Nightmares woke me early this morning. I sat trembling, drenched in sweat, for some minutes wracked with sobbing before I was entirely certain that I was awake, and that I’d had a nightmare. I let the Nightmare City fade from my recollection, content that in forgetfulness I would also find relief. My distress passed pretty quickly; I have made this space very safe feeling, and my bedroom walls are hung with art, my art, and I chose pieces with positive meaning – and a lot of glow. Even in the darkest times, I am easily able to re-orient myself upon waking, and I know I am safe, and at home.

Straight from waking abruptly in tears, to meditation, and then to a soothing hot shower; I am okay now. It’s a lovely quiet morning, and the chaos and damage amounts to so much less of my experience these days. Some nightmares are tougher to get past than others, and this was one such – not the nightmare of graphic horrors, rather it was the nightmare of bitter disappointment, cynicism, sorrow and loss. The nightmares of sorrow are sometimes much harder to get over, for me; they seem very real and difficult to dispute. It’s a very human thing to have a nightmare, and I am grateful to be awake, however early. I am grateful to have come so far that I can look my insecurities in the face this morning and admit to myself that I have them, and also observe that as with other constructs of my mind, they lack substance, and they lack factual support. I smile at the woman in the mirror, and make coffee.

Enough.

Enough.

By the time I have coffee in hand, with cream and sugar this morning, I am dressed for work and wearing a smile. Today feels good. My arthritis pain is there, but in the background and less immediately relevant to my experience. The apartment is nicely tidy, and I am content with the life I am living. I am able to smile over the weekend that didn’t go at all as planned, and look ahead to a lovely evening in the company of my traveling partner, and to a far future that is not determined and wide open with possibilities remaining to be chosen. I have succeeded in setting myself free of so many limitations I had held onto – clung to – for so long. I have no idea at all what the future holds, beyond the questions, and the choices; I have been choosing change long enough to unravel all potential predetermination on which I might have settled. The reality of it feels much better than the fear of doing so told me it would. 🙂

Fear isn’t a joke. It can become a crippling disability, stalling me from within, limiting me, fighting any hint that I may do or be or go or have…something. Every now and then, Fear will throw a consolation prize my way, and nudge me into making choices that ‘keep me safe from harm’ but it is by far more common that my fears merely limit me to no good purpose. Fear lacks a subtlety of purpose, and is something of an emotional dinosaur, and I find it is best not to indulge it.

This weekend, having the use of my traveling partner’s car while he was out of town, I used it to drive across town to the concert on Saturday. Ordinarily I would eschew the highway in favor of quieter back roads, side streets, anything to avoid the freeway; that’s Fear talking, right there. I am actually very uneasy about freeway driving at this time in my life, largely because of the number of people I can easily see are actually on their cell phones and don’t have their eyes on the road – which I do find quite terrifying, honestly. Still…this particular weekend, I put my fears aside quite willfully, and took the freeway, both directions. As it turned out, it wasn’t a big deal at all, and definitely  shortened my drive time. Small choices to disarm my fears make big differences in my day-to-day experience of my life – and of myself, but I lack the vocabulary to describe the change easily. Is it enough to say that the less power Fear has in my experience, the calmer and more centered I feel? The stronger I find myself? The more willing I am to tackle other things about which I feel uneasy, or reluctant?

Choosing change isn’t always ‘easy’ – and it isn’t ‘effortless’, ever. Choosing change requires a certain vulnerability, and a willingness to be aware, and accepting, of that thing that I am inclined to change. The fun of it is that these are my choices to make, fully my own, and if they go poorly – I can make other changes as well. Living is not much about permanence. There’s very little of that to go around. It’s not the point at all, is it? Change, though, and the will to choose change, is a thing that gives us some say in the impermanence of our lives and our experience… There’s plenty to consider there, for a Tuesday morning.

It's a journey with a lot of stairs to climb...

It’s a journey with a lot of stairs to climb…

Are you sad? Unhappy with circumstances? Mired in tedium? Bored with ‘everything’? Frustrated with feeling stuck? Sorrowful? Wrapped in ennui? Chronically angry? Tragically wounded? Just spinning your wheels in life, metaphorically speaking, and going nowhere? There’s hope! There is change – and it is always always always within reach to choose it. (Having said that, I will also observe that it isn’t always the change that I think I want most that is most easily within reach, and sometimes the menu isn’t full of options I favor highly…but those things do not stop me from choosing change.) Change is, regardless; if I don’t make choices based on meeting my needs over time, pursuing the life I most want to live, and move forward on my journey with my will intact, I will nonetheless experience change. In the choosing lies great power; I am my own cartographer. At each intersection in life I choose the direction of my journey, myself. How about you?

...And there's no rush; the journey remains worthy when I take the time I need for me.

…And there’s no rush; the journey remains worthy when I take the time I need for me.

Today is a good day to choose change, and to embrace a future built on my choices. Today is a good day for practicing the simple basics, and embracing The Big 5 (Respect, Consideration, Reciprocity, Compassion, and Openness) in all my relationships. Today is a good day for deep listening; we all have our own desire to be heard. Today is a good day to change the world.