It’s a chilly morning. I woke a bit ahead of the alarm clock, and somehow the shower didn’t warm me up much. My head is stuffy, as if in sympathy to my traveling partner, home sick at his place. I miss him greatly, but it matters more that he take care of himself and be well – besides, I don’t really want to be sick, myself, and I am content to wait to see him for some better time.

I find myself thinking about perspective, again. I know that because I’d like to be in my traveling partner’s arms so very much, it would be super easy to dive into misery, frustration, and annoyance that we are not together, and then for that to become a springboard to all sorts of doubt, insecurity, hurt, and anger spreading out in all directions from that one small thing; I miss him. Emotions are intense, and can easily overwhelm reason, and then… then what? Then I am unhappy, riled up, agitated, miserable, lonely, angry, frustrated, and filled with negative self-talk and thinking so distorted that all those feelings start fueling some sort of ‘blame machine’ that generates more distorted thinking, and rationalizes treating others poorly on the basis of that distorted thinking. This morning I am appreciative that I am not in that place. (Perspective is a lovely way to defuse those emotional bombs.)

Anyway, how would I really measure life's 'spilled milk'?

Someone else said it first; there’s no use crying over spilled milk.

Life isn’t ‘about’ my losses. Sure the losses exist, but they don’t exist isolated from the joys, the gifts, the delights, the wonders, and the cherished moments. Life is also not about keeping score; when I am focused on this moment, my moment, engaged, present, and mindful, the bullshit fades away, and I’m not filled with self-made poison. I was thinking about this while I soaked in the bath last night, too; if I measure my life by my losses, how could I not find myself wounded, tearful, and overwhelmed with doubt and sorrow? It’s 52 years worth of ups and downs – there are some losses in all that experience.

I could measure my life by my gains, if I choose. Things look different stacked up as an assortment of wins, gains, achievements, successes…and that too is misleading; I don’t learn much from the easy wins, and the emotional highs are far less intense, lacking depth and value, without the perspective offered by what has been lost, and what hurt, and what didn’t work so easily. Then, too, if I measure my life by all the things I have done or achieved that are awesome, I don’t leave much room to be vulnerable, to connect, to appreciate what is soft and tender within myself, and to value myself when I am not winning, gaining, achieving, or succeeding, and I may also need to spend a great deal of mental bandwidth defining those successes, to avoid becoming frustrated by shortcomings that might negatively affect measuring the wins. Hell, I’m only thinking about it, and I feel myself becoming a little anxious!

...and how exactly is 'success' truly defined, and measured...and who decides that?

…and how exactly is ‘success’ truly defined, and measured…and who decides that?

It’s the measuring, itself, that I find myself thinking about critically. I don’t personally prefer life to be a competition, and the measuring of successes, the score keeping, the comparing of this person to that person, the perception that there are ‘necessary’ achievements one is expected to make in life (marriage, children, car, house, career…) – I have come to view all of those as bullshit distractions, choices, simply details we can add to who we are – or not. I’m choosing ‘not’, generally, and re-evaluating where all of those things really fit in with who I am, myself. It’s been a process. Part of asking that ‘who am I?’ question, I guess…. (I’m sure not telling you what you should or must find important, yourself.) I’m just observing that holding an attachment to goals that aren’t really my own, imposed on me by expectations of one sort or another, is one very elaborate way to be miserable.

Why am I on about score keeping and measuring and comparing one to another? Because I miss my traveling partner, of course! See what I mean by how quickly powerful emotions can overwhelm reason? How are those even connected? They are connected in only the loosest way, by time itself, and by the measuring of time, and the score keeping of moments. I don’t spend as much time with him as I’d like, which has the potential to nudge me toward contemplating the time he spends with others, and to become resentful and hurt over it. It’s silliness – because love isn’t about score keeping (or time keeping), or measuring, or counting. I’ve come a long way from allowing my powerful emotions to sneak attack me on something so small, most of the time. 🙂 That feels pretty good over my morning coffee, and instead of fussing irritably about why my traveling partner isn’t in my arms (he’s sick, seriously?) I am simply enjoying a lovely morning, in this moment here, content that there are other moments to enjoy in other times, and that love exists, regardless – it’s certainly not worth stress, or agitation, or grinding my mental gears over if/when/why. That kind of mental busy work poisons my experience now, in part because my brain injury impedes my ability to regulate emotions stirred up by thoughts (they feel every bit as real, and intense, as emotions that occur in response to circumstances), and in part because I am human.

It's a journey - there are some detours.

It’s a journey – there are some detours.

That’s been another lovely bit of awakening, recently. I’ve struggled so long with sorrows over what is ‘wrong’ with me, due to my TBI, and what my injury has (may have?) taken from me… Sometime between last Friday and yesterday morning walking to work, something clicked… Whether my injury is anything to do with whatever may be ‘wrong’ with me – it is most assuredly the source of a great many things that are very right with me, that I enjoy and count on daily. Perspective.

...Life these days feels more like a construction site than a disaster area. :-)

…Life these days feels more like a construction site than a disaster area. Progress. 🙂

So…this morning…a lovely morning that could have been experienced very differently not so very long ago. Perspective matters. Practicing good practices for building emotional self-sufficiency, and resilience, matters. Remembering to include the woman in the mirror in the set of ‘all the people I love’ matters. Contentment, gratitude, and enjoying what is more than I mourn what is not, matter too. It’s a chilly autumn morning, and I am enjoying it wrapped in a warm sweater – and wrapped in love. (I’m not all certain which provides the greater comfort – I suspect it is the love, and I am awed that it comes from within.)

Today is a good day to be love.