Archives for posts with tag: we become what we practice

I’m inclined to consider “breathing” one of the things I do most naturally… and more or less continuously, while I do all the other sorts of things I am wont to do. I am incorrect in my assumption that “breathing” comes wholly naturally to me; I’m getting better at noticing when I am holding my breath. LOL

It’s not like it’s super obvious. I’m not taking a stance like a defiant child, cheeks inflated, eyes squeezed shut, forcibly holding my breath as long as I can… it’s a more subtle thing, and so I have missed it, for… how long? It’s more like a “long pause”… without air. It’s as if I stop paying attention and forget to breathe for a moment… or… several. This can’t be healthy. So… I keep practicing. I’m sure I’ll need a ton more practice…

…Last night I was focusing on my breathing and sort of… forgot to sleep. I mean… yeah. I noticed around 1:00 am that I had somehow simply overlooked actually falling asleep. Just… laying there awake, breathing. I mean… I guess that’s better than not breathing… and that’s sort of the point. I didn’t get 100% of the rest I really needed, but the day has gone okay, and being real? Some part of that may be due to actually breathing more. I think maybe? Could be. It’s worthwhile enough to keep practicing. πŸ™‚

Every time I’ve had a break from work today, I’ve made a point to breath. Between meetings. Between tasks. As if I specifically must undertake it as a task to complete. Weird, but… I’m not hurting anyone with this, and maybe, just maybe, I’m helping myself move on past some old pain. That’s definitely worth some practice. πŸ™‚

…Time to begin again? One sec, I need to take a couple breaths. πŸ˜€

This morning is a quiet one. My first coffee came and went, while my Traveling Partner slept. I got some exercise in VR, he slept on. I managed to be a quiet human, on a quiet morning, and he manages to sleep. It’s a comfortable experience. I enjoy quiet mornings. I considered making a second coffee, but I also enjoy sharing some coffee time with my partner, so… I wait on that, and refill my water bottle.

…So quiet…

The hum and woosh of the heat on in the background mixes with the “sound” of my tinnitus. The steady clicking of fingers on keys seems unnecessarily audible (“clicky” keys on this keyboard). The morning continues steadily, quietly. My calendar tells me the quiet will last some time longer; my first call is later on this morning, and my work day starts quite early. I feel relaxed. Contentment characterizes the morning, so far. It’s quite pleasant.

Why am I making such a fuss over such a mundane thing as one quiet morning? Pretty simple; my brain and nervous system are very much wired to “make a fuss” over uncomfortable, painful, scary, awkward, and stressful situations – regardless whether those emotions are really warranted, or necessary – and that “fuss”, over time, becomes implicit expectations of life, generally, setting a tone for how I experience it. To provide some balance, to counter the “negative bias”, I make a point of being present for, and savoring, these simple unremarkable pleasures – making them, in fact, “remarkable” by doing so tends to make them feel more important, and increases the potential that my implicit experience of life will tend more toward being aware of what feels good, what is working, and what is just fine, and less toward chaos, baggage, and bullshit. πŸ™‚ Do I know “for sure” that this “works”? Nope. I’m practicing. We become what we practice, though, and that I am very sure of. πŸ˜€

…I’m looking forward to that second coffee, though… πŸ™‚

Snow is falling. I don’t mind that; it’s pretty, and I’m comfortable at home. What I do mind are these tears. Oh, and the headache. The tinnitus. The crossness and fatigue that come of sleeping poorly. I mind all those things. “I’m doing my best.” It’s not “enough”.

I’ve lost my sense of enthusiasm even for something as innocent and delightful as a snowy winter afternoon.

I’ve lost my balance, and my way, and I’m as a hapless motorist in a blinding snow storm – drifting, then… stuck.

I’ve lost my perspective.

I’ve lost my sense of humor about all the maddening bullshit that has to do with caring for this meat suit until it finally rots around me.

…I’m just tired…

My Traveling Partner is annoyed with me. I’m not communicating well. I’m terse without realizing it. Apparently. I’m making a completely fucked up mess of the day in all but one respect; work. I’ve got this work in front of me. For now it keeps me anchored and aware that in some future moment maybe things won’t feel so utterly completely shit… I mean… “this too shall pass”… ? Right? I just need to stay focused on this spreadsheet for another couple hours…

…It’s surprisingly difficult to hold on to non-attachment when I need it most…

I’m angry with myself and disappointed. I don’t tell myself I’ve set the bar too high; I’ll myself that I’m fraud and a failure and a clown because I am not right now 100% of every inch of the woman I most want to be… in spite of this headache, and this fatigue, and this absolutely entirely fallible mortal and very human experience. It’s a moment. It’s not a great moment. It’s not a delightful moment. It’s not a moment I’m going to want to carry with me for a life time of recollection… but it’s part of my experience of being this particular human being. It has to be enough – and it has to be just another moment, one more step, one mile on a much longer journey. If I let it swamp me and become “everything”… yeah, then I definitely lose my way. 😦 Been there, too.

I take a breath. I let the tears fall. I watch the snow flakes coming down. I let the minutes pass without requiring anything more of them – or me.

The snow continues to fall. It’s beautiful. It’s cold out there. I stare past my monitor to the window and into the sky. That sky isn’t so blue right now. Weather versus climate. The pain in my neck is distracting in an unpleasant way…but it reminds me to turn my attention back to the work in front of me. Whatever. It’s something.

…Sometimes “something” has to be enough to hold onto. That’s okay. There will be a chance to begin again.

It’s been a few days of dealing with an “interesting” increase in my anxiety, recently. Like… a distracting, persistent, defiant amount of anxiety, of varying intensity… the sort of thing that surges back seemingly stronger than previously known (it isn’t, really), and difficult to manage. It’s been disrupting my sleep, and pulling my attention away from things that (truly) matter much more. Frustrating.

β€œAnxiety” 10β€³ x 14β€³ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic 2011

I woke early, pre-occupied with work, because that’s just the sort of thing Anxiety enjoys nibbling on before the day even begins. Any detail over which I’m less than entirely confident and comfortable with becomes fuel to her fire. Fuck Anxiety; she’s a liar. Anxiety forces me to view the world through a lens of fear, doubt, stress, and insecurity, and prevents me from embracing other qualities of my experience. I haven’t had to do such fierce battle with my anxiety in a long while. It’s fueled by the competing experiences of home-ownership and difficult (unpleasant) work-place relationships. The sense of obligation that comes of owning a home causes me to feel I “have to” endure more that is unreasonable, to set fewer clear boundaries, to be more reluctant to “draw a line in the sand” with higher ranking colleagues… all of which are uncomfortable, less than ideal, and probably also seriously bullshit. lol Anxiety, remember, is a liar.

I woke early, and spent my first minutes on meditation. It helps a lot. Coffee came later, because over the years I’ve learned too well that Anxiety likes a good cup of coffee every bit as much as I do, and not in a helpful way. lol Meditation first. Coffee later.

I looked over my work calendar, and quickly identified the source of my stress – it was really just one meeting on my calendar (that I own), and only due to a change of format being requested, for which I have had too little time to prepare. So… that’s not even “about” me. I reschedule the meeting to give myself (and another affected colleague) more time to make the requested changes. No harm done. Hell, it’s even a short week (after a Monday holiday) and so far it’s going very smoothly. Hard to argue with those results. πŸ™‚

I feel my tension ease, my Anxiety receding into the background, returning to being “anxiety” with a lower-case A. Nice. A good start to the work week… I mean… good enough. Amply adequate, for sure. πŸ˜€

The weekend that is now over was a lovely one. I sip my coffee, free of the crushing weight of the anxiety that had been nagging me earlier, and think about the lovely miles of trail walking, the scent of fresh baked cookies that filled the kitchen all weekend, and my Traveling Partner’s smiles. A good weekend.

Sometimes the obstacles along the way are small enough to just step over them. πŸ™‚

So, a new week, new beginnings – and new challenges. πŸ™‚ Sometimes the “new” challenges just happen to be old familiar ones – I just get to practice handling them, all over again. lol Didn’t think I needed to take that lesson one more time, but there it is – and we become what we practice. πŸ˜€

It’s time to begin again.

One step at a time, eventually measured in miles. One day at a time, eventually measured in years. One moment at a time eventually becomes a life well-lived, on a beautiful journey. ❀

Where am I headed? Easy enough to know where I began, I suppose, or where I begin, now. Here? Over there? Somewhere near at hand, if the journey is to be successful; it’s difficult to go from “here” to “there”, if my understanding of what “here” is, is at odds with the practical of matter of where here is, in fact. lol That’s one major detail that presents each of us with a unique-feeling challenge; if our understanding of reality is notably different than what reality actually seems to be, it’s hard to navigate reality in an effective way, right? Definitely harder to communicate with those around us who don’t share our view.

Unavoidably, while some of what we understand of the world around us is demonstrably “real”… some of it is bullshit we made up in our heads, without any kind of validation, fact-checking, or even a quick look at the world around us. Less than ideally useful, I think. We can do better. We probably ought to consider other options than storming the fucking capitol or hitting someone when we’re angry; there are better choices that map more accurately to the real world, and the needs of our communities, families, and selves. πŸ˜‰

Near or far, we don’t see what is beyond our horizon.

Any way, I’m just saying… every morning we each get a new start, if we choose to accept it. We stand in some moment, on a new day (with or without coffee), and we take that next step along our path. Choose your path. Consider it with care. Where are you headed? Will this path even take you there? I sip my coffee thinking about the day and weekend ahead. Thinking about “my path”, and this strange journey through my chaos and damage, seeking a sense of well-being, seeking “wholeness”, seeking to more fully understand and more skillfully make use of agency, to embrace accountability and responsibility, to serve family, and community, and to be the woman (the human being) I most want to be. It’s January 8th. 8 Years ago, I started this blog, and started down this path…

The path isn’t straight, the destination isn’t obvious, but the journey must continue.

I reflect on this journey, thus far. I’ve come a long way from that despairing woman, exhausted by her personal demons, worn down by years of poor self-care and less-than-ideal mental health – and problematic relationships. I was not even certain I wanted to go on living. (Despair is ugly shit.) I had choices to make. I still expected clear answers to existential questions. I still wanted certainty about the outcome… or the point. The first steps on this peculiar new path didn’t take me very far. I wasn’t sure I was moving at all. No sense of “forward momentum” and some of the days felt “sticky” and gummed up with years and years of baggage and bullshit, that had festered for so long it seemed to much to process, at all. More than once, that first year, I just wanted to give up… or destroy something. Anything. I needed so desperately to feel that some kind of progress was being made. Incremental change over time is often an almost imperceptibly slow thing.

It may not be the shortest path – but this journey isn’t a race, or a contest – I’ll just keep walking.

These are such personal journeys, these human lives we lead. Each step our own… whether we choose it or are forced upon it, these are still our steps, our miles… our choices. Don’t like where you seem to be headed? Choose another path.

Change is a verb – and also an outcome. Where does the path lead?

So many steps, miles, verbs, choices, practices… and so much change over 8 years time. If I’d had to know, then, that it would be 8 years to “now” – this now – I’m not sure I could have endured the journey. It’s felt very “now” all this time, looking back on the path now and then, looking ahead on the path stretching before me, for as far as I could see… and walking on. Breathing. Exhaling. Reflecting. Finding those moments to be truly the woman I most want to be, and really enjoying those. Being.

Building the path as I walk it.

Sometimes the way ahead in life doesn’t appear to be an easy journey at all. We spend our lives becoming. Finding our way. Wandering. Questioning. What if – just hear me out on this – what if that’s really the point of it? To become. To discover. To learn. To ask. To wonder. It’s a question I find worth considering now and then.

Coffee’s finished. The day ahead unfolds gently. There’s an easy smile hovering at the corners of my mouth in spite of the pointlessly serious expression I feel on my face. There’s this day – and this journey – ahead of me, and it’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Where does this path lead? I guess that’s always a question. πŸ™‚

Stay on the path. We become what we practice.