Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness

By the time I got home from work last night, the anxiety that had been in background much of the afternoon had deepened and begun to take over. It was a visceral experience of anxiety, and mostly only that; I felt anxious. There seemed to be nothing much supporting it, and I probably prolonged it more than necessary by continuing to insist to myself that “it’s nothing”. Well, so what if it is “nothing”? I was still feeling it – and that’s something.

I disconnected from the digital world and began to practice very self-care focused practices with the specific point in mind of reducing my anxiety. Nothing much seemed to be helping. My Traveling Partner phones. A few minutes of gentle conversation seems to ease my anxiety almost entirely. Okay, well… that’s awesome. 🙂 We end the call.  Later, I end the evening…

…I laid awake feeling anxious for some time. Weirdly, I’d get sleepy, and as soon as I even started to doze off, the anxiety surged back and woke me. Fuck. Damn it. …Did I have too much coffee? …Am I stressed over work?? …Am I not “anxious” at all, but actually excited and not discerning the difference? …The weather? Troubleshooting anxiety doesn’t really help matters at all, that’s not how anxiety tends to work (for me). Trying to find answers to “why am I anxious” just puts all my attention on the anxiety, which makes it the focus of my experience. Yuck.

Strong steps seemed necessary if I wanted to sleep. I got up for a little while, went out onto the deck in the cool-not-quite-cold night air with my meditation cushion, and sat quietly in the cold, just… being. I went back to bed, and to sleep, shortly afterward.

This morning I woke without the anxiety lurking in the background. I don’t reach back to mess with the “why” question any further. I’m content to be without the anxiety. This morning, my thoughts are on the weekend ahead. The sound of bird song outside my window. How satisfying my coffee seems. Finding out the “why” of an anxious afternoon holds more potential to create another anxious day than it does to answer any profound questions about the nature of anxiety. lol I let it go and move on. It’s not as if there hasn’t been ample stimulus in recent goings on for anxious moments. I totally don’t need “reasons” beyond that. 🙂

I look at the clock, and notice that it is time to begin again… the weekend ahead of me… love, adventure… choices. All of that and more, just beyond this moment. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee and staring at this blank page (well, it was, it isn’t now…). The future is a perpetual blank page. I hold the pen in the present. Whatever narrative I jot down, whatever map of the world I attempt to draw, it is done from this moment, from this perspective. It has so little to do with the actual future that will actually happen. It’s easy to overlook that detail, but it is significant and worth keeping in mind.

I spent the weekend in the studio. I didn’t finish anything. I started a bunch of stuff. It was a delightful and productive weekend, creatively. I am content and nourished by the time spent painting. I’m finding it rather challenging to “get my head right” for the compressed work week ahead; I am yearning for some vacation time, and the good company of my Traveling Partner and friends. I am distracted and energized, like a toddler after an espresso shot. lol

People are peculiarly resilient and adaptable. Have you noticed that? It’s an amazing quality. We can endure quite a lot, and still be hopeful. We can suffer immense trauma, and still find ourselves positive about life, and able to enjoy it. We can break trust, and rebuild it. We can choose poorly, act badly, or go to pieces – and often put things right nonetheless. Pretty amazing stuff. Yes, of course, there are verbs involved, and our results vary. Our intention, our will, and our actions all matter. Our words matter. The content of our character and the values we choose to live matter. Still… we’re pretty fancy primates with a lot of potential.

Today you can begin again. Today you can choose to be your best self. Today you can live your life on a path to the person you most want to be… You only have to choose to do so. 🙂

Choose. Begin again.

I woke during the night with an unsteady tummy. I took steps to be prepared for being sick if things were to turn for the worse; I left the light on in the hall bathroom and a hair tie on the counter. It’s not the closest bathroom of the two in this place, but it is bigger, and more suited somehow to being ill. It’s near enough. Easy to get to, too. So. I was prepared, and I went to back sleep.

I woke sometime shortly past day break. 6:30-ish. I slept in. 😀 Well… that’s my idea of sleeping in. I’m usually up by 4:30 am. I woke to a tidy home, a clean kitchen, and a smile on my face. Nice. There are a few things to do today, to face the short work week ready to travel: some tidying up, laundry, vacuuming, empty the dishwasher of clean dishes… basic household care. It’s a good day for it. I feel rested. The gray featureless sky doesn’t tempt me to the trail – or to the studio. I have brunch plans, and a partially read book. Brunch and housework sounds like a fine when to spend the day, and winding things down with a quiet evening reading sounds lovely, too.

As I sip my coffee, first one brunch friend, then another, lets me know they can’t make it today. I hear from my Traveling Partner as we cross paths in the digital world, as I wake up, and he winds down from a long night. By the time I finish my coffee, brunch “with…” has become “brunch solo?”. I barely register any disappointment – and perhaps this sets me apart from some sorts of people; I genuinely value and enjoy time spent with myself (particularly now that I’ve learned to treat myself well, generally).

I pause for a moment to consider, seemingly rather randomly, that “genuinely” and “generally” positioned so close to each other in a sentence seem a tad repetitive, even though they are totally different words. Then I find cause to be irked with the frequency of -ly endings. I notice my coffee is finished. I feel irked by that and slightly irritable. I take a deep breath, relax, and allow myself to recognize that I am, actually, a bit disappointed about brunch falling through. Acknowledging the feeling, however fleeting, prevents it from becoming festering discontent. The moment needed nothing more than awareness, respect, and acknowledgement, and the feeling dissipates. Emotions are funny that way. Fight them, they fight back. Embrace them, feed them, they deepen, and sometimes take over. Resist them completely, they flare up in the background, influencing our experience of other circumstances in sometimes subtle ways, and altering our understanding of other moments. Acknowledge them with awareness, respecting the experience without fueling the fire, and they become a sign post on a journey, a reminder, and a moment observed; that tends to be what I’m going for these days.

I find myself still a bit irritable, and not finding anything in my immediate environment or experience to explain that, I pause my writing and do a quick “self inventory”. I take a moment to simply breathe and feel my feelings, both those of my physical experience (sensations) and those of my cognitive experience (emotions). Emotionally, I feel pretty at ease, and content. Physically, I find myself having to take note of a substantial amount of fairly ordinary arthritis pain in my thoracic spine. Well shit. Okay. That’d be enough to feel sort of grumpy and out of sorts “for no reason” – only, there’s clearly quite an obvious reason to it, once I am aware of it. Awareness is such an amazing tool! I continue checking in with myself, and notice that in spite of the arthritis pain, no headache. Hey, that’s pretty nice. Uncommon these days. I enjoy that experience, and allow myself to sit with the awareness of “no headache” awhile, while I decide on the morning, and what to do about the pain.

I think over the day ahead. I’ve got what I need, generally speaking. Maybe a bite of brunch and a stop for art supplies somewhere? I head to a search tab to look up my options…

It’s a great day to begin again. 😀

Sipping iced coffee, wishing, oddly, that it weren’t also black coffee… even though that’s specifically what I thought I was going for this morning when I prepared my coffee. LOL Well shit.

I’m appreciating that it is Friday, this morning, although I woke up thinking for a moment it were Saturday. I experienced a pang of disappointment that it is Friday as my dreams dissipated and I reached for the alarm clock to halt the infernal beeping. I would appreciate it being Saturday so much more… lol

Brunch planned for Sunday… hanging out with friends on Saturday… missing my Traveling Partner the whole while… while also celebrating having this strong partnership that allows for geographical distance without the loss of a strong connection. I like living alone, and I’ve managed so much individual growth and personal healing doing so, it’s definitely been worth a few romantic inconveniences. 🙂

I sip my sadly disappointing coffee with a smile, thinking about a dear friend’s new cat-buddy who wandered into her life and found a warm welcome. No reason, I simply enjoy the pleasant thought. It’s a nice way to start my day, actually, relaxing with my coffee, musing about the pleasant experiences of friends.

This post has no particular point, but I gotta tell you; very few of life’s moments have a recognizable, clear “point” taken individually, out of context. Most people, most of the time, are tackling each moment fairly spontaneously as it comes, and moving on the next, experiencing a continuous sort of consciousness that doesn’t generally split up experiences into all those discreet individual singular moments. Experiences, taken as a whole, may be more likely to “have a point”, but I am not sure that’s an important thing in life, right now, sipping my deliberately cold coffee that I now wish was hot. lol

What’s important in life is largely a matter of perspective.

It’s time to begin again. 😉

I found myself having a tense moment yesterday. It could have gone very wrong. I caught myself on the edge of making a point very clear that would not benefit from being over-stated, and the circumstances themselves had done enough. I took a breath. Another. I relaxed as I exhaled. The moment passed. It’s not the answer to every challenge. It’s not the solution to all the problems. It doesn’t answer every question. It also definitely doesn’t hurt anything to take a moment – and a breath – before moving on with things. 🙂

I got home fairly tired yesterday. My headache was aggravating. I did what I could to ease it. I finally just gave up and went to bed early, hoping that a few minutes of quiet meditation in dim light would put things right enough that I could sleep. I definitely slept, so I must have been tired. I woke 9 hours later, seconds ahead of the alarm going off, feeling rested – and for the moment, headache free.

Having been told with some firmness and plenty of diagnostic data that this headache is likely neurological in origin, I am treating it as something I can resolve – given the right practice(s). So, I deal with it, right now, as with any trying circumstance or condition. First – and it’s a powerful tool – I pay real attention to moments that are headache free. I take deliberate notice. I am observant, and aware, and make room in my consciousness to appreciate the lack of that headache, on the chance that over time, the experience of the headache may have grown to fill my awareness, simply by focusing on it too much. It’s not a cure, but sure enough, moments that are entirely headache-free do apparently still exist in my experience day-to-day. There’s a chance that focusing on those moments, versus the ones with the headache, may hold the potential to grow them larger in my implicit awareness, over time. So, this morning, I am enjoying my coffee, and the awareness that my headache isn’t there, right now. 🙂 If nothing else, why the hell would I not take a moment to appreciate not having a headache?

Our implicit biases are powerful things. They handle a lot of our day-to-day, moment-to-moment decision-making, and we don’t even notice that we’re on auto-pilot. Everything from that suspicious stranger, to the specific foods we don’t eat, and all manner of other things we react to immediately with a sense of certainty, without having paused to consider anything at all, is part of that system of implicit biases that exists in our “programming”. Those things aren’t “real” – it’s not actually a fact, or any sort of certainty, that lima beans are gross. I just don’t happen to like lima beans. Actually, let’s be clear, I have learned to insist that I don’t like lima beans without having put a lima bean into my mouth in… more than 40 years, for sure. I can say I don’t like them, and maybe that’s actually true, but… I was so firm on not liking them so early in life, and have held on to that understanding of myself for so long, that it has become an implicit defining truth of myself that entirely lacks any basis in fact. At all. Seriously? How the fuck do I even know if I do or don’t like lima beans? That’s sort of my point. I actually don’t. Clearly, I’ve got some bias against the idea of lima beans – but that should hardly be the basis of my decision-making without some sort of legitimate validation. Otherwise? It’s just a bias. It’s not truly a preference – how the fuck do I even know? I simply don’t. I’m just saying words, and holding on to some construct in my personal narrative that lacks basis in fact. People do it all the time. Doing it with one’s food preferences is fairly harmless, but it’s not a great cognitive habit, generally.

Test your assumptions. Fact-check what you are certain of. Explicitly confirm expectations. Take your life and your consciousness off auto-pilot. You may discover a world of flavors (and experiences) that you would otherwise miss entirely. You may lighten the burden weighing down your heart. Yes, of course, there are verbs involved. Your results may vary. You may find yourself hurting in moments that you’d previously be so certain were full of wonder. Disillusionment can be an awkward sometimes painful process – and it can set you free.

I begin the day feeling well-loved, well-rested, and ready to begin again. I’m curiously eager to try lima beans (nothing like a good metaphor to kick off personal growth). lol I wonder where the day will take me?