Archives for the month of: May, 2016

I woke from a nightmare this morning, one that doesn’t actually belong to me. I put the material in my brain myself. I knew going into it that there was some risk, too. I still chose to binge watch a terrifically (in the literal sense) dramatic and emotionally provocative television show,  hanging out with my traveling partner. I had a great time, it was a fun weekend experience to share. I still woke from a nightmare this morning. I’ll get past the insidious thing in due course, but it has me wondering…if this sort of thing affects me profoundly, how many people just wandering around are similarly powerfully affected by things that ‘don’t actually belong to them’, and suffering greatly over it?

Well, sure, you say that, but...

Well, sure, you say that, but…

In this instance, the nightmare was simply that in all the world each and every single person in all languages spoken could be counted upon to be utterly duplicitous, deceitful, not only looking out for their own interests exclusively – but not necessary with good awareness of what served them best, nor what the circumstances truly are. Liars. Cutthroats. Thieves. Worse. And me – living as authentically as the world will allow, without reservation, without hesitation… without defense. Oh. Shit. That didn’t feel safe or likely to have a good outcome at all. I woke trembling and nauseous, and fearful of my safety. It was weird to feel it so intensely, and to be also clearly aware it wasn’t really anything to do with me ‘in real life’.

I got up for the morning, and allowed the nightmare content to linger in my thoughts… sometimes that ‘compare/contrast’ inner dialogue makes a nightmare seem more ludicrous, surreal, less ‘real’ – undermining the seemingly ‘valid points’. In this case, this morning, that wasn’t the experience at all. It was a huge mistake, and the aftermath of the nightmare was far worse than the dream was itself. I’m easily able to recall being lied to, or misled, even by people very dear to me. (No doubt some of them have had similar moments with me.) Sometimes with good intentions – like ‘white lies’ sometimes used with the intent of kindness, for example – still lies. Other times for less innocent purposes – like omitting details to convey a different impression, still easily definable as willful deceptions. There are, too, grander machinations – real gaslighting – even in the context of loving or familial relationships; I’ve endured some myself, watched others from the sideline. For a moment, humanity seems pretty fantastically vile, as my awareness of the hurts, and the lies, and the manipulation starts piling up…the television images of violence conflate with my own experiences, and I feel… something complicated…something primitive… something more like fear as it builds, and anger as it diminishes. I’m okay right now. The big take away? Be more careful with binge watching television; no content is worth a visit to the nightmare city. 🙂

"The Nightmare City" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas w/glow

“The Nightmare City” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow

The morning started early. My partner and I are both up with the dawn. He asks me how I slept. I tell him. He chides me for the quantity of words so early in the morning. I still had my nightmare in my thoughts. We’ve both just awakened. I take my coffee and my bleak outlook in the studio, and give us both a shot at a pleasant morning, once we’re actually awake.

It was a lovely weekend to share. The time together well-spent relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. No stress. No drama. Just people who love each other hanging out together, and sharing life’s journey without having to take up arms. Quite a contrast from television. 🙂

So…now it’s a whole new week. A new adventure. Where will it take me? Will I meet an exciting stranger? Will I learn discover the truth? Will I find my fortune? Will adventure catch me unawares? Life isn’t usually so dramatic, frankly – unless I invest imagination, assumptions, expectations, and a hearty helping of attachment in it, and then pursue chaos with ferocity, and reactivity. I think I’ll pass. Television shows are not usually written about contentment and living beautifully – low ratings – but this says nothing about whether these are worthy qualities in life, they are perhaps the most worthy characteristics on which to build my life. I’m only saying that because I find it pleasant to be content, and to live beautifully…and I’d find it less pleasant by far to be constantly worried about betrayal, violence, and lies. 🙂


Today is a good day to enjoy life’s most mundane pleasures: a good coffee, a lovely sunrise, a smile from a friend, a hug, a kiss, laughter, loving with all my heart regardless whether it is reciprocated – because love feels good. Today is good day to live – well, and deliberately, and eyes open. Some people may indeed be playing a diminished ‘Game of Thrones’ in their every day lives…but it doesn’t have to be me. 🙂

In many respects the waking moments of this morning were very similar to yesterday. It’s been a lovely morning so far. Yesterday ended well. I bounce back more easily these days.

Today is beautiful.

I take time to smell the roses.

My difficulty bouncing back from emotional storms, bad days, and stressful circumstances used to result in days upon days of being stuck in some awful place, mired, picking at some emotional wound rather pointlessly, until… Until when? That was part of the thing; I wasn’t taking effective action to support myself emotionally, to calm or soothe myself, or to actually address both the circumstances I struggled with – and the struggling itself; I was sort of waiting around until change happened. (It will, and it does, but it’s an uncomfortable and damaging approach, I find.)

I take an active approach to emotionally supporting myself these days because it isn’t possible to be entirely emotionally supported by everyone else – by anyone else – realistically (or fairly); we are each having our own experience. At some point, I decided to go ahead and have it – hurts, and messiness, and frustrating challenges, and  painful decisions, and fear of failure, and all the rest of the maelstrom of chaotic details that is just one human life – mine. Yielding to it, giving in to it, embracing it – and participating with enthusiasm, turned out to also give over all the love, the laughter, the joy, the wonders and delights, the excitement, the sensuous thrills, and all the sweet details of a life well-lived, time well-spent, and loved ones cherished. I learned that, for me, the connections matter more than the monsters in the darkness.

It’s a journey. It’s not over. 🙂


It’s a lovely morning, and a good time to begin again.

Today feels good. I’m glad I took care of myself yesterday, and didn’t take a couple stressful hours personally. I woke this morning feeling whole and beautiful, and wrapped in contentment. Today is a good day to enjoy that about me while it lasts. That’s enough. 🙂

I woke early, comfortably, and well-rested, with very little pain. I smiled, rose for the day, content with the early hour. The dawn begins to unfold beyond the window, and the day looks to be lovely.

The spider in the kitchen, that ran out of the coffee cup I pulled from the cabinet was not a welcome sight, nor a pleasant moment. One broken coffee cup… morning in progress. I start water for coffee.

The much larger spider in the bathroom, that began crossing the room while I was in no position to do anything about it, was also an unwelcome sight – and I enduring its presence uncomfortably only as long as I had to. I realize I’ve gotten distracted from making coffee…

The smoke detector chirped at me. (What the hell is up with all the detectors going mad after the annual maintenance inspections and tests of detectors?? That was less than two weeks ago!) I find myself glad my traveling partner is not being abruptly wakened from a sound sleep in the other room this morning; two mornings in a row would just be so completely annoying for anyone! I’m already quite annoyed myself, and I was awake when it started. I change the battery. Reset the detector. Shit – I’ve forgotten my coffee again! I get back to the kitchen just in time to hear 3 chirps from the detector. It continues periodically (frequently) while I look the fucking thing up on the internet to see what the owner’s manual says. I carefully re-do the process of replacing the battery and resetting the detector according to make/model quite precisely. That’ll do it.

45 seconds later – 3 chirps. 😦 These are fairly loud. My neighbors are awakened. How do I know? They’re outside frowning and smoking their first cigarettes.

45 seconds later – 3 chirps. I’m frustrated, and the sound itself, and specific frequency (both timing, and sound wave) are really working on my vulnerabilities. My noise sensitivity surges, and there are tears waiting to fall… my  head begins to ache, and I feel angry. I’m also confused. Frustrated. Escalating. I call the ’emergency only’ maintenance hotline for the community – the landlady picks up right away, sounding as anyone does at 6:08 am, out-of-town on vacation, getting a call from work. She patiently advises there is a ’15 minute hush cycle’ (calling it something like that is just… inaccurate; there is nothing hushed about this experience). She is aware of my injury, and some of my issues. She softens her tone and directs me to ‘unplug it and take it down’ if the chirping doesn’t stop (something may be wrong with the detector, and this one is ‘old enough’ to replace). So… yeah. I’ll be worried about fire safety this weekend instead of dealing with the chirping, and I’m managing to feel angry about both and/or either just at the moment. I don’t lash out at the landlady – this isn’t in any way about or to do with her; it’s just a very irritating noise on what started as a lovely quiet morning, and the sound itself has got me crying at this point. I could also do without the ‘strange frightened-seeming trembling’ that so often goes with particular sort of overload. What the ever-loving-fuck?

Coffee. I got distracted from making it – again. It’s well past 15 minutes of this now, and I contemplate taking down the smoke detector, and wonder why I have this weird embedded feeling of certainty that if I do, the alarm will actually ‘go off’ and not be silenced – or silence-able – at all? Probably television. Fuck television, too. Damn, I really need some coffee… and I need this noise to stop.

I take down the alarm. I go back to the kitchen to make coffee. Again.

The alarm keeps chirping. Every 45 seconds. I’ve timed it. Alarm is taken down, unplugged… and it seems pretty pointless to have bothered. I go back to the owner’s manual. I try yet another new battery. I step through the troubleshooting steps again. This is not working. I still don’t have coffee, either. My morning is now entirely centered on this fucking chirping alarm, and I’m struggling with agitation, frustration, and impatient anger. I feel ‘trampled on’ by businesses that have no fucking clue that once the product is outside the ‘this is how we save your life’ emergency scenario window that some consumers have other very different needs. I just let the tears fall. I make coffee. The alarm continues to chirp. I can get 8 minutes of silence any time – by hitting the hush button. I can’t exactly enjoy my day easily if I am returning to the alarm every 8 minutes to hush it.

The chirping is working on my mind. I feel responsible and obligated to ‘fix it’ somehow – so that no one else is similarly effected, making it harder to just walk away – or move out. Or hit it with an axe. (I’m rather glad I don’t have an axe…) I don’t even know if it is audible beyond the apartment next door. People would like to sleep. It’s Saturday. Weeping overcomes me. At least I have a cup of coffee… grim laughter at the relief I feel just for that small pleasure shakes my shoulders, tears become sobs as I spill the precious (hot) black liquid down my top, into my lap, and onto the carpet, soaking into everything, turning everything… dark. Memorial Day Weekend!! Oh yay! I will be listening to this cursed chirping for the next three days until the landlady’s return… what a holiday! And I get to clean the carpet and do laundry!  (note: I rarely use sarcasm, it’s not easily read by all readers, and I apologize if my reactive unhappy use of it now makes it hard to be sure what I am saying.)

I really don’t know what to do from here… I want to be here, enjoying my space, my time, my life… and there’s this fucking chirping, and it isn’t stopping, and there’s just nothing more I know to do myself from here. As if to mock me, the detector manufacturer has a customer support help line – open 8a-5p EST, Monday through Thursday, except holidays. So. Yeah. Now what?

My head hurts now. My eyes are read and puffy from crying – and the tears aren’t stopping; the chirping continues. I made another cup of coffee, hands shaking, trembling, and crying. I drink it quite carefully feeling disorganized, confused, and overwhelmed. I hadn’t even had time to wake up before all this; my day got a firm reset almost immediately on waking. It completely sucks and feels brutally unfair. For the moment I am stuck here; each gentle attempt to sooth myself is interrupted – every. 45. seconds. – with three piercing chirps. Will the awareness of it eventually fade into the background as sometimes happens with irritating noises? It doesn’t seem so, yet.

I’m in no good shape to manage my issues out in the world so soon after waking… but I can’t comfortably endure this indefinitely, and need some real relief from it… somewhere. I resign myself to having to face the world… ‘what I want’ no longer counts, I am faced with what I need. I need to escape this noise… I try not to think about what becomes of me when I must return home, later. No… I do think about it. I cry. I push the awareness into the darkness, dry my tears, sip my coffee, check my spelling, think about my clothes… I keep trying. The chirping continues. I want very badly to scream into the void “How will you make this right with me??!!”… but there is no point, no ‘right’, no one to answer, and nothing much, for the moment, to be done. I wonder how often a partner or lover has ‘taken the blame’ in some such moment in the past, becoming the entity to whom I direct my fear, my anger, my frustration – over some circumstance in life that just isn’t something they control? Fuck. I feel myself swamped by regrets, sorrow, sadness, too. I don’t know what I’ll do later… for now, I put in earplugs, wrap myself in blankets, pull pillows over my head, and cry. I’ll figure something else out later.

This one deserves some follow up sooner than later, just to be courteous. I’m okay right now. The apartment is quiet now.  Someone dear to me pointed out that perhaps the fire department non-emergency number would be helpful… it was frustrating to discover that this service is mostly unavailable outside ‘normal business hours’ these days, but it got me thinking in a more productive direction, and I walked up to the nearby fire station, hoping to get some more helpful advance than I was getting from the owner’s guide, the entirely unavailable advertised customer support for the product, or my vacationing landlady. I not only got some better instruction, I was provided a back up smoke detector to use, and got my vitals checked (I was apparently sufficiently stressed out, however polite and careful my words, to cause concern when I mentioned the noise was hard on my PTSD), and a few minutes of conversation over coffee with a very pleasant EMT, who had been washing his car in the sunshine when I walked up.

I got home, followed the provided troubleshooting instructions (the order in which things are done really matters for some things, and confirmably fresh batteries matter). Huh. The chirping continued… I unplugged it as directed. While I installed the back up… the disconnected detector chirped. 😦 No. Wait… that’s the carbon monoxide detector that went off yesterday – and in which I put new batteries, yesterday. Shit. I take that down, too, and remove the batteries. Both detectors are quite old and likely due for replacement, and that can be handled Tuesday. In the meantime, it’s a lovely weekend to have windows open to breezes – and there is no longer any beeping, chirping, repetitive, unavoidably, strident, aggravating nuisance alarms going off and undermining my emotional and mental wellness. I’ll even be able to sleep through the night (I really wasn’t at all sure I’d be able to do that with the chirping going on).

Now… troubleshooting my experience behind me… I take care of me. My results may vary…but I’ve rarely been so grateful for silence. 🙂

I woke up ‘too early’ this morning, having stayed up late into the night with my traveling partner, merrily enjoying each other’s good company without looking at the clock. I woke up in good spirits, although a tad frustrated not to sleep in a bit later – 5 hours isn’t quite enough sleep for me. I was pleased my traveling partner continued to sleep.

It’s a practical rule of life that things will go wrong at the least convenient time (thanks, Murphy!), and so it was this morning; the carbon monoxide detector detected that its battery was low and squeaked out an irritating, strident chirp that could not possibly be over-looked – or slept through. Damn it. My first thought was ‘wtf?’ followed by ‘what size battery does that take?’ and ‘can I get that swapped out before my partner wakes up?’. The questions weren’t hard, and the answers were obvious. My partner considered going back to bed… but… morning. Double damn it. What a crappy way to be jerked from a sound sleep!

I really enjoy my partner’s company over morning coffee and a little conversation – we generally do that when I am on my second coffee, well-awake, and comfortably able to maintain continuous consideration and awareness of the needs and space of others. That takes me about an hour to 90 minutes from when I initially wake. I’m more than a little irritable, stiff, clumsy, and emotional first thing on waking. He wakes up much faster, but is also (surprise!) quite human, with his own needs and experience, and he’s frankly often not fit for company until he’s been awake half an hour or so. Our mutual desire to be in each other’s company is, by itself, sometimes insufficient to overcome the less beautiful useful tender qualities of our humanity. lol We were ‘up together’ – which isn’t ideal for the two of us. It’s a good opportunity to practice practices that need interactions… practices like gentle boundary setting, clear communication, and avoiding unpredictable emotional volatility with mindful awareness – and The Big 5. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to practice not taking shit personally; we are each very human, each having our own experience – and we love each other. That’s the important part to keep in mind while we’re so busy being very human. lol 🙂

Time for that second cup of coffee... :-)

Time for that second cup of coffee… 🙂

It’s a pleasant morning, and we’ve given each other the time and a bit of space to get our individual shit together. Today is a good day to enjoy love… so I’m thinking I’ll go do that. It’s more than enough. 🙂

This morning I woke with a headache. It’s okay, it’s not a bad one, just a garden variety probably-slept-too-long-with-my-neck-in-that-position headache. I feel fortunate that I didn’t wake with significant pain, otherwise, nor a kink in my neck – a particularly uncomfortable pain, when it is my turn to endure that experience.

My coffee is good this morning, but I’m struggling to bother with drinking it. I feel emotionally comfortable, though less so as the morning develops around this other strangely specific bit of discontent lurking in the background. It is mystifying and unsourced, and I am disliking the feeling that ‘there is more to know’ and I’d like to read about it. I think my first mistake was allowing myself anywhere near the news. lol I’d like to ‘settle in and read the paper’, honestly, but it is a feeling that hearkens to another time in my life, when the paper was actually reliably paper, probably inconveniently large for anyone else wishing to sit at the table with their coffee (or breakfast) and when being the person thusly engaged (in reading the paper) was also a sign of household status; everyone else made room for that person to do that thing, as if reading the paper were a critical function, respected and accommodated.


My father read the news at breakfast. My mother read the news privately. Implicit biases are more subtle than can be effectively discussed in sound bites, or memes. This observation is not apropos to this post.

I think my discontent comes from the experience of reading what amounts to ‘news’ this morning. I bounce from one news source to another, some domestic, some foreign, some right-wing, some left-wing, some ostensibly neutral (which lately I find only means that they have not made clear what their agenda may be). I even check a few favored trade journals and niche periodicals (usually science, medicine, and areas of artistic interest). I would enjoy spending the morning reading short informative factual articles on clear topics, thoroughly researched, well-cited, and relevant to my experience of life and the world. It’s not going to happen today. What the fuck is up with all the hate? With all the finger-pointing and blaming? With all the artificial outrage and vile mud-slinging? I’m not a fan of news-via-meme. I also really really like it when terms are clearly defined to ensure the best possible shared understanding. Unfortunately for me, factual, emotionally neutral, ad-free news reporting doesn’t keep readers coming back to generate more revenue.  Most of what is put forth as news lately seems to be [mostly unsupported] opinion and reactionary rhetoric, and ‘sponsored content’. It’s a big uninformative emotionally provocative downer. Clearly – I am emotionally provoked, right now. It’s our own fault as consumers; we take the bait. The click-bait, I mean. Yeah. Me, too. I gotta stop doing that – it’s not informative, and it takes a toll on my consciousness in an unhealthy way. I’d be better off re-watching South Park season 19, episodes 8, 9, & 10 before clicking on another headline, anywhere, ever. I’d ‘lol’, but I’m quite serious.

I rarely read the news these days. I actively avoid it. Unfortunately, my best effort there still results in reading many more pages of utter garbage, without meaning or value, than is healthy for me. Impulse control issues affect me in this area of life, too. Click-bait is most particularly designed to overcome our impulse control… and I’m a little short on that already. The internet is vast – and just filled with shiny sparkly nonsense intended to get my attention for purposes not my own. It takes practice to avoid it all. There are plenty of opportunities to practice.

What to do about my fractured unruly consciousness this morning and my cold coffee, is now the question… I sip my coffee (honestly, if I’ll drink it hot, and I’ll drink it iced, is there some reason to resist drinking it at room temperature?) and look out the window at the flat gray sky. Was I grumpy when I woke up? I sure am now. I am irked even about that.


There is value in literally stopping to smell the roses.

I sit for a moment, listening to birdsong, breathing deep calm breaths, and feeling myself relax. I take a mental step back from the internet, and consider the morning without all that. The dark green of the pine just beyond the window, and the brighter greens of the grasses of the lawn, then the meadow beyond, stand out from the flat neutral gray of the morning sky. Cyclists, runners, and walkers pass by, some distance from the window, beyond the playground at the edge of the park, too far away to see facial expressions or hear conversation. The stop/start rhythmic tapping of fingers on the keys seems loud in the stillness of morning; one observation at a time, one sentence then another, I rebuild the morning of better parts. It’s a good start to a better day. My coffee is cold, sure, but still tasty. I think ahead to a fresh cup of coffee after a hot shower, and consider taking a few more minutes for me on the cushion by the patio door; meditation is the thing that comes through for me most reliably to calm a busy mind, to soothe restlessness. “Easy” doesn’t describe it well, as a practice. Meditation is not costly. Meditation does not require special gear, elaborate equipment, or specific specialized coaching; given the interest, and the willingness to do the verbs, I’m pretty sure anyone could build an effective meditation practice on their own, with some bit of reading on the topic, and some… practice. Yeah. It’s about practicing, whether you want to play the piano, or calm your monkey mind. Skills take practice.

It's not always an uphill climb... there are definitely steps to take.

It’s not always an uphill climb… there are definitely steps to take.

Strange start to the day. Certainly a few uncomfortable moments don’t determine the day. I smile to myself, remembering my lunch plans a bit later, and later still my date with my traveling partner. Yeah… I’m okay right now… and this is totally enough. 🙂