Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness matters

I woke feeling content and smiling, and even after I reached for the alarm to shut it off and felt the unexpected (expected) pain reminding me I am not 23 anymore (or 32, or 45…), I continued to smile. The morning has been easy on me so far. No  dishes in the sink (thanks, me!). A clumsy moment sent my phone tumbling toward the toilet bowl, and in an instant of exquisite good fortune, it landed on the floor. Time feels neither stretched nor compressed, and the details of the day to come begin to assemble as an orderly thought, over my coffee.

My coffee tastes good, unusually so, and I find myself wondering if a “bad mood” can be enough to throw off flavors? Maybe this has occurred to me before, in some other moment of wonder. I am content to have the thought now, and to recognize that the sense of novelty is likely born of an injury determined to mislead me without intent. I often experience things as either quite familiar or quite new seemingly at random, and without any particular connection to whether they are new or familiar. Objects. Ideas. Faces. It can be inconvenient, to put it mildly. lol

Watching the rain fall.

This morning even my quirks of character and of mind do not distress me. I am even eager, strangely enough, to proceed with the work day. The weekend was lovely. I spent yesterday quite gently, tidying up and giving myself a manicure, reading, hanging out with friends, and watching rain showers sweep across the meadow and marsh beyond the patio door.

4 years ago, life didn’t feel like this. I smile contentedly; it is enough, this morning, to be grateful, to acknowledge change, and to move on with the morning. There have been a lot of verbs involved, and a lot of practices, and incremental changes over time (sometimes to subtle to account for in brief moments). This morning, this lovely gentle, simple, morning, it is enough to smile, and to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday quickly descended into further emotional distance, and definite anhedonia. I found myself asking “the” question, too: “Am I depressed?” It had crept over me fairly slowly, then finished with a slam – the house I was going to go see, out in the countryside, went pending right about when I got in to the office. I was bummed.

There are sunny mornings.

This particular source of frustration comes up pretty regularly, and house-hunting is becoming a big downer, mostly because frustration is my kryptonite, and also because the process itself brings me into regular contact with an industry built on corruption, with little in the way of healthy pro-consumer regulation. (Seriously, I’d be pretty appalled to walk into, say, Ross and pick out a pair of jeans, carry those to the register, and have some other customer take them out of my hand, step in front of me in line, and firmly tell the cashier “I’m willing to pay more than you are charging for these, so they’re mine.” That’s hard to deal with over and over again.) I just want to go home. No, I mean, seriously, for me the entire process of house-hunting is 100% only intended to let me “go home” – to a home that is mine, that I can count on, that I can make my own and improve or change, and make more secure and comfy and safe. Having to throw regular exposure to frustration into my day-to-day experience by choice (particularly over something so heartfelt) is … yeah. Hard. Icky. Discouraging.

There are mornings that seem strangely gray.

I reached out to my Traveling Partner and let him know my weekend was upended and as a result quite unplanned. I was mostly venting, and not reaching out to change his plans. He understood – and we miss each other regardless of our plans. He suggested coming to hang out, if that sounded good to me. I was still struggling with anhedonia; nothing sounded good at all.  He helpfully prompted me to consider my experience through another perspective; my physical health. Recognizing my pain management challenges, my poor quality sleep, and the basic frustration of  house-hunting and how that affects my mood, generally, put me in a better place for the day, and I even found my to making new plans that really suited where my heart is, combining some hang out time with scouting other areas for livability, that might be good choices for future house-hunting.

Each moment, however similar seeming in some detail or another is entirely its own experience.

I committed to sleeping in today, and I did – I woke at 6:30 am feeling fairly rested. A leisurely shower felt delightful. My coffee is hot, and I feel fairly chill and merry this morning. Sleep is a very big deal.

Yesterday’s sunshine has given way to today’s steady drizzle. Fuck I hate driving in the rain. LOL Still… lovely day to enjoy a drive in the countryside, in no hurry to get to the end of the day.

A different morning, a different place, another moment to begin again.

…I guess I’ll begin again. There are verbs involved. 🙂

Last night I dealt with my anxiety, and comfortably resolved that. Win! Progress. Practice. It wasn’t any sort of trophy-winning event, and my “victory lap” will be just this handful of words, a later reminder for another day, perhaps, that it does pass, and it can be eased. It wasn’t over anything consequential, but it was very real, very visceral, the sort of mind-binding gut-punch of stress and fearfulness that anxiety is so famed for. Meditation still works. It still wasn’t “easy” – and I’m honestly not even sure I would call it meditation, considering the challenge I had calming my monkey-mind even long enough to take a few breaths…but…I went easy on myself in the moment, emotionally, understanding that the anxiety itself promotes a certain restlessness. I patiently returned my consciousness to the moment, to my breath, to a timeless mental space in which anxiety cannot thrive. No tv. No music. Just practice. It was, after a time, highly effective. There were indeed verbs involved, and even moment by moment my results varied. There’s no fighting it, though; we become what we practice, and continued practicing of calm… I became calm.

I slept poorly last night, although I did sleep more or less sort of through the night (my sleep tracker notes periods of wakefulness, and very little deep sleep, but I have no clear recollection of waking so often). I woke with the alarm, head stuffy, eyes watery… back aching. It’ll be a good day for physical therapy. I hurt. I manage my pain in a similar way as with anxiety; practices that tend to offer relief, practiced routinely, and given still more attention when I hurt more than usual. In this case, appropriate medication, yoga, yes meditation for this too, and a little later, dancing (to sort of force those stiff joints into a state that accommodates movement). I also spend more time considering things that don’t hurt than things that do, and once my symptoms are properly treated, I move on to distraction; shifting my attention to something else quite engaging, and letting the awareness of my pain recede into the background.

It’s a pretty ordinary work morning. Nothing fancy. Nothing noteworthy, really. Ordinary stuff right here. If I let myself get all worked up over a moment of anxiety, or a painful morning, I have the power to amplify both. If I take care of the woman in the mirror in the best way I know how, I have a shot at easing both. So many choices, so many verbs, so many results vary; it’s a very human experience.

It’s time to begin again.

I only just noticed I was already “at the office” and working, rather than fully here in this place, in this moment. I left the office with an important piece of work completed, but with room to take it further, to correlate more details, to consider more variables, to increase the complexity… and was so deeply involved in it that my day ran well past the usual time, quite by mistake. I spent last evening continuing to think about work, barely aware that I was, but I certainly wasn’t fully in that moment, either. Eventually, I went to bed. This morning I woke from dreams of working, and filled my head with further thoughts of work. An hour after waking, I notice. Coffee cup is empty, no recollection of drinking it, half-finished email to myself (addressed for my work email address) with some notes for further work waiting to be sent. I take a deep breath and step back from the work, and make a second cup of coffee.

This mindfulness thing takes practice. 🙂

Another couple deep breaths, a few minutes spent pulling my consciousness from the sticky mud of this enticing work assignment. A second cup of coffee. Time spent becoming awake and aware and present here, now. I notice, too, that I’m still in my jammies and fuzzy spa socks… how have I not showered and dressed for work?? I am startled by the realization, and spill hot coffee on my keyboard and in my lap. Some fun time with swear words, and then it’s off to the shower to properly get ready for work…

This self-care thing, this adulthood thing… yep; they take practice, too. lol

Once the morning routine is back on track, I sit down to write, and catch up on things-not-work-related. The weeks seem to race by since I took on the new job… 7 months in, I guess it doesn’t count as new so much any more. lol I smile, and sip my coffee. I chuckle to myself – how fast was that shower? What’s left of my coffee is still warm.

I sit quietly sipping my coffee, and thinking about life, generally, and feeling rather content with things as they are. The house hunting is just dreadful and although I am taking a patient approach, I am entirely made of human and have some moments when I feel very discouraged. Yesterday was an example of how that can so easily develop; I noticed a listing that had sat without much interest for quite a while. Okay, why? I noticed it is listed as a HUD home, which generally means it is a fixer that my VA loan won’t be suitable for, and I don’t even go so see those… this one, though, was in fair shape, and my inexpert eye just couldn’t see a reason it wouldn’t qualify for a VA loan, so I asked to see it. It was definitely (and comfortably) in my price range, good location, and met all my minimum needs… we arranged for me to see it after work. Within an hour of firming up plans to go see it, it went pending. LOL This has happened a couple times, in a way that seems to defy likelihood. It’s every bit as irksome as making an offer on a house at several thousand dollars over list price, just hoping to have that offer considered at all, and find out later it sold to another buyer who could afford to pay not only thousands over list, but offering tens of thousands over the appraised value, which is tens of thousands of dollars over list price. I try to avoid being angered by that, but also struggle to understand why that buyer wasn’t looking at nicer homes they could afford at a higher price point? I find myself beginning to fuse with that other emotional experience, even though, here, now, everything is calm and quiet. I take a deep breath and let that go.

Being present in this moment, takes practice. 🙂

I smile over my coffee and think about going to lunch with my Traveling Partner and a friend, yesterday. It was a lovely break from the day-to-day routine, and I definitely needed a break from that work project. I laughed at the end of the day when I noticed my departure from work was delayed from my usual time by almost exactly the length of my lunch out. I felt a moment of satisfaction, as that seemed to me to be exactly as it should be. 🙂 Pleasant recollections definitely feel better than fussing and feeling discontent and aggravated by the frustrations of house hunting. Then, I notice the time. The work week is not yet over, and here it is, time to go, already.

Today is a good day to be present. Today is a good day to be and to do. Today is a good day to begin again. All of that takes practice. There are verbs involved. 🙂

It is in the nature of a distraction to be sufficiently engaging to pull my attention from something planned, or meaningful, or needed, or… well, you get the point. There’s what is to be done, and there are all of the things distracting me from it in the moment. Sometimes big important or urgent seeming things distract me from smaller less urgent or important seeming things that I’d simply planned to do at a specific point. Other times, something small and inconsequential, but highly engaging or very entertaining pulls my attention from some large meaningful task or moment that could have been experienced quite differently. Some distractions are every bit as “important” as the thing from which I have been distracted. Some distractions are quite trivial, but sometimes the thing I’ve been distracted from is too.

I’m living my life, sipping my coffee, and realizing I have been distracted, rather amusingly in fact, from taking care of a small quality of life detail that I ordinarily handle in quite a timely way… I’m out of coffee. lol Well, damn. At points along the way, this week, I have been briefly aware, more than once, that I was “getting low on coffee”.  This morning I wake to the solid, firm, very real-life awareness that indeed, I’m down to just two servings of coffee. I meant to get coffee Friday on my way home from work. I forgot. I meant to get coffee yesterday while I was downtown. I forgot. I included it in a grocery order for this morning. They’re out of it. I can’t be irked about that in any reasonable way; I had ample time to get coffee supplies handled, and got repeatedly distracted from completing that task. This one’s on me. Ah, but what to do about it? It’s not that big a deal; there is coffee a walk away, barely an inconvenience, it is only a matter of taking the time to make the walk, and shift gears on the day to make that happen before my Traveling Partner comes over. We both enjoy a good cup of coffee. 🙂

There’s no critical inner voice to be heard on any of this. It’s not that kind of issue. It’s not that kind of day. 🙂 I’m just out of coffee, and that’s a situation with an obvious remedy.

I am fairly easily distracted. I sometimes rely on that characteristic when I’m in distress; a good distraction is a great way to lift myself out of a difficult moment. Other times, I work to overcome my distractibility to ensure that needed tasks are appropriately completed on whatever timing is best for the purpose. As with so many things there is a balance to be struck.

So this morning I seek the ideal balance between doing laundry, and making the walk up the hill to get coffee, and between being a good hostess by being home when my Traveling Partner arrives, and being a good hostess by having coffee on hand. lol Which one do I apply myself too? Well… I gotta do both. lol

Today is a good day to be practical. Today is a good day to smile. Today is a good day to get more coffee. Perhaps there’s a metaphor in there, somewhere, or maybe I’m just getting past a distraction. 😉