Archives for posts with tag: The Big 5

Yep, this is not the greatest post in the world, this is just a tribute. lol It’s true.

Last night, just as I drifted off to sleep, I composed, in my head, an awesome blog post. I’m giggling over my coffee this morning, because I now only remember how satisfied I was with the topic, the themes, the use of language, the word play – I even felt it was wholly relevant, and also had some great ideas for images from my photos that really seemed to highlight the point I was making. Blam! Perfect writing! Or… something. No idea now; there is no opportunity to review it, to edit it, to publish it; it was only a dream. lol

Today is a new day. Tributes aside, there is more life to live, more experiences ahead to have, further to go on this path. The weekend was satisfying and delightful. I have one lone insect bite of some kind, on my wrist. It’s strange placement considering what I was wearing, and where I was staying, so I am thinking more likely a spider bite than any other. It itches – and reminds me of the weekend each time I notice it. I just end up smiling. Strangest damned insect bite. 🙂

The air quality is poor (still? again? both, sadly) and it is affecting my breathing, which sucks. It’s worse for other more vulnerable people. I make room for perspective. I use it as a springboard to be kind to people who are suffering in the heat and shitty air quality. (What else is it for?) The work week begins anew.

It’s a good day to take a moment for perspective and for kindness. It’s a good day to take the energy of the weekend and roll into the weekend refreshed and ready to go, ready to organize what needs to be done and get on it. There’s always more to do. What can I add to the things I am doing that has a chance to benefit the world beyond my own doorway? What can I do right here at home to improve my quality of life, and the quality of life my family enjoys, generally? How I can best be the human being I most want to be? What steps can I take to recognize my privilege and see past my own biases? (There will be verbs involved, for sure.)

I’m ready to begin again. 🙂

Are you rushing to get to work? Rushing through waking up, showering, dressing? Rushing to be out the door “on time”? Breathless with anxiety before you even start the car? Already thinking about the day ahead in such specific detail that you’ve “borrowed trouble” to fret about before you even have any in the moment?

I used to do that. I don’t now. It was a good change to make, to slow down in the mornings. 🙂 Maybe not life-saving, but certainly life-changing. I went from a fairly tightly timed morning routine that took 17 minutes from the alarm clock to the click of the front door closing behind me, and reliably got me on the bus heading into town 3 minutes later (the stop was just across the street from my apartment). Any deviation from my routine put me at risk of being late to work, and I had huge issues with time, timeliness, and time management, at that time in my life (I wasn’t bad at it, just really tense and weird about it on this whole unnecessary level). Being late – or thinking I might be – was a fast track to temper tantrums and treating people poorly (myself included). It was a shitty way to live, and it didn’t make me more efficient, or even on time more often.

What do I do now? It’s pretty low tech, honestly; I get up earlier. Like, I get up a lot earlier. I get up “earlier than I need to” by quite a bit. Most variations in desired arrival time at work don’t require me to change when I get up in the morning, that’s how much earlier I get up. Right now, it’s easily 90 minutes after my alarm goes off before I need to leave, and I could as easily leave the house fully 3 hours after I wake up and still be “on time” from the perspective of a salaried employee, and I sometimes do. It’s lovely, really, to be genuinely awake when I leave for work, to be able to write at leisure even on work days, to have adequate time to dress, shower, do some yoga, and even meditate before work – and still have time to write. It puts me on the path to being my best self each day.

I got home last night tired and frustrated by feeling the cold I thought I was over trying to make a comeback. I really don’t need the hassle or inconvenience, and I sat quietly frustrated, tears of exhausted aggravation coursing down my face for some minutes. Just… tired. I skipped the company summer block party over it, too. Came directly home. No chores. No video entertainment. No music. Hell, I didn’t even pick up a book. Just sat, staring rather blankly, sipping chicken broth or tea, until I was “sleepy enough” to just go lay the fuck down and rest. I was asleep early. I slept hard. Deeply. Uninterrupted. I was irritated by the weird repetitive noise that woke me – my alarm. It took nearly a full minute to figure that out and shut it off. I turned the lamp on and off a couple times, puzzled why the noise was not stopping. lol Usually I am awakened by the subtle “click” sound that immediately precedes the alarm actually going off. lol

I definitely needed the restful night. I woke feeling more myself. Still cross about this cold trying to come back – and of course, immediately as the fucking weekend begins. That’s becoming a source of real frustration for me, lately; the weekend is my one real opportunity each week to get some legit downtime, and it’s so rare any more to just enjoy one. I’m sick. Or traveling. Or moving. Or I’m sick. Or I have tons of shit that just must get done, non-negotiable. Or I’m doing something for someone. Or I’m sick again. Or I’ve gotten injured. Or I’m traveling. Or… I need to slow down. Again. And maybe not just in the mornings. Mornings? I’ve got those down at this point. 🙂

It’s a journey. No single change, no one practice, solves for X in every one of life’s equations. There are more verbs. More opportunity to do more/better, while also practicing skillful self-care, and figuring out what is actually worth doing well and more often. Being and becoming are a massively challenging jigsaw puzzle, and the pieces not yet fit into the puzzle are all jumbled up together in an untidy pile; sometimes it isn’t clear which pieces are most valuable in any particular moment. I’m still such a beginner at this being human thing!

I finish my coffee. Take a deep breath, look at the clock, and exhale slowly. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Change takes time. I mean, obviously when change is forced on us, some parts of change and changing, and certainly the requirement to do so, can hit us with real force in a very immediate way, no doubt about that. What I am pointing out is more that the skillful adaptation to change takes time. I roll with my changes as skillfully as I am able to, in the moment, but it does definitely take me some time to “get used to the new normal”. The experience of “change taking longer to get used to” is something I recognize as part of my TBI and the day-to-day realities of dealing with it, but it is also an experience most people likely have to one degree or another.

When I moved from the smaller apartment (#27) to the larger one right on the edge of the park (#59), the very specifically mirror-imaged kitchen messed with my head for months; I just kept clawing at the wrong side of the doorway for that damned light switch. It was the better part of a year before my brain finished making that change. Even with practice, some things change really slowly.

There’s a different car in my driveway this morning than there was 10 days ago. I was only getting started on getting used to commuting on transit, again. This morning, it’s back to commuting by car, but the car is different. This is no small thing, but it’s also no big deal. It’s both noteworthy and inconsequential. It likely will be somewhat different; the car handles quite differently. Sounds different. Feels different. Surrounds me differently. There are different features to learn. Different placement of some things, compared to the car I’ve been driving. Some things feel more natural than in the sedan. Other things feel quite strangely placed, as though the manufacturer “doesn’t know me at all”. (It’s mostly more comfortable and familiar-seeming than less, though, which is nice.) The new car is a first for me with this manufacturer, actually. A Mazda. Funny how much difference small changes make. They add up, too. It means driving very mindfully is a thing I need to make a point of for some time to come. I can’t really rely too heavily on implicit memory right now; I have none that applies to this vehicle. lol

One very telling thing? I regularly catch myself humming an old Queen song, “I’m In Love With My Car“,  when I am thinking about this car. lol It’s been awhile since I had a car that I felt that way about, myself. 🙂 I’m almost excited to drive to work today. For me, with the injury I have, that also means being very mindful and present is a huge thing, especially the first few weeks driving this car; it’s my one way to keep excitement from resulting in inattention or poor judgement, which can be a common enough result of being overly eager or excited about something, for me.  I’m definitely excited to be driving it. So… a good choice of vehicle? 🙂 I mean… it’s not a powerful luxury sedan (they tend to be a bit outside my comfort zone, and always feel sort of… huge), nor is it a fantastical beautiful sports car sort of machine (which, I’ll admit, I adore on this whole other level, but the driving of which bring out personality traits I don’t find are my best)…but, it’s every bit of the machine I find myself wanting most, day-to-day: nimble, quick, and capable of going where I want to go. I smile when I see it there in the driveway.

Some of the fun in life is about change. Every change is a new beginning. A “do over”. An opportunity to become more the person I most want to be. 🙂 I’m so glad I’m getting over this head cold, too; it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

The quality of the sleep I am getting seems good. I’m not waking during the night. I’m getting to bed at an hour that results in no less than 7 hours of sleep, which I seem to be getting. I’m consuming carefully measured quantities of caffeine, and limiting that to early in the day. I mentally run down the list of carefully selected good sleep hygiene practices that I rely on to get the most out of my resting hours…

…Regardless of all that, I am particularly groggy upon waking to the alarm these last couple work days. My body feels rested. My brain feels unready for the new day. I’m doing my best to properly wake up, to be thoughtful, coherent, ready for the day. So far this is more an exercise in effort than any sort of effective achievement.

A moment in the garden on a summer evening.

I sip my coffee and contemplate the summer heat. The garden isn’t as lush as I’d like it to be. Summer heat. I’m often away all weekend. The time taken to water during the week, before work, and again in the evening as the heat slowly begins to fade to cooler night-time temperatures, really makes a difference when I’m not at home to do it on weekends. This past weekend many of the roses bloomed in what seems a rather early second blossoming of loveliness and fragrance. I take a moment to feel grateful to have gotten to see it.

This year, just one flower.

Peeking out from the summer foliage, a single flower blooms on Nozomi, a delicate miniature rose that is a long-time favorite that I’ve had since… 1993? This year she’s only bloomed this once; she is usually among the most prolific bloomers among my roses. I make a mental note to re-pot her this winter.

“Feeling overwhelmed” is an experience fairly common to being human. Seems more common these days, for more people, although I’d begun to experience it much less myself. Starting in November, 2016, it has become, once again, plenty common for me, as well. “It’s all just too much” is the feeling. I give myself a little internal moment of real understanding, because, as feelings go, the most appropriate response to the feeling of “it’s all just too much” is simply “yes, yes it is” followed by “we’ll get through this, together”. A deep breath. A sigh. I move on from the moment; every moment passes.

I think over an interaction with a friend from earlier this week. She was feeling overwhelmed to the point of tears. “It’s all just too much!” A moment of sympathy and support rather quickly became quiet frustration and puzzlement, as it became apparent that she was investing in her feeling of being overwhelmed by building that and growing it, rather than sorting it out and easing her own suffering. Attempts to support and help her weren’t seeming either supportive or helpful, as she quickly interrupted anything helpful, soothing, or perspective-offering, (that could have just as easily been used to calm herself) to reinforce her self-inflicted, home-grown, utterly subjective internal experience with quick contradictions, veering tangents, and distractingly vague exclamations of distress. She quickly shored up her powerfully negative narrative each time I attempted to bring clarity or calm to the shared moment together. So frustrating. Eventually, the time-sensitive nature of schedules and calendars intervened. I went on with my day. She went on with her tears. I am still puzzled at the whole thing; it’s hard to fathom someone not actually accepting the help and support they’ve sought out. I still just don’t get it.

…I don’t have to “get it” – a lot of what is going on just isn’t at all about me. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. That’s not only okay, it’s necessary; I can’t shoulder the burden of all the world’s chaos and damage alone. I manage my piece as skillfully as I am able. I try not to add to the pile. 😉

Still groggy, I check the time. Well, damn. It’s already that time again. I hit that metaphorical reset button, look out the window into a pre-dawn sky that reminds me summer will end, and likely sooner than I expect. It’s a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

It’s almost routine, these days, to face stress with this internal reminder: breathe, relax, let it go, begin again. Individually, or as a sequence, it has given me the “moment I need” to bounce back from a stressful experience far more quickly than I once could. It’s enough. More than enough. With practice, over time, it has become something I can pretty much count on, rather reliably. Enough to make it especially difficult when it fails me – being human, that’s still a thing, too. 🙂

I am sipping my coffee, relaxing over a few minutes writing, starting my day a little later than typical. I smile thinking about my abrupt wake up call this morning. A literal phone call jerked me from my sleep in the pre-dawn darkness. It rang persistently from the other room. I was in motion before I was awake; a ringing telephone in the darkness is alarming. Distant family, friends, old buddies from military years… emergencies and bad news generally arrive via phone call in the darkness. I realized I was (sort of) awake when I heard my voice out loud answering the phone.

“…Hello…?”

My relief was immediate, and followed the audible relief in my Traveling Partner’s voice. He phoned because I am a creature of such regular habits that variance is noteworthy; he hadn’t yet heard from me, and it was nearly an hour past when I am usually up, and greeting him with a sticker or emoji. My face still hurts from smiling because I matter that much. I had forgotten to alert him that my hours would be different today. The one downside to regular habits (inclusive of habitually explicit clear communication) is that deviation from those routines can be stressful for others when it touches on their experience, too. We put each other at ease. I begin my day 7 minutes earlier than I’d intended – and with a wonderful moment of warmth and caring from my partner. Delightful. 🙂

…Sure, sure, I suppose I could have been irked to be wakened early, when sleep can be so difficult for me, but… no. No need to let something so small swamp the beautiful moment of awareness of how much I matter to this particular human being who also matters so much to me. 🙂 It mattered so much more just hearing his voice first thing.

Suitable for challenges of all sizes: breathe, relax, let it go, begin again. 😉

It’s a lovely morning, suitable for change, and for choices. It is a good day to start down a new path, or to continue to walk a path that is taking you in a direction you are seeking to go. It’s a good day for new beginnings, and for saving the world one moment at a time. It’s a good day to be civil, to be merry, and to celebrate small successes. It’s a good day to lift each other up, to express appreciation, and to share what matters most. It’s a good day to be our best selves. In all cases, of course, there are verbs involved; we have work to do, and choices to make.

Are you ready? It’s a new day. Let’s do better. 🙂