Stumbling Grudgingly Into Quiet

Today I’m thankful to be learning basic meditation.

I am keenly aware of stress.  If I let it get a foothold I flare and end up back at the rheumatologist, painfully swollen and only able to function at a basic level.  The last several weeks have been eventful.  In response I manifested several clear physical signs of a flare, though for once they’ve moved slowly.  I felt like my body was warning me what would follow if I didn’t regain control.  I decided to use the grace period.  I’ve been adjusting my daily routine and learning meditation basics.  Please know I’m not proselytising for any cause.  I use this platform to express gratitude in my own somewhat cantankerous way.   These particular changes have helped me.  Live your life as you see fit.

For as long as I can remember I’ve thought “I really should learn to meditate”.  I read Maura O’Halloran’s account of her time training to be a Zen Buddhist monk in Japan.  I found it engrossing, but I’ve never really mastered the feeling of emptiness.  I have an unruly mind.  It’s an asset for my work, but it also means that I notice every itch and feel the need to rein in my thoughts from their continual wanderings.  It’s the antithesis of a meditating brain.

I’m generally wary of alternative therapies.  I am willing to try those with a documented body of evidence in their favor.  Meditation, especially for stress management in autoimmune inflammatory diseases, is one such practice.  The pivot for me was accepting that I can’t expect to start with sitting quietly for 30 minutes in one go.  I am simply not wired for it.  I can, however, manage 3 to 5 minutes before bed, gradually increasing over time.  My runaway thoughts are not a liability.  I acknowledge them and return to the quiet.  I’m in my second week.  My hands are no longer swollen and the raised red spots on my skin have disappeared.  I don’t have an ultimate goal beyond trying to stay healthy, but this works for now.  I’ve used several apps to track my progress.  It helps me to quantify what I do.

Be kind to yourself, and your body.  You get one.  Finally, a well placed heating pad rarely goes awry.  (Blatantly sentimental picture below, because well, why not?)

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An IPad At Westminster Abbey

Today I’m thankful for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

In the small chance you’d missed the news, there was a royal wedding on Saturday.  A lot of positive press is being given to Bishop Michael Curry.  He is the primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion.

I’ve mentioned before that my relationship with religion is complex and I lean agnostic.  I sing in the choir of a local Anglican church because 1) they have the best music in town, and 2) I need to sing like I need to breathe.  Both are necessary.  I’m also attached to the Anglican forms even if I doubt the substance.

I truly respect, and honestly like, Bishop Curry.  His ecclesial history is a little like my own.  We both come from rather rambunctious evangelical traditions and have adopted the (in my HUMBLE opinion, blatant sarcasm) more graceful forms of Anglicanism.  He is learned, and gentle, and one hell of a preacher.  I’m not nostalgic for the tradition I was formed in, but every now and then you just need a tent revival.  He knows that, and brought it all the way to Westminster Abbey.  That is worth celebrating.

This video does not belong to me.  All rights belong to the rights holder(s).

Source:  BBC News

Please Stop Calling Me

Today I’m thankful for concerned relatives.

Today was another visit with the older gal I help.  She had me clean both bathrooms and dust the second bedroom.  She’d fallen a little behind because of numerous doctor visits.  She didn’t particularly mind the appointments.  She planned ahead, anticipating a long interval at the offices.  However, she didn’t foresee spending an even longer time on the telephone repeating the story to each of her children, grandchildren and all of their spouses.  She said “as soon as I got off the phone with one here comes another calling; a body needs a break to think!”.  I suggested she designate one person to keep the rest updated.  She has a large family.

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The Dumbest Smartphone They Sell

Today I’m thankful for my smartphone.

I was the last person in my family to switch over.  I had my (clamshell) flip phone for seven years and it was perfectly acceptable.  Eventually our carrier didn’t support my phone any more and I had to switch.  When I entered the phone store I said “I want the dumbest smartphone you have.”  The staff laughed and made a unanimous suggestion.

I don’t want to go back.  I don’t remember half the crap I should, but instead of trying to keep it in mind or wildly searching for a pen and paper I just make a list.  It takes pictures!  I can track my health.  If the small human wants to talk we can video chat.  This thing is amazing and I know I’m not using half of the fancy features.  I’m a bit of a technophobe but I’m a convert to this at least.

Thanks, I Think

Today I’m thankful for opportunities to learn about social media notifications.

This happened about a year ago.  I have no excuse beyond low-grade technophobia.

I’d noticed that some of my uni friends were travelling and updating their profiles with all the places they visited.  I don’t travel as much as I’d like but I’ve been some interesting places and wanted to share them.  I spent a hour updating my history and went to bed.

My sister messaged the next morning because she received almost a hundred notifications, all along the lines of “(I) was here!”.  I’d apparently missed unchecking that one small box for which notifications I wanted to send.  I immediately apologized to everyone and went dark for a week.