I woke this morning with some effort, and even after a (long) hot shower, yoga, meditation, and the first sip or two of an excellent cup of coffee… I still feel rather sluggish and slowed down. I have no idea why my morning is starting in slow motion – I slept well and deeply through the night, and went to bed at quite a reasonable hour.  My mood is… ‘quietly merry’ describes it best, I suppose, and I am not inclined to criticize my mood or the choice of words to describe it. Slow or not, the day is off to a lovely start.  That’s enough.

My heart is a temple to the Goddess of Love.

My heart is a temple to the Goddess of Love.

My last thoughts as I faded into sleep last night were of my traveling partner. My first thoughts on waking were similarly of him, inasmuch as they were of love, generally, and I find it difficult to think about love without also thinking about my traveling partner. It is one truth of my heart that the love he and I share has tended to redefine love quite a lot for me. It’s nice to observe that while the time we spend together (as in ‘in shared space’) is quite limited these days – every precious moment is also completely wonderful. It’s lovely. When we met it was also this way, and it remained so through the first many months we lived together. Our beginning was so natural, and such a wonderful fit, that we two beings disinclined toward matrimony at all would find our way to each other – and marry. Life’s hard knocks taught us both to doubt the value of a romantic contract…and loving each other changed our minds about that, and given us practical and emotional perspective that still colors our experience in a powerfully positive way. We rely on each other utterly – even when we don’t live together. What’s even better? We can.

"Cherry Blossoms" 12" x 16" acrylic on canvas 2011

“Cherry Blossoms” 12″ x 16″ acrylic on canvas 2011

I’m not bragging – we work at love, my traveling partner and I, and for a couple of years it wasn’t easy. Historically, our ‘others’ haven’t found the same profound value in the intense way my traveling partner and I love each other, that we experience ourselves. Real, significant, adoring, heartfelt love that works can be a tad threatening for those that don’t have it, that doubt it, or that didn’t understand that the work required is not diminished by the profundity of the affection; there are verbs involved – a tremendous lot of them, and far more of them than I had understood, myself (thus those couple of challenging years – I am still building needed skills, myself, and I know for my traveling partner, my TBI presents unanticipated challenges for him, too). Conveniently, although the work is not diminished by the depth of the affection – neither is the affection itself diminished by the necessity of doing the work – Love is ever a worthy cause in which to ‘mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor’. Yeah…I’m pretty sure that if I am not inclined to feel that way about someone, it’s not ‘love’.

"Communion" 24" x 36" acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow. 2011

“Communion” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow. 2011

I woke in solitude this morning – I’m okay with that. I enjoy it. The morning is still and calm, and pleasant. There is no stress. I smile thinking about the time spent loving, lately, and how wonderful it is to feel a cherished relationship deepen and grow without struggling to also figure out my own shit, work on me, paint, write, and exist along this peculiar trajectory – having my own experience is rather effortless without the minute-to-minute sense that everything is tangled up with having to be ever vigilant about what I am saying, doing, feeling… living with the TBI and my PTSD are difficult enough without having to constantly be on the look out for opportunities to ease the impact on someone else. The choice to move into my own place is continuously reinforced as being a good one through the day-to-day ease that has resulted. It matters a great deal that love feels renewed, restored, and once again the wellspring of my creative drive and the smile on my face.

"Contemplation" 11" x 14" acrylic on canvas 2012

“Contemplation” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas 2012

The unconventional choice to live alone – and apart from my spouse –  is working out pretty well; love is enhanced rather than diminished.  I knew when I was quite young (as early as 14) that living with others was problematic for me. I don’t crave continuous community, and my triggers are numerous and commonplace – but I enjoy being able to while away social hours with friends and lovers when it is comfortable, if I can easily disengage when the time comes (and be permitted full autonomy over determining when that time has come). I didn’t heed my own self-knowledge, and allowed myself to be persuaded (again and again, over many years and multiple relationships) that what I understood would be good for me wasn’t an acceptable choice. Decades later, I finally allow myself room to breathe, to grow, to be. I am realizing – and accepting – that it is okay to trust myself; who knows me better than I do? And in trusting myself, and taking care of me in the way that suits me most and meets my needs over time most effectively… I find my way ‘home’ to this place in my  heart where love resides, and I feel free.

"Lovers" 10" x 14" watercolor on paper 1992

“Lovers” 10″ x 14″ watercolor on paper 1992

Today is a good day to look my demons in the face with a smile and say “you have no power over me!” It doesn’t matter that it may not be true tomorrow – it’s true today, and that’s enough.