Archives for the month of: June, 2016

Yesterday was a pleasant day with a handful of blue moments. The awareness of Father’s Day jockeying for position with the awareness that my father died some years ago was occasionally uncomfortable. It was a pleasant day, anyway. I spent most of the day at home, in solitude, reading, meditating, gardening, maintaining my aquarium, and generally contemplating life. I drank coffee – but not enough to keep me up late.

Pastel twilight, moon rising.

Pastel twilight, moon rising.

Evening came, eventually, and with it the delight of seeing the moon rise, just beyond the patio. I spotted it as I began turning things off to head to bed, and stayed up awhile longer to watch it rise, white and round like some magnificent pearl just out of reach. Totally worth the time taken to relax and watch the moon rise.

A brief lesson in impermanence when the rising moon disappears.

A brief lesson in impermanence when the rising moon disappears.

I slept mostly well, mostly fairly deeply, mostly without waking – or without waking in any significant way, at least. I woke sometime shortly before midnight. Again sometime after 1 am. My wakefulness was so brief, only as much time as needed to check the clock, it seems unfair to count it as not sleeping. lol I woke at a fairly usual time (if I were working), and after taking my medication I returned to sleep. Sleep really matters; if I am still tired, or not feeling rested, and the planned events of the day will permit it, I go back to sleep. This has worked out pretty well for me. Your results may vary. Obviously. We’re each having our own experience. 🙂

It is another lovely day. Is it wasteful to say so? Is it boastful? I’m not complacent about this delicate peace I’ve found within; like any garden, the work to maintain it is ongoing. So many verbs. 🙂

Later this morning, I’ll enjoy brunch with my traveling partner – the idea of brunch for Father’s Day was appealing (we both enjoy brunch out)…but… Father’s Day. Local bistros and breakfast places were definitely going to be packed. Instead of the crowds, we decided on brunch on Monday, instead. 🙂 I am definitely okay with that, since it is about enjoying my partner’s company over a meal, and not at all what date on the calendar we do so.

My coffee is finally cool enough to drink. The morning sun escaped the reach of the clouds on the horizon and shines a good morning flash into my eyes. The marsh and meadow birds celebrate the morning with song, and I watch a chubby raccoon hurrying across the lawn for a safer location now that daylight is here. The raccoon and the neighborhood cats on patrol at the edge of the taller meadow grass studiously ignore each other. There may be very few such Mondays left in my summer; I anticipate returning to the work force next week, most likely, and back to a routine built around 40 hours that are no longer my own. It often feels ‘too soon’…still… there are a few days left, and they are worth enjoying. Today will be a good day to go and do that. 🙂

...And I'll continue to practice the practices that are most effective for me. :-)

…And I’ll continue to practice the practices that are most effective for me. 🙂

It’s been a lovely week – truly, the entire week, lovely end-to-end. Remarkable. See, here? I am remarking on it. Clearly, remarkable. Well… maybe not so remarkable at all that; it’s been quite a while since I had a terrible week, aside from the irritants of work-related stressors (and at least for now, those have faded into memory). In any case, remarkable or not, it’s been a very pleasant week, filled with love and friendship, beginning with just about the best birthday I recall having, and ending with today – a quiet, calm, gray Saturday preceded by a good night’s sleep. I spent a lot of the week with my traveling partner – time well-spent. Life time. 🙂

No idea what I’ll do with today. Returning to the workforce looms ever closer, each morning of each day one day nearer to the one on which my alarm clock will do its dirty work, waking me before I care to be awake… for now, no alarm clock. I continue to enjoy it greatly, waking with a smile most days. A literal, actual, smile, in the moment that I wake… now that’s remarkable. I feel a sense that each day is precious – even more so than I often do. What will I do with today to make the time most worthwhile?

Well, sure. This.

Well, sure. This.

The wise course seems to be to continue to practice the practices most useful for me to maintain emotional balance, to withstand life’s highs and lows, to remain mindful moment-to-moment – or to at least practice, and begin again when I miss the mark – and simply to savor the time, as it is, as it happens. This is my experience. I suppose it makes sense to experience it. 🙂 No rush. No pressure. No demands or urgency from within. Just a day – unscripted, and ready to become what it will. I’m ready to enjoy it, without forcing it into a mold. There are, as usual, verbs involved. What will my choices be? How will I approach the world – or will I? Will I go? Do? Will I devote myself to gentle luxury self-care? Relax and read the day away? Garden? Walk mile upon mile of forested trail, with a pack, snacks, a camera, and plenty of water? Will I cross town to the farmer’s market? Will I seek? Will I find? Will I travel and return with tales of adventure? Will life happen to me – or will I embrace it?

Walking my own path, one step at a time.

Walking my own path, one step at a time.

I sip my coffee, thinking of love. It’s been an absolutely wonderful week for love. My smile deepens and I consider loving moments built on choices. I already miss my traveling partner (still… again…), although we’ve managed to spend most of the week together in a loose relaxed on again/off again way that has both delighted me (to see him so much/often) and given me the space and time I need for other things. I take a moment to consider this human being who is such an exception to my contentment with solitude… I yearn for him. I adore him. I think about him when he is apart from me. My muse. My sanity. Another sip from my now cool-enough-to-drink-down-quickly coffee becomes finishing it off, and I notice this blog post has become, somehow, a love note. Well. Not the direction I thought the day was headed – I’m okay with that. I’m okay with a lot more of who I am these days than I once was. 🙂 I’m okay with love.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

Today is a good day for love. Today is a good day for unplanned, unscripted, unlimited ease. Today is a good day to take care of me, and to treat the world with great kindness. Change is. The world, too, is changing…each choice we make, each of us, is some small part of that strange human difference engine. Today I will ‘be the change’, rather than just standing around while change happens. It’s enough that the changes are small, and limited to the only sorts of things I can change… myself, my actions, my expectations, my assumptions, my words.  Today is a good day to change the world.

This morning I woke with a Barry White song in my head, and thoughts full of love. 🙂 It’s a nice way to begin the day. I slept in, too, hours later than I typically do. I woke slowly. Yoga…meditation…walk…coffee… it’s a beautiful morning. I smile at myself cruising along powered by love, a seemingly limitless fuel from the perspective of this moment, right here. 🙂

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

I put on my favorite ‘sexy romantic’ playlist of love songs. It feels like that sort of day. I’ll see my traveling partner again tonight – I never tire of his warmth, his touch, his smile, his words. On my worst days, he can be such a calming presence. On my best days, he is pure joy. Sure, still human – aren’t we all? Our relationship is emotionally reciprocal on a level I find hard to describe. Is it enough to say that I return the favor – the love, the appreciation, the calming support – at every opportunity? (Depending on specifics, with greater or less skill – my results vary. Don’t yours?)

Love is reciprocal.

Love is reciprocal.

I sing love songs while I get laundry started. I realize with surprise that I’d wandered away from my writing without any particular awareness of being distracted by something else. I’m still smiling. Love tends to be somewhat distracting. lol

Love doesn't watch the clock.

Love doesn’t watch the clock.

I write today with new awareness of a pleasant bit of change; I feel love and I feel loved, and these feelings are not specifically dependent on today’s circumstances. They’re feelings. I have them. Some days I have them with similar intensity and a comfortably warm, merry glow, in spite of the circumstances of the day itself being fairly stressful or crappy in some way. Some days I feel love and I feel loved, even though I haven’t seen my partner, haven’t felt human touch, or interacted intimately with another human being, in days; today this seems very significant, if not understanding the experience then at least being aware of it, and valuing it. Today another puzzle piece drops into place, and I feel freed from some other bit of baggage – that bit that suggests love and being loved are dependent on circumstance, or the whims and moods of another. This morning it doesn’t feel that way at all; I am love, and my love is right here – to be accepted, to be returned or returned to, to be enjoyed, to be shared, to be savored, but it can’t be taken from me, or regulated, managed, parceled out, bought or sold, limited, or even destroyed. It’s mine.

Getting here was a journey - it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

Getting here was a journey – it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

The love songs have got me, this morning. I celebrate love. I want to shout “I get it now!” in some dramatic moment of hollywood-styled scripted enlightenment. I laugh tenderly and with genuine amusement at the woman in the mirror, recognizing that one element of my experience with my TBI is how completely unreliable my recognition of novelty is – maybe I’ve had this moment of recognition before? I’m okay even with that – how wonderful to recognize the mechanics of love, even for a moment?

Love is in the small things - strange for such a big deal.

Love is in the small things – strange for such a big deal.

I chuckle when I look back on what I’ve written so far this morning, and wonder if I am able to make any real sense on such an emotional topic when I’m immersed in it? I sip my coffee contentedly and note that the laundry will be finished soon…my ‘to do list’ this morning is a short one, and most of the day will be spent on study and meditation, until my partner returns to my doorstep, later. 🙂 Today is a good day to be love.

Love.

Love.

Today is singular. I woke early, from a less-than-ideally-sound sleep. I went back to sleep. I repeated this a couple times. My traveling partner was also not sleeping deeply. I sometimes snore, and I know I woke myself a couple times with it in the wee hours. This morning I am conscious of his need for sleep, and I quietly go about my gentle morning: yoga, meditation, study, a few minutes to pause and reflect on things I am grateful for and to appreciate my circumstances, a cup of coffee. I feel tender and sweet toward that human being in the other room, and enjoy treating him very well. I continue to treat myself well, too.

It is an unexpected (and unplanned) delight to have my traveling partner staying over, possibly for a couple days. I smile when I think about the delights of his day-to-day companionship, which I cherish. I frown briefly as I remind myself to continue to ‘handle business’, maintain my quality of life, and take care of myself well; it’s easy to lose track of everything but the warmth of his smile when he is staying with me. I’m very human. 🙂

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

Today is simple, my calendar is empty – that’s harder for me some days, rather than easier; there is still much to do with this precious finite lifetime and, since it isn’t on the calendar already, I’ll have to make it up as I go along. 😀  I’m okay with living life unscripted, actually. It’s taken some time to get here, but the conversations are profoundly more interesting when I don’t practice them in my head beforehand…and I hear more of what is being said. 🙂

Today I will do some things. Basic self-care will be among the things I do. I’ll prepare and consume calories. I will no doubt read something. Perhaps I’ll paint. The housekeeping is handled. The garden needs care. I find it rare to run out of things to do, and generally make a point of adding ‘sit still’ to my ‘to do list’ – not because I wouldn’t sit down for a moment, ever, if I didn’t – more because it reminds me that when I do, it matters to be in the moment, actually sitting, actually still, actually at rest, awake, aware, and committed to stillness. That moment of stillness is a big deal for me – and it can’t typically be had with the television on, sometimes even music in the background interferes with that needed moment of stillness, sitting, content, aware, not bored, not restless – calm and content.

A good day

What will I do with the day?

It’s a good day to chill. A good day for bird watching. A good day to walk in the sunshine, and to breathe fresh air.

Where does the path I choose lead?

Where does the path I choose lead?

Today I am in more pain than I’ve been in for a while. The cooler weather? It doesn’t matter too much why, the pain simply is, today. It’s just my arthritis, and it eases some with walking, and with yoga. The sense of being nauseous with pain is hard to shake, and unpleasant. It will pass. The pain isn’t terribly severe, just present, and I’ve been enjoying being in less pain with the hotter summer weather, recently (the contrast probably makes the pain seem worse than it is). This cooler more-like-spring weather returns and brings the pain with it. Today is a good one for seeking distractions. I’m okay with that. I find myself appreciating the luxury of not having to be at a desk for 8-10 hours while I am in pain; more freedom of movement results in less (and more manageable) pain.

Isn't this enough?

Isn’t this enough?

Today isn’t fancy, or busy, or well-planned, or filled with events or workload. It’s a day. It could be any day. This is the beginning and there’s so much more to come. If today were a shit day full of challenges and emotion, it would still be only a day, different from yesterday, different from tomorrow. Each one a new opportunity to do, or be, or go, or discover – or not – all at the ready to convert what I anticipated, expected or yearned for into what I recall. The stopover in this moment now, living, breathing, and being is all too brief. Today is a very good day to live now. I think I’ll go do that. 🙂

[note: my “liberal” politics are showing, please feel free to skip this post about “gun control”]

There’s no fiction in 50 lost lives in Orlando. Hell yes, it’s tragic. Now, in the aftermath, we’re subjected to reruns of tired ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ rhetoric, somehow entirely overlooking that all practical measures proposed to address gun violence would apply to people, their behavior, and their access to firearms. Can we at least admit – whether we personally own a firearm or not – that some people are not as safe with a firearm as others? Please?

I am frustrated by the reflexive defense of gun ownership (in general) by people whose ownership is not being attacked. Is the defensiveness shown by so many purportedly responsible gun owners [when regulation changes come up in conversation] due to insecurity regarding their personal safety, or is it due to undiscussed concerns that they may not be as safe with a gun as they insist they are? (I know it was my own awareness that I was a living breathing risk factor for gun violence that caused me to give up owning a firearm, myself – it didn’t seem like a difficult choice to me.)

Personally, I don’t have any problem with, or concern about, responsible adult citizens owning a firearm for home defense, for target shooting, for hunting… although I do insist that we all be quite frank about the implied violence of firearm use. Firearms are tools, sure – for killing. That is their purpose. So…um… do we really want just any/everyone to be easily able to obtain a firearm – a tool for killing? Seriously? Even, say, people convicted of hate crimes? Domestic violence? Assault? Robbery? Rape? Hell – do we even want people with unmanaged mental health issues who haven’t yet been violent owning firearms, if they appear to have a high potential for violence in some noteworthy and obvious way demonstrated by ongoing observed behavior? Don’t we want to mitigate the risk of more hate or rage fueled shootings by restricting gun ownership to responsible people, and also to people actually emotionally fit to own a firearm? If those are things we want, then yeah, regulation of some kind is a given. Why is it so hard to stomach basic skills testing and licensing requirements? We do that with cars, and it doesn’t seem to have taken any cars off the road. Why is it so hard to contemplate some kind of simple ‘fitness test’ to rule out the obviously at risk of violence? Sure, sure, it may be difficult to craft a test that identifies people at risk well, without screening out people who are not at risk of mis-using a firearm – that makes it challenging, not impossible. Is it unreasonable to ask that people diagnosed with PTSD eschew firearm ownership until their care provider is confident they are not at risk of becoming unexpectedly violent? What is that so uncomfortable? (It seems entirely reasonable to me; I’ve seen what lies within the walls of the nightmare city, and I have waded through some deep corners of chaos and damage.)

Is the big fear [for people who already own guns] that someone will come along and attempt to place some apparently responsible gun owner into a cubby labeled ‘not all that god damned safe with a firearm actually’ and take their guns away ‘for no reason’? It seems unlikely. I understand being uneasy about it, though; human beings don’t have a great track record for acting reasonably, moderately, and with great care. Silencing the conversation about gun safety hasn’t been a great strategy for change either, though, has it? We’d do well to have the conversation, to listen more than we talk, to really hear each other’s concerns – from all sides, from all perspectives. It’s a complicated issue, but also an issue that seems to have quite a few potential solutions to consider that are less extreme than ‘take all the guns’.

Yes, I do understand that no additional regulation of firearms would be needed if we ‘addressed the causes of violence’… and… Well, given the ongoing contention regarding LGBTQ rights, the hostility toward women in everyday society, the commonness of domestic violence, and the difficulty with effectively diagnosing and treating the mentally ill, it doesn’t seem we’re quite ‘there’ yet with regard to managing the causes of violence – hell, we don’t even reliably treat people we love well, as a society. I’m totally down with addressing the causes of violence – let’s do that! So… how will we do that? I’m hoping the gun owners must have some thoughts on that, since they are so vocal about preferring to address the causes of violence as a solution to gun violence, rather than regulatory measures that might affect them, also.

I’m angry about this. I’m bitching. Words. More words. Impotent words. Words that get heads nodding when read by a like-minded reader. Words that rouse frustration and ire, or distance, from readers who disagree with my thoughts on the topic. No meeting of the minds is likely – no one really listening, I suspect, just reacting to phrases and buzzwords consistent with bias and programming. That’s really ‘the problem’, isn’t it? Argument doesn’t often result in people listening to the other guy deeply and gaining understanding or perspective, that’s left to conversation. When we feel attacked, we stop listening. When we defend ourselves, we are not listening either. To exchange ideas, we’ll probably need to let go of all that, and just talk, which implies really listening, too. Are you ready for that? To ask questions and listen to the answers? To take time to make sense of a perspective that isn’t your own? To accept someone else’s perspective as equally valid – equally valued – and seek solutions that respect mutually exclusive positions? I didn’t suggest it would be easy, I’m simply saying it isn’t outside the realm of possibilities – there are verbs involved.

Anyway. Keep your guns. Let’s figure out how to also allow everyone else to keep their lives. There are verbs involved. 🙂