Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness

I woke ahead of the alarm after a restless night. The apartment was 77 degrees when I woke, which was 5 degrees cooler than when I went to bed. Even some strategic open windows and a fan going were not enough to cool the place down much. Now I sip my coffee, all the windows wide to the pre-dawn breezes and cooler air. I’m hoping to get the indoor temperature down to 70 or less before I go to work; it’s another hot day, but forecast to be only 82. Tonight won’t be so stifling hot in here, if the day is no hotter than that, out there. πŸ™‚

Because the windows are open, I am listening to the chorus of birds waking as the sun rises, and it is now, in every practical sense, summer. The birds were up before the sun. The cacophony of peeps, chirps, tweets, whistles, calls and responses, twittering, and trilling become a more complex grander song of morning than any one bird could sing. The commuter traffic beginning in the audible distance, and the sound of a later-than-usual freight train on the siding a mile or so away are not enough to drown out summer birds. πŸ™‚

Just before the sun breaks over the horizon, I see the slimmest crescent of moon just at the edge of the treetops. As the sky begins to lighten, it disappears. The lawn at the edge of the patio is revealed with the sunrise; it is covered with geese and ducks contentedly sleeping in, heads tucked down, just one sentry looked out for cats and kids.

Summertime

My Traveling Partner checked in yesterday, just at about that time when it had become more difficult to stave off worrying, having not heard from him for more than 24 hours past the end of the calendar event. The timing was most amusing. I’d barely completed my thought, “how long would I wait before doing something about nothing hearing from him reasonably becomes a thing I’d want to do…?”, when my phone buzzed with a message from him, letting me know he was on his way back. Well…so… clearly the answer to my question was “a little longer”. lol I feel more at ease now, in some subtle way, just from knowing he’s okay. I definitely don’t enjoy having doubts about that, real or imagined. πŸ™‚

The sun is not yet quite “up”. The sky is light, a pale wash of cerulean blue, with a hint of orange along the horizon, showing through the trees. No clouds. Still… it’s a good moment to begin again. πŸ™‚

I’d just barely hit “publish” on yesterday’s blog post when a severe OPD storm blew in. Other People’s Drama splashed all over my doorstep, and a tsunami of emotion blasted my morning, my afternoon, and my day generally.

In moments of gloom, there are often still flowers.

I am not the sort of person to turn someone fleeing domestic violence away from a moment of safety, though, and my OPD-free zone is certainly a safe space. I invited my friend in, and started working to help her calm herself; difficult decisions in life are most easily made from moments of calm, I find. I make a point of checking in with myself regularly, too, because this shit hits all of my buttons, and I am myself on the edge of panic being around domestic violence, at all.

When conditions are right, flowers bloom.

My friend and I took a walk through the park, “enjoying” the flowers. To be more precise, I was enjoying the flowers, my friend was moping along beside me, less than fully engaged in the moment. I didn’t really intend to give up on 100% of the beauty and fun of my weekend, just because someone else has drama to choose to invest in. πŸ™‚ It was a lovely walk, and I’m sure the fresh air and sunshine did her some good too. She talked. I listened. Sometimes I talked. I hope she made a point of listening, but it’s not something I can confirm with any confidence. We walked in silence some, too. I did my best to respect her emotional experience and be present, welcoming, and comforting.

I’m not always sure what one flower or another actually is, and this does not stop me from enjoying them.

She figured out what to do with herself in the short-term, and where to go. Her things were already packed up and ready for all of that. I gave her a ride. I gave her hugs. I gave her my time. I came home. The evening from that point was very quiet. Her now-ex is a friend, too. I know he must be hurting, and I’m here, even for him, if he wants to talk. He hasn’t reached out. I don’t expect that he will. The situation saddens me. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. Not my drama.

Sometimes, a closer look.

I slept restlessly, waking often toward the end of the night. My restlessness got me out of bed more than once, to walk through and around the apartment before returning to bed, no particular purpose in mind. It was a weird night. I sip my coffee contemplating the weekend behind me, and the day ahead. Yesterday’s investment in drama was time-consuming; I didn’t get my laundry done, and I didn’t paint my nails. I didn’t read that book I started. I didn’t get much housework done. All of that will inconvenience or annoy me this week, at some point, more than likely…but… what I did do counts too, and comes up less often; I spent time with a friend who needed me.

It’s a journey.

Still, I’m looking around the place this morning and recognizing opportunities to take better care of the woman in the mirror. Today seems like a good day to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

I woke too early, in the sense that I didn’t need to be awake at all. I got up anyway, after a fairly half-assed attempt to go back to sleep. I’ve now been up for 3 quiet leisurely early morning hours, relaxing, sipping coffee, watching the sunrise, listening to birdsong. Oh… and I also paid bills, took a look at upcoming weeks’ finances and budget details, painted my toenails, did the dishes, but mostly I’ve just been enjoying this slow quiet morning.

Why would my “Saturday” feel any more leisurely now that it is a Friday? No idea… It could be because my Traveling Partner’s car is sitting in my parking space, readily available should I choose to go somewhere… which means… convenience. I’m free from planning everything around the longer time needed to every damned thing by bus, because… car. He’s right; I’ve reached that point at which use of public transportation by preference has begun to have clearly diminishing returns, and like it or not I’ll need to account for that as I age. How irksome that this is also a time in life of gradually declining reaction time. LOL I’ve little interest in added expense, either. We’ve discussed me taking his current vehicle, though, on a permanent basis; he doesn’t need two vehicles, but does need a different one than he’s got. His car doesn’t actually “suit me” in any particular way, and it’s not at all what I’d choose for myself, either aesthetically or from a practical perspective… but… “sufficiency” really is an important value for me, personally, and his car would certainly be “enough”. So… that’s probably what the future looks like, at least for now, and it’s a good car with many miles left on it.

Funny that a car in a parking space, ready if I need it, is enough to make for such a relaxing morning. I didn’t expect it to. I am content to enjoy the moment (and the morning) as it is.

I’m sipping on my second coffee – only my second? – Enjoying the slow pace of the morning. The geese wander up to the patio as the morning sun begins to dry the dewy grass. For now it still sparkles with glittery drops. A red-wing blackbird perches on the feeder, loudly announcing breakfast. His friends join him. I hear the steady progress of humanity commuting to work in the distance but even with the patio door wide open, what is most noticeable this morning is birdsong. It’s still much too early to bother with going anywhere; it’s not yet 7 am, and nothing will be open for business quite yet, besides grocers and hardware stores. I’m okay with that. I’d hate to rush this gentle sweet moment. πŸ™‚

Begin again? Nah, not this morning. From this perspective, I’m okay here, right now. πŸ™‚

I woke a bit early this morning, still smiling from the lovely evening spent with my Traveling Partner last night. I’ll probably be smiling for days, unless something entirely different knocks the smile off my face at some point. Hot coffee, headphones on, great playlist, smiling… this is a beautiful moment, as I start my day, still warm from a leisurely hot shower, still comfortable after my morning yoga… did I mention I’m still smiling?

What we see is often determined by what we’re looking at – and how we feel.

This moment is delightful. It’s still just a moment. Mindfulness is only part of this peculiar puzzle that is my journey from surviving to thriving; perspective matters every bit as much, I think. Take that lovely blue sky moment shot yesterday, pictured above, for example. It’s not an entirely frank image… I zoomed in on a small bit of blue sky, and some tree tops at the edge of a parking lot, downtown, near the waterfront, surrounded by concrete overpasses, framed in traffic, asphalt, and homeless people. I grabbed that sliver of beauty and blew it way out of proportion. I think I do that often, even without a camera. It’s also possible to do that in quite the reverse (and exceedingly common), zooming in on the suffering, the unpleasantness, the litter, the damage, the pain, the violence… life has a lot to offer, and it isn’t all pleasant happy fun stuff.

Still

How we view the world, how we experience our own lives, does have to do with our perspective on it. We filter our experience through our perspective. We give the details context, even going as far as making up, or filling in, missing narrative.

Still

Don’t miss out on the fun of life, or it’s whimsy!

We have choices, even about what to look at, and how to see it. Those choices matter, too. Balance matters. Perspective matters. Being “real” matters – and it matters how we define “being real”.

I don’t have anything super useful here, I’m just saying… perspective is a thing, and it’s useful to have some. Moments are moments, pleasant and unpleasant, and there will be some. πŸ™‚ Taken together those ideas don’t stop life (and moments) from being rather like a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle which has pieces that are all shades of gray, and each piece uniquely shaped. Assembling such a thing into something that is ordered seems complicated. I don’t actually know if it is complicated…

…I’m just going to dump the pieces out of the box, and get started on this puzzle. πŸ˜‰

I woke feeling merry – then moved to get out of bed. Holy crap, why the evolutionary-hell did it seem utterly necessary to develop arthritis pain?? I sigh, and ease myself slowly from the bed to something more or less like a standing position and make my way to my yoga mat.

(There’s a chance I watch too much Rick and Morty…)

Yoga helps. I’m not so stiff afterward. My coffee is tasty and hot. I’m still smiling and aside from being in pain, I “feel good”. I am learning to define Β how I feel by qualities other than physical pain… it definitely makes a better experience, day-to-day. I suspect this will be a valuable trait as I age. lol Besides… fuck pain!Β  I put my headphones on, crank up some favorite dance tracks, and keep moving. I may be a plump, curvy, middle-aged fat chick with some wear and tear, but I’m fucking smiling, bitches – and I feel wrapped in love and smiles this morning in spite of pain. πŸ˜€ Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!!! πŸ˜‰

Finding my joy has been a journey all its own, and part of “all of the everything” along the way. I can recall being a deeply bitter, disappointed cynical shell of a human being, a dry rotting husk where my heart could have been. Unpleasant. (That describes both me, I think, and my experience, itself.) It wasn’t surprising, knowing what I know (which is most of everything) about my experiences. What surprises me even now, though, is how much I yearned to be someone completely different. Not “different from the woman I am” as much as “a woman having a different experience than I am” – and looking back it took a long damned time to figure out (with help, frankly) that my own choices were a large part of where I landed in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming poor people for poverty, or rape survivors for having PTSD and trust issues, or domestic violence victims for struggling with repressed rage and learned helplessness; no victim blaming here at all, implied or explicit. What I am saying, is that I didn’t recognize how much personal control I have over my own state of being. I could always make choices that change the quality of my experience for better or for worse – that’s a lot of power, and carelessly wielded it results in a lot of emotional chaos. We do have choices. A lot of them. So many choices it can be a little overwhelming… does it matter if I wear a dark blue wonder woman tank top under my sweater this morning? Not so much… but it’s a choice. The choice whether or not to budget my finances is a much bigger deal, as choices go. Or, the choice whether or not to labor away in a job that defies my values, and working for a person I don’t respect, and who treats me poorly – that’s a big deal for sure, and yep, also a choice (and a choice I am very glad I made differently, at long last).

The music keeps playing. I keep dancing in my chair while I write. Now and then the music moves me such that I’ve got to get up between paragraphs and enjoy a particular track in a more physical way. I love to dance. I make no claims of skill – I just enjoy movement, and music, and the way they go together so well. Β At 53, and more than a bit self-conscious about … something… I don’t comfortably dance with ease and freedom in public spaces (anymore/yet). It can bring me near to tears to brush too closely to plentiful recollections of being young, fit, sexy, flexible, and so easily able to be the music in a physical form. Stiff from arthritis pain, back broken in two places, fused and wired back together, and too heavy to feel light on my feet for very long has talked me into a level of self-consciousness about being seen exactly as I am that I’ve not yet sorted out, and which creates conflict in my sense of rhythm, which adds to my self-consciousness. At any rate, it’s a source of emotional discomfort that I rarely discuss. It’s part of my journey these days; there is so much music I want to see live, and I want to be comfortable in that world, too.

The unexpected frankness with myself this morning, on this tender sore place in my heart labeled “too fat” opens my eyes to how much I’m hurting over this, and the tears spill over my cheeks like tiny waterfalls. The worst of it is the sting of knowing that the mocking skinny girl lurking in my thoughts isn’t about experiences I’ve had of other women; she’s the woman in the mirror, at a much younger age, that woman so easily able to dance, lacking any awareness of where life would take her, and brutally insensitive about others. Straight up, it’s not about treating otherΒ women badly over matters of weight, appearance, or beauty. I know my own heart. I know that woman. I know what she was about. I know her. I find myself acutely aware of who I was and the content of my thoughts, then. Life itself got tired of my shit, and now I am faced with all manner of many things I was uncomfortable with as a younger woman. lol Well-played life. You’ll make me wise, yet. Perspective matters, and it can be painful to develop.

Kindness matters too. And compassion. My tears dry as I savor the wry humor of being so carefully placed in life to experience a broad range of experiences. Gnothi seauton. I could have been a better person than I was in my 20s, but I wasn’t – and I wasn’t even aware of what a basic and shitty human being I actually was. Self-awareness demands a lot of me, and this morning it demands that I acknowledge how much I yearn to feel as comfortable on the dance floor as I do in my living room. As comfortable with my partners as I do when I am alone. Funny… until I became aware I felt otherwise, I didn’t realize this is a journey I also very much need to take… so… I guess it begins here? In a blog post I didn’t realize I was going to write, about an issue I find more personal than my sexuality… my emotional comfort with my physical self. Again. Still.

I’m still smiling. Still sipping my coffee. Still dancing through the pain. All good things – and there is further to go on this journey, and I suppose that is also a good thing. πŸ™‚

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚