Hey, welcome to morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you find yourself reading this)! Got your coffee (tea, beer, fizzy water, or whatever it is you drink to refresh yourself in this particular moment)? Mmm, me too; coffee. Hot, black, delicious – a carefully crafted pour-over, made just the way I prefer it. It’s an acquired taste – not everyone likes coffee, and not everyone who likes coffee prefers their coffee black. There are quite a few preferences we individually express, and, obviously, that’s part of what makes us individuals – however similar we actually are as mammals, as primates, as citizens, as community members, as families… yep. Similar and different. Individual.

Who are you? Are you living your values? Are you making the choices that slowly allow you to become the person you most want to be? We toss around the phrase “a work in progress” to excuse so many things… but… are you working on being the best version of you that knowledge, skill, and practice, allow? It’s just a question. I can’t answer it for you, or change the outcome of your self-reflection. I can’t do those verbs – those verbs belong to you. πŸ™‚

I had a difficult day, yesterday, for some values of difficult. I felt irritable all day. Easily annoyed. Frustrated by life. I found myself, more than once, seething in the background, but unable to ascertain “why”. A couple years ago, such a day would have resulted in many more similar days, perhaps, or escalated to some explosively unpleasant emotional moment that “ruined the day”. Yesterday, I was patient with myself. Willing to be aware of my challenges, without pushing that experience (and energy) out into the world, and other relationships. My Traveling Partner and I exchanged testy, irritable words in the morning, but the moment passed quickly, and resolved itself entirely, and the remainder of the day was a delightful one, with the one shadow being that bit of moodiness lurking in the background, waiting to take me by surprise. Well, that can really only happen if I let go of being aware of it – gently observant, compassionate, non-judgmental self-awareness for the win! Each time it surfaced as a concern, I made room to be aware of my emotions, and also the realities of my moment, to the fully extent possible for me. I let go of expectations. I let go of assumptions. I made a point to approach the worldΒ  – and more importantly, myself – with considerable care, and unyielding commitment to refraining from lashing out at others as a result of my “headspace”. It was fairly effective; the day, generally, was quite a lovely one. Win and good.

I relate all this as a reminder that we can choose. We have a lot of choices. πŸ™‚

This morning I begin again, over coffee, after a good night’s rest. A little later, brunch with a friend. Some time after that, a trip to a local artisan’s market. Fun. Monday will come soon enough. πŸ™‚

What about you? What about your choices? Who are you? Where does your path lead? Do you take your coffee black? Cream and sugar? Blended with ice and high-fructose corn syrup? Flavored? With whip? Dairy or non-dairy? Extra shots? Perhaps you eschew coffee altogether? What I’m saying is, it’s a big menu, and there’s room for you to be who you are. How will you craft that raw self into the person you most want to be? What will you learn from life’s traumas? How will you approach educating yourself? How will you interact with the world? It’s a big menu…

…Are you ready to begin again?

It’s definitely Spring. Small sprigs of new growth are turning up everywhere. Flowers beginning to bloom, though generally only those that bloom earliest, not minding the remaining handful of chilly rainy days to come. There’s a metaphor here.

Leaves unfolding, welcoming Spring.

I looked out onto the deck yesterday, early in the morning, and made a decision to begin readying the container garden for Spring. I let go of grieving roses lost to summer heat and succulents lost to winter cold, and looked on the garden with new eyes, vision no longer obscured by tears. There is so much promise in a Spring garden. More metaphors. I sat down with seed catalogs and thoughtfully considered what to replace, what to move on from, and what new opportunities are in front of me, now. I made careful choices based on a lifetime of experience, which now includes the heart-wrenching woes of the past year, and also, the extraordinary joy I’ve found, and so often. I made a tender sentimental choice to replace just one of the lost roses, with another of the same variety. I took time to appreciate that it will be “the same rose”. I made mental notes of some things I’ve learned from caring for that particular rose for nearly 3 decades, in a pot, and some things I can do more skillfully this time around. I made an exciting choice to add a long-gone favorite I’d had to leave behind many years ago, and somehow never replaced, in spite of how much I loved it. I’m eager to see it thrive here, in this more wholesome place. I added a rose that has a tiny bit of baggage to it, too, unconcerned with any of that, and trusting that the here and now will allow me to let all that go; it’s not my baggage, and it wasn’t my rose. I picked out a new one that so beautifully complements the others that it just seemed to be a necessary thing. (Are you keeping track of the metaphors, here?)

The Spring garden is about more than roses. I like to grow some vegetables, too. I also happen to be a tad whimsical, a bit careless, possibly with a tendency to be a bit lazy… and… yeah. I’m the gardener I’ve got. I do better each year, and learn more about making the most of what, and who, I am. This year I made the choice to pick out a handful of veggies I’ve done very well with, that don’t seem to require much of me, and just one thing that tends to insist I am attentive to a lot of higher-maintenance details. Ease, balanced with challenges. That’s the goal, anyway. So, this year it’s carrots, beets, various salad greens, Swiss chard, ground cherries, and tiny alpine strawberries. I’m fairly terrible with growing peppers, so why bother with that? Tomatoes? Well, I grow pretty awesome tomatoes, pretty easily, but they don’t agree with me so much these days, and I don’t generally eat them. lol There are more metaphors here. Are you listening?

Ready for Spring.

I’m not trying to tell anyone else how to tend their garden. I can’t even make skillful recommendations; I don’t know the lay of the land out your way, or what the soil conditions are like, or whether you are an urban gardener, or someone with a hobby farm, and I certainly don’t know what food you like to eat, or whether you have a fondness for beetles, or… you see, it’s all very personal and subjective. I just know that when I tend my garden, I need to show up, to really be there – or the roses die in the summer heat, the vegetables bolt or whither, and the succulents die in the cold. I’m just saying, my garden is a deeply useful metaphor for a great many things going on in my life, rich with lessons to teach me as I reflect on my experience, fingers in soil, birdsong in my ears, and gentle breezes kissing my cheek.

It’s time to begin again. I finish my coffee, smiling, and thinking of Spring. It’s a metaphor.

Each morning this past week has been a little different. Some mornings, my Traveling Partner and I sit quietly together, sipping our coffee, making very little conversation. Other mornings, I’ve “awakened” for only some limited values of “awake”, and groggily made my way across town to the office, in silence. It’s a relaxed and comfortable approach to living, and I am content. I’m also rather hit or miss on maintaining habits and practices that I know serve me well; I am still getting used to this shared space, this shared life. I’m wrapped in love, and that feels wonderful. I am still sort of bemused and caught in a state of cognitive disarray, nonetheless. lol

…This too will pass. All things do. I continue to practice non-attachment, and that singular practice is my day-to-day reminder that the busy-ness of life will eventually shift, like a breeze, and I will return to suitable habits and routines… or… perhaps not. Am I done with that? Beyond the need for such strict structure? I don’t personally assume so; I’ve lived with this woman in the mirror for far too long to make assumptions about long-term emotional wellness, or “ease”. Life has ups and downs. Change is. I’m even okay with all of it, every bit as much as my own awareness of this fragile moment reminds me that moments pass.

I took a day off to enjoy a long weekend, hoping to embrace some calm, and slow things down a bit. So far so good. Perhaps the afternoon will be spent preparing the garden for new roses? All but three of my cherished roses died in the summer heat, unattended, as I traveled here and there to spend time with my Traveling Partner. I cried over that, of course, and a certain sense of sorrow clings to the recollection… but… change is. Even among roses. I have a multitude of seeds from hips of roses I fancied along my travels this past autumn. Some from surviving roses in my garden, some from wild roses growing near tended urban rose gardens, others from the gardens of friends; I smile wondering what promise those seeds hold. I am moved by the promise of a seed, that’s not new for me. I shopped for some roses to replace the roses that died, and was struck by how little interest I had in replacing the ones I had with identical roses, my interest instead veering toward other roses… different roses, roses that speak to me now. I picked 4, and already wait for them eagerly.

Here it is Spring. New beginnings are such a Spring thing. πŸ™‚

It’s time to begin again, isn’t it?

I woke to the sound of a phone ringing. At 4:00 a.m., that’s alarming. In the case of waking me on a Monday morning, literally so, since I then turned off the alarm and got up to start the day, after a few moments of considering the sound, silently, in the darkness. I couldn’t go back to sleep; who phones at 4:00 a.m.?

As it turned out, there was no phone call. No ringing phone. Just a sound in my dreams. lol

It was a lovely weekend. It ends with some dangling loose ends, like laundry “finished” – but not actually folded and put away. I woke aware of it, but without any particular sensation of anxiety, disappointment, or frustration.

I spent some of the day, yesterday, out in the sunshine, in my container garden. I took stock of roses that died during summer heat, and succulents that died during winter cold. I moved containers away from the warmer locations against the wall of the house, into the sunshine. I planted early seeds. I weeded. I swept. It felt productive, and celebratory. I felt productive, and celebratory.

…I just now remembered, again, annoyingly enough, it was also “St Patrick’s Day”. Omg. So over it. Americans who love to drink, drinking to excess on the excuse of… of what, exactly? Exactly what is “St Patrick’s Day” celebrating if you are neither Catholic, nor Irish? I’m asking, because I still don’t find an obvious connection between the narrative of the saint, himself, and the celebration of enthusiastic over-consumption of alcohol to which green coloring has been added. So, to be clear? My own celebratory moment in the sunshine was nothing to do with “St Patrick’s Day”, and everything to do with Spring, itself. lol

A good day. A good weekend. Another work week begins – and, potentially, with it, a whole cascade of new beginnings. I don’t know how the week will unfold. There are no promises that every day will be a garden in the sunshine, or a shared moment with a loved one. I’ve got this moment, here, with which to craft a lifetime of experiences. I choose a lot of what that feels like, and in some cases, quite willfully. Those choices are huge. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a dream, clinging to an outcome that is not yet, and may never be, and lose sight of all the precious opportunities in this “now” moment, just as it is. I sip my coffee and contemplate the day ahead. I make a point of letting go of attachment to a variety of imagined outcomes to imagined scenarios (“what if…”), and breathe in the now. It’s enough, just as it is.

It’s time to begin again.

Has it been since Tuesday since I’ve written? Like… at all? Conversations with friends…? Few. Posts on feeds? Rare. Emails to dear ones? Nope, none of those, either. Snail mail to aging relatives? Uh-uh. Nope. I’m off my letters and words, apparently. The combination of changes large and small, from daylight savings time (why are we still doing this??) to lifestyle changes associated with my Traveling Partner moving in, to commute and work changes that are part of changing jobs, even to the weather has it tries to shift toward spring… it’s too much, somehow, and I’ve been mostly unable to find myself sitting in this chair, writing. It’s “just not happening”, which is to say, I’m somehow not choosing to do it, nor feeling compelled to do anything about that, generally. How odd.

A view on the rainy Tuesday morning commute.

…I rarely have what could be called “dry spells”, with regard to writing. I do with painting, regularly, actually. I go months without painting, and think nothing of it, then suddenly exhaust myself in a creative frenzy, sometimes not eating, sleeping, or caring for myself at all properly – then wander the house a grinning caricature of an adult, admiring my handiwork for hours or days until returning to routines and self-care, and relative normalcy. Writing, though? That’s a day-to-day, part-of-who-I-am thing that typically drives other habits, and even my experience of time, itself. How strange to put an eye on this keyboard and find that I’m not especially interested… even though I am missing that moment with a peculiar yearning, also.

Wednesday, an efficient commute by car suddenly halted by a collision in the other lane, caused by less efficient commuting.

So… I’m sort of hit or miss right now. Inconvenient for that elusive concept of “regular readers” or any sort of reliably cadence to support a comfortable routine for others… but… this is me, and this is, right here, my actual life. πŸ™‚ I’m figuring you may even understand, possibly better than I do myself. I’ve no real idea of what to expect of being “emotionally well” or “mentally healthy”, as a long-term state of being… is that what this is? Am I learning that it is safe to let go of habitual behavior, and safe to soften my routines? Is it? Is it, perhaps, simply a period of accommodation as I sort things out – so much has changed in such a short time. Maybe I am just working through those details, finding new ways?

Thursday, 7:00 a.m. looking a bit different after the time change. (Why are we still doing this??)

Anyway. I’m here. I’m well. I’m even, quite actually, fine. Life feels good. Love feels steady, reliably, and heated in this delicious way that defies description (without risking becoming pornographic, and this is not that blog).

It definitely feels like it is “all blue skies” right now. πŸ™‚ I’m enjoying it while it lasts. πŸ˜€

Are you well? Are you on the path to becoming the person you most want to be? If you stay on that path, continue to treat yourself, and others, well, and continue to do the verbs it takes to get to the places in life you wish to go… you’ll surely arrive at a destination. What will you do when you get there?

Have you prepared for success?

What does your vision of success even look like?

Wait, don’t rush to answer – please avoid confusing this idea of success with anything to do with anyone else’s notion of success than your own, or confusing it with the very limited, basic, fairly bullshit, concept of financial success. I’m not here writing about fat bank accounts, and I’m pretty sure that’s not where human success lies. I mean, when you look into the mirror, and the person looking back at you is content, whole, emotionally intelligent, considerate, interested in a broader sense of well-being for more of the world than just themselves, and is, actually, the human being you most want to be, benevolently and merrily smiling back at you, relaxed, and capable… what will you do with that? Are you ready for that? Are you even aware it may be an outcome you could one day have to face?

And what if your dear ones don’t make that journey, themselves? What will you do then? Will you slide back into the muck in one callous moment of arrogance and disregard, unaware that could be a risk? Will you be there with and for them, regardless, because love matters more?

Who will you be, when you are the person you most want to be? Will you be aware of your arrival at that point, when you get there?

Questions over coffee on a quiet Saturday morning. My Traveling Partner sleeps. I write. Soon, I’ll head to brunch with a friend, and enjoy a lovely morning. Maybe head downtown afterward, and drop off some things at the office – while street parking is cheap and plentiful – or… maybe not. πŸ™‚

I’m just living my life. It feels… good. πŸ™‚

It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜€