It’s a quiet stormy evening. I’ve gotten most of my laundry done, bringing it in warm and dry from the laundry room between rain showers. Between loads of laundry I’ve spent time meditating, as storm clouds and passing showers crossed the view out the patio window. I enjoy seeing the sky, a horizon, a view, and so placed my favorite cushion for meditating just there, where my view of the park beyond the patio is unobstructed.

Potted miniature roses drenched by passing showers don't seem to mind the rain at all.

Potted miniature roses drenched by passing showers don’t seem to mind the rain at all.

Tonight had been planned for love and loving, but love had other needs, elsewhere, tonight. Love isn’t always easy, and needs considerable investment in respect, in consideration, in compassion, and yes, even openness and reciprocity. I’m sure I’ve never felt truly loved in their absence. (That’s why they are my Big 5 relationship values!) Still, I don’t feel any lack of love for love’s lack of proximity tonight. I feel heard, cared for, respected, valued – I feel wrapped in the comfort and warmth of a strong partnership, signal boosted with clear communication and explicit expectation setting. I find myself feeling compassion (his are complicated circumstances), and hoping very much that the evening goes well for my tested traveling partner; his relationship building skills are considerable – love still requires that everyone involved make an equal investment of heart, and will, and effort. No one human being can hold an entire relationship together alone. There are so many verbs involved…mindful loving uses many more of them than I had imagined (and I still have so much to learn). Listening deeply is a practice worthy of practicing – and then practicing more; I’ve learned so much more about love in the silence between my words that gives my lover room to be heard, than I ever did in one moment of something I said myself. Still; verbs. It isn’t enough to wait to talk. It’s the listening that counts, and doing it skillfully requires more than a little practice.

Listening deeply is like looking at something distant, requiring attention, focus, engagement and presence; this is not a picture of branches.

Listening deeply is like looking at something distant; it requires attention, focus, engagement and presence. (This is not a picture of branches.)

The television is off. No background slide show, no cartoons or animation, no favorite series or new hilarious YouTube video, science documentary, or nature show to pull my focus from the quiet evening. I am giving myself my time and attention. There is music playing, but that too is subdued; jazz (‘fusion’) tonight, bass heavy, relaxed, complex, rich, and joyous, and turned down low enough to feel the quiet of evening nonetheless – the sort of easy, inspiring sounds that apparently compel considerable overuse of adjectives and adverbs – the musical equivalent of poetry, but the sort of uplifting simple thing easily remembered and happily shared.

Too many words. This is too many – isn’t it? Is it? I’m not sure. I think I’ve gone a tad overboard here, just now, but I feel content and filled with warm joy and a feeling of security. It’s pleasant – and I don’t feel quite this way very often at all. It’s the security, I think – a sort of calm strength just beneath the surface of the contentment and joy. It’s nice. I’m sure I ‘worked’ to get ‘here’…but I didn’t plan it, or seek it out, I’ve been busy on other practices, other verbs, other concerns in life. Maybe that’s the point of what I am saying tonight; I didn’t chase this down as an outcome. I simply arrived here. Practicing good basic self-care, treating myself truly well, practicing practices that build emotional resilience and self-sufficiency, learning skills that support my emotional balance – whether I am home alone, out in the world, or faced with a moment of someone else’s drama – each incremental change over time has been a step on a journey that brought me here. ‘Here’ is very nice, I must say…and it’s enough.

One moment of many. I am here. I am okay. This is enough.

One moment of many. I am here. I am okay. This is enough.

Today is a good day to enjoy what is – whatever it is, however much it can be enjoyed. Today is a good day to learn from what hurts. Today is a good day to watch storms pass over head, and to recognize the difference between ‘climate’ and ‘weather’. Today is a good day to take a step back from the world, and listen deeply in a quiet moment.