Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness matters

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. 😀

Expectations and assumptions are a fast track to some shitty experiences in life. Most people move through their experience seemingly unaware, much of the time, that the outcome they are railing against is built, in part, on their implicit expectations, unexpressed emotions, and unverified assumptions. It’s so easy to make up the larger part of what we think we know, entirely in our own heads, of bits and pieces we’ve cobbled together from fragments of awareness, something we heard, and things we think we recall reading. It’s not an ideal approach to living well, I think.

Maintaining a comfortable awareness of the vastness of all that I just don’t actually know is something I practice. Seems worthwhile; I tend to be less annoyed with people as a result, generally. I tend to cry a lot less. I don’t feel so hurt, so often. I enjoy the day-to-day of life as a human primate a great deal more without attempting to do so leaning into the disappointments that are so inevitable when I’m holding on to carefully crafted expectations and assumptions.

…I still have nightmares that seem to be about nothing besides uncertainty, itself. (Fucking hell, even many of my nightmares are weirdly meta) I dislike being uncertain – and I’m grateful to have learned at some point that the opposite of “uncertainty” is not “feeling very certain of the made up narrative in my head”. lol (Because it isn’t that, at all, emotionally; the opposite of uncertainty is being comfortable with not knowing.)

I chuckle to myself and sip my coffee. I don’t actually know that stuff, either. I’m guessing, maybe, or coasting on new assumptions and a different understanding of things, until those also fall to a failed attempt to check them against reality. Cycles of growth and learning. Incremental change over time. The understanding of life and love that met my needs at a teenager, are unlikely to be at all similar to my understanding of life and love as a growth woman past 50, and will also be, most probably, quite different from those I’ll have as a woman of 90.

I’m okay not knowing. I avoid tempting myself with guessing to fill in the blanks – definitely where people are concerned. We are each having our own experience. We filter our understanding of the world through our limited lens of that experience, framed in the context of our fears, and whatever lingering childhood brainwashing we’ve hung on to over the years. We are each so similar. So human. We have much to share with one another. Stories to tell. Trails to walk. Lessons to teach and to learn.

It’s Friday. A busy work day. Another doctor’s appointment. A long weekend ahead. A trip down to see my Traveling Partner for a couple days, and hang out where love lives, watching the shadows on the mountain shift, and the many tiny chickadees picking between the gravel of the drive. It’s been a couple weeks, and although I definitely needed the break from the frequent trips down, and time to really rest and also care for my current residence, I have missed being there. 

Each trip down to the The Place Where Love Lives feels a little more like “real life” and less like being a welcomed guest, which is lovely. I make a point each trip to find some new way to feel more at home, to be more appropriately prepared for life there, and inevitably I leave a bit more of my heart behind when I return to The Place Where I Live, myself. This time I am taking art down with me. 🙂

I notice my coffee is finished. The clock advances the day minute by minute and it’s time to participate. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend! (Hell, I think this weekend, I’ll even write…)

My mind rarely really rests. When I sleep I often dream vividly, rich in detail, color, emotion, and confusingly real-seeming. When I am awake, driving, shopping, handling some task or another, I am often also “writing” poetry or blog posts – that rarely see publication, having inconveniently become more than my limited memory buffer can store. It’s a continuous internal lecture or conversation with myself. Pause a human being in front of me, chances are I will, at some point, begin to do something rather like attempting to make conversation, but with such high risk of becoming a monologue that eventually, I am likely just chattering away without purpose or focus, or worthy content, even if I actually wanted to sit and read quietly, or work. Not talking when I don’t want to talk requires practice.

I like living alone for something besides the “solitude” (which can, I admit, occasionally become lonely); I like it for the “cognitive stillness” and emotional ease. I like it for the cognitive rest I am now able to get, at least now and then, with so much less work to reach that quiet place.

I have a pretty firm, well-established meditation practice. Meditation has helped me build emotional resilience, a calm “center” I can return to with relative ease, and a certain chill something or other which has made life considerably more pleasant, less volatile, less chaotic, and enduringly characterized by contentment. I don’t know that I would call myself “happy”; it’s not a word I’m so prone to using, at all, these days. It’s a mental magic trick that makes more people unhappy than happy to be focused on the pursuit of that elusive beast as a goal, so I stopped doing that. I don’t “pursue” contentment either; I build it. I build it sustainably on healthier choices, and healthier practices. I have been regularly surprised by how much of the forward progress has been entirely dependent on my own decision making, and my own actions.

Meditation did not “cure” my PTSD, or “fix” my injured brain. Meditation is, however, a reliably good practice for improving my day-to-day experience of my life, and that’s enough heavy lifting for one practice, surely. 🙂

It’s a busy brain, broken or not. I wrote 3, maybe 4, really fantastic blog posts in the past 24 hours – in my head. Catchy titles, engaging and amusing openers, fanciful plays on words with layered meaning… gone at the next annoying intersection, or distracting other moment. lol I woke with a completed utterly beautiful bit of poetry in my head at 3 am, got up to pee, forgot what I was thinking on my way back to bed. This morning, upon waking for the day, I have only the recollection that it ever existed at all still remaining. I play “Tribute” in tribute, and giggle over my coffee; these moments of creativity, lost, forgotten, omitted, or overwritten, litter my life experience. I can’t take them personally after so long. lol

A new day begins. So do I. Another day to write, to love, to feel, to practice – to live.

The evening ends gently. I’m tired. I’m in pain. Every doctor’s appointment feels like a re-run of some previous appointment. My frustration continues.

I take a deep breath and relax as I exhale, taking a moment to recall the squirrel visitor I watched for some while. I didn’t pick up my camera, just watched. I was sitting quite close. The squirrel didn’t seem to mind my presence on the other side of the glass, even though it was clear that I was quite visible. The memory of it makes me smile.

It’s not late. It is, actually, rather early. The last couple evenings it has been no effort to go to bed early enough to get a complete night’s sleep, and I have done so. So. Of course, this means that I also woke quite a bit earlier than necessary, each of the mornings following an evening on which I went to bed earlier. LOL I feel most decently well-rested, more or less. I’ve only just started having nightmares a couple nights ago, and so far they aren’t terrifying me into sleep aversion. I silently mock myself quite tenderly, without ill intent. I’ve come a long way. I can recall a time in the not too distant past when just contemplating the possibility of sleeplessness becoming a cycle of nightmares would disrupt my sleep, and result in precisely that dreaded scenario. I can look that one in the face these days. Even when I start with the nightmares again, most recently it has been the case that I manage to hold onto a sense of order and manageability for many days and nights, only beginning to fall apart just at the end, when normal sleep returns, and some sort of life I call “normal” resumes.

I shake off the thought of nightmares; it doesn’t do me any good to start up days and nights of nightmares by investing precious limited lifetime in playing reruns of my nightmares in my waking thoughts. No good at all.

I observe that I still managed to nudge myself into a mild feeling of uneasiness, and decide to finish the evening on my meditation cushion. Tomorrow will be soon enough to begin again.

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? 😉