Reminder to Breathe

I’ve been battling a city staff member on a project for a client for the last two days. I have yards of emails detailing out this person’s approach to the project, which has been to attempt to require changes and additions to an application in the hope that they will cause us to miss a deadline and be delayed. There is no good reason for it, the decision will be made by two separate bodies who must both agree for us to achieve our request. Which is within the parameters of what is allowed but by policy needs specific approval and two public hearings. And that’s fine, because that’s good policy. Demanding arbitrary language changes, changes of intent and attempted intimidation are not, and I have half a mind to read this person’s entire chain of emails aloud to city council.

A young man I babysat almost two decades ago and who was in a car wreck a few months after mine – and who was not as fortunate, is losing his battle with neurological damage and is in a coma following a cardiac arrest. He is not expected to live much longer, and his family is saying goodbye. I’m heartbroken. I’m still close to the family. I got the news in the middle of some of the most ridiculous of the city staff requests, which suddenly lost all importance by comparison.

But life goes on. My client’s goals and interests still go on. I go on. But I really needed to be reminded to breathe.

100 Days of Healing – Day 15

I have taken my sweet time to read it, but I’m back to working through The Mindfulness Toolbox: 50 Practical Tips, Tools and Handouts for Anxiety, Depression & Pain.

This section struck me, because it speaks directly to the blurb I wrote about my blog about being a person that likes to get from point A to point B:

An outcome orientation is focused on the future, which often produces worry or anxiety about achieving a desired outcome. In a very real way, it saps the enjoyment and curiosity out of the experience itself.

Learning how to change focus from outcome to present-moment process can be a powerful experience. Most importantly, it reduces anxiety that comes from focusing on expectations and outcome-oriented thinking.

Here are a few examples of outcome orientation:

  • Learning for the sake of getting that “A” on a test or report card
  • Finishing a work task on time
  • Focusing solely on a sports training goal or time
  • Getting that promotion at work
  • Receiving the highest review from a supervisor
  • Making sure the house is always spotless
  • Comparing one’s progress against that of others

By shifting awareness to the most minute and tiniest details of one’s experience, the process orientation comes into the foreground. This practice also trains the brain to stay in the moment.

I knew I needed to make an orientation adjustment, and now I know why.

Something to Look Forward to

Grandma is being crazy (loose term, yes I know, but I don’t want to get into it), and I am actually counting the hours until I get to leave. I’m like the custodial parent here: I get all of the bad behavior while everyone else gets to see her perform for company. There is no rational thought happening in her head, and it is really frustrating to me because I cannot solve any problems here. She won’t let me solve her imaginary problems, and she frequently doesn’t tell the truth, so…I’m counting the hours.

One of my coping ideas is to figure out something to treat myself with when I get out of here in a couple of days. I haven’t settled on anything yet, but it’s as varied as a nice dinner out to getting my car detailed. I’m going to be working the next two weeks straight with a lot of travel, and there won’t be much room after Thursday for something for myself, so I have about a day and a half free before I hit the road.

I want to spoil myself a bit, then it’s back to work, back to working on my health and back to recovery. But I haven’t settled on something yet, so feel free to weigh in!

Run for 15 Minutes

My brother gave me Jabra Elite ear buds for Christmas to replace the ear buds that came with my phone. I had ruined them by getting caught in a couple of thunderstorms last summer, and he went above and beyond on the gift. They’re great.

They pair with an app, which I finally downloaded today. As I look at ways to mindfully improve my health, I’m going to have to put in some cardio. I haven’t done that since my car wreck. It was just too much for my brain to handle high intensity exercise.

Now, however, I’m at a point in recovery that I can start pushing myself to make some physical health gains, and I’m doing it with some limitations on what and where I can do it since I’m caring for my Grandma 4-5 days a week.

Do what you can, where you can though! So I downloaded the app, and it told me to run for 15 minutes to check my VO2. Haha, I don’t run, and I’m certainly not able to run for 15 minutes! What a joke! Do only people who are already fit own these? I don’t get a runner’s high, and I hate running.

I did it though. I stayed focused on my breathing, made reasonable goals along the way, went back to my breathing to try to keep a rhythm, and toward the end checked the time a few times.

My health level is poor.

No kidding. That’s why I’m doing this.