Setting an Intention for the Next Week

I’m listening to guided meditations every day this week (and for the next three), and this morning was about setting intention for the day.

I am a planner, and accustomed to making plans, even long-term ones (although PTSD has made long-term planning hard for me the last few years). I am also a goal-achiever, so setting goals is also really familiar.

This, however, is different, and much more gentle and kind.

Were I planning and setting goals, I’d have a schedule mapped out and clear, defined goals to achieve this week. Instead, I am setting the intention to be curious and stay with creative energy, whatever that looks like.

1% Better – Walking

I walked every day last week! It was my second week in a row to hit my 1% goal, which is surprising and gratifying. I’ve had so many doubts that I could stick with even small things for a week straight, and walking every day for an average of 45 minutes a day wasn’t a small feat. But it’s possible! I’m also doing the design work, and I’ve noticed I’m spending more time thinking through the design of several projects I have in my head that haven’t yet made it to paper/manifested into work. I started out thinking I couldn’t design at all right now.

This week I’m shifting a bit and my goal is to meditate every day this week. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits and I’ve dabbled a bit, but I’ve not been able to start engaging with it, so I am taking the opportunity of Audible’s free for members guided meditation series and am listening to that this week. I’m not including other efforts in this weeks’ 1% goal because this feels really challenging by itself, but I don’t see it as a reason to not walk/exercise/design, I just want to keep things simple and achievable for where I am right now – which is still needing things to be small, simple and achievable even if I have a massive meltdown (cause those are still happening).

Holiday Giving to Connect to the Human Spirit

No matter what I have to deal with – and some days it seems like a lot – it is important for me to give, not because others have less or have it harder, but because I think giving connects us to the human spirit and helps keep a sense of perspective. At Christmas I volunteer to wrap presents for children who are either wards of the state or whose families cannot afford the more material side of the season, and I hope that wherever you are you can connect to that spirit of giving in a way that helps you trust that you are not alone. Much love!

HRV Said Rest, I Didn’t. Damn.

We had a family crisis yesterday, and it didn’t need to involve me, so I didn’t get involved. I continued on with my plans, had a nice afternoon and was tired and in bed fairly early. It still affected me, however, and when I woke up this morning my HRV reading was significantly lower than it has been and the analysis was in the red. I needed to focus on rest and maybe go for a walk.

Accordingly I went for a walk, noticed I was starting to disassociate, which I haven’t done in a long time, then drove to a friend’s to watch movies. I didn’t even make it there before I had an epic meltdown and had to sit in a parking lot for an hour before I could even function.

It’s so hard that an event that barely concerned me had such devastating effects, and yet so clear that what I did to handle the trigger is far beyond what my abilities were a year ago.

This time I needed to pause, get to calm, have space to process what was happening and then decide what I wanted to do, and what was kindest to myself. Instead of continuing to disassociate I noticed what was happening and – although I didn’t avoid the meltdown – was present enough to be able to learn from that experience in a way that gives me a new tool to use if (and probably when) this happens again.

Practicing Discomfort

I have a really low tolerance for discomfort. And while it might be reasonable to assume that a lot of people share in that, I’ve noticed that I have even less tolerance for discomfort with PTSD. That has really come into focus for me in the last week, post-river, and the realization has challenged me to think about whether I can develop a practice of tolerating discomfort that helps me to grow and to be a little less challenged by being in the world.

It was horribly windy here yesterday, and no way no how was I interested in leaving the house. I hate wind, it annoys me and tangles up my hair and gives me a headache. My 1% goal this week is to go for at least a 15 minute walk every day, and I’ve been doing that! But yesterday I was not about to get out for it, and contemplated whether marching in place in my house for 15 minutes would suffice.

Except that the point of the 1% goals is to develop the discipline and practice of doing things despite the inconvenience and discomfort they might present to me. It’s about not making excuses and slacking off because I don’t feel like it or it would be somewhat unpleasant or the conditions aren’t perfect or I’m busy.

So I bundled up and headed out on my normal trail, and nearly blew over a few times. I really hate being out in the wind, but I did it, and I didn’t spend the time complaining, I spent it listening to¬†Dare to Lead and learning something.

Good practice.

Ouch, Shame Trigger

Sometimes in the course of my work I write documents that are part of public hearings or public policy. They’re usually not controversial. Usually.

A document I wrote a few months ago has turned out to be quite controversial for a small group of self-interested people, who have threatened legal action, whined to their industry group, etc.

This document and the policy change that is to come with it would have had no negative impact on this group, and will likely benefit them. But it represents change and adaptation to a new set of circumstances. So of course all hell broke loose.

I was forwarded an email from their industry association’s legal counsel, which proposed that the document I wrote didn’t accomplish its desired intent, recommended changes and implied that the changes weren’t legal. I got the email last night, and upon reading it had all the shame gremlins in my ear telling me that I had screwed up, that I hadn’t done my job correctly and that I had done so poorly that my work was already being picked apart.

It was a great reminder of why I don’t read work email after a certain time in the evening.

When I reviewed the comments this morning, the legal council was not only wrong but had provided irrelevant sections of law as references, and is either seeking to cast doubt and intimidate or its out of his depth on the issue. Either way, he’s bad at his job. In 15 minutes I had crafted a successful and compelling dismissal of his position, and verified that what I wrote was, in fact, perfectly correct.

I hate that I had that moment of shame trigger related to my work, but it comes from a lot of years of being correct and professionally sound while being told that I was not (too young, female, too pretty – whatever, name your dumb reason for why I couldn’t possibly have known what I was talking about, when in fact I did). I think there’s an element of it that keeps me on my toes and makes me work that much harder to do my work really well, but it’s at a price that I’m still having to pay, apparently.

But yeah, I’ll see you in the hearing, council. Good luck, because those without skill need it.