Zero to Sixty…to Zero

As of tomorrow, Ritter puppy has been with us for a month.

A WHOLE MONTH!

Where on earth has the time gone??!?

Quite literally — and figuratively — life has gone from zero to sixty in no time flat, leaving us exhausted and frankly, bewildered. I don’t think we realized how much we had gotten used to the calm, quiet norm of this past year without Trooper. Few responsibilities. Little chaos. Home had really become the haven we crave it to be…a place to seek comfort from the stresses of the outside world.

This is no longer the case.

Not really.

At least for now.

On the literal side of things — very much affecting my outdoor meditation project The Mirror — temps in the past month have gone from well below zero degrees to well above sixty degrees, seemingly overnight. While this has been luxurious is so many ways (says the woman who would give almost anything to lounge endlessly in a sunbeam like a cat), it has been oddly jarring.

Am I wearing my winter coat for my meditation today, or a t-shirt? 

Which leads to the figurative side of things…I feel busier and more exhausted than I could have imagined this past month to be. One day, I was able to enjoy my quiet mornings of reading and meditation and breakfast and tea. And the next?

Up before dawn with a whining, mouthy, demanding puppy.

Oh, but thank goodness he’s sleeping through the night!

Changes. It doesn’t even matter the how or the why or the what for. They happen in life to all of us all the time. This isn’t a news flash or anything to write home a blog post about.

But for some reason, in this life that I’m living, right here right now, everything feels Larger than Life where Big Growth and Enormous Change are happening all at once. I feel as if my comfort zone is being stretched farther and wider than it could possibly go. Like there is no place to escape the tumult. No quiet place to land.

I’m laid out. Done.

Kaput.

This past week, I unsubscribed to nearly every single email I receive (LOTS of them). All of newsletters and invitations, quotes and blog posts sitting in my inbox waiting to be read, all of that really really good content hundreds of inspiring stories that I am perpetually afraid to miss out on, has been completely stressing me out.

One of the many straws upon this camel’s back.

With all the changes afoot, it seems the one thing I have needed — but have felt estranged from — to stay centered and grounded and solid is my buffer…the buffer that comes with mindfulness.

The mindful space that makes all the difference between a thoughtful response and a thoughtless reaction.

Without mindfulness — which seems to have jettisoned during the ramp up from zero to sixty — my capacity to handle even the most basic and normal daily stressors has all but disappeared. This backlog of emails that I’ve always been able to see as a gift waiting for me at the end of the day when I had the time to devote to them, became an accusing list of all that I no longer had the time for and couldn’t get done. The house being re-sided — an incredibly lucky twist of fate to get it done before the ground thawed and got muddy — made our home the center of chaos for weeks.

Add to that a beautiful, charming new puppy, who would more often than not use my hand as a chew toy (accidentally on-purpose), and I’d skyrocket into the ether.

No matter the good of it all — tremendously grand changes, one and all — the speed at which everything seemed to be occurring left me feeling raw and unsettled, and somehow only able to focus on the next stressful, unexpected thing.

The buffer that comes from a regular meditation practice, from cultivating calm and quiet time each day, from honoring my needs for rest and play and good fuel, has been put on the back-burner…more, it seems, out of necessity than choice. But without it, each new demand, each new way of approaching life in the midst of so much change, has drained me to exhaustion, and set me on edge.

I’m ready to slow down. To put on the brakes and shift into low. To coast to a stop.

Funny then, that today as I was sitting in the doctor’s office waiting to get immunizations for an upcoming trip to Thailand (yep, I’m in the throes of planning that, too!!! All good “problems” to have…) I got a text from my cellphone carrier telling me I was up to 75% on my data-usage for the month, of which I have three full weeks left.

What??!?

It seems that in my frantic need to multitask, to check something trip-related and dog-related and house-related off my list each day (oh, and job-related…yes, I’m still employed!) I have been using every spare millisecond I can find to be online, whether I’m connected to wifi or not…to look something up, to listen to podcasts or calls or to download them for later.

Neat! I guess I can use my whole data plan in a month!

Wow.

And now I can’t.

Hmm…

So, I guess it’s time to return from sixty to zero.

(Note…if I’m not returning my emails and texts in a timely manner, it’s likely because I have my data turned off unless I’m on wifi…ahem.)

The Universe moves in mysterious ways, bringing us what we need when we least expect it. Like yesterday when I took Ritter out in the morning and found this…

IMG_0159…laying on the lawn by the garden. The word “WILD” cut out from a magazine, I assume. Just waiting for me to happen by and pick it up.

But why WILD? I wondered.

Oh, it could mean so many things!

That I’m feeling wild. That our pup is wild. That I’m embarking into the wild unknown (in so many aspects of my life). That I need to re-read the book Wild or see the movie. Or eat more rice, or…

It feels like a clue. A starting point. A new way of re-looking at my life and where I am right now. This life that is settling into a new sense of normal…full of new routines, new demands, new passions and interests, new friends and family…

IMG_0152…to share my life adventures with.

I like to think of both things together — data issues and WILD — as a blessing from my angels, my guides, the Universe…that I’m poised to head out into the wild blue yonder. That all of the changes and shifts and lessons of the past few weeks — and the past few months and years even — are coming together for me now. If it feels wild, it’s because it is. This is the unknown. A whole new way of life is underway.

No wonder I’m exhausted. No wonder I need to slow down. No wonder I could use some rest.

And in light of my mandatory moratorium on cellphone data usage ;) I’d say it’s also a reminder to, once again, create deliberate space for my mindful self-care practices, and get back in touch with my all-important buffer by eliminating unnecessary distraction and kicking my perpetual major-league FOMO (fear of missing out) to the curb.

Where I am is the right place. The people I’m in front of are the right people.

Trust that all is well.

I don’t need to do everything. I don’t need to see everything. I don’t need to learn everything. I don’t need to fix everything. I don’t need to know everything. I don’t need to say everything. I don’t need to experience everything.

I just need to be here. Now.

Doing what I’m doing. Now.

Being. Now.

Easing into the nourishing flow of this next month, which culminates in a gloriously unexpected 10-day adventure in Thailand.

Now.

This moment matters.

Each. Moment. Matters.

We. Matter.

What a relief, really. To let ourselves off the hook. To remember again what is important.

And to choose to slow down long enough to catch up with ourselves.

Yes.

If you’re feeling like you’re running at “sixty”, what would it take to bring yourself back down to “zero”? I’d love to hear.

IMG_0138Enjoy this beautiful evening. One small moment at a time…//