It’s a Thursday, poised gently between a week in progress and a week nearly over. I slept well and deeply, waking at some point before the alarm went off. I told myself, this morning, that if it were as little as 15 minutes before the alarm would go off, I’d just get up. Seemed quite likely I’d get up regardless… I checked the clock, and noticed it was a bit more than half an hour before the alarm would go off… generally, I’d get up… Peculiarly, this morning I contentedly rolled over, wrapped myself in warm covers, agreeably admitted to myself as sleep overcame me that I’d most likely feel groggy when I woke… only…

I woke to the insistent beeping of an alarm clock that I had trouble locating by feel; it was quite literally out of reach, which seemed oddly metaphorical in my waking moment. I struggled with twisting to reach the lamp switch as the alarm continued to beep. I woke stiff and aching, and had managed to place the alarm clock quite completely out of common reach, on the far side of the nightstand. Finally. Silence. I stood with some effort, and made my way to the bathroom rather sluggishly.

I dither through my morning routine…heat the water for coffee now… or after my shower? After. Music? No music? Music. Fuzzy spa socks until I leave for work…or put on my hiking socks? Spa socks. Dark roasted Java, or medium roasted Uganda? Java. Sweater or t-shirt? Sweater. Back and forth, options being considered, choices being made, and the day begins to take shape for this one singularly ‘me’ human being of middle age, soft sweater, modest means, and generally gentle habits… I see the words, and sense a much younger version of me somewhere in the distance of time with a scrunched up ‘WTF?’ look of quizzical wonder on her face. “How did we get here?” I smile to myself – feeling the warmth of my affection for this ‘stranger within’, this ‘me’ creature, and think of the miles we have walked, the internal demons of chaos we’ve battled together, the endless practice, the choices to change… There is no question, really, how I got from ‘there’ to ‘here’ – there have been verbs involved, and will, and choice, and change.

How beautiful that each new day I can choose to begin again!

How beautiful that each new day I can choose to begin again!

I am in some physical pain this morning; the weather is rainy again, and my bones ache with it. I’m not bitching, just saying it is an element of my experience that can tend to color my thinking if left unaddressed. I make a point of taking care of this fragile vessel. Today has all the ingredients of being a very pleasant one. (Still verbs involved.)

I can recall a time when being asked to change seemed more constant than being valued or appreciated as I was, which I recall as being very rare. I don’t doubt from my perspective now that this was a ‘true’ experience from my perspective then. I felt frustrated, and criticized. I felt inadequate. I felt angry – and the anger mostly came from how astonishingly rarely anyone else seemed willing to change at my request, as though I were uniquely flawed, and they were singularly perfectly beautifully human just as they were.  It hurt a lot to view the world that way. It grew and festered until it became a fairly constant internal fight that often ended resentfully with a simultaneous feeling of ‘fuck your change!’ and capitulation to pressure, to coercion, to fear of withdrawn affection, followed by all the brutal self-criticism as I attempted to force change on myself to meet someone else’s needs. My soul fairly continuously cried ‘what about me?’ within the context of relationships that were purportedly intimate. What a fucking mess.

It became a very big deal to live authentically – which definitely required that I start figuring myself out, fast. Turning my own attention toward the woman in the mirror in an honest way, unreservedly and unashamedly in my own corner, being genuinely supportive of my own needs in a strong and positive way was another very big deal – and the verbs were definitely piling up alongside new practices. Every change I chose for myself, because that change met my own needs and held potential to take me further down my own path, made change itself just a bit less terrifying, and a bit less alienating. Instead of changes imposed on me somehow making me less and less me over time, I began to choose change for myself, based on my own values, my own needs, my own aesthetic. Life changed with me. The changes I chose were for and about me, about being the woman I most want to be, myself, and about living my values quite openly and comfortably. A lot of things begin to change around me, and within my relationships – for one thing, it quickly became clear who enjoyed and valued me, for real. “Faking it” in life was not only no longer a choice with value – it was no longer an option. What a relief!

"How many more miles?" doesn't ask a question that needs an answer.

“How many more miles?”  is not a question I need to ask.

This is not an epitaph to a journey. The journey is not the destination. There is no ‘finish line’, no scorecard, no ‘pot of gold’ – because there is no end to the rainbow for this tale of wonder. Another day will dawn, and I will begin again. Each day is so powerful as an opportunity to choose to live life willfully, eyes wide with wonder, mind open to the possibilities, and aware of the world and my fellow travelers within feeling constrained or encroached upon by their values, or their freedom. In this moment, here, this morning, I feel ‘whole’ and ‘well’ and a whole bunch of other lovely words about the ‘me’ that is, versus the woman I wasn’t, for so very long. Strangely – this is what feels ‘ordinary’ today. 🙂

Change is like a doorway on a longer journey.

Change is like a doorway on a longer journey.

…Oh…hey… We’re still here? My mind wandered. A quick montage of recollections of other times, harder times, different times, some even fairly recent times, and I humbly observe that although this morning feels very good – and also very ordinary – I’m very human, and there will likely be other less pleasant times to come… somewhen. That, too, is very ordinary. I’d say something insightful about impermanence, but I’m not sure there’s more to say than ‘impermanence is a thing I can count on’. Weather changes. Job changes. Mood changes. Relationship changes. Health changes. Lifestyle changes. Change is. I think what I’ve really been saying this morning is that being the authority on change in my own experience, being the entity choosing the changes, and keeping that power of choice and action for myself – to use it as a tool, rather than as a weapon, and to make it one of the processes of order, rather than part of the chaos – has been a profoundly positive thing for me.

Yes. Of course there are verbs involved. Isn’t today a good day for some verbs? 🙂