Losing weight – like growth and change – sometimes happens faster than my self-perception can keep up with. It’s a decent metaphor, this morning; I may not recognize myself, or treat myself well in the context of who I am, and find myself sort of stuck, treating me like some other person than this being, right here, now. Character, and qualities of self, can be difficult to see in a mirror, and the mirror of our relationships and associations is a bit of a fun house sort of mirror with everything reflected back being filtered through that persons experiences, expectations, and understandings of the world. The idea of a mirror completes this apt metaphor in this moment.

How accurate is a mirror, or a photograph, when time passes, and people change? I guess...as accurate as it ever was, and that's a matter of perspective.

How accurate is a mirror, or a photograph, when time passes, and people change? I guess…as accurate as it ever was, and that’s a matter of perspective. 

It’s important to pause now and then to take stock of who I am, now, what matters to me, and what I value. Fall seems like a good time for that; I can imagine the autumn leaves fluttering to the ground as misperceptions falling away. I can ask “who am I?” and comfortably answer the question without fear or panic these days. I enjoy that. [Warning: ‘I statements’ ahead…]

When conditions are right, growth happens; it may be necessary to make a point of noticing it.

When conditions are right, growth happens; it may be necessary to make a point of noticing it.

I like relationships in which I feel heard and considered. I thrive when I feel respected, valued, and encouraged as a person. I feel most motivated to commit emotion and effort, and to work at love, when the efforts feel reciprocal, and the investment – emotional, and otherwise – feels balanced. Reciprocity is important for love – at least, for my love, and so is equanimity. I favor openness, and gentle frank explicit communication – of needs, of boundaries, of limits, of hopes, of plans, of desires, of successes, of failures, of complaints, of fantasies, of values… of self. I prefer kindness and compassion to sarcasm and mockery. (Actually, I prefer kindness and compassion to a whole bunch of other things that crop up in relationships I’ve had.) I like pleasant homecomings, and easy departures. I prefer a relationship of equals. These are the qualities I seek in relationships – and not just by looking; I seek them by choosing, by building, and by being willing to acknowledge their lack. I practice them, too. Every day, every minute – sometimes with less success than others; I know to begin again in each new moment, and that practicing over time becomes being. I am learning not to compromise what matters most to me.

I like sex, too. Hell – I love sex; it’s been a very big deal for me for a very long while. It’s a basic need for human primates, and I associate the feelings that follow sex with love and romance. I’ve done it enough to know that without a connection that matters to me, sex isn’t worth the time spent, or the calories burned, at least not now that I understand there can be so much more to it than a copulatory act. I am learning not to compromise on that, too.

This is who I am. This is the way I love. These are the things I value in my relationships and in life.  I’ve come a long way to understand these things about myself, to acknowledge and respect my values, and to practice them with commitment, intention, and will. I’m still human, and I still err…right now, though, the view in the mirror is pretty okay with me.

One singular autumn moment in the company of my self.

One singular autumn moment in the company of my self.

Today is a good day to be who I am, and whether I am content with who I am and the journey I am on, or find myself lacking; no one can be me as well as I can. Every journey we take begins precisely where we actually are. Today is a good day to take a first step. Today is a good day to think on all the steps taken thus far. Today is a good day for contentment, and a good day to recognize the tremendous value we have to ourselves and our own experience.

Take care of you today; you matter. Be kind and compassionate to those around you; they matter, too. Today is a good day to change the world.