Archives for posts with tag: Rick Hanson

Yesterday was lovely, generally speaking. Good start to the dayย sort of morphed into a pleasant commute that became a productive and jovial work day that finished softly with an errand, a slightly different route home, and gentle conversation with my Traveling Partner, before winding down and becoming a peculiarly early bedtime that was also a night when I did not easily fall asleep. lol All in all, a lovely day.

I make a point to take a few minutes to look back on yesterday, specifically because it was a good day. We so easily fall into the habit of obsessing over the details that were raw, or annoying, or didn’t work out, or which trouble us, picking at those moments like sores – we can’t help but keep fussing with them, but allowing that to become who we are results in a fairly poor quality of life experience, and I’ve been practicing differently. I let myself contentedly gloss over most of the small moments that “missed the mark”; I am entirely unconcerned with those. I focus on what worked. I contemplate good feelings. I smile and remind myself about the bits that were unusually pleasant and replay those in great detail while I sip my morning coffee. I practice “taking in the good“.

I smile again when I remember I just ordered Rick Hanson PhD’s new book, too; “Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness“. I chuckle when I also recall the remnant of youthful cynicism that suggested, last night, that there “wouldn’t be anything really new in this…” in subtle discouragement… but… I can’t help but also be very aware that “we become what we practice”, and that whether this is fully 100% new material is not actually relevant to having a good experience of living life. It matters more to practice the practices that support me on this journey to becoming the woman I most want to be. ๐Ÿ™‚

So far, today is another pleasant day, in a life that is largely characterized by contentment, these days. It’s hard to want to “begin again” when “now” is, in this moment, quite easily enough. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ll just be over here practicing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Actually, it’s not that bad, I just woke feeling cross. Most likely cause, based on the sort of out of sorts that I am, would be hormones. That seems unreasonable and frustrating from the perspective of being ‘post menopause’…but I just barely claimed that prize, and I know the machinery is still winding down. I made a point to handle things very frankly, as gently as I could, and in clear simple language and a mostly cheerful tone when my traveling partner inquired how I am doing this morning. It actually required considerable effort not to launch emotional weapons of mass distraction, and since the effort was successful, it was also entirely worthwhile. No hard feelings, everyone safe and cared for; I am taking the morning to care for me, quietly.

A quiet bit of writing often puts my head right on the nastiness day…when I have something I feel moved to say, or reflect on, or even simply when some interesting bit of word play is stuck in my recollection from my dreams, or from the prior day’s interactions with others. Today… I don’t feel very inspired, just very cranky. There’s really nothing amiss. I slept well. I woke on time and feeling reasonably comfortable physically. My coffee is hot and tasty. There’s nothing more than the usual things coming up in the work day ahead of me, as far as I know now. It’s a day. A Tuesday, actually. Dinner out, after work, and I’m looking forward to the outing. Still, for now I am rather cross with myself, and potentially inclined to blame the world. It doesn’t seem very fair, and it isn’t very pleasant.

Meditation does help. I still don’t relish company in this state, and I continue to pass the time quietly, keeping to myself without rancor; I enjoy solitude, more than a little, and it is ever so much harder to hurt people I love casually through my irritability when I give myself room to have that experience without forcing it on them, too. I take deep cleansing breaths, do some yoga, too, and flip through pleasant images – beautiful photographs of things, places, flowers… my own pictures. I have no idea why they delight me so, and I find myself wondering what power they hold that such is true, and could I ‘reinstall’ my memory from my photographs, if ever there were a need?

The colors of autumn.

The colors of autumn.

Although it is more challenging to go through the steps when I feel so raw and irritable, I find significant value in the practical exercises from Rick Hanson’sJust One Thing” and “Hardwiring Happiness” this morning. The difficulty is just going through the steps in an open and sincere way, without caving to cynicism, doubt, or letting the irritability that I feel undermine the simple goodness that exists in the world – it so often seems just out of reach when I am cross. There is value in making the effort. Each success, over time, results in improvements in my implicit memory – my default settings are becoming more positive, more content, and I am less prone to volatility. I sometimes find it emotionally painful to consider my prior perspective; the pain and discontent I endured as part of my everyday experience seems pretty horrific now. Noticing now, that I am noticing that, I take time to feel compassion for that hurt creature for a moment, and to accept that she is me, and understand that I’m not there now. No tears, just a moment of compassion, and recognition, even some gratitude for having the strength to go on long enough to find my way somewhere else in life.

Patterns exist. We have choices.

Patterns exist. We have choices.

The irritability begins to recede into the background, and slowly starts to dissipate. There was a time when that alone would seem so significant I’d rush into the world eager to restore contact, and find myself overwhelmed, unprepared, and not in the great shape I thought I was in. I would rush myself, mostly out of some sense of obligation to others. This morning, I take time to enjoy the improvement, without hurrying to the next thing, recognizing that I’m still dealing with the challenges, and being patient with myself. It’s a nice change to take care of me. It’s seems somewhat amusing that the irritability got my undivided attention so readily. As it recedes, I notice the headache and the nausea that seemed so unremarkable when I woke. This makes day 5 of something vaguely like morning sickness…and another reason I feel fairly certain the morning’s crankiness is likely due to hormones. The machinery is winding down. Sometimes that seems sad, this morning it simply is.

Today is a good day to take care of me with the same loving kindness and compassion I would show a partner, or lover, or friend – or human being. Today is a good day to accept my very best treatment from me – and from anyone else treating me well. Today is a good day to make a clear distinction between how I feel in the moment, and the actions I choose to take. Today is a good day to invest in a genuine smile, because smiling even feels good. Today is a good day to change the world.

My weekend in the trees over the Autumnal Equinox was lovely. It was not as quiet as I’d hoped; two troops of boy scouts had occupied the same bit of forest available to me for the weekend, and were actively exploring it in the way that boys of that age are active like no other creatures. lol. I was not distressed by their activity, or their presence. Apparently, I may have grown some while I wasn’t looking. ๐Ÿ™‚

Forest: the view from my tent.

Forest: the view from my tent.

Friday was still and quiet all day, and Sunday from the moment day broke through the milky predawn sky and the boy scouts fled the trees in a moderately orderly fashion (at the behest of their leaders), until I myself departed at noon, was again quite still and quiet. I mean, as quiet as forests get. Certainly, the forest has music all its own that rarely really ceases. I got plenty of quiet, certainly enough stillness to calm my spirit and nourish my soul, and oddly several very good nights of sleep. On that, it wasn’t that I didn’t wake in the middle of the night to pee – I did, and honestly the walk in the dark, and cold, to get to that destination – and of the sort it is when camping – did nothing to add pleasantly to that experience – it was simply that the sleep I got was simply exquisitely restful. Naps or nighttime, either way, the sleep I got over the weekend was of amazing quality for restfulness, depth, and pleasantness. I am a big fan of good sleep.

Friday, I hiked 10 continuous miles, and met a goal set for 2015.

Friday, I hiked 10 continuous miles, and met a goal set for 2015.

My weekend in the trees was spent hiking, studying, meditating, focused contentedly on me, on the ‘now’ I exist in, and on solidifying recent lessons from life’s curriculum. My Granny would have called it ‘sorting shit out’ and made an annoyed face at me for my ‘grand words’ (although she loved my writing, even my poetry). I found time, this weekend, to walk in solitude wrapped in the affection and memory of cherished friends and loved ones no longer walking a living path. I never felt ‘lonely’, even in those poignant moments when loss felt visceral and heavy as I walked the trails.

I had plenty of company, too, from this guy and his sibs.

I had plenty of company, too, from this guy and his sibs.

Some important things occurred to me this weekend, perhaps short of an epiphany, but the evolution of useful ideas and worthy of further consideration and study. I learned quickly that I don’t understand these new ideas well enough to communicate them to others, without stumbling over things important to them. Sharing ends up being for some other time, rather than now.

Some of this has been about a change in perspective...

Some of this has been about a change in perspective…

...I mean, seriously changing perspective.

…I mean, seriously changing perspective.

My last weekend solo camping ended feeling very ready to head home. This one, although I felt the absence of my loves and dear ones in a significant way, ended feeling vaguely as if no amount of time in the trees could ever feel ‘too much’ given adequate supplies, and a secure tent. I wasn’t quite ready to come home…until my traveling partner pulled up in the parking lot. Just seeing him took my breath away such that I very nearly didn’t give him the usual hug and kiss; the moment was so intense with the wonder of loving this being. This man of flesh and emotion, of thought and action, of will and tenderness standing before me just then for that one moment seemed an ‘everything’ unarguably enough to come out of the trees for. ย My partner.

What followed was a quiet evening at home, each contentedly (it seemed to me) doing our own thing, sharing space and time, and now and then conversation. My partner made a point of bringing some healthy groceries home for a simple and nourishing evening meal. I cooked. My generally-at-home partner tidied up after. Teamwork. A partnership. It was a lovely evening of family and warmth and contentment. It was enough. This morning…it still is.

Sometimes the path is paved, pleasant, and a beautiful experience.

Sometimes the path is paved, pleasant, and a beautiful experience.

My body and my heart have returned from the forest. My feet will carry me to work today, and I’ll harness my mind to my employers goals and do what I do. My thoughts, generally, are still out there…in the trees…in the autumn forest…listening to the fall of pine needles in breezes…the guttural insistent croak of a frog somewhere in the distance…the squeak and chatter of the nearby chipmunks and squirrels…on the edge of an awakening, on the edge of understanding something more today than I did last week, and in the midst of becoming. Surely, there will be more words on this another day.

Today is a good day to be.