Archives for posts with tag: restless nights

I like the sound of the phrase ‘The Art of Being’. I find something contained within those simple words that hints at more than the practical details of practicing practices and the slow pace of incremental change over time; it suggests nuances of self and experience that exist beyond the logistics of resources and effort in practices. As lovely as it sounds, however, the Art of Being remains tangled up in practices that need practicing. As with being an amazing singer, or gifted artist, perhaps, the beauty of raw talent is a wonder that holds potential to be further improved upon with skill, craftsmanship, and experience…all things that come from practice, and possibly some coaching or education.

Sorting out ‘art’ from ‘science’, and taking those next steps from talent (or good fortune) to skill and craftsmanship, to design and engineering, is an experience of its own. It is the journey from awareness to real understanding. From “I’m doing it!” to “Of course, I’ve got this.” From asking questions to… understanding, or at least to the threshold of building real understanding. To be clear, I am still asking questions, and still approaching my circumstances and experience with a beginner’s mind in every  moment that I remain mindful to do so; there are still practices involved, still requiring verbs, will, and choice.

I am rereading the Four Agreements; a worthy starting point on any journey of self.

I am rereading The Four Agreements; a worthy starting point on any journey of self.

For me, now, the ‘art’ in The Art of Being speaks to an increased level of ‘ease’ within myself, and how I approach my experience moment-to-moment. It implies a heightened level of acceptance, of self-compassion, and self-appreciation. It implies a reduction in assumptions, expectations, and attachment resulting in an increased level of calm, contentment, and even merriment. I expect to find that someone skilled in The Art of Being will be emotionally self-sufficient, accepting of themselves and not inclined to take the emotions or experience of others personally, and to be so without doing emotional harm to others thoughtlessly or by intention.

I feel a bit as I do out on a long hike, checking my map for significant landmarks, intersections, places I’d like to stop, or turn toward another direction…I’ve got my eye on the next turn, the next goal, and the signpost I am looking for reads ‘The Art of Being’. I’m not discontent on this path so clearly marked ‘Practicing the Practices’, and it is an important part of my journey. This is, however, a journey; there is more life to live, more ground to cover.  I am my own cartographer, and I am placing an ‘x’ on this particular spot…right over…here. The Art of Being seems a good direction to head, a worthy goal, and a good place to find myself farther along the way. This is not a journey about destinations as much as it is about steps, and continuance, and walking on…

Taking time to consider the journey, to rest, to observe, to enjoy, all have value of their own; there is no need to rush life.

Taking time to consider the journey, to rest, to observe, to enjoy, all have value of their own; there is no need to rush life, now is lovely.

One of the challenges for me day-to-day is remaining committed to the practices that seem most effective, and not allowing myself to become distracted by old patterns, ineffective programming, and moments of distress caused by the clash between historical expectations and change over time. It is almost inevitable in the context of relationships that (because we are each having our own experience) I may occasionally feel a bit like some mysterious quantum particle – I’m not quite in the place I’m expected to be, as a person, but it isn’t obvious ‘where I’m at’ until a specific outcome is observed – but having made the observation, I may have already moved on to better things by way of that very observation, itself. Similarly, I may have a sense that I’ve ‘come so far’, only to observe that in some moment, the incremental change is far smaller than anticipated, at least right then. It’s hard to keep up with, myself. I continue to practice the practices that are most effective, and I am learning to set aside the expectations altogether and give myself a break from constant criticism, and demands, and enjoy the journey in my own good company.

I am using my current search for a live/work space to promote deeper understanding of where I am in life, now, as well as putting focus on ongoing challenges with attachment; investing willfully in my own needs feels powerful, and provocatively hints at growth to come, in an environment uniquely suited to me. Although it feels ‘overdue’, I don’t allow myself criticism of the relevant decision-making that put it off so long; each of those decision-making points in life have been important, and each one handled in the way that seemed best at the time, based on my understanding of events, and of self, in that moment. Regret and bullying myself over past choices drives stress, feeds attachment, and continues the sort of self-defeating beat down that impedes clear thinking in the present. Besides – I deserve better than that from me. When I treat myself badly, I also make it much more difficult to treat others well.

The weekend was pretty good. I enjoyed it a great deal. I had a couple challenging moments yesterday, both missed opportunities to more skillfully manage my emotional experience, and to more clearly express myself, both very illustrative of how much further there is to go on this journey, and how much value there is in love. Wonderfully, they were both moments, and moments pass, in fact – in the case of yesterday, both challenging moments passed by like spring showers, and didn’t linger. Progress.

There is more to do, and farther to go. There is life is to be lived, and there is pleasure to be enjoyed, and further progress to make. There is a woman I love, to smile at in the mirror. I’ve got practices to practice as I continue down this path, on my way to The Art of Being.

I’ve got a solo weekend. The morning, so far, as been still and quiet…and strange. I didn’t sleep well, but I don’t feel fatigued. I tossed and turned wakefully much of the night, and managed to use the entire area of a king size bed alone…every corner, every side, diagonally, crosswise, splayed like a starfish, curled up like a hedgehog, with pillows, without pillows, blankets, no blankets… which is most peculiar since I generally sleep in just one or two positions throughout a given night, sometimes laying flat on my back throughout, rarely rolling over (it’s a remnant of domestic violence, and nights when any movement might give away that I wasn’t sleeping, or remind my spouse I was there, at all). I sometimes wake in the morning to find that the covers are not even a little disturbed from the night’s sleep, just turned down at the corner from getting up, looking like a dog-eared book page. So…yeah. I didn’t sleep well. I didn’t want to wake early, and went to bed tired, sleepy, and ready to just sleep until waking caught up with me.

As it turns out, waking caught up with me around 2:38 am. I had some fun cat naps between then, and when I finally gave up and got out of bed, around 5:00 am. No nightmares. I feel reasonably well-rested and satisfied with the comfortable knowledge that I can nap later, if I care to. I took my time with my yoga. I had to. I’m stiff this morning and the pain of my arthritis, which is in my spine, is indescribably vast and commanding of my attention. This morning my spine feels like a rigid column of pain, on which my head sits; a first for me, I think, to have continuous arthritis pain from the vertebrae just above the line of my hips, to the second vertebrae above my shoulders. I keep finding room in my experience to be somewhat impressed by the completeness of it. I suppose that’s better than laying in bed crying because it hurts. I don’t really want to waste precious mortal time that way.

Droplets of mist gather everywhere on a foggy morning, each one a tiny universe for life I can't see...or perhaps a miniature gazing ball on the world I can see. I suppose it depends on my perspective.

Droplets of mist gather everywhere on a foggy morning, each one a tiny universe for life I can’t see…or perhaps a miniature gazing ball on the world I can see. I suppose it depends on my perspective.

It’s another foggy morning. I love fog as a metaphor for the unknown, the unseen, the mystery of potential, and choices yet to be made. I enjoy walking in the fog.  I enjoy the whimsy of imagining that as I walk I create the world around me; each step I take revealing some new detail, what is beyond view slowly emerging. Yep. Almost 52, still daydreaming everywhere I go. lol. 🙂 It’s a quality of self that I value a great deal; it has held the power to make the tragic and painful endurable, and it has kept me going long after I would have quit without it.

Tears unexpectedly begin pouring down my face… arthritis pain? No, it’s just old trauma, old hurts; there are things lurking in the darkness that I never really stop crying over. These days I don’t fight the tears that come when my heart is touched by my own hurts; I keep a safe space for myself, in my own heart, to comfort me, to show myself compassion, to recognize that it has indeed been a lot to go through, a lot to survive, and to recognize that these honest tears are no sign of weakness or failure. In a sense they are a strange celebration of strength; I am here, and that’s a pretty big deal, considering what I have overcome. I only need, in this moment, to be kind to myself and let the tears fall without stress, without anger, gently supporting myself on the strengths I have. Tears pass. There’s plenty to cry over, but it doesn’t need drama – only love.

Autumn is a season of change, a good time to break patterns.

Autumn is a season of change, a good time to break patterns.

Today is a good day to take care of me. Today is a good day to be fully present, and engaged in the moment, even if all I do is flip through a holiday catalog, answer my email, or have a coffee in the chilly autumn garden watching the dawn unfold beyond the fog. Today is a good day to appreciate how far I’ve come, and how good things are right now in spite of pain. Today is a good day to make choices that create the world I really want to live in. How about you? What do you think… shall we change the world?

In the morning, I generally write. Usually that’s after a shower, after I’m dressed, after some yoga and meditation, and my espresso is tasty and hot and next to me on my desk; it is a comfortable routine these days.

This morning I woke to the alarm, and still groggy standing in front of my closet exchanged unrecalled words with my partner. I wasn’t quite awake. There may have been needless – and not especially emotional – tears involved. My brain wasn’t online yet, and I struggled with comprehension. I didn’t really sleep until shortly past one; a persistent sense of someone’s wakefulness besides mine kept me from drifting off more than once or twice, and I repeatedly found sleep slipping away to the sound of voices in the background, continued conversation in the wee hours. I don’t know that there really was conversation; I got up once or twice, concerned, and found only apparent stillness. Irksome to be restless when I could be sleeping. Short nights put me at risk of volatility; it’ll be an early bedtime tonight, and attentive to how I treat people all day long. The details matter. People matter.

This morning, not much writing; I spent the time on technical support. LOL Yep. The vast and fantastic technology we enjoy let me down this morning. Rebooting fixed everything? Well, sometimes; this time it took three tries, and a couple of updates. I’m annoyed now, momentarily; all that fuss over my sound bar not being recognized by my laptop…only… it’s not even 6:00 am. I wasn’t listening to music. Human primates are weird. lol

No additional bitching required.

No additional bitching required.

Last night I left work on a cloudy autumn evening. I got home soaked to the skin, utterly drenched, even my raincoat soaked through. Autumn in the Pacific Northwest is rainy. Yes, that is a deliberate understatement. It seems foolish to go on about it much; I am a pluviophile, and I moved here because I enjoy the rain. I don’t much enjoy being soaked to the skin on a chilly evening with 2 miles yet to walk to reach home…but…frankly, there are worse things that go wrong in life every day than being rain-drenched, or dealing with technology in the morning. lol

Today is a good day to let the small stuff go. Today is a good day to refocus, and enjoy each precious moment. Today is a good day to face the world with a smile I own, myself, just for me  – and not take other people’s drama personally. Today is a good day for purpose, and for meaning. Today is a good day to be prepared for inclement weather. Today is a good day to change the world.

I woke at 1:37 am to a loud bang. I returned to sleep. I woke again at 4:21 am for no reason that was obvious, and went back to sleep again. When I woke to the alarm, it was a bit as if I was never sleeping. My brain seemed pretty busy from about 1:37 am on until the morning alarm. Mostly playing mc chris’ “Tarantino” on repeat in the background of my consciousness. What’s that about? My back aches with the ‘everyday pain’ of arthritis. Yoga is difficult this morning. Sitting with good posture is difficult.

My coffee is neither creamy nor sweet.

This morning these are simply my experience, my observations. I feel pretty positive and basically ‘okay’ as an emotional being. It’s a nice change from Wednesday.

Wednesday, a bit like this.

Wednesday, a bit like this.

Yesterday wasn’t bad at all. It started well, ended comfortably, and aside from a distinct lack of physical comfort in my experience, the day proceeded well between the beginning and end.  Yesterday’s high points? Love, and roses.

"Baby Love" rose [Scrivens, 1992] first to bloom in my garden this year.

“Baby Love” rose [Scrivens, 1992] first to bloom in my garden this year.

My very human experience has its ups and downs. This morning is still so new there’s no knowing. I meditate, sip coffee, study, do yoga, and prepare to face the world. I feel, for the moment, content and complete, in spite of my arthritis, in spite of pain, in spite of the headache, the bitterness of my coffee, or the slightly sick feeling of mornings. A little later than now, I’ll leave for work, probably have to remind myself to grab my cane before I go; it is an encumbrance as much as a help, and like I child I tend to abandon it anywhere I happen to sit down, if I happen to stand up with ease when I return to movement. lol

In spite of pain, and the unsteadiness of my knees lately, I still walk as much as I can. I’m still getting in about 5 miles a day, about 3 of that is commute, spread out over the morning and evening, and 2 miles for a walk midday. If I ‘give my knees a rest’ and allow myself to succumb to the illusion that not using them will somehow put things right, I put myself at risk of gaining weight, pretty much immediately. I keep walking every day I can put weight on my knees and ankles at all. (I’m heavier than I’d like to be, and very much aware of the toll that is taking on my knees and ankles. Stabilizing my weight below 200 lbs is within reach, and I’ll be very happy to hit that benchmark.)

Still, the pain is what it is, and it is part of my experience. As much as I look forward to the beauty of spring, and a lovely walk on a nice day, there’s a bit of a ‘Little Mermaid” element to it; every step may be painful. Growth has often felt that way to me; every step painful, journey and destination worth the difficulty.

Pain is a shared experience. Most people have some. It’s odd to be in a group of people and observe that one person commenting on their experience of pain or discomfort tends to launch a round of compare/contrast statements, with some one-up-man-ship thrown in for flavor. I try to stay out of those, and regret it when I launch one. Few things result in feeling less heard about hurting than everyone else chiming in about how much they also hurt. Everyone wants to feel heard about pain.  I’m not sure anyone ever does.  Our own pain is so visceral. The pain of others tends to be far less so.  I have been working on compassion first, sympathy, understanding – hearing that this human being speaking to me is hurting, and recognizing their experience, without sharing mine, even out of sympathy. (Allowing them to have their experience, feel nurtured and supported, and not diminished by my experience, or denied the opportunity to be individual. ) I don’t know that it does or does not ‘work’ any better than countering every tale of discomfort with one of my own, but it seems likely to be less annoying or dismissive.

It’s Friday. Looks like a quiet solo evening on the calendar. I find myself hesitant to be at all excited about it. I’d rather not become invested in the outcome and have to deal with disappointment if life throws some changes in the mix. I’m eager to spend some time on my writing and dive deeply into meditation without a timer, clock, or deadline on the other side.  It’d be nice to look forward to doing that pain-free, but that’s unrealistic these days, so I don’t bother about the pain until it speaks up with enough force to be a real game-changer.

Friday. Black coffee. A backache. Spring flowers. A quiet morning. This is not only ‘not bad’ – it’s actually pretty good.

It’s a nice enough morning, I guess. I slept rather restlessly, woke a couple of times, and the alarm seemed to come too soon. The headache of yesterday is little more than a dull reminder of my human frailties, lurking in the background this morning. My arthritis is kicking my ass, though.  As I sit and contemplate the imminent dawn, a downpour begins, hammers on the skylights, and passes on. I feel a little cross and out of sorts, without reason – unless pain is reason enough. Is it? lol

I’m okay. Neither wildly excited about the day, nor truly discontent; I sip my latte unenthusiastically and watch the minutes tick by quietly. My thoughts lack focus or theme. I am letting my consciousness coast, and observing the comings and goings of my thoughts.  This is, as yet, a raw and unformed day; it could go a number of ways, and there’s no obvious tendency or trend, yet. This, by itself, is very interesting… I’m not sure I’ve ever been aware of this sort of moment before.

This morning, each breath is a beginning, and a pause, a moment of its own. I wonder where the day will take me?

Wherever the journey leads, it is mine.

Wherever the journey leads, it is mine.