I woke very early this morning – 3:08 am. There was no particular reason to wake so early, besides not being asleep anymore. I had crashed for the evening a bit earlier than I have been for the past few days, but not so early that a 3:08 am wake up really amounts to adequate sleep. I’m not tired, though, and after meditation, I let my body call the shots and get up for yoga, and coffee.

This morning I take my coffee with just a hint of sugar (about half a teaspoon) and a splash of half and half (half a tablespoon). The beans are from a local roaster, and I smile thinking of the sunny Saturday visit to the now-nearby Farmer’s Market; it has a very different feel than the downtown Farmer’s Market I have frequented for years, and also quite different than the small one near my former residence. I like them all.

Choices come in many forms.

Choices come in many forms.

 

The time taken making coffee is more mindful, now. Using the pour over method of brewing my morning coffee leaves no particular room to wander off, or to be distracted. I enjoy both the process and the result. I enjoy sipping my coffee, savoring the awareness that each element of this cup of coffee in my hands has been chosen by me quite specifically… The cup is one that I bought shortly after moving the last time. (I had purchased one for each member of the household in white ceramic that says ‘Life is Good!’ – mine is the only survivor.) I selected the brewing method after auditioning several, knowing I would be giving up the espresso machine I had grown so used to. I selected the kettle, the burr grinder, the drip cone – even the filter papers were a choice from among several brands, and types. I selected the beans, and the grind. I brewed it, choosing even the quantity of coffee being used, then chose to serve it with a little cream and sugar. This modest accomplishment is meaningful to me; this cup of coffee is representative of my will in action, and my freedom to choose. This cup of coffee is a small piece of ‘who I am’ and enjoying it says much about the choices I make to savor my experience. It’s a small thing… from some vantage points. It is a fairly big deal for me, in the context of healing and growth, and life’s extensive curriculum on mindful living and good self-care. My Big 5 have a role to play in this simple cup of coffee – because living alone doesn’t take The Big 5 out of the game; I have opportunities to treat myself with respect, consideration, compassion, and in the sense that I put effort into my experience, there is reciprocity when my experience delivers something wonderful back in a ceramic mug at 5:00 am. I am open to my successes, however small. Yep. The Big 5 is accounted for. Clearly, enjoying this tasty cup of coffee contentedly and satisfied that all is well in this moment is a nice step forward in The Art of Being, too. A good start to a Monday, all around.

Today didn’t have to start so easily. I could have chosen differently when I woke. My demons were lurking in the background at the ready, waiting to tell me tales of doubt and fear, waiting to fill me with insecurity and sadness. Which is real? The feelings I didn’t choose, or the feelings I feel now? Would the doubt, insecurity and sadness be ‘more real’ or ‘more true’ of my experience – given that I could likely justify those feelings with thoughts, given a moment to ponder them and become invested – or is this simple delight in a cup of coffee on a Monday morning, and the smile on my face more real and true of my experience of myself, because I am experiencing it? We choose so much of our experience. I am sometimes frustrated when sadness or despair creep over me unexpectedly – I would not choose them willfully, and once I am mired in those blue moods, it can be difficult to remember to choose differently.

Feet up, relaxing - a worthwhile activity.

Feet up, relaxing – a worthwhile activity.

I am quite human. I am enjoying the experience of living alone, and it suits me well. On the other hand, life with my traveling partner has gone a long way to heal some of the chaos and damage that once prevented me from connecting with others in an intimate way, and prevented me from being vulnerable; close contact wasn’t something I enjoyed or craved beyond sex. That has changed, and although I enjoy living alone, I miss hugs hello and good-bye, and cuddling in the evening, and conversation over my second coffee in the morning… Thinking about the loss of those things in my day to day experience quickly brings tears to my eyes – which surprises me every time, because it seems to defy my contentment, and to mock the day-to-day ease of life in this solitary space. I don’t understand the tears, and I find myself resentful of their intrusion, and uncomfortable with myself in those moments. Stray tears interrupt me when I answer the question ‘are you happy?’ – because although I am, I miss love, Love, and contact.  It is an interesting emotional balancing act, and I sometimes wonder if I am ready for this particular piece of life’s curriculum. I sometimes feel a bit like a child in school, having skipped ahead in the book eagerly, and suddenly finding myself in over my head, and not easily able to understand the material in front of me.

“Are you happy?” is a question worth asking. It is a question worth contemplating. When the tears fall, I take time to comfort myself, mostly with a reminder that ‘happily ever after’ isn’t a real thing, and that ‘happy’ isn’t what I have been seeking for some time now. I enjoy it when I feel it, but I no longer pursue it. I am content with contentment, and sufficiency is…you know where I’m going with this… sufficiency is enough. Making ‘happy’ a goal fucked me over way too many times to want to continue to chase that dragon through my remaining years. Happy is a choice, and a moment to savor when I am fortunate to enjoy it – contentment can more easily be built and sustained on good practices.

A few tears do nothing to damage this beautiful life.

A few tears do nothing to damage this beautiful life.

The apartment was warm and a bit stuffy this morning when I woke. I opened the patio door and the front window to let the fresh air blow through while I sip my coffee and write. In the distance I hear the traffic, still sparse in the early morning hours. Rain begins to fall. I enjoy the sound of rain. The apartment has cooled off and the air is fresh and clean. I am content, and calm, and feel at ease with myself and the world – and my choices. I am so close to ‘happy’ I can reach out and touch it, pretty much any time. This maddening brain injury sometimes trips me up; a question about whether I am happy causes me to consider ‘why would I not be happy?’ – launching thoughts of the challenges and losses, and the emotions associated with those thoughts are immediate, real, and visceral, even in the abstract, and I find myself in the strange position of feeling feelings that are not the same quality of ‘real’ as the moment I am living. Hard on me, hard on people who love me – particularly those that pose the question seeking the positives. It is an interesting pile of rubble swept aside as ‘trivial’ among the details of the chaos and damage…looks like it has come time to clean up that corner of my heart more thoroughly, if only to more fully enjoy the delights of this life I am living.

The rain falls. The fresh breezes blow through the apartment. My coffee cup is warm in my hand. I have uninterrupted time in the morning to meditate, to write, and to be.  Lonely sucks – solitude is precious. There are verbs involved, and my results vary. 🙂

Today is a good day for choices. Today is a good day to savor contentment, and a good cup of coffee. Today is a good day to practice the practices that care for me most skillfully, and best meet my needs over time. Today is a good day to love the woman in the mirror. Today is a good day to make eye contact, and share smiles with the world.