Beginnings are hard. How many times have I said that already? A zillion and yet I have found no easy solution. I just have to make a mark somewhere; say something, anything; make a decision one way or another; etc. etc. So often, too often, I’m frozen with indecision, speechless with no words, immobilized with inaction. Sometimes this is worse than doing and saying the wrong things. This is what I’m trying to push through today.
It is very disconcerting. I’m squirming with the discomfort but I’m learning to sit with it, however long it will take. I’m too addicted to the idea of speed, that it shouldn’t take time and effort to do anything. I’ve bought into the idea I can tap, search, enter, and presto! The thing is done. I’ve been short circuiting my brain and short changing myself the experience of doing, following through and completing. No wonder I’m absent minded and forgetful. I have no grooves to store anything. I flit from thing to thing, one idea to another in nana seconds. I do not allow feelings to sink in.
It’s been a few days since I wrote the above. I’m having a writer’s block. It could be I’m just lazy. I’m having a tough go finding meaningful ideas and words. In this moment I am hot and overcome with malaise. But I can still tap with my fingers. How strange that I could feel cold upon waking at 6 this morning. I don’t know what the temperature was then. By 10 am it was already 21 degrees Celsius. Now it is 28 Celsius. I’m feeling all the distress of daily fluctuating temperatures.
So what can I do to alleviate my distress? Coming back to this space helps. The rhythm of tapping on the keyboard is soothing. I’m flexing my small muscles. Asking the question starts me thinking about solutions. It lessens the feeling of being trapped and helpless. I’m quieting my mind and body, taking some deep slow breaths. Recently I came upon Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique where you breathe in to the count of 4, hold for count of 7 and breathe out to the count of 8 for 4 breath cycles. I’ve been doing this twice a day for a few days. I hope to keep it up for a month at least. It takes very little time and the benefits are huge.
What can I do? What have I done? I use these 2 questions when I am stuck and I’m stuck often. So I’ve just finished the dishes from lunch. I’m sitting here with my cuppa green tea. Thought I would try something new besides my usual Orange Pekoe, especially when I have a cupboard full of all sorts. Some of them are from Sri Lanka. I see that Orange Pekoe is not a bad choice. It has many health benefits. But I am going to shake up my taste buds and experiment with different teas as well as food. Green tea is even better than black tea because it is not as processed.
I’ve been reading the ebook, Ketotarian by Will Cole from the library. I found it very informative and useful so I ordered my own copy from Amazon. It has many recipes that I want to try out. I was going through my closet the other day and was dismayed to find that my waist line has increased many inches this past year. My belly fat is out of control and is hanging over the waist band. It is not helping my blue mood. It is another thing I can do to help myself. I do not need to let everything hang out. I hope the book will help me to keep some things in.
Life continues to be hard. It is the next morning. I have problems finishing things as well. I am trying my best. What I can do is make a list of what I have done.
I’ve gotten up, dressed up and shown up here today.
I do my qigong routine most mornings. I have done it today.
I’ve folded and put away yesterday’s laundry.
Sorted out my pants in the closet. Experienced items that did not give me joy. Those have been taken to Value Village.
Struggled with sorting, cleaning and putting away seeds,pots and trays for starting the bedding plants.
Struggled to be in the present moment every day.
Taken Sheba to the dog park more often. It’s good for her and myself as well to mingle with other dogs and people.
Do blocks of art. Mostly it’s been embroidery on the machine lately.
Questions and lists can prod me from being stuck. I have to make physical evidence of them. Having them in my head does no good. They would be fuel for rumination. I do that too much already. I have to get off my fat ass and work it! But what would be good to chew on is the 4 mantras that I’ve learned from Thick Nhat Hanh this morning.
It really is easier to keep the conversation going than to let it drop. It is like that with many things including relationships. Once dropped, it is difficult to pick up the thread of where you’ve left off. There are moments when I wondered if the dropped things are better left where they are. Is there any point in stirring the dead ashes of the conversations or anything else? Dead is dead. There are no hidden golden nuggets. What was is.
But I am a bit of a fool and a tenacious one at that, especially when I was younger. I tend to flog a dead horse alot. I keep hoping against hope that I can stir it to life and we can ride off into the sunset together. I guess you can call me a self-abuser. It’s worse than somebody else beating on me. But I haven’t seen it till now. So I guess it is good to have these conversations. It leads to self knowledge. There are hidden jewels in the debris after all. I can stop beating on the dead horse now.
There’s only the elephant in the room to deal with. But maybe not just now though. It’s best to let sleeping elephants lie. I know there is room. Let’s enjoy the peace. Let us not stir up trouble when there is none. Maybe there is no elephant to trip over. He only exist in my head, stitched in brilliantly coloured threads. He’s there to cheer me out of my glooms, to lend me his trunk to lean on. He can take my weight, ease my burden, lend me his ears. He is strong, silent and infinitely patient. He is my perfect imaginary friend. Do you have one?
Some days are harder to show up than others. I meant to come yesterday. When that didn’t happen I was trying for this morning but somehow I lost my way here. Distractions, thoughts, feelings, putting off and avoidance all contribute. It is always so much easier to go with the flow, not commit and not show up. But I am finally here in the after glow of supper and wine.
I have to admit that I’m feeling the boogeyman again.He shows up now and again. I’m awashed with the heebie jeebies. I’m ok though. I’m not off and running away to anywhere. I tell myself to stay. It’s just sensations. I’ve been practicing and applying mindfulness. It’s such synchronicity that I am reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart at this time, too. She tells us that fear and anxiety are all part of being human along with all the other emotions. They all serve a purpose. I am learning to see my feelings in a different way, trying not to label them as good or bad and not trying to rid them. I am the guest house as in Rumi’s poem.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
I could say that I have been falling apart for quite awhile now. I do not consider it a bad thing. There was great pain with the shattering of what I was that no longer worked. Pain is a great teacher. It is also very cleansing. It sweeps out all the debris. After the pain subsides, I feel such sweetness and I can see so much clearer. It is a time for reconstructing, putting back the parts of myself that I like and the parts that works. This is not to say that I will live happily ever after or that the boogeyman is vanquished forever. I am sure there will be more falling apart. The next time the boogeyman comes, I will think of him as Mr. Sandman. He is less edgy and much more friendly.
Sometimes if we ask ourselves the right questions, they can propel us forward instead of sinking in our personal mud holes. I asked myself this morning what can I do. What can I do not to slide backwards? What can I do to become the person I will like? What can I do to be a positive instead of a negative? What can I do? What can I do?
What can I do? was my echoing cry. Not much really. I am not capable of gigantic leaps or heroic deeds. I am helpless and hopeless amidst the shakers and movers of the world. I am but an inchworm inching along life’s path. I am unseen among the shining stars on the world’s stage. So I pound my chest and ask, What can I do to matter?
I hear no answers. There is but dead air. So I scratch my head and think for myself. I have to matter to myself. The next question is what matters to me? What brings a smile to my lips? What makes me feel generous? What makes me want to give of myself? What makes me feel soft and kind inside? What makes me cry? The questions bring more questions. They are stirring the pot within. I feel the broom going round and round inside. Answers swirl within, some articulate and some not. I am not yet prepare to see and acknowledge them.
I have always felt so urgent at fixing things – as if I must. As if my life depends on it. Now I am questioning myself. Does anything need fixing? And is it my job to do so? Can I just leave things alone? I can. I can let the pot full of questions sit and simmer for awhile. Let them answer for themselves. That is what I can do.
Today I’m still trying to ease my unease. The thing that works for me is to put it onto the page. I like to flex my fingers and let them tap on the keyboard. It’s like inhaling and exhaling. The brain is a wondrous and funny thing. Sometimes tiny bits of information creeps in and fear is instilled. It swirls around and manifests in annoying and debilitating ways. All of a sudden I find myself breathless. There is no air. I can’t expand my lungs. I have to reach back to a memory of another such occurrence. My brain and mind were in cahoots, playing a trick on me. I sit up tall, straighten my shoulders and breathe. I can!
This is what I have to do. Sometimes I have to play detective to find the source. I dismantle and cross out each possible cause. Eliminating stressors and things I am procrasinating about eases the tension in my body. I am doing something and not holding on to my unease. I give a sigh of relief with each one that I do. It builds confidence. There’s no need to be frozen with my anxiety and fears.
So now it is evening. I am sitting here with my lemon grass tea, inhaling and exhaling and expelling the stress of the afternoon. I had driven in the rain, in rush hour traffic at the worse time of the day. I survived the duties of the day. I can cross a few more items on my fear list. I can unfurrow and relax the lines across my forehead. I take a tylenol extra strength. Now I just have to bring in my bedding plants from the deck. It’s going down to 2 degrees tonight.
I feel anxiety and the blues nipping at my heels. What did I expect anyways? I listened to too many podcasts this morning. I should have just listened to the silence while making bread instead. I could have listened to the dough rising. Instead I listened to Oprah interviewing Tara Westover about her book, Educated. It’s an inspiring story but it’s difficult to listen to the stories of her dysfunctional family. It’s a book I will still read.
After that, it was the episode about the UN biodiversity report of how many species of living plants and animals are disappearing around the world. It’s damn depressing and scary stuff on top of climate change.
“Extinction looms over one million species of plants and animals worldwide, scientists said.”
It’s news I rather not know. But how can we not, even though some proclaim that there’s no such thing as climate change and dispute the facts presented by scientists? These days we are living with unease just barely beneath the skin. I feel it humming through my body and psyche. I could not listen to the next podcast that came up –As permafrost thaws in Canada’s Arctic. I had to shut it off. I am a chicken shit. Now I’m sitting here, trying to tap out my residues of fear and the blues. I no longer try to run away from them. Running makes them come after me. But perhaps I can do a walk away. It’s that time of day for Sheba’s walk. A little sunshine and fresh air are good for the soul but not so for the bogeymen.
It’s another Saturday. I’m still on my sabbatical from my Saturday morning swim. I’ve given in to my natural state of inertia. It’s nice to have a rest and enjoy the nothingness of a weekend morning. I was tempted to resist all physical efforts but the stiffness from yesterday’s tabata workout urged me to do my qigong routine. I was happy that I could overcome my resistance. I’m loosened and more relaxed for the rest of the day.
I want to get back into the swim next week or my inertia could go on forever. I am like that. A reminder that I have two big credit card bills coming due motivated me to settle them right after breakfast. It’s a wise move to do the hard things first. It lifts that burden so my mind is not preoccupied with it all day. I have learned some things in April. They’re working for me. I’m gaining small pockets of organization here and there. I am pleased. I have worked hard last month. It’s time to sit back a little and not be so uptight about everything.
But I know myself. I’m a bit anal. I am obsessive by nature. If something grabs my attention, it is difficult for me to do small doses at a time. So now that I’ve identified this trait in me, I’ll probably obsesse about correcting it. I guess it is not a bad thing but I will try to modify myself. I never run out of goals. I’m a self-improvement junkie. I think it is in my genes but at least it is not about drugs.
I’ve really enjoyed the free version of The Brain Change Summit presented by Sounds True. Brain health is another of my obsessions. I didn’t have time and energy to catch them all but was happy to catch the one on the Alzheimer’s Solution by Dr. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai. It was an excellent presentation with no magic cures/pills. The solution is more about prevention. I shall add their book to my list of readings. Enough muttering for now. Time for a little down time with Kinsey Millhone in O is for Outlaw.