Archives for posts with tag: your results may vary

It’s a Friday morning. A busy morning. A mostly sort of routine-ish morning. I’ve got my coffee (#2), and a day of work ahead of me. I’ve got errands to run and a reminder on my calendar. I’m okay with all of that, and feeling mostly sort of relaxed, and generally fairly organized.

The noise of contractors here at the house is a bit much to take. Calls and meetings would be affected. I’m fortunate to be able to easily reschedule all but one. I focus on work, then catch myself holding my breath – too focused. I take a break.

Take breaks. Mean it when you do; really step away, and take a minute to “just breathe” and maybe even let your mind wander! When I returned to work, I felt fresh and comfortably focused without stress or anxiety. It’s enough to notably improve what is already a decent morning. I sip my cold coffee, content and relaxed. It’s enough.

Before the work day began, this morning, I embarked on what I hope becomes a regular element of my new normal, my new morning routine; I went for a walk. It was only a mile, and really just around and about my local neighborhood, brisk, cane in hand, smiling and waving to neighbors getting their day started. It was pleasant. I felt energized for the day ahead by the time I returned home. It’s not a hike in the forest or anything, but it’s a nice contribution to my general wellness and fitness.

I discover a pleasantly inaccessible bit of green space within the neighborhood.

It’s a nicely level walk, on suburban sidewalks, nestled in the countryside, tucked between a local highway and the “old” version of that route. Since I sometimes walk very early, as early as those last dark pre-dawn minutes, straying from the pavement would present needless hazards for my messed up ankle. I take my cane, and my patience with myself (and my middle-aged, less-than-ideally-fit-but-working-on-it limitations), and enjoy the journey for what it is. A gentle moment with the woman in the mirror as the way ahead becomes steps fading behind me. I see things I missed before, each time I make the trip around the neighborhood; it’s still very new.

I stop near where the creek that runs behind the house becomes a mere trickle, and wonder what is holding back the flow?

I walk on, wondering what “holds back my flow’ in life, love, and art… just… you know, “along the way”, and how can I “do more, better” without exhausting myself, or finding myself mired in resentment or resistance? I think about the need for healthy breaks, and how that improves my productivity at work… There’s something to learn here.

…I drink some water, and begin again. πŸ™‚

 

It’s an “eat a bag of dicks, Tuesday”, sort of morning, so far. My coffee is half-cold, somewhat bitter, and vaguely annoying. My interactions with my Traveling Partner have been unpleasant. The day begins poorly. (I mean, it could be worse, for sure, and for most values of “how are things?”, “things” are “fine”.) I’ve already had an assortment of “what the fuck?” moments, a handful of “for fucks’ sake, seriously??” moments, and one definite “I don’t want to be around you right now” moment. Shitty. Seriously unpleasant.

…Meditation did occur… it mostly sort of helped… some…

It’s not at all clear to me “why this morning?”, and I take another deep breath, exhale, and try again to let that shit go. Humans being human, there’s a reasonable likelihood that there is no clear resolvable root-cause to dissect, that would leave behind only heartfelt appreciation and simple actions to take (then we all live happily ever after). We’re each having our own experience – which works out just fine, generally, unless people get hung up on insisting their singular individual experience is The One True Truth and sole description of all observable phenomena. That’s notΒ likely to be the case, regardless who you are and what your vast perspective may encompass. We only “know” what we know, and can’t even approach knowing what that other person “knows”. Even if we’re told, what we end up with is often only an approximate understanding of that other person’s perspective. Complicating things comically (for some values of “funny”), we’re often very certain of things we’re totally incorrect about, factually. Fuck. Humans are weird.

…At least no one was yelling. I find raised voices triggering (I’m pretty sure my partner does, too), and I definitely don’t need that today (no one does). Obviously.

…Is it “obvious”? What’s “obvious” about it at all? Pretty subjective shit there. Hell, what’s “obvious” about anything, where human beings are concerned? I pause to reflect on the subjective nature of reality, while I sip this shit-tastic cup of “coffee”. Fucking hell. I made this?? (…And now I’m forcing myself to actually drink it? Good grief.) I snarl quietly at myself for not managing to be a better human being when it’s such an easy thing to do. I could for sure do better. (Couldn’t you?)

Stare at something long enough it may appear to be more significant than it is

…Doing better is definitely on my agenda for today. And dusting. Dusting is also on my list of things to do today (I forgot to do it yesterday, although I’d planned to). (“Be a better human being/partner” is on my agenda every day, but it’s a big ask some days, more than others.) I remind myself to take time to dust. And be a better person.

Getting here was a journey – it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

Some time later, my Traveling Partner approaches me with considerable care. We converse calmly for a few moments. He looks sad. I feel sad. The morning feels “broken”. It would be painfully easy to extrapolate that the relationship itself is also “broken”. Catastrophizing small moments is easy for human primates. Almost convenient. Another breath. Another exhalation. Another letting go of “it”. Another chance to begin again. (Fuck this is hard sometimes!) I remind myself that love matters most. I pause to reflect on how very loved I am, and to feel the love that fills my heart when I think of my partner. I “listen again” to the things he’s said that tell truths about how to love him well: needs, limitations, boundaries, common misunderstandings, fears, heartfelt yearnings, desires, obstacles, frustrations small and large… all the things. I’ve got plenty to work with, and a lot to think about.

I set a reminder for (more) meditation, for later. (Today clearly calls for as much time spent on that as I can spare.) I glare at my work calendar. The routine of work is calming, but feels like a “cheat”. Calm is good, though, and has lasting value that could improve the day.

I stare unenthusiastically at my calendars – work and personal – one full, the other empty (of planned activity). I look over my “to do list”. “Acts of service” are one of the ways I show love…but admittedly, I’m not feeling very knowledgeable in the ways of love and loving, this morning, and find myself fretful and concerned that I’m “on the wrong path”. My head aches with the effort involved in emotional control as I stare into work tools. There’s an entire day ahead of me. This morning an entire day of new beginnings ahead feels sort of bleak and repetitive.

…Fucking hell, I’ve got to get past this shit…

Sometimes it seems a lot of work, and I’m not sure I’m on the right path…

…This too will pass. I remind myself to be aware of the differences between emotional weather, and emotional climate.

My Traveling Partner approaches again with some observations about his computer monitor, a new simulation that he’s interested in, and what is frustrating him about those experiences. I listen carefully, empathize and commiserate. We connect. He returns to his planned day, I return to mine.

It’s time to begin again. It’s tough to end a difficult moment without beginning a new one. It’s helpful to stay open to the possibility of success, and let go of as much baggage as I can. My results are going to vary – it’s a very human experience. It’s going to require practice. πŸ™‚

 

 

I started the morning with meditation. Coffee came later. πŸ™‚ Nice morning for it. Not much to say about it. Pleasant morning.

It’s a work day, in the time of the pandemic. I am grateful to be employed. I’m grateful to be housed. I’m grateful that so much is going to so well in my life right now. I sip my coffee and sit quietly with thoughts of what is going well, what feels good, what is working out smoothly. Thoughts of sufficiency, thoughts of contentment.

…The point is not that my life is perfect, the point is to spend more time “dwelling on” what is going well, rather than investing that time in ruminations of what “sucks”, what “isn’t working out”, what is “holding me back”, or things that are painful, problematic, or inconvenient. Seriously. It’s a key practice I can’t recommend strongly enough; spend more time contemplating what is working, what is pleasant, and what you enjoy in your life, than you do fussing or bitching about what isn’t going as well. It has the potential to change your implicit experience of life, to change your actual brain, and could result in a more pleasant experience of life, generally. It also just feels better.

We don’t just find our “happy place” – we also create (or destroy) it.

…Isn’t “feeling better” one of the things we’d all like to do? “Being” a “pessimist” (or someone who is very negative about life) is not a permanent affliction (doesn’t have to be, anyway) – you can choose. πŸ™‚ Yes, I’m even suggesting that in the face of living a “terrible” set of circumstances, it is possible to have a better experience than you may be having… with some carefully chosen practices, practiced with care and consistency, over time. No guarantee, of course; I’m not an expert, nor a doctor. My results have varied, surely yours will, also. Still… over the past decade I’ve gone from being a very cynical, rather bitter, wholly negative human being to someone who is generally fairly positive, mostly pretty optimistic, comfortably content much of the time, who feels a secure sense that, generally, most things will (or could) turn out acceptably okay. πŸ™‚ It’s enough (for me). Life feels pretty good, mostly.

…There are a lot of implied new beginnings in that last paragraph, not gonna lie. A lot of work has been involved in getting myself from “there” to “here”. I still have occasional down days and blue moments. I still sometimes struggle with my emotional wellness and mental health. I’m a human, being human.

I finish my coffee with a smile. Go for a walk? A soak in the spa? Do some yoga? Start work early? I think things over…

…It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Sometimes finding a happy place is surprisingly close to home.

Was it me? Was it them? Is anyone at all “right”? Is anyone “the good guy”? It doesn’t feel like it. We’re each having our own experience. Really listening to each other – both of us, reliably – is not a thing right now. This shit went so wrong that even the neighbors are awake with it. It’s not okay. I can tell I’m not “the good guy”. It’s pretty much a given that I’m not the good guy, any time shit blows up; complex PTSD is nasty shit, and most of the time, in most circumstances, when things fall apart this badly, this fast, it’s on me. I’m not being hard on myself, or sarcastic, or fatalistic, or catastrophizing. It’s just statistics. If something goes this badly, this quickly, I can reliably assume with considerable likelihood of being correct that it’s me, because far more often than not, it is. My words. My actions. My reactions. My… something. My PTSD. It’s hard to take, as answers go, and at least right now I’m feeling mostly despair and that bleak sense of “this again?” I feel like I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Metaphorically speaking.

…I’m so tired of it…

…I’m so tired of me.

Is this “who I am”, when it comes right down to it?

I’m tired of PTSD. So tired of it. The unexpected flash of unreasonable anger/frustration/rage/tears that sweeps in out of literally nowhere, and just lays waste to every fucking thing that could ever have been good about a moment is beyond comprehension, and seems defiant of management or control. It leaves an emotional film of unpleasantness and sorrow over everything that follows for some time.

…But… I have all these excellent practices… all this therapy behind me… all these good intentions… all this fucking work. My demons howl with laughter and general merriment. I can hear them like a Greek chorus, “Fuck your practices you stupid meat puppet! We fucking own you. We will own you until it kills you or destroys everything you love.”

Sure, there’s shit my Traveling Partner fucks up, too. He’s human. I think it’s easy enough to acknowledge his humanity. Sometimes he’s wrong. Sometimes he’s an asshole. Sometimes he’s not either of those things, and shit still goes sideways. I’ve got to acknowledge that he definitely loves me, too; how else could he have stayed through so much of my bullshit? How else could he continue to approach me, seeking to calm things down and soothe me when he is hurting, himself?Β  Is it enough? Is love actually enough? Can it really keep me trying? Can it really lift me up? Is love enough to get me to hang in there through another freak out? Another break down? Another fuck up? Another moment of missed communication, sabotaged joy, lost delight? Is love enough to endure more of this shit? Is it unreasonable to expect it to be?

What do I even do right now? (What do I even do right, now?)

I’ve lost my appetite. My coffee tastes sour. My head aches. My tears just keep slowly flowing down my face. This is an incredibly painful moment. We’re on the edge of doing something really wonderful together… and I continue to suck as a human being. God damn it. Fucking hell. This is miserable.

…Why am I choosing misery?

(Breathe. Exhale. Let it go. Breathe. Exhale. Let it go, some more. Breathe, exhale, let it go, be here – present in this moment. I remind myself that I am “okay right now”.)

So, now what? I don’t know. I know my partner is hurting in the other room. Emotional pain because this was a painful moment. Physical pain because he’s a human, and aging fucking sucks; old injuries hurt worse as we age than they did when we were recovering from them. Both of us are hurting. There’s no physical violence in this relationship, but we sometimes treat each poorly. Harsh. Unkind words are for sure “better than a punch in the mouth” – but they aren’t good. It’s not what I want from myself. It’s not want I want for myself.

…I just want my pleasant relaxed morning back. I want to roll back the clock and treat my partner well, and feel well-treated in return. We missed our moment. I can’t refuse to own my part in that. I can’t turn away from my critical failures. The way out is through. We learn best through our mistakes and failures. Growth is uncomfortable.

“Begin again.” It’s feeble, but I heard it. That’s something, I guess. I think I want to, too. I just don’t feel confident about the outcome, right now. 😦 That’s even okay. It’s enough to make the effort. It’s enough to begin again.

…and again…

…and again…

We become what we practice. It’s time to practice calm. It’s time to practice loving words. It’s time to practice listening deeply.

…It’s time to begin again.

 

I slept badly. Restless dreams. Woke ahead of the alarm, feeling… alarmed. I turned over and got comfortable again, just in time to hear the alarm go off. I felt stiff and sore getting up, which has persisted beyond a few minutes of yoga. I made my coffee in the dim ambient lighting of various household indicator lights, and a small lamp left on. The morning feels chilly, and my bones ache. The pain in my neck is a pain in the neck, slowly becoming a headache. I remind myself to take something for that, before the work day begins. I sit quietly, for awhile, wondering what’s missing from my experience of the morning, this morning. Something feels missing

…At some point, after some reflection, I accept that I just “don’t feel into it” today… like… disengaged from my experience, and generally… uninterested. I try to tempt my consciousness to be a tad more joyful… or at least minimally appreciative to have another shot at living life… Minecraft? I shrug silently. “Whatever.” How’s the coffee? Fine, I guess. No enthusiasm. I’m in pain, and I slept badly, and this entire day ahead of me, from the vantage point of right here, right now, can just… yeah, I’m not so into it, this morning. I at least manage to avoid feeling altogether bleak.

So…okay. New day, old practices. I breathe deeply, and sit more upright. I exhale and feel my aching cramped shoulder, perpetually twisted in an impression of being a rock of some kind, relax just a bit. Another breath. Another exhalation. I let thoughts drift in, and I let each one go. The pain in my shoulder is connected to the pain in my neck, that becomes the headache at the base of my skull – and just on the left side, leaving the right side taunting me with what life could feel like if I didn’t hurt like this. I tear up a bit. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I let that go, too. These honest tears that threaten to fall aren’t shameful in anyway, I’m just… also not into that. lol

Time spent on meditation helps me gain some perspective. I know this is only “emotional weather”, and may source with unremembered dreams and poor quality sleep. It’ll pass. I remind myself to be kind – to myself, too – and give myself some support and consideration. The sky beyond my window reveals a gray rainy-looking day ahead. No wonder I hurt so much, I think to myself. Damn, …this headache, though…

I sip my coffee, and half-listen to a video I only half-wanted to watch, anyway. It doesn’t seem to matter. I find myself rather earnestly wanting to simply fold up into a pile of warm heavy blankets and just… cry. Or sleep. There is a work day ahead of me, and much adulting to do, on an utterly ordinary routine day in this life in the time of pandemic, and it’s not going to wait on a headache. I sigh quietly, and breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let that shit go… again. Feels like it may be a long day, today. I remind myself to let the moments unfold without pre-loading them with expectations and assumptions, and to give the day a chance to be more than this moment is, right now.

Practicing healthy practices that support emotional wellness day-to-day doesn’t mitigate my fundamental humanity, or erase the challenges I have – and my results vary. There is no “perfect” to get to, no “finish line” to cross with a champion’s raised arms, triumphant in victory. The journey is the destination… and sometimes the path is rough going, and poorly illuminated. This too will pass. It’s a moment. Like other moments, it is finite, and of limited consequence taken all on its own. I make a half-assed attempt at shrug. One day of many – sooner or later there will be one that isn’t characterized by contentment and joy. That’s just real. I let that go, too.

Another deep cleansing breath. I exhale. I relax. I think about a second coffee. It’s time to begin again.