I’ve had to revisit Dr. John Sarno’s mind-body connection lately due to ongoing vertigo. After three weeks of living at a tilt, I had an epiphany and realized it was my brain trying to distract me from the many emotions I’m experiencing during these difficult times. My brain thinks I’ll be better served if I’m focused on bogus sensations rather than doing the helpful things that help me manage my anger/anxiety/fear, helpful activities such as trail-running. Since the onset of this dizzy bullshit on June 9, I haven’t run on the trails. Because what’s scarier than rocks and roots sticking up on narrow , uneven trails, hoping to trip an already-tippy me?
I’ll tell you. A three-foot snake across the trail.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
How do I know? This morning I finally went out in the open space. (note: the vertigo has greatly subsided since I caught on to my brain, but things are still off.) I’d only run about 20 feet from the trail head when my right foot came down close to an enormous snake. I let loose with my customary profanity as I jumped left. The snake didn’t acknowledge my presence, but my heart still pounded as I watched it slither along. No rattling. I now think it was a bull snake, but I didn’t lean in to verify whether it had slit-like pupils (rattlesnake) as opposed to a bull snake’s circular pupils. I will say that I had a whole new pep in my step when I started running again. Adrenaline can be a beautiful thing.
During my three-mile run, I also saw rabbits on the part of the trail we call the “bunny run” and later on kicked up a flock of magpies. The Spotted Towhees were also out in force, singing their “sweet-sweet-teeeeaaaa” songs. It was wonderful being there again. My pace was slow but my spirits were high.
Take that, brain!
I use this blog to maintain a record of my day-to-day and appreciate the documentation it provides me. This site means more to me than anyone else who might happen upon it, and I acknowledge this truth.
So why is it still sometimes so hard to give myself permission to post a regular day’s snapshot of me when I feel less-than-great?
For instance: I ran today (after not running much over the past quarantine months), and instead of experiencing typical post-run endorphins, I wanted to punch something. Still do. I’m feeling stabby. I’m feeling old and slow and tired and fucking over it all.
There, I said it. Welcome to my head.
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and I felt an array of not-so-pleasant emotions. Rage was high on the list. I’m doing a little better today, in part because I’m focusing more on what keeps me going during hard times.
Open space. April 1, 2020
Today I’m grateful for the many ways nature soothes my soul.
April 17, 2020.
Can’t tell from this pic
tail-flicking squirrel enraged
I feel the same way
Any questions, please direct them to my manager.
Marcel. June 27, 2018.
I got some bad writing news this afternoon that wasn’t unexpected, but was still difficult to hear. I had tears in my eyes. But because my agent is so kind and supportive, within minutes of our conversation I felt okay. (The two slices of butter-and- strawberry-jam toast definitely helped). And not only did I feel better post-toast, I felt a renewed resolve.
A few minutes ago I finished drafting 1,062 words of my new project. How do I feel? Pretty damned good.
Knock down this clown and I’ll just bounce back for more!
I spent Saturday and Sunday with about 35 passionate young people dedicated to fighting for a Green New Deal. Our local hub of the Sunrise Movement (Sunrise Colorado) held a training retreat in which national organizers shared strategies to help us in this fight. It was an amazing weekend and I felt SO. MANY. EMOTIONS.
I cried at the beginning when we all shared who and what we were fighting for, and I cried at the closing when we sang together. But I also laughed a ton, learned much, and felt lots of hope for the future.
The Sunrise Movement has already gained much more traction on the climate crisis than I’ve seen in my lifetime. PLEASE consider donating a few dollars to my hub to help us continue this vital work. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sunriseco
Or if you’d prefer donating to the national movement, you can do so here: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/
Thank you in advance.
Today I’d like to
fly far, far away from here
flap wings and escape.
The biggest emotion in creation is the bridge to optimism. ~ Brian May
I went into my photo archives to find an image for the day and came across this one. Discarded and forgotten undies. Sad undies.
We’ve got a winner, folks.
Kapok Park. April 1, 2019.
I just spent the last several hours tying up some loose threads on the YA project I’ve (most recently ) been working on since last fall. Basically, I wrote pages of notes in order to have a map for the next time I pick it up. The thing is, I cannot put any more energy into this project right now. My critique group gave me feedback last Wednesday on the first 30 pages and it’s still a hot mess. My words, not theirs. Their feedback was spot-on and they offered some great suggestions, but my heart isn’t in it anymore. This is a project I drafted ten years ago and over the following decade revised multiple times. It’s definitely a better story than it was before, but it’s still not where it needs to be.
So. I’m setting it aside because the characters and plot have become a jumble in my mind. I can’t see the forest for the trees and I’m sick of trying.
Whew. I’m feeling a mixture of emotions right now, but there’s a whole lot of relief in letting go.
Channeling my inner snow leopard.
Hospitals scare me
but a friend needs me today
Faking brave for her
If only I could
punch today’s howling wind in
the face just like this.
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
~ Khalil Gibran
Today is one of those days I’d prefer to interact with plants and animals rather than contemplate the mind-boggling awfulness of some human beings. I can’t think of one instance in which a clematis bloom caused me a moment’s pain or anxiety.
Until they flower again, I’m basking in the memory of their quiet beauty.
Yesterday, I wrote about my gratitude for the snowstorm.
Today, after trying to walk Emma who seemed so determined to make me fall on the ice that I was forced to abort the effort after only three minutes, I’m over it.
I took this photo in October 2015 and never looked at it closely (I recommend clicking on the image for full efffect). After deciding to highlight it here today, I went in search of a fitting quotation.
The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:
from the sky,
from the earth,
from a scrap of paper,
from a passing shape,
from a spider’s web.
~ Pablo Picasso
That quote feels particularly apt because today has been emotion-filled. SO.MANY.FEELINGS. coming at me from every direction. It was like being surrounded by a sticky web trapping every single one of them.
It’s cool, though. I’d much rather feel it all than be numb to it all.
Who among us hasn’t wanted to pull
a banana on someone/something?
“Stop or I’ll fruit!”
It’s been a murky day filled with emotions, confusion, and an overall sense of TIRED. But I finally succumbed to cute Emma the Dog’s wriggling reminder that it was time for our daily walk, and went out to do just that.
Movement plus a smiling, happy dog by my side brought clarity to the day.
I’m feeling so much better. Today, Dog is most definitely this woman’s best friend.
Poppy downed by May hailstorm before it had a chance to bloom.
If we were to lose the ability to be emotional,
if we were to lose the ability to be angry,
to be outraged,
we would be robots.
And I refuse that.
~ Arundhati Roy
Today is the day, I thought. Today, the photo of me with the Stabby bus will make its blog debut. (The image was captured our first day in Uppsala. Zebu spotted the bus coming up the street, and I quickly handed off my phone and posed next to it when it stopped. Those who know me well know that I quite frequently “feel stabby,” which is why I was thrilled when Zebu captured the original Stabby bus image for me.)
Today is one of those “I’m feeling stabby” days. So I went back and found the photo.
Huh? That woman does NOT look as if she’s feeling stabby. She’s smiling, happy, and, aside from the claw-like curve to her right hand**, looks pretty damned relaxed. Not at all stabby.
I almost gave up on today’s stabby theme. And then it hit me: this photo is perfect for today’s post. Why? Because the reason for my stabby feelings is that I’m struggling with two characters’ friendship in the opening pages of my new project. I’m struggling to smooth out their interactions so as to establish their relationship and character arcs, and suddenly, it feels as if the first 60 pages are a steaming pile of mixed messages.
So what better photographic representation of mixed messaging than this photo of the smiling me next to the Stabby bus?
HA! I’m suddenly feeling slightly less stabby.
** me simulating holding a pointy object in preparation of stabby motions.
* and no, I didn’t drink all that last night. I’m no Lucille Bluth. C’mon!
When I get frustrated and angry it sometimes helps to focus on something else, preferably something pleasing and/or interesting to look at. Something with different colors and textures, sizes and shapes, and quality of light.
Something that reminds me of my tiny role in the universe.