Archives for the month of: September, 2015

I am relaxing quietly, music playing softly in the background – the sort of soft music that does well in the background without disappearing entirely. I have a tasty cup of coffee – decaf, but ground freshly from freshly roasted beans, and it is flavorful, warming and, when I am holding the cup in my hand, also peculiarly comforting. Plans for the evening fell through. I squash my disappointment with recognition that this is also a lovely quiet evening stretching out in front of me, suitable for all manner of taking care of me purposes.

I had rushed my shower a bit, feeling eager to see my traveling partner, and I make up for it now by lingering contentedly over my coffee. Later, I will sit down with pen & ink, colored pencils, liquid leaf, tiny brushes, and blank note cards; I enjoy hand drawn note cards as a small-scale art form which I¬†can manage while also watching some sort of entertainment on the larger monitor that sits approximately in front of the love seat. Tonight probably Archer – I don’t feel like trying to hard at being an adult this evening. ūüôā

One of many creative endeavors - and satisfying without being messy.

One of many creative endeavors – and satisfying without being messy.

Feet up. My own agenda. No pressure. No stress. How did I get here – from ‘there’? ‘There’ seems sort of long ago and far away right now… that’s a nice feeling. A lot of practice goes into this, and I still have difficult moments. Missing my traveling partner is one of the small challenges; I miss him almost more than I feel I can bear sometimes. I always manage to survive it. I’m learning not to linger¬†on¬†disappointment, or allow it to grow beyond the bounds of that simple moment of disappointment to become some sort of ridiculous pestilence of pointless drama. The results make the practicing quite worth it; there is delicious freedom in letting go, in moving past some stale brief moment of hurt – and there is growth.

A quiet evening contentedly sketching, coloring, sipping coffee and watching the grown-up version of cartoons is¬†okay with me…in fact, there’s really nothing at all disappointing about such a lovely evening. Would I rather be hanging out with my dear love? Sure – and there are other days for that, the future is not now. This day, right here? This one is quite a nice one, and unspoiled by childish libido driven tantrums about sex, or lonely tears over hormones or distance. I can thank practices related to letting go, and acceptance, and gratitude as stepping-stones on this particular piece of the journey… Or I can just keep practicing.¬†ūüôā

If “practice makes perfect”… what are you perfecting? It’s a lovely night to practice The Art of Being, and take a journey to being the person you¬†most want to be. That’s enough.

I watched the sun set as I rode the light rail across town. It was lovely. I didn’t think to take a picture, and I’m not sure I could have captured the quality of light reliably. I enjoyed the moment. The ride was fairly quiet, as if all the other commuters were similarly wrapped in their own thoughts, or simply tired at the end of a long day. I didn’t think much about it at the time. I rode along wrapped in my own thoughts.

Home. There’s not much on my mind besides this gentle quiet place, and love. It’s enough.

I spent some time, before it began to get quite dark, rearranging the potted roses and herbs on my patio; the contractors had their own idea about placement, and left my garden in disarray when they left. It was a lovely soothing moment tending home and hearth, and the evening feels very satisfying. This is also enough.

A different evening, a different place, some other moment.

A different evening, a different place, some other moment.

There was a point at which I had pulled fine filaments of words together in a complex braided thread that became quite properly an idea. It dissipated like mist in the golden sunset as I rode along smiling at the evening light, and I arrived home pleasantly tired. Satisfied with the moment; all of it, every bit, quite enough.

Early evening, in autumn, golden sunlight filtering through the vertical blinds over the patio door, me fussing a bit, somewhat uneasy, headache-y, annoyed. I am not sipping coffee; it is too late in the day for that, unless I’m planning to be awake all night. This is a fairly noisy time of day, here, even in the relative quiet of my comfortable space. I can nearly always hear the traffic on the commuter thoroughfare 100 yards away (ish). ¬†Today the background noise isn’t in the background at all. Contractors are using power saws, hammers, drills, pry bars, and talking loudly all around the outside of my apartment. The noise is well-beyond what could be considered comfortable without hearing protection.

I came home from work to finish the workday in a quieter space; I’m feeling irritable, a tad stressed, and extremely sound-sensitive. There is no quiet to be had here, and the headache I arrived home with, hoping to feel dissipate quickly upon arrival in this chill safe space, now commands my attention from my lower back, on up across my shoulders, up my neck and over my skull, coming to rest as a sensation of tightness in my head, and teeth clenched, neck aching. I am numb to most of anything else going on just at the moment, wanting only to alleviate the pain in my spine, my neck, my head. My tender heart finds its own way to misery; I kick myself while I’m down, resenting the attention I am giving to my physical pain, when there are tears lurking so near to my eyes, waiting to spill out. I suspect my heart doesn’t quite understand that there’s nothing really wrong, I just hurt, and the noise is hard to bear. I promise myself that once the contractors are gone, I will soak in a long hot Epsom salt bath, then linger in a luxurious shower, indulging myself with the sensuous pleasure to be had in hair washing, and the simple sensations of warm water and lovely scents, listening to music I enjoy. It’s not ‘everything’ – how much ever is? It is, perhaps, enough – and enough will do nicely.

How 'real' is all this stress? What's it really made of?

How ‘real’ is all this stress? What’s it really made of?

So much for a change of perspective! In the moments when I hurt most, the practices that sooth me best can seem subtly out of reach. That’s very frustrating, and sometimes even ‘unreasonably difficult’. The noise is very nearly unbearable, and it is a physical feeling of its own. Hard to describe. Painful. Enraging. It’s quieter now, and later. I’ve taken time for a chat with my traveling partner. Had a bite of dinner. Did what I could to care for this fragile vessel in any way I can…any way that isn’t dependent on quiet, I mean. Quiet is just not available at the moment, even with ear plugs in.

I’ve gotten past the anger, frustration, disappointment, and yes even emotional hurt of getting home to find, instead of a quiet sanctuary, noise. A lot of noise. Irritating, ceaseless… wait… That’s the thing, though, isn’t it? This is the hard part.¬†The part where practice shows off what has been built over time? This isn’t a drill, people!! It’s doesn’t matter what I expect. Preparation helps – but the map is not the world. The plan is not the experience. What I think is not to be confused with what is. ¬†Learning the distinction between acceptance and futility has been a difficult bit of life’s curriculum for me. I hurt so much right now, there is real effort in refusing to yield to anguish, in¬†drawing in line in the behavioral sand, so to speak, and finding the balance between taking care of me¬†devotedly, and simply taking care, graciously, compassionately, understanding with some perspective that we all suffer with things like noise. I still hurt – but I haven’t lashed out at any of the carpenters, or my landlady, or the neighbor’s well-meaning child, or …well… you get my point. There’s no ‘easy’ to this piece of the journey, I do hurt, and the noise is making me just fucking crazy with irritation. I still have choices;¬†focusing on the easy ones and excluding the difficult ones¬†also¬†limits my outcomes.

I take time to do some yoga. I breathe. I meditate with a warm cup of chamomile tea in my hands, warming my fingers and soothing me, enjoying the fragrant steam rising up from the mug.

Perspective matters. What I see is colored by my experience.

Perspective matters. What I see is colored by my experience.

There are moments beyond the noise. I can reach them; there are verbs involved. Not easy? No. Not easy. Still worth it. Still practicing.

There are all sorts of details I could have handled better today – but I handled things well enough, and I’ve taken care of me generally, and done so pretty well. I’ve taken care of the things most needing my attention, and I’ve put off some things that can comfortably wait for me to get to them another time. Success isn’t always obvious, or profitable, or heroic – sometimes it’s measured as ‘enough’. I’m okay with that – and I’m okay right now.

I am a fan of explicit expectation setting. I am also a person who struggles with some sorts of unexpected changes – maybe you are too? With both those things in mind, I figured I would make a point of saying that I will be shifting my writing from early mornings to late evenings; I’d like to take more time in the mornings to meditate, and start the day slowly, and with summer becoming autumn, and winter not so far off at this point, pain management will be enhanced by doing (more) yoga in the mornings, too.

Change isn’t so bad; I enjoy a change of perspective now and then, and I find evenings and mornings fill my thoughts quite differently. When I started this blog, I often wrote in the evenings. At that time it was a less-than-ideal fit for the needs of others in the household. Mornings were ‘easier’. That’s no longer a significant consideration and for some time to come I expect I will need a bit more in the way of self-care, just to manage¬†my physical pain as the season changes.

I am hopeful the change in timing will be comfortable all around…this post will be waiting for you tomorrow morning, as if I wrote it at the usual time, and I will sit down to write after work tomorrow evening – perhaps with my head in a very different place, open to other ideas, and different ways of viewing life and the world than what mornings have tended to reveal?

A change of season, a change in routine, a change in perspective.

A change of season, a change in routine, a change in perspective.

Today is a good day for change, and a good day to take care of me. ūüôā

 

It’s time I took a moment for you, I suppose. You’ve been stepping up your game lately, and dropping lots more comments on my blog. I’m sure you have a job to do, and the money must be worth it to you (or you haven’t yet determined that it is not). Two things, though: first, and this is important if you hope to have any of your comments remain in place, your comments will reliably be deleted if they are not specific to the subject matter of my blog, and reflect clearly that you have actually read that post, and understand it in some way. I moderate my comments pretty strictly, and the spam settings are strict enough to occasionally filter out comments from real people – so of course, I check them all. Secondly, and this one is entirely irrelevant to me, personally, but I do have to note that if you are dropping random irrelevant comments on blogs that are simply entirely unrelated, that also have strong spam filter settings, you aren’t really living up to your end of the bargain with ¬†your employer, are you? I mean, I suspect businesses think you are driving additional traffic their way, or bringing clicks to their links, and… well… if your Forex trading link is in the comments on my blog, you’re not at all. Just figured I’d call that one out, too.

Still, every now and then, I actually struggle to delete one of your spammy comments – because it is written such that it seems to indicate you actually read the post. Not some generic ‘this could be a response to anything’ sort of comment, and not a comment so off the mark you clearly did not read the post, the blog description, or even look at the header or title…but a real, actually fairly specific, comment on what I’ve written…yep, you occasionally step away from the norm and say something real. Those are harder to delete, and I’ve let one or two stay, as a courtesy – because you read what I wrote, and it mattered enough for you to say something about that on your spammy link comment. It’s time you know the rules to this game I’m playing; if you’re real, your comment might stay. If you actually read what I’m writing, and I can tell, I consider keeping your comment – even if the link is for Viagra, walk-in tubs, car window replacement, Forex trading tips, or how to win one’s social security disability case. If you are just dropping spam like bunny turds in a meadow, I hit ‘delete permanently’ without hesitation or a second thought. High volume spammers get the bonus courtesy of having their address blocked, too, as a measure of self-care efficiency for me.

A chilly autumn morning, an opportunity to reflect on what is needed, and what is not, and sort things  out.

A chilly autumn morning, an opportunity to reflect on what is needed, and what is not, and sort things out.

It’s a lovely morning. My coffee is hot and tasty. I’m in pain, enough to distract me from a lot of small pleasant things, but not enough to ruin my morning entirely. Tons of spam comments this morning, though… It’s a good day to delete bullshit. Any sort of bullshit, really, it’s a nice day to clear away clutter of all sorts, spam or otherwise. A nice day to let go of baggage, to restore order, to sort things out, and haul away what isn’t needed. This could be a metaphor. For now? Just words over coffee.