It’s hard to pull up my socks once they’ve fallen down. The struggle is real. Things are piling up on my desk, the dining room table and in my head again. I hope I have caught myself in time before I fall completely down the rabbit hole. I’ve stopped the conversation on the keyboard for just a week. It is hard starting again. I’ll just sit awhile and drink my tea and try to feel out where the difficulty lies. There’s no rush. It’s not going away. It’s waiting for me.
What I’ve learned from this is not to let things come to a grinding halt. It felt good the first day so I did it again the next and the next and so on. And here I am, trying to work myself back into a schedule, a routine of some sort wherein I can feel good and alive – that I am interacting with and a part of the world. I am not happy with persistent languor, hanging out amidst and buried under my unfiled, undelt with and unfinished piles.
When I think of clearing and dealing with it all, I feel overwhelmed and hopeless. I move a few things around and about. I have not made space or homes for anything and everything. It’s not a surprise that I got nowhere and gave up, moving on to familiar, more comfortable activities like watching Inspector Wexford on YouTube. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a British crime series, a Ruth Rendall mystery. The episodes have a story and plot. They are quite unlike a lot of modern American crime shows where the catch is violence, sex and fast car chases. Still, it is a crutch I fall on when it is hard for me to do what I need to be doing.
Talking about movies and distractions, I’ve come to realize that I am addicted to crime genres in movies, TV shows and books as well. I haven’t been always so. I used to like a good story and romance. Now I find them a bit tedious and slow going. My attention span have been shortened by action dramas and crime fiction. I’m trying to work my way back to being not so lazy. I used to read books like Marjorie Morningstar and East of Eden. Now I read Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series and such. But I am working on J.R. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. It’s slow going but she is a very good writer with lots of detailed descriptions. It’s a good exercise for slowing my brain and hopefully help increase my attention span.
I am having a wee bit of success. I’m concentrating on finishing this post. I am taking more time in proof reading and editing. Hopefully I am making more sense. I’ve identified a few of my clutter problems. I need to find homes for my things so that they are not strewn here and there. I need to deal with my mail (electronic and snail) daily. They build up quicker than I can think. Yesterday I deleted hundreds of emails, some from July. I’ve been in this spot more than a few times. I’m still the gerbil on the wheel. The best solution for me is to think things through slowly, identify, have an action plan and follow through.
Another morning, another second cup of tea. It’s warmer both in and out of the greenhouse. I’m very hopeful my tomatoes will thrive and bear fruit by June. I’m not exactly thriving. Another slow morning. I think I am a bit under the weather. I will give myself a break today and stay off the ski trails. They are not their best anyways. It has just been an outing to stretch my legs the last two days. Even the Wildwood Golf Course was a bust. I had a few almost oops! But the fresh air, open space and the sky was worth the effort. It was a little country inside the city.
I’m happy to find my way back to the keyboard. These morning conversations are helping me to start the day. They’re a help for my mental health. I can mutter away and not bother any ears except the ones that want the bothering. I can get things off my chest, brain storm and start a creative process. They also help me by keeping track of things, a journal of gardening, cooking and whatever I have been doing. They’re kin to Julie Cameron’s Morning Pages. I like to use whatever tools I find to make life easier and more fulfilling. I love learning.
I’m learning it works to talk myself through difficult tasks. I ask myself what is it that makes it hard. Then I ask myself to describe and do each step. I try not to label myself lazy anymore, that it is just my brain thing. Thus, my laundry is folded and most of it put away. I still have those idiosyncrasies where I can’t put everything away or quite finish a job. I can work on that. I’ve fed Oscar, my sourdough starter, readying for starting some dough this afternoon. I’ve been trying for the last couple of days but haven’t muster enough energy. Today is the day.
My brother has just texted me telling me that our parents got their first Covid vaccines. Everything was very organized. It’s a huge relief. The sun is up and shining right on the greenhouse roof. It is -5℃ outside and 1.8℃ in the greenhouse. I’m looking forward to a great day.
There are so many things that are irking me right now. I suppose it can be a good thing. I’m restless, on the move instead of a drowsy potato on the couch. What is irking me, you ask. First of all, lack of REM sleep. The neighbour has installed a very bright and glaring lightbulb outside on her garage. It’s on 24 hours a day. The trouble is at night. The light seeps through our bedroom venetians which are installed between the panes. The reflection is quite bright. Though I can get to sleep, I can’t stay asleep. I wake frequently through the night. Last night we had to cover the windows with a light blanket and towel. They are still tacked up. Who wants to do that every night? Now I have to turn the light on in the bedroom during the day.
The thing to do would be to talk to her. Be proactive. Be direct. Her renter already told us he had no luck. She considers the light is her security system even though he tried to tell her it is a signal there is no one at home. I’ve had no past successes in negotiating with female neighbours. I will have to send the guy over. Maybe he has some charm. Solution number 2 would be to install a curtain rod to hang some dark drapes. But I love my non dust collecting in-between venetians and being able to see the beautiful wood frames. I’m trying not to rush into solving this. So blankets, towels and drapes for now.
I’m unsettled enough today that I’ve already got soup in the Instant Pot by 8:30 am. I’ve got a couple of rooms vacuumed and sorted out some tomatoes. Yes, there’s a bee in my bonnet that I’m trying to soothe.
It is Saturday, Sheba’s day. I’ve had a couple of restless, more energy kind of days. Now I’m just listless and drab. There’s no Sheba around to keep me on track. I have to do it all on my own power. I did go over to talk to the neighbour to talk about her high voltage ‘night light’. Alas/hooray she was not home, gone for the week. I wrote her a nice could-we-solve-this-problem note and taped it to her door. Thank goodness her renter had sense to turn out the light in the meantime. A week of no sleep and being pissed off would do me in.
Now I’m just pecking on my keyboard. It is soothing and calming. It’s like a pacemaker for my brain. I should come here more often. How many times have I said it now? Why don’t I just do it? It’s one of those mystery questions with no answer. I will carry on the best I can. I am not behind. I am not deficient. I am what I am. A little Dr. Seus here. I do so like Green Eggs and Ham even though I am not Sam-I-Am.
It’s Sunday morning coming down. I’m not as morose as Kris Kristofferson. It helps that I didn’t smoke my brain out last night. I didn’t have a beer for breakfast either. I’m trying not to give in to the season of my moods. I’m concentrating on the moment of now. So…I have a pot of yellow roma tomatoes stewing on the stove. They’re smelling super tangy. It’s a waker upper. Just what I need. I am not languishing on the couch with my book of crossword puzzles waiting for things to change.
This morning a memory came up on Facebook from a year ago. It was of our visit to Mount Carmel with Sheba last August. Sheba was running down the hill. She looked so vibrant and alive. It brought tears to my eyes. She had walked the Stations of the Cross with Rod.
It is almost lunch. The tomatoes have stewed enough. So have I. I have not languished the morning away. I am not unhappy. Just a little misty and nostalgic. I am paying attention to the moment and what is important. I am problem solving. I am making space. I am making peace.
I have a confession to make. You probably know what it is already. I don’t handle stress or change well. I sweat over the small and big stuff. I go into distress and fret mode. I obsesse about it. I exert more energy than it is necessary. I tire myself out. I’ve been observing and paying more attention lately. It’s a by product of my morning meditation that I’ve come back to. If you listen to a recording enough times, the drill comes back to you. So I hear Mark William’s or Jon Kabat-Zinn’s voice telling me to sit erect, at attention, being in the present, watching as each moment unfolds, with no need to change anything.
I find their voices and instructions very comforting. They play in my head as difficult thoughts and situations come up. I tell myself to take each moment as they come. What do I need to do in this moment, the next moment and the next one, to make things work for me? It is in the breaking things down in small do-able steps. It frees me from being immobilized with overwhelm. Then I can problem solve and see that it is not that difficult. I am not efficient at it yet. I still first go into overwhelm. I am stuck. I breathe and then the instructions play in my head. Then I do one step, then 2, 3 and so on.
Man, life sure is tough though. I relive this scenerio time and time again. I think this is for life. I see it as a thought in a cloud, drifting by my window. It is passing. There is no need to do anything but observe. And so another day in this challenge of living my life.
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.
This winter never will never end. It snowed again this morning. I see fine flakes floating around. I wonder if spring will come this year. The snow, the melt, the ice and water is wearing me down. They are all the things that I have no control. I better buckle up, give my buttercup self and pep talk and march on.
I’m marching one letter, then another across this page. I’m stringing them into words, sentences and thoughts. It gives me comfort to bend and tap my fingers on the keyboard. I am being proactive. I’m brainstorming and problem solving. I am not sitting inert in my gloom and misery. I am not stuck in myself. I’m sitting in my therapy chair, the therapist and patient, all in one. It’s very cost and otherwise effective. I don’t have very far to go and I’m not boring some stranger with my whining.
Since I have no one to impress but myself, I tend to stay with the facts. It cuts down the feeling sorry for myself blues. I have been paying attention to my conversations with other people. I find no satisfaction in reiterating past events and past wrongs. Rather, the opposite happens. It leaves me feeling worse. The best course of action for me is to leave it here on the page. I can censor, edit, add and delete here. In the physical world, once the cat is out of the bag, you can’t get it back in. Sometimes I would suffer the claw wounds if that was possible. It isn’t – POSSIBLE.
I’m just back from my afternoon walk with Sheba. Had thoughts of skipping today as it looked HARD with more wet snow. I had a talk with myself and buckled up my resolve. Don’t think. Put the leash on Sheba, shoes on me and GO. It worked and was easier than yesterday. Another difficult task done. I find so many things difficult. I am such a whiner. I whine but I do them. I almost said, let’s go out for lunch, too. The thought of bringing out and banging the pans around felt HARD. I was groaning inside. But once I started chopping the onions, the rest was history. The secret of any success is the START. It really isn’t such a secret but it feels good to claim the discovery of it.
It’s upsetting how stress can upset my day and body, even though it wasn’t mine. And it wasn’t all that critical. What do you do when you share the household? You can’t help but listen and help with the problem solving. Well, everything is resolved after four days. Four days is enough for it to seep into my system and my dreams. Now, I’m left with the excess and residual frustrations. It’s very well for the guy now that he has received his supplies. He goes off to his workshop.
I’m left here to solve my own frustrations, how to best regain my composure to get on with my program and day. I do have one, an important one, however meager and nondescript it may sound. The goal of my program is how not to let problems be so frustrating that they disrupt and rob me of energy. Problems are to be solved. Frustrations cannot be avoided at times. It is best I learn the skill of ‘dissolving’ it. Let it flow out of me.
I can see now that after the frustration/anger or whatnot is resolved, their energy still hangs around. It is up to me to diffuse it. The rhythm of tapping is soothing for me. With each tap I feel myself feeling calmer and seeing clearly. My feelings are my own responsibility. I do have the choice of how I react/deal with any situation. I do not blame anyone for my own misery. I find it very interesting how the day can get away on me. Now I’m calling it back. I do have that ability.
The day did not get away on me completely. I recognized that my mind was disturbed and disrupted. I used that disturbed energy to do the dirty work – like putting in a load of laundry. The energy was there to be used somehow and lo and behold it was done and hung to dry without much effort. I proceeded to water my bedding plants. The butternut squash seemed to be outgrowing their pots. They were transplanted into bigger ones. All done without much awareness. It doesn’t matter. Things got done. I am now aware.
It is helpful to take stock, to physically tap out the letters, words and sentences. I feel as if my morning was a dream lost. I’ve recaptured it and more. Now on with the show. This is it.
The roast is in the oven. Sheba and I have had our walk. She is fed and watered. The sun is still shining. Life is good again. I made it to my aerobics class this morning. It’s good not to feel like a mean person or a person with mean thoughts. My face is softer, less wrinkly and menacing. Smiles come without coaxing. I’m still humming, Heaven, I’m in heaven. It is one of the reasons why I write – to document these moments when the heavens shift whichever way it does. It is a testament of my moods, a referrel learning center to cast out shadows and doubts.
Memory can be tricky when I am not feeling my best. I can look back on my dated pages and see that my words and thoughts are not mean, dark or full of despair. They are my thoughts in words trying out different problem solving strategies. I document my light bulb moments and things that weigh on me. It’s a good thing so I shall carry on my daily ritual when possible. How do you problem solve? What rituals do you have?
I’m getting to know myself well now through my writing. I do not always meet my goal of 1000 words a day. In fact I haven’t even done it once! It’s been 5 years and I’m still reaching. It’s what happens in the beginning of a new venture. I got excited and set a high goal. It is not a bad thing because it is reasonable, within reach. You wouldn’t want to set a low goal, would you? Where would be the challenge? I’m still aiming for that 1,000 words. But they have to be worthy for the ideas they represent and not for the word count.
This is all I have today. Will reach again tomorrow.
October 2, 2017. Cloudy, rainy and windy, the stuff of ugly autumn days. I should not put labels on the day. It is a day. The weather has changed. The ugliness is my automatic reaction to change. I struggle with it. It throws a monkey wrench into my well grooved rut. It means I have to work harder to get my brain around the change/problem. I can feel my cortisol rising, my brain fogging up. Sometimes I want to cry and have a tantrum. I know it won’t help. Nobody can/will help. It’s my problem. Everybody has their own shit. Better buckle up and suck it up, Buttercup. You are a big girl now.
I’m tapping it up, or out. I’m taking a breath in and out, calming and clearing my head. I’ve reviewed the process of problem solving. What is the problem? What is it that I want to achieve? What is it that I need to do first, next, and then. I take my own advice and do the steps. There, done! Now I wait for the resolution.
What I know for sure is that I lack patience and concentration. My mind is fractured in a million directions. It probably is contributing to my sleeping problems in the last while. I need to stay more focused and not be so distracted and distraught – wasting energy, treading water. I am going to work on staying in the present moment using Caroline Myss’ advice. I will chart my progress here.
Five Rules for Staying in Present Time
Choose something in your life that you want to change, but make it a reasonable choice. Choose something that will require daily attention, such as exercising every day or changing your nutritional program. Whatever the choice, just make sure it’s something you really can accomplish each day without having to turn your world upside down. Pay attention to every obstacle or distraction that surfaces to prevent you from accomplishing your goal. Write down the obstacles along with your impressions about why you are sabotaging your practice to keep your awareness in present time.
Two times a day, create an image and see how long you can hold that image without any distraction from your external environment. Once again, make note of what distracts you—emotional concerns, noises, bodily discomfort, traveling into your past. Every form of distraction holds a literal and symbolic meaning. It’s worth the extra step to consider the meaning of your distractions.
Pay attention to your excuses and how often you use the past to excuse something you are doing or do not want to do in the present moment, particularly if you use illness or lack of energy.
Make note of what energizes you in the present moment. What makes you feel good? And then pay attention as to whether you think, say, or do something that sabotages your joys, particularly if what you think or do is based on the past.
Develop a mantra—a special short positive thought—that brings your attention back to present time.