JUST START

It’s friggin’ hard!

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.

 

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

I read Sheba the riot act this morning.  Enough! I told her firmly.  Two days of her constant restlessness and attachment to me was taking its toll.  Life could not go on as is. Time to put in some boundaries.  She was developing some bad behaviour from our coddling because of her anxiety attacks.

ShebaShe could not tell us what the problem was but she was always a bit of a scarity cat right from puppyhood.  She would not leave the kitchen area.  The only way for me to get her out the yard for a walk was to take her in the car and drive to the neighbourhood park. We got an igloo dog house for Christmas the first year.  She was scared of it and I had to go in with her.  That is, I had to lay down and stick my head in.  What I wouldn’t do for Sheba. She outgrew all these, but now….

I am getting weary – and frustrated.  Seems like every time she make some progress, she gets another episode.  I have witnessed some of her attacks and there doesn’t seem to be any triggers.  She would be playing, eating or not do anything particular when she would stop, yelp and come running to me, shaking.  She has always settled down after it all passed and rest.  Lately, she’s been restless and watchful all the time.  We have to stay with her while she eats.  And she needs company to go out to potty.

We had been at the vet not too long ago and I had mentioned her anxiety attacks.  She passed her physical and bloodwork.  I’m calling forth patience and calmness to get both of us through this.  I wonder if HE is testing me.  How serious am I with my meditation and yoga practice?

It’s a piece of cake to practice when things are hunky dory.  It’s quite another when they aren’t.  The aren’ts crowd and overtake my mind.  I breathe and find my way back, reminding myself that it is precisely for these times that I am practicing for.  I am still on track.  God has a way of keeping his eyes on me.

This morning I would have abandoned my new way of eating.  I would have say “Give me 2 eggs and 2 pieces of toast.  I wanted to fill that hole created by stress and it would be a start towards that slippery slope.  But we only had 2 eggs in the fridge – one for me and one for my Significant Other.  Saved by what is!

Sheba and I are soldiering on.   She is resting after a morning walk.  The streets are better but still is treacherously slippery.  I am happy that I haven’t fallen as some poor woman did, walking her dogs.  I have done some research on dogs and anxiety and trying out some remedies.  I will be patient and calm and breathe through it all.

 

 

LIVING THE WHOLE DANG CATASTROPHE

IMG_2275There is always something to be grateful for – even in anxiety and sleepless nights.  You suffer in both, sometimes unbearably.  Never a stoic, someone who can keep a stiff upper lip, I seek for relief relentlessly. It is no surprise that I have a whole library of self-help books.  By now, I could write my own.  I should start making notes.  What I know for sure is, there is no permanent fix.  But you can learn from each episode and make it easier for your next time.  It’s still about doing your best and then letting go.  Perhaps, you might find me too direct, up front and revealing.  But what/who does that hurt – admitting that I am human and flawed?  I am with you all in the milieu catastrophe of life.

IMG_1895In the middle of a sleepless angst, I rose from my bed one night and migrated to the kitchen.  I made a cup of ginger tea and cuddled up under my Hudson’s Bay blanket with an old friend – Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living.  I’ve read it a time or two and have practiced some of the exercises in it.  You know how we human beings are. When the going gets tough, we are so serious and dedicated.  Once the crisis is over, we stray and then abandon the practice altogether – till the next time.

This is my next time.  I’m doing the practice again – of sitting and watching my breath for 15 minutes.  The first time was not too bad, being the first.  I was full of resolve.  I can do anything in that state.  I felt some discomfort the 2nd time.  My thoughts strayed.  I wanted to water the plants.  I wanted to make soup. I wanted to get out of my skin!  I breathed and felt the rise and fall of my belly.  The 15 minutes passed.

Today is my 3rd day.  The 15 minutes are easier.  The mind wanders.  I accept it.  It is what it is.  I have 4 more days to complete the week.  Then it is 7 more weeks, working up to 45 minutes of formal meditation, of watching my breath.  Can I do it?  Yes! Yes! Yes!  It is worth the effort to come out from under the thumb of my misfiring mind.  If I don’t try, it won’t happen.  I can always do my best, whatever it is on any given day.

IMG_6946Miraculously I am myself again.  It is as if someone has put the patches on my chest and defibrillated me.  I am at ease.  It is as if it never happened.  It’s like a bad dream, a nightmare.  I shake my head and wonder what the hell had happened.  It matters not. I pick myself up, dust myself off and truck on down the road.  Life goes on.  So do I – not quite an EverReady battery.