I am grooving to a Petey Pablo track, waiting for water to boil, and thinking how very reasonable that there is rain in the forecast; my traveling partner is out-of-town for a few days, and it seems reasonable to me that the very skies would have an emotional meltdown over the lack of his good company. I’m okay, because he’s merely traveling, and love has no proximity requirement, or expiration date. The moody cloudy threat-of-rain skies seem mildly appropriate, is all – or at least, entirely understandable. 🙂

I woke in the middle of my dreams, which isn’t my favorite experience. They seemed ‘relevant’ and potentially ‘insightful’ or ‘eye-opening’, but once my eyes did actually open they dissipated too quickly for further consideration…there were people…saying things…with emotional subtext…somewhere. Dreams are rarely urgently worthy of my attention, although it took me a lifetime to recognize that the headgames my conscious mind sometimes plays with me (to my detriment and disadvantage) are not off limits to my sleeping consciousness, and my demons dance regardless; it doesn’t necessarily give them significance, or meaning that is useful.

My coffee is very nearly perfect this morning – and tempting, although too hot to drink. The cup is too hot to hold comfortably…I found that out the hard way. The coffee is too hot to drink, and the tempting cloud of whipped cream I topped it with as a treat this morning tempts me overmuch – my tongue and the roof of my mouth paid the price. Lesson learned? Well…maybe. I’m still a primate, doing my best, and in the mornings my decision-making is at its daily ‘quality low point’ until my brain is really fully awake. I give myself the courtesy of refraining from self-deprecatory hassling or mockery – I don’t need it from me, really, I already know my fingertips are a bit sore from trying to hold that cup, and my mouth is already scorched from trying to sip too-hot-coffee. I think I’m good there, no further berating needed. lol

A paragraph later, and some fun dancing to Gangnam Style – I love how random my morning playlist is – my coffee is finally sipping temperature. I dance across the living room, coffee in hand, headed for the open patio blinds to watch the dawn…my neighbors probably think I’m mad. I don’t find value in self-consciousness or shame being a part of my daily experience – certainly, even being over 50, and not ‘dancer fit’ at all, I am disinclined to give one moment to whether a woman my age/weight ‘should’ be dancing where people can see me. That’s such obvious bullshit it was urgently necessary to put it aside as soon as I woke to the understanding that it is indeed bullshit. Dancing feels good. A quick exploration of dance styles and fads over the many decades of humanity will reveal that some of it is definitely more about how that must feel than what it looks like. 🙂

A favorite Crystal Method track turns up – and I turn it up; I’m excited to see them live on Saturday. There’s definitely that moment considering the concert when a feeling of self-consciousness does arise; I feel it most when I consider how much younger ‘everyone else’ may be, how more easily they may move, how beautiful and sexy youth is… Youth, I remind myself gently, is very much its own thing, with its own fears and doubts. Nothing to be concerned about for me – over 50? I have a lifetime of experience and perspective, and I am having my own experience. For me, it’s sort of the point of that favorite track in the first place.

Detail from "Emotion and Reason" 2012

Letting emotion lead on life’s journey may not be ideal…

What if everything were suddenly quite different? What if my traveling partner didn’t make it back? What if I woke up utterly unable to dance because my arthritis had become so severe that my spine wouldn’t move at all? I live alone now; what if I have a stroke and there’s no one here to help me? What if my resources run out before my life time does? “What if” is some nasty stuff – it quickly becomes anxiety if I give it a chance to grab onto something I can’t shake off. I’ve learned something sort of interesting about the emotional ‘what if’ scenarios, though; if I go ahead and allow myself to consider the extreme fully, frankly, and in a truly practical way – without the emotions that so urgently want to have their say being the focus of attention, it usually becomes quite obviously both fictitious – like so much of what my mind offers up – and manageable if it played out in real life along the most likely trajectory. For example…what if my traveling partner didn’t make it back? I would grieve, no doubt there, I would grieve a long while. The fear of grief and grieving is what drives the anxiety, but the fear isn’t even real fear – it’s a projection of an emotional reaction to a situation that has not happened. So, I comfortably set the fear aside, along with the recognition that I would grieve. Then I take a look at what life would be without my traveling partner, and come up with… living. Outside the fear of grief, there’s little to cause stress…I would live my life, working, paying bills, painting, writing, gardening, investing in other aspects of my social life, eventually (most likely) cultivating another satisfying adult romantic sexual relationship with a worthy partner… Nothing could ever change what my traveling partner and I have shared so far, and that would always be mine, and part of my experience. “What if” scenarios tend to be this way, for me, explored they are harmless – but there’s the rather practical matter of refusing to allow the fear of my emotions to become the fear of my potential imagined circumstances.

"Emotion and Reason" lit differently - how we view emotions, and how we use reason, make a difference.

How I view emotions, and how I use reason, makes a difference in my experience.

Isn’t it strange that emotions can be so scary? It seems odd when I think about it; they have no more substance than my thoughts, although they are a more commanding experience in the moment. I find that my reactions and attention reliable turn toward my emotions first and more attentively, than to my reason. I try to be mindful of that, because they are also quite intense, and not particularly tied to ‘reality’. Emotions are often driven by assumptions, expectations – or something I ate, or the ebb and flow of my hormones, or…nothing I can directly observe or be certain of. Sometimes they are more similar to the experience of taking a mind-altering substance than they are to ‘reality’ in any real sense. They are most certainly not to be trusted in life’s driver’s seat for long.

Perspective matters. "Emotion and Reason" acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow 2012

Perspective matters.
“Emotion and Reason” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow 2012

Today is a good day to breathe, to feel, and to be mindful of the content of my thoughts; they have only the substance I give them. Today is a good day to be present, to be okay right now, and to walk on – fear has trouble keeping up when I do. Today is a good day for love, and for living. Today is a good day to notice how very small the world actually is, and how little distance matters to love.

Starting the day thinking of love - it's a very good start.

Starting the day thinking of love – it’s a very good start.