Archives for posts with tag: walk with me

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

I don’t honestly feel at all like sleeping on the ground, or dealing with overnight chill, or having to use vault toilets or a hole in the ground… or… any of the things that go along with camping, really. Not this weekend. I do, however, very much feel like hiking a few miles alone with my thoughts. 🙂 It’s nice having the car. It’s nicer that it is my own, and of the sort far more appropriate to trail heads and rougher roads than the luxury sedan I’d been driving. (None of that diminishes my gratitude for having the use of my partner’s car for a year; I needed it, he was right.) The weekend is my own, and I’ll go where I please, travel the roads I like, and find the miles that suit me most to wander.

I sip my coffee and consider my rather lengthy list of hikes I’d like to take. I decide I’d rather not drive more than an hour this morning, having slept a bit later than I expected to, and also wanting to go to the Farmer’s Market this morning. My smile becomes a grin contemplating the luxury of being able, if I chose, to also just get in the car and drive down to my Traveling Partner’s location, and visit him there. Any time. There is nothing to stop me doing so, and no one to whom I must answer. That feels amazing. I sit with the feeling and the awareness awhile longer; I haven’t always truly had the freedom to be accountable primarily to myself, only, and it’s an intoxicating level of adult freedom.

This is a weekend of choices. One of those is that I chose to invest in my longer-term emotional and physical wellness by making this particular weekend mostly about self-care, also. Yesterday was spent advocating for important social issues as a citizen, and getting ample rest as a human being. Today? Today I want to get out into the trees, put some miles behind me, take some pictures, find some solitude and relief from the din and background noise of the world. Tomorrow, too. Even Monday (after my first Qigong class, fairly early in the morning). Something about the car I’d been driving was keeping me from hiking in some subtle way. (I think perhaps my reluctance to leave a largish luxury car parked at a trailhead and at risk of break-ins, when it wasn’t even my own car, was a bit of baggage I didn’t manage well.) The Mazda fairly begs to be left-along-the-side-of-the-road-back-soon-I-promise at every trail head I spot on every drive I take. lol I literally want to just park it, however abruptly, hop out and walk down each unexpected mystery trail just to see where they lead. 😀 This bodes well for future fitness, and I’m not inclined to fight it – I just want to get out there, and explore the world on foot, with a significant lack of human companionship.

New beginnings aren’t just an assortment of lovely sunrises, or yet another work shift, or one more morning waking from one more night of sleep; there are opportunities here for growth, change, and transcendence. These are chances to work through past pain, to set down more baggage and walk on – both metaphorically, and for real. What was yesterday about? Can I do better today? What choices does that take? How does this particular morning hold the potential to see me become more the person I most want to be at the end of this particular day? It’s a process filled with verbs, and my results vary. Still, I get as many chances to begin again as there are sunrises – or moments. There are choices involved.

I’m ready. It’s time to grab a map. 🙂

I woke to the alarm this morning. I slept, I think, through the night. When I woke, my sense of things was that it was exceedingly quiet. The kind of quiet that seems made of anticipation, and held breath. I exhale. I inhale. I breathe. As waking becomes meditation, an almost automatic response to a feeling of ‘dis-ease’ (I remember, too late, the word “uneasy”), my breathing becomes deep, comfortable, relaxed – and reliable. Sometimes I hold my breath without realizing it (maybe that’s a primate thing, or maybe just me, doesn’t matter right now); deep, relaxed breathing, tends to reduce anxiety caused by not breathing. Go figure. 😉

I give myself a few minutes to “get my bearings” and become more completely awake. I am alone this morning. Not just alone-because-I’m-by-myself, but also alone because most everything is precisely where I, myself, have placed it, and where I expect things to be, and also because the bags and baggage of my house guest are no longer here, and stray odd things my traveling partner brought over, with few exceptions, are also returned to their natural places in the world, more or less; they are not here.  Unsettling initially; apparently it takes me about two weeks to get used to having to detour around stuff that isn’t where it ought to be. I’m over that, already, and enjoying the quiet greatly… and will shortly enjoy some music, some early morning housekeeping, a second cup of coffee… and missing my traveling partner. 🙂

Enjoying missing my traveling partner? How does that even work? I don’t have an answer really, but two weeks with a house guest, a new job, new routines, changing personal care needs, having to stock the fridge with foods I don’t eat, not being able to meditate easily when I want or need to, accommodating other musical taste, other agendas, other interests – and often at the expense of my own – and even being nudged uncomfortably into yielding too often to an utter lack of any semblance of planning, or being considered when plans are made in my absence (almost certainly not the actual literal truth, it just often felt that way)… I still miss my traveling partner, and I’m glad (at least in this moment) to have that luxury for some little while. I need a break to care for myself, and figure out just a little more about how to do so skillfully in the face of guests, family, circumstances, employment – all of the things. lol

The quiet this morning is so very… quiet. When I pause to savor this peaceful moment, I notice that I still hear the ceaseless sound of traffic, the commuter train, the hum of the refrigerator, the occasional patter of raindrops… no simple silence this, it is quiet within, as much as it is quiet around me. That’s the quiet that I’m seeking – isn’t it? I’m not really asking, I’m just noticing, not for the first time, that it is the elusive quiet within myself that is so… elusive. Right. I used the word. Sorry – still on my first coffee. I comment quietly to myself how much more difficult this quiet is to build, to linger on, to enjoy, in the typical rush of a busy work week. Coming home exhausted to find a party in progress has some delight to it, but very little quiet. This particular thing, this finding quiet in the storms and bother of a busy adult life, this is the journey. Well… it’s a journey. It is my journey. 🙂 You can have it too, if you want – we can walk on, together, separately. There’s no limit on who takes this journey, there’s no competition over who walks farther, faster, or who reaches the highest height, or purest moment of awareness; there’s no trophy. There’s also nothing to wait for – gear up, my friends! Whether you lace up sneakers or hiking boots, walk slowly with a cane carrying your coffee in the other hand or wearing a fancy name brand hydration pack, if you begin again – and then begin again – and then again – and every time you falter you walk on from what hurts, and you walk on from what doesn’t work, and you walk on because you enjoy your own forward momentum in life, you’ll find the journey unfolds in its own way… your way. 🙂 Don’t worry too much about the destination, it’s a thing that seems to change with fair frequency, and has the least relevance to the step being taken “now”. Now is enough. Are you ready to walk on?

For clarity – it’s a metaphor; most sorts of things I struggle with don’t require a literal departure on foot and miles of walking. 🙂 (Some have…) It’s a favorite journey metaphor, for me, because I do walk so much… perhaps you are a runner, and your metaphor for forward momentum in life is a bit faster? Maybe you travel passionately, and your metaphor involves planes, airports, far away terminals, and distant wilderness unseen by amateur eyes? This adventure called life is “choose your own adventure” on levels so deep that even the metaphors are yours to choose, although I’m delighted to share mine with you. 🙂 I like a handy metaphor.

My phone chimes at me, notifying me of… something. I’ve no idea what. I had my last phone for literally years before I worked out how I wanted all the notifications to sound, and which would be silenced entirely. I’m beginning again. I’ve at least “tamed” them for now; the sounds are pleasant. The sounds are also pretty pointless. For now they communicate nothing much, only that on some form of incoming communication media that isn’t the phone, someone is trying to reach me. LOL I have to check to see whether I want to check to see what it is. Hopefully within days, I’ll know by sound what message app is pinging my consciousness, and whether I care to respond immediately or later, without anything but the notification chime alerting me; it’s a huge savings in mental bandwidth.

Life has a certain amount of natural order. I sip my coffee and enjoy that.

Life has a certain amount of natural order. I sip my coffee and enjoy that.

It’s a Monday morning. There are practices that precede the commute. Today, it’s enough to practice. Tomorrow, I can begin again. 🙂

No matter what the challenge is, there’s probably a solution. Every puzzle piece fits somewhere in the puzzle. There’s a tool for every job – or the potential to make one. In the 21st century vernacular, “there’s an app for that” rings true.

Yesterday, in a moment that could have been filled with waiting, I found myself exploring solutions to problems, and seeking the right tool for a very specific task; my own fitness, and long-term wellness. 🙂

A very long time ago, when I once began the long journey toward better physical fitness (and wellness), I bought an inexpensive pedometer and found that it really did function well to help me keep my activity level up. I began to explore the most rudimentary gamification of my fitness challenges, and I made a ton of progress. It remains a journey with a lot of chances to begin again, and I’m not alone on this one; there’s an entire industry built on our dissatisfaction with our fitness and our physical appearance. I consulted with my traveling partner, who wears a fairly state-of-the-art wearable device. His experience proved valuable, when I went to shop in person, shortly afterward.

Although it was late in the evening, I got pretty excited about the idea of having a fitness tracker to support my progress toward my personal goals, and it actually worked immediately; I walked up to a retailer who stocks such things, even though it was later in the evening, adding about 2 miles to the days’ walking. 😀 I didn’t even have to buy a fitness tracker to benefit from the idea! (I’m still giggling about that, hours later.) I selected one that had the features I figure I’m most likely to use (and value) that is also aesthetically pleasing (it’s right there on my arm where I have to look at it all the time), and affordable. I took it home and stayed up far later than usual, charging it, and doing what minimal set up there was to sync it to my phone.


This morning, again, I find value in it as I look down and notice how long I’ve actually been here at my desk, first thing, with my coffee, writing. It’s time to get up, time for a walk, time for more than sitting still… Today is a good day for something besides sitting still, isn’t it? Today is a good day to go, and to do. There is an entire world to explore! I smile over my coffee, enticed away from my writing by a new toy… It feels like a good fit. 🙂

(Incremental change over time is enough – there are still verbs involved.)

I woke to ducks on the lawn, and a misty rainy day. I’m okay with that, let it rain. 🙂

They enjoy rainy days, too.

They enjoy rainy days, too.

A few minutes sipping coffee in the patio doorway. Meditation under a gray sky. Yoga in the rain-fresh air filling the apartment. Quiet time.

There is time to consider raindrops on roses.

There is time to consider raindrops on roses.

I enjoy the rain-drenched summer patio garden, aware that summer is quickly fading, and savoring this fleeting precious moment. Isn’t this enough? 🙂

Last night was spent in love. Delightful. More than enough; love seems to always exceed sufficiency. 🙂

I hear my traveling partner grinding coffee, awake for the day. I smile. This, too, is enough. 🙂 I keep practicing. Today is a good day for it. ❤