’s a powerful approach. It still takes quite a bit of practice. I have no idea what the day holds, though, so getting attached to the outcome would just build a foundation for disappointment, frustration, and drama, and I frankly don’t really value any of that, so… Non-attachment, then? Yep. Indeed.

The weekend with my Traveling Partner has been splendid. Whether he’ll be around today, also, remains an unknown; we both have work this week. If it were me, I’d be on the road headed back before daylight, today, to give myself time to “get settled” and “prepare for the week”. We’re different people. Our approach to life is quite individual. Instead of getting wound up with wondering, I let that go, too. It doesn’t actually matter much; if he’s here, I’ll enjoy his presence. Once he goes, he won’t be here to enjoy. Either way, I’ll roll with it. πŸ™‚

I smile and sip my very early morning coffee. Soon enough, I can make choices that affect the day ahead. Soon enough, really any time I choose, I can begin again. πŸ™‚

What a weird day yesterday was. The work day was… shitty. It just was. It’s a thing, it happens. It’s over, and behind me, and today is a new one all its own. We’ll see how this one goes. πŸ™‚ It can’t possibly be as strange, that’s for sure.

The evening was a delightful counterpoint to the work day; no stress, no drama, just two people who love each other, spending time together. It was warm and joyful, and the connection was intimate, fully analog, and entirely in real life. It was sweet. No idea how long my Traveling Partner may stay… he’s thoroughly welcome. I don’t bother to ask what his plan is. He shares details as they occur to him. There’s no point being literal about those words – they often do not become actual experiences, for either of us. He will when he does. lol I am at least able to chuckle about that and give him room to be who he is. πŸ™‚ He does the same, generally, for me.

I sip my coffee. I contemplate the day ahead in the context of being so well-loved. It changes the way I see my experience, to see it in loving context. It’s a positive change that tends to push the negative emotions into the background, and pushes the purposefulness of my endeavors into the foreground, relevant, immediate, and worthy. My results vary. It’s less a matter of “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” and more a matter of “are you kidding me with this shit? have a little perspective” – and that’s enough to nudge me back onto a path of assuming positive intent, and generally enjoying my experience. I like contentment. Ya gotta run pretty fucking fast to “chase happiness” – contentment will let you catch up, no problem, and walk aways with you. πŸ˜‰ Choose wisely.

I look at the time. It’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I woke a bit early. Not early enough to go back to sleep. I got up.

I dithered a bit with my morning routine. One thing at a time. Got through it. Great. Fine. Necessary. Completed.

I sat down, eventually, with my coffee. It’s been awhile. Mostly just… sitting quietly. Scrolling. Done with that, too. Bored? No. Ennui? Not that either.

Anxiety.

Just garden variety anxiety on a Wednesday morning, without specific context or cause. It is the nature of an anxiety disorder, of any sort, really, to deliver some anxiety, however “well-managed”, now and then. Must be my morning for it.

β€œAnxiety” 10β€³ x 14β€³ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic 2011

It’s been with me awhile. “All my life” does not feel like an exaggeration. I take it much less seriously these days, seeing it for the fraud it actually is, and managing its presence more skillfully than I once could. Still… annoying to deal with, every time… and dealing with it is non-negotiable. Deal with it, or fall apart. Deal with it, or break down. Deal with it, or lose my shit completely in some very inconvenient or problematic way. Deal with it – or deal with the consequences of failing to do so. Fuck anxiety.

I don’t need to troubleshoot my anxiety. It’s got a familiar face; work, life, money, “the world”…Β  I’m real with myself about it. There’s more anxiety about more things than is entirely reasonable (it’s a scary fucking world right now, frankly, being a little anxious seems pretty damned reasonable). I take a deep breath and let myself relax each time I notice it surging forward, bubbling up from my consciousness to become part of my immediate awareness; it helps. It helps, too, not to deceive myself or play soothing mind-games to try to wish it away. I examine what seems to be driving my anxiety. I consider those things with care. Real? Exaggerated? Imagined? Sometimes anxiety is pretty legit, and functions to hold my focus on some concerning detail, until I take an appropriate action. Sometimes anxiety is just… wasted emotion. A reaction without a cause worth acting on. Disordered thinking. Sometimes, of all the irritating things, it is not anxiety at all – sometimes I have conflated the physical experience of excitement with the physical experience of anxiety, and don’t yet realize I’m just excited about something, and could enjoy that moment of anticipation much more, if I stop defining it as anxiety.

I breathe. Relax. Let it go. I let it all go. This thing over here? I let that go. That thing over there? Yep. That, too, I let it go. Another breath. Another concern. Another moment to let shit go. It’s a practice, and it requires practicing, and that means verbs, and that means choices, and that means… working at it.

Still.

So, yeah. Mindfulness is enormously helpful with managing my anxiety. It’s not a “cure”. It’s a tool, and a way of experiencing life, that can be very helpful. I feel much better when I maintain a rigorous meditation practice than when I don’t. I feel much better when I am able to maintain exceptional sleep hygiene, than when I don’t. I feel much better when I am open, authentic, vulnerable, and real with myself – and others – than when I am not. I feel much better when I get out of the house, get plenty of healthy exercise, and a good measure of both social and solo time. It’s not some one practice that eases my anxiety; it’s practicing the ones that work best for me in a consistent way.

Sometimes I fail.

Sometimes I succeed.

I just keep practicing.

It’s one of the challenges of achieving mental and emotional wellness; the work is on my end. I have to do the verbs. I’m going to be the one practicing the practices to improve my own experience. It’s my journey, built on my choices. Incremental change over time is fucking slow as hell, and can be incredibly discouraging; I still have PTSD, a TBI, a broken back, and a very human experience. All the improvement in my experience of self and life I could ever imagine will not change those things. No cure. Just practice, growth, and incremental change over time. πŸ™‚

Sure. I’m anxious this morning. I have an anxiety disorder. I also, unrelated but metaphorically relevant, have a thyroid that failed years ago. I take medication for it, and go on with living my life. Anxiety isn’t really a lot different; I’ve got some fail sauce and messed up wiring in my emotional experience; I practice meditation, breathing, and other assorted practices for that, and go on with living my life. If my thyroid medication doesn’t work ideally well, I go back to my physician, and we make changes. If my anxiety flares up, I go back to my practices (and, in some cases, also back to my therapist), and make changes. “Easy”. (It isn’t, but it is generally adequate.)

I breathe. Relax. Run my writing through a spellcheck (which will reliably miss at least one error, regardless). Hit publish…

…And begin the day. It’s a whole new one, all my own. Fuck anxiety.

I woke ahead of the alarm, and realized groggily that I never wrote a word that wasn’t in the service of my employer yesterday. Wow. So unlike me. I’m tired. The lovely weekend comes at a price, and that price is fatigue. My disrupted sleep unavoidably has its moment to weigh in on my well-being.

I scroll lazily through my feeds, not really reading, just skimming headlines and posts in the weird “I used too few words” extra-large font. I’m not yet awake. The delicious fragrant mug of chai tea (with almond milk) definitely takes longer than a cup of strong coffee. I’m sneezing a lot this morning. My throat is a little… raw. Shit. I hope I’m not coming down with a cold. The timing is poor; I have a life to live and shit to get done. lol

Walking and thinking – a favorite practice for gaining perspective.

Yesterday, I forgot I had a late meeting on my work calendar, and got into the office at the usual very early hour. Early enough to get a lovely 2 mile walk in, along the waterfront. Early enough to get back to my desk, still quite a bit earlier than I had planned to be in – or needed to be. It was a long day, with very little leisure in it. I was pretty glad, by the end of the day, to have taken that walk in the morning. I was less pleased with the commuter traffic when I hit the road heading home around 5:30 pm. Wow. So glad I am generally home earlier. lol

This morning I find a lot to be content with, and it feels good.

I sip my tea and let my mind wander to the day-to-day misery and drama of being a woman in America. My feed is filled with it. Fuck. I’m grateful for menopause, and being generally beyond many of those storms now. You could not pay me to go back to being in my 20s (or 30s), particularly if it meant also having to return to that volatile emotional world of extreme highs and lows, and strange chaotic emotions. I wish I could sit with each of my agitated, distressed, sorrowful, wounded, beautiful friends, listen and let them feel truly heard, give them hugs, and maybe, just maybe find some way to share practices – or perspective. It’s a chasm that is quite difficult to cross, though. I can remember so many similar situations in which an “older sister” or elder in my life did attempt to communicate to 20-something me that this would pass, that I could master and, yes, even control my reactivity – with practice. I could not really fathom what was being said to me. I didn’t believe what I heard when it was shared with me. I did not follow through on any of the practices that were suggested. It was all completely out of reach. I wasn’t ready.

(I still try.)

I’m not saying their experiences “aren’t real” – not at all. Those chaotic emotionally difficult experiences are wholly real, in the sense that they are being experienced, for real. Totally real. Even, in fact, and like it or not, entirely appropriate and reasonable, from some points of view. Culturally, we don’t treat women well. This has unavoidable outcomes in the emotional health of women. We each play a part in creating that culture, and hurting our women. We could do better. (They can do better, too, but it’s a tale for another day, perhaps.)

This morning, I’m just sipping my tea and trying to wake up, and wondering how it is that so many of us, as human beings, being human, are so terribly unhappy… and wondering what I could do to help in any small way. Incremental change over time is slow. So slow. Change does happen, though, and we do become what we practice…

It’s the practicing that’s the challenge, isn’t it? Yeah. Here, too. I do “try”… but… and this is a thing… it’s really more about doing. Many of the practices that have helped me most with emotional volatility require me to “let go” – to practice non-attachment – which means having to yield to circumstances, and give up that righteous feeling of whatever I am feeling so righteously. lol An urgent desire to “be right” – and holding on to that feeling – creates so much fucking misery, and often on many sides of a discussion. I noticed more than once or twice that once I am attached to feeling righteous about something, I’m no longer willing to listen at all, and everything I hear is run through a filter that demands my position be defining for everyone’s experience. I gave up, quite purposefully and deliberately, the “need” to be right. It’s not helpful. (I learn more if I’m wrong, anyway, and often circumstances just aren’t even that clearly defined.)

Listening is hard. It is quite frankly one of the most demanding practices I practice each day. I often thoroughly suck at listening deeply, listening with my full attention, listening skillfully… It takes a ton of practice. Here’s the thing, though, a lot of my experiences of contentment, and balance, have their source in listening – and rarely have their source in talking, in expressing myself, or in “being right”. (Here’s where I slip in a reminder that “listening deeply” needs to be something I also do for myself; really hearing the woman in the mirror, understanding my experience and needs, also requires practice.)

One very cool thing about practicing practices, though? It doesn’t matter at all how many times I fail to “get it quite right”… I can keep practicing. I can begin again. πŸ™‚