Archives for the month of: June, 2013

A lovely slow Sunday embraces me, all Love and leisure, and sweet moments of affection, comfort, and calm. I don’t have adjectives suitable to the purpose of sharing this day… So, finding my way to an old-time-y sweet shop, I linger, sipping a rather modest, unimpressive coffee, that very much wants to be an espresso beverage. I am daydreaming of romantic conversation over ice cream sundaes and holding hands on long walks…

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Today has love’s name stamped on it, and my heart is serene. The day is mine, and I am love. 🙂

Everyone has a story. Everyone. Experiences, traumas, delights, memories, connections, associations, thoughts on things, values – all these things are common to each of us. We all have so much more in common than any of us have that is truly ‘unique’, don’t we? Most of the stuff that makes up our differences aren’t ‘differences in kind’ as much as ‘differences in degree’. We build our ideas of the bits and pieces of who we have been, what we have learned and done and experienced, and from there we take on a future of goals and targets and benchmarks and expectations, and in my case it became a present filled with the seemingly unachievable ‘pursuit of happiness’.

Today I’m simply one person, on a quiet Summer Solstice morning, cobbling a thought or two together and smiling because I have indeed made some progress toward one of those once seemingly unachievable goals. A fitness and weight loss milestone that has eluded me for some time, and today I looked at my feet and saw that I had passed it by as I turned 50, focused on other things. Yes, smiling, and yes it feels like an achievement. I’m happy about it, satisfied with it, but strangely silenced by this new perspective on it that I seem to have awakened with; it isn’t actually ‘important’ beyond the importance I give it myself. Huh. I feel good – that matters more than a number on a scale, and it makes sense that it does. Numbers are clean and clear and honest on their own, but easily used to mislead and persuade – I work with numbers, I know how that works. lol.  Feeling good is more ephemeral, easily lost in the moment by distractions and OPD (Other People’s Drama), but far more important that a numerical goal.

That’s true with money, too. Oh, I won’t try to look you in the eye and tell you that money has no value, or that life in the culture I live in would be easy without it.  There are uncountable numbers of people trying to get by on too little money, and the people who have the most of it often don’t seem very aware of the struggles of those that find it hard to come by. What I am saying is that it lacks the power over my heart and experience that it seems to have for some people. Dollars are not a performance measure for me personally, and income is not a criterion for my affection. Money is nothing more or less than the exchangeable form of my effort, at its simplest. The world gets ugly fast when the exchange isn’t actually fair, appropriate, or ‘value for value’.

Why mention money at all then? I mean, why let such a problematic subject come up at all? Well…’performance to goal’, ‘success’, ‘achievement’ are often things that are measured in dollars, rather than in moments of delight or great import. The world keeps its eye on the money, far more often than the things that really matter. An actor dies, and a retailer ‘honors his memory’ by pushing a product. Parents often reward a child’s progress with money. Corporate whores struggle to prove their ‘worth’ – to get more money.

Everyone has goals. We’ve built a world where many of us have an expectation of a ‘pay day’ if we achieve them. How many of my own every day moments of disappointment are because over time a hoped for outcome, a simple goal, became a feeling of entitlement about ‘the pay day’ of getting there, instead of being about getting there, itself?

I wonder if I am making sense. That’s what comes of writing over my first cup of coffee in the morning. lol.

It’s a quiet Friday morning. I am enjoying it in solitude. I am spending time with me today. I am not the woman I was at 20, or at 48. I am someone new to myself, and it bears examining gently, tenderly, and with great compassion for pain that has been, and great hope for what is ahead. Today I am taking time for that – as much time as I need. I am inclined to paint this weekend, too. I have something I want to say about turning 50, about reaching goals, about ‘finding my soul’…but I don’t think I can say it in words… and doubt that ‘the world’ would listen, anyway…or hear me. Some things are not easily shared in words, I suppose.

I look around as I finish this, and realize that we’ve nearly gotten ‘all  moved in’ now…the house is lovely, tidy, quiet. The morning unfolds softly. I feel great contentment and satisfaction in this moment, and I observe the feeling happily, and without expectations. It is Friday. It is mine. I am enjoying it.

The time is...now.

The time is…now.

Yesterday I read an article that really resonated with me in a way that was about discovery, rather than conclusions. It is also about Feminism.  It is complete, and needs nothing more from me. Then today I read an article about someone else’s journey, and although it is like so many tales of individual progress, and the power of mindfulness, it resonated with me. Somehow, this morning I find myself struck by how completely these two articles ‘say everything’ I could have wanted to say about…anything. Now…having said it, through the words of others, I’m off to enjoy a lovely Wednesday and change the world! (Well…some small piece of it, perhaps.)

This is a day worth enjoying... aren't they all?

This is a day worth enjoying… aren’t they all?

😀

Actually, roses need no defense. They are thorny, lovely, fragrant, bear fruit that has nutritive value, and when selected with care, amazingly low maintenance – so what’s to defend? I’ve often found myself defending roses, though, from the standard variety of attacks: too much fuss, too few/many flowers, too much/little fragrance, prone to rambling/stunted, wrong color, wrong scent, wrong location. There is a theme there.  Do you see the thread of objections weaving through the tapestry of human experience? Too much effort, too little outcome, not quite this, not quite that – dissatisfying on some level, perhaps to costly; the same objections each of us offers to pretty nearly anything we choose to object to. ‘Too much’, and ‘not enough’, are the battle cries of discontent.

I’m learning a few things about discontent. (Call it ‘dissatisfaction’ if you’d like, I’m not sure I’ve identified a real difference, myself.) I am learning that expectations drive discontent when my experience doesn’t ‘measure up’ to the expectations I have allowed myself to indulge. I am also learning that I am sometimes quite mired in the experience of feeling discontented or dissatisfied before I realize that I’ve gotten there, and that being mindful of the developing feeling can be critical to preventing it from escalating and becoming an even less pleasant experience, such as despair, or sorrow, or disappointment. I am learning to embrace my will as a path to an outcome I’ll enjoy more, because willful action is often quite satisfying.

I am learning, and practicing, making clear specific requests to address clear specific needs. (Well, damn, that seems obvious!) I have a lot of opportunities to practice, and it’s definitely worthwhile – because I have a lot to learn.  It sounds easy, but I find that asking for action, or change, is met with a variety of reactions – based on the person receiving the request.

  • Some people tend toward the ‘helpful by nature’, and receive requests comfortably, good-naturedly, and without much argument. It is sometimes too easy to burden those sorts of people too much, because they are so accommodating about the demands life places on them to start with.
  • Some people already face their world and their experience with a lifetime of resentment, summed up, saved up,  and returned as a volley of objections to any request for action or change.
  • Some people don’t quite seem to be having the same conversation I am, and I find myself wondering what they are hearing once they have finished filtering and interpreting the words that struck their ear drums, and then wondering whether to try to straighten it all out, or just wander off in search of sense and understanding elsewhere.
  • Some people choose to be reserved, indirect, withdrawn, sullen, evasive, or ambiguous – rather than communicating at all.

I’d like to understand all that more clearly.  But, in lieu of understanding, I’m working on ‘cleaning up my own mess’.  Learning to communicate more clearly than feels safe, more accurately with fewer words, with more willingness to slow things down to gain clarity and understanding, and more good-natured frankness about my own limitations. So far so good. I’m also much more inclined to be firm about my own boundaries and needs. That one is much much harder. I dislike confrontation, and I enjoy harmony. Communicating harmoniously with people who relish conflict is incredibly difficult – because our goals in communication are not compatible.  A challenging puzzle.

…Huh…this went on longer than I intended, and as I rambled I found myself drowning in words, half-formed thoughts colliding with the miscellany trickling through my very active mind, snagging here and there on a moment of urgent meaning, and suddenly…pointlessness. So…I’ll just stop now. Unfinished. Incomplete. Human.

Here’s a picture of ‘Circus Clown’ (Moore, California, 1991). I’m sure there’s a metaphor here, somewhere…

Fragrant, thorny, robust, and lovely.

Fragrant, thorny, robust, and lovely.

I woke gently this morning. It was lovely. I chilled awhile watching the fish in my aquarium waking up after the light came on and considered the challenge of photographing fish; they don’t exactly pose for pictures.  It hit me as I meditated on their experience of aquatic life as different from my experience of observing it; they are exquisitely ‘now’ sorts of creatures, to the point that even capturing one moment in a photograph is a challenge. I felt my breathing slow, and deepen, as I watched them. My morning was off to a great start, and I was feeling serene, calm and centered.

One of many not-quite-successful pictures of fish. lol

One of many not-quite-successful pictures of fish. lol

Then I moved to put my feet on the floor…pain. Headache pain. Arthritis pain. The other aches and pains that go with living life. Enough pain to create a wave of nausea as I stood. Damn it. I hurt and I ‘feel old’; stiff, inflexible, aching… coffee barely sounded good, but I was still in good spirits. The household was still sleeping. I made coffee and retreated to the solitary peace of more meditation, yoga, and calm chill time watching fish swim, until everyone else also woke and started the day. The quiet felt lovely. A counterpoint to the pain.

Before long it was clear that the pain is, for now, enough to make interacting with people difficult. I’m ‘not at my best’, and the conflict between what I want, what my partners want/need, and what I am up to doing don’t share much in common. I’m cross now, angry with myself for the weaknesses of being human, and for wanting. Frustrated that unmet needs of my own and theirs are piling up because I hurt. Being cross is better than the anger that preceded it. I want to laugh and feel good…what I actually feel like is crying and/or punching someone in the face.  😦  (I’m sorry – I know saying things like that can be distressing for others to hear, and I wouldn’t actually follow through on the ‘punching someone in the face’ piece.) I haven’t yet learned how else to express the particular feeling of frustration and simmering anger bubbling under the surface of hurting, so I fall back on hyperbole and the expression of emotion through words of violence. I’m at this strange point in my life where I recognize that such is inappropriate, but lack a clear alternative that feels like an adequate expression of my experience and feelings. Still working on me…I have a way to go yet.

I am invited by first one, then another partner to do something with them…I feel disappointed with myself that nothing sounds good, and that I feel like I am limited by the knowledge that I am at risk of poor behavior because I feel crappy. I am frustrated and dissatisfied with my self, and my experience. I took a couple of days off work for my birthday, and I’m angry that I am spending so much of that precious time in pain instead of – frankly – having a lot of sex and partying and having a good time in my garden, with my friends and partners, and doing stuff. The person I want most to punch in the face is me. How dare I ruin my planned good time with weakness?

I guess there’s nothing to do but move on with the day, doing my best. Maybe if I keep at it I can shrug off the incredible resentment and annoyance about the pain…