And now for something completely different…

If you live in the US and watch the evening news: That was me being carted away from my home in a raft when the Nisqually river flooded.

We were very fortunate; the water came up from underneath the duplex just enough to wet the back corner rugs – bedroom, closets, hall – but not enough to destroy anything significant. The garage was hit the worst and we lost quite a bit out of there but more on that later.

I say we were fortunate because a whole lot of folks around here lost everything. The unit next door to ours – the other end of the duplex – was hit so badly that they had to tear out and replace the floors. We spent one night away from home; the guy next door was away for several weeks.

Funny thing about what we lost from the garage: I had piles of boxes full of stuff sitting out there waiting to be unpacked and sorted through. My goal (for the last couple of years!) has been to ‘de-junk’ and organize out there, but every time I entered the garage I was just so overwhelmed … hadn’t made much progress on that goal.

Over the past year or so I’d had a series of dreams in which our home was destroyed by fire, and the first thing I thought in every one of those dreams was, Oh good; now I don’t have to sort through all that stuff. 

Guess what I was thinking when we were clearing out all that stuff from the garage.

Ha!

Bonus: After losing so much not only do I have the room to sort through and organize what’s left, it’s also going to be a lot easier to let go of the things I no longer need. It’s definitely cured me of my ‘hoarder’ tendencies. This is a good thing.

So. The meditation series is still on my ‘to do’ list, but as my ability to attend to that list hasn’t changed, it might take a while. We’ll see how long ‘a while’ is, huh?

Didn’t mention here that there was also a very large, critical event in my life in January. Won’t go into specifics but suffice it to say, here’s hoping the year’s crises are over and done with. Can’t expect smooth sailing of course but good grief I hope we’ve gotten the big stuff out of the way.

Side Notes: Small Successes

Let me say first that I sometimes throw myself the most magnificent pity parties – usually with fine snacks and often gifts as well – so I’m not looking for sympathy here.

That said, and just by way of offering a bit of background for this article: I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for many years now. A little over two years ago I fell – hard enough to be hospitalized for a week and then put in a physical rehabilitation facility for another three weeks – and after that, up until about a month ago I’d been unable to walk anywhere other than around the house… Then I bought a treadmill.

It took about three weeks for me to figure out the minimum number of minutes that I could reasonably say I’m able to do in any one session, as well as the minimum number of sessions I could do in any given week. I should note here that this ‘figuring out’ stuff wasn’t planned; it’s just how things went. I’m not that damn smart.

Anyway, what it’s come down to is this: If I’m able to use the treadmill at all, I can do five minutes, and even if I have a few bad days when I can’t do it at all, I can still swing three days a week. So this is my current goal: Five minutes, three times a week. If I can do more I will (and so far I have).

For me at this point, this is a fairly easy goal so it’s unlikely I’ll fail at it unless I dive into a really big flare (‘flare’ = more inflammation and pain than will allow me to function). If/when that happens I’ll just suspend the goal until I’m back on my feet, and if I’ve been down a long time I’ll probably have to whittle down the goal so that it’s still doable, and I’m okay with that.

It’d be more difficult to dial back my goals if I wasn’t prepared for the possibility. I guess you could call that an advantage to chronic illness for those of us who deal with that — we learn our limitations and how to work with them. Good grief I wish it was an easier lesson to learn.

The reason I’m setting goals is 1) because I can (as in, I am able to), and more importantly 2) because I get an ENORMOUS emotional payoff for small successes. I am all about comfort, and the payoff is hugely tied in to my comfort level in terms of how I feel about myself in general. Even better than my magnificent pity parties: Fabulous pats on my own back and melodious toots of my own horn. Yay me.

This is my point: Whether or not one is able to set goals, I think it’s really important to acknowledge and wholeheartedly accept the good feelings that arise from any successes, no matter how small.

Any new thing you do, no matter how little it can be done, it’s more than what was being done, yes? I’ve found that when I can manage not to make comparisons like ‘yay this is what I did but boo I should be doing more’ or ‘boo I have so far to go’ and just stick with ‘yay I did that’, oh boy I can squeeze a whole lot of comfort and enjoyment, pats on the back and toots of my horn out of getting even the smallest of things done.

Yay me!

Back to meditation next article. Probably.

Cycles, Revisited

The months following my last post were… wow. Really hard. Health issues flared up for weeks, and then the fatigue just hung on and on and on and and and…

I realized only recently that my two year depression-free streak had ended. Denied it for quite some time, but there it was. As I said before, this is part of my natural cycle; what made it so difficult to recognize was 1) I was (perhaps a bit overly) invested in keeping up my ‘streak’, and yet 2) I also wasn’t struggling with it like I always have before. That second reason is confirmation for me that my sense of self acceptance has gotten quite strong — although I declined to label it as depression, I did in fact recognize it as a ‘normal’ part of who I am.

There’s a fine line between acceptance and apathy, but over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at discerning when it was time for me to move on and start pushing myself forward again. Been doing that, gently, for about a month now. There have been good but still low energy days here and there, but yesterday I had an incredibly good day – physically and emotionally – and today’s the same. It’s too early to call it an upward trend, but … yeah. I can nudge myself in that direction and hope it’ll take.

Once I know for certain this is a trend and not just an isolated phenomenon, this is how I’ll feel:

Finally

Until then I will remain cautiously optimistic. If the fatigue (or a flare up) returns, at least I had a few very enjoyable days.

By the way, here’s what I listen to when I’m feeling productive:

My “Raucous Musics” Playlist

Have it playing – loudly – right now, in fact. It’s an eclectic collection of good beats and sometimes iffy lyrics. You’ve been warned. =-)

 

First blog post

Oh you’ve done it now. I’ve had this account for years, even posted a few times… but then life got WAY too complicated (in an entirely nighmarish way). Deleted first posts. Lost self. Stopped caring. Disconnected.

Although the nightmare ended a little over four years ago, it’s only in this past year or so that I’ve slowly begun to reconnect. Found the formless blob of my self. Started molding me into … whatever I am now, whatever I’m becoming.

Suddenly I have two subscribers. Seems a good time to start writing again. Not very long ago I would have said I no longer had the ability to write. *turn, mold, shape* Could be a bit rough, but that’s what happens sometimes when things are handmade.