Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness

The morning begins gently. I’m packed. I check in with my Traveling Partner. I’ll be making the drive later today…

My thoughts get caught up in all the things that are not “now”, so quickly. I catch myself stressed about the drive, about the budget, about circumstances, about the news, about the world, about the fate of humanity… next thing I know, I’m not even enjoying my coffee. Shit.

I hit a mental restart button and begin again. Other thoughts. Other intentions. I have a glass of water. I do some yoga. I meditate. I remember something I meant to pack, get up, get it, pack it… and somehow I’m once again already living “later today”, instead of “now”. Well, crap.

I hit a mental restart button and begin again. I water the container garden on the deck, in the pre-dawn chill of a lovely Spring morning. I fill the bird feeders. I make my bed. I feel and breathe and enjoy this moment, right here. I feel my smile spread through my whole body, and my shoulders slowly slip back down where they properly belong; I hadn’t noticed they’d crept toward my ears with the stress of “forward thinking”. I smile, wondering how it is that we are so easily distracted by moments that are not now… and find myself, yet again, living in moments that are “later today” – and even tomorrow, next week, next month, next year… and yesterday, last week, last month, “this year so far”…

I hit that mental restart button still again, and smile at the clear requirement to start over, many times. It’s as if living present in this moment requires… practice. lol Practicing awareness. Practicing breathing. Practicing letting go of attachments. Practicing refraining from “throwing that second dart”. Practicing being present building on so many other practices. There are still verbs involved. I still have to take the actions, myself. My results still vary…

…It’s all still quite worth it. My life has improved a lot since 2013. 🙂 How many times have I taken that breath, and whispered to myself “okay, so… begin again”? I haven’t counted. “How many times…?” isn’t a question I need to answer; it has nothing to do with this moment, right now. 😉

It’s time to begin again.

 

Well…

…55, eh? Okay, let’s do that, then. Hardly avoidable without drastic, unpleasant measures, easier – far easier – to go with it.  🙂

My plans today are fairly loose, and more “about me” than not. Some self-indulgence, some chill time, some phone calls, a walk in the woods, lunch out, some pampering, all suffused with the additional luxury of this being a “work day” in the middle of the week, which I’ve taken off for no purpose but to enjoy this moment celebrating my survival.

Birthday Flowers

I’ve made it to Level 55, y’all!!! OMG!

I made an unfortunately shitty cup of coffee after my shower this morning. I’m drinking it anyway. The mug is warm in my hands, and I’m frankly grateful for the luxuries of potable water, an electric kettle, and very fresh, carefully roasted, whole bean coffee. I mean, seriously, bitching about a less-than-ideally-well-made cup of coffee would amount to nothing more than inconsiderate rudeness to the woman (me) who took the time (mine) and made the effort (also mine) to make it in the first place. lol I suppose I could have dumped it out and started over. It just wasn’t that big a deal this morning… and I think maybe I get extra experience points to also enjoy this moment, present and aware – even aware of the less than excellent cup of coffee. 😀

This is a day on which I’ll spend considerable time reflecting on the “XP” accumulated along life’s journey. I’ll contemplate Level 54, and wonder if I missed really cool “side missions” that could have benefited my personal growth later on. Did I overlook any fun Easter eggs? Have I failed to appreciate the profundity of one circumstance or another? I’ll look ahead in the game play, as much as I am able, and try to sort out Level 55 before I get going in earnest… What does the map look like? Where are the obvious hazards? Which “short cuts” waste time and resources, and are best avoided? Are there known strategies that work better than others? What are my resources, my limitations, my skills – what is my plan? In every life-level, there is some moment, or event, or “bad guy” to conquer (there’s a reason games are a great metaphor for living)… what form will it take? What will the important lessons turn out to be?

In the game of life, we don’t really get to repeat a level…but… it’s possible to half-ass a level so thoroughly that very little is gained (or even to “fail” it at great cost to ourselves), or find we’ve wasted our time such that we don’t really have any XP to show for it at all, and just sort of ooze over the finish line into the next level without much in the way of progress. We can’t really level up prematurely, either, but we can gain so much XP in a single level that the level becomes peculiarly, radically transformative. Sometimes we expect levels to have that kind of importance… 18… 21… 30… 40… and sometimes they don’t, in spite of our expectations (lookin’ your way, 40). 55? This isn’t a level people spend much time talking about… I wonder what surprises await me?

…55 doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy, aside from simply being here; as a much younger woman, I did not anticipate getting this far in the game. 55, from the perspective of 20, seemed “old” (in spite of being only 35 levels ahead of me)… now it just seems… well, not old, that’s for sure. I wonder where the day – and this level – will take me? So far, at approximately 2 hours of game play on this level (already)… it’s a level full of questions, and speculation, and it’s not very difficult (yet). LOL

There is this lovely day ahead of me, a blue sky overhead, birdsong, sunshine, and plans for lunch. It’s a good start. I guess I’m ready to press “Start” and begin again…

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. 🙂

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. 🙂

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. 🙂

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday went by fast. Too fast. I ended the evening feeling a bit rushed, pressed for time, hurried through things, short on bandwidth… and a little stressed. You too? It’s a fairly common experience for adults I know – what about you?

Did you do anything about it? Do you know that you can?

I halted mid-rush, somewhere in between watering the container garden on the deck, feeding the fish in the aquarium, yoga, and a shower… I… just stopped. I paused for a moment in front of a painting that hangs in the hallway (in a space that’s really a bit dark for that one), and really looked at it, vaguely surprised to see it, as if unaware I’d hung it there in the first place. I took a minute. For breath, for life, for a moment – for me. There wasn’t really any reason to be rushing around like a mad woman. Is there shit to do? Yep. Am I the one that’s got to do it? Again – yes. Does everything have to be done with equal fervor right fucking now? Ahem. No. Not at all. Not even possible – and the attempt to make it so isn’t just silly, it is exhausting. It also tends to dial up the intensity on life’s background stress, quite a lot. So.

I stood quietly looking at this painting with new eyes. Giving myself over to really seeing it. I turned and looked at another. And yet another after that. When I moved on with things, it was a comfortable pace, and a relaxed approach to the evening – and to life.

I sip my coffee this morning thinking over that moment, and many that preceded it during the day, contrasting the hurried moments, the frantic moments, with the chill moments. Which are actually more productive, realistically? Which bring more joy? Can I have/do both? My own answer is a clear and unequivocal “yes” – but there is an effort of will involved in managing it. I find myself needing to pause, now and again, because over time the pace of life seems to accelerate rather unpleasantly.

We are mortal. That’s still a thing, even in the 21st century. We have yet to improve upon that, or fix it, or, really, limit it in any noteworthy way. So, given that this may be my one shot at living well, at living beautifully, at living life from a perspective of contentment and joy, it seems wholly worthwhile to figure out how not to be so damned rushed all the time. lol 😀 Still working the bugs out. A quick pause to reset is what I’ve got for now that I know is effective.

I begin the morning with coffee and music. I almost overlook writing, and valuing this time, pull myself out of the news – pausing for a moment to slow my thoughts and breathe deeply – and write (here I am!) for a few minutes. There isn’t time for everything – we have to choose. Choose wisely.

Time to begin again. 🙂

I woke at 4 am. The headache nagging at me had all the signs of likely being caused by dehydration, in spite of the quantity of water I am drinking. I need to be drinking more; it’s just that dry here. Fresno is, more or less, a city snatched from a desert by sheer cussedness. It’s not the most hospitable climate for human primates, but we adapt pretty easily.

With effort, and considerable awkwardness as my muscles protest, I get up, get a big big drink of unbelievably icy cold water from the near-frozen bottle of water in the tiny (working, quiet, convenient, appreciated) fridge. I think I’m going back to bed. I’m not. I don’t. I’m awake.

Fuck this headache.

I drink more water. I check my email. I rather pointlessly hunt for the tiny earring back that fell to the floor when I got up; I forgot to take my earrings out last night. In spite of the early hour, I was that tired. No matter. I give up; I’m not even awake at that point and the effort is wasted until sometime after sunrise. There is only one working light in the room, and it doesn’t illuminate much at all. lol

I drink more water. I’ve been drinking more than a gallon of water a day. It’s not enough. This is Fresno.

So hot.

I’ve a journey ahead, and find myself feeling a pang of reluctance to return “home” so soon. How is this place not home? I mean… yeah. I could, still, call this place home. I miss these friends. I miss the life that had been developing, before I moved, chasing “love” (sex, actually, and maybe security). A different path might not have brought my Traveling Partner and I together, so, no regrets, really… But, oh this place! These friends. I miss a great deal of what “here” has to offer. It’s hard to leave so soon.

…On the other hand. I miss my own place. This small room confounds me. lol I am traveling quite light on this trip, and I’m missing a few things for everyday expected comfort. I can’t paint… no art supplies. 0_o In this heat, I don’t have the energy for hiking and shooting nature photographs. The heat exhausts me; I slept in every morning but this one. That peculiar sleep of desert folk, where the best deepest sleep really begins shortly before dawn, after the night has cooled off all that it will. It makes sleeping in quite effortless; it’s the best sleep. This morning I woke early with a headache, having somehow not consumed enough water yesterday. It’s a bit annoying, really; I was looking forward to the sleep. :-\

The Author will pick me up around 8am, and we’ll go out to breakfast somewhere sort of near the airport before he drops me off to people watch and read before my flight departs. I’ll arrive home, hours later, after a layover, after ride from the airport to my residence. There will be the moment of relief. The setting down of bags. The discerning glance around the place as I note how well or poorly I have welcomed myself home, based on how thoroughly I prepared for that moment, before I departed. A shower. A quiet evening. Then… back to the routines of life. Not as if this trip hadn’t happened – it has been too profoundly rewarding and connected for that – more grateful to have had the experience, and the opportunity to see so many people so dear to me, than anything else. A needed vacation.

Headed back to a cooler climate.

Still with the fucking headache? I drink more water, and look at the time. It’s time to begin again. 🙂