Monday, July 18, 2016

Hello, World.

I've been pretty anxious lately. Out of sorts and off kilter, and feeling a bewildering mixture of completely 'blah' and apathetic in one breath, and then oscillating to feeling oversensitive and highly emotional in the next breath.  So, what's it going to be, mind? Do we care, or don't we?

I've been sweating the small stuff...and the big stuff. Some days, I just want to hide from the world and take a long nap or just veg in front of the TV all day and escape my reality until it's time to go to bed again. And, truth be told, some days I've done just that. Yay, depression and anxiety.

Today, I woke up on a trajectory of bland escapism. I had a bad dream last night (a dream that I can't even remember now), and when I woke, I felt a hollowness in the center of my body, the one that murmurs and hypnotizes, "eh, who cares if you don't do anything doesn't matter"...immediately followed by feeling of low grade despair that threatened to set in a as a result of that 'nothing', hopeless feeling. Good old apathy with its sidekick, sadness.

But, I got up and I made myself a cup of coffee, and for some reason I felt that today was a day that, for my own sanity and peace, I really needed (NEEDED) to "fake the funk" and ignore the shades of blue and gray vibrating in my head. Honestly, I'm not sure how I managed to escape the  hijack and convince myself that, yes, it was a good idea to get up, get moving and do anything (ANYTHING at all!) rather than retreat from all action and the blurred incentives of vitality, but I did.  I got my ass right on up. And, I ended up having a pretty productive and enjoyable day, culminating in a bottle (ahem 2!) of wine with my husband out on the deck, under the twinkle lights of the stars above (or, more noticeably, our Amazon-ordered outdoor hanging globe lights) amidst a summer cool Minnesota evening.

My day wasn't anything exciting or extraordinary. I sorted through a lot of boxes left over from the move, and I worked on some household organization while B was busy sharpening his carpentry skills outside in our beautiful backyard, building custom University of Michigan Cornhole boards for our housewarming party coming up next Friday (and hey, if you live in the TCs, you know us, you were missed on the original invite, and you wanna come par-TAY next Fri at our place, please reach out! We'd love to see you! We're contemplating whipping up some Jell-o shots, like we're 21 again! Hey, we don't have kids, so this type of partying is a rational conclusion! Plus, we have a hot tub and a fire pit! Yessss!). We took a late lunch break for some Jimmy John's and DQ...and several hours later we enjoyed a late night dinner of grilled chicken and homegrown basil and tomatoes for a Caprese salad (and those 2 bottles of wine), along with a lively phone call to my older sister, E. Simple pleasures.

I also decided, in my desire to set a new course for my weary and muted mind, that today was a good day to get to 2016 List Tackling.  So, this evening, I headed to Yoga by Candlelight at my yoga home here in Minne.  I'd never been to the candlelit practice, though it's something I'd wanted to exeprience (#14 on the 2016 list).

Through the years, especially since moving to Minneapolis, practicing yoga has become one of my reliable safe havens, a place where I can go to feel connected to the world, to reintegrate when I'm "out of body" and all over the map with my anxiety. And tonight, yoga by candlelight offered just that.

To be fair, the candlelit class was a lot like regular yoga. Class commenced at 7, so the sun was still seeping in through the skylights, and the candlelight itself was more of a footnote than the main idea (not surprising at this time of the year). Still, I found myself practicing with a group of people that I don't always see in the classes I attend regularly. I think that practicing with those "new to me" people, that energy shift, was just what I needed.

At each yoga practice, we are encouraged to set an intention or a dedication for our practice that day. I usually pick a person I care about to dedicate my practice to, or a way of being that I'd like to encourage in myself (like "peaceful" or "empathetic"). Today, the words "hello, world" were what my mind mustered.  In my mind, "hello, world" meant that I wanted to focus on engaging with the world and with my emotions, rather than defaulting to ignoring those feelings, to hiding.

During savasana, our candlelit teacher read "The Guest House."  This poem was exactly what I needed to hear at this point in my life, on this day.  The Guest house is about accepting all of our emotions and feelings, good, bad and apathetic, and welcoming in the lessons that each of those emotions has to teach us. However unpleasant, we invite the experience of those emotions in, to learn from those feelings... and then we move on..."to make room for some new delight" (as the poem says).

So, here we are.  I'm going to flow with it, to float with it. To let go, and welcome whatever it is that surfaces.

"Hello, world."

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Big Stuff

I'm going to cut to the's been a rough summer.

The world seems to be in some sort of maddening tailspin of pain and suffering, rampant with unbridled and age-old racism, bigotry, oppression and terrorism, filled with a self-righteous overpopulation that often seems more focused on being "Christian, white and right" than on living with compassion and love and prioritizing common ground, equality and human kindness to all. This summer alone we've been witness to Philando Castile, Miami, Brexit, Nice, Dallas, Trump and Pence...and a list of other global human driven atrocities that grows longer by the day and by the hour.

But, I'm not completely hopeless about the big stuff. I know that our world is resilient and capable of positive change. I know that we can find our way to more peaceful, compassionate and equal footing for everyone.

I don't know the answers, but I know that change at least starts by acknowledging the realness of the problems we have and their complexities, by having deep and productive conversations about important issues even if they make us uncomfortable, by educating ourselves, and by getting involved in our communities and showing love and compassion to one another. Being a bystander and an apologist is not an option for me.  I plan to be a part of those big, important next steps. "One foot in front of the other." It's time to move forward.

The Small Stuff

I'm going to cut to the's been a rough summer.

This is a personal blog, so I'm going to talk specifically about one of my own, individual challenges. The small stuff, if you will. I acknowledge that my personal challenges seem petty, pale and insignificant in comparison to the pain, suffering and injustices happening to people all over the world.

At the end of the school year, I was laid off from my guidance counseling assistant job and the school that I so thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. In more specific terms, I was "bumped," which I guess softens the blow a little, because I know that the people I worked for valued my hard work and abilities and did not want to see me permanently pack up my office and leave.

Last year I left my job on my terms, ready to leap into the unknown, eager for change and excited for the possibilities. This year,  I left on someone else's terms...the motivation that revved me up last year is harder to muster up...and right now I'm feeling a bit adrift.

Adrift...but not hopeless. I've learned a lot about myself this past year and that I am more resilient and capable of change than I previously thought. I know that eventually I will find my way. I have some ideas on my next steps, and now it's a simple matter of choosing one rabbit to chase."One foot in front of the other." It's time to move forward.

But that's just the small stuff...