Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness

I slept well last night, and got enough rest. I woke gently, and quietly made coffee, hoping not to wake my still-sleeping partner. I headed to the studio, sat down with my coffee, and started trying to put my thoughts together, words on a page, on a quiet Sunday. I’m grateful to have had an entire night’s sleep. Today, it looks like I’m going to need it.

This morning, my writing is interrupted, several times, for what I can only describe in this moment as “difficult interactions”. I’m not yet fully awake, and lack adequate emotional resilience for the irritated (I hear it as angry) tone of voice, so early in the morning. My thoughts are fractured, scattered, and now focused on feeling hurt, instead of nurturing something within me. My studio door gets slammed, probably without intent. My tears spill over. A quiet morning is apparently not on today’s agenda, and I am the hapless villain in this story – but who is the author? I feel frustrated, sad, and isolated (as much because I don’t really know what to do with these feelings, in this moment). It irks me that I woke up feeling so soft and amiably inclined toward my partner… and at the moment, I feel only the sting of his irritation, his disappointment with me (“What do I have to do to help you remember??”), and the visceral sensation along my nerves of a slammed door.

Sometimes “doing our best” isn’t enough to overcome opportunities to fail at something, or to miss a detail, and “trying hard” is not enough to ensure success. This is true with or without a brain injury. We have to choose again and again to “do the verbs” and to try again. We have to choose again and again to walk our path, or select a new one. It is also true that we don’t generally grow from the things we are reliably good at, or which we find comfortable and easy. So, okay – routine human shit between human primates. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it isn’t comfortable. Sometimes it is necessary to be reminded what the point of it is, and refocus our efforts, because it matters enough to do that. It reliably takes practice.

…What a shitty morning so far…and less than an hour into the day. Disappointment with myself, with the morning, with the circumstances, it all fills me up and spills over as tears, while I watch a little brown bird on the stoop, picking enough sustenance from the ground and from the sidewalk, just to get by another day. I watch the little bird, and try to nudge myself in the direction of recognizing that I am just experiencing some emotional weather; the climate in my heart (and, I assume, my partner’s) is fine. This? It’s just a moment. It’s useful to begin again, if I can start on that, somehow, then it’s not “a shitty morning” as much as a shitty moment. Moments are brief, and they pass.

This time, when my Traveling Partner opens the door to the studio, his face is softened, and he looks at me with love. The irritation is gone. He steps close, and strokes my hair. I apologize for the difficult start to his morning, through my slow, steady, tears. He tells me “it is what it is” and “I’m not angry”. He’s human, too. If I allow it to, the morning will shift gears to a happier place; we’ve made that possible, now it is just a matter of accepting that change and going with it. A matter of beginning again. I give myself a moment to appreciate having a partnership with so much resilience and potential to bounce back from a difficult interaction. I savor the feeling of gratitude that seeps in, as I contemplate the difference between this partnership, and others I’ve had.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Allow my heart to slow, and my posture to lift me more erect. I sip my coffee, and begin again.

Well. Here we are. 2019 is winding down, just hours from its commonplace celebratory finish. 2020 hasn’t yet raised itself up to become “real”. We exist in the space between, that place we call “now”. So temporary.

I sip my coffee and think my thoughts. I don’t assume I know anything at all about what 2020 may hold – why would I? Life is varied, the menu of possible human experiences is vast and complicated (and possibly in a different language…). This moment, and this coffee, right here, is enough for now. πŸ™‚

I woke ahead of the alarm this morning. I woke from dreams of something or another that had caused me some distress. It’s already gone now, the last remnants of recollection have already dissipated. All that was actually required for that result was to get up, and do some very routine things, in a very routine way, focused entirely on those routine actions in the moment. Once completed, those actions and my presence with them in those moments, cleared my consciousness of any notable distress from my dreams, including the memory of the content of those dreams, leaving behind only the most vague awareness that I’d had, perhaps, “some bad dreams”. I count this as an achievement. There was a time when waking from bad dreams would often wreck my emotional balance for hours, sometimes days.

Celebrating small successes is a pleasant start to New Year’s Eve day. πŸ™‚ I definitely recommend it. πŸ˜€

This holiday is the end to (my notion of) the winter holiday season. Tomorrow, I’ll celebrate the new year with rituals and routines of cleaning things up and putting things away. The tree will come down, and the ornaments will be cherished one last time before being boxed up safely and put away for another year. I’ll do some laundry, probably. Things like that. Bringing order to chaos is a pleasant start to a new year. Certainly, it’s enough.

The other thing I do in celebration of a new year, is to take an hour of time for myself, to meditate, to reflect on the year past, to reset goals, plans, and re-calibrate expectations that linger. It’s a time to take a look at the woman in the mirror, and ask some hard questions about where she’s headed. I value this time, and have taken it for myself for many years. It is a practice I encourage. Far too many people get to the end of a year and find they “just don’t have any time for” themselves. How ridiculous is that? Don’t forget to make time for your needs, and your plans, your dreams, all of that; you only get to walk your own path. Be sure the path you are choosing to walk is truly yours. πŸ™‚

…The last blog post of 2019. I’ve been far less “reliable” about writing this year, than in the years past (since I started this blog, I mean). Only 252 posts this year, clearly I’ve taken some time for myself this year. πŸ™‚

…So…yeah. 2020? Almost time to begin again. πŸ˜€

I’m thinking about patterns and routines as I sip my morning coffee. Specifically, about a pattern I’m noticing rather a lot lately, one where I have something clear and complete to write in the evening, and such an evening seems regularly followed by a morning on which I’ve either entirely forgotten those thoughts, or can no longer hold the relevant circumstances also in my memory; either way, I’m not writing that post. It’s gone. lol

…But writing first thing feels so… natural…

I am having to consider that this particular timing of this particular practice is not suiting me well, at the moment. Changing the timing is something I’ve approached before. I used to write in the evening, very reliably. There was a time when writing at lunch time was the way I handled “when to write”. I’m considering returning to that one, for a while, at least. Maybe. Probably.

…Maybe…

…First things first? This post, and this cup of coffee. This moment. “Now”. I’m definitely into it. Lovely quiet morning. Delicious cup of coffee. I feel good in my clothes. I feel comfortable in my skin. It’s enough to start the day well.

…And it’s already time to begin again…

It’s been a strange week, in some respects. I’m sitting here with my morning coffee, mulling over the strange sights I have seen, standing in front of the office, taking an occasional break from working. I see a lot of things. Our building is immediately opposite a large hotel, and surrounded by restaurants, banks, businesses, public gathering places, and transit stops. There’s a lot to see, is what I’m saying. Homeless people. Busy people. Angry people. People who are lost. People who are pre-occupied. People who are exceedingly well-dressed. People who are dressed, well, as though they are in Portland (it’s pretty casual here). People with ear buds in their ears, talking to unseen others over wireless connections mingle with schizophrenic people; it’s not always possible to tell which are which simply by the conversations.

…It’s a city. There are a lot of people. Human experience is vast and varied. I see a lot of things passing by, as I stand quietly enjoying the theater of humanity existing. Too often, I find myself wondering how long this will last…? Humanity, I mean. We’re doing a pretty poor job of thriving, as a species, it seems.

Yesterday, I walked past a man laying on the pavement, flat on his back, head lolled back and somewhat downwardly, past the curb, sort of (but not quite) into the street. Nothing about it looked comfortable on a freezing morning. He was not wearing a coat, or wrapped in a blanket, or covered up at all, really. He did not appear to be “sleeping” so much as unconscious. People passed by, glancing down, walking past. He was in front of a Starbucks. Some time later, he was gone.

Later, I was startled to see a man run screaming and yelling from inside the hotel across the street. Not a guest, obviously, from his clothing; a homeless man, perhaps, unkempt, and pants literally around his knees as he ran, hobbled, up the street and away from security, who chased him half-heartedly. I heard later, from the doorman of the building I work in, that the running, screaming, man, had been defecating in the actual lobby of the hotel.

I saw a well-dressed woman, obviously a professional woman of some sort, well-groomed, and precise, talking on her phone outside the building. She was sort of fixed to the spot where she stood. Face tense. Jaw clenched. Trying to “hold it together”, until her emotions broke like waves against the stillness of her face, and she began cursing and weeping at the person on the other end of the call. In an instant, she was as human as anyone. In an instant, people began to avoid her physical space, and turn their faces away from her suffering.

I saw a younger woman on a bus stop bench, rocking and crying, making her misery quite public, while she stayed somehow still very private, herself. People simply walked past.

Misery is pretty common in a city. Maybe everywhere. I used to be immersed in it, myself. I have cried in public, unable to hide “the shame of my emotions” at a time when I found them shameful, but too far gone in the experience to care about it anymore. I have run screaming, angry, or hurt, or frightened. I have had tense public phone calls that would have been better handled privately, personally, and face to face. I have laid still, sick or injured, immobilized by my circumstances in some other part of my life, stalled by the chaos and damage.

…Fucking hell, I am so glad I stand where I do, today. It’s been a bit of a journey getting here. I don’t take my current good fortune for granted; it could happen to anyone. Frankly, any of it could. It’s oneΒ  of the fundamentals of our humanity; in spite of the wealth of variety in the human experience, misery is both plentiful, and tediously similar, no matter the circumstances. And any one of us could be “stuck there”, at any time. No kidding. If you aren’t miserable, right now, take a minute to really feel how good it is to feel a bit better than that. πŸ™‚ Celebrate getting to this better place, or celebrate having never had to experience real suffering (if you are that fortunate, thus far in life) – it’s worth a moment of recognition and appreciation.

The fact that Thanksgiving is behind us, already, is not sufficient reason to turn my back on gratitude. Gratitude is lovely all year long.

I arrived home last night, after a somewhat trying commute, and there was my Traveling Partner, relaxing, waiting for me. The house is spotless, aside from my studio, and I’m committed to tackling that this coming weekend. Moving things around improved how comfortable things are, and somehow I’m not completely disrupted. It’s pleasant. I am enjoying the changes we made, together. I take a moment to sip my coffee, and feel grateful for all of this, too.

Reading the news, or observing the passing theatrics of human misery standing on a city sidewalk, it’s easy to forget the joys in life. They’re worth experiencing. They are even worth wallowing in, if you’ve got enough joy to do so. πŸ™‚ It’s okay to enjoy life’s pleasures – I try to avoid being a dick about it, though, and refuse to avert my eyes from human suffering. I’m not sure what to do about it, sometimes. (A lot of times.) I think, probably, we could do more, better, to alleviate a great deal of suffering in the world… probably harder to do that, if I’m not willing to be aware that it exists. I think about an X who tried to “buy her way into heaven”, unsuccessfully, of course; heaven is not for sale. We build heaven with our actions (there are a lot of verbs involved), our compassion, our concern, our authentic resolve to change the world – did I mention action? Yeah… this planet isn’t going to take better care of itself. We’ve got work to do.

Don’t like what you see around you? The answer isn’t in turning away from the problems. What are you going to do, to change the world? Check the time. It’s already time to begin again.