Archives for posts with tag: meditation

I got a walk in this morning. The mornings are cooler. The sun rises later. I felt rather as if I “slept in”, but it’s more that the sunrise has shifted and affects my timing. I haven’t used any sort of alarm, not even my artificial sunrise on Home Assistant) since I left my previous job. It’s lovely.

Tuesday sunrise.

I sat for a moment watching the sun rise. Today is a work day. No need to rush, though. I have a handful of meetings on my calendar, related to onboarding in this new job. It’s a relaxed, very organized experience without being stifling or rigid. Yesterday was excellent as first days go. There’s a lot to learn, a lot to sort out and understand more deeply, and quite a handful of new tools to msster. No objection from me; there is a lot of opportunity for growth in this.

So far, this is a very good week in a choice new role. Lovely morning, too.

…This cup of coffee is about gone, and I would definitely like another. Sounds like a reasonable point for a new beginning…

I came home from my camping trip a day early. No particular reason, aside from knowing my Traveling Partner was missing me, and the day looked rainy when I woke this morning, and honestly? I felt “done”. It was a great camping trip, filled with self-reflection, meditation, coffee-drinking (it was terrible), sleeping on the ground (with very comfortable mats, and it was deeply restful, if not continuous), birdsong, breezes, and aggravatingly long walks to well-cared for vault toilets. So… it was a good camping trip that met many needs, with few complaints (I’d have to really dig deep, and I don’t care to make that effort just now).

I got to the site on Sunday, earlier than I’d planned – and damn am I grateful that I made that change! The peak heat of the day hit 96 degrees, even out there in the trees, and there was no breeze to cool off with that day. The air was still and stifling hot. My gear felt heavy. So heavy. I broke it down into smaller loads and slowed down; 4 trips down the trail and back to get my gear into camp. By the end of that first day, I was exhausted. I was also fine. I made a point to drink ample water, and brought a good supply of my own on the chance that the water in the park might for any reason be limited, inaccessible to me, or not potable for some reason. I also stocked the big cooler with proper electrolyte beverages (in this case, Pedialyte). I was glad I did. That first day could have turned out poorly without good hydration – and a plan to stay well-hydrated in spite of the heat.

Time well-spent.

The days rolled by gently, and the weather cooled off for the rest of my time out among the trees. That first night several large-ish groups and several obvious families lugged their gear down into the camp site, got set up, got frustrated with the heat, packed up all their shit and headed back out before the sun ever even set. By morning, there were only three sites occupied (out of 21), and I may as well have been alone. The solitude was drenching and thoroughly delightful. I wiled away quite a few lovely hours just listening to the wind blow, the chatter of nearby chipmunks, and the buzzing of insect life all around me. I let everything else just… go. Once, during the night, on one evening or another, my anxiety began to flare up for no obvious reason. My brain chased after it, like a cat after a dangled string. I got up from my resting place, restlessly, and wandered out into the darkness. I spotted the fat golden moon – some “super moon” or another. It was lovely and large, looming over the night, peeking through the hemlocks and maples. My anxiety fled – it could not compete with that fat round moon. LOL

Lovely quiet days. Lovely quiet nights. I read a book my Traveling Partner gave me (Richard Feynman’s “Six Easy Pieces”). I drank dreadful instant coffee, smiling so hard my face hurt. I relaxed. Thoroughly. I slept well and deeply. I even managed to enjoy my stay without becoming a feast for the mosquitoes – only just found a couple bites this afternoon, on my shoulder in a spot I obviously missed with the Deet. LOL There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

I glance at my email. Messages from friends and former colleagues, things that can wait for tomorrow. Soon enough to begin again.

I’m still “work in progress” as a human primate. I’m aware of that. Lots of character – lots of “character flaws”. Sharp as hell… dumb as fuck. Filled with good intentions, infused with vision, sparked by inspiration, and eager to exert my will to create the life I most want to live… mostly. I’m also capable of unreasonable anger, making incorrect assumptions and poor decisions, and sometimes barely have the will to lift my hand to take a drink of water when I’m thirsty.

Sometimes I get wrapped up in a moment, and without realizing I’ve done so, I get lost in someone else’s emotional experience, vacillating between wanting to “solve the problem” and wanting to be emotionally supported – over an experience that isn’t even my own. I forget that I’m a separate person, and put effort into “centering myself” and my experience, and completely lose any comprehension that someone else has actually come to me for support. Not particularly helpful, and definitely unpleasant for that other person, who probably feels not only unsupported, but also regretful that they ever brought whatever it was to me in the first place.

“Emotion and Reason” 18″ x 24″ acrylic w/ceramic and glow details, 2012

Today my Traveling Partner came to me, frustrated, angry with a project going wrong, dealing with the challenge of the day. I managed – I think – to listen. To be available and present. To hear him out without trying to solve the problem (he did not ask me to solve the problem, just to listen). My only assertion, beyond sufficient response to ensure he knew I was listening (in spite of the busy workday just over my shoulder), was to acknowledge his obvious frustration, and to share that I was sorry I did not have some immediate solution I could offer (at all). He thanked me for listening. He went on with his day.

This was, for me, still a very deeply emotional experience – but it wasn’t mine. It was his. The intensity of the emotions I was feeling? A mixture of his emotions being shared, and my PTSD shrieking in my consciousness that intense negative emotion from a male partner is dangerous – “fix it, fix it NOW, or get out! Get away! Danger!” Today, I pushed my fearful consciousness into the background long enough to really listen and be there for my aggravated partner. I stayed present and engaged, in spite of his obvious emotion. It was hard. This is one of the most difficult things I ever have to do, even when my partner’s emotions have nothing to do with me or something I’ve done/not done – in spite of requiring only as much physical effort as it takes to not run away. (It surprises me how much physical effort that does take, though.)

I got back to work when he walked away. My mind still struggles to let it go and really move on. There’s this “sensation in my spine” that tickles my awareness with a lingering sense of urgency and restlessness. I know these things will pass. I keep “wanting to help” – in spite of my absolute lack of potential do so in this particular circumstance. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I sit with the awareness that my desire to help is most definitely built on a foundation of terror; my PTSD reminds me of all the things that could follow, leftovers from another life and a very different relationship. Another breath. This is not that life. Not that relationship. I hear music in the other room, and the sounds of my Traveling Partner working.

Men have emotional lives. Men need to talk about their feelings (just as anyone else might need to do). It’s okay to listen – really listen. Be there. In the abstract, I know this, and it is “so obvious”. In the moment I’m actually called upon to be there, listening, it’s still sometimes quite terrifying. I sip my tea – made for me with such love, earlier this morning, by this human being who puts so much heart into listening when I need to talk. I’ve got a lot to learn about love, and I’m not surprised that there are so many opportunities to practice. This tea is pretty sweet, and I am pleased to “do more/better”, this time, even though it feels a bit as if I’ve done nothing much at all. I see the progress. I let myself sit with that awhile, reflecting on the moment over this nice cup of tea. Soon enough, it’ll be time to begin again.

…I wonder how things are going now? I will fearlessly check on things when I take my next break…

…This is me, seated by a big window at my boarding gate in the terminal. My flight will board on time; it’s already parked at the gate, empty of passengers, and being stocked up for this journey. It’s been a long while since I have flown. 2016? I think so…

I’m generally not bad at waiting around, most particularly if the environment is relatively calm and quiet, more or less. I wasn’t always. Used to be that a long wait, especially if it were unexpected, or likely to throw off carefully made plans, would not just wreck my mood, it would even (and quickly) degrade my mental health. These days I am as likely as not to actually embrace waiting- it’s good “me time” snatched from busy circumstances, allowing me to catch up with my thoughts and reflect. Tonight is like that.

What did it take to make such a profound transformation? A lot of practice. Meditation. Breathing. Non-attachment. Letting small shit go. Self-reminders that it isn’t all about me.

Soon enough a new journey resumes. Soon enough I will begin again. For now, I wait.

I’m sipping an iced tea. I took part of the day off due to lack of sleep and waking up on the edge of a migraine, and struggling with pain somewhere around my sciatic nerve, between my spine and my hip. Uncomfortable. Tired. I was not up for a day of heavy cognitive workload, and would have been irritable and error-prone. No one needs that shit. Not me. Not my colleagues. Not my Traveling Partner. Light duty – just the essentials – and an early out made so much more sense.

The day is an odd one. Not “sunny” or “rainy” in any definite way – certainly a considerable portion of both, without a theme or pattern to grab hold of. Spring in the Pacific Northwest.

…Damn, my Traveling Partner makes a wicked good iced tea, I must say… πŸ˜€

I’m very fortunate. Not just for the iced tea, but for this life, this job, and this house in the suburban countryside on the edge of a large-ish small town. I sip my tea and think grateful appreciative thoughts, reflecting on the distance traveled in this one lifetime. I’ve certainly had it worse at other times in my life.

I think about “home” – and how very much at home I feel here in this place, secure and safe and wrapped in love; it’s not just a building. It’s not just a place I reside. It is “home”. It’s not perfect. It’s not spectacularly large or unusually luxurious (beyond those luxuries my skilled Traveling Partner has added to enhance our comfort, ease, and quality of life)… just a modest little house in a commonplace suburban neighborhood. Still home. Our home. My home. It’s comforting to feel so settled and secure, here. I yearned for this for so long… I’m grateful that it has more than met my (probably ludicrous) expectations of what “home” could be.

This morning there was an attractive earth-tone pottery planter half-filled with soil in a stand by the front door. It used to have my creeping thyme in it. That thyme has traveled with me awhile (one might say “a lifetime” lol), and it was a small sort of big deal to plant it into the front landscape, in the flower bed, on the other side of a favorite rose, near the large river rocks that used to be in my aquarium as dΓ©cor. Doing so left that planter mostly empty of soil, and definitely empty of obvious life. Today, I planted a geranium in it – one with showy leaves that will have merry orange and red flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever grown a geranium, before. It wasn’t that I disliked them, I just… never did. I’d thought to plant a begonia in that pot… but the plant I saw, that pleased me most in that moment was a geranium.

So here I am. Settled and at home, on a rainy-sunny day, sipping iced tea… smiling about a geranium in a pot by the front door. πŸ™‚ These are the sorts of things that make “home” more than an address. I mean… sure, I could have had a geranium in a pot on my patio at some other place/time… It’s not even about the geranium, itself. For sure it’s not about the pot. I’ve had plants in containers for a long while. It’s the choice. It’s the ability to plant into my garden, just anywhere I’d like, and know that it is mine, and will be mine tomorrow, and the day after that, and next year, and on into an unpredictable future. At least for some unmeasured while. That’s enough.

What matters most?

…This is good iced tea…

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚