Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness practices require practice

It’s been an interesting weekend of pain and contentment. It’s not a combination that comes to mind when I think of how I’d like to spend a weekend, but generally it’s been okay. Momentary tears today, just small frustrations that overwhelm me briefly, and they don’t linger the way the rain did, yesterday. The pain is what it is, and it could be quite a lot worse. I am learning to be with my physical pain just in this moment here, rather than pulling together all the threads of pain in the past, and anticipated (dreaded) pain in the future; I don’t hurt less, objectively, but the shift in perspective limited to pain-right-now seems to result in more ability to manage the pain I have, and endure the pain I can’t ease.

I spent most of yesterday relaxing and listening to the rain fall, no music, no video, no book…just the rain falling, patio door open to the sound of it. I love the rain. I enjoyed a nice hike in the morning, yesterday, too, before the drizzle became rain showers that lasted the rest of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed the day.

A photograph does not convey the feeling of the experience.

A photograph does not convey the feeling of the experience.

While enjoying the rain, I noticed some of my roses still blooming, and cut them to put in a small vase before the rain did them in. It’s a small thing, but I enjoy my roses greatly, and seeing the wee bud vase filled with miniature roses from my patio garden makes me smile every time I see them. I make a point of looking at them often.

The last autumn roses from my patio garden.

The last autumn roses from my patio garden.

Today the sunshine has broken through the clouds. Other than a trip for groceries, I haven’t been particularly productive today; it’s the pain. I’m okay with slowing down and taking care of me, and after giving the matter some thought, I adjust my thinking and plan ahead to have brunch with a friend, and get help moving the one heavy item that I need to put into storage before the holidays. I walk over to the storage unit with a tape measure and figure out what/where and picked up some hooks for hanging some things in the storage unit, while I was out for groceries. I’m excited to bring even more order and beauty to my wee home by moving things into storage that I don’t need day-to-day (the A/C in the winter months, for example). Order – and room; I measured. I lose about 10 sq ft of floor space just to paintings stacked against the wall here and there! This is not a big enough place to waste space that way.

Yesterday was so different. I hurt, but the focus of the day was most definitely on the rain, and the serene contentment and joy of listening to the rain fall. Today, it’s hard to tear my attention away from my pain. My traveling partner and I had planned to hang out this weekend; it didn’t work out. Pain sucks. There will be other opportunities, of course…but not one of them is ‘now’. lol I’m not moping over it. I take time to distract myself with one thing and another.

I find myself wrapped in gratitude; things could be so much worse. I spent some minutes considering the many ways in which I can clearly recognize specifically how things are better right now than they once would have been, under similar circumstances, in similar pain. I am not really surprised how often thoughts of my traveling partner or something we shared surfaced in my recollection; this extraordinary love we share is a thread that glitters brightly in my life’s tapestry, and our love has certainly been part of this healing journey. I’m a big fan of love, as a result, and ferociously loyal to this particular human being who is my traveling partner; I’m not always sure how good that is for me, and I occasionally lose perspective. lol

See, here’s the thing about love; I hurt, and it matters less than being able to also say “I love”.

Be love.

Be love.

Another chance…? Another chance to what, exactly? This morning I woke feeling decently well. Pain…manageable. Mood…serene. Yesterday started well, but most of the day itself was a test of emotional endurance, with physical pain supervising every effort. It was all small stuff, too. I’d just start pulling free of the dense sludge of negative emotion, and get slapped with some new small test of my patience, or balance. I spent the day struggling. Oddly, the day ended relatively well with 90 or so minutes of calm, quietly spent with the family, ending with a couple of episodes of South Park, and the company of my traveling partner. If I could have smushed the opening hour and the closing hour together, the day would have been quite brief, but quite wonderful.

Living isn’t about ‘could have’, is it? Life isn’t about ‘ought to’. Life isn’t about ‘didn’t’. Life is a very real-time experience, however often I bamboozle myself with yearning for something past (or regretting it), or however often I am stalled by an attachment to a future outcome. ‘Now’ is what I’ve really got to work with.

I actually don’t know what turned me around last night. I got home still feeling blue, unbalanced, reactive, and stressed out. I struggled through a shower, through some chores, and even taking care of me basics, and feeding my fish. I politely retired to a solo space, certain at that point that I just wasn’t ‘fit company’ and not wishing to spread it around. I lit some candles (mostly to take off the chill of the room, but I do enjoy the ambiance). I spent the next hour (maybe longer) meditating. That’s all, just still, and quiet, and focused on that simplest point of life, my breath. When I finished, I still had a few tears to go, and they drifted lazily down my cheeks while I took out the trash for tomorrow’s pick up, and made a bite to eat. From that point, it was as if it was an entirely different day. It was…odd.

When I called it a night, I didn’t read or do yoga, or linger awake in the night. I did spend more time meditating, no clock, and once finished with that, contentedly rearranged myself for sleep. This morning I woke feeling fairly good. Correlation does not prove causation, but I do find it noteworthy that many of the improvements in my experience, overall, and bad-days-turned-good experiences, seem to be associated very specifically with meditation. Before it sounds like an endorsement, I’ll also point out I could just as easily say they are associated with tears, but it would be a misleading statement, since I’ve been crying far longer than I’ve been meditating. LOL

I recognize from yesterday’s moods, and from things said during appointments, that I need to slow things down a bit, at work and at home. I’m pushing myself harder than I mean to, and compromising more of my own needs than is healthy for me. Spending more time meditating benefits me directly, but also improves outcomes and experiences for people alongside me, interacting with me. Somehow my ‘to do list’ has grown to pages, and when I take a closer look, it’s unnecessary to push myself so hard; organizing one’s time need not result in self-abuse (no, no, not that kind of ‘self-abuse’! lol).

One winter moment, still,  and calm. If I could just get the hang of this one - 'each time for the first time, each moment the only moment'.

One winter moment, still, and calm. If I could just get the hang of this one – ‘each time for the first time, each moment the only moment’…I keep practicing.

Today is a good day to slow it down and enjoy the journey. Today is a good day to treat myself with kindness and respect my own time, my own limits, my own boundaries. Today is a good day to change the world.

 

It’s a paraphrasing, of course, but so many noteworthy leaders of people, visionaries, and prophets have said it, pleaded with others, asserted that the message is more than the messenger. It’s a valid point. I mention it because, some days ago, someone dear to me commented in conversation how inspired they sometimes feel after reading my blog.

Then…there’s today. More specifically, there was last night, and realistically it is behind me. I feel very human this morning, and not really the best bits of that experience, and my behavior last night can easily be described by someone as ruining something. This morning, it’s just the physical and emotional aftermath of a very bad few moments last night. Not even an hour, actually, but when something feels bad, it doesn’t have to last long to make an impact.

This morning, my head aches fiercely, and my ears are ringing. I have a headache that feels like I took an axe to my own head and tried to cleave my skull in two. I don’t even care about my arthritis – the headache overwhelms most other sensations. It’ll pass. It sucks right now, though.

Yesterday was an amazing day. Great stuff at work, great evening at home hanging out and connecting over conversation and the glow of love and family. The mood was loving, and there was clearly romance on the mind of my traveling partner. I felt loved, appreciated, and we all seemed to be enjoying the evening. Almost out of nowhere, I lost my damned mind. Seriously. I don’t really understand what happened at all. I went fairly quickly from communicating a misunderstanding I felt somewhat emotional about, even recognizing I was likely mis-understanding something. That seemed to work out okay, but I felt my level of fearfulness and insecurity suddenly take an abrupt turn for the worse, and simultaneously had a sense that I was no longer communicating clearly. What happened next doesn’t make sense, to the point that I’d likely complain about it if I saw it in a movie…I simply disintegrated into little better than a cornered animal, attempting to communicate using emotions, exclusively, but trying to express them in words – which felt in the moment like a distinctly foreign language. It was, quite frankly, horrible. My partner was obviously hurt; his desires for the evening blown to pieces in a shit storm of unexpected and inexplicable negative emotion.

He did his best to sooth me. I could even recognize his efforts then. What reached me wasn’t the feeling of his love, although I recognized the love existing there; what reached me was his powerful hurt, his anger, his doubt, and I reacted incredibly poorly to both what was going on within me, and how badly that was affecting him.

Now I’m sitting here doing things I’ve been practicing, things I’ve worked hard to build over time, and trying to resist the emotional and very human impulse to turn on myself and destroy whatever is left of a pretty decent human being within – because I let myself down in a moment, disappointed myself in the face of an earnest desire not to do my loves more damage, and a feeling that only justice matters, and that I must be punished. Harsh. I’m not easy on myself when I fail fall. So. It could be a lovely morning after a night of passion. It isn’t, and I do feel hurt by that, and I do feel I let myself down somehow, and I do feel saddened to be so human and so easily able to hurt someone I love, and I do feel frightened and confused that it was such an inexplicably small step to what felt very much like madness.

I spent a bit less than an hour meditating this morning. I need that time for stillness, awareness, presence; reconnecting with the firm foundation in love and compassion that I’ve been working so hard to build is tough right now. It’s a pretty new thing to keep taking that step, again and again, to allow myself my humanity, and to recognize that it won’t always be easy, that I am going to make mistakes, and that this journey is about growth, not perfection.

I still wish I understood, and in the wishing I recognize that I do, and that what I understand is ‘enough’. My hormones have been fluctuating, I can tell because my face broke out yesterday, which I generally only experience with PMS. I’m pushing myself incredibly hard at work this week on an important project, and also in therapy on an even more important project (me); I was tired, and aware of that piece of my experience in the moment. I was in a lot of pain with my arthritis, and my ankle. I already had the beginnings of this headache, and some emotional baggage I was struggling with in the background and trying hard not to share that experience out of a very human reluctance to bring anyone down. I had a nasty bite of my PTSD apple earlier in the evening over a small nothing that hit my consciousness wrong, and those experiences can change emotional chemistry for some time to come.  I didn’t take care of me, by dealing with those things straight up, and with a high  priority; I was enjoying hanging out with my partners, because we were all enjoying each other. I chose poorly. I ended up hurting people I love.

Now… now I get to figure out if I’ve made enough real progress to take those deep breaths, understand that I am human, to allow myself to celebrate that in the bigger scheme of things it’s huge progress that the whole ugly mess lasted less than an hour – and that I can choose not to linger in that bad place for days, because I do have choices, and can take actions. I can allow myself to face, and accept, my emotions about the experience without lashing out or blame laying. I can be kind to myself – this headache is a motherfucker, and being human is something we all share. I can trust that my partners love me, and that love is bigger than a bad moment. It’s an effort of will to step away from the self-inflicted emotional brutality. I intend to do my best; it matters. If nothing else, I’ll get more practice. But, to be fair, I can’t suggest that anyone ‘follow’ me… we are each having our own experience, I would not want to mislead you that I’ve somehow gotten something ‘right’ or found an ‘answer’.

Love is the only answer I feel sure of.

Love is the only answer I feel sure of.

Today is a good day, full of unknown potential, new opportunities, and choices that lead to change. Today is a good day for change.