I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Changing my mindset

Red sky
We are preparing (as much as one can) for another onslaught of bad air, after two days of glorious clear skies and mild temperatures. When I woke this morning, I first checked the air quality for my area and find that it is still in the good category. Here is the current forecast:
Sunday morning update: Currently, still MODERATE in many areas. Later today, we may start to see smoke levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS, due to the fires in British Columbia and the nearby Cascade Mountains. Smoke could worsen into UNHEALTHY levels on Monday or Tuesday. We'll keep this forecast updated as conditions change.
That will be the most pressing issue on my mind for the next couple of days, I suspect. It's hard to figure out what to do when the air around you is so bad. It's not like you can decide to breathe later. There's not much else to do except stay indoors as much as possible. 

For some other reasons, I woke this morning in a dark mood. It's hard for me to watch people I care about having a hard time, and right now that is happening with a dear friend. Plus I had been doing so very well with my diet lately, having lost five pounds and feeling great, until Friday when I went off the rails. I indulged in ice cream and when I'd gone over my daily calorie budget, it was a signal to just keep going. And then yesterday I went to a barbeque gathering and had already told myself that I could stay within limits, but no, I continued to overeat. So I woke reminding myself that I need to cut myself some slack here.

Figuring that I could write a blog post that would hopefully cheer myself up, it did help a little to find that the air quality outdoors is still in the moderate range and not yet unhealthy. But the forecast is not good, so I'm bracing myself. In addition to that, I'll be getting on the scales, which I do every day, feeling resigned to whatever number I see. It was so nice to see the numbers fall and feeling my clothes begin to fit better. Sigh.

The last couple of weeks I've been able to write about compassion and that love is all you need. But today I'm on the flip side, trying to find those same emotions so that I can feel good about life, and they are elusive. I guess this is typical for everyone, feeling good sometimes and feeling bad other times, but I figure there must be a way to climb out of this well of darkness. All I need is to find some purchase on the slippery walls of gloom.

It didn't help to lose Aretha Franklin this week. She's my age, and she died from pancreatic cancer, which seems to be taking more people lately. My friend Ronni is recovering from the serious Whipple surgery and is doing well, but the statistics for how many people survive five years afterwards is scary. Apparently Aretha had that same surgery in 2011 and made it until this week. I watched some clips of her and enjoyed the realization that she was a truly amazing person in so many different ways. Sigh.
We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death. --Nathaniel Hawthorne 
I am probably making a mistake by going to the theater today to see Spike Lee's latest movie. Yesterday a friend asked me if I had seen it yet, and I told her I am going today. She said she walked out of the theater unable to speak, it was so powerful. It does say it has some comedy in it, so maybe I won't be too overwhelmed. We'll see. It's certainly getting an audience here; some of the showings are selling out.

By writing down all the different things that are bothering me right now, it sure doesn't look like it should be enough to explain my grumpy outlook. It could be so much worse, I suppose, and there are no real reasons not to simply scale the walls and emerge into the filtered sunlight and give a whoop for still being alive and kicking. Can I do that? I don't see why not. All I need to do is plaster a smile on my face and step on that scale. Take myself off to the coffee shop to join my friends and quaff a cuppa coffee together. In the larger scheme of things, I'm doing pretty well. And I have hopes for a better day today.

Okay, I'm halfway out of the doldrums, so I guess it's time for me to make it the rest of the way. Partner is still slumbering next to me, my tea is gone, and I've got people to see, places to go. There is even a smile playing across my face, thinking of the day ahead. I hope you will find some joy in the day, and that you might leave me a comment that will boost my spirits, eh? Until next week, be well and I wish all good things to come your way.


Galen Pearl said...

I read an article recently about emotional honesty and its importance in our lives if we want to have genuine connection with ourselves and others. I'm sorry you are having a rough day, and I'm so glad you decided to share about it honestly. All the compassion we offer to others is sometimes needed closer to home when we are in need of it ourselves. It's a good day to be tender and kind to yourself, and to receive tenderness and kindness from others when offered.

Your post made me grab my phone and look at the air quality index here in Portland. Like you, I've enjoyed the last few days of good air. Indeed, my phone says the air quality here is the same as where you live, creeping back up the index. Staying indoors doesn't help too much since all my windows are open. It's not as bad as last summer when visible ash was falling like a light snow. But still, I won't be doing vigorous activities outside. Thanks for the alert!

Rian said...

I have to say, DJan, that when I first started reading this post, it did not sound like you... and I had to go back to the beginning to see who I was reading. But it's true we all get down in the dumps on occasion... for whatever reason. It will pass - as you know. Just having coffee with your friends will help. I do hope your air quality will improve and that your joie de vie returns as your day progresses.

Cheryl Lawson said...

Hi DJan,
We are about the same age and, like you, there are occasional days when I can't seem to escape anxiety and the blues for no real reason. I enjoyed your post though because it is so real. Like you, I find that the very act of writing often helps on a bad day. And I can empathize with the weight thing. I seesaw all the time. I'm a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and yet I can't seem to just keep the pounds off and maintain. Right now, I'm 20 pounds overweight and frustrated, like you sound. The air quality here on the Maine coast is good so at least I don't have that immediate concern, but I do worry about the long term quality of our environment, especially with a president who is a global-warming denier.
Hopefully, going out with friends will cheer you up, although I know that just getting dressed and out the door is hard when you're "down". Thanks for trusting your blog readers enough to share your authentic self. Hoping you have a happy day! ~Cheryl

Linda Reeder said...

We “escaped” to the Oregon coast but the smoke here is bad too, worse than it was in Seattle. I have temporarily abandoned weighing in. I plan to eat forbidden food. I’ll deal with it when I get home. It hurts to walk now. I plan to read books. I did not sleep at all well last night. I will most likely succome to a nap. Gloom follows me like smoke. I plan to beat it back and adapt a self—indulgent attitude for a few days. Love yourself!

Arkansas Patti said...

I am so sorry you are having to deal with "bad air." Especially since you are such an outdoor person. Each day is a fresh start and you must have amnesia about yesterday. Yesterday we can't change but can only learn from. I have a full proof way to start my day with a giggle. My first look at myself in the morning as I prepare to brush my teeth just cracks me up. Some how I can work up the most amazing bed hair over night. Should scare me but it really makes me happy for I know I have complete control in putting the mess back in order. One of the few feelings of control we are allowed these days.

Arkansas Patti said...

"Natural Woman" has been a constant ear worm for days. She will be missed.

Terra said...

DJan, I hope you climb the rest of the way out of the doldrums. I understand your worries, especially about air quality which is so important. Plus caring for your friend's health. I am heading out to church now with its upbeat music which always lifts my spirits. Best wishes to you for an upbeat week ahead.

Bonnie said...

Your posts have pulled me out of a dark place many times. I'm sure you have many readers that often feel lifted or sometimes even enlightened by your words. I am hoping that being reminded of how you help others you will youself feel better. I for one am thankful for you and your blogs.

Gigi said...

I think it's part of the human condition to sometimes have the doldrums. It's how we react to it - do we allow ourselves to wallow in it and have a full on bad day or do we shake it off, go out into the world and look for the beauty? Knowing you, I believe you will do the latter.

Have a wonderful week, my dear friend. xo

The Furry Gnome said...

I know just what you mean by 'feeling good sometimes and not so good other times'!

Elephant's Child said...

Air quality and a friend's health issues are enough to bring any of us down. Which is only reasonable. And to be expected of a compassionate person. The scales issue? Sigh. At least you are religious about monitoring it. And amending any glitches.
I do hope that your natural optimism surfaces again. Soon.
Cyber hugs and oceans of caring are flowing your way.

Red said...

Okay. The smoke thing. I need a break. We've had it for two weeks and it's a bummer. I haven't slowed down but it's nice to get a bit of a break. yes, I know the wind has changed so you're getting the smoke. Sometimes we get the blues. Most of the time we come out of it quickly.

Marie Smith said...

I hope the air quality wasn’t as bad as expected Jan.

I have those blues too on occasion. Exercis always helps me. Your spirit will pull you through this bout, the spirit which sees the positive in the world and in others. That spirit inspires others too and brightens our Sundays with its wisdom.

Take care, Jan.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We have bad air here too. it is real hard to stay inside in the summer. Hope you are your usual cheery self soon, I think it is from the no sun for a few days lots of people are feeling down....so join the group! Far Guy is down...I am trying not to be. The smoke filled air is worrysome:(

Rita said...

Did you like the movie? It is supposed to be quite provocative but looks very interesting--especially because it's based on a true story.

I hope you have lifted out of the doldrums. We all get into those funks now and again. I think they are perfectly normal--just part of being human. I hope it is a not too smokey good week. :)

Sally Wessely said...

I understand those feelings all too well. There are those days! Other days, I want to bottle the day and the emotions and keep them for the days when I have gloom and doom staring at me.

The smoke gets in my eyes here in Colorado too. It has made breathing difficult and it is so sad to see the mountains shrouded in smoke.

The movies you referenced seems like such a great one. I hope Jim & I get out to see it. The movie tells the story of a man from Colorado Springs. What did you think of it?

Susan C. said...

For someone who loves the great outdoors being compelled to stay inside is most likely to trigger some anxiety! ......and can I as a friend ...a friend you don’t really know.....say......step away from the scales......they are a guaranteed measure of stress and anxiety!!
Dont quantify your moods and self worth by what a scale says.....each day your weight will fluctuate as will your appetite.....be gentle and kind to your body, it moves you well and it requires nourishment. Weigh yourself at a minimum weekly.....otherwise just throw them away and get a doctor to monitor your health.....or just go by the way your clothes generally feel....weight management is not about a number on a scale it’s about the balance of activity and nutrition. Be kind to yourself.....you deserve your own compassion.

C-ingspots said...

No matter what, I always feel blessed after having visited your blog. In many cases, you seem to have a slightly different perspective on many things from my own, and it's both enlightening and encouraging for me to look outside my own box.

Yes, the air quality has been especially oppressive here too. Some days I cannot even make out the Coast Range which is very close to our home. The blood red sun and moon are telltale signs as well. My chest feels heavy and I've been coughing regularly from the smoke...but, duty calls! So off to work I go, and the caretaking of the animals can never be postponed. I worry a fair amount about them, because they have no "inside" as a respite. But you know what they say about worrying right? "Worryin' is like a rocking chair - it gives ya somethin' to do, but it gets ya nowhere". Compliments of my grandma who was wise in so many things.

Bless you DJan, and may your week be filled with grand adventures and enlightenment!

Unknown said...

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Dee said...

Dear DJan, so often, especially when my health is involved, I have to sit myself down or lie down and go to that deep center of myself where Oneness dwells. It is there that I find who I really am. And it is there that peace pours into me like honey oozes into a slice of bread. And in that peace I can bless myself.

Your writing each Sunday is like that. It is for you, I think, a way of entering into the deep down peace of yourself. May you know peace today, pressed down and overflowing. Dee