Good morning, and welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! I’m sipping a peach mango V8, but there is coffee or tea available. I won’t judge…
I thought of writing last night to work on the character of Ellie. I have left her in a precarious situation. I already know how her story ends. She is a warrior. I just haven’t worked out how she escapes her predicament that I was last pondering. All good things take time, I suppose. Before that, I was composing this post in my head; to quote T.S. Eiliot: “How do I spit out the butt ends of my days and ways…” Sounds ugly, so maybe I am instead painting rainbows out of my doings.
The last week had a few dark and uncomfortable days tainted by reality. I can’t give specifics but it is the nature of my job to sometimes deal with uncomfortable situations. I am so often thankful these days that I started on the journey to grapple with my anxiety and accept the doctor’s diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder a year ago, just 3 months before COVID hit my area of the world.
I lighten the air with fantasy, envisioning talking flowers or animals, as if in a cartoon. I do this for me and for my students. Some days shine with meaning and purpose, while other days, I just respond to my needs. Breakfast, shower, clothing, work, work, work, decompress, dinner, exercise. Sleep. Socialization and emotional connection fits in somewhere, but it is so different in this socially-distanced era.
Friday nights I put my feet up, with my loyal dog at my side. I tire of watching someone else’s stories, though, having them stuffed down my throat, and I picture my own. They cannot be as terrible as the world today. Maybe they foretell of a brighter future, where we build the world we want to live in. Certainly not a world of cyber-bullying, sex-trafficking, or violence. We owe our children better than this. We need to teach them it is not alright, teach them how to turn the tides.
Who will teach the children to dream a new tomorrow, so they can make it true? To create better moments instead of just reacting? At night I train myself not to worry about the future of our children, or unseen threats and my own assumptions. I try, but training takes time. It’s an ongoing work in progress, one step up and two steps back…sometimes, 3 steps ahead, others, going nowhere. That’s okay though.
In the meantime, I love the sound of my dog snoring, love the cool evening air when I let him out and the morning sun peeking through window blinds.
I try to ponder these things and think of nothing else.
Sometimes it works, and my breathing slows.
I try, but sometimes the trying takes time.
Yet, I try, and sometimes the trying is a victory…
So, still, I try.
In other news, ‘coronophobia’ is now a valid term, researchers say. I work amongst middle school children daily, and I lean down (masked) when I can’t hear them talk. I social distance as much as possible, but I am not always behind my desk shield. I think I have good days and bad days, so I am not going to adopt that term; however, I believe it is real.
My phobias stem from so many other things, and yes, a healthy dash of hypochondria at times. It may have started with a hospitalization at age eight because I wasn’t eating right. My blood count was very low. I felt so alone for those few days, as Mom had to be at home with my three-year-old brother.
Suffice it to say, hospitals can really trigger me today. I have to be mindful. So here I am, dredging up my past. Therapy can lead to that. You think about why your mind goes to certain places. It is very helpful, though, in framing your thoughts, as if you are taking a picture of a moment that makes you feel triggered, yet you take the looming clouds out of it, because, it was only your mind that put them there and interpreted them as a threat or an ominous portend. I still can put up my guard, but now I can laugh at myself when I am overthinking things.
Thanks for joining me. I’m going to run into the kitchen to get my green tea, and you are welcome to a refill. The ‘cafe’ is playing something by Ben Harper, a guitar solo called “Winter is for Lovers.” Interesting idea on this rainy Valentine’s Day weekend! My ‘bae’ and I will go out for Mediterranean food tonight, and I’m cooking him spaghetti on Sunday. Have a great weekend, send out some love to the world, and stay the course my friends!
Noting the sounds around me is part of a mindfulness exercise from the book, Mindfulness Journal for Beginners. This exercise can help you to be more in the moment, especially if you are a worrier or an overthinker like I am. Here’s my top 10 for this morning:
1. I woke up hearing my son’s steps in the hall on his way to work. That gives me an idea of the time, and there was no need to sleep late, I had a good night’s sleep!
2. The pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor, excited to wake me up, or is he urgently needing to get outside?
3. My dog’s sneeze and snuffle as he’s telling me he wants to go out. He doesn’t use his bark much to communicate, but rather, uses facial expressions and other sounds.
4. Geese flying overhead as I step out back with the dog. Those geese just love Northeast Florida, don’t they?
5. Soft rain drops, not even a sprinkle; well, actually, I think it is just drips from the roof. No…now it is sprinkling. A peaceful sound.
6. Some construction machine, probably blocks away, but not a bothersome sound.
7. My Keureg Coffee machine brewing my half-caff Hazelnut. Yes, it’s time for a coffee day! You may have whatever you like!
8. A Youtube mix containing Of Monsters and Men hits, one of my favorite bands. The urgent Winter Sound will wake you up and fill you with determination; the mysterious Slow Life could just take you into deep sleep. The lyrics of many of their new songs are quite thought-provoking. I may switch to Miles Davis when the coffee is done brewing.
9. There is the usual tick-tock of the clock, but I can drown it out by turning the music up, and sometimes that is what I prefer.
10. If this were a real coffee shop, I’d hear the lull of voices discussing how good their coffee is, our wildest dreams and goals (owning a farm with many dogs and creating a writers’ camp, becoming a comedienne), or the antics of an interesting member in their family. It all sounds good, as I am vowing to have some me time later and not to focus much on my job today.
Okay, I suppose I must share one thought from my week, as I challenge myself to form a mindset that helps me survive the everyday stress and the pandemic distance:
“Don’t grow up too fast, but if you must, save the good moments of your childhood: running through sprinklers, dressing up as imaginary characters, laughing at ridiculous things. They will help you through many hard times as an adult.” -Pamela S. Canepa
Or, to quote a more famous author: “Don’t grow up too fast, Darling. Age is inevitable, but if you nurture a childlike heart, you’ll never, ever grow old.” -Beth Hoffman
My most important goal.
How are things in your world? I thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend and an even better week!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. Today, I drink green matcha tea, since I had coffee yesterday and experienced some bothersome sciatica. I started the matcha tea in an attempt to improve sleep and stress/anxiety reactions. I do think it helps in the long run, and I allow myself coffee 3 plus times a week. So now, I am experimenting to see if my nerves are calmer with the matcha tea, hoping that means I know one way to keep sciatica at bay. We shall see, right?
Bixby has had a haircut, and good timing, since it was 78 degrees yesterday here in Northeast Florida! It’s supposed to cool off again but won’t be below 40, so it’ll be fine.
On New Year’s resolutions
I always liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It is a great time to start over and look forward to a better year. I sort of did it differently this year. I’m reading and working on something called A Mindfulness for Beginners Journal. (That’s because, despite trying for fifteen years, I still suck at meditating, but I’ve accepted that some ideas that pop up at the wrong time could still be good ideas). Anyway, this journal gives recommendations on things or ways to ponder and disconnect from worry and the every-day grind. One suggestion was to think on an inspiring mantra, shut my eyes for a certain amount of time, and then write down the mantra or whatever variations occur to my mind.
Perhaps I was not narrow enough or focused enough (which I’m not), and I always break the rules with these ridiculous exercises; still, I will actually own it if I do it my way. I only call them ridiculous because I don’t do them exactly as they are prescribed. I’ll own that too. 🙂 Since mindfulness is a personal thing for all of us, don’t we need to access it in a way that works for us? I was writing each time something good popped into my head, thinking of the things I need to remind myself all throughout this coming year. Here’s what I have, in a quaint little graphic:
Yes, I am enough.
My gratitude today is for sleeping well last night, which is overall much better for my sciatica. They say practicing gratitude is a great way to stem off or fight anxiety, which I believe affects the nerve pain of sciatic. I will make it so. My belief is that, day after day, I can make a difference in this world while honoring my own needs and boundaries. I will make it so!
Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for stopping by. I hope your life is wonderful, and I’d love to hear what you feel gratitude for during, and despite, this COVID pandemic.
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali! My coffee is still brewing, please give me a moment….
Pull up a chair and grab a cup of whatever gets you going! As I was saying, I feel good, I wasn’t sure that I would… However, I feel like I am slowly leaving the club of overthinkers, OCD sufferers, etc. Intentionally; it has taken some work! Sleep was spotty last night, but I woke up to drive my son to work feeling good about life. Maybe it is just that all of the techniques I’ve been trying are finally coming together and working. In fact, sleep is my main complaint right now, but I feel okay waking up.
In the last week, I have: *visited an orthopedic surgeon. No surgery recommended! I have frozen shoulder, and he’s suggesting a shot to the shoulder joint. It is now scheduled for next Tuesday. Maybe it’ll help me sleep better!
*Attended physical therapy twice. On Thursday, he moved me to more strength-building exercises, and I was quite sore the next day, but I still feel good about it! This can help keep me healthy. My plan is to stay active the rest of my life.
*Gone to the beach for a 35 min. walk with my son. It was peaceful and awesome! First beach visit this summer; certainly not the last! I find walking on the beach to be very meditative, and it puts me in a state of gratitude.
*Written a little of my upcoming book, Ellie, the Time Traveler and edited my short story, Crossroads Diner #225.
Ellie is a mysterious character who surfaced in Undercurrents in Time and haunts the main character in Malachi, Ruse Master.
*Watched a FOUR and 1/2 HOUR school board meeting, whereby they decided to delay school start until 8/20 (It had been 8/10) and start with staggering the days for middle and high school, yet elementary gets 5 days of instruction. Parents can opt for their kids to get fully online learning. People have many differing opinions on this, but remember, kids in school are a hotbed of germs, and Florida is currently a hotbed for COVID-19. I myself have bought face shields, masks and scrubs that I can wash right on my return home. I also plan to get tested for COVID weekly. I hate that the meeting took so long; I had to sit for more than four hours straight with bated breath. *sigh* I just had to hear the decision. It directly affects my life.
*Went to the chiropractor for my spine health and enjoyed the hydra-bed and EMS for neck and shoulder. As you have probably inferred, it takes a village to straighten me out or to keep me straight! But I am getting into a good frame of mind for a new school year that promises to be super-weird and possibly stress-inducing, and I feel great about myself!
I am also fully convinced I can handle it all. How was your week? Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.
I’ve spent months not sleeping well and getting endless e-mails due to webinars you signed up for but never attended. Free yoga/workout videos. Mindfulness webinars. I can read the book, but attending a webinar is just not appealing to me these days. Journaling has been an awesome task to help mindfulness. I personally am tired of sitting at my computer for webinars and ZOOM meetings. I started taking more walks in my neighborhood, in the hot sun, just to move and to sweat, and it also is great for my mind, helping to stop any worry or obsessing.
I’m trying to keep calm amidst COVID fear and worries, as well as the preoccupation with how kids will return to school this August, whether it will be online or in-person, and how we will keep them (and teachers and staff) safe and healthy. This summer started out with me in a bad place due to my shoulder injury and pain, as well as my mind feeling flaky, spaced out, and unfocused. Lately, I have been working on a picture puzzle and have made great progress. I am also occasionally playing a word game on my phone to try and rebuild my focus and intellectual ability. Worry can really eat away at all of these things. I can’t just let me mind settle into a pattern of preoccupation with worry, so much so that I cannot focus on things I enjoy or that are important to me. You know, the fear that surrounds pain, it isn’t so bad anymore. In 2015, with huge family/parenting stresses and the advent of this arm pain, I went around fearing I wouldn’t live too long. I remember getting a will. I don’t feel that way now, and it makes a world of difference!
Pumpkin houses and flying fish, Oh my!
On the subject of COVID, I live in Florida, and we are having a boom in COVID cases. There are still several people I run into in public who do not wear a mask when out. My state now has more than 300,000 cases. I am pretty careful and wear a mask anytime I am in public, but if I’m outside walking alone or with the dog, I don’t wear one. It is awfully hot, you know. My son and I went for a free COVID test last Weds. just to ensure we are still healthy. I wanted to get one before school starts. It will be a few days before results come back.
Earlier, I got my exercise in on the Gazelle on my back porch. It felt so good to come back in and let the air conditioning cool the layer of sweat I had acquired. I’m using some good habits, and I want to keep them up! My shoulder issue is getting better, but my arm and hand hurt often and it slows me down from writing. Still, that is okay; to everything there is a season, and I am not in fear that it will control the rest of my life. Maybe I am just determined not to let it. I am still supposed to see an orthopedic surgeon this week because my doctor wanted an opinion. We will see what happens! Well, it’s time for me to relax, read a book, and maybe even take a nap. 🙂 Have a great weekend!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. If nothing else, we can keep in touch online, sharing a cyber latte, tea, or whatever you like!
Having sat outside with the dog for 10 minutes in the sun, I’ve been back indoors other than driving out to the Auto shop. I also had signed up for an online course in Mindfulness and started some of those modules today. It is something I enjoy learning about that is also very good for me, helping me to not be too worried or anxious during this world’s events. I’ll do more of that and the editing this week, since public schools have an extended Spring Break for two weeks now. Above, I am sporting what is now called Quarantinehair. Yes, there is actually a hashtag for it, found on Instagram. It is quite an easy ‘do, no brush!
Have a good week, my friends. Do not stress too much, but stay healthy and safe!