It’s another Saturday morning, grey and misty. I am starting where I am. My desktop is cluttered with my cross stitching of Jesus. I have puddles of socks, slippers and Sheba’s toys at my feet. Yes, I am a messy disorganized lass. I’m working on it, ok? I’ve been tired and overwhelmed the last few days. I’m picking myself up, trying to dust myself off and start again where I left off. If I was to ‘fix’ everything before I start anything, I would still be in my mother’s womb. I’m doing the best I can. I’m obsessive, persistent and slow as a tortoise. We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. We slowpokes can win.
I’m not winning today though. It’s difficult to get past go. I’m leaving the race for another day. It’s no point in fighting, going upstream. I haven’t lost ground but maintaining my stand. I am still starting each day with meditation. It’s good to begin with a clean slate/mind. Some days my slate is cleaner than others. I’m reading my books page by page in order, not skipping ahead. It requires a lot of discipline from me.
Patience is not my virtue but I am sitting with my discomforts, breathing in and out, watching my thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. Yes, I’m easily addicted, watching too many episodes of Longmire and Call the Midwife on my iMac. It is soothing for my aggitated mind but I’m not wasteful with my time. I am stitching Jesus while I’m watching, making good progress. Yes, I’m multi-tasking but it is relaxing. It does not make me fret. Finishing Jesus is one of my goals. I’m killing several birds with one stone, sorta speak.
So here I am, almost at the end of the day. I’m glad to be back in this space, tapping out this post word by word. I’m finding rhythm tapping on the keyboard. The exercise grounds me. Documenting my days, charting my progress enables me to see my way ahead as well as where I have erred in the past.
It’s a cloudy Sunday morning. I’m enjoying my second cuppa. I hate to admit it but I’ve wasted the first hour upon waking on scrolling. I had meant to hook up with Mark Williams on YouTube for my daily meditation but I got snookered by the DailyOm page on Facebook instead. Their ads worked on me. I was lost in checking out the classess and reviews from happy and unhappy customers. It was quite addicting. Oh, just one more review…!
I did bring myself back to my sitting meditation. I comforted myself by the thought that it was the practice – bringing myself back to my purpose when I get distracted. Of course, the session was not as good as it could have been. It is real life. No 2 days/sessions are equal. I do the best I can. I’m here, aren’t I, tapping away on the keyboard, being in the moment, accounting for myself.
I have not implemented my spring cleaning plan. You probably know that. I do mean to, any day now. In the meantime, I try to do what is staring me right in the face. I was horrified to see the top of the china cabinet the other day. How could it get so dusty so quickly? I shouldn’t have looked up but I was looking for Nasonex there. Egad! my brain went into knots and spasms at the sight. But I fought my brain and I won. While I was waiting for the kettle to boil, I dusted the cabinet and everything on top of it. It was not difficult.
Now it is evening. I am bushed.exhausted.wiped. I am tired. I out did myself. My mission of cleaning my winter footwear and putting them away is accomplished. Kudos to me! They are no longer left to hang out collecting dust and cobwebs till next winter comes along. While I was at it I cleaned and polished a few other much neglected shoes. How the heck did I get this way? No energy left to ponder. Time to say good night.
This morning I am wondering if my ADHD cluttered brain leads me towards the path of depression. It is a very sunny gorgeous morning and I am not at all happy to be a victim of my defective brain. I don’t like to be at the mercy of the weather and other forces. I want to be the captain of my ship. I am hoping I will have more control at the helm with my practice of mindfulness.
To tell the truth, after my morning routines of 20 minutes of this and that, I am at a loss as to what to do. I have ‘much to do’ but they are a ‘clutter’ in my head. I envy people who talked about spring cleaning and can actually get it done. Mostly I talk about it and can never get pass one room. It really ticks me off. Then I fall into gloom, overwhelmed thinking of the rooms, the windows, the closets and tables of clutter and dust. I wonder how I can get past it all.
This morning after I’ve vacuumed the floor of Sheba’s hair and duff, I made a quick sweep of dust in the living room and part of the kitchen. Then I had to stop for a cuppa. And here I am now, tapping out my anguish. I’m remembering to Stop, Take a breath and relax. I tried to Observe this present moment. What am I hearing, seeing and feeling. I am Proceeding forward. STOP.
What I know for sure is, I do not want to do a Marie Kondo. To me, it seems obscene for a consultant to charge $100/hour for a minimum of 5 hours and $50 worth of travel outside of New York City. I wonder how many clutter bugs suffer from ADHD. Would it not be less costly to treat that than spending the money on stuff and then getting rid of them. But I am digressing. How will I solve my problem?
The thing I can’t see is the big picture. The picture is a great big undifferentiated blob in my mind. I have to chop it up into small squares and tackle each square at a time – much like the way I put my tablecloth together. When someone gives me verbal directions to anywhere or how to do anything, my eyes glaze over after the second sentence. I have tried many times to listen more intently but to no avail. However if it is written down, I am able to follow. Ah! Here is my answer. I should put that in practice. I have to figure out what I want to accomplish, break down the steps and write them down. Then DO them.
Some days, I yearn for all my yesterdays when I was young and mellow. I like the idea of being starry eyed and hopeful with the whole future ahead of me. That’s what the adults tell us. Now, I am one of those adults. I do not have that whole future ahead of me. Instead I have the limited edition. Does that make it more valuable? Whatever and however it is, it’s best I use that time to spend it in meaningful joyous splendour instead of lamenting for yesterdays.
It’s easier said than done though. I have spent at least half my life time languishing and sighing like a helpless damsel in distress. Habits die hard. They surface and resurface like sewer from a manhole. It’s bit difficult to put a lid on it. I keep trying. My efforts have not been in vain. I have made progress, small but still rewarding enough to keep me on track. I am walking down a new street now and not the same one with the manholes.
Days have passed and I’ve neglected being here but I’m still on track. I’m being mindful – doing the practice and reading the manual, page by page, not skimming nor skipping ahead. I will probably have days when I will falter. I will probably have days when I will skip. But then that is the practice – coming back again and again when I do. I have not faltered with my Jesus stitches. I am making very good progress, stitch by stitch, day by day. That is all I can ask of myself.
This morning I got out on the bright side of the bed despite that it was still dark out. One thing flowed into another without effort. I’m not going to look at the gift horse in the mouth. I’ve read my 20 minutes on the Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD. I’ve learned a new tool – labeling. It’s the describing of what’s noticed with a word or phrase. It stops the self criticism that ticks so persistently in me. I applied it to the many piles of dog poop left in back alleys by lazy owners. I see the word ‘disrespect’. Somehow having that word stops the anger, frustrations and then feeling bad about my reactions.
Being mindful is a wonderful way to start the morning. It cleans me from the inside out and I can begin with a new slate. I love to sit in meditation with Mark Williams as he guides me through the process. I’m taking into account his key notes in his mindfulness lecture. 1. Mindfulness to transform destructive emotions. 2. Mindfulness to help people to re-engage in the actualities of life. I would really love to engage in my life. My memories are always of living for other people.
So here I am at the end of the day. I’m toast now, mindless really. It’s alright. I’ve done well and have accomplished all that I set out to do. I struggled with the hardest job but I did it as soon as I was able. It was good to get it out of the way. The hardest weighs on me. If I were to leave it to the last, it would have hampered me. It would have prevented me from doing much of anything for the rest of the day. As I’ve dealt with it early on, I was able to move onto other things like my Jesus stitches and baking Sheba’s doggy biscuits. And I’m much happier for having done so.
Not every day and every minute are equal. I didn’t exactly bounce out of bed this morning. It was a slow wakening and lumbering up. No surprise that I did not do my reading nor meditation. However, one has to be flexible and try to work them in somehow. So this being an exercise morning, I did my mindfulness during the stepping up and down on the bench. I breathed in and out with the steps, putting my attention on my motions and body sensations. My mind did not wander much. When it did, I guided it back to what I was doing.
After class, someone mentioned how upset she was that someone left their dog poop right behind her car. That started me to recount a litany of my negative encounters with people while walking my dog. It left me with ugly feelings inside and the recognition that I must tell different stories. Reliving negative events serves no purpose except as a reminder not to revisit them. And just to show how hard it is to let sleeping dogs lie, I found a huge dog pile left behind our garage this afternoon. I’m fuming again. People and their shit!
I will make myself a cuppa and watch an episode of Call a Midwife for a treat. I got Season 2 and 3 from the library. I discovered the TV series on Netflix first free 30 days. Netflix lived up to its reputation of endless enterntainment. While I enjoyed it immensely, it was not good for my brain. It got easily addicted. I was quite content on the couch watching episode after episode. It required no effort. I was sucked into the vortex. In that 30 days I’ve watched the whole 6 seasons of Downton Abby. My brain felt sick after awhile. I did not renew after my 30 free days. It is harder for the addiction to kick in when I actually have to put a DVD into the player and hit play.
Now the day is over. I didn’t do my 20 minutes of reading. However, I did do my Jesus stitches. Sheba and I had our afternoon walk. Saskatoon is melting. Puddles of water everywhere. The snow is fast disappearing, making visible loads of dog poop left behind by lazy dog owners. I’m still on that rant. I better leave it behind with the poop. I had my happy hour doing my free motion stitching with my Bernina and watching the setting sun. Life is good somehow.
It’s 9:12 am. I’m doing well in some areas of my new life. I’ve done my reading for 20 minutes, 30 minutes of mindfulness meditation and almost 20 minutes of my Jesus stitches. I feel somewhat psychologically nauseous, not at all at one with the world. I do believe with a change in anything, I will feel worse before I will begin to feel better and that this is worth the effort. I know that in my head if not in my heart.
But hey, here I am, tapping out my testimony. I will feel what I feel, think what I think. I will try not to pass judgement on any of this. My hands feel weak, limp at the wrist. The Jesus stitches were more difficult this morning. I had to count rows, change threads, use my magnifying glass to see where in the pattern I’m at. It’s complicated. I hate complications. I hate the counting and recounting. I would like to coast and not to change threads and have all the stitches the same. But it would make for a bland, no picture, wouldn’t it? So I suck it up and breathe into and out of my frustrations. Another little section accompli. Now I have to go for my cuppa.
It is 12:16 pm. I’ve spent some time sewing on my tablecloth. Had another mishap with finger in the way of the needle. Not being mindful again but at least the needle did not break. I might have to wear a thimble on that finger. Lunch is finished but the dishes not yet dealt with. I’ve made my appointment at the hearing center at Costco to get my hearing checked and a consultation about hearing aids. Hearing loss, no matter how small, affects brain function. Not doing anything about it is laziness and procrastination on my part. It is another positive step for me.
The MUSTS are done for the day. I can coast relax a little for the rest of the day. It is advisable not to tax myself with too long a list. It would be good if I can do the dishes and a few other household chores. Then I need to schedule a happy hour or just 20 minutes.
Here I am, back in this space, tapping out my words and thoughts. It’s easy to let go of things, routines, habits, dreams and desires. I always have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and rise from my ever present inertia. It is easy for me to go with the flow but it is not good for me. I have to row against the tide. Otherwise I will be just treading water, to keep from drowning in the sea of clutter and unfinished projects. The Jesus cross stitch is one of many. I’ve started it many years if not decades ago. My starts are in fits – weeks, months and years apart. I will have to do better than that to get it finished. I can do better. I can work on it for 20 minutes a day to see what results I get. I will start now.
I am surprised that I can get in quite a few stitches in 20 minutes. I am now on day 2 of my project of getting things done. I’m applying the same method to read the Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD, 20 minutes/day. I’m being accountable by being here, tapping out the results. I’m going through some emotional turmoils today. I’m being mindful, observing my feelings in the moment, not running away from them. But I do not want them to colour me for the rest of the day and forever. I’m implementing small moments to interrupt my blues. There’s many short inspiring videos on YouTube that does the trick for me. Oprah is very cheerful and peppy.
What works the best for me is, of course, getting up and making that cuppa. It changes my posture and my environment. I have to get up and go to the kitchen to put the kettle on. My thoughts and emotions get a short interruption. It’s like that for me today. But I have the Jesus stitches in and the reading done. A few squares of free motion stitching on my table cloth are done without mishap. I’ve started an index card painting and am trying to finish this post. I’m still singing the blues on and off but the important thing is I can turn it off. It’s good enough.
It is March. We’ve left cold, cold February behind. The days are longer. The temperature is more moderate. The snow piles in the back alleys are slowly going down, revealing a lot of dog poo left behind by dog owners not looking after their shit. I see it on sidewalks as well. It does make me wonder and shake my head. I DO the responsible thing and pick up but I have been attacked more than a few times without probable cause. Not only that, I got yelled at once for making sure I got every piece that Sheba left, bagged and put in the garbage. The trouble was, I had put it in HER garbage bin in the back alley.
I was so surprised to hear this loud tapping as I was putting the doggy bag into the garbage. I felt like a deer in headlight. I looked up to see this woman in her window gesturing wildly at me and the bag fell out of my hand into HER garbage bin. She rushed to the door and flung it open. Her porky face was all red. “You don’t put your dog’s mess into my garbage!” She yelled. I was mesmerized, still a deer in headlights. Wow! It was like watching a movie. She got so upset that I was so careful kicking the snow to find all Sheba’s shit to bag and put into the garbage. It was February, the coldest February in the last 80 years. It will be frozen within minutes. What was the worry? Her bin was in the alley, city property.
I wonder if my emotions had been frozen by the temperature. I was unusally calm. I smiled at her, apologized and promised never to do it again. It left me with such a good feeling because I am normally a very reactive person. Maybe I have learned to tame and curb my reactiveness after all these long years. I still have that tape playing in my head, the loud tap, tapping on the window like a woodpecker’s. I see her chunky body in the door frame, her flushed fleshy face and her anger. All that because I had picked up and bagged my dog’s shit and put it in the garbage bin.
I wonder if I’ve myself behaved similarly. The answer is probably yes. How silly and trivial anything is, is all in the eye of the beholder and reactor. But I did swear after that incident, that I would be a little more discerning about the shit I lose my temper and sanity to. Some shit is just not worthy to lose my gasket and health over. I am sure I lose bits and pieces of myself when I do that. I am going to stop reacting and retaliating. I’m going to rethink and respond instead. I know I will fail some days. Then I will try to forgive myself. I’m learning about self care and the ADHD in me as well.
I’ve recently recognized myself as having ADHD when I was listening to The Current on CBC Radio. Since then I’ve been listening to many lectures by Dr. Russell Barkley, an internationally recognized authority on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children and adults. You can find them on his website or on YouTube. Rick Green is a Canadian comedian, satirist, actor, writer, and advocate for awareness of adult ADD. He is most well-known as co-creator of The Red Green Show. His website totallyadd.com contains a wealth of information.
So what have I done since I became aware of it in myself besides gathering all this information? I’ve been proactive in putting them into use since executing is my huge problem. Starting and stopping is also difficult for me. To stop overwhelm, I break things into small parts. To make a start in this space, I tap out a word, then a sentence. Sometimes it works. When it doesn’t, I get up and make myself a cuppa to settle the aggitation in my head.
I’m especially having trouble today. Not feeling super. I have so many f***king disorders. I’m not liking this sudden change to warmer temperatures. What a thing to complain about, eh? It’s a reality with me so I am learning to somehow thrive despite everything. I’m writing in that one inch picture frame that Anne Lamott talks about in Bird by Bird. It’s a very good book on writing and living. She writes:
“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”
I agree! It is the best dang advice for me, too. On many days I can’t see the whole picture, not the whole enchilada. I have to take a small bite at a time or else I could end up in a screaming malfunction. It’s not a pretty picture. I’m getting close to that point now. But before I stop, let me tell you that I’ve taken apart my Dyson Stick vacuum and cleaned all the parts and put them back together. A few days ago I phoned the company for a replacement part that was not working. I was delighted to find that I still have 7 months left on my warranty. The call took only minutes. In the past, I would not or could not have gotten there. Progress! But I have to keep at it.