Archives for posts with tag: winter

I’m sipping my Monday-morning-before-work coffee, and contemplating the days preceding this moment. Festive. Lovely. Warmed-through with loving intentions. Merry. So very merry. 🙂 I will admit to lower-than-average expectations – I mean, seriously, there’s a pandemic going on, and American politics are a disappointing ethical shambles presently, and I could every bit as easily have found myself focused on all that mess, instead of the delightful holiday interlude I shared with my Traveling Partner. I chose to focus on the holidays at hand, though, and the outcome was precious and will be cherished for the lifetime ahead. 🙂

…So merry…

Gifts were opened. Coffees and sweets and jokes were shared. Holiday tunes played in the background. I took winter walks along muddy lanes (rain here, no snow). Texts and emails were sent to family and friends (cards were mailed, probably too late to arrive in advance of the holiday). Cookies were baked. Recipes were tried. We reminisced over old times, good times, other times. It was a sweet and romantic connected holiday for two, in The Time of Pandemic. We didn’t go out. We didn’t have friends over. The car has the same gas in the tank it did more than a week ago. lol Sweet strange little holiday that managed to make my “top ten” lifetime fantastic holidays. 🙂

I feel fortunate. I sip my coffee smiling this morning. Half days in the office this week… I’m not expected until later on. Ample time to write… and to read. Maybe to paint? Do some housekeeping. 🙂 One life being lived.

My Traveling Partner woke minutes after I did, this morning. We both seem to be sleeping very well lately. We’re both less grumpy in the mornings as a result. It’s nice. I make room in my thoughts for a moment of compassion and understanding that it can be difficult not to be grumpy when one wakes in pain, and starts the day fairly certain that it’s not going to change. I consider my physical wellness this morning; I am in less pain because I am more well-rested? Maybe. It’s important to be mindful and note any changes in that sort of thing. Allowing implicit memory to smooth out changes that could indicate improvements (and it will) can make it difficult to enjoy and live a reality of less pain… I mean… I’m not going to be able to enjoy what I am not aware of, right? 🙂

Solstice…Giftmas…then, New Year’s… 2020 is almost over. It is an ending layered with more than typical meaning and significance for many people. What will we do with the opportunity ahead to make 2021 more meaningful and significant for ourselves, our families, our community, and for the world? What will I do with that opportunity?

…Then again (and also true), it’s just another change of day-month-year on an arbitrary calendar. It could be any day. It could be any moment – we can each choose to begin again when we will. That’s pretty powerful stuff. 😀 (Does tend to leave us without excuses, though, for why we have not embraced an important change we know we need to make for ourselves.) S’okay. We’ve got a few more days to consider the new year ahead. 🙂

It’s time to begin again. How will we change the world?

I’ve got a solo weekend. I slept well, and comfortably, and even slept a couple more hours after waking at the usual time, taking my morning Rx, and returning to bed. It isn’t always  possible to return to sleep, and this morning it was lovely to wake slowly, much later, and enjoy the slow unfolding of body and mind as my consciousness booted up for the day. My coffee is delicious – a medium Americano, at 203 degrees, no sugar, no milk – just hot, smooth, and rich. No headache this morning. Rain pouring just beyond the partially open window; I love listening to the falling rain and smelling the freshness of the air outside. It is a very nice Saturday morning so far.

Oregon winter, stormy, and mild.

Oregon winter, stormy, and mild.

I am alone this weekend. This is not significant, it simply is. I enjoy solitude, generally, and I am feeling content and satisfied with my solitary state.

I am in a lot of pain. This is significant, not because it is unusual, but because it is an element of my experience that is pretty typical, day-to-day, varying in intensity far more often than ever really going away. This morning, I am in enough pain that at other points in my life the entirety of the first paragraph could not have existed side-by-side with the pain, itself. I’ve learned a lot more about taking care of me, and over time I am building self-care practices that even stand up to the departures from routine that sometimes result from things like … having a weekend alone. Oh yeah. It wasn’t so long ago that having a solo weekend would result in over-indulging on favorite treats, not sleeping well due to staying up late to read, watch movies, or wander, overlooking timing on timing-sensitive medications… just generally completely letting myself down with regard to actually taking good care of myself. Wallowing in self-indulgence is not self-care. That’s a pretty important understanding.

I love, for example, gummy sweets. I don’t much care if they are bears, drops, fish, worms, fruits, or healthy… I love gummy candy. They are now what they must be (for me) – a rare treat, in very very small portions. I don’t respond well to quantities of refined sugar. (Your results may vary.) I also tend to overdo it on gummy sweets – I know that first hand. I also know that even casual use of refined white sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, or any similar sugars quickly increases my emotional volatility, sometimes correlates to unexpected tantrums, moodiness, and a basic feeling of not being ‘well’.  Good self-care means I continue to avoid gummy sweets when I am enjoying time on my own, just as I would en famille – accountability can’t be the sole driver of self-care (at least for me; it just doesn’t work.) That was a hard lesson to learn.

I practice good practices, even when I am enjoying a solo weekend, these days; I am capable of learning from my mistakes. Last night, feeling restless on a mild night, I walked 5 miles in the evening air rather than walking the aisles of the nearby grocery store looking for exotic treats for an evening nosh. Instead of indulging in a rich meal of favorite treats that do me no good, I enjoyed the healthy simple fare I generally do these days. I meditated. I did some yoga. I did more of the good things that care for my body and spirit, rather than fewer. Isn’t that really the thing? Investing in my own needs when I have more time to do so is an effort best spent on what really nurtures me – rather than childishly revolting against the sensible limits and restrictions I have chosen to place on myself to meet my needs over time, simply because ‘no one is watching’.

I wish I were so perfectly perfect that I didn’t need reminders, or could simply rest gently on what I have learned, confident my good practices would never fail me… I am not so perfect. I start fresh each morning, and do my best each day. I acknowledge missteps along the way, dust myself off when I stumble and keep on walking. I got here, because I make progress over time – and the journey isn’t finished. I invest will and study in gaining perspective, finding balance, and learning good self-care practices that nurture and heal me, over time. There are verbs involved. There is no ‘easy’. There is no ‘finish line’. There is no ‘win’ that amounts of finality and acknowledgement. Those aren’t criticisms, or something to be blue about; they are my endless opportunity for change, and for improving on what is, to become the woman I most want to be, and to find wellness and meaning along the way. Choices are right there to be chosen…choosing well, and following through on intention with will, and action… well… sometimes that requires a sticky note, or an alarm, or a calendar reminder, or something planned with a favorite friend. That’s okay too; this weekend, I am practicing my best practices for taking care of me.

Brunch with a friend; a very nice way to stick to a self-care routine. :-)

Brunch with a friend; a very nice way to stick to a self-care routine. 🙂

It’s a quiet evening. I’m sitting with this heating pad on my back, contentedly watching a randomized playlist of favorite South Park episodes, sort of, and checking out tent camping opportunities around the state. Spring will be here soon enough. I’m in pain, but managing to find contentment; I’m not spreading the stress around.

Taking time to hang out with a friend, to pause the clock and enjoy the moment, and to enjoy a well-chosen, healthy brunch...

Taking time to hang out with a friend, to pause the clock and enjoy the moment, and to enjoy a well-chosen, healthy brunch…

...walking urban trails, enjoying a great coffee, getting a massage, lingering in a hot Epsom salt bath, and sharing a favorite show in the evening...

…walking urban trails, enjoying a great coffee, getting a massage, lingering in a hot Epsom salt bath, and sharing a favorite show in the evening…

Today was a good day. It’s enough.

 

The morning is quiet. I sit here content, quiet, calm, and aware of the small knot of distant anxiety nestled just below my diaphragm. The last couple pleasant mornings have skidded sideways like a luxury car speeding down an icy highway; feeling good right until it was out of control, leaving me shaking and confused although things turned out well enough in the end. I’m not wishing the anxiety away, or fighting it; it simply is, there in the background, and I am aware of the potential it holds. Still, I am content now, and I feel still and calm now, and now is okay with me. I am enjoying the moment.

Between the cold weather, the rainy weather, and being bundled up and warm in the face of either or both, I haven’t taken many new pictures lately. I’m not sure whether that choice is about taking care with my camera (phone) or that I just don’t want to be colder or wetter. There’s a nice byproduct to that choice, though. I see so much as I walk, undistracted by the eagerness to capture some one thing I am seeing. I see more. Walking meditation suits me well, too, and is more difficult if constantly interrupted with photography. There’s something to think about buried in these observations…something about mindfully enjoying what I enjoy and being fully present…and the power of interruptions, that are also things I enjoy. I’m not sure where to take it, but I bet I would do well to consider this one further…

The lack of predictable, lasting calm in my experience concerns me. I have come so far that I can fairly easily see an Achilles heel I missed before; I am easily provoked by someone else’s intense emotional experience, however calm and content I am in the moment. It’s problematic for me – I’m human, and I live with other human beings. Intense emotions are part of that experience. However calmly I may be enjoying the day, the potential remains for someone to provoke me into reacting to their experience with such immediacy, and emotional force, that I lose my way, lose my moment, lose my joy… and suffer.  This seems like something worth addressing… I would like to reach a point where the irritation experienced by someone else does not put me on the defensive, frighten me, or cause me to try to ‘fix things’. I’d like to reach a point where another person’s anger isn’t terrifying, or able to override my own decision-making about what is good for me, or what action I take. I would like to reach a point where I can comfortably provide emotional support to someone in the face of their rage, hysteria, irritability, sorrow, or despair, without feeling sucked in, blamed, or thrown off course, myself. I’m not there, yet. This is not a journey that reaches a resting point with a sign ‘You Are Here’ to conveniently identify that I have reached my destination. It’s more like a walk in a strange wood – beautiful, sometimes, and other times feeling peculiarly endless, and a bit scary. I walk on.

Taking my journey on  my own terms, making my own way.

Taking my journey on my own terms, making my own way.

Today is a good day to blaze a trail through the unknown. Today is a good day to fearlessly explore the world within – a world that is largely of my own making, under my own control (where’s that damn manual…map…user’s guide…?). Today is a good day to be kind to myself, and to others, however little appreciation there is for the effort – not because anyone ‘deserves’ it, not because it is their ‘due’, and not because I am obligated to do so, but because this is who I am. (How do I know that? Because I choose to be.) Today is a good day to choose to change the world.

I walked to work with my coat unzipped this morning. ‘Winter’, sure, but 40F (that’s about 4.4 C, for the rest of the world)  isn’t really ‘winter cold’, and menopause being what it can be the cool air felt good.  I walked with a smile and a feeling of freedom – ‘light-hearted’ is actually a real feeling!  What is different about today? About this morning? I did sleep almost through the night, and never actually got up, and there were no nightmares. I woke feeling rested. Sleep really matters, I know it does in my own experience, at least…but was that it? Part of it… but… there’s more. I ‘got something I need’ over the course of a lovely chill evening of warmth and fellowship with my partners last night… I don’t know exactly what, or how to describe the nature or value of it.  I retired for the night feeling safe and warm and loved… wrapped in it, nurtured by it… my partners are wonderful people, and I am well loved. The healing power of affection and touch and simple closeness and acceptance can not be over-stated… I would write love poetry or send a Hallmark card, or buy large chunks of rare crystal wrapped in limited-availability metal of some kind if I thought any of that could be enough to demonstrate my appreciation for their love, support, and all that it means to me.

Good sleep brings relief and perspective and greater understanding… but it can not replace Love in my life, it can’t meet my need to be touched and held and cherished, and it can not adore me, or accept my love and adoration in return. Love matters on a whole other level.  I hope I spend the rest of my life learning to love well from my partners; I’d like to love them back with skill, openness and vulnerability, to be really good at love.  What could be a more awesome quality of character for a human being?