Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness for beginners

I got home last night fairly happy just to make it safely home at all. I can’t make any claims to enjoying my commute. :-\ Last night was a hair-raising example of “how bad can it be?”

I spent the evening relaxing, regaining my softer side, and just chilling as evening settled and became night. I don’t really recall it with any detail or clarity. I know that I relaxed and enjoy the quiet evening well past that time that makes sense for me to call it a night and get some damned sleep. LOL I’m paying for that choice this morning. I would happily go back to bed. I didn’t “do” anything though; I made a commitment to studious relaxation. Goal met. lol

So tired this morning… as if that relaxation stuff were mighty difficult work. lol I’m okay with being more honest with myself than that; I didn’t get enough sleep. Being more careful about that will serve me well. Cheating myself on sleep does not rise to the level of “good self-care”. I even know this, I just lost track of time sitting by the fire, daydreaming.

Sleep and sleep quality are a big deal. I put myself at risk of all manner of cognitive weirdness, and even increased risk of ill-health, by undermining my sleep hygiene. Too many days on too little sleep, and I’ll quickly experience a decline in cognitive efficiency, attention to detail, memory, and emotional resilience – it just doesn’t make sense to be careless with my sleep habits. So. I give the woman in the mirror a stern talking to, which she’ll no doubt do her best to heed. Being human, I can also be fairly certain it’ll come up again. I mean, seriously? I did not lose track of time by intent. lol

Sitting here yawning over my coffee two things occur to me: I can begin again, and before I can type out a coherent sentence, the other thing slips away, lost. LOL I better get right on that beginning again, stuff… maybe… a second cup of coffee? 😀

 

 

Fucking hell, this is some real shit, right here.

I woke early – 3:38 am – no alarm. Had to pee, not an uncommon mammalian or primate thing at all, it happens. I wasn’t awake enough, quite, to realize that this moment would cascade into other small unpleasant experiences, like dominoes toppling, each less comfortable than the previous moment leading to it. Having to pee was easy to resolve… then it was all about my sinuses draining… then I became aware of the headache… my pounding heart… the breathless feeling… Why the hell was I “holding my breath” like that in the first place??? Right. Pain. I’m betting it was actually the pain that woke me, because as it turned out, I really didn’t have to pee that badly, certainly not badly enough to wake me from a deep sleep. It is, perhaps, habitual to immediately head in that direction if I wake during the night, at all. lol

Fuck, I am in so much pain, already, today. It’s not yet actually even time to begin the day. :-\ The world is quiet, and there is no sound of traffic, or the existence of humanity beyond this keyboard, and this monitor, right here. It is just now 4:30 am, on a Saturday morning. I could be sleeping… if I were not awake. I hurt too much to feel sleepy. I may as well begin the day… for some values of “beginning”. I made coffee. 0_o

Realizing, after the first sip, that coffee does not, in any way, address pain, and pain being, in fact, the issue at hand, I drop an ice-cube in my coffee and let it melt on my way to the shower, and chug it before I step under the steamy hot water…

…A shower, some yoga, and yes, actually, another shower after that… and generous application of medical cannabis (both as a topical balm, where I can reach painful places, and vaporized)… I make coffee number two, and sit down to write, hopeful that I may find adequate relief without reaching for an Rx pain reliever. 5:52 am. Still far earlier than today needed to begin. lol Fuck – how is this much pain even a thing? Is this really fucking necessary? I know I have arthritis – what fucking help is all this pain?? What could it possibly be telling me that has any value, at all? Damn. Well… the coffee, the yoga and the shower eased the headache pain. That’s something. No headache. I pause to sip my coffee and appreciate that for a long moment. I do not have a headache, right now. Nice. I’ll take it.

Next? Distraction. Cognitive trickery – totally fair game, and a worthy practice. 🙂

Yesterday was lovely. I did not shop. I did not buy. I chilled at home, mostly just looking out onto the deck, sipping coffee, or tea, or reading a book. I’ve been somewhat disappointed since I moved in to see creatures so seldom. I mean, I’ve seen bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, a rather large raccoon, but birds have been fairly rare, aside from seeing them fly by now and then. The one squirrel visitor who seemed to be regular was only interested in the bird seed I had hoped would be, you know, for the birds. lol I switched to putting out a small dish of whole peanuts, on an irregular basis, and an ear of dried corn in a hanging feeder that the squirrel could more safely get to. I haven’t seen the squirrel back, but the dish has often been quickly emptied, and the cob stripped far faster than I had expected, fairly often. Yesterday, spending hours just watching (and hours that are generally spent in the office, far away), I finally got to see how things go, here on the deck. Apparently, things don’t get going until around 11 am, in the late autumn.

A beautiful Steller’s Jay stopped by for a peanut… or… several. lol

I watched the jay coming and going for quite a while. Then, a female jay joined him. Then, a pair of robins stopped by, not interested in the peanuts, but feeling safe to check out the soil in all the pots for tasty things. A hummingbird snacked on each remaining blossom in the garden, which is to say, some nasturtiums in the hanging baskets, and some blooms left on Baby Love, a miniature rose that doesn’t appear to give a damn about the season, and blooms almost year round. A small woodpecker visited a tree just beyond the deck, and the hawk I often hear circling overhead took a seat in a tree top within view. I sat, delighted, for an hour or two (or more…?).

I sat long enough, aware, and patiently observing, to begin spotting dens, nests, burrows, and bowers.

It was time well spent. It was just at the moment I first considered getting up to go “do something” that my last visitor came around.

…my squirrel visitor is nibbling on my tarragon…

I sit quietly, sneaking an occasional picture, hoping not to startle the squirrel, who still seems very shy. Eventually, my wee visitor makes its way to the corn feeder, first checking the empty dish for peanuts (the jays got them all).

…I’m glad to know for sure the squirrel knows the feeder is there. 🙂

The sinking sun was already beginning to change the color of the forest beyond the deck. I smile to myself to see that I’ve used the word “forest”, even now that I can so clearly see it’s really only a strip of trees, a bit of grass, and then the backs of all the houses another street over. lol Those Big Leaf Maples really provide a dense wall of greenery in spring and summer, quite delightfully private.

There are things to love about this place and time. It is worth being here, now.

…And… It’s worked. A bit of distraction, lingering on the recollection of something quite pleasant, looking through the pictures, sharing it with you, in words, here… I don’t hurt as much. I’ve had a chance to benefit from the yoga, the shower, and taking medication. My consciousness isn’t saturated in information to do with pain, or sensations of it. I can move on with the day, and maybe fairly comfortably. It’s not magic. There are verbs involved. My results vary. But… today it is enough, and I can begin again. 🙂

 

 

I have spent “too much” of my lifetime feeling “irritated” about one thing or another. lol This morning I woke from a restless-but-deep sleep filled with bad dreams from which I could not wake. They were not specifically “nightmares” and I was not frightened, just… irritated. Bad dreams. I woke still feeling rather unspecifically irked, just generally, at no specific thing, or moment. I feel… annoyed. No idea why. I feel aggravated in advance of any obvious cause. Fussy. Irritable. Cross. Cranky. Rather disinclined to be at all social, and facing a day ahead of me filled with people. Shit. That’s annoying. (To be fair, emotions require no defense, no justification, and take no argument; they are simply feelings. Responses. Reactions. They are what they are.)

How do I figure it’s “too much” over the course of a lifetime? lol Totally subjective; as it turns out, I really dislike these emotional experiences of being aggravated, irritated, fussy, or annoyed. Any particular amount of time spent feeling this way just feels like “too much”, however little it is. 🙂 My life. My experience. My definitions. 😉

I sip my coffee and reflect on irritation… and on pearls. Pearls are lovely. Vaguely luminous in appearance, iridescent, sleek, precious… and they begin their existence as an irritant. Literally, in some cases, a grain of sand in an oyster starts the whole process. The pearl itself? A coping mechanism. The cause? Irritation. It gets me thinking about transformations, generally. How best to turn this morning’s irritation into one of life’s pearls? No idea, just now, but I do find it a lovely promising thought. (So many are!)

This whole TBI-PTSD journey from chaos and damage to manageable wellness is very much about transforming disadvantages to advantages, chaos to order, madness to reason, and hell yes – irritants into pearls. Metaphorical pearls, in this instance, but pearls of great value nonetheless. It’s not something that happens “automatically”. As with many things, there are verbs involved, an effort of will required, and an intention that must be formed before that process even begins – and so much practice!! Omg. So much practice. Incremental change over time is a given, we become what we practice, but it is a notoriously slow process and it often feels as though nothing is changing at all. It’s easy to become frustrated with that, to give up on myself, to give up on change, to give up on eventual actual manageable sustainable emotional wellness… but… change is legitimately a thing that is going to happen, and it will be wrapped in my choices, and my practices. Over time, my irritants may become pearls. (Or, they may not. My results vary.)

It’s a nice thought over my coffee. I pause on another thought, “this too will pass”. Also totally true. This morning’s irritability is what it is – but only that, and nothing more. It’s not sustainable. Emotional weather comes and goes. The climate in this life is pretty mild, much of the time. Contentment is fairly practical, as emotional goals go, sustainable, and something that can be “crafted” from components available in a great many lives, lifetimes, and experiences. Have you had a go at contentment, yet? It’s rather lovely. It lacks many of the dizzying highs of “happiness” – there is no euphoria – it also lacks the deep lows that go with chasing happiness, too. It is more a walk through a pleasant urban green space than a through hike on an unmarked wilderness trail; it is predictably level and comfortable. I find myself smiling past my irritability as my day-to-day contentment becomes a wellspring for more of the same, and slowly my heart fills up on that softer, sweeter, more satisfying emotional content.

My dreams were pretty shitty. They begin to fade from my recollection as my irritation recedes.

It feels, generally, fairly effortless to “begin again” when I feel pretty good. Harder when I feel irritable, angry, or strange. It’s still a choice, and even still a choice entirely available to me – it’s just a bit harder to choose it. Still an option, though. Needing a cognitive reset just to get to that place presents its own challenge. This morning, I find it useful to focus on a metaphor (those pearls) and gratitude (that I’ve come so far, already). It’s super hard to remain irritated (or angry) while feeling grateful or appreciative of something. 😀 (Nice trick, Brain, thanks!) Gratitude is an extraordinary way to hit the reset button on a moment, and find a new beginning – I definitely recommend it.

…And this morning, having begun again, I feel more than usually motivated to get a couple things done before I leave for work. Useful. I finish my coffee, and check my list. 🙂

I woke with some difficulty. Groggy, a bit slow, sluggish really, and somewhat irritable, I manage to pull myself up. I sit. A while. Eventually, I get up, bump the thermostat back up a bit, turn on a light, take medication, shower… all the things. I drank my first coffee with little patience for such things, and no lingering recollection of it.

It is the Monday of a short workweek followed by a holiday. I am exceedingly excited about the holiday, admittedly less so about the compressed, busy workweek ahead of me. The weekend was lovely, quiet and productive, and entirely restful. A good beginning. I stayed up later than I meant to last night, reading quietly and losing track of time. In spite of the grogginess that results from getting a little less sleep than my body clearly expected, and feeling mildly irritated by that, I am also managing to be rather merry.

The next couple days will be quite busy. The weekend with my Traveling Partner will be a highlight of the year, and I’m excited to be well-prepared. There are still a couple things I’d like to have done and out of the way. My list is well-worked, and there’s very little left. With a chuckle I add and cross off a couple other things I got done, that I hadn’t actually planned to do.

I haven’t yet swept the leaves off the deck (again).

A list, a calendar, some plans, a few ideas, and a handful of moments ahead to enjoy on a holiday… I am eager to begin again. It’s a good time for that. 🙂

The concert Friday night was amazing. My ears were still ringing well into the afternoon, yesterday.

I’d had plans to hang out with a friend in the afternoon, yesterday. He messaged considerately early and alerted me he had a conflict. That worked out well; I had quite a bit of housekeeping I wanted to get done, and the result of the uninterrupted time to play house was that I nearly wiped out my list, and even had time to do a bit of grocery shopping. 🙂

The world lost a major chunk of what moved me during my high school years; I read that Malcolm Young of AC/DC had died. I didn’t weep, but I sat a long while listening to the songs I loved then, first several AC/DC tracks that had been my own favorites, then as the morning wore on, random tracks that I loved from those years. It was more fun than tragic, more nurturing than grieving. I enjoyed those songs then, they generally still appeal to me now, though I listen to very different stuff these days, most of the time.

The Thanksgiving holiday ahead of me continues to take shape. I contentedly plan and act on plans, and move through time moment by moment.

I only now notice that I didn’t write yesterday. I smile at the thought of a day so rich in moments that there seemed no suitable moment – or need – to write at all.

A misty autumn morning

It is another day. There are more moments. I woke to a misty autumn morning after a restless night. I slept in. I woke surprised at the lateness of the hour, when I finally woke. I opened the curtains, surprised again to see the sliver of forest adjacent to the deck filled with mist. There are fewer bright autumn leaves clinging to the trees, and more of them on the deck itself. I remind myself to sweep them off, again. The bird bath on the deck rail was partially frozen over; winter is near.

A partially frozen bird bath

It’s time to live in these next moments ahead. I wonder what they hold? I know there are at least opportunities to begin again, and to practice being the human being I most want to be. 🙂 I think I’ll go do those things…