Archives for posts with tag: yoga

What’s leaning on you? What are you doing to get some relief? (It’s just a question.)

This morning I woke so slowly and so deliciously at ease that I didn’t really notice the transition from dreaming to thinking, from sleeping to waking; I simply realized at some point that I was, indeed, actually awake, and had been for some unnoticed, unmeasured time. I got up with more than usual ease and freedom of movement, too. I moved gently through the usual details of mornings: a shower, yoga, that first delicious hot cup of coffee, and catching up on the world a bit.

I feel… “relieved”.

I followed up with meditation, sitting contentedly in the open patio doorway, gazing out into the trees and my small container garden, as a soft rain fell. It’s hard to imagine a more delightfully contented moment.

I enjoy the soft rain after the scorching days of summer.

Much of the day, today, is being spent writing letters and calling legislators about issues that matter to me, mostly labor and wage stuff, quality of life concerns, universal healthcare, and judicial reform. I take some time for me, too; this right here and now me, the woman in the mirror – I’ve got some needs of my own, that are on my mind (wellness and quality of life concerns). I check out a Tai Chi studio online… I plan my weekend hikes.

Sometimes it is hard to really relax and completely recharge with just two days of weekend. This weekend I’ve got 4 days to work with. It’s quite wonderful.

I take a sip of what is left of my now cold coffee. There’s definitely time to enjoy another cup. I smile at the thought of my sparkling clean kitchen, and think happy thoughts about how supportive and helpful my Traveling Partner is, and how wonderful love is, just generally. Having a little help now and then can make so much difference! I remind myself gently that it is also helpful to ask for it when I need it, instead of letting myself fall behind.

Self-care takes a lot of forms. Like yoga, dance, flow practices, or martial arts, self-care has so many varied forms and combinations of supportive practices, it would seem possible that any one of us could assemble a system of practices that work ideally well for this one particular singular unique human primate that we are… It’s a damned big menu, though, and the variety itself can overwhelm and confuse. One thing at a time then? Why not? Pick up a practice. Practice it “awhile” – days, weeks, months, whatever it takes to determine with reliable certainty whether it is “for you” – let it go, if it isn’t. Keep it up, if it is. Either way, there’s no avoiding those verbs. We become what we practice. Incremental change over time can be so damned slow, but… it does happen. With practice. With repetition. With study. Each day a new beginning, and ample opportunity to fail, to be mistaken, to get it wrong, to re-do something, to try again – to become the human being we most want to be.

There are no short cuts.

It’s time. Make the most of the opportunity. ❤

Simply enough, life is fairly unpredictable whether or not my assumptions and expectations are accurate.

What are your obstacles made of? How do you overcome them?

What are your obstacles made of? How do you overcome them?

Certainly, life is even more unpredictable if my expectations are wildly off the mark, and my assumptions are untested made up bullshit in my head. It’s easy enough for that to happen; most of what we ‘know’ amounts to the sum of a lot of internal expectation setting within ourselves, and assumptions we made about events, the expectations of others, their assumptions, and what things mean to other people (we generally assume they share our understanding and definitions of terms) – and based on observation in my own interactions alone, it’s fairly clear that few of us rigorously fact-check our assumptions, or share our expectations clearly in advance of disappointment or unexpected change, or ensure that we are working with a shared definition of terms. I’m just saying; set clear expectations explicitly, understand that life changes things without warning, and be sure to test your assumptions. Being wrong happens, it’s part of the human experience, refusing to change your position, and perspective, in the face of new information is kind of a dick move, and doesn’t do much for relationship building.

Being present on life's journey brings more into view.

Being present on life’s journey brings more into view.

Yesterday’s hike was lovely, and the rainy start to the day was no deterrent. It stopped raining long enough for a merry hike on unfamiliar muddy trails, and conversation with friend.  It was time well-spent. I arrived home feeling renewed, and able to provide my traveling partner the emotional support he needed for most of the remainder of the day, until my fatigue – and very human limitations – finally stopped me. I have more to learn about setting clear expectations when I see myself reaching my limits.

It's a journey. My journey. I am my own cartographer; it helps to be aware of the path.

It’s a journey. My journey. I am my own cartographer; it helps to be aware of the path.

Today is a good day to begin again.

I woke up in pain this morning, more pain than most mornings, and particularly more so than recent mornings.  A morning with an unusual amount of pain kicks over some self-care dominoes pretty quickly, and I found myself clumsy, slow, and emotional before I’d even finished my first coffee.

Clumsy with pain, and not my best cup of coffee. One morning, one moment, of many.

Clumsy with pain, and not my best cup of coffee. One morning, one moment, of many.

I’m okay, really. At this point, I am struggling more with the un-eased stiffness of my arthritic spine than with the pain itself. Coffee #2 is quite excellent, and I’m finding a bit of yogurt with some oats and dried fruit mixed in quite satisfying for a late bite of breakfast. The morning is a good one, pleasantly relaxed and without stress…aside from the pain, the stiffness, and the coming and going of emotions associated with those experiences. I am in enough pain to evoke tears, each time the pain resurfaces. The stiffness of my joints makes me ‘feel old’ more than the pain itself does, but the pain is what moves me to tears. Now and then I contemplate just going back to bed, although it was likely some characteristic of how I was sleeping that finds me here this morning. I feel frustrated and annoyed.

I checked in with my traveling partner online between coffees. I miss him greatly, and we had discussed hanging out today. I am a lot less fun when I hurt this much. I feel the frustration in the background, and a yearning to ‘force myself’ through ‘whatever it takes’ to ease my pain – not because I hurt, but because I want so much to hang out with my traveling partner and enjoy that time together wholly undistracted by pain. Punishing myself because I am trapped in this fragile vessel, limited by mortal limitations, isn’t really a good way to treat myself – or to get the results I’d like, either, and tends to put me in a bad mood over time. I stop myself long enough to recognize that I am doing my best, and remind myself that it is enough.

I put myself on pause to meditate. I take time to do some yoga. Both these things offer some measure of relief of both the pain, and the emotionality. I sit quietly, and enjoy my coffee while watching the rain fall just beyond the patio door. I’m okay right now. Pain is what it is, and I am dealing with that today, but what I’m not having to deal with is treating myself poorly for a condition in life that is not worthy of blame, or punishment. I’ll enjoy the day, in spite of the pain I am in – because it isn’t the pain that determines the quality of my experience, it’s just something I have to deal with.

I take some good deep breaths, sip my coffee, and pay attention to my posture as I write; it is an easy enough bit of mindfulness to bring to my experience and relieves considerable discomfort. I lose sight of it repeatedly and, as with any bit of mindfulness, that’s to be expected. I begin again. And yet again. I keep practicing. Over time, I relax more comfortably with better posture, slowly encouraging muscles that may not have been doing their part to become stronger and more involved. Incremental change over time is a powerful thing. With the yoga too, postures that were too difficult upon waking are now within reach, and later today I will achieve others that offer still more relief. The toughest of the practices on a morning like this one is simply being patient with myself, and giving myself the time and consideration to get results more slowly than I might on another day.

I smile thinking of my traveling partner, and hope that his morning is going well, and that his coffee is excellent, also. Today is a good day to smile, and enjoy what each moment offers; the moments themselves are so few in a mortal lifetime. Today is a good day to appreciate what is working out well, and any improvements that develop over time. Today is a good day to appreciate the woman in the mirror and to treat myself well, rather than criticizing my best efforts on a difficult day. Today is a good day to enjoy my coffee and listen to the rain fall. It’s enough.

 

What a special day this is turning out to be! It has been easy and relaxed since I woke (later than usual). I feel content, and connected – and very much as though I’ve spent the day in the company of a dear friend, someone close, of long-standing history and shared experience…only… it’s just been me, hanging out on my own. Still, I feel more connected, generally, and more comfortable with myself and with other people.

A bit of gardening and a lovely walk.

A bit of gardening and a lovely walk.

There’s been nothing extraordinary about the things I am doing today. I spent quite a long time on yoga this morning, and enjoyed a light bite of brunch a bit later. I enjoyed a long autumn walk in the sunshine, the air was chilly and still, carrying the scent of pine and marsh, and distant hearths. I saw a beaver up close – it was the first time I’ve seen one so close. The dam he is building is quite large. I found myself wondering if he has feelings about it, as a home, or as the outcome of his effort, and wondering, too, what is the nature of the thoughts of animals. I mused for a long while about the nature of consciousness as I walked.

A dam is a complicated feat. I find myself wondering if a beaver's life's work has meaning for the beaver.

A dam is a complicated feat. I find myself wondering if a beaver’s life’s work has meaning for the beaver.

There were berries, and roses hips of many colors, and drifts of autumn leaves along the way. There were flooded paths, birds of prey, children, dogs, and squirrels at play. I walked farther than I planned; I kept changing my destination to something just a bit further down the path as I walked. I decided to turn back when the sunny sky took a gray turn, hinting at an evening that I knew would come earlier than it did yesterday.

Colorful berries and vines remain after all the leaves have fallen.

Colorful berries and vines remain after all the leaves have fallen.

I arrived home feeling very connected to the world I live in, and sit here even now feeling differently about life in some subtle way…as though I had an incredibly eye-opening and insightful conversation with someone I trust completely, and learned something deeply meaningful. I don’t think this particular feeling has any more or less value than other feelings. It is very pleasant and moving in a positive way. I am content to enjoy this moment for as long as it lasts. Enjoying it utterly, and savoring the experience of it is a practice worth practicing. 🙂

For the moment I am painfully, heart-wrenching-ly, poignantly aware of the emptiness of my small apartment after my traveling partner’s departure. We had a lovely time. I already miss him greatly. I sit here quietly considering how better to have handled the evening. I had managed to bring things to quite an abrupt end, rather by mistake honestly. No confusing it – he asked me if I was done for the evening, or words to that effect, and I very clearly and plainly – quite simply – said “yes”. Within minutes he was gone, and my heart ached to see him walking away. Fuck. Seriously?

I don’t know how to reverse course on something like that. “Please stay.” That could be a place to start. I could hang out with that man for hours – have – and I miss living with him. I don’t actually understand why I chose to end the evening, really. Did I mis-speak? Well…I hurt. A lot. I’m in pain. By the time he’d gone I was in enough pain to be really regretting not doing yoga when I got home, and wondering if I really had taken that last dose of pain medication, my recollection of doing so seemed less clear, now. After-the-fact none of that seems at all relevant, and I wish I had spoken up before he left – simply, plainly, and clearly, and asked him to stay.

We've all got baggage.

We’ve all got baggage.

But that’s the bit about me…and I can get past that pretty easily and give myself a break. It’s nagging at me that if I feel this way – missing him so much it literally hurts – have I also caused him that pain? That’s actually not okay with me, and I make a point of trying to apologize…by email, because he’s driving…not entirely certain that my perception of having hurt him is even accurate, but trying to use simple kind language to say I’m sorry anyway – because I’m sorry that I might have hurt him in that way, and if I didn’t actually hurt him that would still be true. I’m not actually very good at that kind of thing, and it often ends up misunderstood. Still… It matters to me when he apologizes because he feels he has wronged me in some way, even if I didn’t have the experience of being wronged, so it makes sense to say I’m sorry – because I am.

Love.

Love.

Now it’s this quiet evening, alone. I’m okay with that, just taken by surprise by the unexpected choice. I sit quietly considering why I did not take action to change course in a firm practical way? I sit with the emotions I feel as I play it back like a video. There! I spot the fear that stalled me, off in a dark corner of my thinking, tangled up in the chaos and damage… but it’s not that big a deal, and I am not a puddle of tears, or freaked out with anxiety, insecurity and dread. I am loved. Sometimes I’m cluelessly hurtful in spite of meaning well – and in spite of that, I am loved. I think about my traveling partner, and something he said about a t.v. show he likes, and I smile hoping he has his feet up, watching it, and enjoying the evening. I roll out my yoga mat, and put my playlist on.