Yesterday managed to be a relaxed and fairly satisfying day, in spite of having several things planned that relied on careful timing. Lunch with a friend was merry, filled with laughter, and the pizza was quite good. I got to my appointment on time. My on-phone interview resulted in an on-site interview later this week. I even got a couple unexpected messages from my traveling partner, away this week and still thinking of me.🙂

The afternoon wasn’t remarkable in any particular way; I relaxed, did a little yoga, did a little housekeeping, read a bit, and finished the evening quietly, and early enough to wake this morning ahead of the sun, feeling fully rested. A good beginning to a new day…then add raccoons.🙂

It was just one of those early morning moments; there were raccoons on my patio, and on the lawn just beyond, quite a few of them – like a small herd, or a tiny fur-covered sports team, playing together in the pre-dawn twilight. I watched for some time, then thought to grab my camera. I generally take ‘natural light’ shots – my flash is turned off for that reason. I took time to turn the flash on. Then I took time to take a picture of the inside of my screen door – after carefully moving from my studio window, to the patio door, because I didn’t want to shoot the inside of the screen! LOL (So human.) At that point, I’d definitely alerted the wee fuzzy bandits to my presence, and they began to waddle off to some place safe from “the paparazzi”. I opened the patio door – they were far enough from the patio now that any concern about raccoons darting into the house were just foolish whimsy (although, frankly, I have trouble imagining a raccoon “darting” anywhere, or resisting imagining they might). I got one last grainy shot of the 4 slowest raccoons as they made their way to places unknown. I’m still smiling. I grew up on nature shows, and seeing my Grandfather’s travel slides of far away places and exotic animals. It delights me greatly to watch the raccoons, or the squirrels, or the crows, or really most any creatures doing their thing. (Yes, I also watch people, when I am out and about. We’re very interesting primates.) It was an entertaining start to the day.

Not my best picture, but a moment worth cherishing.

Not my best picture, but a moment worth cherishing.

So today is a Tuesday with a side of raccoons. I’ve no idea what other delights the day will hold, and I’m not seeking more adventure than whatever naturally turns up on my doorstep. My “to do list” is mostly housekeeping and self-care, another phone interview, and today my traveling partner returns home (although I’m not likely to see him before Thursday).

Today is a good day to enjoy moments. Fun moments. Rare moments. Sensuous moments. Kind moments. Close moments. Tender moments. Friendly moments. Serious moments. Earnest moments. Other moments; there are so many to choose, to appreciate, and to savor. Today is a good day to share a moment, with a friend, with a stranger, or with the world.🙂

 

I woke this morning, before 5 am. The world is still dark. I make coffee, do some yoga, have a shower… still dark. The season is changing. I sip my coffee standing in the open patio doorway, feeling the chill breeze coming across marsh and meadow, peering into the darkness as if to see something known, but invisible. Something present, but not yet revealed. I enjoy the moment-as-metaphor quietly.

I sit down to write, and when I log on I receive an end of day message from my traveling partner, unnecessary, welcome, and heart-warming. He lets me know he is safe for the night, and settled in somewhere to sleep. He tells me he loves me. I read the words some minutes ago, and I am still smiling.

Today is a busy one. I woke early, and on some other day might have chosen to go back to sleep, if I could. Today, I could have, but choose instead to get up, get the day going, and be ready for the day ahead. Choices. Turns out to be a lovely morning to take note of how much later the sun is rising these days, as summer slowly turns to autumn.

Signs of autumn approaching, on my walk yesterday.

Signs of autumn approaching, on my walk yesterday.

I find myself caught up in my thoughts, this morning, disinclined to write them down, share them, or dissect them for greater clarity. I let them drift through my awareness unhindered: thoughts of love, thoughts of work, thoughts of grocery shopping, all equal in the moment that they command my attention, none so urgent that action is required. I sip my coffee, and listen to the distant sounds of construction crews nearby, starting the day. I hear the commuter train, further on, and the sounds of garbage trucks. Monday mornings are noisy, apparently, though I hadn’t specifically noticed before. (That I recall.)

My thoughts return to the weekend that is just behind me, landing rather gently on occasional moments of unsatisfied, unresolved, rather inconsequential ire that I had brushed aside, rather than deal with it frankly. What to do about those now? Actually… nothing. It’s incredibly poor form, hurtful, and not productive, to resurrect “old business” during new discussions, most particularly if unrelated. Even when the circumstance is definitely related or part of a series of things, I find it both rude and unhelpful, to have old business brought up as some sort of confirmation of a pattern of behavior – whether there is a pattern of behavior to discuss or not. Why? Well, mostly because it tends to fuel argument, discontent, and hurt, and seems to make it much more difficult, rather than less, to resolve conflict. It often leads to the sorts of “always/never” discussions that leave reason behind, but also don’t allow emotion to be felt, experienced, accepted, embraced, and understood – together. Old business tends to increase the likelihood that participants will cling to “being right”, rather than finding harmonious accord and simply loving one another. “Being right” is not especially important to love. I’d rather love well and deeply than be right.

I think this over more, recognizing that “feeling heard” is something I need. How often has the urgent desire to feel heard, to feel recognized, to feel understood, pushed me towards detailed documentation of a specific “issue” (for me) that put me at a disadvantage, or hurt me emotionally, such that I was then less able to actually talk about it, because I was so focused on proving it? It was a huge milestone to come to the understanding that emotions are 100% subjective experiences, based on our own individual perspective, and are not subject to argument or persuasion (or “proof”) at all! “You don’t feel that way” is not a thing that a person can say and be truthful about; we are each having our own experience. I know my own heart – and, if I’m honest with myself, only my own heart. All else is conjecture, assumption, supposition, guesswork, rumor, or second-hand information. (Calling our lover a liar when they share their feelings is… yeah, not very loving.😉 )

I often find that discussion of emotion gets very complicated when a lover reflects emotions back at me, like a fun-house mirror. It’s not uncommon. I say something hurts me, my lover says it back – and sometimes as though they experienced it (or said it) first. There have been times when that has felt deceptive or manipulative to me (and times that it has been). There have been times when it has been a revelation that we share such a similar experience of each other. That, too, is subjective. I’m quite certain I’ve taken a turn on the very same behavior, myself, at some points. “The way out is through.” I only know one resolution: deep listening, compassion, non-judgmental acceptance – of self, and of each other. Arguing most definitely does not “work” – unless by “work”, we agree to mean “causes hostility, confrontation, undermines our affection for one another, and builds lasting resentment” – in which case it works very well. (I dislike arguing, myself, and find no value in it.) “Giving up” and “letting the other person win” is also ineffective; love is not a competition, and if the struggle is to be right, we’ve already lost. Love is not about being right.

So… I lose if I give up, and I lose if I strive to “win” or secure the accolades of “being right”… So, what then? Deep listening. (Oh, and stop trying to “win“!) Really listening, without waiting to talk, without holding on to mental notes about how that other person is wrong, without grudging them the chance to talk about how they feel, without resenting them for the feelings they have, and without taking their experience personally – really listening, to their words, and doing my best to understand what they seek to communicate, without criticism of how they choose to attempt to do so. Loving kindness helps, too. It’s worthwhile to at least go into an emotional discussion accepting that my lover is “with me”, not against me, and that their intention is something other than causing me pain, or creating conflict. It’s not always easy. Previous relationships that have failed on the rocky shores of emotional abuse or manipulation still have some power to affect my ease with love, or color my assumptions. Here too, there are verbs involved, and I slowly learn to choose differently.

I smile, sipping my coffee. My thoughts drift from the challenges to the things that feel so easy. The sky begins to lighten on the horizon. Commuter traffic becomes a background hum that is more continuous. I think about love’s delights, and also distractedly wonder if I would be more comfortable if I put on a sweater… My thoughts shift to the subtleties of comforting and being comforted, and what matters most to love. I think about my “Big 5” relationship values, and test my assumptions, again: Respect, Reciprocity, Consideration, Compassion, and Openness. There’s always benefit to more practice. I’m very human. I consider my relationship with my traveling partner; he’s very human, too. I smile, thinking of his smile. I finish my coffee.

Today is a good day to listen deeply, and to love without reservations. Today is a good day to test assumptions, and respect Wheaton’s Law.

This morning begins fairly slowly, and generally pleasantly. I woke before sunrise, and sat quietly for some time, without purpose, or pressure to do more. I listened to my traveling partner’s voice, on the voicemail waiting for me this morning from a missed call last night, letting me know he had arrived for the night, and settled in safely. I smile again thinking of the sound of his voice, and sip my coffee.

I didn’t sleep much Friday night, and Saturday passed quietly in that peculiar fragmented way that sometimes results from fatigue. It was a pleasant day, and I have no complaints about it. I spent it relaxing, reading, and writing. Having found myself facing the rare inspiration to write fiction, I began a short story that held my attention long enough to become really excited about it. I may finish it today… or… it may die a slow death from later disinterest. There’s no predicting that, although I have a dreadful track record in the area of finishing fiction writing. lol Saturday seems easily wrapped up in a paragraph, this morning.

The way some days finish feels like a beginning.

The way some days finish feels like a beginning.

Friday was rather more eventful – at least, I’m still thinking it over. I spent most of Friday evening on meditation, of one form or another, and really deep diving some internal conflict, and taking a different look at some persistent bits of damaged this and that. It was constructive and practical time, spent in an accepting and compassionate place with myself, but it was also time spent taking a close look at next steps, “who I am”, and where the trajectory of my life is likely taking me, in a very honest way. It was a good evening for questions, and time well-spent.

Today I begin again.

Today I begin again.

Morning mist the day began with already gives way to golden sunshine. It’s a lovely beginning. I haven’t yet planned the day; I’m just enjoying the moment. What more worthy beginning could I undertake than to enjoy the moment I am in, right now?🙂

Today is a good day for beginnings and for moments.

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I woke up with a headache, scratchy eyes, and the taste of doom in my mouth. Wrung out. Ragged-y. Walking into the corners and edges of 53 years of experience. Ouch. It’s not a bad morning, really, I am just having this moment, right here, and it isn’t a perfectly lovely one. That has to be okay, too, or how will I swim life’s currents, rather than being swept away by them?

A very different point of view.

A very different point of view.

I had a delightful evening with my traveling partner, after a fairly good day. At the very end of the evening, we struggled through a shared moment of difficult emotions and differing perspectives. I did my best not to escalate the intensity of the moment when I began to feel emotionally attacked – holy shit that’s hard work! The thing is… he’s having is own experience. I’m having mine.

As deeply and intimately connected our partnership feels, we are still unique and individual, separate from each other, our own self, our own soul… and like it or not, the world does not look the same to him, as it does to me. Could I have chosen a better moment to bring up wanting to enjoy more of his time, or found a way to do so that explicitly acknowledged that I am aware this is a temporary situation, seasonal, and that in a few more weeks he’ll likely be spending a great deal more time with me? I could definitely do a more skilled job of listening – that’s a weak area for me, and although I work daily to overcome the challenges of my brain injury, I sometimes find myself frustrated and feeling a sense of futility – “Is this as good as it will ever get?” It’s not uncommon to cry about it in the darkness, until I sleep, at the end of a frustrating day.

We each have our own perspective on our shared experience. There’s no getting around this particular puzzle. It’s how we’re made. The most honest and truthful of lovers will still tell their stories differently, one from another, even if they spend every moment of their lives in each others arms. That’s some messed up shit right there… or seems to be, sometimes, when I want very much to be well understood, and instead feel… alone. Few things feel lonelier (again, my perspective, here, and my words) than the pain of being misunderstood, or not heard, by someone dear. What I find I have often lost sight of in the past is that if I am having that heart-stomping, breath-robbing, emotionally gut-punched experience of being misunderstood by my lover… chances are, in that identical moment, and from their own perspective, my lover is feeling it too. We are each having our own experience, but we are also all in this together, interconnected, emotionally entwined. He hears my words, feels my hurts, shares my moment… but… I am hearing his words, feeling his hurts, sharing his moment… what gets us twisted up is not that our perspective on a situation differs, but that we forget that it can’t be any other way, and become frustrated by the differences, instead of nurturing our lover’s wounded heart, and accepting with compassion and non-judgment that their experience is what it is, and demonstrating we are still there for them. Well, no kidding, right? It’s hard. We’d so much rather spend time trying to force each other to recognize the validity of our own experience – correct the other person’s “obvious mistakes”. (Note to self: emotional experiences are 100% subjective, personal, based on perspective, and not subject to argument, or disagreement. Choose another approach.)

It’s easy to wake with this headache and want to say “fuck emotions”. I can say it all I like, of course, being human doesn’t offer up an “emotion-free option”. We are beings of both emotion and reason… and frankly, emotion skips to the head of the line all the damned time. lol I may as well continue those practices that tend to improve how skillfully I feel… and how compassionately I honor the feelings of others.🙂

Today is okay. I’m okay right now, too. There’s nothing wrong, and love endures a lot of misunderstandings between lovers who love truly, and who invest in good communication, healthy values, and each other. The weekend is here. My traveling partner will be away. I’ll spend time thinking over things he said in anger (and frustration, and hurt) that would have been easier to hear without it, and I’ll come to understand him more clearly.  I’ll forgive the anger; it can be hard to communicate emotion in a way that others can hear it comfortably. I’ll enjoy the summer weekend here at home. He’ll enjoy it elsewhere. We’ll each have our own experience, and return to each other with tales to tell, stories to share, and love.

Wherever we travel over the course of a lifetime, I hope we always return home to love.🙂

Perspective matters. I often find it here. ;-)

Perspective matters. I often find it here.😉

 

Yesterday was difficult. My black mood continued through the day without diminishing in spite of exceptional self-care. There wasn’t anything “wrong”, it was a day, and I was in a shitty mood. I often am after a migraine, and I knew to take care of myself, and treat myself (and the world) with great care. Still. It sort of sucked. (Only sort of, because as I said, there wasn’t anything wrong besides my mood.)

Hanging on, waiting for some other moment? Impermanence is a real thing; this too shall pass.

Hanging on, waiting for some other moment? Impermanence is a real thing; this too shall pass.

It was at the end of the day that things finally “cleared up” with regard to my mood. I woke feeling splendidly this morning.

I'll begin again...

I’ll begin again…

This morning is a lovely one. The apartment is quickly cooling off,  the dawn breeze pushing the cool air across the meadow, and into the open windows. My appointment yesterday, as it turned out, is actually my appointment today… and it’s “date night”! A good cup of coffee gets the morning going, after enjoying unmeasured time meditating. (One of the hardest things about yesterday was the challenge I was having finding stillness; I seemed unable to meditate.)

This morning there is an easy smile on my face, as if lingering from very pleasant dreams. I have music playing, and yesterday’s sound sensitivity is no part of this fine morning, here, now. It’s a pleasant beginning to the day.

Once upon a time, a day like yesterday would likely have been a week of it, and burdened further by feeling obligated to “preserve appearances” or otherwise re-craft my apparent experience by way of behaviors intended to “fake happy”. Not only does that not actually work [for me], it limits my ability to actually take care of myself by turning my attention away from my own needs in order to create the illusion that there is nothing out of the ordinary – making my misery both ordinary, and hidden. Yuck. It was not an effective approach.  You know what else didn’t work for me? Lashing out at the world like an enraged toddler out of frustration and speechless rage. Learning to use my words, and to “speak gently”, while also learning to listen deeply and develop authentic compassion has been the win… I’ve a long way to go on both of those. More practice seems wise.🙂

Incremental change over time? It seems so. If nothing else, today is a good day to practice the practices that matter so much for me, and work so well: keeping a committed meditation practice, speaking gently, listening deeply, maintaining emotional self-sufficiency, and living authentically. It’s a good start on an extraordinary journey – and today is a good day to begin again.🙂

 

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