Mindfulness is hard after a night of ups and downs when interrupted sleep creates cracks that let fear in, the kind of fear that surfaces in the night when there is nothing, no defenses to keep it at bay.
Hard nights lead the way into hard days. My stomach doesn’t feel well. My head hurts. How can I stay mindful in a fog? Am I being mindful about the fog?
There are workmen coming to the cottage today. I have tried to reach them to ask if they can come another day but I haven’t heard back from them. I am shaky and a rush of anxiety is creating a ball of fear in my stomach. Fear again. How to keep the monster at bay?
I am starting a new business and I am afraid it won’t go and I am afraid I will not survive if it doesn’t. I don’t really believe it won’t but the knot in my stomach is doubling and tripling in the moment and I know that everything gets distorted when I feel like this. God, I forgot to take my pills.
Xanax, Lamictal, Effexor. 1,2,3, down the hatch.
A woman wrote to me yesterday asking about my views about Christianity. She is a strict Christian and disapproves of my open hearted, inclusive spiritual beliefs. Last night she told me she feared for my soul and where I would end up. I think my soul is just fine but it didn’t make for good bedtime reading. She said she cares about me but clearly thinks I am going straight to hell.
How to be mindful with those thoughts racketing around in my head. And my thoughts are not about questioning my immortal soul but I become very fearful when attacked in this way.
This moment. This very moment. I am okay in this moment. Breathe…
Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out… Tiny Delilah pug is in my lap, my 3 boys are around us, the pugs are here, the windows are open and a nice breeze is coming in, the parrots in the living room are chattering. I am here, in this moment, not on my way to hell or the poorhouse, I am okay, right now, in this moment, in my little cottage.
This very moment. Wild birds at the feeders just the other side of my window. Sun coming in at an angle that almost blinds me. The heating pad feels good on my aching back. Any minute now my aspirin will kick in. And the xanax will help. I hardly ever take it now, I am extremely cautious about medication, but these mornings it is a lifesaver.
I am afraid.
I will be okay.
At this very moment I am alright.
Delilah is in my lap and she is so soft. If I just rest my hand on her back, in her soft hair, and feel her breathing, her little heart beating, my own slows down and it helps.
Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out…
A reprieve! Thank God! The workmen just texted me and can come later in the week. My whole body just slumped in relief here in the chair.
At this very moment… the clock is ticking so loud, tick, tick, tick, tick… Somehow it steadies me.
I write this wondering if I can hit publish. This is one of the times my crazy shows, like a slip hanging down below the hem of your skirt. People stare and feel embarrassed for you. I don’t really get embarrassed but I don’t want to embarrass my children. But they rarely ever read this blog. And I am committed to this. 365 days no matter what. A journey of daily mindfulness doesn’t mean every day you get it right. It means every day you keep on trying.
I am trying.
5 minutes. I will give myself 5 more minutes, and then I have to get up. I have to feed all of the animals who understand what is happening to me and lay beside me waiting patiently, looking up at me with concerned looks on their faces. They know. They always know. When you live alone with animals you are so in sync with one another, the wordless communion between you is so powerful. This is another day that they will see me through.
The heating pad feels good, the parrots are chattering, Delilah has raised her tiny head and is looking at me with her big eyes, my old pug Sampson is jumping up, pawing at me softly. They want me to get up.
It is time. I think I am ready, I think I can do this. I have to do this. I will do this.
I feel that melting feeling inside that means the meds are kicking in. I can get up out of the safety of this chair and gingerly, and a bit unsteadily, start my day.
I will make it, I always do, I insist on it. Mindfulness will save me this day because if I keep coming back to this very moment, making a list of everything that is here, right now, right this moment, I know that I am not on my way to the poorhouse, or flaming fast toward Hades, and I know that it is okay to eliminate from my life people who do this to me. Self care is important. Compassion is one thing but it is not compassionate to allow such abuse, such vitriol to come at me when each day is something I have to work through, one day at a time.
Okay, I am okay, or I will be okay. I will start to climb the rungs of the ladder that I wrote about yesterday. I will move into the rituals and routines that move me through the hours. I am steadfast about this.
Breathing in, breathing out… I am okay. At. This. Very. Moment.