I was a little worried earlier this week, about this upcoming trip that I am on, and the recent state of mind I have been in. For the last year-year and a half, as I have been depressed most of the time, I have not at all enjoyed (business) traveling – or rather, once I get away from Seattle I have been fine but leading up to the trip and all the preparations have been a nightmare. I have procrastinated to the point of utter ridiculousness which of course has added to the stress even more.
Yesterday morning I slept in and had a slow start. Got up and sat outside with a cup of coffee. iMessaged with my best friend/sister. Watched a couple of episodes on Netflix. And then finally started packing… Got everything organised and packed in a couple of hours (no, of course I had not prepared anything until the day of… What did I say about procrastination? :)). I had another coffee. Tidied up some around the house and was ready to go 15 min before my pick-up arrived.
Even though I was doing everything last minute, the difference this time, to every trip in the last 18 months, was that I was quite relaxed the whole time. I felt in harmony with myself and life in some weird way, considering my mood over the last 3-4 weeks. And it carried over into my trip. I found myself smiling at everyone, especially when things went less than smooth, like when they screwed up my meal on the plane and other little bumps in the road that a week ago had resulted in a snarl and a verbal decapitation. Like I told the flight attendant: getting angry or frustrated isn’t going to make me another meal, is it, so I’ll just make the most of it. And thanks to that attitude and a couple of re-assuring smiles to her, after a while another (great) meal miraculously appeared. 🙂
Because when you smile at the universe, it tends to smile back at you.
Perhaps the meditation I have been doing again over this past week, as well as the talks I have been listening to by Ajahn Brahm is what put me back into my “zen state”? I am not at all completely back to that wonderful place where I feel completely centered and in balance with life but I am close. I can feel it within the reach of my fingertips. I can smell it and taste it and I want it back. I am getting it back!
One of the talks I was listening to in the last couple of days is this one: Four ways of letting go. I found it very inspirational and have been going back and forth, replaying some parts that really speak to me – the ones where I know I have the longest distance to go still, as I started carrying all the worry and cravings again lately. His talks aren’t only inspirational but also very entertaining which helps too, as it lightens my moods in general and make me understand that I don’t have to take everything so damn seriously – just live in the now, stop worrying about the future and quit hashing over the past! You don’t learn or grow from beating yourself up, you just drag yourself down! By all means learn from your mistakes but it is better to throw out “the baggage”, move on and instead live in the present. Let go of all the worries about tomorrow. Be here and now. I am starting to toy with the idea of going to a meditational retreat but I am not sure how and where to start. I don’t really know how to meditate and I feel like I need to learn a bit more first. Especially as longer retreats usually require that you are a bit more “advanced”. So I brought two books on how to get started and meditation basis and I’ll see how far I get on my own: The Basic Method of Meditation and Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond – a Meditator’s Handbook. I need to make meditation a daily priority and part of my routines because it truly helps!
Just live in the now, stop worrying about the future and quit hashing over the past!
Another thing I am determined to start doing immediately, and do every day this upcoming week in Dubai, is RUN – it’s been a couple of weeks and even before then I didn’t do anywhere near what I “should” be doing. I know it sounds like I am adding pressure and making everything a competition again and to a certain extent I am – but I need to because as soon as I get into a regular rhythm of running on a frequent basis, that negative, downward spiral is countered by a much, much stronger and faster spinning upward one: I eat better, I sleep better and I am a lot less stressed because running helps me clear my head! It is in fact a form of meditation for me, as it allows me to focus on being here and now, on my breath, my steps and my pace. And even though I think about things and often solve many problems on my runs, I don’t let my thoughts lead or consume me. They do not get all my attention and they aren’t the most important, or only, thing I channel my energy on. On the contrary, they are just passengers for a change. In the backseat. It allows my brain to rest a bit. A form of active rest one might say. So right now I have to “force myself” to do that, and add that little “pressure” to get out there, every day. If I don’t I know that I will lose my foothold again and fall back down – that is not really “adding pressure”, is it? That is self-care and utilising the tools I have gathered over the last 3.5 months of self-improvement and re-evaluation, to keep me safe and sane. To be smart about what I can control and not allow myself to ruin my own life. We can call that “self-preservation of sanity”.
So my commitment to myself is that I will run Mon-Thu morning while I am here in Dubai – imagine the lovely change from 13-14C and a drizzle, to 30C and sunshine! But I will lower the pressure and only commit to going as far as I can and have time to. Even if it is no more than 3 miles and nowhere near what I “should” be doing (if I ever want to get this Marathon off my list – and I do!!) but right now “me” is the most important. Me and what I need to do to build my own confidence back up again, because it is very low at the moment….
This week I will just focus on finding the joy and the rhythm again – and drawing strength from that to get that positive spin going , so that when I go back in a week and a half, I am better prepared and can avoid another crash landing upon re-entry!