Archives for posts with tag: one more time

I sit awhile, coffee untasted, headphones on without music, listening to the sound of the computer fan, staring into the blank white abyss of an empty page. My fingers are frozen, poised ever-so-lightly on the keyboard. Mind temporarily paralyzed by the remnants of a powerful fight-or-flight reaction to unexpected harsh words first thing upon waking. Humans being human. Things, generally, are so improved over years past (distant past, at this point, really), that I forget about the PTSD, until I stumble over it. In a flash of circumstance or temper, I’m mired in it, again. Reeling from a flood of powerful emotions, followed by a flood of tears, I’m still shaken, more than an hour later. Vulnerable, and a bit fragile, I retreat to the solitude of my studio, until I can get myself past this moment, and sort out the chaos and damage from what is steadfast and true, reliably real, and less about some damaged moment that is not now.

…This is hard. I’m “out of practice”, I guess, and for that, I am grateful.

The tears erupt again, and spill over, making the text on the page distorted and surreal. Am I okay? Sure. For most values of “okay”, I’m okay. Certainly, I am okay right now, and I am safe, and there is nothing to fear here in this place – or in this relationship. I remind myself, and look around, here, now. Leftover baggage that I may carry for a lifetime weighs me down a bit, that’s all. I deal with it privately, as often as I can. Very few people are actually qualified to “help with this”. I already have the tools, and the practices, and the experience (of an entire lifetime of chaos and damage), to handle the self-care and emotional recovery on my own. With those things in mind, it’s beyond unreasonable to attempt to get help from my Traveling Partner right now.

Reaction? Over-reaction. I recognize that, and begin the tender work of caring for this fragile vessel. Taking care of the physical details will build the strongest foundation for the emotional needs yet to be met. I make myself sip my coffee. It tastes quite fucking awful this morning. It’s a matter of perspective. There is no comfort in it; I’m just making sure I don’t set myself up for failure, later, with a caffeine headache. That’d just be dumb. I take an Rx pain reliever for my physical pain. It’s a rainy spring day and my arthritis is what woke me early this morning, before I was really ready, or fully rested. No point letting that become a thing of greater significance later on. I blow my nose and dry my eyes. I take an antihistamine to combat seasonal allergy symptoms. I correct my posture. I do some yoga. I meditate. All of these individual self-care details help re-stabilize me. Give me distance from that one difficult moment. Build reserves for the moments to come; no way to know what those hold. My subconscious is still shrieking alarms bells at me, as if there is a legitimate concern, where none actually exists.

Fuck PTSD.

I breathe, exhale, relax. I let all of that go. Again. More slow tears. Another breath.

More practice.

I know I’ll take that next step of seeking a positive distraction to occupy my waking consciousness, and move on from this, fairly soon. I’m far more well-equipped for these experiences than I was 7 years ago. Yeah. 7 Years. More. It’s a long journey, not gonna lie. There are verbs involved. I’ve had to begin again ever so many times. In the past, I’ve been hard on myself sometimes to the point of inflicting additional damage. I think I’m past that, now. There are still hard moments. Being human doesn’t come with any sort of manual, life doesn’t have a clear map to follow. Sometimes shit is hard. Ridiculously difficult, and over what seem the most trifling of details. It is what it is. We are what we are. It’s a journey, and in most practical regards, it’s a solo journey; we’re each having our own experience.

I breathe, exhale, relax. I let all of that go. Again. No tears this time. Another breath. I feel calm. Practical. Resolved. Understanding. Compassionate. Still a little fragile, but I’m ready to begin again.

Again.

It’s all well and good to talk about beginning again, starting things over, letting go, moving on… incremental change over time is so slow… and… there are so many choices. So many voices with opinions. So much room for doubt, for confusion, for uncertainty… for fear. Where, I might ask, does one start on some new beginning? What does it mean, really, to “begin again”?

…Have you asked that question, felt stalled, and just… wondered, in helpless frustration? I don’t have all the answers. I’m mostly about questions, actually, but… sure. I’ll try to provide an answer – one, mine (it’s the one I’ve got handy) – and if it is helpful perspective for you, it’s enough, right? 🙂 There are, for sure, other, different answers. As many as there are other voices. This is mine (right now, at least, one of them, based on what I know now).

What does it mean to me to “begin again”? In simple terms, it means pausing in this present moment long enough to truly be fully present, in this moment, and really just this moment. It means being aware, and present, and seeking to be those things nonjudgmentally, and without lingering attachment to some specific future outcome, or past pain (or joy). Just… here. Now. To begin again, from that place of being fully present, observant, and aware, all that separates me from moving forward afresh, and with new perspective, is really nothing more than a breath. I take that breath, and make a choice, take an action, head to a destination – verbs. That’s it. Pause. Be present. Breathe. Move on. A new beginning becomes what it is to be. That’s my idea of beginning again.

Simple, right? Seems easy enough. The subtleties are the challenge; sometimes it is harder to be present. Sometimes very difficult to let go of past pain. Sometimes I am overly invested in a future outcome. Sometimes I just feel stalled. It is effective, though, and with sufficient practice, becomes such a natural moment along my path that it doesn’t feel like any sort of interruption, at all. It’s just a moment of clarity, of commitment to purpose – but without attachment to outcome – and a chance to pause to become, again, truly present in my experience. The benefits are obvious, although more so over time, with repetition. I feel, generally, more centered in my experience. More sure of myself. More aligned with my values. More capable of being goal-focused, and purposeful. It also seems to tend to leave me more open to inspiration, and more accepting of change, and adaptable in the face of turmoil. A worthy practice in a busy life.

Yes… it does amount to slowing down, taking a moment, and merely taking the time to “figure things out”. Call it what you like. I call it “beginning again”. 😉

Just one thing…”If I could change one thing…” “If I could just get this one thing done…” “I just have one issue…” “One comment…” “One book on a desert island…” “…only listen to one band…”

The power of one, the pedestal upon which we stand our fragile individuality, is a big deal.  Things that are singular, unique, or rare seem sometimes to thereby also be more desirable, more valuable, or more precious. It can also be a wedge that drives people apart, the fulcrum of an unbalanced argument, or representative to us in our own thinking of why we do not, or can not succeed at some one thing we have chosen to matter to us above all else.

Just one thing can also be a stepping stone to change, a way to ‘make it all seem more manageable’ somehow; I don’t have to wake up perfect if I can use will and action to change over time. 🙂  I find a lot of reassurance in that thought, but I’ll admit straight up that the associated challenge for me has been that I also have to choose what those one things, those small changes, will be. No handy ‘user’s guide’ for being human.

At the risk of seeing my blog become a book review blog over time… I may have found something on the order of ‘a handy user’s guide’ for the brain. Seriously? Yep. Just One Thing.

Is it that simple?

Is it that simple?

I’m still reading “Emotional Intimacy”, too, which is very science-y. They are a good pairing for me. I wake up each morning eager to read more of one, then the other, then to act on what I have read. Like going to the gym for my brain. 🙂

See? Spring.

See? Spring.

Spring is coming, and although I feel intellectually stimulated by good reading, life feels very busy to a point of nearly overwhelming me, and I feel rushed, crowded, and overloaded with details. Time for another day on the beach, walking, meditating, slowing things down…just planning it and acting on those plans results in feelings of being loved, supported, cared for, and nurtured – and I smile when I think “I did that, for me!”  It’s not really a credit/blame/fault thing at all, I’m simply pleased to have come far enough on my journey to do something positive to take care of me, before I hit critical mass and my head explodes, leaving me screaming at someone I love over nothing that matters. 🙂  I am delighted that when I mentioned to my partners that I need some downtime, I had their full support.

I’ll be headed to the coast to sketch, write, meditate, and slow way down in general – and celebrating the Vernal Equinox with a weekend of calm, and stillness. I’m so excited that like a kid waiting for Santa Claus, the days seem to stretch into an infinite far away future, although it’s really only two weeks away. lol

In my not-so-distant-future...

In my not-so-distant-future…

I was walking home last night, finishing my commute, looking at the evening sky and contemplating ‘how it is’ and what I see ahead on my path, and what I am looking for. Considering the ‘evening light’. I am changed. I am still ‘me’. Growth. Identity. (I thought I might be going somewhere with that, but no.) The sky was on fire with color as the sun dipped below the horizon. I snapped a couple of pictures, but capturing that certain special quality of light is a rare thing. I still love evening light…illumination. Gnosis. Awareness. My smile these days contains a certain quality I can feel, but not name. It feels, to me, like ‘evening light’.

Evening Light.

Evening Light.