110 // A Terrifying Prospect

Things can always get worse and often do. They can get better too and do just as often. So, never get too comfortable, not with the good nor the bad. Life is always changing, and it’s never according to plan or even the wildest of imaginations.

It’s a terrifying prospect how much you can miss about yourself and others and how fragile health and happiness can be. It’s terrifying how much you can lose in an instant. The abyss is never very far and the wrong step in any direction can send you and your loved one’s plunging.

I am finally beginning to grasp the worth of a daily gratitude practice. The bad always feels so much more profound than the good, and in those bad times you need not just love and support, but the memory of who you were when you knew joy, awe, and hope. Remember: you can just as easily find yourself there again, too.

It would be easier to be an island unto myself, unbeholden to the expectations and judgements, needs and wants of others, but where would I find meaning then? I see now it’s through the suffering of others, and our own suffering in turn, and their suffering for us too that makes the meaning.

We find ourselves in that darkness. We find others there too, and, with time, we can heal and grow into a new light, together.


046 // Long-Term Oriented

Today has been a lazier day than I meant for it to be. I keep forgetting the week has technically already begun, and so should I. These holidays away from work always feel like extra Sundays rather than what they should be: time to begin the work rather than more time to rest.

From now on, I want these long weekends will be extra time for my personal pursuits rather than time to push off uncomfortable tasks.

From now on, I want my thinking to be long term oriented. I want the promise of a better tomorrow to be enough to get me out of bed, off the couch, and out from in front of the TV today. I want to be stronger than the temptations of right now.

Mindfulness will play a big part. I should be asking myself in the moments of listlessness and laziness, “what is important right now?” or even, “what do I need right now”?

Because sometimes I do need to rest and sometimes I do deserve a little time to sleep, scroll timelines, or watch another episode, but there has to be balance. There has to be time when what I need is to do the hard thing. There has to be time when the work is for me..

020 // The Right Choice

Today is a new day! Today a weight left my chest, and a tension left my shoulders. I’m a little less afraid. I’m a little less angry. I’m a little less hopeless.

Today there is a new leader of the free world was sworn in and he is one whose values and vision for this country and its many and diverse peoples are closer to something that looks like progress, unity, care, and compassion.

I’ve been waiting four long years and to be honest, I had so little faith in my fellow compatriots that I still can’t believe it happened.

I don’t believe everything will be peace and perfection for the next four years. Neither Biden nor Harris were my top choices to take the reins and lead us through this time of recovery and resolution, but the more I have thought about it and the more I have considered strategy, I think the best candidates won in the end.

The office of the presidency should be one of centrism. The President, after all, must represent all Americans and not just the right Americans, the real Americans, the Americans who elected him and constantly threaten his political future.

Biden wasn’t the right choice for me, but I have a feeling he’s the right choice for us all.

343 // Self-Care Is Medicine

I was meant to be at work today but instead was forced to stay home in bed by a nasty neck pain/tension headache combo that no cream, sleeping position, or pain reliever would touch. I worried I’d be incapacitated all day, but a few extra hours spent resting in dark and silence did the trick, and by mind morning I felt a lot more like a human being again.

I had hoped not to need to miss anymore work for a while since I’ve been feeling so much better, but medications, and coming off of medications, come with their own side effects. My body is only adjusting.

There was some good news, too. For the first time in many, many months I had an appointment with my doctor that was all positivity and hope.

One interesting things we talked about was the increasing effect my mental state is going to have on my symptoms from now on. It turns out that because of all the ongoing inflammation and scarring, my gut will never be the same. My system is going to be a little more sensitive than most, a little more at the mercy of outside influence.

I will have to get used to a new normal, and that means listening and acknowledging not just my body, but my feelings too.

Everyone’s gut is affected by emotion, but for someone like me who’s gut has sustained so much damage, every bad day and stressful situation is going to mean discomfort and distress. That means getting enough sleep, meditating, exercising, journaling, taking time for myself and doing the things I love are much more than necessities. They are now treatment.

They are medicine that must be taken daily as prescribed, as scheduled, as needed.

209 // I Already Feel Lighter

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.