Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness for beginners

Well… I guess I slept 12 hours… sort of. I mean, I did call it a night quite early (shortly after 7pm), and I did go to bed and fall asleep early. I got up to face the day shortly after 7am this morning. That would appear to be… 12 hours of sleep. My fitness tracker observes that I didn’t actually get to sleep until somewhat later… 8:27pm, actually. I was up a couple times during the night, although not for very long, but the sleep I got is measured on my tracker as a bit less than 10 hours. Still… lovely restful night, right? Nope. Not even close.

…I was probably looking forward to it too much… maybe?

I sip my coffee and let it go; life has some disappointing moments. Some on a grand scale (we shut down the government, over a grown man having a fucking tantrum about a wall to solve a non-existent problem that can’t be solved with wall-building? for fucks’ sake, really??) and some on a scale so small as to be difficult to describe quite as disappointment – like sleeping somewhat restlessly for 10 hours, when I was so eager to sleep deeply for an undetermined period and simply wake without the alarm. lol It’s not worth being aggravated about, really, considering the scale of so many of life’s other disappointments (we elected what to the office of president? really??)

It’s a new day. My coffee is hot, delicious, and the mug comfortably warm in my hands.

Still getting used to the view; change is a constant in life.

I scrolled through my Facebook feed last night, while the evening wound down, and it was disappointing that it was filled with friends sharing a post that a friend shared, from another friend somewhere else, who also shared it because they were also struck by it in some way (amusing, annoying, familiar, cool, or somehow otherwise seeming shareworthy)… but I don’t know those people, and I don’t much care about their words in my feed… not as much as I want to actually hear from my friends about their own life and experiences, in their own words. Facebook made a big deal about connecting us. Doesn’t seem like it has actually worked out quite that way. We’ve simply become a product, and the application has become a drug. I continue to work at using it differently – and less.

Tl;dr on that one? Fuck “social media”. Let’s be social.

A side remark about Basic Income right here; it’s not a freebie if it is reasonable compensation for our data. I just have to call out that data has come to have significant intrinsic value to both business and government. Basic income, as I see it, could simply be the payment made by government, to individuals, on behalf of business, which (should) pays taxes – in part to cover the value of the data they harvest from individuals – resulting in reasonable compensation for our data (and perhaps making us more willing to share more of it contentedly), over our lifetimes, and basic income to support us in maintaining good quality of life. Why not? Right now… we’re being grossly exploited by both business and government, stealing our data, giving us nothing in return worth having (looking your way Facebook).

Returning to the moment, and the morning, and still enjoying my still hot coffee, I give some thought to the day ahead. I go looking, specifically, for implicit expectations, and lingering assumptions, that could wreck my day (or at least my mood), before I get out in the world where such things have more profound impact. This weekend is about rest. Housework. Painting. Mostly about rest. And housework, too, though. Well… I’d also like to paint… lol. I laugh at myself over the dithering.

Pause. Breathe. Take a moment. It can be simpler.

I feel more rested this morning than I did yesterday evening. No surprise there, in spite of the restless night, I slept enough hours to wake mostly fairly refreshed. Rested enough to really see the housekeeping that needs to be done (I bitch, because it doesn’t fit my own expectations of myself, but it’s not that bad, I literally need to vacuum and do laundry, not much else). The everyday upkeep and maintenance of good quality of life for one adult by one adult isn’t that much to handle, generally; I tidy up as I go, most of the time, and try to spend 1 hour each day doing the needful things around the house. By the time the weekend comes, it’s not all that much to finish off whatever I slacked on during the week – in this case, that appears to be the laundry, which I obviously attempted to pre-sort at some point, resulting in lingering piles of color or fabric-sorted clothes all over my fucking bedroom floor. lol When had I started the process of doing the damned laundry…? Right. I hadn’t quite finished it on Monday, which was a holiday. (I can be reliably counted on to slack on a holiday, I admit it.)

I look around the studio, I’d also left it ready to return to the easel (or tabletop, or drop-cloth on the floor), also on Monday. My brain snaps back a witty retort, “what the fuck did you actually do in the evenings all damned week?” I laughingly acknowledge I just don’t get much done on work nights; there’s little evening left, and I actually have been trying to stay on top of my self-care, first. The basics. Showers. Yoga. Exercise. A healthy meal cooked at home. Meditation. Well. Shit. There’s an entire evening of activity, right there. If I add to that “good sleep hygiene” – which includes a regular “bedtime” generally, I’ve quickly run out of time – there’s really only 4 hours or so of “evening” after work, less if I end up staying late in the office. Still… it’s pretty nice to have a head start on the laundry (I did manage to keep it well sorted lol) and the studio is delightfully ready for me to get back to it, any time I choose to. πŸ˜€

I grin at myself and finish my first cup of coffee on a misty Saturday morning. A friend I haven’t sat down with in a fair while invited me to brunch. A nice start to the day, really, even if life itself is not as advertised, and can’t really ever measure up to the fantastical daydreams I wove into my consciousness as a younger woman, this “now”, right here? Pretty fucking nice. (You like it? I built it myself… πŸ˜‰ ) It’s enough. I’m enough. So are you. Sure, we can probably be more than we are, do a better job at living our lives, make our choices more skillfully – and there’s time to practice and do all those things. You can get started on that, any time. It’s okay to be okay with this, here, now, too. It’s a good place to start from, on a new journey.

“Life Sparkles (with the love we feel)” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas w/glow and glitter 2018 (sorry about my shadow; tough one to photograph)

I’m ready to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

Sipping coffee and thinking about cautions and warnings and good advice at the last possible minute, and strong recommendations against very foolhardy actions. All of that? Don’t do those things! lol From the earliest “don’t put that in your mouth” observations from childhood to the latest-in-life reminders to “wrap it up”, “vaccinate”, “don’t drive drunk” or “don’t reheat reheated leftovers again, especially after they’ve been out on the counter for hours”… and the lingering, oft-repeated, equally often disregarded “what the fuck are you doing??” – Don’t do the thing!!

I’m just noticing, I guess, how frequently the cautionary advice in life is seriously fucking basic.

It makes sense to refrain from just picking shit up off the floor or the ground and sticking it your mouth. Just saying, we generally grow out of that impulse fairly young, but… I do actually know folks who are “bare backing” their casual sexual encounters and don’t seem to realize how stupid “aw, hell, I mean, they don’t look like they have vd…” actually sounds. Excuses about not getting the flu shot don’t sound more reasoned. People still choose – deliberately choose – to drive while intoxicated, or exhausted. People still disregard the basics of kitchen hygiene at home and make themselves or their loved ones sick with food borne illnesses, regularly (they’d never pay money to eat in that kitchen, though, and they’d raise hell if they got food poisoning from a restaurant).

Take care of yourself. Skillfully done, good self-care enhances a lifetime – potentially a longer one. I’m not sure it even takes more effort to heed wise cautions, and to care for ourselves with the same attention we bring to our jobs. Isn’t it mostly a matter of choices? Of listening? Of acting in our own best (long-term) interests?

What’s stopping you? What’s holding you back from a life well-lived, and from enjoying the results of good decision-making?

I reflect on my own failures to take my own best advice to heart. I reflect on how my emotional qualify of life can influence my practical decision-making. I consider where I can improve, and what choices I can make differently, every day. I find myself wondering if taking steps to practice the very best, most skillful, self-care has any positive outcome for the world… or just for me…

…Soon enough, I notice it is already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Strange day. Quiet, slightly sad “celebration” of moments, as I packed up all the Giftmas decor and put it away for the year. Uneventful. Fairly routine. It’s been a generally pleasant day spent on “endings”; most new beginnings are preceded by an end of some sort. It’s a thing.

I feel a certain heaviness and sense of ennui. I’m a little bit blue. I’m okay – and even okay with my emotional weather. It’ll pass.

It’s a gray, vaguely wintry day, chilly without quite being cold. Cold enough to be unpleasant to stand around outside. Nonetheless, I did spend some minutes outside on the deck, puzzling over rebuilding my garden after the scorching and neglectful summer. I fed the squirrels. Tidied up a bit.

The afternoon has turned quite gray and dismal, but I’m not certain that’s truly the weather, today, or just the weather I’ve brought along, subjectively. I would nap, but I’m not tired. lol I feel preoccupied, and also lacking in content. Or contentment. So human. As I adjusted the lighting more for evening, I firmly and purposefully (without intention) stubbed my toe on the floor lamp (has a foot switch) that I broke my toe, shearing much of the nail from the nail bed. I created some brand new obscenities for the occasion, never before uttered. lol It is still painful and throbbing some hour later, and has turned a rather amazing shade of deep violet, almost black.

My foot is cold from the ice pack resting on it. I consider the fragility of toes, and how amazing it is that so often we can still walk on the affected foot, even put weight on it. I guess, easily breakable toes are less bothersome or deadly, if one can still get around on them.

I continue to sit with my elevated foot, iced, laptop precariously balanced on my knees. The foot isn’t hurting so much now. Now it is more obvious that the impact also jarred my (bad) ankle. Shit. That’s likely to hurt more longer. I let go of worrying about it; it doesn’t help with anything. I give the evening ahead some thought, and begin again. πŸ™‚

Sipping my coffee and letting my thoughts drift this morning. There’s a lot of fucking drama swirling around me, and people dear to me seem mired in it. Upon a closer look, they’re often causing it, seeking it, stoking it, creating it, and wrapping themselves in it as if for warmth. Yeesh. If you don’t want drama in your life… choose something else. Just saying.

Yes, I mean that seriously. lol It’s feasible.

Yes. Yes it is entirely feasible.

No, I’m not kidding.

Let’s start somewhere obvious (to me). Let’s start with language. Defining things is a thing we do. We use “is” to take a thing, and firmly connect it to a characteristic, which will then define that thing. “This ball is blue.” Easy example. I haven’t shown you a photograph, or provided any evidence, but now, you can picture, for yourself, that “the ball E.H. has is blue” and even “see” that, in your mind.

By the way; I’ve got no ball, blue or otherwise. Whole thing is a made up example. Just saying; we do this sort of thing to ourselves, with our own “defining characteristics” – and the things we think about other people – all the fucking time. Instant drama, particularly when there’s no ball there at all.

Seriously. That shit isn’t real. Or true. It’s totally made up.

Yeah…but… what color is my imaginary ball? You know, the one I was talking about?

Oh. That ball. It’s blue. Obviously. I already said.

…You see where this could go? How easily we can be misled? By our own words?

Whatever characteristics you ascribe to yourself through “is” and “am” have real power to change how you think and talk about yourself, how you treat yourself, how you treat others, and how you behave. It changes who you see yourself to be. When you ascribe characteristics to others, through “is”, you create a clear picture of them inΒ  your mind, of who they “are”, and in so doing, you change who you see them to be – without any actual connection to their actual self. Who you think they are will change how you treat them, but it does not change who they in fact are. lol

I’m just saying, be careful with your words. Be careful with defining things – or yourself. You can really lock yourself into a set of behaviors or characteristics that may not be the person you most want to be.

Do you see where this is leading? Toward the suggestion that you use great care and precision when defining yourself? A suggestion to maybe not define yourself so specifically at all? A suggestion that there is value in disconnecting your sense of self from your historical actions, to lift yourself out of less than ideally desirable patterns of behavior, and allow yourself freedom to move on from all that? Yes. That’s where this is going. Do that. πŸ™‚

You’ll still be accountable (and responsible) for your actions. This is not about that. This is, though, about moving on, and becoming well, and making positive changes. This is about perception, language, and how language influences how we treat ourselves and others.

Show yourself some kindness, for fuck’s sake. You can do better, and you surely deserve some kindness, and encouragement, from the person in the mirror. πŸ™‚

I take one last look at this blue ball, before I toss it away. It takes practice to refrain from defining ourselves by our mistakes, our worst decisions, our perceived flaws, the essence of how we are criticized in life, or the bullshit we hear (even from ourselves) every day. That ball may bounce, but trust me, it’s not real anyway. Let it go.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

However stress-filled, however chaotic, however angst-ridden, and horrible-seeming life may be right now, it’s possible to get the occasional breather from all that, even if it is just a walk, or an hour immersed in a good book, or a favorite video game… or a few minutes of meditation…

…Take a break, now and then. πŸ™‚

There’s even the very real chance that taking healthy breaks from stress could… reduce your stress. πŸ˜€ (That sounds like a fine idea!)

I woke this morning without the anxiety that has been plaguing me for weeks, now. It was a nice departure from what had threatened to become routine. Feels good. I sip my coffee and enjoy it, and think about the handful of days off ahead of me. That feels good, too. I smile, and feel my relaxed posture, and contentment in my own skin.

I spend a moment or two musing about life’s changes; small ones, over time, that sometimes become, quite a lot later, very significant… and other’s that seem to loom large in the moment, and amount to nothing, looking back on them. Weird how that works.

It’s the people and relationships that matter most. Life seems so much less about other facets of our circumstances, as I sit quietly on a weekday morning before a holiday weekend, sipping my coffee.

I notice the time, and realize there is time yet to tidy up, and for meditation. A good time to begin again. πŸ™‚