I was “writing” this post in the shower just now. The shower has been The Place for great (?) thinking of late. I was also chastizing myself for going off track in the (proto) writing. “FFS! You always bury the lead!” (I do. It is an issue—in my mind. I don’t remember some journalistic entity paying me big bucks for perfectly crafted, journalistic posts here.)
Because of the ways my thoughts are intermingled right now, I realized I was in grave danger of writing a 400-page post that would veer into really strange territories. Instead, I will post the future (probably, maybe) topics below at the end of this post. Trust me, they relate to this one.
I’m trying (and thus forgetting my knowledge of Taoist wu-wei in the process) to regain some kind of balance after being knocked sideways in so many ways: dealing with PTSD, dealing with some severe health issues, poverty, isolation, and a fitful long-distance on again/off again relationship. (I hate repeating that litany, but some folks reading aren’t fluent in life’s craptasticness.)
After a bunch of thought and research, I decided the keyword for the foreseeable future is: Soothe.
Today was to be the start of my new, still being formed, self-care morning routine that was abundant in soothe.
It got off to a rocky start last night. I’m prone to ear infections in my left ear and, sure enough, after a few days of it being annoying the stupid thing went to full blown burning and pain around 5 pm. The pain kept me up until well past 2:00 am. Before that I had had a nice conversation—which during the last minutes turned confusing and upsetting and stressful. Always a good time. But ok, the next morning’s “soothe” routine was still do-able. I didn’t set the alarm. I normally wake up, even without the alarm at 8:00 am. Today I would sleep in, and get my full eight hours. Soothe!
I went to sleep with my cell phone next to my ear, listening to LeVar Burton’s podcast of reading short stories. My cell phone isn’t a phone any more. I use for computery things, and listening to podcasts. It doesn’t get calls. Except when it does.
It gets Skype calls.
Imagine my annoyance, and startled surprise when at 7:30 the Skype phone call alarm blared two inches from my head. This was before I would normally wake up if I had gotten to sleep at a normal time. It was an accidental “butt dial.” The person said, “Go back to sleep.” Then the person kept typing, and typing. “Go back to sleep” when I normally wake at 8:00 isn’t an option.
And then the nonstop typing turned into a continuation of the stressful conversation from the night before! And then the person just… left.
Rather that starting the day out soothed, my nerves were firing on high alert. I was awake, sleep deprived, annoyed and grumpy as hell. Sigh.
This is where the title of the post comes in. Finally! ikr?
After having about six mini-meltdowns, I tried to see if I could recoup from the plan to soothe. At first I thought I would go outside! Fresh air. Sunight! Vitamin D! Drive to a yuppy grocery store. Get some good food and a house plant to make my apartment less drab! Nurture. So healthy of me…
Nope, my right knee decided to be very unstable this morning, and I don’t risk the stairs. Thwarted and swearing.
I put my “thank you for plopping my soul back into me this morning” prayer chant onto loop. That helped.
I surfed Youtube for something philosophical and interesting to calm my jangled nerves. I landed upon Russell Brand’s channel that I didn’t know he had. I find him a little unsettling, with very Rasputin eyes, but he still intrigues me—I suspect he’s a crackpot but an intelligent one, then again so am I. Today I watched a video of him discussing the book “Letting Go” by David Hawkins. This is now on my list of the next (49) books I’m going to read immediately. Ok, this was definitely a help to start to get some perspective.
I then put on some soothing music, from my massage therapy and Eastern philsophy days. Snatam Kaur sings traditional Hindu chants untraditionally (thus pissing off the purists). If you like such things, I find her most relaxing. Be aware, however, if you aren’t so inclined these will probably bug the heck out of you. Ohm. Ok… things are getting better. My nerves are now still on high alert but firing slower. My body sways to the music.
I get email newsletters from the website Brainpickings. If you are into philosophy, great illustrations, and generally thinking way more than is good for you, do check out this site. Today’s email featured a long article about Seneca’s letter to his grieving mother. (Aha! See, my titles make sense!) Written early in his exile, Seneca’s beautifully written missive, both a personal letter and a statement of Stoicism, points out that “he dismantles the alleged misfortune of all the elements of exile — displacement, poverty, public disgrace — to reveal that a person with interior stability of spirit and discipline of mind can remain happy under even the direst of circumstances. ” Two millenia later, Jewish philosopher Viktor Frankl echoed Seneca when he wrote that everything can be taken away except our ability to choose one’s own attitude at any given moment.
Towards the end of the letter, Seneca says
This is how you must think of me — happy and cheerful as if in the best of circumstances. For they are best, since my mind, without any preoccupation, is free for its own tasks, now delighting in more trivial studies, now in its eagerness for the truth rising up to ponder its own nature and that of the universe.
And while it wasn’t the slow, gentle soothing akin to petting a purring cat that I envisioned for this new morning routine, I have to give myself props for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Balance of sorts is restored, albeit by a Mac truck running through my psyche, but whatever works.
Probably maybe future related posts, in no particular order:
- Why I am going to become a pretty, blonde, Dutch woman in my 30s tomorrow.
- Just because you carry around a hammer doesn’t mean everything you encounter is a nail.
- Virtual emotions, real… and real annoying!
- WTF do you mean you are giving up coffee (written while drinking second double shot espresso drink from a can)
- When WTF is wrong with me turns out to be WTF is wrong with you?
- 400 rants about how the safety net system in the USA is full of holes the size of the moon and is laying on the concrete floor and WTF is wrong with you USA?
Feature photo found on this page. No infringement intended. I couldn’t find the attribution.