Archives for posts with tag: the map is not the world

The wheel of change turns without much help from me. Today is another “day of changes”. The weekend saw me out on the trail, walking, getting ready for more walking; a new commute begins today. I’ll be back to taking the train each morning, and I’m adding a bit of walking time to the commute…so, of course, this morning is rainy. lol My coat will keep me warm and dry. My backpack will handle that for my laptop, which comes home with me, often, on wintry evenings and weekends, just in case of snow or ice. “Back to the office” this week has some novelty to it. New commute. New office. 🙂

The weekend itself was a lovely one. There were occasional disharmonious moments, but barely a blip in my recollection of the time shared with my Traveling Partner. I enjoyed the weekend. I hope he did as well. I smile, thinking of the weekend, of my partner sleeping in the other room, of a life well-lived. It’s enough. 😀

I sip my tea (no kidding), this morning. It is satisfying, itself, and such a simple thing. Oh, it’s not a permanent switch up, I just felt like having tea this morning. lol It is a metaphor, perhaps, for embracing change.

Another metaphor for change. Where does this path lead?

I’m ready for change, and it’s a good thing, too, because it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

2.4 miles yesterday. 2.7 miles today. These are “easy miles”, mostly paved, and mostly level. One walk at a time, my strength and endurance begin to return, and just in time to adjust to a new commute that reliably adds 1.4 walking miles to my commute, round trip, each day. I’m ready for that. 🙂 I’m hoping to get back to a “5 miles? No problem!” level of everyday fitness, before the weather is suitable (for me) for camping.

…I wonder briefly if my Traveling Partner will join me, camping, this year? Then I let that go, content with all the many things we do together, as it is.

I consider walking metaphors… paths… journeys… steps… distant horizons… goal-setting… achievements along the journey that unlock new adventures.

Even when we are so fortunate as to have a paved and level path to walk, and a journey with a clear destination, we each walk our own mile. We are each having our own experience.

This particular walk is convenient to me, but still requires some effort, and pushes me a bit outside my comfort zone. The hill on which it begins, and ends,  is quite steep. The downward start of the journey, although paved, slopes somewhat toward the street, the opposite direction of what is comfortable for my bad left ankle. Each time I set out, I do so with great care, and my cane, and also taking a moment to appreciate, very explicitly, that the return trip, when I am most fatigued, at the end of the journey, will be sloping in the correct direction for that bad left ankle; something to look forward to, about tackling that daunting hill. It’s very existence discourages and tests me. This weekend, I overcame my reluctance, and my (let’s be honest) fearfulness. That’s progress. It’s a small thing, but I sit quietly, feeling my muscles relax and cool down, feeling my heart rate slow to my normal resting rate, and I celebrate. 🙂

There are so many beautiful things to experience, but many of those are out of reach, without making a journey.

I think about tomorrow. I’m off for the holiday. Another opportunity to walk a distance. Another chance to begin again. 🙂

I measure a hike in miles. I think measuring my progress over time, as a person, may be easier to do in words.

I started this journey, here, in January of 2013, after my emotional wellness crashed hard at the end of 2012 (due to the combination of a traumatic breakup, a fairly (terrible) new relationship I’d gotten tangled up in, and a serious flare up of my PTSD in the aftermath of the infamous Delhi rape in December 2012). While I sought therapy, I also sought a more useful way of communicating and reflecting on my experience, and ended up here. Since that very first blog post, a rather shy introduction, I’ve written 2013 posts, in 7 years, with an average word count of about 700 words.

…I’ve written, right here, 1,317,956 words. Yep. 1.3 million (and a few more) words…

…I haven’t solved anything by doing so. I haven’t “fixed” myself, or the world, or made any noteworthy mark on society, as far as I know. I’m not bitching, I’m just saying – these are the words of one woman. One human being. One perspective. The word count will no doubt continue to grow. I manage about 187,000 words a year. I write nearly every day, even when I don’t write a blog post (I’m not even going to try to quantify all those words). I average 286 posts per year, which, while it doesn’t amount to reliably “every day”, shows some astonishing constancy. Still… I do miss an average of 79 days each year… about 6 and a half days per month, although I doubt there’s that sort of reliable monthly cadence to it. lol. It feels more as if I take a breather, now and then, for a few days, or when I’m out in the trees camping, and then shake that off and get back to it.

…I find myself wondering how many total words I’ve written, and spoken, over the course of a lifetime… a lot of words, no doubt. 🙂

I sip my coffee and smile. This morning feels good. That’s enough. 🙂

The alarm went off, catching me by surprise and yanking me from a deep, dream-drenched sleep. I got up, without properly understanding that it was the alarm that woke me. Minutes later, I was pushing myself aggressively through my morning routine, tangled up in the misapprehension that I was “running late”. I somehow made the mistake that it was an hour or more later than it was, even though I had looked right at the alarm clock, and then my watch, double-checking the time, and seeing “4:30 am”, and even remembering it accurately. I misunderstood what that actually meant, or perhaps lost track of what that hour of the morning means to me, personally… or something. I quickly showered, and dressed. (No time for coffee!! I’m running late!!) I left the house promptly, and headed to work, a bit bemused by how little traffic there was this morning, and happy to have such a chill commute, in spite of “being late” (I wasn’t late).

To be fair, it’s an easy watch face to read incorrectly. lol

So… about that whole “running late” thing? I couldn’t have been. Realistically, in my current (salaried) job, my hours are flexible nearly to the point of being entirely 100% self-determined every single day…so… “late”? Not really a thing. Just saying, this morning’s weird moment was never really about being late, or not being late; it was just a very quirky sleep disturbance I am sometimes afflicted by. (Yes, I’ve had this experience before, and once or twice even in the middle of the night, in the middle of a holiday, or on a day off. lol)

About halfway to the office, while trying to sort out whether the clock in the car was “wrong” by an hour or I was wrong about the time, my brain finally woke up for real, and I became aware of my error, and that I was, actually, running a bit early, if anything… and had started my day without meditation. Without coffee. Omg. Seriously? For fuck’s sake. lol I certainly felt more purposeful about the drive, at that point; coffee in the office. 🙂

I take a few minutes for meditation, before coffee, contemplating the patterns of light, and bricks, on a rainy morning.

Strange start to the day. I give myself time to sort myself out, and re-sync with the moment, and the day. I let go of the feeling of urgency. I breathe, exhale, and relax, letting a feeling of warmth and good-natured humor fill me up. Weird morning, sure, but no damage done. It doesn’t even amount to a difficult morning – barely an inconvenience. I head upstairs to my desk, mostly ready for the day, still feeling vaguely “displaced” in some subtle way, but it’s not clear why. I let that go, too; it doesn’t seem the sort of thing worth taking personally.

I breathe, relax, and head for the coffee in the break room… it’s time to begin again. 🙂

I woke earlier than I needed to, this morning. No reason. Maybe I’d gotten enough sleep? My anxiety started to increase a few minutes after I woke. Yesterday morning was like this, too. There are steps to take, and they do work pretty well. The key detail is that I have to actually practice those practices. Reliably. Thinking about it isn’t particularly effective; however well I know that there are practices that help reduce my anxiety, doing them is what is required. Verbs. Action. Practice.

What works? Probably a lot of things. I started here. And here. And here.

What works for me, may not be what works for you – but that may not be an obvious certainty until you’ve tried them. So… what worked (for me) yesterday? Meditation. Good self-care. Positive self-encouragement. Taking a walk. And (for me) a bonus; my Traveling Partner was out of the house for a couple hours hanging out with a friend, and I got some much needed solo time (actual solitude, spent actually at home) in which to meditate (more), read, and find an hour of real ‘cognitive stillness” (no TV, no music, no notifications, no conversation, no other human presence…just… quiet). I recognize that the profound desire for “cognitive stillness” and solitude, isn’t a thing for which we all have a uniform need. Some people would definitely not enjoy that kind of deep, stark, uninterrupted stillness, and some people find solitude, itself, quite terrifying. Finding the practices that truly support our individual needs, and our own emotional wellness, is complicated. Try a lot of things. Stick with what works. Be mindful and compassionate with others; what works for you may not work for them. We are each having our own experience. 🙂

Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a minute, and sort things out.

I suspect that a considerable portion of my anxiety, right now, isn’t properly my own. I’m picking it up from relationships and circumstances, from the media news, and sort of “inheriting” the anxiety of people dear to me, as they work through their own baggage, and deal with their own deal. Nothing about that results in the anxiety being less real; it is what it is. I’m feeling feelings. The feelings are uncomfortable, and mess with my mind, and my emotional comfort. No reason to take it personally. I have practices to help with that. Practicing those works. (Talking or thinking about them, as practices, without practicing them, does not work at all. lol Just being real. There are verbs involved.)

Once I noticed the anxiety creeping in around the edges of my awareness again this morning, I immediately began taking steps. Breathing. Meditation. Checking my email. (Um, no. Not that last one. lol) A quiet cup of tea. A bit of reading. I look out the window thinking about taking a walk. The sun isn’t even up yet. It’s quite dark. So… too soon. lol Instead, I reflect on how meaningful and appreciated that few minutes walking yesterday really was.

It was a beautiful day for it. Clear, and chilly without being cold.

It felt good to be out on the trail. I was grateful for the paved path, and that I remembered my cane, which I am definitely needing for longer walks.

Blue skies and trees illuminated by sunshine became a smile on my face.

I found the walk challenging enough, between slippery bridges still wet from recent rain, and my aching ankle, and popping knee, that I only managed a (fairly gentle) 1.22 miles. It still felt great to be out there, just walking, alone with my thoughts.

Gnothi Seauton. I wisely choose not to walk a distance or paths I am not ready for, today.

The distance was shorter than I could easily cover, fairly recently, but I didn’t take the setback personally. I just enjoyed the walk I actually took. 🙂

It was enough to walk in the sunshine, smiling, watching the squirrels.

I find myself glancing through the blinds, now and then, while I write, this morning, hoping for another good day to take a walk. It looks rainy. My ankle and knee (opposite sides) ache. Letting that stop me is counterproductive for several reasons, so I maintain the intention of “getting out there” for at least a mile. I may try to do this every day…

How else will I see all the squirrels? lol