I am sipping my coffee slowly this morning. It’s very good. The morning is in all obvious ways a very relaxed morning, steam rising from my coffee mug, holiday music on the stereo. There is a subtle undercurrent of tension that I feel lurking just out of view of the obvious. I let my awareness expand to include that feeling, without diving into it.

I am aware of small details that seem to be provoking my subtle feeling of tension: the awareness of not hearing from a friend with whom I’ve been sharing an almost daily exchange lately, some concern for my traveling partner’s well-being and how he is treated in another relationship, and some background stress lingering in my awareness due to the adjustment to my long-term schedule that I’ve sort of avoided dealing with since it would not affect me until – tomorrow. Small things can become big things if I don’t treat myself well, so I take them one by one; I find that the assumptions and implicit expectations I hold onto unaware are the most likely thing causing me stress.

I consider my correspondence, and my dear friend I haven’t heard from ‘in a few days’ – how long has it actually been? Not very. A day or two. We also have an explicit understanding that our email exchange is not a reliable everyday thing. So… yeah. Nothing to be stressed over. I move on.

My traveling partner’s well-being is something that matters to me greatly, and I actively invest in my own growth in order to be the woman I most want to be – and the best possible lover and partner that I am able to be with my love. I am very sensitive to both explicit and implicit communications of stress from my partner, although he is very careful not to load me down with drama from his other relationship. There are no secrets between us, and the challenges I left behind when I moved out still live there with him – it’s more complicated than the simplified narrative that tends to drive background stress. That’s an entirely different relationship than the one he and I have with each other, and my partner is a grown man with free will, and an emotional investment in that human being over there. I take a moment to be aware of his skill as a partner, and how much I value his investment in us. It has taken time to learn to love well, and it’s not exactly something we teach in schools.  I pause to quietly celebrate the powerful love I share with my traveling partner, and to wish him well in his difficult circumstances, with his difficult Other. I wrap my thoughts of my traveling partner in my love and find myself smiling. Just smiling – because there’s nothing at all wrong with the relationship he and I share, and love is wonderful to enjoy – and to support. There’s nothing here to cause me stress this morning.

That one last small detail, left for last because it is likely causing me the most stress, honestly – my schedule. It’s such a small change, and the price to be paid to get the best possible fit for schedules for my entire team. In order to meet the most needs (for the team and for the business) I need to go into the office earlier on Fridays than the other days of the week. That’s a potential challenge for me; variable start times are often a very poor fit for my TBI. Avoiding thinking about that is an ineffective success strategy because it undercuts planning that could result in improved outcomes. So, I take a few minutes to breathe deeply, to contemplate what I most need out of my mornings, and my days, and what works best for me. I make a decision to adjust my waking alarm 15-minutes earlier, long-term, every week day. It’s a 15-min add to my morning the other 4 days, and pretty close to my most common natural wake up time. More to the point, it is enough additional time to prevent my one ‘short morning’ each week (Friday) from feeling rushed; I’ll have enough time to wake, to shower and dress, and head to the office without hurrying through things like taking medication, and making coffee – although I’ll be drinking that coffee on the walk to work, instead of chilling over words, or music.

The stress I had noticed in the background of my experience dissipates; I addressed ‘the real issue’ – and it wasn’t the most obvious thing, or the significant portion of my thoughts. It was such a small thing. Small things matter, too, and what I am inclined to ‘face’ in moments of stress is often not the thing really bothering me. We’re just a bit more complicated than that, aren’t we? 😉

Be love.

Be love.

It’s a lovely gentle morning, free of stress at this point. I listen to Giftmas carols in the background – ancient classics from my childhood and modern re-imaginings on a mixed playlist with other very non-traditional modern holiday music of a less ‘serious’ sort. I like nearly all of it; it sets a mood. I find myself still smiling, thinking of my darling and I, we’ll be sharing Giftmas some weeks from now – I am on the edge of my seat, eager with anticipated delight; I think I nailed Giftmas this year with a balance of fun, easy, and welcoming.

Every sunrise is a chance to begin again.

Every sunrise is a chance to begin again.

Today is a good day to take a second look at small stressors, and take a step back for better perspective. Today is a good day to be mindful that common enough situations may still be more complicated that we see them initially. Today is a good day to love well and to love mindfully; we are each worthy of love. Today is a good day to change the world.