Tag Archives: Being Present

Calm Inside the Crazy

be here now

Sometimes I think I just shouldn’t leave my house. Or read the news, like, EVER. Seriously, days like today really bring home the phrase “Ignorance is bliss”.

What might be bothering you, Courtney? You might be asking yourself right about now. Well, let me enlighten you- In the very immediate sphere of living, we have a massive flu outbreak here in my little corner of the world; yes, I realize it’s probably also in your corner of the world, but I’m not there, I’m here, and I’ve suddenly become very preoccupied with remaining healthy. The flu sucks ass, for one thing. The last few times I’ve had it, it knocked me on my butt, and I HATE being sick. I am such a massive whiner when I am sick, and there is no one around to take care of me, plus I have to miss work, and I am always treading the line of disciplinary action for one reason or another. Aside from me, if my kiddo gets sick, she gets REALLY sick, like, asthma-inhaler-wheezing-no mom anywhere can sleep when her kid can’t breathe- kind of sick. I work at a hospital, and it is banana’s up there, I am not kidding you. We are breaking records, and not in a happy way. So there’s that. (And yes, we had our flu shots, but they are only about 10% effective this year.)

Going beyond that a little bit, we have fucking Donald Trump for president. I still can’t even believe I am typing those words with any degree of seriousness an entire year later. After my hope that our country were smarter than that had been crushed last November, I came up with the paltry little hope that maybe he wouldn’t be able to screw things up that bad- I mean, we have a series of checks and balances, right? This is a democracy! How bad can it get?

The answer to that is still unfolding, but I can sum it up in one word- Bad. Or three words- really fucking bad. I guess before I got my hopes up I should have factored in Twitter, eh? I mean, can we all agree now that this is not going well? Can someone make him stop antagonizing North Korea? Can we please get a grown up with some sense in there to help out? Because I am feeling very, very nervous about things.

I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to die in a nuclear holocaust. I don’t want to keep reading about the scary, crazy weather happening ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE. I’m frightened. I’m frightened, and overwhelmed and pissed off because I have no control over ANY of this shit. None of it.

So what can I do, then? First of all, I can remember that I am here, right now, not sick, not in the middle of a war, and that I am safe and okay, in my own little home. I can be present right now, which is the only time that really exists, right? Deep breath, in and out. I can choose not to look at the news- either on TV or on my phone. Let it go. There is nothing I can do about any of it right this very second.

Most importantly, I can remember that I have faith, not just when things are wonderful, but also when they are scary or dark or weird- you either have faith or you don’t, right? I have to remember that I trust that God, the Universe, whatever you choose to call it- that there is a plan and I don’t have all the information, and that is okay. Whatever happens, I trust in God, period.

And finally, uncertainty is ever present, whether we are conscious of it or not. This only underscores the fact that we need to wake up and be as grateful for our lives RIGHT NOW as we would be if we knew it was all ending soon. How loving would you be, how easily would you forgive, how much more would you savor the small things, if today was your last day? I mean, it changes everything, doesn’t it? And that is really kind of sad, isn’t it?

Sigh…I needed to get that out so badly. Stay healthy, warm and close to your fallout shelters, my friends. Jesus, I hope that last part isn’t necessary.

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Glimpsing The Truth

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I have been sort of coming up empty handed when it comes to stuff I feel like writing about lately. I have been working on some other, non-bloggy, stuff. And there have been at least two blogs I WANTED to write, and that you all really would have enjoyed, but nevertheless, these blogs would have caused me deep shame later, so I opted out. I am trying not to be an asshole, no matter how satisfying being that person is at times.

Today though, as I was driving, and, as so often happens when you are driving, I was nowhere near my laptop, I was struck by inspiration. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time unconsciously making plans for my imaginary life. What I mean by this is…well, my thoughts go something like this “When I am my perfect self with a perfect life that is perfectly organized and totally “normal”, and my house is always clean and I have awesome, perfect, friends whom I invite to perfect dinner parties, then I will…” Fill in the blank with whatever thing my imaginary self will then do in my imaginary life. Now, of course, I don’t actually compose this entire mess of run-on sentence in my head. It’s more of just an implied personal nirvana life, you understand.

Anyway, you ever have moments when the veil of your perception lifts, slightly, just for a moment? You ever get just a tiny little glimpse of the truth, and it leaves you completely thunderstruck? Well, this happened to me today. It suddenly occurred to me that- hold onto your pants, now- that perfect life, that perfect me? It doesn’t exist. Now, I am not saying that I could not be a better me. I fully believe, and expect, that I will continue to see all kinds of versions and levels of a better me, as time goes on and I continue on this path. But the perfect me? No. Not only can that not exist for me, but it doesn’t really exist for ANYONE.

And that, I think, is the real issue here. I forget that what I see, the surface part of peoples lives, the  things they show to us, are not their reality. I am basing my ideals for myself on the selected portions of life that other people decide to share with the world, the part they are comfortable with showing. Jesus, to be quite frank with you, were you to scroll through my Facebook timeline, you might think I was a pretty together chick. I don’t even LOOK like ninety percent of the pictures I post of myself. Hahahahaha!

I am not always thoughtful, or funny, or cheeky and positive. I am not any of those things most of the time. I am just a normal, middle aged (and goddammit, I AM middle aged, I am 40!) single mom. I have kid problems and man problems and a mole on my chin that three hairs grow out of (two black, one grievously gray) more rapidly with each plucking. I can’t seem to keep track of my socks, I am generally behind on laundry, and I hate washing pots, pans, and my dogs. And if your life IS perfect? I don’t even want to be friends with you. Who needs that kind of pressure?

But I will tell you what I do have, right now, today: I have a little house with a big yard, and an outstanding view. Inside this house are two beautiful daughters who love me more than anything- one who tells me everything I never wanted to know because she trusts me, and one who still thinks I can do anything, because she is four. I have two dogs, and one cat, and more love than these walls could ever contain. We have food in the fridge and the lights are still on, somehow. We are doing alright.

Maybe the truth is, this is my perfect life. Maybe it doesn’t get any better than this.

Flight of Fancy

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I considered the shit out of this blogs title before I decided to go ahead- so much so, in fact, that it no longer makes a whole lot of sense to me. Flight of Fancy? Is that even right? I mean, what the hell does that even mean? Oh God, now I’m going to have to look it up. Hold on…

Okay, okay, apparently it has two meanings. One of them is basically “pipe dreams”, which, while ironic to MY particularly sarcastic mind, is not appropriate. The other, “a soaring of the imagination”, is on the money. See, one of the very best things about getting my life back (by which I mean, being sober, having my wits about me) is that I begin to dream again. When I am in my other state, there is no dreaming, other than the dream of being myself again. And that often seems quite far-fetched.

This morning, I am supposed to be doing other things. I promised a counselor that I would work on some other writing she wanted me to do, which just seems a million times less appealing because a) I’ve done it at least seven thousand times already, and b) it was assigned. I did, however, do some penance in the form of other horrible paperwork. I jumped through some hoops on a supplemental insurance website, and filled out the painstaking little bubbles on my disability paperwork. I experienced a brief and unkind rush of joy when I realized that the bulk of the bubbles needed to be filled in by a doctor. The rush was further flushed out when it occurred to me that I have an appointment with exactly the correct doctor at ten this morning. Neener-neener, doc.

But my head keeps wandering off to dream about the life that is still laying itself out before me. I don’t know what, really, will become of me. I do know that nothing is promised. I am trying, still, to make the very most of this day. But what is the harm in dreaming? I think it is valuable, really.

I am dreaming a lot, lately, of going to Hawaii with my oldest daughter. Now this is her dream, really, more than mine- but do you know how flattering it is to have a kid who wants her travelling partner to be you, her MOTHER? Yesterday, we had a little spat, where she basically said (while I was in the midst of doing something for her) that she hates my personality- at least, that is what I heard. After much filler (meaning I hollered about a lot of things that were more acceptable than telling her why I was really upset) I was able to see, and to tell her, that she had hurt my feelings. That I felt like she hated who I was, which sucked, because I didn’t know how, nor do I really want, to be someone else. The big miracle was that she actually heard me. She said “Mom, you are my best friend. You are the one I go to with everything. I wake up earlier in the morning just so I can have coffee with you, and talk. But that also means you get on my nerves sometimes.” Well. That is…that is a pretty hefty compliment, don’t you think? I am a very lucky woman. I guess maybe I am not quite the horrible parent I feel like sometimes.

So, I have been dreaming about going to Hawaii with her. Also, I have been dreaming about my future life. The way I would love to live on an island (not really a tropical one, although that is open for discussion) that people must Ferry out to see me on. Wouldn’t that be cool? I know that I am not a city type girl, although I would love to be familiar with at least one big city, so that I felt comfortable while wandering its streets. But when I think about my future life, it is always nature and a quite place, a slower pace, that I see for myself. My future holds lots of mornings, and, I hope, days, like this- full of writing, and peace, books, coffee, beautiful surroundings, peace in my heart.

I hope there are many long, meandering walks in my future. Lots of stargazing, lots of sunrise watching, many, many walks on familiar beaches. I hope there are good, kind, people there. Friends who know me and love me, friends who will tell me the truth when I need to hear it. I hope there is big, big love there, too, someone I can admire and adore and feel safe with, AND challenged. Definitely someone with a sharp mind, who can keep me on my toes. Someone who reads. That is a must.

The future in my mind is shaping up into a beautiful picture. This is not something I could have said a few weeks ago. I am so blessed, as I often say, and so, so grateful. But I do have to get that damn paperwork done. Have a beautiful day.

The Odd, Wonderful, Sensation of Being Present

 

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A new level of reality has been coming over me in gentle waves, lately. One I have to admit I have never noticed before. You know how there is all this talk about “Mindfulness”, being “In the Moment”, “Living in the Present”? Well, I don’t know about you, but this has always been baffling to me. I mean, where the hell else can one be? I realize that my head is always going a million miles a minute, that I am often sort of transported, mentally, into things I want to do later, items I need to pick up from the grocery store, phone calls I need to return. The truth is, it has been so common for me to live my life in this state of distraction, I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t really EVER present for what was before me.

Suddenly, without any conscious effort on my part, there have been these times, more and more often, when I am right where I am. That I am actually seeing the world in front of me, around me, without any distraction or intrusion from the past or the future. When I am out on my walks in the morning, and the air is so bracing when I first step outside, and the way I warm up within a block or so. The rhythmic sound of my feet as I walk is like a mantra that focuses me. Sometimes, I round a corner, look up, and like this morning, I see this incredible sun rising up over the bay, and the water looks like liquid gold, like a melted trail of the sun itself. This morning, as I ran down the hill with Lucy pulling me in her overzealous wake, I felt so alive. I realized I had this big ridiculous grin on my face, and that anyone who saw me would think I was nuts, but I really didn’t care.

I stop a lot to take pictures. I walk when I feel like it, and I run when the mood strikes me. But it isn’t just happening when I am alone. The other day, my older daughter came outside to talk to me, and as I looked up at her, I was struck by her appearance. It was like I was seeing this nearly grown, beautiful young woman for the very first time. Her loveliness took my breath away. It was as if I had been walking around with some weird buffer around me, keeping me disconnected from my own eyes. “Why are you looking at me like that?” She asked. “Like what?” I bluffed, pretending like there was nothing different about anything. But everything is different. At least in flashes.

Camryn, too. As I gave her a bath the other night, like I do every night, I actually tuned in and participated (earnestly, not in the placating way that I usually do) in her joyful, non-stop banter. I realized what a wonderful, bright, sunny little human being I had been blessed with, out of the blue. I was so grateful for her guileless, un-jaded happiness…so glad that it had not been disturbed yet by whatever nonsense the world eventually heaps upon us. I am so glad I got to witness it for at least one unhurried moment.

It’s happening all the time, and it seems like the more I notice it, the more it happens. Maybe it is because I am alone, and I am free of all of the push and pull that goes on in a romantic relationship. That tends to take up a lot of head space, at least for me. Maybe it is because I have finally given myself full permission to live my life the way that I, and no one else, sees fit. That the rules I am following today are MINE. The truth is, this has brought me more peace than I have ever before known. Maybe it is the absence of fear in my life. I don’t know.

What I do know is that being present, really, fully, totally present…it truly is a gift. If I figure out how I am getting there, I will be sure to share the directions.