It is morning. I’m awake. I’m feeling sort of cross and irritable, and there’s no obvious reason for any of that. I sip my coffee and work on getting past it. Mostly just sitting here, at my desk, thinking thoughts, not even writing, just sitting here, quietly. It’s enough, at least for now, and nothing about just sitting here quietly makes me more irritated or cross, so… yeah. Good enough.

I take a deep breath, and exhale, and relax. I do that a handful of times. I feel myself begin to relax – notice that happening, and find myself cross all over again. Dumb. I begin again. It is what it is, right? I shrug it off, and give myself a do-over. The room feels peculiarly warm. Is it me? My Traveling Partner woke early, and complained of feeling ill… Am I coming down with something or other, too? Another breath. Another slow relaxed exhalation. Another beginning.

It is, aside from my crossness, a lovely morning. I slept well, and even slept through the night (that’s been rare since we moved in here, I usually get up at least once during the night, however briefly). My coffee is good. The moon was hanging overhead, above the deck, when I went outside for some air, first thing, waiting for water to be hot enough to make coffee. In all respects, a very pleasant morning.

…So what’s with my moody bullshit?? (Just a human being human, I guess…)

I promise myself a measure of gentleness and kindness today – I deserve that from me. I remind myself to be considerate and patient with the world – everyone involved in this adventure called life is wholly human, themselves. My Traveling Partner sticks his head in the studio doorway, then follows with his whole self. His presence makes me smile in spite of feeling out of sorts, generally. He walks away after a few moments of conversation about ants, packages, and hot tub water quality. I’m still smiling. Maybe it’ll be a good day, in spite of waking up grumpy? I point out to myself how often (and how easily) an emotional state is confused for being “reality” – when really it’s just a feeling. Nothing much to do with “reality” in any practical way, until we connect those dots and insist on it for ourselves. Our emotions are their own thing, their own experience, quite separate from the practical details of what is going on with and around us, and sometimes not rooted in some obvious cause, at all.

I shrug off being cross, again. I notice how pleasant the air conditioning feels. I hear my partners voice from the other room, and notice the joy and comfort I find in the sound of it. I pay attention to the way the changes in my desk, studio, and workstation arrangements support better posture, and result in less day-to-day pain. I make room to be aware, very specifically, that I am in less pain this morning that I might “ordinarily” be in. I even pause to notice (and reject) the use of the word “ordinary” to describe the frequency of my pain; the words we use matter, and language is often how we “encode” our perceptions of “reality” in our thinking. I’m in less pain this morning. I make a point to be aware of that, and avoid making it a bigger deal at all.  I sip my coffee and notice the feeling of contentment that gives me. I make a point to enjoy that feeling, and to be aware of it.

I breathe, exhale, relax – and begin again. Sometimes that’s enough. 🙂

The morning is off to a slow start. I don’t take it personally. I slept well, woke easily, and it’s a new day. I start the morning with some exercise, then make coffee. It is a work day.

I sip my coffee feeling grateful for how well my work-station suits me. My Traveling Partner has supported my needs with great care, and together we’ve chosen equipment that really appeals to me, and also suits my physical and cognitive needs. It matters. I’m fortunate, and I smile as my fingers float over the keys of this keyboard. During the work day, it matters, too; I can see the screen easily, and am less prone to spending hours hunched over my desk, squinting at my monitors. I feel relaxed, sitting here, with my coffee, as the day begins. 🙂

My partner put my needs ahead of his own, to get me back to work promptly after the move. He’s finally getting to spend time on his own needs, and getting his workstation set up, too. It’s been challenging to deal with shipping delays caused by the pandemic (I mean, probably?). It’s nice to see him getting to start enjoying his computer, again. When I look around, it’s clear that the last space here at home that is due for a real investment in time, effort, and thought to be wholly “moved in” is my partner’s study/game room. In all other respects, we appear to be entirely moved in, here, and simply living life. 🙂

Yesterday, things went a bit sideways at one point. His frustration (with some set-up details that were preventing him making use of his computer) exceeded his ability to manage it easily (frustration is my “kryptonite”, so I totally “get it”). His strong emotions began to overwhelm me, even though they were not at all “about” me – not his “fault”, or really any “issue” of his at all. That’s all on me. I wasn’t managing that very well. The moment of emotional badminton was a bit difficult for both of us. We have the tools for that. We managed to get a grip on ourselves, each of us, individually. I keep returning to a critical moment of success in my recollection; in that instant when I was teetering on the edge of a PTSD “flashback” and at risk of a full on meltdown, my Traveling Partner stepped out onto our deck for a moment to “get a grip” and take a minute to calm himself. When he came back in, although still stressed, he simply asked me “What do you want out this right now?”, with measured deliberate patience, and a very gentle voice. I took a breath and answered “I want a calm house, contentment, and to be able to simply converse, even when we’re stressed out”. His reply really got through to me, too. “Then work with me and let’s make that happen.”

So we did. And we lived happily ever after.

Well…okay… being real? We did, and it worked out well, and we were able to get back on track and really “be there” for each other. Heartfelt apologies were exchanged, hurt feelings were acknowledged, and each of us took unflinching ownership of our individual baggage and bullshit. It was pretty fantastic. 🙂 I’m proud of my partner’s ability – and willingness – to take a step back in a moment of stress and work together to improve an experience. It’s a shared journey because we don’t leave each other to carry our burdens alone. 🙂 It’s not always easy, and it is very human. That’s okay, too.

Love means us no harm. There’s value in treating it that way. 🙂

Happily ever after is not actually a thing. Let that go. The expectations and assumptions that infect our thinking when we chase “happily ever after” are definitely going to sabotage our joy in every moment that reality can’t measure up to the perfect romantic daydream of “happily ever after”. Trust me; reality can’t live up to our cherished daydreams. lol Let that go. We’re too human for that – and honestly, in its best moments, reality is quite splendid, after all.

I sip my second coffee. My Traveling Partner, now up for the day, drinks his first cup. I consider a dip in the hot tub before work… it’s a nice start to a busy day. 🙂

…Certainly, it’s time to begin again.

 

I woke up groggy and in pain. My Traveling Partner, strangely, was already up. I made coffee, and retreated to my studio to wake up and get my shit together before interacting with the world – or my partner. Pain makes me super cranky, and fairly pre-occupied, which is both commonplace and also total bullshit (to have to deal with). I sip my coffee and look at pictures of flowers in nursery catalogs online. I am thinking about Spring, although it is quite a way off, on the other side of a winter that is not yet here, beyond a summer that has only barely started. lol Long-range planning makes for an excellent distraction.

I know that at some point, this coffee will be finished, and a new work day will begin. Sometime, between this moment and that one, I may soak in the hot tub and try to ease the aches and pain of arthritis and middle-aged-ness. It’s a lovely way to start the day (and week). A helpful luxury that has reduced the amount of pain I’m in, day-to-day. I’m grateful for that, and grateful for a partner that knows how to care for the hot tub (and is teaching me the things I need to know to do so, myself).

Pain sucks. I straighten my posture, and take a deep breath. I exhale, and relax, and allow my awareness of things that don’t hurt to become more prominent in my experience of self, right now. It’s not a cure for pain, but it helps, some. Later, if it is still this bad, I’ll take something for it, before I start the work day. One thing at a time… and next? I’ll just begin again. 🙂

I talk a fair bit about journeys, paths, traveling, my Traveling Partner… these are literal experiences, and also metaphors. I figure mentioning that is worthwhile, now and then. I use these concepts to give context to bigger questions. “Journey” is pretty vague… by intent. There are so many sorts of experiences of journeys, you see, everything from paved freeways with plentiful amenities along the way, and handy GPS, to unmarked trails through wild spaces, no map, no milestones, no safety net – you need something, you better bring it. The options are numerous, as are the choices.

How we prepare, and what we bring – as tools or baggage – matter to every journey we take, and ever day we live life.

Maps are handy… definitely bring one of those along on any journey… if one exists, at all. Sometimes, some journeys, there is no map and we’re utterly on our own, blazing our own trail through life’s wild spaces. It often feels that way, even when we have an actual usefully accurate map in our hands. Think that one over. How often has someone given you useful worthwhile truly helpful advice, or recommendations, that you disregarded… discovering too late that it really was just the thing to have done, to get the result you were seeking? 🙂

Sometimes I over-do the planning, packing, and preparation, and get part way along my travels heavily encumbered by a ton of crap I did not need to drag along with me. Baggage comes in a lot of forms. I definitely try to set as much of that down as I possibly can. “Traveling light” has this tendency to make long miles feel shorter. Everything we carry with us feels heavier over time. We become fatigued with the weight of what we carry, particularly if it does not serve an immediate necessary purpose.

The nature of the journey we set ourselves upon matters, too…

Sometimes the journey is a rough trail, steep, muddy, and treacherous…

…Sometimes the way ahead is obvious, the journey level, and paved…

I’m just saying, as metaphors go, journeys offer a nice assortment of meaningful options to reflect upon. 🙂 Where will yours take you? Do you know where you’re headed?

It looks like a good time to begin again… “Don’t forget to bring a towel!”

I’m sipping coffee on a gray Saturday. I enjoyed the first rain shower since moving, and delighted in the tickling spatter of summer rain drops in the morning chill. I sat down to write… but didn’t. I got distracted by the flowers of spring-to-come that aren’t yet planted in a landscape that isn’t yet supported by a clear vision. It is what it is; I enjoy flowers. 🙂

Other gardens, other flowers.

I’m not yet sure what I want of our wee front yard and garden space. Something like a cottage garden, I think, maybe…

Sometimes the simplest things bring great joy.

…or perhaps grand flowers in bold colors and formal borders…?

Plans are best supported with some sort of coherent vision… a direction to go…

Regardless of the eventual outcome of however many weeks and weekends of daydreaming and thought go into the eventual plan that puts me on the (garden) path to that future reality, there are choices involved. There is effort to be made. There is work, and care, and craft, and problem-solving. There will be, too, lovely moments to enjoy flowers, along the way. That’s sort of the point. 🙂

Those lovely moments… aren’t they nearly always “sort of the point”… of all of this thing we call living life? I mean… sure, we’ve all got problems, challenges, conflict, confusion… things to sort out, and things to resolve. That’s just real. I’m not at all convinced any of that amounts to “the point” of all of this fuss and bother that is “life”. Personally? I think it is “about” the moments, the joys, the collection of experiences that become our treasured memories, the relationships we build and share with other traveler’s along the way…

…And the flowers.

So, I’ve got some thoughts, and a wish list or two… and a day dream. With patience, it’ll become a vision, then a plan, then a course of action – a path. It seems so simple in the abstract. Life is about that, too; the complex and the simple, and how often they are the same thing, viewed differently, and how often a clear path changes the journey.

…My Traveling Partner comes in and more or less “takes over” this moment, and my writing, to make some useful changes to my workstation. 🙂 I think it’s time to begin again.