Archives for posts with tag: mindful living

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. 🙂

Wednesday. I’m already eager for the weekend ahead. I am thinking about the down and back drive to see my Traveling Partner this weekend. Different car. I try to remember why, exactly, I’m making the trip… and even though I do have a clear recollection that it is a purposeful journey, I don’t recall why I’m making it, beyond the pure joy of the drive, and a visit with this delightful human being I so adore. It is a source of mild amusement that I am eager to make the drive. I haven’t been, generally, aside from being eager to see my partner, always. It is in the context of the new car that I find my eagerness to make the drive, specifically… Which gets me thinking about context, generally.

I let my mind wander a bit, thinking over “context”. I don’t get anywhere particularly useful, today. I fall back on listening to the early morning commuter traffic begin to pick up, out there beyond my window. Yesterday’s commute, the first one in the new car, was… fine. It was just fine. It was fairly effortless, although still punctuated with occasional stupid bullshit (or at least decisions that appeared, from my vantage point, to be fairly stupid, probably bullshit, based on context), and I even found myself simply enjoying the drive. Does the car make that much difference on the quality of the journey? I guess it could – in a journey taken by car. lol

I sip my coffee and consider the day ahead. I do so a little reluctantly. I have some errands to take care of either during the day or after it ends, and somehow… I don’t feel like it. LOL I’d much rather laze about barefooted thinking about my “boyfriend” and enjoying summer. The work day ahead looms over my reluctant consciousness this morning. I am thinking about summer drives on country roads, and picnics, barbecues, and house parties. I am thinking about friends, and love, and joy. I am thinking about that feeling of liberation that I feel on a Friday evening, or a Saturday morning – no work, no school. If I could sort out the logistics, I would definitely take the rest of my adulthood off. LOL

The last swallow of coffee, another glance at the clock, in the context of an ordinary Wednesday morning. It’s time to begin again. I take a breath, which becomes a sigh. There will definitely be verbs involved – my results may vary. 😉

Change takes time. I mean, obviously when change is forced on us, some parts of change and changing, and certainly the requirement to do so, can hit us with real force in a very immediate way, no doubt about that. What I am pointing out is more that the skillful adaptation to change takes time. I roll with my changes as skillfully as I am able to, in the moment, but it does definitely take me some time to “get used to the new normal”. The experience of “change taking longer to get used to” is something I recognize as part of my TBI and the day-to-day realities of dealing with it, but it is also an experience most people likely have to one degree or another.

When I moved from the smaller apartment (#27) to the larger one right on the edge of the park (#59), the very specifically mirror-imaged kitchen messed with my head for months; I just kept clawing at the wrong side of the doorway for that damned light switch. It was the better part of a year before my brain finished making that change. Even with practice, some things change really slowly.

There’s a different car in my driveway this morning than there was 10 days ago. I was only getting started on getting used to commuting on transit, again. This morning, it’s back to commuting by car, but the car is different. This is no small thing, but it’s also no big deal. It’s both noteworthy and inconsequential. It likely will be somewhat different; the car handles quite differently. Sounds different. Feels different. Surrounds me differently. There are different features to learn. Different placement of some things, compared to the car I’ve been driving. Some things feel more natural than in the sedan. Other things feel quite strangely placed, as though the manufacturer “doesn’t know me at all”. (It’s mostly more comfortable and familiar-seeming than less, though, which is nice.) The new car is a first for me with this manufacturer, actually. A Mazda. Funny how much difference small changes make. They add up, too. It means driving very mindfully is a thing I need to make a point of for some time to come. I can’t really rely too heavily on implicit memory right now; I have none that applies to this vehicle. lol

One very telling thing? I regularly catch myself humming an old Queen song, “I’m In Love With My Car“,  when I am thinking about this car. lol It’s been awhile since I had a car that I felt that way about, myself. 🙂 I’m almost excited to drive to work today. For me, with the injury I have, that also means being very mindful and present is a huge thing, especially the first few weeks driving this car; it’s my one way to keep excitement from resulting in inattention or poor judgement, which can be a common enough result of being overly eager or excited about something, for me.  I’m definitely excited to be driving it. So… a good choice of vehicle? 🙂 I mean… it’s not a powerful luxury sedan (they tend to be a bit outside my comfort zone, and always feel sort of… huge), nor is it a fantastical beautiful sports car sort of machine (which, I’ll admit, I adore on this whole other level, but the driving of which bring out personality traits I don’t find are my best)…but, it’s every bit of the machine I find myself wanting most, day-to-day: nimble, quick, and capable of going where I want to go. I smile when I see it there in the driveway.

Some of the fun in life is about change. Every change is a new beginning. A “do over”. An opportunity to become more the person I most want to be. 🙂 I’m so glad I’m getting over this head cold, too; it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

Timing is a thing. It’s morning again. I’m rather aggressively slurping my coffee. There’s less time in the mornings, and I am feeling grateful that I started waking up at 4 am weeks ago (months?). I still get an hour for myself before it’s time for feet to hit pavement, and head to the bus that will take me to the office. I’m not complaining, just noting the change to my routine, and to my timing.

I exchange a few words with my Traveling Partner. I am very much missing him. I think about love for some little while. I try not to count the minutes. 🙂

The walk to the bus stop is easier each day as my body gets more used to it, and my brain gets re-calibrated to the time it takes to get to work. The commute is basically doubled in duration, in both directions, and the bus is crowded in the afternoon, on the way home. I’m not surprised by these things, they are merely characteristics of the new normal.

All the way home, each evening, I consider the things I am going to get done once I arrive. I get home too tired for any of that. This, too, is familiar. Yesterday evening was fairly skillfully done. I managed to stay fully on track with my self-care stuff, and even enjoyed the evening quietly before calling it an early night and getting some sleep. I slept through the night. I woke to the alarm. Getting up was harder than usual – I really wanted to sleep on. lol I tried to convince myself it is Saturday (it’s not; it is Wednesday) and almost went back to sleep. So unlike me.

Finally acknowledging, regularly and out loud, that I have been pushing myself too hard allows me to also admit I need more rest, like, seriously. I’m looking forward to sleeping in Saturday, in spite of knowing I’m likely to wake with the dawn, anyway.

There’s really nothing profound about any of this, and the common truth of life is that much of it is mundane, ordinary stuff, lacking in profundity or significance. A good night’s rest still matters, though. A good cup of coffee (if you’re into coffee) still satisfies. Routine is routine. Average is average. Ordinary is what most moments and days are made of – that’s not only “okay”; it provides the framework to understand the extraordinary, and recognize significance of moments that are indeed profound. This morning is not that. It’s just morning. That suits me just fine – it’s enough.

I smile quietly and swallow the last of my coffee, my eye on the clock. It’s already time to begin again. More verbs. My results may vary. 🙂

Whatever it is, this, too, will also pass. Good or bad. Fortune, or misfortune. Enjoyable. Regrettable. Memorable. Forgettable. The clock ticks. The wheel turns. Time and moments pass.

It’s been a bit more than a year here in this duplex. A bit more than a year living quite a bit of distance from my Traveling Partner. A bit more than a year driving his car, because he observed I needed it a bit more than he did at that time, and didn’t yet have my own. It’s been helpful having it, for sure. It’s been evident, over the year, that I need a car, myself, more than I realized. I’ll shop around a bit and take care of that soon. No rush. I’m pretty self-sufficient on public transit, and the bit more walking and exercise that takes will be good for me right now. 🙂 It was an important eye-opener to recognize that the driving commute was robbing me of some much-needed exercise that a walking (or part riding, part walking) commute provided, and how important that really is.

Today I return to the part riding, part walking commute I had planned to make part of my daily routine when I first moved in here, before I had the car to rely on. Hell, I may stick with that even after I buy a car. I’m not expecting it to be a hardship, just time-consuming, and with music, books, and my camera along for the journey each day, it’s not even likely to be “wasted time”. 🙂 I’ve “been here” before. The wheel keeps turning.

I’m grimly amused that my back hurts so fiercely this morning. It’s not my arthritis. Feels like I “slept on it wrong” and now have the back equivalent of a kink in my neck, as though my ribs were weirdly cramped together on one side for too long, and now hurt peculiarly in one spot, on the opposite side from which I usually feel most of my pain. Fucking craptacular meat sack – always breaking down or going wrong in some fashion. Being human can be so messy, and uncomfortable. Of course it would be the case today, in advance of a change in routine that requires more exertion, that I’ll also be more uncomfortable. So human. No doubt it’ll ease over time. I breathe, relax, and get a second coffee.

…No coffee along my commute route, now… Well. Shit. That’s a change…

I check the weather with more care than usual; it’ll matter what the weather is later in the day, and will be too late to second guess what I will need to have along in my day back by then. Sunscreen gets added to my day pack. The forecast says sunny, and peak heat at 90 degrees. I add a bottle of water, too. I set my cane by the door; I’m jumping right into a bit more walking than I’ve grown used to, and it will serve me well to be prepared for that to fatigue my ankle. No sandals today; hiking boots instead. Sure, circumstances change, and the wheel keeps turning, there’s nothing about that which suggests I must also be taken by surprise, or wholly unprepared for what life may drop in my path. 🙂 Planning is a thing I can do. (You too, if you choose to.)

Well, there’s a new day about to unfold ahead of me. A new journey to take. A new path to follow. I wonder where this moment leads? To find out, I only have to take another step. I only need to begin again. 🙂