Cortisol Hangovers

I sit here under a Magnolia tree amidst a day of disappointments and what seems like a lot of wasted time. Some days, things just don’t pan out.  

It’s a gorgeous day. The pollen has subsided, and we are in that seasonal sweet spot when the humidity is relatively modest and the temps are bearable. There’s a slightly damp breeze, and rain in the not-immediate vicinity. It almost feels like being near the ocean. 

Seems like it should be ideal. However, my central nervous system has other ideas. Since I awoke I have vacillated between dreadful lethargy and amped-up overstimulation and anxiety. At times, barely able to keep my eyes open and formulate coherent sentences. This, interspersed with moments of racing heart, blurry vision, cold, clammy hands and a tight chest. Cortisol floods my body for no particular reason, which then leaves me with a searing headache, sore joints and sour stomach. All on such a beautiful day. 

Life doesn’t make sense like that. It’s an ongoing vacillation of pleasure and pain. Boredom and excitation. It’s uncomfortable when our bodies don’t respond to those stimuli in expected ways. 

Example 1: I get straight A’s in my grad program. My brain and nervous system should  reward me for that behavior and I should feel elated. It doesn’t and I don’t. 

Example 2: I walk into an atrium with only a few people and no one I even must talk to. My nervous system responds like I’m going into hand-to-hand combat with a Nazi juggernaut and I’m probably going to face certain death. 

Uh, hey body…that’s not necessary but thanks for all the adrenaline, I guess.

So, in my constant search for some existential meaning, I’m confounded because the things that cue most people internally are a little bit haywire in me. So, being relatively intelligent, I get to think about everything in great detail while experiencing the world in heightened sensory fashion, and get very little pleasure out of any of it. Hmm…

I can’t cognate my way out of this one. Believe me, I’ve been working diligently on that since I knew I could choose my thoughts. 

I’m going to have to figure out how to change my hardwiring…and that’s no small challenge.

Wake & Thank

I’ve begun a new habit when I wake in the morning.  I wake and thank.  The first thing I do when I rejoin the waking world is begin with a session of gratitude.  Big things, little things, silly things. Anything.  I focus all of my energies on that which I enjoy and those things I cherish in my existence.  The tone that I set for my day is one of positivity, gratitude, and a readiness for more wonderful things to come my way the rest of the day.

Day 144 – When I Run Alone, I Prefer to be By Myself

Today I had a revelation: it’s only when I’m alone that I can focus on me. As I ran twelve miles today, I thought about why I prefer to run alone. My Love is always there but usually way ahead of me and I prefer it that way…

Today I realized why…I am a natural empathizer…I feel this makes me a solid friend, a good mom, and a caring wife…but not so good at being in tune with myself…

If anyone else is around, I immediately tune in to them instead. For the most part this is all good for me. However, when I am struggling emotionally or physically, I tend to want to be alone, although others want to support me and I love them for that. I find that in alone is the only place I can truly find me without being influenced.

Maybe I am a bit of an introvert after all…mind blown 🙂

Day 143 – Addicted to Intrinsic Reward

Today I sat ALL day and typed a home study for a contract job I do. My head hurt most of the day, I ate too much Easter candy while I was absently typing away and I occasionally stopped to make food for me and my Love who was outside all day working on his own project. I finally finished about dinner time. And while it was quite the epic struggle to get all done the sense of relief about having it done was equally satisfying. This is insanely true of me and my addiction to intrinsic reward.

Anyway, my body felt gross from being so inactive all day…I decided to go with my Love to set up the raised garden beds he had been building all day for someone else. It was almost dark when we got there so I told him to start leveling and I would carry all the bags of soil and compost into their backyard. Around 15 bags of 40lbs each…one bag at a time…up the small hill…onto the sidewalk…through the gate…and back again…Because I had been so still all day in front of the computer, I found myself genuinely enjoying the strain of my muscles, the sweat on my brow, the grit of my teeth…I noticed all these sensations of my body and I was thankful to be able-bodied…thankful for this body that I so often complain about but so rarely fails me…and tonight for once I just embraced my body, my muscles, my rolls, and even the cellulite for all that it can do instead of criticizing everything it’s not…

And afterwards, we went to Sonic and enjoyed a delicious root beer float…

Day 142 — It’s the Little Things

I was reminded that today it is the little things…friends to take walks with…good conversation…hearts found in quiet places…and chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert…

I love living in my day as if it is the only day that matters…my life is so much fuller this way…thankful for this Friday and all that it has offered me…

Day #141: A Love Poem

His strength secures me,
His sexiness thrills me,
His intelligence stimulates me,
His love overwhelms me,
But it is his gentleness that sustains me.
It is like a hand at the small of the back–quiet, unassuming, but always supporting.
I love the gentle kindness that illuminates crystal blue eyes,
That hugs away the stress,
That seeks to share, and at times, shoulder my burden for me.
I love the way he gently uses words
To teach,
To soothe,
To exalt.
But never to harm.
There is so very, very much to love about him.
But it is his gentleness that anchors this heart to him.
Any my heart is his forever…

Day #140: Sometimes Frozen Yogurt is a Spiritual Experience

She placed her hand in mine as we walked from her school to the truck, “Are we going to Goody’s?”

“Of course,” I smile, “It’s play practice day.”

Sometimes routines are nice, I think, especially ones that include frozen yogurt! But honestly, it all felt so good…the familiarity of this afternoon.

We went to the gym after dropping her off, and cross trained. I did a newer elliptical machine for 45 minutes. It was different, so different, from running. I had no pressure on my knees, my shins didn’t feel like they were on fire, and my lungs were operating with the wheeze breathing that often accompanies me on a run. And I giggled to myself as I realized, “Different is okay too.”

Life really is an oxymoron. Just when you think you have it all figured out, a curve ball comes and you haven’t a clue what to do with it! Sometimes it curves toward you, hits you square in the shin, and hurts like hell. Other times, you swing at it anyway, make a solid connection, and knock it out of the park. The aliveness comes in the breath in between the knowing…the dash where hope clashes with reality and we hide our face but peek between our fingers, because in all honesty…we need to know what happens when our familiar grinds against the unknown…it is both thrilling and terrifying–but it’s all the business of living…

“Close Up Strawberry Ice Cream” by rakratchada torsap via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Day #139: Adulthood is Hard on Friendship

Today I rested and relaxed with a friend. A friend who has been around for a while. Who knows my stories and the emotions that guard them. Who makes me laugh and has heard me cry. Who is honest and in turn I can also be authentically me…without apology.

As we caught up tonight…I glowed inwardly with pleasure of her company…the sweet reminder of friendship…

The evening was perfect, the breeze soothing, and Love was planting flowers and interjecting his own comedies and tragedies…

It was so nice. *sigh*

Why are friendships so hard to maintain as an adult?

Because at 8:01 I became a pumpkin. Little love came home and we had pjs and snacks and bedtime routines before school and work in the morning.

But I savor the moments porch sitting with two of the bestest best friends I have ever had…until next time

Day #138: Strength is Beauty and Sometimes Your Legs Fall Off

Today we ran five miles…a maintenance run at this point in our training…I huffed and puffed a little…had some water…and cranked it out in about an hour…like its no big deal…

Little love got a new bike today. Her old bike was WAY too small and so let her pick out a new one for Easter. She was SO excited and wanted to immediately ride it to Mimi’s house to show it off.

Oh how she struggled…up the hills was hard, steering was “iffy”, and I about had a heart attach every time she almost didn’t stop. She was a little discouraged and a lot tired by the time we got back home.

I reminded her…”remember when Craigy and I first started running?” She nodded her head, “I could barely go a mile without feeling like my legs were going to fall off!” She giggled a little, “But now we can run 12 miles without stopping!” She looked at me like ‘Get to the point, lady.’ “You practice riding your bike like we practice running and you will be going all over in no time!”

Later, I hear her reporting to her Craigy, “I just have to practice so I can get strong legs.”

And that, dear friends, is why I run, why strength is beauty, and health is vibrant…because I have one little human that sees all that I do and trusts that it is good enough for her too…

Day #137: I See Hope All Around

Easter…holds so much hope for some…and for me as well…just differently…

Where some find hope in a man god who saved them…

I see hope all around in the certainty of life springing from the decay of winter…I see certainty in the promise of ordered seasons…I find comfort in the gentle life and death cycle all around that is the circle of life…

Nothing here needs saving…or defies laws…or is fantastical in story…it is simply doing what it does…

It’s birthing…
It’s blooming…
It’s growing…and alive…

I took a walk with little love and came across a small tree that bloomed completely white on one side and completely purple on the other…it reminded of the yin and yang of energy…and because my mind was already there…it reminded of death plays into life plays into death once more…and really, who gets to decide which is better?

They both serve a purpose and are necessary all across nature and science…
So today I celebrate life, too…the order of it…the purpose in it…and the beauty all around…
Maybe it is not as profound as my old Easters with a risen king and a golden heaven…
But I can see it and touch it and taste it…and that is all I need...

“Rabbit And Easter Eggs In Green Grass” by jannoon028 courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net