Archives for posts with tag: taking care of me

I woke up easily this morning, a nice change from yesterday. Rather oddly, I woke with the whisper of a dream left behind still resonating in my consciousness. Words lingered, although I could no longer recall the dream. “You’re not the good guy, here.” And, “This isn’t about you, at all.” Interesting observations, suitable for many occasions – but I don’t have any context. The dream had already faded.

I’m not “the good guy” here, though, I’m sure of that; I’m a human being, living my life. Only that. Sure, I like to think I am doing my best. Sometimes I actually am. By many practical measures, it isn’t always the case, though; I could sometimes do more, better. That’s real, and very human.

This isn’t about me, at all. Well, much of it is not, that’s also quite true. Most of it, maybe. Like, seriously, almost any detail of any moment I can be present for, still just isn’t much “about” me. I’m here, living and being, and (in this case) drinking coffee…and even this moment, right here, early in the pre-dawn gloom, isn’t much “about” me. It’s about a typical Thursday morning. It’s about this cup of coffee, and this handful of words. It’s about this headache. It’s about the morning traffic, and the sound of little birds in the hedge beyond the window. I’m such a small part of this moment – and not in any “bad” or diminishing way. It’s just that there is so much more to… all of it. I’m just one consciousness present in this here-and-now. Taken in the larger context of “everything else”, my breath, and my very life force, are minuscule. That’s okay, too; there’s a lot of life to live, and a lot of details to take in. If I spend all of my energy on my small concerns, I’ll miss a lot of other stuff. lol

I stop drinking coffee long enough to meditate. Nice morning for it. Today, it does nothing for the headache. I hadn’t seriously expected that it would, but sometimes it does. If nothing else, it often gives me perspective on life that makes it seem of less consequence.

…I realize rather abruptly that I’d forgotten to take my morning medication when I got up. I go ahead and do that, once I’ve poked around in my recollection of the morning a bit, trying to be sure I’m correct about that (doesn’t do anything good for me to take it twice, I promise you that!) – I wash it down with coffee, feeling vaguely guilty about doing that (it’s supposed to be taken with a glass of water…). I let that petty shit go.

My body is uncomfortable, this morning. This fucking headache. Why do I call it a headache, I wonder? It is also a terrible bit of pain in my neck, and a weird jabby stabby sensation in my ear when I turn my head, sometimes, and also a rather horrible permanently cramped up trapezius, particularly painful along the top, from my neck to my shoulder. These pains all feel related to each other, and nothing much helps, so far. I think I would endure it more easily if I knew what the problem is. I’ve been in significant pain since about 1990, when my osteo arthritis developed, I don’t really expect to ever be entirely “pain free” again in my life… I do my best to care for this fragile vessel skillfully, and ease the pain as much as I am able to without poisoning myself or wrecking my health in some other way. It could be worse. I’d just like an answer to the question “what the fuck??”

Fuck. A glance at the clock reminds me of the work day ahead. Pain and employment are not really the best-ever combination of experiences, and it requires so much to stay ahead of the irritability, the distraction, and the misery of it. I breathe. I let it go. We all walk our own hard mile. We’re each having our own experience. Unavoidably, the pain I live with is the worst pain I can imagine; it’s what I know. Each one of us has our own challenge, and I am certain I have coworkers whose pain is more severe, whose life contains more chaos, who woke this morning frightened, or sad, or angry, or needing a moment of support and consideration. I can, if nothing else, do my best not to add to any of that, myself, and to be considerate, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. I can, at least, try. Another breath. Another sip of coffee. Another moment to consider how fortunate I am to be mostly fairly healthy, all things considered, and to live with pain that doesn’t debilitate me to the point that I can’t work at all. It could be so much worse.

…Fuck this headache, though! Neck-ache? Whatever. Fuck all of that painful nastiness.

It’s time to begin again. I’ve got to work with “the materials on hand” in this life, and unfortunately, pain is a thing. I breathe through it, finish my coffee, and turn to face the day as the sun rises. 🙂

I catch myself sitting for some minutes, quietly, just… staring forward at this page. I sat down, as usual, with a hot cup of coffee, warm from my shower, (and today, smelling like sweet peas and violets) and that was… 23 minutes ago. Since then? No words. Not really thinking “about” anything. Just… sitting. I finally notice, shake it off, and sip my coffee. Huh. Very drinkable. Was it really only 23 minutes…?

I sit awhile longer, this time with the addition of sipping my coffee, contentedly. Some mornings, I’m fairly well awake before my feet hit the floor… this? Is not one of those mornings. lol My head is foggy. I could as easily go back to sleep this moment, without even taking off my boots, as lift a finger to make any sort of effort, in any direction. My brain helpfully reminds me to start the dishwasher before I leave the house. The reminder exists, mocking me just a bit; I’m quite likely to forget even with the thought to remind myself still lingering in my consciousness, unless I get up this instant and take care of it.

I sit here quietly, still, sipping my coffee. I am not remotely concerned about the dishes in this moment. 🙂

Music? No, I struggle even to lift my fingers to type, this morning. Searching a playlist and putting on headphones sounds like work. I continue to sip my coffee, grateful that it has cooled off enough (due to all the fucking time wasting and sitting around) to simply drink it. I need this cup of coffee this morning; it is the blurry boundary between sleeping and waking, today. lol

Although I risk dozing off, I know that meditation also tends to help me fully wake up and get my consciousness going, so I get comfortable, and prepare to sit a few moments longer, with purpose; awareness, resilience, and a deep down calm that supports a busy work day.

I take the time I need, and support the human being I am, on a journey to becoming who I most want to be.

After the meditation? A new day begins. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee and contemplating the day ahead. Something’s nagging at me, and since it’s to do with how I interact with a colleague, I’m both hung up on the aggravation, and also inclined to stifle that feeling and disregard it. Here’s where finding that subtle difference between “letting it go” and “ignoring it” becomes its own tiny monster of conflict; what’s the difference, actually? What matters most? If I sit by silently and don’t manage my boundaries skillfully… then what? This small insult is actually a pretty big deal for me, and I’m frustrated that I also find myself concerned about “taking it too seriously”, because I am, suddenly, exceedingly aware of simply being female in the workforce.

Damn it.

I sip my coffee. I “let it go”, in the sense that I set it aside for the morning, which I enjoy for myself because it’s mine, and this is what I do. 🙂 When I eventually come back to it for a moment, it does not seem so huge or so looming, it’s merely a moment to “use my words”, set clear expectations about what is, and what is not, okay with me, personally. It’s time to point out that a boundary has been transgressed, however unwittingly, and that it does matter, and that I take myself sufficiently seriously – and treat myself with sufficient consideration – to voice my concern, clearly, kindly, and also quite firmly. It’s for me, definitely, and also for other female colleagues, who likely also don’t want to be treated disrespectfully. The challenge is to prevent a flash fire of emotion in the moment, which can be a serious distraction that holds the potential to undermine being heard. People are so peculiarly uncomfortable with emotions. So. There’s that. lol I move on to new beginnings, and delicious cups of coffee. 🙂

It was cloudy and gray when I got home yesterday. I still have pictures of sunny afternoons, and the memory of flowers in the sun, and their delightful scent on the breeze. There’s something to be learned from this.

Even a small moment to “begin again” can be powerful – this change of paragraph, alone, so small, is ample new beginning to support this moment, right here. 😀

I sip my coffee. My neighbor’s car starts up in the driveway. The television continues to softly read Herodotus as my Traveling Partner listens, in the other room. My headache is less important than my contentment, and I give it little attention, being much occupied with feeling content, generally. A pleasant morning, actually, and a weekend ahead.

I turn 56 next week. I’m not exactly counting it down, and I’m not grieving over it. I just… don’t know what to do about it, really. I’m going to dinner after work, the night before, with friends. This one makes more sense to celebrate in that way; attend to the end of the previous one, more closely, than to shout about the one to come. 56 doesn’t seem like a significant milestone as numbers go. I just… I don’t know. I feel strange about it. There’s nothing I can call to mind that I would want to ask for as a birthday gift (land and a home of my own seems a pretty tall ask, as birthday presents go!), I’ve got most of what I need in life, and most of what I want. When I consider the day, I only want to spend it well-regarded and in good company. Isn’t that enough? To be celebrated as a friend, a lover, a colleague – valued, enjoyed, appreciated? I don’t really need “proof” of affection, or ritual gifts. So… I took some time off to enjoy with my Traveling Partner. A very long weekend. A luxury. Time to rest, to recharge, to paint, to read, to walk among the trees. It’s enough. 🙂

I look at the time. Almost 56?? Shit – It’s definitely time to begin again! lol 😉

 

I woke early. Ridiculously early. 2:22 a.m. early. lol Doesn’t wreck the taste of my (early) morning coffee, and I am content to be here, in the early morning quiet, a bit earlier than usual.

…To be fair, I went to bed early, too, as a result of not really sleeping the night before; I was just wiped out, after a busy day of working through the fatigue, and the extra work of seeking to manage my moment-to-moment behavior in the context of shared work, all day, with colleagues I respect, and who see me as both adult, and as a management professional, well… yeah… I was exhausted by the time I got home. My Traveling Partner kindly suggested I just go ahead and go to bed, fairly early in the evening. Realistically, I was a bit too stupid with fatigue to think of that. LOL “Bed time” came early last night. I’m up early this morning. No surprise. No stress. Good coffee.

I sip coffee. Breathe. Relax. Let the stray thoughts come and go. Let fears and doubts go. Another breath. Another moment. 🙂 I think back on moments from yesterday – not the work moments; the work moments will take care of themselves in the context of work, when I am in the office and on the clock, once again. Nope. Those don’t need my attention right now. Instead I am thinking back on flowers, on the scent of the early morning breeze, the smile of a friend in passing, a hilarious joke I’d already forgotten; this is a moment for building a firm foundation of emotional resilience through a favorite practice. I am “taking in the good“, and enjoying my morning coffee, contentedly.

Even the flowers in urban landscaping can become a meaningful moment of delight, contentment, and joy.

I think back to an earlier starting point on this journey, and how much misery filled my moment-to-moment, hour-by-hour, day-to-day experience of living. It often felt so entirely pointless. It was, at first, a major challenge to “find” even small moments of anything wonderful, beautiful, uplifting, joyful… and here I am, a couple years down this very strange path, and in spite of the often overwhelming seeming miseries and hardships of the world, I can find a moment of joy to savor, almost any time, almost anywhere. It’s a nice change. (Yes, of course, there were verbs involved, and a lot of practice. Worth it.)

A moment of will, a decision to “let it go”, and the choice to turn attention to something small, something beautiful… can change the character of an entire day.

I breathe. Relax. Repeat. Moments to contemplate simple beauty. Moments to savor a good cup of coffee in the chill of morning. Moments to enjoy being, without an agenda, without the stress of time or timing. Moments, so often, are enough. Stuck in a shitty one? Breathe. Relax. Let it go. Just let that shit go. Take another breathe. Sky still blue? Are you okay, right now? Another breath, another moment. Repeat as needed. Take a walk. Keep breathing. Let the stressors weighing you down fall away for a moment – you can pick those up later, if you really feel you must. Another breath, another moment. Another choice.

…I catch myself thinking about a singularly unexpected (and challenging) moment, yesterday; a colleague’s emotional investment erupting to the surface, catching me by surprise. I value their opinion, and experience. I spend a moment considering a question; what do they need to feel heard, on this? I make a point to set a reminder to follow up, to take time to listen deeply. I don’t know everything. This is a shared journey.

…Then I let that go, too, and return to this quiet moment, and this delicious cup of coffee. Soon enough it will be time to begin the day, for now, this moment here is quite enough. 🙂

Well…actually, no. I woke up in pain this morning, just like I went to bed in pain last night. I’m still smiling, still mostly merry, and definitely not taking it personally, at this present moment, which is a pleasant detail. The peculiar pre-dawn gloom has begun to lift, and even though it’s not yet 5:00 am, there is sufficient light to see the garden. I take my coffee on the deck, and spend a few minutes listening to birdsong and breezes, before the commuter traffic begins to take over.

…Soon enough, a new work day will begin…

The blue skies aren’t my doing; how I choose to face the day, is.

I sip my coffee and sigh contentedly. Another day ahead. I’m good with that. 🙂 I take a moment for meditation, less out of any hope of significant pain relief, more about being emotionally well for the day ahead. Yesterday was a long day, and by the end I was struggling to manage my pain, and very happy to get home. I’m back to having a pretty steady motherfucker of a headache, on top of my arthritis pain, in addition to my torn up ankle… still have to work, still have to stand up to the day-to-day. Hell, even if I didn’t work full-time, I’d be having to tackle the effort involved in routine self-care. LOL Aging sucks.

…It’s better than the only currently available alternative, though, right? 😉 I take a moment for gratitude.

A quiet moment passes. Breathing in. Breathing out. Letting go of the clinging and bullshit attachments. Another breath. Another moment. Another sip of my coffee.

Yesterday’s sunshine has a lingering effect; I find it in my smile, in a relaxed moment.

I remind myself not to leave my cane behind as I prepare for the day. Still yawning, still rubbing sleep out of my eyes, still reminiscing about the rather shitty night’s sleep just behind me, and the long work day ahead; it’ll feel long, regardless, that’s how pain works, and I’ve yielded to it before the day has begun. I shake it off, and let that shit go. I remind myself to speak gently, and be mindful we are each having our own experience – pain isn’t unique to my experience. We could all use a bit of kindness.

There’s quite a bit to be learned from yesterday’s experience. This morning, I find myself present in this moment, here, and I’m okay with that. I quash that weird “what am I forgetting to do??” sensation as likely just an illusory disruption in my senses, and I move on from that, too. I take some deep breaths, and make a point of just… letting shit go. This? I let it go. That? Yep, that, too, I let that go. Over there? Oh, hell, yes. Gone. 🙂

…Another breath. A glance at the clock. I finish my coffee; it’s time to begin again. 😀