your one wild and precious life

 

The Tug oF BUSY-NESS

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Vancouver. The kind of day I yearn for (yes, yearn) with all my heart during the cloudy and gray months that torment the Pacific Northwest all fall and winter. I let Guinness out, do a few yoga moves (a.k.a sit in heart to earth pose for 10 minutes), and go outside with my iced coffee. It is the definition lovely. But then comes the tug.

But then comes the tug, like Gollum’s evil half rousing from sleep.

“You should be out grocery shopping. The house is gross again. Look at the dishes.”

High on caffeine and sunshine, I ignore. Who cares about groceries?  I grab my journal and start writing. Yet, the tug comes back.

Yet, the tug comes back.

“Why haven’t you taken Guinness for a walk? Those emails won’t answer themselves. Do you have that grocery list?”

Desiring thought-proof headphones, I relent. It can’t hurt to get some chores done, right? After starting meal planning, conquering the dishes, and playing with Guinness, I feel energized. Or, what I think is energy.

BUSY-NESS & CONTROL

While finishing our meal plan for the week, James comes downstairs. He starts working on editing the photos he took when we visited Japan last week.

I add my last grocery item to the list and ask James if he’s ready to go to the farmer’s market. “No, I’m on a roll here with my photos and I’d love another hour to finish,” he says. Rational me is not here to party, so I become defensive. This will ruin my planned Saturday! Moving things by an HOUR? The horror.

Annoyed, I go upstairs to pout. I fall on our bed, face first. In a weird moment of clarity, I ask myself why I am getting so worked up over not going to the grocery store RIGHT NOW. We don’t even have to go to the grocery store today!

Slowly, rational me pokes her head out. “Ahem, maybe it has something to do with your need to have something to do that feels productive?” Nah, that can’t be it. She continues, “And maybe it’s because you are uncomfortable with free time?” Well, that’s partly true. “Oh, and you’ve been working on simplicity. This is the opposite.” Damn.

I hate when I’m right.

The Simple Life

Since returning from Japan, I’ve been ruminating about how to make my life more simple, more mindful. As someone who likes lists, schedules, and packed weekends, it feels wrong. Because why would enjoying my time be okay?! I want to allow myself the chance to be.

This attitude made me think of a Mary Oliver poem. In “The Summer Day’, she ends with the lines: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?”

Being busy for the sake of being busy is not how I want to spend my one wild and precious life.

I go back downstairs and tell James he can spend the whole day on his photos if he wants. As I left to go back upstairs, he asked what I was going to do. “Nothing,” I said with a smile, “Absolutely nothing.”

some days my brain isn’t mine

The Good

Let’s start with the good, shall we?

On Saturday, James and I make spontaneous plans to grab brunch after taking Guinness for a walk. Did I mention it was SUNNY?! I saw blue skies, people. I also ate a dutch baby pancake, rhubarb french toast, and patatas bravas. So, points for getting my daily dose of much-needed vitamin D with a side of brunch heaven.

We got shit done, too! Fixed our fake lawn (dogs can still dig holes in astroturf). Bought happy pink daisies for the front porch. Did weekly grocery shopping. Got my eyebrows to look normal. Talked to my in-laws.

On Sunday, we took Guinness on a field trip to the Vancouver farmer’s market. We walked along the waterfront, let Guinness chase ducks, and bought some local honey, asparagus, and a lemon white chocolate cookie.

Seriously?! I get to do these things?!

All-in-all, a win for a weekend.

THE NOT SPOKEN PARTS

If I left my weekend description at that, I would say I had an Instagram-worthy two days. Perfect dog, perfect husband, and perfect weekend.

However, we all know that can’t be the whole story. Good catch, guys!

On Friday, I had an anxiety-ridden day and panic-attack filled evening. I was completely shut inside my brain, snapping at James and Guinness at every chance. I was going back and forth between hating myself for acting this way and crying because I couldn’t stop myself. The self-love shit goes out the window when you manage to obsess for 4 hours about your failures as a human.

James knows. He always does. He kindly asks if everything’s okay or if he can help. I tell him I’m fine. Even as I do my fifth chore of the evening, distracting myself to all ends, I convince myself that I can’t say anything. I can’t admit my brain is spinning. That lack of control is still terrifying to me.

I stay around him all evening. I like the comfort of others, even if I can’t allow myself to talk to them or treat them well.

Want to know what set my brain off?

Me too. It could have been the podcast I listened to about manifesting abundance. It could have been having a slower day at work. It could have been what I ATE. It sneaks up on me and traps me inside with my thought loops of failure, imperfection, and self-hatred.

FINDING GRATITUDE & FRUSTRATION

When my brain decided to calm down around 11 pm that night, allowing me to actually sleep, I was so grateful. Grateful and angry. I think I can be both.

Grateful that I could be myself again–that my fog had been lifted. Grateful to have someone who understands that this happens sometimes. Grateful it only lasted one day. Grateful I was alive. Grateful I hadn’t had any suicidal thoughts.

Yet, I was angry. Angry that I didn’t use my self-care plan. Angry that I closed myself off. Angry that I have this happen.

When this happens, I always say “next time will be different”. I’ll nip it in the bud. I’ll use positive self-talk. I’ll do some goddamn yoga. I won’t let it get bad.

But, I probably won’t. And I probably can’t control it. But I can be honest. I can say I don’t know what’s happening to my brain. I can play with my dog. I can watch a movie.

But I can be honest. I can say I don’t know what’s happening to my brain. I can play with my dog. I can watch a disney movie and eat halo top.

I can accept that some days my brain isn’t mine.