Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness

There have been a lot of rainy mornings, lately. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy. It’s rainy this year. It’s been raining, mostly, for what feels like weeks. I’m not even complaining; I like the rain. I sit here sipping my coffee contentedly, listening to the rain spilling over the clogged gutters on this rented duplex. It’s been pretty comfortable here, generally. The few things that are not as I’d like are, unfortunately, things the landlord takes care of, and that’s been complicated by the pandemic. I sip my coffee and think over which ones matter most, and wonder whether I will live up to my commitment to myself to take care of those things with greater skill, care, and timeliness as a homeowner? I like to think I will…

…The rain falls. I sip coffee. The morning shifts from “before work” to “work”. It’s an easy adjustment these days; it has become routine. I’ve grown comfortable with working from home. My Traveling Partner is considerate and supportive of the change in lifestyle. (I’m fairly certain he enjoys having me home more… I know I enjoy not having to commute through traffic.) Hell, I think I enjoy my job even more, working from home, which I did not expect at all. 🙂 Bonus.

We continue to prepare for the move, and I continue to count down the days. I’m often distracted with it, occasionally scrambling to pull my consciousness back to “now”, when I realize I’ve been considering, again, some small specific detail that honestly can’t be sorted out properly until the time comes. I smile to myself. Managing my excitement gives me lots of opportunities for practicing mindfulness – just as managing my anxiety would. I definitely prefer the excitement to the anxiety. I notice again how similar those states can feel, physically. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let it go.

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.

I think back to that painful move out of a shared living situation, into my wee solo domicile at #27. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s been 5 years, now. I put my will and my energy into “embracing change”, and finding my own way. In the five years since then, I’ve done a lot to heal and grow. I find myself embracing change again, moving again, and feeling content and prepared. It’s a lovely change from the heartsick uncertainty of that abrupt move 5 years ago.

“Stay on the path” was a regular reminder to myself then, and it served me well (then, and since). No map, though, and this path is not well illuminated. I’ve stumbled a time or two. I’ve taken some wrong turns, and made some “route changes” along the way. Life does not come equipped with “GPS” for our decision-making. 🙂 It’s a very human experience.

I smile, sip my coffee, and reflect on 5 years of progress. I remind myself, again, to “stay on the path”. My results may vary, but I can always begin again. It’s enough. 🙂

 

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. 🙂

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. 🙂 I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. 🙂

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. 🙂

 

Lovely long weekend finally ended. It’s back to work this morning, somewhat reluctantly, maybe, or just a bit disengaged… It’s Monday. I’ll get through this. More coffee? More coffee.

After meditation and yoga, I sit down with my coffee, mulling over the cost of vanity. There’s even YouTube content that’s relevant. Well, generally speaking – it may not be the ideal fit to all circumstances, but it tends to lend itself to general thoughts on the cost of vanity. lol Vanity is expensive. I mean, well… more expensive than being wholly practical. That seems obvious. Aesthetics matter, though; we each have an idea of what we find “beautiful”, and a lot of different things go into that.

…There are more urgent matters. Life in the time of pandemic affects a lot of things we don’t necessarily experience directly, ourselves.

I sip my coffee and my thoughts move on. My mind wanders, seeking any reasonable distraction from the work day ahead. It’s an important day (for my team and I), and a major project moves another step forward. It’s also the busiest day of the week. So much going on! I face the day feeling fairly prepared… but I don’t really want to deal with it yet. Part of the push-pull of my attention here and now is my mind trying to reach for that “work stuff” now, when I have an hour or so still available for me. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let that work stuff go – again.

Good coffee this morning…

I open up my “to do list”, which is entirely focused on things I want (or need) to do (for me, or here at home, but definitely not employment related).  This list has definitely gotten smaller, even though I add to it almost every day; I do more than I add, every week. I look over the list with a certain feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. A lot has gotten done since mid-March, when the pandemic “shelter in place” advisement came for us, here. I eye those “least approachable tasks” with some reluctance. I’m running out of other shit to get done. LOL I give some thought to each remaining task, and consider what about each one has that task still sitting on this list after weeks of doing things here at home. There are things to learn about myself hinted at (shouted?), and it’s worth learning those things.

Another Monday. Another chance to begin again.

It’s a gray rainy morning. The work day stretches out ahead of me. A lovely yesterday lingers in my recollection. My second coffee sits on my desk, slowly going cold while I drink fizzy water. I pause the work for a break, and sit for a moment looking out the window at the gray sky. I inhale deeply.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

Minutes go by gently, quietly…

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

My mind wanders, I pull it back to this quiet moment.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

Sometimes, it’s just that easy. Sometimes it isn’t. I feel the tension in my shoulders begin to ease. My headache begins to recede.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat.

When I feel easy, contented, and calm, and a soft smile begins to relieve my furrowed brow, I prepare to get back to work. A stretch. A sigh.

…Time to begin again. I’m ready.

Small changes add up to big changes, over time. Some of the small changes I made are a goodness, and result in improved quality of life. Some of the small changes I make are less so, and create potentially problematic circumstances – sometimes entirely foreseeable conflict results. Humans being human. Some of the small changes that are made around me manage to also improve my circumstances. Some, though, are a bother. It is what it is. Not all the small changes are mine to make, or made by me. Not all the small changes that occur are even about me.

I sip my coffee and think about changes.

This morning, there are three less aquarium fish in my tanks. The difficult thugs that were creating so much difficulty have found a new home. I hope it works out better for them. They were certainly too aggressive for my tanks, here. It was a poorly chosen small change to bring them here. I am feeling fairly confident that it is a beneficial small change that sees them on their way elsewhere.

Small changes involve verbs. This morning I broke down boxes for the recycling. Definitely a positive outcome as small changes go; boxes were piling up, and the clutter was an aggravation. This morning? Less clutter. Less aggravation. In the process, I got a paper cut, from a bit of discarded paperwork that was stuffed into a narrow box. Pulling it out, definitely a small change, resulted in blood loss (not much), and a very irritating sensation in the crook of my hand, between my thumb and fingers. Ouch. Annoying. Not a small change I’m super eager to embrace; I’ll have to keep my hands out of the aquarium water until it heals, for sure. I love my aquariums, but let’s be real; it’s not a great idea to immerse an open wound or cut in aquarium water. It’s definitely full of a variety of bacteria.

I remind myself to wash it, again; it bled more, and there’s dried blood all over my hand.

I look around at the many small changes that have resulted from prolonged staying-at-home over the past handful of weeks. There’s more I could do, particularly here in my studio, but wow – so much has already been done.

I finish my coffee, thinking about other small changes I could make to improve my quality of life. I think about spring. I think about the garden. I observe the morning sunshine illuminating the bedroom window, through the blinds. I pause to savor this quiet moment, before I begin again. 🙂