Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness for beginners

I’m finishing my first coffee on a Saturday morning. The temperature dropped during the night, and I woke to a frosty morning. I share some time with my Traveling Partner, then head to my studio to read the news, write, and think about the day. I’ll walk a favorite trail when the morning warms up a bit. Run an errand. Do some laundry. Paint. Seems a good day for all those things. πŸ™‚

…I’ll bake cookies, too; I love the smell of freshly baked cookies filling the house on a weekend. I don’t find a cookie-scented candle to be an adequate substitute. lol

My neck hurts. My head aches… but I slept well, and deeply, and woke feeling rested and “well”, in spite of the pain. I mean… let’s be real, it’s a rare thing for me to be utterly free of pain. Clearly, letting “pain” be a defining quality of my experience, or day, generally would be a poor choice. I let it go, as much and as often as I can, and move on with other things. My attention can be better spent than wallowing in chronic pain. I acknowledge it, do what I can about it, and invest as little time in any of that as I reasonably can. Better to savor the delights the day has to offer. πŸ˜€

The head cold I was starting to develop became a definite nothing much at all. I was wholly over it within 2 days. This morning, I’d nearly forgotten it was part of my week until my partner asked me how I was feeling this morning. lol

The news this morning is peculiarly… fine. I mean, sure, there’s some sparks of drama here and there, and clearly the impact of the change in administration is only beginning to be felt, but… so far? I gotta say, it’s nice to wake up to fact-based news each morning. I appreciate real questions, frank, considered, answers – and an administration with an actual plan? Bonus! I find the return (in progress) of civility to be quite a relief from the savage chaos and disappointing ugliness of the national discourse over the prior four years. I hope it’s a trend, and that we can sustain it. I don’t feel vaguely sickened every time I read an article about what is going on in Washington D.C. There’s still so much work to do, to create a society in which we are all equal, we all have an opportunity to thrive, and no one is being held back because of their skin color, religion (or lack of one), gender, sexual preference, country of origin, or immigration status. It’s lovely to see us getting on with that, instead of walking back decades of progress to stand in the cesspool of our historical hatreds and pettiness.

A mile on a winter morning, walking, thinking.

Everything about this morning feels very much like the sunshine peeking through the window shade this morning; hinting at a sunnier day ahead. It’s a good time to assess my long-term goals, and refocus my attention on what matters most, and where this path leads. It’s certainly a good time to begin again. πŸ™‚

It’s been a few days of dealing with an “interesting” increase in my anxiety, recently. Like… a distracting, persistent, defiant amount of anxiety, of varying intensity… the sort of thing that surges back seemingly stronger than previously known (it isn’t, really), and difficult to manage. It’s been disrupting my sleep, and pulling my attention away from things that (truly) matter much more. Frustrating.

β€œAnxiety” 10β€³ x 14β€³ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic 2011

I woke early, pre-occupied with work, because that’s just the sort of thing Anxiety enjoys nibbling on before the day even begins. Any detail over which I’m less than entirely confident and comfortable with becomes fuel to her fire. Fuck Anxiety; she’s a liar. Anxiety forces me to view the world through a lens of fear, doubt, stress, and insecurity, and prevents me from embracing other qualities of my experience. I haven’t had to do such fierce battle with my anxiety in a long while. It’s fueled by the competing experiences of home-ownership and difficult (unpleasant) work-place relationships. The sense of obligation that comes of owning a home causes me to feel I “have to” endure more that is unreasonable, to set fewer clear boundaries, to be more reluctant to “draw a line in the sand” with higher ranking colleagues… all of which are uncomfortable, less than ideal, and probably also seriously bullshit. lol Anxiety, remember, is a liar.

I woke early, and spent my first minutes on meditation. It helps a lot. Coffee came later, because over the years I’ve learned too well that Anxiety likes a good cup of coffee every bit as much as I do, and not in a helpful way. lol Meditation first. Coffee later.

I looked over my work calendar, and quickly identified the source of my stress – it was really just one meeting on my calendar (that I own), and only due to a change of format being requested, for which I have had too little time to prepare. So… that’s not even “about” me. I reschedule the meeting to give myself (and another affected colleague) more time to make the requested changes. No harm done. Hell, it’s even a short week (after a Monday holiday) and so far it’s going very smoothly. Hard to argue with those results. πŸ™‚

I feel my tension ease, my Anxiety receding into the background, returning to being “anxiety” with a lower-case A. Nice. A good start to the work week… I mean… good enough. Amply adequate, for sure. πŸ˜€

The weekend that is now over was a lovely one. I sip my coffee, free of the crushing weight of the anxiety that had been nagging me earlier, and think about the lovely miles of trail walking, the scent of fresh baked cookies that filled the kitchen all weekend, and my Traveling Partner’s smiles. A good weekend.

Sometimes the obstacles along the way are small enough to just step over them. πŸ™‚

So, a new week, new beginnings – and new challenges. πŸ™‚ Sometimes the “new” challenges just happen to be old familiar ones – I just get to practice handling them, all over again. lol Didn’t think I needed to take that lesson one more time, but there it is – and we become what we practice. πŸ˜€

It’s time to begin again.

One step at a time, eventually measured in miles. One day at a time, eventually measured in years. One moment at a time eventually becomes a life well-lived, on a beautiful journey. ❀

I’m thinking about life, and love, and forward momentum. I am pondering hurdles I have cleared, and those that I fell short of. I’m thinking over good decisions, poor decisions, and some handful of decisions I can only look back on with a sort of befuddled astonishment (as if in acknowledgement that some choices were just that poor, or so obviously wrong-headed, even based on what I knew at the time). I give myself a moment of tender understanding, and obligatory self-compassion; I would be kind and understanding to anyone dear to me, if I found them mired in self-doubt, wondering where it all went wrong, or pissing and moaning about how much they suck as a person, so, it seems only reasonable to “be here” for the woman in the mirror, pretty much mostly all the time. πŸ™‚

…Today is a good day, it just happens that it is also a day suited to contemplation.

What about you? Are you maintaining some kind of committed practice of being there for the person in the mirror? Of treating yourself well? Setting and managing clear expectations with others regarding boundaries and limitations? Are you being frank with yourself about what you want and need in life? Are you first in line to deliver it to yourself? How about those sticky attachments in life that find you struggling with frustrations, “extra” obstacles, or mystifying emotions? Are you working on letting some of that go? How’s your health? Are you staying safe and well? Are you sufficiently privileged and fortunate to be able to?

I spent the Winter Solstice in contemplation, meditation, and in the studio painting. I woke this morning feeling a certain nagging feeling suggestive of “loose ends” that want to be tidied up. More meditation is clearly in order. More painting. More walking along the creek, or among the trees.

Sometimes it really is enough just to be there, with and for myself, for a few quiet moments. Sometimes… maybe not quite enough. Time is precious and limited.

…And it’s already time to begin again… What will I do with my opportunity to restart, regroup, re-purpose, renew, refresh, or re-attempt? It’s here. It’s now.

It’s time.

I woke during the night, several times. I managed to get enough rest, I think, in spite of that. It took a bit longer than usual to fully wake up. Still… it’s a new day, and I’m awake now, and working through the interlude between the first and second coffees of my morning. Pretty routine stuff.

How about that election, eh? Nothing more really needs to be said about that, I think, at least not by me.

At one point, while I was up during the wee hours, I stood in the darkness at the door to the deck, standing in the chill of an autumn night, door open to the smell of forest and creek, listening to peeping frogs and insects, and a nearby owl. I gazed up at the stars for rather a while, before I returned to bed, and to sleep. It was quite a lovely moment, well-spent. It required nothing of me beyond my presence, and it was “enough”. I felt somehow nourished by the autumn-scented stillness, standing there in the dark.

Another time, I woke, and contentedly wandered the house. No purpose to my quiet footsteps, aside from enjoying being wrapped in this pleasant little dwelling, feeling safe and loved, there in the darkness.

Another time, I just woke up to pee was all, and having done so returned to sleep quite easily.

I didn’t give myself any grief over my wakefulness. There wasn’t any stress associated with it. I simply woke, now and then, for some minutes, and returned to sleep afterward. No harm. No injury. No particular inconvenience. I may not have mentioned it at all, if I hadn’t happened to take a look at my blog to answer a question about a date in the past, out of curiosity, and noticed I have not written in some days. lol Sleep (or lack thereof) seems the sort of thing I’d write about, as much as anything. So, I did. πŸ˜€

I look at the time. I notice, again, that my coffee is gone. Time to begin again, I think, and why not start with another cup of coffee?

I am sitting with my thoughts, taking a moment for myself out of a busy day. I’m contemplating life, love, art – you know, the important things. πŸ™‚ I smile when I recall the new book I’ve only just started reading, which promises to satisfy other creative impulses than those fulfilled by paint and canvas.

It brings back long-forgotten memories, too.

I contemplate a tiny art project I am undertaking.

The studio is not yet ready for larger work… I think I can make room for something very small.

I take time for brilliantly blue autumn skies.

…And passing clouds.

I let moments overtake me. Breathing. Relaxing. Letting my mind wander a bit. Soon enough, it is time to begin again. πŸ™‚