“365 Days of Mindfulness” [Day 37] Stumbling Isn’t Falling…

It was going to happen. It was bound to happen. And the thing is, I’m alright with it. And oh my God is it ever a relief.

The thing I have worried about more than anything else in the whole wide world, when I started this journey of 365 days of recording my days as related to my practice of mindfulness, was that I was utterly terrified to miss a day. Historically when my bi polar disorder acts up and I miss a beat in any project I am doing I end up never getting back to it, or I try but it is hit and miss until I finally peter out.

I think what helped this time is that I had a real head of steam going and the thing is because so many of my posts have been published past midnight theoretically this IS the next consecutive day, but it’s not really, not the way I work.

I had a very very hard day yesterday, I cried a lot of the day. My sweet daughter Rachel comes on Monday night and I was so grateful that she was here but almost as soon as she got here I started crying, really crying. I do NOT do that. I do not want my children to worry about me. They are all young 30-somethings with their own young families, they all work very hard, Rachel has a 2 hour round trip drive to work every day where she works with children with autism, she is a psychologist, it is her specialty, she adores her kids, but the drive is very hard on her. This is our night to relax and have fun together, the last thing I want to do is burst into tears the minute she walks in the door, but the thing is I am not giving her credit for being all of who she is, all of the wonderful marvelous things that she is. As she has said to me before she would rather know what was going on and be able to help or support me than not know what was going on but know that something wasn’t right and worry about me. The not knowing was so much harder.

I finally calmed down and we hunkered down in the Cozy Room and talked for a very long time. I told her about a recurring dream that I was having, in slightly  different forms, but the same key elements, and how something bad would happen but it all turned out okay, in fact really magical. The theme of my dreams is usually magical realism. There is a house in the dream that has shown up so often I honestly can’t remember if I saw it somewhere or if I just dreamt it up, but in the dream it is somewhere I have lived, and loved very much, and had to leave, and longed to go back to. There were many other elements but after I got done she literally blew me away telling me what she felt the dream represented and meant. I won’t go into it here because frankly it’s just too private, but the thing is I understood what is going on with me right now better than I have in a very long time. I think it was forward thinking of me to have a child that would end up being a psychologist with me toting around a basket of mental health diagnoses. I don’t use her as a therapist, I have my own, but sometimes it really helps to talk something like this over with her.

I felt so much better after our long talk, and then we talked about family Christmas things, and finally watched an episode of our show. We are currently watching Downton Abbey and just love it.

After Rachel left, about 11, I got the dogs their night-time meds and treats and walked outside in the garden with them for awhile. It was really chilly and felt good, the brisk night air. I got ready for bed and then ended up spending a long time putting the graphic together for my newsletter subscribers — I am doing one for every day in December with fun ideas, and helpful things like journal exercises, how to have an inexpensive handmade Christmas and more — for those who subscribe and this is very important to me. By the time I finished it was after 1.

I had been crying so much of the day that I was physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually worn out. So many tears, so much processing, my bi polar brain was soggy. I started a blog entry that I really liked, and will finish for tomorrow or the next day, and I got a good chunk of it done but by 2 a.m. I had hit a brick wall. I was so numb I couldn’t go on. I kept redoing one sentence and it never made any sense at all. That’s when it hit me. I had to stop and do it today after I got a night’s sleep. And for some reason I was okay with it. I realized in that moment that delaying finishing it until a few hours later and technically sending it out a day later was perfectly okay. I knew it wouldn’t keep me from carrying on. I don’t know if it was just exhaustion but a perfect peace came over me and I slipped down into the covers and went to sleep.

I woke up this morning before the dogs did and as they were all sleeping so soundly I reached over for my phone and used my note program to make copious notes. I don’t usually do this on my phone, I am loathe to text because I don’t do it well but I wrote like a house-afire, thoughts were coming so quickly that I didn’t want to chance forgetting them. The point was that not getting the post done before I went to bed was not a calamity in the whole scheme of things. Life would go on and likely no one on the list would notice or even care. And when you are both a perfectionist and bi polar you are setting yourself up for constantly beating yourself up and feeling inadequate and less than. Perfectionism never really works out well for anybody, and when you know you have an issue that is just going to make your life uneven to beat yourself up on a regular basis only makes you feel worse. That’s when it came to me…

Stumbling is not falling…

I wasn’t going to not do this entry, it would get done. I wasn’t going to toss the project away, I was going to be a little later with one post. I tried to do it at the end of the day so I could gather my mindful moments during the day and be inspired by them to write the next post in this series, but the way my evenings go it just kept getting really late because until the dogs all get settled and the house is really quiet it’s hard for me to do this. I have decided I will now do them in the morning or early on in the day like now. Being illogical is a leitmotif in my life so I should have figured this out earlier but I was so afraid I wouldn’t keep up all I could focus on was steamrolling ahead no matter what so that wouldn’t happen. It lead to a lot of days where I was almost sick I was so tired, and when that happens I am setting myself up for all of my oddities and idiosyncrasies to sing arias all day long. It was getting worse and worse.

Now I need to work, really hard, to be able to make a living, but I also cannot do that if I do not manage my life better and take care of myself. When you get in these downward spirals, which is common for bi polary people, it is hard to pull out of it. I usually do but not until I am falling on my face or hit a wall so hard it knocks me for a loop and I spend a few days off-kilter, numb, and completely non-productive. It may be a little late in the game to change my patterns, but I am gosh darned determined to try.

So here I go, I am getting the post out and the newsletter, and I will design the graphic for tomorrow morning’s newsletter so it is ready to go, and I will get up in the morning and rested and in a better place I will move into a better rhythm. I am also designing a year long course that is essentially meant to send my students a mini ecourse each month to help create the best year of their lives, to support them through all of the ups and downs, and I am very excited about it. It will be called something like “Miracles and Mindfulness & Living Your Way Into The Life You Dream Of…” The first one will be going up January 1 and there will be a special reduced price for those who sign up before January 1 so I have double duty each day getting the mindfulness posts and the newsletters out and creating the new course material but I am very excited about it. Staying busy doing the work that I love is very important to me but I have to do it in a sane and healthy way and I am going to. The holidays are happening at the same time but I have plenty of time to do it all if I pace myself. This next year is going to be life changing for me. I am feeling really good about this.

There will be days that will be hard, where I will falter, and maybe even miss a day, but I know that I will continue on. This work I am doing now is not just essential to create income but it is the year that I intend to get my life together in a solid way so that I can move forward into my seventh decade with more confidence and greater ease. I may stumble, but I will not fall. I will pick myself up and carry on. Tomorrow is always a new day.

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…

Comments

  1. Profound and moving and wise. “Stumbling is not falling.” I could use that as a mantra for my many stumbles. Your honesty strengthens us all.

  2. aw honey, indeed stumbling isn’t falling. and even falling is not the end of the world.
    as long as you can breathe, you will write. remember that. as long as you can breathe, you will reach out to help other humans on their journey. and i for one am very grateful.
    you do not get a C, or a B minus, or even a B plus. You get an A for being Maitri, just as you are, wabi sabi , winsome and wise

    xo
    ka

  3. Thank you Maitri, for another inspiring and insightful post.
    I have been going through some difficult moments too, as my anxiety disorder has been ramped up these past few days. I ended up beating myself up a bit unfortunately, because I thought I had moved beyond this at this point in my life…very scary for me. So reading this (and frankly all) posts, helped me to see that I am not the only one who falters, or falls flat on my face…and that we just need to get back up, or to right ourselves, and continue on our journey. Thanks for being so open and for helping me to see that even with my difficulties, I still have so much to give and that my light still shines brightly, just as yours does for me. Love to you….

  4. Oh my darling sweet Donna, first of all, and I hope you won’t mind me saying this, but —

    YOU DID NOT FALL. YOU MERELY STUMBLED….

    I think when we live with these challenges we are far too hard on ourselves, and honey I surely understand.

    But honey, I have seen you come here again and again and despite your hard times you are here, you are present, you stumble but you keep coming back, you are my sister in this. Hold my hand, we will do this together.

    I know being afraid. I know worrying what will become of me if I have these hard times. I am almost 60 and I want to continue to do my work to help people and the thing is I have worked for nearly 40 years doing just the kind of work I am doing now and hoping to structure a business around but everyone has always known me doing it for free…. well, you can see where I am going with this. Now I need to use my gifts and talents and get paid for it, and then I stumble and I think, “Who am I to think people will pay me to do the things I have always given them for free?” And I plummet into despair, and I become afraid that I will lose my house and I would go without food myself before I would let my animals go hungry.. but you see, that is FEAR talking, that is WORST CASE SCENARIO TALKING, because I am fine right now and so are my animals and I believe we will be.

    Perhaps if I keep writing and you come and read and answer me and I answer you and so on we can help each other through this? What do you think?

    I am here Donna, and so are other wonderful souls. You are not alone. I am here, others are here, we have hard days, we stumble, but we do not fall. Believe me when I say this. A very very dear much loved member of our family, a young man with an 18 month old daughter, killed himself just short of two years ago. THAT is falling. We will not fall. You will not fall, I will not fall, we will have bad days but we will keep on keeping on. Okay? Right?

    We’re okay, both of us, and I am sending you so much love and a great big warm hug…

    Maitri

  5. Oh, my goodness, all you wonderful women and your wonderful wisdom is like having a dozen hugs when you need them the most. Isn’t it silly, how we’re all so hard on ourselves — we wouldn’t allow anyone in the world to treat another person the way we routinely treat ourselves! I try to remember that being kind to myself is as important as being kind to others, but I stumble with that as I do with so many other things. Someone told me once that stumbling now & again is a sign we’re moving. I hope that’s true.

    This summer has been one of great (and good) changes and forward movement, but I’ve run out of steam for the past few weeks and have been beating myself up for that. Imagine beating yourself up for being tired! This post reminded me that some kindness sent my own way would be a good thing about now. I’ve decided to cancel all the things I was going to do for the next two days and just stay home and nap, eat good, healthy food, read, soak in the bath. Did I mention napping? A mini spa. Pots of tea, feet up, cats in lap, a pile of good novels, music. Starting right now with a cup of chamomile tea with some local honey, turning the computer off, soaking in a bath, then early bed.

    Thanks, Maitri — and Donna & Katya & Cathryn. You have my permission to do the same thing, or your variation of the same. Blessings, all . . . and good night!

  6. Cathryn honey, thank you so so much. And yes, it is a good mantra and one I will be using myself. And we strengthen one another by being here together. You’ve no idea how much everyone’s kind comments to me have meant. I love you all…

    Maitri

  7. My Darling Sweet Sister Friend Katya…

    I have to tell you that I couldn’t even respond to your comment yesterday because every time I came back here and read it it made me cry. The love, gentle kindness, and well, you being you, just meant more to me that you could every know. You are one of the deepest dearest friends of my lifetime and I am so blessed having you as a dear friend. You have given me a gift here and I am going to print it out and put it in my journal, in fact I am going to print out ALL of the comments here and put them in my journal. They have meant the world to me. I so miss the days when we would get together over coffee or a meal and write together and in your old apartment that I dearly loved. I miss you, and again, your being here means the world to me. Thank you so much, again, for being here, my darling dearest Katya. I love you…

    Maitri

  8. Sweet Susann,

    First of all I think it is wondrous and true what you said. The comments after these posts have become almost like a community and I love that. You all have helped me so much and you have helped each other. I am so moved by that and so happy that that is happening.

    Next, regarding kindness, and I’ve said this many times in my writings, people are interested in my name because it is so unusual and many recognize “maitri” because it is a Buddhist teaching. I took the name Maitri Libellule, legally, after my divorce in 2005. Maitri, because the practice of maitri is one I deeply love, use, and is the core foundation of my life. The teaching in a nutshell is about loving-kindness and compassion but that we much first have it for ourselves before we can show these wonderful things to another. We can’t give from an empty well, we must nourish, love, and care for ourselves first, fill our own cup, and when we truly love ourselves we can be a fountain of loving kindness and compassion in the world.

    To that end I was simply delighted that you have devised this plan to take a few days off and rest and really use a lot of nourishing practices and activities to take care of yourself. They will be an amazing important part of becoming whole again and moving forward into your life with greater ease. Good for you…

    I am sending you so much love and a warm hug. Take care of you, love yourself, we love you.

    Blessings dearest,

    Maitri

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