Archives for posts with tag: solo weekend

I’ve got a solo weekend. I slept well, and comfortably, and even slept a couple more hours after waking at the usual time, taking my morning Rx, and returning to bed. It isn’t always  possible to return to sleep, and this morning it was lovely to wake slowly, much later, and enjoy the slow unfolding of body and mind as my consciousness booted up for the day. My coffee is delicious – a medium Americano, at 203 degrees, no sugar, no milk – just hot, smooth, and rich. No headache this morning. Rain pouring just beyond the partially open window; I love listening to the falling rain and smelling the freshness of the air outside. It is a very nice Saturday morning so far.

Oregon winter, stormy, and mild.

Oregon winter, stormy, and mild.

I am alone this weekend. This is not significant, it simply is. I enjoy solitude, generally, and I am feeling content and satisfied with my solitary state.

I am in a lot of pain. This is significant, not because it is unusual, but because it is an element of my experience that is pretty typical, day-to-day, varying in intensity far more often than ever really going away. This morning, I am in enough pain that at other points in my life the entirety of the first paragraph could not have existed side-by-side with the pain, itself. I’ve learned a lot more about taking care of me, and over time I am building self-care practices that even stand up to the departures from routine that sometimes result from things like … having a weekend alone. Oh yeah. It wasn’t so long ago that having a solo weekend would result in over-indulging on favorite treats, not sleeping well due to staying up late to read, watch movies, or wander, overlooking timing on timing-sensitive medications… just generally completely letting myself down with regard to actually taking good care of myself. Wallowing in self-indulgence is not self-care. That’s a pretty important understanding.

I love, for example, gummy sweets. I don’t much care if they are bears, drops, fish, worms, fruits, or healthy… I love gummy candy. They are now what they must be (for me) – a rare treat, in very very small portions. I don’t respond well to quantities of refined sugar. (Your results may vary.) I also tend to overdo it on gummy sweets – I know that first hand. I also know that even casual use of refined white sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, or any similar sugars quickly increases my emotional volatility, sometimes correlates to unexpected tantrums, moodiness, and a basic feeling of not being ‘well’.  Good self-care means I continue to avoid gummy sweets when I am enjoying time on my own, just as I would en famille – accountability can’t be the sole driver of self-care (at least for me; it just doesn’t work.) That was a hard lesson to learn.

I practice good practices, even when I am enjoying a solo weekend, these days; I am capable of learning from my mistakes. Last night, feeling restless on a mild night, I walked 5 miles in the evening air rather than walking the aisles of the nearby grocery store looking for exotic treats for an evening nosh. Instead of indulging in a rich meal of favorite treats that do me no good, I enjoyed the healthy simple fare I generally do these days. I meditated. I did some yoga. I did more of the good things that care for my body and spirit, rather than fewer. Isn’t that really the thing? Investing in my own needs when I have more time to do so is an effort best spent on what really nurtures me – rather than childishly revolting against the sensible limits and restrictions I have chosen to place on myself to meet my needs over time, simply because ‘no one is watching’.

I wish I were so perfectly perfect that I didn’t need reminders, or could simply rest gently on what I have learned, confident my good practices would never fail me… I am not so perfect. I start fresh each morning, and do my best each day. I acknowledge missteps along the way, dust myself off when I stumble and keep on walking. I got here, because I make progress over time – and the journey isn’t finished. I invest will and study in gaining perspective, finding balance, and learning good self-care practices that nurture and heal me, over time. There are verbs involved. There is no ‘easy’. There is no ‘finish line’. There is no ‘win’ that amounts of finality and acknowledgement. Those aren’t criticisms, or something to be blue about; they are my endless opportunity for change, and for improving on what is, to become the woman I most want to be, and to find wellness and meaning along the way. Choices are right there to be chosen…choosing well, and following through on intention with will, and action… well… sometimes that requires a sticky note, or an alarm, or a calendar reminder, or something planned with a favorite friend. That’s okay too; this weekend, I am practicing my best practices for taking care of me.

Brunch with a friend; a very nice way to stick to a self-care routine. :-)

Brunch with a friend; a very nice way to stick to a self-care routine. 🙂

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?

This morning I woke hurting. The hot shower didn’t do much to ease my stiffness, nor did the yoga. Meditation felt natural and balancing and vaguely routine. My coffee is tasty, but lukewarm already. It’s Halloween, and I’m not in costume. (Not out of any meanness or because I’m taking a stand about this or that, I just didn’t because I generally just don’t.) No headache this morning; just the arthritis. I find myself feeling fairly hopeful about the day ahead, based on the beginning bit right here.

I’ll have the house to myself this weekend. I’m neither enthusiastic about it, nor am I concerned; it simply is. I will enjoy the solitude for meditation, painting, and listening to music that falls into the category of “no one else here actually likes this stuff”, and probably turning it up louder than usual. I’ll spend much of the time on household tasks; I dislike coming home to a house that hasn’t been cared for as well as it would have been if everyone was home, so I attempt to get the same workload done that would have been done anyway, to prevent my family having that experience. I’ve never asked anyone if they need that from me. I sometimes work beyond the point at which resentment begins, which seems a poor choice. I make a promise to myself to question that impulse if it arises this weekend…and to ask my family, sometime, what they actually want/need of a homecoming after a weekend away. Perhaps indentured servitude isn’t actually on their list? Silly human primate… mindful service to home and hearth – and love – is on my list.  Mindful service, however, doesn’t cause resentment. lol

The pain I’m in colors my experience, and my words. I feel less fun, less thrilled with life in general, but it isn’t really a big deal – it’s just pain, and I find myself dissatisfied with just allowing it to call the shots this way. I do more yoga, focusing on postures that I know are most likely to ease the pain, and reduce my stiffness. My Rx pain medication starts to kick in, too, which helps.

"Like dreams dying.." I said bleakly one day. "Like dreams drifting within reach" she replied with love and compassion.

“Like dreams dying…” I said bleakly one day. “Like dreams drifting within reach” she replied with love and compassion.

I’m in the middle of a grand adventure, with an exciting story arc, and amazing unpredictable plot twists… it’s my life. Learning to live it, eyes open, engaged, present, and in use of both intention and will, is an adventure like no other. I’m learning so much! Since I started this post without a specific clear inspiration, and in pain, I take a moment between each paragraph for another yoga posture, or a few minutes of meditation, or some moments contemplating a recent good experience or feeling in fullness in the hope of improving implicit memory and reducing negative bias. All of it ‘works’ – meaning to say it is all effective at driving those subtle internal changes of heart, of experience, of… default settings. It all requires practice.

That’s the thing, isn’t it? Practicing doesn’t stop, and there is no ‘perfect’ to reach. Mastery isn’t the goal. The practices themselves are both the experience and the goal. Life is the journey – and the destination. We are here. Now. I am. This is. It’s so easy to stray from what works… a catchy article on Facebook can so easily get my attention before I pause to meditate, and find me having used up all the time I planned in the morning for meditation… days later, I could easily find that I’ve stopped meditating in the morning, and begun reading the news. Again. Frankly, reading the news in the morning correlates directly to the very factual and real experience of my blood pressure going up, staying up, and requiring medication. Meditation, on the other hand, does not. Quite the contrary, once I gave up reading the news as a practice, my blood pressure has since tended to be quite normal, and I don’t take blood pressure medication any more. It’s easy to fall back on poor choices, not because they have more value than good choices, but because [and this is my own experience, only] they were practices I practiced for so long before practicing better practices that they easily become the practices I return to; neurons that fire together, wire together. Habits are habitual. We become what we practice most. What we practice is easiest to do.  Reading the news is just an example of one problematic practice I struggle to let go of; I read so chronically, that words in my visual field are incredibly difficult to refrain from reading. You probably have your own problem practices, or old habits that don’t support taking the best care of you, or foster your development to become the being you most want to be.

So, here it is Friday. The weekend is imminent for many of us. What will I do with it to become more the woman I most want to be? What will I choose to practice that will tend to result in being more kind, more compassionate, and treating myself and others truly well – no strings attached? What practices will I commit to each day that ease my suffering, and the suffering of others? What choices can I make that improve the world I live in? Today is a good day to commit to being the best of who I am. It’s Halloween. Today is a good day to take off the mask.