244 Days Studying Abstinence — And a Brand New Morning

I’ve been on My Year of Abstinence for two hundred and forty-four days now; that’s seven months and thirty days.

Sitting down at my computer this morning, I realized I’ve fallen into a rhythm of choices that didn’t exist this time last year.

I start hours earlier in the day now.

This morning didn’t begin at 6:30 AM as I’d intended — my body needed the extra sleep and I quickly fell back into the deep comfort of my yellow haven. But the 7:30 start still beats my “no later than 10 AM” of yore. Coffee sat ready — prepared and timed last night, I filled my cup, took a few stretches while gazing out the kitchen window, and returned to my room and to my desk.

Set and ready for me atop the clean glass were two slips of paper and a deck of cards. First, I took up the small orange square given to me recently by my restorative yoga teacher, and gently stretched my eyes and face. Setting that aside, I looked for the first time to the Oath of Manifestation given to me by my reiki-guru yesterday. In the orange light of this late-winter sunrise that’s warming the early-morning glow of my room, my heart fills with hope and confidence as I call abundance to me and banish the defeatist thoughts that so regularly plague my mind. Finally, the cards: a shuffle, a cut, and a flip — my one tarot guides the day. The reversed Page of Swords sends a warning for the phone meeting I have later today: mind the sword that can be my tongue. I need to invite progress in this work situation by inviting clarification with “Help me to understand…”, rather than venting frustration. Now is a time for subtlety.

Now I am ready. My apartment building is still quiet. The streets have yet to fill. It is brighter than it was a month ago, when I welcomed the darkness and stood like Wonder Woman, gazing onto the darkened streets below.

I only notice this because of having noticed everything these last two hundred and forty-four days.

I start to type, and to read, and find I’m enjoying the same work that clasped my throat with anxiety last night before sleep. This is still a problem — I drift almost completely to dreamland before my brain latches onto one thing still undone, and then another, until I’m fully awake again and afraid that I’ll never finish any of the big goals set in front of me, or the hundreds of tiny ones I need to complete in order to survive. But, again because of these seven months and thirty days, I have tools to employ, and so last night finally fell asleep with them in use.

I work.

An hour passes, and Mitra clawing onto my leg and jumping into my lap signals it’s time to walk. I take my phone, but barely look at it — how far from June 20th we are now. It’s warm out, and more birds signaling spring chirp today than yesterday. The sun has shifted light on the old brick from orange to yellow, and for the thousandth time I breathe in that I love where I live.

When we return home a new breath catches for a second: You know how thoughts can layer five at a time when something you can’t quite distinguish as real or surreal unfolds before you? Two sets of doors separating the vestibule in my building — the front one of which I’m now opening — seem to entrap a pigeon lifting off inside to take flight. Oh, no! my brain warns — the pigeon will smash into the wall or claw down onto my dog! But no — I see the reflection of the wide panes of glass, and the pigeon flies takes flight from the outside archway, reaching into the sky behind us in a looking glass of bright blue.

How miserable to have missed that magic moment, were my face down and lost in my phone.

Two hundred and forty-four days. And a brand new morning.

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