Archives for posts with tag: practicing good practices

I am enjoying a quiet morning without the stereo on, without any additional stimulus in the background, and the cool chill of morning slowly reaching all the corners of my wee home through the open patio door. The A/C is off, more to enjoy the quiet cool morning, and less to save money/energy, but it has those benefits as well. The only sounds are of traffic on the not-so-distant street, and the bubble and zing of the goose-neck kettle heating water to make coffee.

I had a wonderful weekend taking care of me, and enjoying myself as I am. I spent most of it alone, and most of it at home, with the exception of a couple merry hours with my traveling partner, with whom I shared coffee and breakfast out on Sunday morning. Saturday was all mine.

No use crying over spilled tiny hardware parts. :-)

No use crying over spilled tiny hardware parts. 🙂

Saturday I spent mostly on household chores and meditating, and much of that spent meditating on art. Bare walls bother me, and I still have an entire wall running the length of my living space that for now remains quite empty. Because the wall is the length of the living space I’ve been stumped by what to do with it, thematically; it does seem to want some sort of theme. Over the course of the day I hung some paintings in my bedroom, and completed the installations in that space. Feeling quite content and accomplished, (and perhaps not paying attention) I carelessly overturned a small compartmented box of hanging hardware and the tiny contents splashed onto the carpet. It’s the kind of thing that can so easily cause tempers to flare…only…in this case, not mine, not this time, and not over this particular category of mess. I settled down with a fresh cup of coffee to sort all the wee parts into their compartments with some measure of honest delight – and posted the picture and a comment on Facebook to the effect that it would be a fun little diversion. A faraway friend replied with some cynicism that my calm sounded like ‘zen bullshit’. 🙂 I laughed, and reminded him how much I actually enjoy sorting things (it’s a harmless quirk and I don’t bother with troubleshooting or ‘fixing’ it).

I get where he’s coming from on the ‘zen bullshit’, though. I remember when I stood on the outside looking in, at a time when what I thought meditation was ‘didn’t work’ for me (not quite the right sort of meditation for the desired outcome), and snarled at the soft-seeming nonsense other friends who already ‘got it’ tried to share. It’s not actually nonsense, as it turns out. It’s not ‘zen bullshit’ to practice practices that get desired results…and it wasn’t ‘easy’ to find my way here. There were – and are – verbs involved. A fucking ton of verbs, day after day after day, and a surplus of opportunities to quit, to fail… to practice. Practicing never ends, and there is no finish line or clear victory beyond the stillness, itself. The calm and contentment are totally worth the investment in time, in effort, in will –  and in won’t – and in patient acceptance that practicing good practices results in incremental change over time. I didn’t practice ‘being calm’ – I practiced other practices that in time resulted in greater calm. No zen bullshit – just effort, will, and results that vary.

Like garden flowers, we thrive when conditions are right, and bloom in our own time.

Like garden flowers, we thrive when conditions are right, and bloom in our own time.

This morning I am happily celebrating all the value I find in the ‘zen bullshit’ practices that have made their way into my experience. I’ve chosen this path. Sometimes it is slow going. My calm and contentment are not a byproduct of magic, or new age-y mysticism, or some ‘secret the pharmacy companies don’t want you to know’ – I have worked to get to this place, and made some unconventional (and sometimes difficult) choices in order to build a life in which I can thrive. Seriously? I’m 52, and the progress has definitely seemed slow going to me. I’ve given up some experiences I truly love in order to make more room in my heart, and my experience, to live well and invest in joy, contentment, and love. This journey is not about ‘easy’. It is also not about ‘faking it’; authenticity matters to me, and sharing the experience I am actually having is something I do – hard or easy.

We make our own way through life's wilderness.

We make our own way through life’s wilderness.

This morning I raise my cup (coffee, black) to the world beyond the ‘zen bullshit’ and wish friends and loved ones suffering under the weight of their challenges some moment of relief, and hope that they find their way ‘home’ and that their suffering is eased by the choices they make, whatever those may be. We are each having our own experience, and while there are definitely verbs involved there are surely enough verbs to choose from for each to walk her own path. Choose wisely – your choices matter. [Your results may vary.]

No, seriously, it’s not. I made a point of not reading the news, and the information gleaned from sensational headlines is sufficient to be certain of two very basic things: 1. the news remains firmly focused on all manner of very negative things – and making money – and 2. it’s neither novel, nor presented in a reliably neutral and factual way. There’s just no point filling my head with poison when I am putting so much attention into taking my experience a very different direction.

Simple and lovely.

Simple and lovely.

Beyond that, I’m just not well, tonight. I am feeling ill, probably with the latest ick going around the office, and I am in pain – the arthritis just isn’t letting up yet, and probably won’t until summer. Being sick, I also feel run down, cross, emotional, and fatigued…fussy and ‘out of sorts’ rather remarkably like a sick child. (That’s got to be annoying to be around… I tend to assume so… I don’t actually ask, and simply do my best to handle my care, myself.)

Tonight self-care involves chicken soup, and firmly insisting with myself on an appropriately nutritious meal, plenty of water to drink, and an early night. Yoga, meditation – all those good practices still have their moment, but I add simple extras tonight like being patient with myself; I am slower than usual. I take a moment to think simple tasks through more carefully to minimize mistakes; I can feel that my thinking is also slowed down. You know what isn’t slowed down at all? My emotions. One more good practice I am practicing tonight is to give myself a little space, and enjoying a relaxed evening taking care of me. I’m relaxed and content writing, meditating, and watching South Park, but emotional disinhibition can quickly derail an otherwise pleasant shared evening, and when I am not feeling well I am even more than usually vulnerable to that particular challenge; quiet solo time makes more sense.

Next, yoga, a shower…sleep. I would love to sleep through whatever has me feeling ill. If I wake feeling sick tomorrow, it will be a good day to practice the very best self-care.