Well it has been a year! A year ago today I wrote my first blog post. It was about my walk with Pretzel.
I remember that weekend well. I had been very miserable – lots of things were not going as I thought that they should! I was in danger of giving in to it all and wallowing in sadness and depression. But that Saturday morning I woke up and decided that things had to change. I had to look at things differently. I had to change what I could change and find a way of accepting what I couldn’t. I spent most of the weekend setting up this blog. Things hadn’t changed – the situation was still the same but I made up my mind to think differently about it all.
The mind is everything; what you think you become
Things have changed a bit since then. Everything is impermanent; nothing stays the same. Some things I have managed to change for the better. Some situations just got worse and new things are always surfacing. Life is not perfect – but it never will be. But I am handling it all better – well, most of the time.
I have just reread the “About Me” blurb for this blog. I was considering rewriting it. But – no! It all still stands. I am still on this incredibly difficult but exciting journey. I still wander off my path all too often but get back to it and continue walking. The man who showed me this path is, sadly, no longer very present in my life. He reappears briefly now and then. However, I am still so grateful to him. I would not be where I am today without him.
I know that I haven’t been posting as much as I used to. That isn’t because I am losing interest. It is more that there are lots of things that I am still processing. My thoughts are often not clear enough to be able to write about them in any coherent way. But there are things coming up that I know I will want to write about so I am sure that there will be more posts soon.
Last night was challenging. I had had a productive day – got things done. I had walked Pretzel and got in my steps. I’d been to Tesco, done some chores. I’d written a blog post. Someone had viewed my house. All seemed good. I was all set for an evening of Grace and Frankie, crochet, sparkling water and cuddles with Pretzel, JD and Smirnoff.
But then – out of nowhere – a huge wave of sadness and depression swept over me. I suddenly felt drained and tired. I remembered a particularly lovely night last week and mourned its passing. All of my optimism and positivity ran out of the door chased by dark terrible shadows. My evening of solitude switched from being a happy one to something sad. I don’t understand how that happened! No event occurred, there was no change in plans… the situation was the same but my thoughts and emotions changed in a ridiculous way.
So what did I do? Go with my first impulse and pop across to the shop for a bottle of wine? No – no I didn’t. I sat thinking about doing so for quite a while – I could almost taste the wine. But I resisted. Why didn’t I go for this option? Well my stubbornness helped – I had said that I was doing Dry January as a precursor to trying to stop drinking for good. Also I had already updated the App to say that I hadn’t had alcohol yesterday. And – I thought about this blog and how I wouldn’t want to say I had given in. I could have rang / messaged a friend who would have understood I think – but he has his own struggles and things to deal with. It would have been selfish and weak. Don’t get me wrong – often phoning a friend is the right thing to do. But this time – no. I knew that I could get myself out of it. Worrying a friend was not the kind thing to do.
So stubbornness and pride pulled me through to some extent. As did the knowledge that I have to stay strong for those people in my life who depend on me – my girls, my friends. But I was on my own so could have gone back to old unskillful ways of dealing with life just for last night without directly affecting others. Stubbornness, pride…
But there was something else. Something stronger and more positive. My journey, my path. Buddhism: “This too shall pass”; the fifth precept about not letting intoxicants cloud my mind; the idea that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Clear, skilful thinking got me through. I meditated for a while – just to clear my mind and reset. I had a shower. I refilled my glass of sparkling water and I pressed play on “Grace and Frankie”. Pretzel came and snuggled at my side. I retrieved my crochet.
I can’t say that I felt 100% better – but I felt ok. And sometimes “ok” is enough.
I could have come off my path, jumped over the edge and crawled into the dark cave. The cave would have sheltered me from my thoughts and feelings. But they would still have been there waiting for me to emerge. Instead I paused, thought about my options and made the decision to continue on my path.
Since last night a couple of things have happened. Not good things – events which serve as a reminder of how important it is for me to stay strong and present. Today is another difficult day in some ways but “This too shall pass”.
Someone asked me why I am writing this blog – more particularly why I am truthful about my struggles; why I don’t just talk about the good days. I write this blog because writing helps me. It helps me to give my thoughts and feelings some perspective. I put my blog online for many reasons. I like to write. I haven’t written much for years and this encourages me to keep writing and to improve. Another reason is to produce some sort of accountability – I have said I would do something so will try hard. It may be that my blog may help someone who is struggling – I might not have the answers for them but at least I may have things they can try or they can see that they are not alone. So I have to be truthful. Of course there are things I don’t write about because it involves others. I don’t write about my friends or my family in specific terms. But I want this blog to be authentic and to be truthful – so that means the good and the bad; the pretty and the ugly.
So last night I nearly crashed . But somehow held it together using my new, more skillful ways. Believe me that isn’t always the case. Next time I may not be successful – but this time I was. A reminder of my blog image – “what you think you become”.