Posts Tagged ‘stress management’

During times like these, when the world is screaming along at Mach 2 with its hair on fire (which, I think it fair to say, it is currently doing), we must not be afraid to practice some self-care.

Take a breath.

Step to the side.

Look up, look around.

Take note of something that pleases you. Music. Art. Nature. Your kids. Your partner. A piece of work well done.

Relax for a bit. Just a few moments of indulgence. Something just for you. A respite from the chaos, the frenzy, the tragedies large and small.

I’ve needed a lot of self-care lately—an escape from the cruelty I see each day—and have found it in a very unlikely place.



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My cathedral is made of trees, but it has seen the downslope of my attention. Its pillars are still sound, standing strong through storm and summer heat, but the branches and leaves of its soaring roof have become crowded, ragged, thick with deadwood and duff.

Its nave and transept, too, once clear and open, are now overgrown as the plantings set down in years past have grown relentlessly upward, reaching out, filling the vaulted space.

The reason for this deterioration has been my inexhaustible neglect, piled year upon year, as life and events sapped me of my faith, my devotion, my love for this quiet place. Leaving nature to do as nature does has only compounded the situation, as self-sown volunteers sprang up in open spaces, and Seattle’s often rough sea-borne winds snapped off limbs twice as long as I stand tall, dropping their five-stone weights from the canopy down onto the hapless undergrowth below. (more…)

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Dragons AheadI used to love programming but it’s changed so much in the past 25 years, I can’t stand it anymore. When I only stay at a job for the salary and the time off, when I hate everything about what I do, when I wake up at 4AM with my heart pounding because my brain is preparing me for the day’s fight with a surge of adrenaline, it’s definitely time to go.

But, as I posed it in the previous post in this series, what career to I pick instead?


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Dragons AheadYour reactions to Part I landed in one of two camps: Most readers remembered fondly their own youthful creativity when funds were thin, while a few wondered why the hell I’d even contemplate this at all.

I enjoyed the anecdotes you shared, and it reinforced my belief that being short of cash when young is a good thing; it helps us appreciate things more and teaches us skills we need later. As for why I’m considering this at all, well, that’s the subject of this installment.

Why be poor, if I don’t have to?


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I rise early; dawn is just a hint behind the eastern hills. I slipper down to the kitchen for coffee, then, hot brew in hand, slipper back to the office. I snap on the worklamp, turn on the computer, then sit and sip while I wait for the heat to come up from the furnace,

Outside, dark grey clouds hang in an oyster blue sky. The rain has eased and all is quiet until, just there, from the south, down the street, I hear the call. It’s a faint “Honh!” Iike a French adolescent clearing his throat, first one, then another. I rise and step to the window. I pull aside the curtain and peer upward. “Honh, honh” gets closer, is repeated. Different voices echo the first, and craning my neck, I see them, a vee of dark wings just above the treetops. Black necks, white cheeks, beaks pointing north, they “honh” to one another. Passing instructions? Keeping tabs? Giving encouragement? They fly over my house, and I can see their fingertip feathers against the paling sky. Now past, continuing onward, their calls fade with distance as they travel, as they head north to their nesting grounds.

Every year, I hear them–south-bound in winter, north-bound in spring–and every time I smile. I live right along their route, right along the necklace of lakes and ponds that guide them: Green Lake, Bitter Lake, Twin Ponds, Ronald Bog, Echo Lake, and beyond.

They’re a bit early this year. A mild spring, then, and an early summer ahead.


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A brain at rest stays at rest.
A brain in motion stays in motion

unless acted upon by an outside force.

Obey the Kitty!I’ve had a lot on my mind, of late. Problems at work, serious illness in the family, seeking a new job, the question of a career change, the question of additional training in my current career, another (possible) illness in the family, plus the self-imposed pressures about writing and book releases. In all, it’s kept my brain in motion pretty much all the time.

Normally, a brain in motion is a good thing. A brain in motion is a thinking brain, a learning brain. When all is calm, a brain in motion sails happily along. It thinks during the day, it dreams at night. But when placed under stress, it loses equilibrium. Sleep is disturbed. Patterns are disrupted. It cannot focus. It cannot concentrate. (more…)

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Somewhere between the publication of FC:IV and the writing of FC:V, I got sidetracked. It was a lot of things, really, but one thing, primarily: I met my mortality.

When I was young, like many melodramatic youths, I expected to die young. At the age of 32, to be precise. Who knows why that age and not, say, 34, became locked in my mind like some sort of Logan’s Run sell-by date, but it did. When the age of 32 came and went without so much as a blip on the death-o-meter, it wasn’t a surprise; by that time, I’d realized how silly the conceit was.

Then Death came by for a little visit. (more…)

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