One way I love is through shared experiences. Not the grudging sort of sharing that is the hallmark of compromising (or over-compromising), more the enthusiastic embracing of events, tasks, and circumstances that become, over time, the foundation of something invested and intimate. As an example, I spotted an event online I know my traveling partner will be excited about – and I am excited to enjoy it with him; I will enjoy the event, myself, and even more so because it is something he is excited about, and we’ll be sharing that. Similarly, he occasionally surprises me with concert or show tickets, or information about an upcoming event, some sort of thing he knows I am excited about. There tends to be enough cool stuff going on in the world that it is rare one of us must truly ‘make a sacrifice’ or compromise our own taste and values to share something special, and generally we both tend to choose the sorts of things that we do, or can, both enjoy. Easier, when possible. 🙂

There is a lot of love in sharing. I may not have understood that very well as I grew to adulthood. I learned the lessons about ‘protecting my interests’, and ‘keep an eye on that other guy’ at the expense of learning to share skillfully, and figured out ‘the sharing thing’ on my own – and rather badly, as it turns out. I built my understanding on a fairly ‘everyone is all in’ notion of how sharing in a relationship would work, without any recognition that other people might handle things differently. There are other ways! (And they aren’t all compatible.) I ended up badly exploited, sometimes abused, and walked away from all that thinking ‘sharing doesn’t work because people only take from you’. Ouch. I undermined love’s power to connect beings through sharing by becoming invested in my hurts, and overlooking the possibility that I didn’t yet understand something important – it wasn’t the circumstances that had that result. I’m very certain there are a great many important things I do not yet understand, even now, on the far side of 50. In fact, at this time in my life I am inclined to embrace the uncertainty itself, and find out where it might lead me. Allowing myself the freedom to be entirely wrong, incorrect, mistaken, or in error, without self-flagellation or beratement has resulted in an astonishing amount of growth in a rather short time.

We learn a lot of crap as we grow up, some of it simply frankly wrong, and some of it distorted by our misunderstandings, or the misunderstandings of those who teach us. We retain, indefinitely, our power to choose – and to change. There is literally no requirement that we remain who or what we are at the start of our journey – and little chance we will, however hard we may work at it. Change is. There is so much power in the choices! Fearful? Choose another perspective, change the narrative driving the fears, pick up a practice that soothes, end one that makes the fear worse… something. Address it. Transform it. Make use of it. Walk away from it. It is actually that easy – and very much every bit also that hard. Not just fear – anger too, resentment, frustration, irritation, rage, sadness – there are too many details in our human experience that are customized and tailored to (by?) our… whims. It took me a lot of precious mortal lifetime to begin to come to terms with how much of my suffering was self-inflicted. Not only self-inflicted, but selected with care, chosen and crafted with commitment, and even insisted upon…and I’m not entirely sure where this understanding may take me, but it certainly seems an observation worth understanding more clearly.

“Are you okay?” “How are you doing?” “Are you stressed out right now?” Mmm… maybe? Maybe not. If the question evokes an emotion, is that emotion actually an answer to the question, or a reaction?

Today a doctor’s office visit is on my mind. My traveling partner and I are both of an age now when doctor’s appointments could be…may be…possibly…very bad news. It’s no more likely than at any time before, I suspect, but we’re more adult, more aware of our mortality, and more likely to be thinking ahead to the consequences of one issue versus another, and feeling the weight of years in which we took a bit less care with these fragile vessels. The concern easily becomes worry, the worry eats at contentment, becoming fear – and the present moment is quickly lost. I breathe, and let it go; there is no knowledge at hand until after the office visit, after lab results, and the circumstances remain – even after all that – more than likely less than dire. ‘Dire’ is not the most common outcome, it’s just a scary one, and tends to hold my attention as a result. It is a good opportunity to practicing letting go, and being present in this moment – which, by the way, is quite lovely and quiet. 🙂

The rain falls heavily this morning, as it has for many recent mornings. The afternoon, yesterday, was mild and sunny, although a bit chilly. Spring is here. I smile, taking a moment to enjoy the sounds of morning, filling up my senses with pleasure, and joy. The most exotic luxury car can only take me as far as the fuel in the tank will allow, however beautiful the car, however well-cared for; my emotional resilience seems generally fueled on a practical investment in contentment and the appreciation of small day-to-day joys. Getting my fill seems a small price to pay to enjoy such a significant reduction in emotional volatility, anxiety, reactivity… as is so often the case, your results may vary (because there are verbs involved, and a lot of practice).

A good day to begin again.

A good day to begin again.