Goals // Week 33: Let Yourself Move Forward

This week was off ahead of me before I could find my bearings. My mind and body are dragging, but I’m keeping one foot in front of the other and doing my best to at least fall no farther behind. It’ll take focus and willpower, but the plan is made, and the time is there… Continue reading Goals // Week 33: Let Yourself Move Forward

Goals // Week 32: Getting Better Every Day

This week is going to be a busy one, though not hard, although it is off to a rocky start already. I’ve already written about the health issues I’m coping with and though I’m still suffering, I’m getting better every day and fully expect to feel much stronger and more capable by the end of… Continue reading Goals // Week 32: Getting Better Every Day

Today is a better day. I’m feeling more solid, physically, more present and connected to my body, stronger. This is always the first sign of healing. Before I can see tangible improvement, before I can see or feel exactly what and where I have begun to heal, I feel it in my spirit. A corner has been turned, but I know that doesn’t mean that the journey won’t be agonizingly slow and that setbacks are not on the horizon.

And so, because I was feeling a little better and because I have been feeling so down, I decided to venture out with my wife for some shopping therapy. The weather was gorgeous and having a few new things for the home made a big difference in my mood.

Of course there were tough moments. This ulcerative colitis flare has progressed so far that I’m left with a great amount of fatigue, pain, discomfort, and anxiety almost all of the time. There were moments today between all the positivity and the hopefulness, when I wanted to break down, but I breathed through it. I sat with my pain and fear and fatigue and I gave it space to breathe too and each moved to let me pass for a time and I am grateful for the brief feeling of normalcy.

Unfortunately, the outing was still just slightly little more than I could handle and when I got home, I crawled right back into the bed to recover.

The evening is settling in now. We have some rain clouds cruising in from the mountains, but they don’t appear too threatening. I’m looking forward to a calming and cleansing rain. Much of my cleaning was done last night and I’m basking in the peace of knowing I have nothing I have to do and nothing anyone is asking of me. I may write for a while or work cut and compile a new collage piece.

Or maybe I won’t push myself to make, or read, or write anything at all. Maybe I’ll give myself permission to just lay on this couch, watch some mindless TV, and enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with my wife before turning in early. I deserve it. I need it.

Today isn’t at all like yesterday.

My morning meditation didn’t feel very smooth. My stomach was hurting and couldn’t get my mind away from it to focus on the breath. At first I was upset about it. I felt like I had not only failed but wasted the session too, but looking back I realize that every session doesn’t have to go well, nor should it. Encountering difficulty is a chance to learn and grow.

At the time, though, I struggled to recover. I feel worse physically than yesterday. I got less sleep and my symptoms are flaring badly again. The good news is my doctor is allowing me to go back on steroids, which I guess is also bad news too. I’m not looking forward to the side effects, but I’m looking forward to having energy and feeling good again.

I’d planned to go to work, sit at my desk with my headphones in, and work through my tasks and projects one by one, alone, but as soon as I got there I was told my workplace was being taken over by another staff member and instead I would have to sit in an open area where there was nothing but distraction. I got very little accomplished but I will admit, being forced to interact with people did help my mood and made me feel a little less isolated and down. I needed some conversation, some laughs, and lunch with friends.

The afternoon and evening flew by far too fast. I didn’t take my usual hour or more nap, but I’m wishing I had. Maybe I’ll sleep better tonight than I did last night when anxiety had my stomach in knots and my mind running late into the night and well before sunrise. Maybe tomorrow can be more like yesterday than today was, if I start right now?

Goals // Week 31: Building the Habits

This week felt busy before it even began and before goals could even be set obligations were already getting in the way. I have some big meetings scheduled, but they are largely brainstorming sessions. I have a couple of projects on my plate, but nothing outside of my expertise or capability. I have a long… Continue reading Goals // Week 31: Building the Habits

Up and down, back and forth, round and round, everything is swinging wildly, yo-yoing, hitting roller coaster highs and lows both thrilling and terrifying.

My health is the main culprit. Perhaps I could better orient myself between work, tasks, rest, and relationships if physical pain, worry, and loneliness weren’t always obscuring my sight and way. Not all days are bad but lately it feels like I get two, three, sometimes five days or more in a row of worse and worse and worse before I get just one where I’m feeling somewhat normal and capable. Luckily today is one of those those good days.

I woke up this morning with more energy than I’ve had in over a week now. I was up by 4:30 without grogginess or fatigue and even got a 10-minute meditation session in on Headspace before work.

Over the weekend I found out they are offering free subscriptions for educators including both teachers and administration and signed up right away. I’m hoping to get my wife and perhaps a couple of friends to build the habit with me. I could use the motivation and the accountability check.

It’s been just three days since I picked up the old habit and I already feel lighter and looser. You ever feel like you didn’t know some part of your body was hurting until you laid down to rest it? That is how mediation feels to me. I’m always so tightly wound but I don’t realize it until I take the time to scan my body, to feel it’s weight and movement, and connect it with space and gravity around me. It’s more than physical. I have to release the tension in my heart the same as I would for my shoulders or neck.

I spent all my time before lunch in a long brainstorming session with my team. We’ve been meeting every few days to share ideas, make plans, complete projects and generally spread and share our enthusiasm. I’ve enjoyed these meetings but the additional workload is starting to stress me. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve got an amazing team behind me and that no one is going to let me fail. Through them I feel more secure and more confident in my work than ever.

The rest of the week is a busy one and already tasks are being pushed and postponed to make room. I’m blocking in time for writing, reading, and creating too and taking advantage of early morning hours to make the most of my time. I hope every day will feel like this one but even if they don’t, at least I got one.

P.S. Headspace is also free for healthcare workers, free for a year if you are unemployed, and heavily discounted for students. I’m not affiliated in any way with Headspace. I just love the app and think everyone can benefit from daily meditation.

Not every long day is a hard one and not all stress is bad. I still have a lot on my plate, but progress is being made fast and I feel good about the work I am producing. Tomorrow will bring new more meeting and more time spent in debate and back and forth. Sometimes I miss the old days when I was a team of one, when I had no one to consult or consider. I miss not having to compromise, to vote, to agree all the time.

Still, my team is good and looking from outside of my narrow perspective, I can see how much worse things could be. At least we are all heading in the same general direction, matching each other’s enthusiasm, and speaking with a calm compassion no matter how much we disagree.

New opportunities are showing up on the horizon too. It’s nice to have things to look forward to again, or at least something new to be anxious about for a change. I’m taking an online training course on the history, laws, and “best practices” of transporting people in wheelchairs and in a few short weeks I finally get to complete my Crisis Prevention and Intervention course that had been cancelled months ago due to Covid-19. The silver lining here is now it’s only one day of in-person training instead of four. It means being a lot less nervous, self-conscious, or socially awkward.

The evening had some rough edges, and I struggled to find my groove and fit. There were more expectations than I could meet and the experience left me feeling down, disappointed, and disheartened. A mellow playlist, an hour spent cleaning the house, a couple slices of good pizza, good conversation, and a hug turned it all around though and I can drift off feeling a little lighter tonight. Until tomorrow…

Today was the most normal work day I’ve had in months. I’m still not back to the low-key work days I’m used to and there are still many more expectations and obligations, but it’s calmer and so am I. Gratitude helps. I’m grateful to be at work at all, and grateful to be allowed to do the work that I do while I’m there.

It wasn’t easy getting back into the groove after my vacation, but it felt good to be working back at my usual location and to know that I can relax into a routine for the foreseeable future. More and more I’m taking work home too, which was scary at first. I don’t want to have to war with myself about how much I am working or what projects I am taking on, but as long as I keep the same hours being here rather than there is a gift.

Tonight is my wife and I’s first wedding anniversary, but since all the celebration was used up last week, we’re just cooking a simple meal together and enjoying a glass or two of red wine. I’m looking forward to one more night of indulgence before returning 100%, physically and mentally, to the work and worry of reality.

More than anything though, I’m looking forward to another new beginning at home full of love, warmth, surprise, support, change, compromise, growth, healing, and happiness.

Goals // Week 30: Resettle

This week I’m coming back to a schedule that feels more like normalcy and safety than I’ve been able to work for a very long time. I’ve missed having control over how I allocate my time and choosing the work I want to concentrate on or produce. This week I get to have a little… Continue reading Goals // Week 30: Resettle

I was away for a few days and I only just realized I forgot to say goodbye. It wasn’t my intention but trying to wrap up work things and to prepare for a trip, all the while trying to manage my health issues meant a few things we left undone and unsaid. But I’m back now, and though I failed to make mention of my send off, I at least would like to take some notice of the return.

To begin at the beginning, last week we travelled out of town. My wife and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary and felt the occasion coupled with recent stresses and successes warranted something bigger and grander than a standard date night.

Our first year as a married couple was both wonderful and still quite terrifying. After Our home has never felt more warm, safe, or loving, but the world around us has fallen farther and farther in the opposite direction, leaving us disjointed and unfocused. This time away was meant not to reconnect so much as to resettle. We longed to get back into our old grooves, to be the sun, and moon, and stars, the light, the calm, the way for one another again.

So, we went up into the mountains for a little time away from the city, from work, and as far from the pandemic as we could get, and it was all exactly what I wanted, needed, it to be. I needed nature. I needed spoiling. I needed to focus on myself and what was directly in front of me and directly inside.

We spent much of the last few nights drinking, eating good food, napping during afternoon rains and warming ourselves next to campfires. We hiked, and shopped, and sometimes we did nothing at all but sit, listen, and see. Our accommodations were stunning, and the setting was gorgeous. I was sad to leave it all behind but having the memories and the experience to carry with me means everything to me.

We’ve been back for a couple of days now and though we immediately had to return to life, to family, and to work, I’ve found I still feel relaxed. I feel refocused. I feel rejuvenated. I feel that by disconnecting from all the noise and reconnecting with what really mattered I can recommit to all aspects of my life once again.