Archives for posts with tag: speak gently

Even on the days I feel strongest, most well, most balanced, healthiest, most prepared to adult on all cylinders, even if I feel like a super hero – I’ve got my Kryptonite. We all do. When I am mindful of my limitations, my boundaries, and skillfully setting and managing expectations with others, I can plan around all that. Kryptonite is different; it’s that emotional weakness, trigger, or character flaw that trips one up most often, sometimes quite unexpectedly.

What’s your Kryptonite? Mine happens to be frustration. :-\ Life would seem much “easier” without it. lol

My day started easily. Gently. Rather routinely. The commute was effortless, and efficient. I already had my weekend plans sorted out. My day is locked into a plan pretty comfortably, too. I got into the office feeling relaxed, and ready.

Fat fucking lump of Kryptonite sitting right in my inbox. LOL

Breathe. Take a step back from that shit. Remind myself none of this is personal, really, almost never. At all. Another deep, relaxing breath. This? Not about me. If I make it about me, then it becomes toxic – and I “lose my super powers”. lol Metaphors work for me.

I get a fresh cup of coffee, return to my desk, and get on with things. Re-set. Restart. Reboot. Do-over.

Begin again.

A friend gave me a small sign, says “Speak Gently”. It sits on my desk, part of the background at this point. For no particular reason, it was really in focus at a couple points today. I paid attention. Some things I expected to go very badly, weren’t so bad. That’s something.

…It also feels better to depart from the enormity of the stress and emotional back-pressure that often seems to accompany raised voices, frayed nerves, or terse dialogue. That much I definitely appreciate. Sure. Verbs. Reading is a verb, yeah? I read that sign, and heeded the caution – with the thought of a dear friend in mind, which was even nicer still.

Now a gentle evening, and even the self-talk is bordering on tender. Certainly, I’m giving myself no grief at all this evening, as any lingering twilight is overcome by night. I feel content, and relaxed. It’s enough.

The day seemed much more complicated in real-time. This moment here doesn’t seem to hold any shards leftover from all that. It’s behind me. I look around here, in this place, in this moment, and see a few things I could take care of before bed… Then… I run out of words. 🙂

Language is funny stuff. I sit here amusing myself with rephrasing passive-aggressive posts in my feed, and vague-booking posts, and always/never posts… basically just reading posts and rewriting them in my head to be clearer (to me) and more frank and… more honest.

Seriously, though, what’s with the bullshit that fills up our thoughts and clutters our minds? “I always…”, “you never…”, “you always…”, “I never…” We could just start and end right there with that one. Those are not just wild exaggerations (and for my own amusement, I’ll say “they always are”, which is likely only mostly true) – they are the sort of subtle lies that set us up for failure.

“Can’t” versus “Haven’t”.

“Always” and “never”.

“Have to” and “Can’t”

“No one ever talks about…” (seriously with that foolishness?)

We put our experiences in context, but rather unfortunately I suspect, we own not only our experience, not only our “content”, but also our context – which we get to craft ourselves from whatever notions and moments we think make sense together. lol We’re not super skilled at it, and fill our heads with narratives about good guys and bad guys, and us versus them, and walls and borders and restrictions… still sucking at real boundary-setting, still sucking at being our authentic selves, still sucking at honest self-reflection…

…Still sucking at accepting and encouraging the varying experiences of others, which differ from our own…

…And we wonder why our lives are filled with drama? LOL Omfg – because we create our experience specifically that way! 

We (and by we, I specifically mean you and I) can do better. We can for sure do differently. We have choices.

Choose your words with care. You aren’t only communicating to others, you are setting a tone for yourself, crafting the narrative of your life that you may share with others intending to communicate something about yourself, and literally creating your own understanding of the world. I’m saying your words matter, specifically for that reason.

Treat your own sanity well, specifically by practicing using skillfully frank, and yes also kind, language with and to yourself. Stop trying to “sell it” and just be clear.

I know, I know, this is me saying this, and you know I love some words… Just, …choose them as you would anything else that really really matters. 🙂 Because they do.

Ready? It’s time to begin again. 😀

Yesterday was difficult. My black mood continued through the day without diminishing in spite of exceptional self-care. There wasn’t anything “wrong”, it was a day, and I was in a shitty mood. I often am after a migraine, and I knew to take care of myself, and treat myself (and the world) with great care. Still. It sort of sucked. (Only sort of, because as I said, there wasn’t anything wrong besides my mood.)

Hanging on, waiting for some other moment? Impermanence is a real thing; this too shall pass.

Hanging on, waiting for some other moment? Impermanence is a real thing; this too shall pass.

It was at the end of the day that things finally “cleared up” with regard to my mood. I woke feeling splendidly this morning.

I'll begin again...

I’ll begin again…

This morning is a lovely one. The apartment is quickly cooling off,  the dawn breeze pushing the cool air across the meadow, and into the open windows. My appointment yesterday, as it turned out, is actually my appointment today… and it’s “date night”! A good cup of coffee gets the morning going, after enjoying unmeasured time meditating. (One of the hardest things about yesterday was the challenge I was having finding stillness; I seemed unable to meditate.)

This morning there is an easy smile on my face, as if lingering from very pleasant dreams. I have music playing, and yesterday’s sound sensitivity is no part of this fine morning, here, now. It’s a pleasant beginning to the day.

Once upon a time, a day like yesterday would likely have been a week of it, and burdened further by feeling obligated to “preserve appearances” or otherwise re-craft my apparent experience by way of behaviors intended to “fake happy”. Not only does that not actually work [for me], it limits my ability to actually take care of myself by turning my attention away from my own needs in order to create the illusion that there is nothing out of the ordinary – making my misery both ordinary, and hidden. Yuck. It was not an effective approach.  You know what else didn’t work for me? Lashing out at the world like an enraged toddler out of frustration and speechless rage. Learning to use my words, and to “speak gently”, while also learning to listen deeply and develop authentic compassion has been the win… I’ve a long way to go on both of those. More practice seems wise. 🙂

Incremental change over time? It seems so. If nothing else, today is a good day to practice the practices that matter so much for me, and work so well: keeping a committed meditation practice, speaking gently, listening deeply, maintaining emotional self-sufficiency, and living authentically. It’s a good start on an extraordinary journey – and today is a good day to begin again. 🙂

 

This morning I woke up crying. And in pain, but the pain is an everyday thing, waking up broken and emotional less so. This morning I woke up on the dark side of the bed, clumsy, hurting, and weeping. I initially tried a ‘reset’, took my morning medication and had a glass of water, went back to bed. Not helping. The tears become sobbing. Why am I crying? Is it only the pain? Nightmares? I slept well and deeply, and don’t recall my dreams… My brain carpet bombs my heart with every misstep, every failure, every scrap of potential risk in my near future, all my doubts, my fears, my insecurities – I’m drowning in panic. What the fuck is going on?? I stop caring much about any of that at some point and just give in to the sorrow, the dread, and the tears.

…Clearly, I was not going back to sleep. I get up. I make coffee. I open the apartment to the cool morning air. I am so overcome by restlessness and anxiety that meditation is difficult. I pace a bit. I’ve barely been up half an hour; yoga is difficult this morning and I am too stiff and too clumsy for now. No relief. No ease. The tears start again. My own words are attacking me, becoming water leaking from my eyes as soon as they form sentences in my head. The layered meanings of English words become enemies, and I hear only darkness and despair in the most beautiful poetry. I feel sad and lost – and can’t bear to put it into words. Fuck this… But now what?

I finally reach for my coffee and take a sip. Well. There’s one bright spot in a difficult morning – my coffee is excellent. It’s something – and I grab onto the moment and hold on. It’s still very early – earlier than I’ve been getting up most of this week. The sun has not yet risen, and I can see the colors of the sunrise just beyond the window of this room.

My brain sucker punches me again, when I try to write “just beyond the window of my studio”, and I start weeping all over again. How fragile happiness can seem when it slips away. “This is temporary, and it will pass.” I remind myself. I remind myself, again. Uncertain what is causing this emotional experience, even now, I go through the motions of any small thing that I know has the potential to be comforting, soothing, balancing… things that provide perspective, that ease emotional pain, that tend to support long-term wellness. I keep waiting for something to work. “Be kind to yourself, it’s a very human experience.” Yes, isn’t it? I feel rather as if I am… grieving.

I’m in pain this morning. I read my traveling partner’s well-wishes of the night before, hoping that I rest well and wake without pain. Well… 1 out of 2. It’s a start. Is this all just pain? If I start root-causing it now, I’ll likely be trapped ruminating over this all day without really getting anywhere. I woke up crying. I sure did. Now I work on pulling my focus away from it, and practicing practices that nudge me a different direction a bit at a time. The sun rises, peach and orange along the tree tops, dissipating into a pale cerulean blue wash of sky above. I watch the sun rise, and listen to the birds singing their morning songs. Today is not a work day, and clearly I need to take care of the woman in the mirror – once I figure out what this mad bitch actually needs to ease her hurts. Fuck this is hard sometimes.

My coffee is fucking good though. That’s something.

I take a really good deep breath. I observe my posture, and how tight my chest feels. I take a moment to stretch, really stretch, and breathe, really really breathe. More tears. Fuck it – let them come. I slowly ease myself through my ‘stiff back morning yoga sequence’, cutting myself some slack that it is so difficult today, and just doing it. Slowly. Try again when I can’t quite do some simple posture. I’ll get there. I remind myself that today will be a good day to meditate. I feel no enthusiasm for it. I’ve lost my joy for the moment – but chasing it is an exercise in frustration. The word frustration causes more tears; words are often associated with a visceral reaction for me, inconveniently. I remind myself that the tears are not my enemy, just another way to communicate an experience – a way that is very hard to shut down without actually addressing whatever the fuck is the matter. I let the tears come.

Okay, I’m done fucking around with this – and I need to break the cycle. Well – it feels like a need, and that’s enough to drive desperate action in human primates. So… I take a step I might ordinarily avoid, and I head to the internet. No, seriously, totally where I’m heading. Perspective is a powerful tool, and right now I’ve lost mine. I feel deeply aggrieved about… nothing, and it’s really messing up my ability to be in this moment and also okay – and I can’t identify any reason this would be the case. So. Perspective is on the internet. There is war. There is a refugee crisis. There is poverty. I let the tears continue, and I look on the face of the world’s suffering – because there are things worth crying about. There are people suffering, really suffering. I’m not among them. This is emotional bullshit I’m struggling with, and I can at least stop fucking struggling with it, and just be.

My tears stop. My heart aches for the suffering of others, and I feel grateful to be where I am, in the circumstances I have right now. I pause to reflect on what is, without burdening myself over whether it will last, or what ‘forever’ looks like, or whether this is enough. The sun clears the trees and fills my studio with light. Well… it’s not ‘enlightenment’ in any meaningful way, but it’s a start.

I’ll say that as practices go, diminishing the magnitude of my own suffering by immersing myself in the suffering of others (compassionately) in order to gain perspective is a fairly aggressive approach to take with myself when I am hurting – but it is often an effective tool. Compassion and gratitude don’t leave much room for despair, for anxiety, for sorrow, and tend to crowd out the chaos and damage, and the voices of the demon chorus.  (Note: I have found that it is not at all effective to attempt to take this approach with someone else when they are suffering – it’s sort of a ‘self serve’ tool, at best.) I’m not necessarily less angst-y, or feeling any less pain, but things being relative… yeah. I’m okay right now.

My coffee is quite exceptional this morning, and admittedly more so because I’d been getting by on the last of the pre-ground packaged coffee from the grocery store, left over from the trip to the coast for two days. The whole-bean artisan-roasted coffee this morning is a very different experience. I take a moment to allow myself to be comfortably aware that “this too shall pass”, that circumstances change, and that I may not ‘have it so good’ at some future point; change is. I am here right now, though, and it is enough. 🙂

A lot of the time I’ve spent bitching about how awful things were in that moment would likely have been much more enjoyable had I been focused on how exceptional other details of that moment happened to be. It’s just true. Hard, sometimes. Still true. My tears have dried. The day looks like a lovely one. The air is fresh and cool, and filled with birdsong. I am in a quiet safe space, with the day ahead of me. The pantry is stocked. The bills are paid. I head for my meditation cushion…

…I am okay right now. It’s enough.