Stability

This afternoon, an old friend arrives to stay for a week. I’m really looking forward to seeing him after eleven years. It will be fun. I have to work while he’s here, but we’ll have evenings together and one weekend.

I was thinking this morning about how quiet my life is right now. I’m really happy with that. I don’t have a lot of stuff going on. I wake early and meditate and exercise and go to work. I relax when I get home from work.

My sleep is not the best, but it seems to be adequate. I’m limiting my caffeine to two cups of tea each day.

I have some good friends that bring me joy. My children are all doing well at the moment, so that feels really good.

My ex is slowly becoming not-an-ex. We’ve only been on one date because of his schedule, but I’m not worried about it. The right thing will happen.

My meditation is good these days. Years ago I used guided visualization, and I highly recommend it. I’ve evolved to something closer to traditional meditation where I just concentrate on my breath. My mind wanders naturally, but I don’t judge it. I just calmly bring it back to my breath. I do it as often as necessary.

My life is quite boring right now. I feels really good.

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Feeling It

I had dinner last night with my ex. We talked for an hour and a half about all sorts of things. The topic of my childhood trauma came up. It felt very tender for me, but I talked. We discussed a lot of pleasant things, too. There was talk of current affairs and the tragic fires in California.

It’s too early to say we’re dating again. We both enjoyed last night a lot. We both said so, and he said he wants to do it again.

Now comes the tricky part for me. My nature is to rush in and flood him with love. I want to wash over him with goodness – with what I perceive as goodness. That’s my attachment style. I’m like a wave from the book I read recently – Wired for Dating by Stan Tatkin.

Now is when I get to practice a bit more patience. I get to breathe and pace myself. What does going slow look like? I think I’m going to be answering that question over the next weeks and months. I’m going to be breathing and walking through the feelings.

Breathing.

My meditation has changed this week. I’m doing less and breathing more. The words still pass through. They’re always there. My goal each time is to get just three good breaths, but while I’m concentrating on the rise and fall of my diaphragm, the words are still there. It’s quite humorous. They’re mostly words about whether or not this one is a good breath, or I’m counting this breath. They’re very quiet words, but they are there nonetheless.

I wonder what it’s like to breathe with a still mind. To be fully present in the breath. Even one would be a great accomplishment for me.

My mind is definitely quieter than years ago, but it still chases thoughts. It’s fine. It’s not a worry. It’s doing its job. I just want it to be a little quieter.

Feeling Good

Being me is a full-time job. (That is unrelated to this post, but it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about.)

I had a good meditation this morning. My meditation is changing a little. I have no idea if this is a permanent change or something that’s just happening because I need it right now.

When I meditate, I process stuff from my life. I release a lot of fear by visualizing myself gently pulling it out. I also get a good indication of what my daily energy feels like.

Lately, I’ve been doing less of the processing, and I’ve been spending more time just trying to concentrate on the breathing. Of course, my mind wanders, which is what it’s meant to do. I let it wander and then bring it back to the breathing without judging the fact it wandered. Letting go of the judging is key. It’s just wandering. It’s meaningless, so why get upset about it?

That’s trite to write it like that. I don’t remember when I was able to release the judgment, but it happened. I just kept returning my concentration to the breathing, and over time, the judgment attached to the wandering mind dissipated.

When I think about it, the mind is actually quite beautiful. It’s always busy trying to figure out what’s going on around me. Mine has a lot to do figuring out what’s going on inside me.

But the mind is not the most important thing I have going for me. Somehow being able to get a few good breaths with good concentration is more important than what the mind is doing. And when I’m in the middle of those breaths, I absolutely love my mind deeply. I love its wanderings.

Roller Coaster

Today, I am calmly anxious. Is that possible? I am functioning and getting work done, but I’m waiting for some news. I’ve been waiting for five days, and I have to continue to wait, and that makes me anxious.

Anxiety is part of bipolar disorder that is the most difficult for me to deal with these days. The medication keeps me stable, so I don’t have the swings of depression and mania. The anxiety is different. I talk about it at every therapy session.

The current anxiety is related to something I did last week. I reached out to my ex asking if he would like to talk. Reaching out to him was a decision that took me a long time to consider. A few days later, he replied asking what I wanted to talk about, and I answered that I wished to discuss whether or not reconciliation might be possible.

There are three possible outcomes. He may not reply at all, he may say he doesn’t wish to talk, or he may say that he would like to talk. The first possibility will take longer for me to process. The other two give firmer feelings for me. Right now, I’m living in the ambiguity of waiting, which is not a space I’m comfortable in. Actually, writing about it here has helped release a lot of anxiety. That’s always true for me. Whenever I speak about a worry, it loses its power.

I’m at peace with any outcome. I’ve meditated about this numerous times and will probably repeat it more. Meditation is free and easy. It gives me clarity in the midst of the anxiety. My favorite part of it is that it is limitless. I can use it as often as necessary.

After writing, I’m calm. For the moment, I’m no longer anxious. I’m grateful for this moment.

How to Meditate

I was just reminded talking to a friend how our preconceptions of meditation are wrong. It is not emptying the mind.

Meditation is breathing.

Sit comfortably. I sit on a stool with a cushion. Relax. Try to relax as much as you can while maintaining yourself in the seated posture.

Now simply concentrate on the motion of your diaphragm as you breathe. It rises when you inhale, and falls on the exhale.

Thoughts will come. It’s completely natural, and you cannot stop it. When you realize your mind has wandered, tell the thought that it has had its time, but now you’re going to go back to concentrating on your breath and diaphragm. Return your concentration to that.

Give yourself a small goal of trying to concentrate for 3 breaths. Then you’re mind will wander again, and you will return it to your breathing.

Don’t judge the thoughts. Don’t judge the fact that your mind wandered. Just allow it. If you find that you do judge it when your mind wanders, ask yourself why you’re judging. Then return your thoughts to your breathing again.

Concentrate on breathing. Allow the wandering mind. Return to concentrating on breathing. Over and over.

That’s it. That’s all meditation is. Nothing more.

A Rough Week

I’ve had a rough week. I got some unexpected bad news at work that really threw me for a loop, and it caused my anxiety to skyrocket. I’m extremely lucky that I work at a place with generous understanding of mental health issues, so I took off a day and half to recuperate. I really needed it.

I used the tools I have to get through the difficulty. I took the medicine the doctors gave me to help exactly at times like this. It really worked. It didn’t solve the problem, but it helped.

I also called and got an extra appointment with my psychologist. He had an opening, so I was able to get in. He was not mild with me, and I plan to tell him that I think some of his responses were inappropriate when I see him next week. I feel like I should be allowed to grieve for the problem at work, and he’s not giving me space to do that. He wants an immediate shift into the solution, and I want to grieve first. I know that sounds like I want to wallow in the problem, but dammit, if I want to wallow, it’s my wallowing. I get to own that wallowing. I get to feel it the whole way through. No one gets to tell me to “get over it.” I get to decide that for myself.

I meditated, and that helped. Again, it didn’t solve the problem, but I felt better doing it.

Walking helped, too. It got me out of my house and into the fresh air.

Now, I need a dog. It’s a dream.

Another Point of Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for a quiet place to meditate. I woke up late this morning, so my routine was curtailed a great deal. I only had time for a very short meditation. I could really feel it at work. I was distracted, and I could feel irritation starting to build.

I finished a task at work, and I walked down the street to the cathedral during my break. I sat in the back row and meditated. I sat there and breathed. The New Moon was last night, so I made some wishes, too. I felt so good when I finished. I’m calmer, and I don’t feel any irritation building.