Archives for posts with tag: resilience

I’m having a moment. It has lasted most of the day, on and off. Maybe it’s me. I’m in more pain than usual, and I woke with a vicious headache and a bit of a “fuck this shit” sense of the world around me. I feel crowded “by everything”, and I seethe in the background without having anything to be properly angry over. Between the headache, and the tension in my partnership that may or may not be to do with the pain I’m in, or the pain he’s in, or whatever-the-fuck today is about, I’m pretty well “over” the whole today thing, generally. Fuck Wednesday. I mean… today. Now. This week. I’m cross and I hurt and I feel disrespected and unappreciated. Possibly a universal condition, in some circles. Some Wednesdays are lovely. This one has pretty much sucked fairly completely, more or less end to end. I’m not even sure why. It sort of just feels as if every time I relax for a minute, something is skidding sideways somewhere, or someone is snarling at me, or some shit that seems small to me is a fucking huge deal to someone else who is ready to just die on that fucking hill rather than cope gently with another human being. Over it. Over it. Done. Finished. While I’m on about it – fuck this headache, too.

I look for a picture to calm me. Fuck flowers. I look for music to soothe my savagery. I find this. This. This other thing, here. Not doing it for me. This feels better… it hits a nerve. Thanks, BeyoncΓ©.

Why the hell has today been so… hard? I mean, I know how much pain colors my experience. Impersonal. Encroaching on my consciousness. Shrinking my world. It probably doesn’t actually “show” to anyone just looking at me – too many years of “appearances” and “coping”. I’m not alone. Not saying that I am. Not saying there aren’t a lot of people who have it worse. It’s not a competition or a race. There are no “cool points” for enduring more pain, or being more obviously in a bad way. Pain simultaneously humbles me and drives me into myself. Resilience takes practice. “Sometimes ya gotta get knocked down to get up!” Isn’t that the truth!

I take a breath. Exhale. Relax. Take steps to move on. Change the music. Change the picture.

Change the picture. Change the thoughts. Change the perspective. Change is.

It’s time to begin again. There are verbs involved.

I write the word. You read the word. “Tantrums.” We probably both think of children, first. Adults having tantrums are… embarrassingly human. I’ll bet you’ve done it. “Thrown a fit.” Maybe, “lost your shit”? Did you “blow up” over something small? Tired? Not feeling well? Headache? Suddenly you found yourself in the middle of an emotional firestorm, losing both self-control and resilience? I don’t know anyone who can be entirely honest and say they’ve never, ever, lost their composure inappropriately over some moment or another. It’s unpleasant to experience. It’s unpleasant to witness. It’s unpleasant to be around. Each and every one of us who has found ourselves succumbing to the worst of who we are in some moment, who has blasted some innocent bystander, colleague, – or worst – someone we care about deeply over our bullshit, knew right then and there that we were fucking wrong as hell. We probably didn’t say as much. Maybe we never even apologized. Maybe we think because the “facts were on our side” it excuses our shitty behavior? Is it you, this time? Was it them? Do you think you were “right”? Do you think they were? (Do you actually think that matters more than the unpleasant moment you’ve created?)

“Am I the asshole?” Good question to ask oneself in a moment of tension or conflict. Just saying.

I’ve been there, for sure. It’s definitely not “always me”, though; I am but one human among many. Even narrowing the view to just the company I work for. Just my community. Just my family. Just my partnership. Even with my “issues” – it’s not always me. Just saying. Any one of us can, and likely will, succumb to emotional weather, however pleasant the emotional climate may be. Storms come and go.

I sat down to write, over the weekend, but my thoughts had not yet become a thing I could express in words. It was fatiguing weekend of relaxing effort. lol My body was tired. My mind was seeking a moment of quiet to really process things. Maybe I get that moment when I seek it, maybe I don’t. It sometimes ends up being the sort of thing that keeps me restless and wakeful into the wee hours, quiet, and reflecting, filtering, sifting, sorting, all the thoughts and questions, and moments. In the meantime, I’m struggle to put my thoughts into some coherent share-worthy whole. Interruptions. Distractions. Endless seeming “high priority” distractions, and demands on my time and attention.

My Traveling Partner is having his own experience.

Our A/C seemed to be malfunctioning. I mean… it demonstrably was “malfunctioning”, keeping in mind the intention, and settings, should have it cooling the house, and it is doing quite the opposite. Time spent troubleshooting (and snarling at each other), eventually pays off; blown fuse replaced. I struggle to “keep up” with his shifting emotional weather, some days. That was one of those. I imagine my own notion of resilience as a deep, calm, still pool. I perceive his (substantial) resilience more as a wave pool; big swings that reliably settle into calm fairly quickly. We’re each having our own experience. It’s not “personal” – not even truly “adversarial” in any clear way. Just quite different from each other, and sometimes not complementary. We are so similar…and so different. I don’t think I’d change that… I’d just like to be a bit better at it than I am… preferably without having to gain those skills through experience. lol

I continued to write, but ultimately set it aside over distractions. The pain I was in had increased, even though our stressful moment was quite brief, and it colored my thinking. I finally gave up on it. Today it’s days later, and reaching for words in a different moment of stress and conflict, and I find this, half-finished, waiting for me. A reminder that emotional weather comes and goes. That we are each having our own experience. Each seeking to understand the world through the lens and filter of our own experience – and often completely limited to that context, because it is all we truly know. Empathy is hard sometimes. Compassion requires more verbs. Kindness, too. Finding my way to a fully accepting and loving place is hard right now. I’m angry.

I remind myself that my Traveling Partner and I both have only good intentions. That we both love each other. That we are each doing our best with shared goals in mind. That we are individuals seeking to thrive – and help each other to do so – on a shared journey. It’s hard to be the best version of myself when I am feeling angry, or misunderstood, or unappreciated. I know that’s true for him, too. I look at my calendar – another meeting. I take a breath, and begin again.

…This is me, seated by a big window at my boarding gate in the terminal. My flight will board on time; it’s already parked at the gate, empty of passengers, and being stocked up for this journey. It’s been a long while since I have flown. 2016? I think so…

I’m generally not bad at waiting around, most particularly if the environment is relatively calm and quiet, more or less. I wasn’t always. Used to be that a long wait, especially if it were unexpected, or likely to throw off carefully made plans, would not just wreck my mood, it would even (and quickly) degrade my mental health. These days I am as likely as not to actually embrace waiting- it’s good “me time” snatched from busy circumstances, allowing me to catch up with my thoughts and reflect. Tonight is like that.

What did it take to make such a profound transformation? A lot of practice. Meditation. Breathing. Non-attachment. Letting small shit go. Self-reminders that it isn’t all about me.

Soon enough a new journey resumes. Soon enough I will begin again. For now, I wait.

I am sipping my coffee at leisure; I took today off. I know, sometimes it’s tough to sort out the days during a pandemic, working from home. Some folks may find “taking a day off” sort of pointless under those circumstances… I still find it pretty essential for my quality of life and general enjoyment and self-care. So. A day off? Yes, please.

I’m thinking about how easily loved ones can “push each others buttons”, even without meaning to. I contemplate how much more comfortable human beings often seem to be with being their most vile self in the context of their most favored or intimate relationships. (I still do not get how that makes any sense… why not, instead, be your worst self with absolute strangers, than with people you say you love? Would you not want your loved ones to enjoy the best of who you are?) It often falls to the individual to vigilantly “supervise” their vulnerable “buttons”, and to learn to be less reactive, generally. I’ve certainly found value in that, although my results do vary. “Expectation-setting” and asking any one individual to avoid pushing a given button doesn’t seem very helpful, sometimes (or within some relationships).

I sip my coffee, and my mind wanders on.

I think for a moment about the coffee, itself. A moment of comfort. A metaphor for self-care, for being centered, for self-reflection (at least for me). I so routinely take a moment of ease over a cup of coffee that having a coffee cup in my hand feels “complete” in an odd way. So… what happens when the coffee runs out? What would replace this coffee cup in my hand, if there were literally no coffee (or, at least, none for me)?

My mind wanders on. Payday tasks are handled. There is a secure comfortable feeling that comes with that, these days, especially with the holidays ahead. Another sip of coffee, and my mind moves on…

I hear the soft sound of lo-fi coffee house “radio” from the other room, over the whirr of my computer’s CPU fan. It reaches my consciousness as a sort of “wellness indicator”, telling me it’s a fine morning to enjoy life, just as it is. This prompts me to consider other “indicator dials” and gauges of wellness in my moment-to-moment experience of living life. What other signals do I send myself that “all is well”? Do I recognize conditions on a spectrum, as one might see on a gauge or dial on the dashboard of my car? Do I have an “internal dashboard” that I could quickly glance over in a moment, and correctly evaluate conditions developing in real-time? I mean… that’s sort of what all of consciousness is, more or less, I suppose… if I listen. I like the notion of an internal “wellness dashboard”. Buttons and dials. Better be careful with that. I smile at the thought of it. I have another drink of my coffee.

My mind wanders on. Not a bad start to a long holiday weekend at home with someone I love. Certainly it’s enough. πŸ™‚

I’m still chuckling about getting all the way to work yesterday without realizing I had forgotten my phone. πŸ™‚ You know what? I totally survived it, and there was honestly no actual stress involved. lol It was interesting how wholly unprepared for the morning I actually was, yesterday, though. I’m not sure why… I didn’t feel particularly groggy, or tired. I bumbled about my morning routine fairly unconvincingly, as though it were all new, or maybe… an afterthought. All good. The day happened, without regard to my readiness for it. πŸ˜€

Here it is another one. Good cup of coffee. Good night of rest. I feel comfortable, and from the vantage point of just waking, not in much pain. Nice. Good start to the day.

I get lost in my thoughts for a few minutes, staring into the pre-dawn darkness beyond the window of my studio, drinking coffee. This is not wasted time. It is time spent in a contented reverie, relaxed, calm, and present. I smile, partly because the smile feels good, and partly because this moment feels a bit like an achievement. No anxiety. No doubt. No seething unsettled unsatisfied rage. Just a woman, a moment, and a cup of coffee in the morning. This moment feels like a destination arrived at. My smile deepens in a moment of self-directed encouragement and quiet joy.

Sufficiency. Contentment. Perspective. These can be built, worked at, and nurtured, so much more easily than one can “chase happiness”. Having built them over time, I find them a durable foundation to explore joy, to find “ease”, and to experience fearless presence in my own experience. A worthy journey, thus far. I enjoy the morning’s wee quiet celebration.

I think ahead. I can’t see beyond the “fog of the unknown” future ahead of me, not really. I trim away expectations, and regularly check my assumptions, looking for hints that I have mislead myself, and making corrections before fanciful self-deceits can sabotage my experience. Gently vigilant. Still so human. I’m not even frustrated by that. Not this morning. Not over this good cup of coffee, in this pleasant moment. I laugh at myself joyfully, for no real “reason”.

Without warning, in an instant… and we can only be prepared for so much.

Emotional resilience is that quality which allows us to “fill our tanks”, or build a healthy foundation, to be emotionally able to withstand life’s unexpected moments, occasional crisis or trauma, and to bounce back with our sense of self and general “wholeness” intact. It’s that resilience that allows us to hear the sound of a glass door unexpectedly shatter, breaking the peace of a work morning into countless fragments, broken, chaotic, and then from that wreckage, to retrieve a perfectly excellent day of work, and life, and love. I happen across the photograph, and recall the moment that I heard the “crack!” of that door, a corridor away, as it yielded to some force of physics. I’d already forgotten about it, and in a moment when I later walked past the shattered door, my eye saw only the beauty of the patterns of the fractured glass. Having forgotten my phone, I asked someone else if I could use their phone to photograph it… which created a joyful space for a conversation about art, and life. It’s rare that the woman in the mirror gets to be the artist she is, in the place she works for a living. It was quite wonderful, and somewhat distracting, and I finish my coffee pondering the happy coincidence that I had forgotten my phone. That worked out nicely. πŸ™‚ I was present – for all the moments.

Later, after I returned home, my Traveling Partner and I relaxed and enjoyed our shared evening. My phone was still forgotten on the charger. I was still present, enjoying the moments my partner and I share. Quite delightful. I hope I learned some things… It’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚