Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

7Dec/200

Kitten Hijinks

Having a night where no title occurs to me so I'm noting something that's bringing joy to the darkening days as we get closer to winter. He's sitting in my lap purring loudly.

It was a day full of chores, video creation, and newsletter production. Plus making dinner and cleaning up the kitchen. It's always nice you start the week cleaned up.

I say that while in my head my Inner Jerk, "Whinnie", is telling me what a failure I am as a housekeeper. Yep, she's still around.

24Oct/200

My Brain, the Jerk

I'm having an night where I feel like I didn't really accomplish much and that's why I couldn't easily think of a title for this post. I had a similar moment trying to figure out what to make my comic about.

It's false, I did a bunch today.

I did the usual morning stuff, plus fed Obie first at 5:40. I prepared and taught a Yoga of Freedom class, got us lunch, made art, played my game, read my book, put up some Autumn decorations, made tasty dinner, hung out with CK, made a comic.

A pretty full day. My Inner Jerk is at it again. Fatigue and anxiety are the most likely culprits of this mind state, I know that. Despite trying to rest, I feel more anxiety about it.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a point to spend some quality time in the hammock or under the weighted blanket. Maybe both! There will also be kitten planning since Ursa has had a growth spurt and will be coming home next week!

5Oct/200

Back at It

Today I got a new video made, uploaded, and sent out in a newsletter I wrote today! All that and I taught Yoga in Chairs. All this and I made is chili for dinner, put up the leftovers, and cleaned the kitchen.

I struggle ever feeling good about what I’ve done since there’s so much that needs doing. I’m always choosing what not to do, knowing it will stop need doing. I’d love to hire someone to come do a deep clean, but there’s COVID.

Today’s comic; in which we make a Jaw Yoga video.

4Oct/200

Sundays with That Jerk

I've been tired all day long. I even took a nap after having breakfast, but still feel lousy. I had a hard time getting enough energy to do much productive.

While I know I'm supposed to rest, that it's necessary, but at the same time I feel like more work needs doing than I'll ever have energy to do anymore. So days where I'm not making the dinner I planned or busting out tasks feel like failure. Still.

I finally told CK that I was really grumpy and asked her to play some games with me for a little while. I also realized that I'd been having a headache for a while and took some ibuprofen.

This infuriated the Inner Jerk, who really felt I shouldn't be having fun. Talking to CK and playing some games, along with changing to what we call "school lunch dinner" (frozen things to the rescue), helped shrink the Jerk down small enough to show up in today's comic.

20Jul/200

Insomnia and Me

Every night I have 2 discussions with my Trauma Brain:

1a) I have completed enough tasks that I'm "allowed" to sleep.
1b) I'm always allowed to rest, 1a is wrong.

2) Sleeping is safe.

Yoga helps lots, I mediate or do some kind of physical practice. Often both.

Hot showers, just got out of one. Water is very helpful to me.

For many years I want aware of my fear of sleeping. Like many emotional states, I experienced the fear somatically. So much of my trauma is before cognitive integration was available to my brain, so I just don't feel right.

These days of pandemic and protests against police violence have made it harder to convince my body that I'm safe. When I feel less safe, my critical self spends a great deal of time telling me to go do the dishes, clean the floors, deal with the blackberries, catch up on email, finish the taxes, make a budget, defrost the freezer.....

And that's just taking a few seconds to transcribe my inner list of things I must do before resting, playing, creating art, etc.

8Mar/200

Just Write

I found myself anxious about forgetting to post yesterday. I thought about what I "should have" posted. I considered how WordPress lets me set the date, I could technically write two posts today and make it look like it was written over two days.

Then I remembered that this is my blog and I’m returning to it instead of putting so much stuff on social media. When I’m going to the time to thread tweets, it goes here. The content is mine and easy to return to, unlike my tweets.

For so many years I thought of myself as a writer. I’d get down on myself whenever I’d lose steam with a daily writing practice. I went right back to shaming myself for not writing this morning!

Art has become my daily creative practice. My day feels incomplete without creativity through art. On the other hand, yesterday I totally forgot about my goal to write some here every day. I made art twice, forgot to write.

After too much dithering, about “Doing it wrong!”, I finally was able to allow myself to just skip yesterday. I want to write more here than social media platforms, that’s the goal. I do not need my brain to add more pressure, that’s not the point.

16Oct/170

Willingness Gratitude

I've had another tough day, so much so that I've really had to start writing to figure out my gratitude for today. For a moment I thought it might be the fact that tomorrow is another day and I can put this day to rest. However, as I wrote a little bit, it occurs to me that I'm grateful for my willingness to unlearn old patterns of behavior that now, at age 48, really hold me back from flourishing personally, professionally, and in my relationships with the people I love.

Sometimes I really feel like a badly programmed robot.

Having been an isolated, only child and my Mother's predilection for moving nearly every year of school, I often am left feeling that I'm lacking in communication skills. Beyond the isolation of being an only child, my Mother used "grounding" as a frequent form of punishment, limiting me to my bedroom except to go to school and the bathroom. I believe I often would even get a plate fixed in the kitchen and eat by myself in my bedroom. I never thought of sneaking out as a teen, by then I was too afraid of her to even consider trying it.

People who know me primarily as a yoga teacher might be surprised to know that I don't feel like I'm great at communicating. In my years in technology my communications skills were always credited as a contributing reason for promotions, raises, and bonuses. In the realm of more public communication, those connections that feel a little less personal and intimate, I'd say my skills are better than average.

My teacher likes to use the phrase, "Professional Extrovert", which is pretty apt. I can be fairly easy with a group of people in front of me, but one-on-one interactions often feel so much harder and I'll find myself thinking, "How do real humans do this connection shit?!". In the worst case scenarios I freeze up and fall back into old patterns of behavior that don't really help in the present day, and often create more problems.

Knowing it, being aware of it, and being any good at stopping it are all every different parts of the work to do to change behavior. I'm still on the first two and trying to figure out how to get good at stopping it instead of stopping it through painful communication failures. How do I reprogram the routines that convince me that quiet retreat and productivity are the answer, because they always did improve things for my abusive Mother?

Today it feels like there are no answers, however, I am willing to keep digging into the mess of it all, to do the rewiring of old patterns.

 

8Mar/160

Calm Abiding

This past Saturday would have been my Mother's 73rd birthday. It made the week feel a little fragmented, but I was upfront with people about it. With CK's encouragement I made it off to the Collage Guild meet-up and worked on a few pieces, including this one that veered off the month's theme project quite a bit and is still in process.

In the evening I went over and saw a friend I've not seen in many years. She's moved many times, in pursuit of her studies in medicine, and because I have a hard time getting out. She had a clothing swap Saturday evening and I arrived with a backup plan to ditch my clothes and leave, but ended up staying 2 hours, enjoying the company, and scored some great new-to-me clothing.

Perhaps it is the returning light and the cherry blossoms, but I feel as though I weathered the "bump" of that birthday milestone without too much difficulty. Yes, some extra encouragement was asked for and given.

It is becoming easier to think of her as really dead. That's been part of the pain caused by how she planned her death, and my exclusion from it, just this surreal sense of not believing she's really gone and I'll never see her again. It is getting easier to hold onto this reality.

Two boxes of her personal property were sent to me by way my Mother's old pastor. I was teaching and asked him to leave them on the porch since I wouldn't be away long, also saving CK from the need to interact with him. I found myself somewhat baffled as to why I was sent many of the things the people going through her belongings chose to send me.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for my right shoulder to heal so I can start digging up the soggy earth of our yard. The plan is to move several rose bushes, at our house and some from a friend's house, from shady locations to the front edge of our front yard. I have a goal of roses, dahlias, and lots of differing spring bulbs forming a natural border between the road and our yard. For the moment I need the rain to let up a little, buy a lawn destruction tool, and get my shoulder improved so I can use it. There's also a plan for a blueberry bed for the 3 plants we currently have in big nursery pots.

All that and I'm four weeks into a training program for new business entrepreneurs. I was accepted to a pilot program that provides training and other resources to people who are starting a new business after being unable to return back to their old job. Leaving my  old company ill and unable to sleep, and told by my doctor to not go back, ever, qualifies me for a lot of support.

I'm writing a business plan, working on a marking plan, defining my services and customer personae. It is a whole new world to me, I feel like my to-do list for Samatha Yoga grows every week I'm taking this workshop! It is pretty exciting to be exploring actual business planning protocols to my ideas around teaching yoga.

Those weeks stretching long into the cold, darkness of winter, after I found out my Mother had died, just seem to dull the light inside of me. I don't feel fully restored, still yet healing and grieving in bigger ways too, but I feel more of a sense of equilibrium instead of the flat apathy the news brought.

Just recently the dogs seem to have gone beyond just mild friendship, which is to say that Dora not trying to angrily bite Bertie's face off. Yes, she still bites his lips, only now she does it while wagging her tail with excitement and joy while she does it. We've also seen snuggling happening.

25May/150

Stumbling Towards Peace

So much for my National Poetry Month pledge. Ah well.

Red Gerbera Daisy - May 25, 2015 - Portland, Oregon

Creativity, writing or other artistic medium, has been distant this winter into spring. I'm also not really motivated to read much either. I was thinking this morning about the two kinds of shame that arise around this. First out of the gate comes the, "Why are you at your desk working on collage, polymer clay pieces, organizing, bead work, anything!?" That one is so obvious. I should be making an effort to spend time at my desk dedicated to my art. This is the way artists  become selling artists.

The more subtle voice of criticism is softer and hints at some colossal, irredeemable flaw in not wanting to be creative. To be perfectly content in this slow, fugue state and not desire to break out and make art seems like the biggest betrayal, failure of them all.

Which means that some days, still many days, I work a little (3 classes a week, moving up to 5 come June), try to take care of some household errands and/or chores, and nap. I still feel kind of amazed at just how much  I still nap and how an hour of therapy can throw me into a tailspin lasting for days. A particularly intense therapy session earlier this month has seen me back to nearly daily naps, many over 2-3 hours.

What finally occurred to me on the 11th was that I'm angry. I left that therapy session angry, which was a far healthier response than the shame and body disgust I went in with. That said, I'm really at a loss when it comes to anger. A childhood of being disallowed the expression of any "negative emotions", anger, disrespecting elders, "talking smart", anything perceived or labeled as "back talk", etc. As a young child this was enforced through physical action followed by banishing me to my bedroom where I was also not to cry and carry on, lest I be "given something to cry about". As I grew older I would mostly just be banished. Cut off from contact aside from school attendance. The rest of the time I was in my room with the door closed, shutting me away.

What I realized now is that when I'm angry I tend to get in a gray, exhausted, demotiavted funk really quickly. This leads me to just go to bed and nap. I go somewhere quiet and try to wait it out. Which really worked for me growing up, but as an adult.... well it still works because I'm teaching and not working some stressful, full-time+ job in IT. However, I also get that the anger I feel at the abuses I survived is a pretty reasonable response.

And yet... there are my vows, particularly the Ninth Grave Precept which directs us to, "Actualize harmony. Do not be angry."

So I'm trying to find ways that let me acknowledge and reconcile the anger I feel, particularly my "inner, younger selves" that were so utterly denied any way to express anger at what was happening in the present moment. Ways to express the anger that are safe, measured, and do not bring further harm to myself or others. I'm brainstorming some "intuitive art" sessions where I just pick colors, textures, words, and images from my collage materials that the inner anger resonates with and, on the advice of my therapist and CK, I occasionally try yelling and screaming in the car.

1Apr/150

New Path and National Poetry Month 2015

As I am feeling my way into this new way of being in the world, emerging into the life of a yoga teacher, artist, and writer with equal measures of joy and trepidation, I am trying to return to some things that helped foster my creativity, like annual 30 Poems in 30 Days project for April, which just happens to be National Poetry Month.

In years past I've really loved showing my love for poetry by committing to challenge myself to write 30 poems in 30 days. I'm not sure here on April 1, 2015, if I've ever done them all. I'll have to look back and see. I'm not sure I'll get them all done this year, but I feel good about reviving this "tradition" on my blog. Trying to write poems each day challenges me in many positive ways.

The biggest challenge is to just compose a poem. Write it, one day, often at a single sitting (although a haiku may take me the whole day to compose). Don't fiddle with it, just write it, publish it on the blog. Don't judge it, just write it. That's a hard one to work with, but this annual exercises challenges me to work with my inner critic.

New Path

Hospitality Agent Lumpy - Portland, Oregon - April 1, 2015

This uncharted territory
Had beckoned to me,
Yet always seeming
Far off, shimmering
On the horizon.

Yet now I find myself
Right at the edge,
Ready to step down
The road to a new way.
Now, now is the time.

I feel, all at the same time,
Joy, fear, uncertainty,
And, to my surprise,
Delight at moving into a life
I never dared hope to live.