Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness for beginners

I went to bed without setting the alarm, figuring I’d be unlikely to sleep very late, but would certainly benefit from a restful natural sleep, waking up… whenever. I can’t overstate the luxury in that experience (for me), particularly if my sleep is good quality. 🙂 It was fairly early, and I expected to read a bit, perhaps, then sleep.

…I never even touched my Kindle. lol

I woke gently. Still dark. I rolled over thinking I would return to sleep, and realized I also had to pee. I laid there in the darkness a few minutes, just sort of waiting to see what my state of wakefulness would really prove to be. Would I just fall asleep in a moment? Would I drift restlessly in and out of a dream? Nope. This morning, I laid there quite awake, content, and calm. So I checked the time. 5:15 am. Nice. Something like sleeping in, nothing too late, definitely not early. Win and good.

I get up. Adjust the thermostat for “awake”. Turn on the espresso machine. The aquarium lights are still off… strange…

I am standing in the kitchen, lights on, starting my coffee, and I glance up at the kitchen clock. 3:24.

3:24?

Damn it. Without my glasses, vision still a bit blurry, in the dim light, sure, a 3 could be misread as a 5 in a great many fonts. Shit. I’m totally awake now. I think ahead to the late night I’ve got planned. Omg. LOL No real option to go back to bed (seriously? I am totally awake)… in a couple hours I’ll be on the highway. By midday I’ll be so thoroughly caffeinated that a nap won’t be possible. Well, hell. I feel myself start to become irritated by this situation.

I found myself rather naturally pausing to consider the morning differently – and this is a change in behavior in comparison to say, 3 years ago – and I make a point of recalling how delicious waking up actually felt. How rested I feel. How entirely awake I was before I ever got out of bed. How comfortable I am right now (relatively pain-free in most regards). I sip my coffee and smile. The coffee is good, too. Good night’s rest. Pleasant (if early) morning. Good cup of coffee. What’s to be irritated about? In fact, my irritation has already dissipated, and instead I am simply enjoying the start to my weekend.

Apparently, I have become less reactive over time, more emotionally resilient, more able to gain and maintain a sense of contentment and perspective, and less need to be attached to specific outcomes. I enjoy this change. I enjoy it enough to take time to really appreciate how far I’ve come.

I’m entirely made of human, of course, and as soon as my news feeds begin to push content into my brain via face holes, I ride that media-driven roller-coaster for a few minutes of internal sass and sarcasm; I’m not reading the articles this morning, merely replying to the headlines, to myself. LOL It goes a little something like this:

Me: Something should.

Or…

Me: Well, yeah… he’s definitely a more professional news source than Fox. LOL

There is, most mornings, no real point in actually opening some of these articles; the headlines are bait. I try not to be baited. lol It quickly becomes a game, and once again, my sense of balance and contentment are restored. 😀

The clock ticks on. My leisurely morning may have started early, but it is a busy day ahead of travel to get to the home place, and there’s plenty to do. I think I’ll get started on that. 🙂

It’s a lovely morning for a new beginning. It’s a beautiful day to change the world – I’ll start with my thinking, an excellent starting point for beginning or changing things. 😀

Wow. I suck at writing in the evenings. I mean, I apparently don’t approach the matter with the same rigid commitment, or discipline, or…? Whatever it is that drives me to write before dawn is clearly lacking. lol Perhaps, there’s more of other stuff that tends to redirect my attention to the living of life versus the consideration of all of the many details that could go into doing so, for the purpose of committing a handful of words on the subject to a text box, online?

I write less in the evening, but in making the observation, I find myself also wondering if that were the point, in the first place? More may not be better…or… even at all good or worthwhile, and potentially just… time-consuming. lol It’s not about a word count, to the point that someone else once had to point out to me that I’d begun writing such long posts they’d discontinued reading them. (I don’t think that resulted in my changing my writing style as much as simply alerting me that I’d likely lose a few readers. I write, generally, very much the way I talk. 😀 ) Still, I’d much rather write when I feel most inspired, and write about things that matter most to me in some way that is meaningful or revealing or… somehow worthwhile to have taken the time to jot it all down.

The oven beeps to let me know it is pre-heated. I pause and stick dinner in the oven (a foil packet of veggies chopped into bite sized pieces, cubed meat – the type varies – some seasonings, a drizzle of olive oil, and stuff it in the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees; it isn’t fancy, but it’s easy, tasty, and requires little further attention). I take a deep deep breath and relax as I return to my writing. I notice my boots are still on, and suddenly they feel confining. I remove them. I’m not really following a set routine, lately, in the way I am most comfortable, and small distractions like boots, dinner, my hair falling in my face, the buzz of a message notification on a silenced ringer, really throw me off and I feel disorganized and unskilled at enjoying the evening. It’s comical in the abstract, frustrating in real life…but, and this still feels rather odd to me, I’m not particularly freaked out by either the frustration, or the feeling of being disorganized and unskilled, which is pretty cool. Incremental change over time. 😀

I look at the words with a weird feeling, realizing that at some point real lasting emotional and mental wellness may overtake me – will I stop writing? I mean, stop writing this, here, a blog about feeling my way through life’s chaos and damage in the relative darkness, and hoping to improve on my experience ever so slightly, in increments, over time, using borrowed wisdom, meditation, and mindfulness practices? Will I have anything to say, generally? Will I, instead, seek to enjoy my contentment silently as life’s evening light fades gently over time?

…I burst out laughing out loud when I realize I’m basically wondering what the future holds. lol Definitely a question for which I have no answers. The future is… out there somewhere, as yet unformed, to be built on a matrix of my choices and yours, and coincidence and circumstances, and tricks of our thinking, filtered through what we think we understand. Yeah. I have nothing for that one besides the awareness that if I’m fortunate, I’ll get to see it. 😀 What happens after that? I’m no help there either. I don’t know at all. Maybe we begin again? 😉

I had recently noticed that something’s been digging in my container garden. I know the squirrels, who are regular visitors, are likely suspects; I’ve seen them bury acorns in those same containers, so perhaps they’ve also been digging them up? Seems a safe enough assumption. It’s still just an assumption. If I hang on to that assumption long enough, it becomes a belief. As a belief, it sits in my head guiding my expectations of things to come. I expect, eventually, to see a squirrel digging up acorns from those pots, naturally.

A succulent garden in a large pot, thoroughly dug up, peanut shells littering the ground, carelessly left behind by a visitor.

Funny thing about “reality”; it isn’t at all what we imagine, or assume, or expect it to be. It is what it is. (What it’s made of is a lofty topic for other days, and fancy experts, I can’t do it justice, here.) I happened to be relaxing with a cup of decaf, considering the afternoon ahead, and spotted movement on the deck out of the corner of my eye. Squirrels? Not quite squirrel like. And tiny. I turn slowly and watch carefully, waiting… waiting… waiting… My eyes adjust to the “pattern” of the container garden on the deck – there it is. A new visitor, or at least one I haven’t spotted before – a chipmunk. An actual chipmunk has come up onto the deck (which exists on the same level as the single level residence in which I make my home, but from the back of the house, would be “the second floor”, because the property slopes considerably). I sit and watch the chipmunk. The chipmunk darts here and there, behind pots, over pots, between pots, watching me. There is no opportunity to get my new camera, but my phone is at hand. I don’t reach for it right away, I just watch.

My chipmunk visitor pauses perched on a pot.

That’s when I spotted it, a snapshot of a reality I don’t generally see; the chipmunk is my digging visitor. My little visitor hopped up to the lip of first one pot, then another, and just dug like crazy, leaving pock-marked soil, divots, and craters behind. The chipmunk was digging up the peanuts the squirrels had recently buried and eating them, one by one. There’s even a chance it’s been happening right in front of me – the little chipmunk’s camouflage is very good. I sat and watched a good while longer, until my little visitor left.

Some movement startles the chipmunk, which grabs one last peanut and darts away.

I end up sitting quietly for some minutes, contemplating the ease with which I assumed the squirrels to be responsible for the “bad acts” of the wee chipmunks, who I hadn’t considered at all – because I didn’t know they would come up onto the deck in the first place, having never seen that behavior. I was limited by my lack of knowledge, and my reasoning was impaired by my assumptions. It’s worth thinking about. It’s worth getting all “meta” with that experience and recognizing the damage I potentially do to myself and to my relationships to allow unverified assumptions to become beliefs which inform my expectations and guide my decision-making. There’s something greater to understand in that, something that matters. I sip my coffee and stare into the rain.

I sigh contentedly. I don’t need more from this moment. This is enough.

 

It’s not about a point system. There’s no goal post. This is not a competition at all. I am, however, quite tired. Enough that my thoughts trail off and become juxtaposed one with another, surreal, nonsensical, amusing – better than nightmares. I dislike nightmares. I still have nightmares.

I woke during the night after a nightmare. Work bullshit, less frightening than other sorts of things, still it shook me up to wake up from mocking laughter and feel so small and alone in the dark. I got up. I got up and took care of myself. Some meditation. A drink of water. A couple minutes of pleasant conversation with a friend. I didn’t get hung up on the nightmares, and returned to sleep sometime later. This happened a couple times. My sleep was of poor quality. Today, as a result, I am tired. It happens. It’s a real thing, people know about it.

I’ve spent a gentle evening of quiet, and already I have forgotten what it was I was doing… sitting? Standing. Some meditation. What else? It doesn’t matter too much. Yep. I’m tired. One lovely thing about being an adult? I totally do not care at all that it is only 9:56 pm (hell, that’s a decently adult time for bed right there. lol) – I’m tired now, so now I will sleep. That seems just fine, certainly it does no harm.

Tomorrow is soon enough to begin again. Isn’t it generally?

Do you. There is so little time. I’m not saying get wrecked at every chance, running amuck wherever you go, violating boundaries, tearing shit up and bringing drama every damned where – not at all. I am saying live your life. Make this moment yours – and that next one, over there, that one, too.

There’s a trick to living well – and I’m only just aware of it on the periphery, so new it is barely something I can practice, yet, more just a thing I am noticing going on, just out of reach; a rare few among us manage to do the damned thing – this crazy thing called life – in a most rich and wonderful way, without anything unusual for resources, and without trampling over everyone else’s day-dream. Sweet, right? But… how?? How to choose actions and words in the moment to both be most true to myself and my own needs and goals, and also not tread on the boundaries, needs and goals of others?

I practice consideration – a lot. It’s one of my Big 5. (Respect, Consideration, Compassion, Reciprocity, Openness) It’s a huge improvement on the young woman I once was, and the choices she favored. I’ve still got so much to learn, so far to travel…

I sit quietly sipping a hot decaf, enjoying the stillness of evening, listening to a great Electro House Mix, and letting the evening wind down around me. I let my thoughts wander distant trails. I exchange a few words with a friend. I consider this moment, here, so quiet and gentle, and I contrast it with recent parties – the difference in intensity moment-to-moment is remarkable. (See? Here I am remarking on it, in fact.) I have definitely been needing something that these parties have been providing… but…

…All the parties notwithstanding, it is the healing peace of a solitary moment that anchors me in a gentle “now” I can count on for an easy beginning for the next moment after that. I smile, finish my coffee, and bump the thermostat a little for comfort as I head to my meditation cushion. Can’t get this high at a party. lol 🙂

Time to begin again.