Archives for the month of: June, 2014

I woke feeling a sense of urgency-not-quite-dread that nearly launched me from my bed at high speed, and that my always helpful brain tried to frame up as ‘feeling purposeful’ straight away, no doubt to keep me moving along productively. My alarm woke me, which is rare. Rarer still, it didn’t wake me immediately, and the strident beeping was likely what caused me to wake in overdrive. Even after stopping myself, slowing down, doing some calming breath work and yoga, I got through my morning routine to the point at which I have coffee and email in front of me in an impressive 13 minutes. (No, I didn’t ‘time it’, I just checked the clock when I grabbed my coffee.) I’m not celebrating that as any sort of achievement; I’m not in the Army, there is no urgent crisis requiring timely action this morning, and I am not ‘running late’. In fact… I may never be ‘running late’ ever again…

I do have a ‘complicated relationship with time’.  That’s how I’ve framed up my issues with it, lately.  Before I started down the path of being more mindful and taking care of me, I referred to it as ‘The Time Thing’.  It was a very big, very ugly, very problematic deal with me. Being late, especially if caused through no action of my own, and unavoidably circumstantial, could set me off on a screaming tirade, real fury and rage, on this utterly inappropriate level that isn’t really describable with words. I wore, at one point in my late 20s, multiple wrist watches, carefully set to the same time. I was quietly compulsive about time and timing, and any suggestion that a work task was particularly time-sensitive could set me off taking time & motion data for days until I stripped the task down to its most pure elements, and mastered the timing completely for a more predictable experience.

Yep. I have a complicated relationship with time.  It hasn’t been as bad as all that for a long while, but planning things remains pretty critical to my every day experience, and although I’m damned adaptable in the face of plans deviating from reality – because they nearly always do – I still experience pretty significant stress from small things like being a few minutes late. (I’m salaried, but in spite of that I walk into the office each day at a very predictable time, with little deviation, quite as a matter of practice, rather than effort.) Many of my other behaviors around habits, routines, and productivity build off my issues with time, and timeliness.

I may be done with that. (I may not be.) This morning, over my coffee and my Facebook feed, someone linked an article with a headline that caught my attention. “The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up”  I rarely expect an article to resonate with me on this level. We lose so much when we hurry. Why do I keep doing it? Why all the stress over a moment in time that is not now? Isn’t the first most important thing right now always right now, itself? Find my moment? I’m standing on it. Suddenly, I feel so free.  Has the burden of Time been that heavy for so long?  I’m not saying I want to be late for work, but I think I’m okay with leaving late, early, or at some moment on the clock that isn’t pre-selected.

Taking a moment to observe and experience life unplanned, unscripted, and unafraid is worth 'being late'; it is living life.

Taking a moment to observe and experience life unplanned, unscripted, and unafraid is worth ‘being late’; it is living life.

…And I’m okay with enjoying this feeling and not analyzing it more.

Progress, moment by moment, day by day, like a flower blooming its own way, in its own time.

Progress, moment by moment, day by day, like a flower blooming its own way, in its own time.

I enjoy planning things. Learning the how-to of not over-investing in a specific outcome releases planning from its future job assignment of ‘driving stress’, too, and leaves the fun of planning with the planning, allowing anticipation to be a lovely enjoyable experience all its own. I enjoy anticipation. I dislike disappointment. The only thing connecting those experiences is attachment to an outcome. Learning to plan without attachment to the outcome is an interesting exercise in mindfully balancing past experience with potential experience, and preparing for what could be, while enjoying what is. I’m obviously still thinking about attachment, and clinging, and how much I lose when I let go of ‘now’ and immerse myself in what isn’t, more than what is. I’d like to become very skilled at letting go of attachment, and still loving, still feeling, still exploring compassion and joy.

Each ‘now’ moment is so incredibly precious.

Another work week begins. The weekend was not without its highs and lows. I could be unhappy that I didn’t go hiking yesterday… or delighted that I had such a lovely quiet Sunday and got so much done, and enjoyed my leisure time in other ways; the Farmer’s Market, a pleasant walk, Chinese food for dinner.  I could be blue because of some mistake or misstep or other, and bemoan my essential humanity and how much work it takes to do my best and be this amazing woman I am becoming…or I can celebrate the being and becoming of this amazing woman I am growing to be over time, and the unspeakable joy life sometimes brings me now. I could fuss frustratedly that the moments of love and connection with my partners are so few some days…or be grateful to love so well, and be loved in return, when so many don’t have that opportunity at all, through circumstances, or the choices they make. Perspective matters.

So many opportunities, so many decision-making moments, making choice about time can be very limiting.

So many opportunities, so many decision-making moments, making choice about time can be very limiting. Today is a good day to choose ‘now’.

Today is a good day for a fresh start. Today is a good day for choices that meet my needs over time. Today is a good day for acceptance, compassion, and kindness. Today, the most important thing is right now.


I don’t know what it is about brunch. Maybe that the menu is sometimes delightfully unexpected? Possibly it has more to do with the profoundly leisure characteristic of ‘brunch’. No one has ‘a quick brunch on the way to work’. Having brunch is about taking time, slowing down, and stepping away from the routine sorts of meals of the work week. I rarely see signs advertising weekday brunches; brunch is for days off. I like leisure. Brunch is also not a solo meal. I may have a mid-morning or noontime meal composed of foods that are both ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’ – but if I am doing so alone, I don’t call it brunch. (I call it scrounging for something to eat, most likely. lol)  Brunch is probably my favorite meal if I had to choose one…or perhaps tea…or ‘tiffin‘, but that last is simply because I enjoy how it feels to say the word. lol

Many years ago, a work colleague (who would prove to be a most loyal friend of many years) left our shared employment. My reaction surprised me at the time; I felt insecure about losing touch with him. Deeply so. I didn’t really ‘get it’, and the medications I was on at the time weren’t helping me with that. I did what made sense at the time. I invited him out to brunch the following Sunday. For a long time – years? – we continued to ‘do brunch’, now and then even ‘breakfast’ (generally earlier, on the way to somewhere), regularly and frequently. We tried out brunch spots all over the area. I look back on those experiences as being some of the best times of those years. Loyal friends are rare enough, add that to a routine of a leisurely and excellent brunch and I find that any time I recall it, that experience is an experience I want to repeat.

I was just on the edge of writing a lot of words about emotions, friends, investing in what I enjoy most…sometimes it is enough just to do. Life is about verbs and choices.

Today is a good day for brunch with a friend.

It's about the conversation more than the coffee.

It’s about the conversation more than the coffee.

Life will not be argued with on this point; change is. Seriously. lol.

I had plans for the evening, last night. Change, however, is. My experience had a lot more to do with being close to accessible plumbing than a night out, dinner, a show…Change is, and it isn’t always a change we’re happy about. Initially, I struggled to keep myself on track with the planned evening; I had been looking forward to seeing this show, having this night out, since we planned it.  By the end of my work day, I was beyond feeling guilty about ‘ruining the evening’, and just angry, disappointed, and more than a little hesitant to face a half an hour on public transportation and two one-mile walks with the gastrointestinal challenges I was having.  I was also really hungry, rather thirsty, and not comfortable with either eating or drinking water until I could be sure of having a toilet nearby.  It sucked.

The evening was blown. I spent it in solitary misery, my churning guts preventing any real sleep or rest – and oh hey, here’s something I did not know; it’s damned difficult to meditate your way out of nausea, or between bouts of other assorted human primate gastrointestinal nastiness.  Sometimes being human is incredibly gross.  I mostly just drifted in and out of awareness, sweating, and waiting for whatever it was to pass. (lol)

My world didn’t end. My disappointment didn’t destroy me. I didn’t wake to feel that the world hates me for not attending this event.  I’m not drowning in regret or punishing myself. Change is. Sometimes we choose it, sometimes we accept it. Sometimes it is ‘a little from column A, a little from column B’.  It feels pretty good to wake this morning, having taken care of me last night.  My partners still had a great time, and since I didn’t find it necessary to be ‘needy’ while they were out, they probably didn’t have to spend the evening immersed in my suffering – I don’t know all the details of their experience; they wisely kept their distance after returning home, avoiding possible contagion, and respecting my need to rest (if I could). Respect. Nice one.

I can be so child-like and insecure when I’m ill. I take things unbelievably personally, sometimes, and struggle to make sense of a bigger perspective. My partners checked-in on me, via email while they were out, and after they came home, one checked-in on me for real, keeping a responsible distance (passionate tongue-kissing would not have been appropriate. lol). I woke to a gentle email reminder that if I am not well, to stay home from work. Considerate. Compassionate. I like that.

Today is a good day to look beyond the obvious.

Today is a good day to look beyond the obvious.

This morning I woke feeling better, and not just because I’m over whatever the hell that was; I also feel good experiencing my partners delivering on The Big 5.  That’s a big deal.

Today is a good day to take care of me, to be compassionate with others, and to roll with changes. Today is a good day for celebrating simple things and connecting with friends. Today is a good day to smile. Today is a good day to change the world.

Good morning – or afternoon, or evening – I hope that the moment you find yourself in feels comfortable and that you are content, if not generally, then at least right now.

Yes, you.

This post is for you. Each of you, all of you, any of you. Because you are reading these words. Because you stopped by just this once to check out this blog, for some reason, today. Because you’ve bookmarked it and read it often. Because you clicked a link to my blog from a comment on some adult blog, figuring on more of the same, and instead of being disappointed, you’ve come back a few times to read more. Because you don’t even know me, and find value in sharing some piece of my experience anyway. Because you do know me, you know me well, and you quietly read each post, rarely speaking up to make a comment or observe a detail, or offer a helpful suggestion, understanding perhaps that there is a fundamental loss of privacy happening, between you and me, when I write and you read – and knowing me, you understand how vulnerable and raw that may actually feel. Because you know me, not as well as you’d like, and you remain curious and fascinated, and enjoy the vicarious ‘insider information’ that occasionally feels like you know so much more about me now.  Because you’re a troll or a spammer, out there doing your thing, and some one time, some one post, actually touched you – you’re still spamming me, but you made one pleasant, sincere, heartfelt comment that even had good spelling and grammar.  Because you are you, and you are reading these words, long after some little joke of mine has begun to wear thin, or some metaphor has finally be over-worked to death.

This post is for you. Thank you. That’s really it, just a thank you.  I kept a journal for years, you see, and although I write nearly compulsively, and often find I ‘don’t get it’ until I see something in words, I found myself drowning myself in the very words I love so much, and writing endlessly the damaging ruminations and negative thoughts I was stuck on. I wrote volumes. This is the simplest truth, I know; they are stored in a bin or two in the attic, save for some small number that have more meaning, or capture an important time of change. Those sit unread on a bookshelf by my bed, in case I need to ‘check myself’ about who I was then, or what events seemed to be about at that time.  As 2012 drew to a close, and I approached my 50th birthday, my whole experience sort of crashed in around me and I found myself mired in pain and doubt and regret, and frankly unsure that continuing to live had any value at all.  I didn’t really discuss that detail of my experience with anyone. I tried once or twice, and it was quickly apparent that I wasn’t getting anywhere, or making a connection.

Writing in my journal wasn’t helping me, anymore, and I was no longer sure my writing had value of any kind, or any purpose, or have anything of interest to any person. I was quietly planning to ‘check out’. Then… life went from bad to worse. It was all pretty subjective – the factual details of my experience of everyday life just weren’t particularly ‘bad’, not even a little. It was my emotional experience, my personal, subjective, internal experience of ‘self’ that had finally just caved in.  I started this blog then, aware at the time that these could be the last things I had to say, to share, and for me that meant that doing my best to make them ‘worthy’ and genuine and real was important to me.  This blog ended up being a big piece of ‘saving my life’.

This is no longer a salvage operation. I’m building on the best of who I am learning to be, and taking those tools, and experiences, and each day working to be just a bit better at being me, at being the best of me, that I can. You’re part of that. Thank you.

Why am I saying ‘thank you’ today? Because you thanked me first.  Yesterday was an interesting day for that.  I got a flurry of emails about a particular post, and it happens now and then, and this particular flurry of grateful and appreciate words felt so warm and nurturing – not saying thank you would be rude.  Thank you for caring how I am doing. Thank you for finding value in my observations on life, and my commentary on my challenges, my growth, my progress, and life’s curriculum.  It’s an amazing journey, and it matters to me that we’re sharing it.

I hope your today is a success – however you define it – and that your choices are wise and support your needs over time. I hope today the challenges seem less challenging and more rewarding, and that you take a chance on you. You deserve the best you have to offer. You matter.  Thank you for reading my blog.

Like a potted rose slaking its thirst on a gentle rain; I'm grateful.

Like a potted rose slaking its thirst on a gentle rain; I’m grateful.

I woke early this morning. It was very late before I fell asleep. A short night; there are potential consequences later in the day, when I start to feel fatigued. These days that is nothing more than something to be mindful of, to account for with kindness and compassion – and patience with myself.  At this early hour, that’s all theory for later. For now, I am quietly enjoying the too-brief tranquility of mornings and studying. This morning I am studying concepts of attachment and ‘clinging’ that undermine growth, development, ‘becoming’, and emotional resilience.

Sure, why not?

Sure, why not?

I spent a few moments, recently, grieving the loss of a particular experience I wholly enjoy. Like so many things, it could be that its time has simply passed; change is.  I experienced the sadness of that, the loss, and generally such moments feel destructive, joyless, and despairing to me. Yesterday I deviated from my norm, some glitch in my programming turned up and… I understood concepts related to attachment that I have been struggling with for some time now.  Change is. Growth happens through change – whether we embrace it or not – but the nature and extent of our growth may be affected by whether we embrace change or struggle with it.

Change is part of life.

Change is part of life.

I’m not saying I like the concept. I’m just saying yesterday I woke up to an important idea, and accepted it; when I can let go of attachment to specific experiences, possessions, or qualities of character I have chosen as ‘my identity’, I can achieve something new, try something, experience more, and move forward on life’s trajectory.  Even the most perfect of lovely mornings, repeated endlessly, could grow stale.  So, okay, I can find contentment in change…loss still hurts. Saying good-bye can still feel sad. Grief and grieving are still honest and heartfelt emotional experiences that are likely for most of us, at some point in life. Nothing unique there… but I grieve a broken porcelain demi-tasse cup with the emotional depth and intensity that some save for losses of life, and it occurs to me that may not be the best way to take care of my heart, or treat myself well.

I see this same scenario play out in other lives, too; at work, having to change schedules unexpectedly, it isn’t unusual for a coworker facing such a change to take it all very personally, to cling to what they know, and to fight change with a ferocity one might find reasonable on a battlefield…and then to see that same coworker happily embracing new opportunities opened by that change in schedule, once they experience it. Change is scariest when I cling tightly to what I have right now, to avoid facing change, itself.  It mattered yesterday because I was contemplating a change in household hours/schedules that can’t help but throw my own routine out of whack, and that sort of thing sometimes takes me weeks to adjust to.  I realized I was not helping myself by holding on to my attachment to what had been.  I still feel sad that I may be letting a delightful emotional butterfly flutter away…but I am also grateful to have enjoyed it so much, for so long.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile 'now'.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile ‘now’.

There are so many experiences I have enjoyed that just aren’t part of my experience now. Every one of them remains part of my experience over time, and my history. Each has value as a treasured memory. Each exists as a sort of random card in an infinite deck of things I enjoy that could reoccur. Many of them won’t. Holding on to them, refusing change, prevents me from embracing new experiences to add to that infinite deck.  Sounds so easy, so obvious…but…

I really like sipping ice-cold root beer and sitting near the fan on the screen porch at Grandmother’s house, eavesdropping on adult conversations on a humid summer afternoon.

I really like playing monopoly or cribbage by the tent stove, with my motor pool colleagues, waiting for my guard duty shift.

I really like running bare footed down the trails in the woods, where I was not supposed to be playing and could generally be found (with some effort) any childhood summer morning.

I really like lazy Sundays with generous brunches, sleeping in, a lot of sex, a great playlist, and a bit of gardening.

I really like late night strolls through park-like old residential neighborhoods on balmy summer nights.

I really like spending the day out on the water on my grandparent’s sail boat.

I really like being out at the range, honing my skills, and competing with myself and feeling like a bad ass.

I really like keeping a few chickens.

I really like slipping away to a nearby swimming hole on a Friday when I could be working, but the broad blue skies of Oklahoma suggest otherwise.

I really like hanging out with a lover, sharing anecdotes about who we each are, growing closer, and laughing together over coffee or lovemaking.

I really like new love and romance.

I really like being between jobs and taking months off for me.

I really like summer vacation.

…And I miss these things. There are a lot of experiences, moments, and relationships that I enjoy right now that I won’t have in some tomorrow down the road. Just like that list of experiences I am not having in my now.  Some of them I may experience again. Some of them I may never experience again.  Hell, some of them I don’t want to experience if to do so I have to return to the life or context in which I had them before. That’s something to consider, there.

So. Sure. It makes sense to let go. To accept change. To adapt. What comes next? Something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Today is a good day to embrace change.