Or two, or three, or hell – let’s just pave it into something comfortable, predictable, and mapped, settle into easy contentment, and call it a day?
I had a great day at work, yesterday. Sometimes I have the strange sensation that ‘work life balance’ may actually mean that when things at work suck, things at home are lovely, and of course…the inverse of that would then be true as well. That, thankfully, is fanciful bitterness with struggle, and with the simple ups and downs of life. We’re each having our own experience. The experiences we have are not all uniformly pleasant, or comfortable. I guess I’ll keep practicing the practices that seem to build a life that is more up than down, more content than not, easier than hard, more pleasant than unpleasant, and see where all that goes.
This morning isn’t my best morning. I woke crying from dreams that contained content ripped from the most difficult moments of the prior evening. It was nearly an hour before my brain would even acknowledge that the evening had ended on a relatively positive note – or at least finished somewhat supportively. My heart feels heavy, and tears are queued up waiting for a reason to spill over. This is one of my least favorite emotional states.
The bottom-line is that I want more than I have in life, in love, emotionally, sexually, even financially (although that one is very low on my list, and exists more to bolster the likelihood of other things I value being attainable). I think wanting is probably pretty commonplace. It takes wanting to reach a sense of being without, after all. I even understand the connection between craving and discontent, and how difficult life can become when we desire only those things that are out of reach, or when we lose sight of the wonders we already have in our life. I started 2014 knowing that ‘sufficiency’ is a big deal for me, and that ‘contentment’ is an emotional experience I enjoy, and a quality I would like to develop and support. What I don’t know is where the subtle distinction between genuine contentment and ‘settling’ for something is, and how to recognize it. Is there a difference?
I struggle to communicate with the people nearest to me. Setting boundaries, sharing needs, speaking calmly and explicitly about what I want, what supports my needs over time, being honest about how I feel in the moment, or in general, these are all very difficult for me to begin with. Doing them well is something I find myself working so hard at, and still not succeeding with any reliability. At least, if I am succeeding, the outcome is incredibly unpleasant much of the time. This morning I woke wishing I could just stop talking at all. No more words. No speaking. No writing. No.More.Words. I seem to have a gift for saying too much, or phrasing something in the worst possible way. I rarely feel actually understood, or even heard. (It makes it so much ‘worse’ that there was a time and a relationship in which I did feel understood and heard, making it something possible in life that I just don’t have now.)
This morning I have a lingering feeling that the things that matter most to me are simply things I can’t have, or will experience only very rarely. I want very much for that to just be okay, if it is true. If it isn’t true, I’d like that emotional cocktail to just go away. I would like to have a better understanding of ‘sufficiency’. Enough. What is ‘enough’. How to I get that? I have the nagging suspicion that even intimacy is easier/better when approached mindfully… but I’m not sure I ‘get’ how to approach it at all. I suspect I may not have correctly labeled whatever the hell I think the experience of intimacy feels like, and am chasing an unknown experience, or ‘shooting at the wrong target’.
I am grouchy and things suck this morning. I am very human, and even though my intellect politely reminds me that ‘this is a construct of your own thinking and you can choose differently’ and my recently-more-mindful-and-learning-more-all-the-time heart tells me ‘this too shall pass’, I’m hurting now, and it is hard to stop picking at it. Soon I’ll head to work, and the process of getting there will distract me for a time, and maybe it will be forgotten when I head home tonight?
Right now is right now. Right now I feel like giving up. I’m frustrated, hormonal, and cross. I spent the night with my fears and nightmares and woke feeling sad, tired, and crying. Right now is harder than it has to be, and right now I’m struggling. This too – quite inevitably – shall pass. Time runs out, moves on, and brings change. So. Yeah. (I hear myself laugh out loud, it sounds a little worn down and bitter, and I think about how lovely yesterday was – that passed, didn’t it? Yep. So…this will as well.)
Some lovely pictures from yesterday…
We can build serenity.
No matter how much I am hurting in the moment, there is more to life and the world than my pain.
Things can seem so complicated and overwhelming…
Getting right up close doesn’t always simplify our view of things.
I am grateful that my experience this morning is largely subjective and a construct of my brain. I can find my way to something different. Compassion first, then, this morning? I pause with a certain surprise to realize that as I typed those words, my internal critic was hurling invective at me, launching emotional weaponry, and rallying my demons… I’m not always fully aware of the nasty bits and pieces of old hurts and old programming ‘going live’ to defend themselves in the background. Grim. Definitely compassion first…well… sort of first. Okay, not even a little bit first – that would have been a more positive start. Still human. I tested me. lol
Compassion, then, this morning – now that I see how much I need it.
Today, I am human. Today I face my hurts with self-compassion, and my certainty that emotional states rely on choices, too, however inevitable or permanent they feel in the moment. Today I change the world.