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Exercise is my medicine

19 May

4:41 pm

Or, maybe I should say, putting my body into motion, out of doors!  (of course, I am talking about outdoors in a warm climate; yeah, I used to suit up and go jogging in the snow…in my early 20s, when I was too broke to afford a gym/didn’t know any better–haha)

Long story short, I have been thinking about thinking lately–well, a lot; obsessed with it, actually.  Is it called, metacognition?  I think that might be an actual area of study, and I am FAR from being in a place of that much understanding when it comes to what I think and why I hold onto my thoughts.  I have been tempted for many, many months to stop writing altogether, including in my journal–I wonder, is focusing on bringing the chatter, the negativity, the maybe-meaningless observations to life in the form of words and sentences only serving to perpetuate a state of stagnation, of wallowing, of confusion?

Most of my life, and especially as someone who likes to write (or, let’s face it, a writer; I can’t not write, and sometimes I think that is 100% compulsion, not desire); I have put value on both my thoughts and analyzing my thoughts–as if they were important, or held some key to the meaning of life, or at least the meaning of MY life.  After getting sober and writing about the process, which, admittedly involved a LOT of thinking and thoughts (haha); then moving into more longer-term sobriety, where the thinking and thoughts have become more like incessant chatter and less like answers to the problems of the universe–I don’t really know where thinking and thoughts fit into my overall picture of mental health anymore.

Anyway, today, I drafted a long post, discovered that much of it sounded, well, insane, and was like, GAH, I need to walk away from this.  I suited up in my running gear and went out into nature.  And I swear, all the chatter stopped.  And, it was glorious.  This is why I run, walk, or swim, or do yoga–always in constant motion, it seems.  It just soothes my mind; quiets it.  I mean, as I was gliding along, I just looked around at the trees, the hillside with different patterns of shadows and sunlight coating the asphalt, the multicolored homes of different angles, shapes, and sizes–I looked around and asked myself, so, are you thinking anything when you look around at nature, when you feel the sun on your shoulders?  Yes, but no.  I am thinking, but it’s more of a one-tone feeling of peace, of rightness, or nothing-good-or-bad-it-just-is.  I don’t judge the world around me, and most importantly, it doesn’t judge me (or, I don’t believe it does).  It is not thinking toward me, and I am not thinking toward it.  I just feel this uplifted feeling, and it is simply positive.  Not necessary to think anything; just necessary to be, which is easy out there, in the natural world.

There is something about being around other people that is incessant chatter-provoking.  I would say, being in the natural world, generally, is thought-provoking (the good kind of thinking; the big thoughts that help you solve a problem or see something more clearly).

I just love exercise; I always feel better, less thought-full, literally.  And, rejuvenated, especially if I’ve exercised outdoors.  I guess I can say that exercise is my medicine; my anti-chatter “pill.”  And, these days, I am beginning to wonder if MOST, if not all, of my thinking is chatter…  Which begs the question, what does a writer write about if most of what she thinks she considers useless chatter?

On the dog front, our girl is plugging away, better than she was a few weeks ago when her left hind leg gave out.  It seems to have gotten less lame–she can walk on it now, but not that far.  Good news is, she can go on walks, usually only one per day, if that.  Bad is that, even though her left hind seems better than non-functional, both her hind legs are very weak; I have to use the harness for most of the walk these days to help her stand, walk, and um, pee and poop (let’s face it, she poops sitting down almost all the time now).  Her mental faculties are there, and she is still fierce and funny; it’s just…I can’t forget that her time is short.

And, I am still off the ‘book (Facebook), five weeks as of yesterday.  While I don’t necessarily miss anyone’s updates, or the noise; I am starting to feel a bit…isolated, or out of it.  So…that’s that; I’ll probably go on soon, but it’s nice to be in my bubble a little bit longer to continue to collect myself (so that I can go back out there, into the external world, and give of myself while also stay centered and sane).

Cherish the moment

15 Feb

8:18 pm

Lately, I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking, working, analyzing–one day, I keep telling myself, I won’t have to do what I do for a living; one day, I can do something different.  Then, I look at how much it costs to buy a home and think, um, yeah, I better keep my day job, as it were!

Anyway, this morning, I had a really nice moment:

Between the “partly” and “cloudy,” we had a few minutes of sunshine.  It is truly glorious here after a short, light rain:  the water gets caught in all the tropical nooks and crannies, and it makes everything sparkle as the breeze blows.

I took my coffee outside and found a patch of sun and just stood there.  I noticed a HUGEASS spider–we have these crazy-big, black-and-grey, striped spiders down here, and they like to weave their nests in the bush, from branch to branch.  I saw it and just stared.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw motion, and it turned out to be this orangey lizard slowly and smoothly swishing its razor-fine tail back and forth in the light.  Next, I fixated on a quiet bee meandering through the air, from one landing spot to a future one, no doubt.  I could hear the near-symphony of sounds, scents, and movement in the air–all enveloped in this quiet calm.  There was no rush, nothing to think about, nothing to analyze.  It is, to me, a heavenly place, the natural world, especially the tropical one.  So much life, and crosstalk, yet complete harmony.

Ahh, I thought.  I’d love to be here one day, a part of this world; no longer analyzing, or trying to remember, or attempting to capture or somehow hold onto this moment.  It’s an illusion, the stress of not holding onto it; there is no need to hold what does not go away, what is constant.  And, in this rare moment this morning, all I wanted to do was have this moment, to observe it, and then, let it go.  And, I did.

It’s been a long year so far, with every day presenting challenges to my motivation and sanity!  However, I am reminded (thankfully, on days like today) of the “real-er” world around me, the one that does not need to be understood or made better or fixed; it never needs to be analyzed; its moments are special, but they are transient and meant to be let go.

I am glad I had a moment like this, this morning, to remember that good things are coming my way; just be here, now.

Life is meaningless! Nothing really matters! I don’t have to drink over it, though.

17 Nov

2:30 pm

First up, I’m happy to report an absolutely drama-free morning. A full morning — swam, meditated, made cornbread muffins, washed my bikinis, pet the dog. Believe me, pre-sobriety, I NEVER would have been able boast about doing any of this, certainly not on a Saturday morning!

I’ve been swimming for exercise, and it’s been helping my sciatica, which has been flaring the past few months. (I think hormonal fluctuations play a huge role, so I’ll have to figure out if there’s anything I can do about that.)

Anyway, the past three days I got up around 7 and was at the local beach and in the water by 8 — YES, PIGS DO FLY. It’s been great for my back and leg pain, great for my arms, great for my spirit, great for my sense of accomplishment and therefore, work, and great for my calm. Each time, I’ve swum for about an hour or more — or, have tried to (the crawl was never my forte, and the salt water is a bit rough).

A lot of peeps in AA talk about how they feel good here, in the water. Floating, or swimming, or just being in it. Or, they talk about how their sobriety is enhanced and/or supported by being outdoors. It doesn’t hurt that we’re in an amazing location — and for me, as I’ve blogged before, the heat and humidity activate my sensual body, which makes me feel much more excited about being alive.

I, too, feel good in the water. Better than good. I feel so small, yet so big, in the water. I feel a PART of the ocean, like I could wrap my arms around it. I feel like it wants me, too; or at least, doesn’t shy away. There is no big old brain — mine or someone else’s — making things weird and awkward. I can Just Relax.

In AA, they say that anything can be your higher power, and mine is shaping up to be the HUNCH (in my scientific and nature-loving mind) that the aliveness — everything alive — on this planet is physically, literally OF ME. We are one. We are wired together, from eons of evolving together, to act and live and “think,” as it were, together. As one. So, no wonder I feel more complete, more whole, more alive — and more at peace, at home — in nature. And, especially in the water! Our ancestors lived in the water; we share, literally, the DNA in their cells. Could it be that those cells, which make up our body and brains, which eventually allow us to think and reason and feel and understand through their cellular activity — those cells remember? That the expression of those snippets of DNA is literally the same, across species and across millions of years? I feel it; we all feel it. What that “it” is, I don’t know.

Last night, my boyfriend and I toured the Etelman Observatory, a previously privately-owned dome on the top of the island that was donated to UVI in the ’60s. Anyway, it was Friday night, and what better way to spend the evening than to hear a lecture and then look through a telescope (yes, through a real lens and not a computer attached to the scope — apparently, a big deal and a real treat for astronomers). We saw Jupiter and four of its moons! Very cool. Very cool also to listen to the professor’s talk about asteroids and comets and meteors, and then see pictures of Earth and our solar system bathed, literally, in debris. Like, we are surrounded by rocks and shit flying around us in space.

What struck me was how very, very, very small we are. And how very, very, very either unlikely or likely that this kind of life — bacteria, dinosaurs, humans, rabbits, whales, ferns, lilies, to name a few — could develop and evolve on a planet other than Earth. Either we ARE unique, which is statistically extremely unlikely, or the right conditions developed and persisted on this planet. Those same conditions could develop and persist and lead to an entirely different range of life forms on some other planet, somewhere, in the Universe. No biggie. I mean, the Universe could give less than a rat’s ass; it is absolutely indifferent. Does this comfort me, or confuse me? Both. BUT, I came away from that lecture and viewing feeling more OPEN to accepting life — and evolution — more at face value.

I think I have always held out hope that Earth is particular, and that we, as humans, have been positioned here for a reason. Ironically, all this talk of a directly-intervening god has helped me to understand “Him” better — that I don’t believe in this at all.

There is no God, per se. There is, however, an “order” to things, a way of life, literally, on this planet. Could it be that all life on our planet is, like I said, wired together? Like all the bacteria in a culture, or, all the fish in a school? Is this why we feel more connected to a larger sense of Being, of Self, I guess, when we’re in an ocean or near a forest, places teeming with life?

This is important to my drinking how? Well, for me, the seeking of a sense of purpose, a sense of self, a sense of fitting into this world, this solar system, this galaxy, this Universe — I need to know where I fit; and when I don’t, I feel lost and empty. Does it matter? Should it? I drink over this. I feel helpless and hopeless about it all sometimes. Why not drink? It takes these thoughts (and feelings) away and swaps in grandiose ideas, emotional waves of goodness, a complete lack of caring about the bigger picture. I need to know that it’s OK for it not to matter — in a good way. I mean, if you’re looking at Earth from another galaxy, does anything here really matter; and if it does, what does THAT matter anyway? 😉

After my swim, I sat there and meditated. I enjoy meditating now; it brings me such relief to be ABLE to sit there and enjoy just sitting there. (Believe me, I’m not perfect, and most of the time, I do think. But, I call it meditating because it is an attempt to just sit there and absorb life without thinking about it.) It’s taken me close to a full year to be able to just Sit and Be. And, I consider that a large step in my recovery from addiction to outside substances for my “happiness.” If you think about how much we, as humans, value our thinking brains relative to how much damage they do to us, to how much thoughts simply get in our way? I would even posit that less thinking, less caring, less wondering is serving me better these days! I don’t have to DO anything — I can, and I want to, but I don’t have to care or feel guilty about not caring about the outcome. That is liberating to me, and it partially explains why I can sit — in relative peace and comfort — and watch the water for hours and NOT want to escape this “not doing anything.”

I am taking someone to a meeting tonight, so I guess I have to go. It’s a beginner’s meeting and I have no other plans, so, why the heck not? 😉 (AA, I love you.)

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