I woke to the alarm this morning. I slept, I think, through the night. When I woke, my sense of things was that it was exceedingly quiet. The kind of quiet that seems made of anticipation, and held breath. I exhale. I inhale. I breathe. As waking becomes meditation, an almost automatic response to a feeling of ‘dis-ease’ (I remember, too late, the word “uneasy”), my breathing becomes deep, comfortable, relaxed – and reliable. Sometimes I hold my breath without realizing it (maybe that’s a primate thing, or maybe just me, doesn’t matter right now); deep, relaxed breathing, tends to reduce anxiety caused by not breathing. Go figure. 😉

I give myself a few minutes to “get my bearings” and become more completely awake. I am alone this morning. Not just alone-because-I’m-by-myself, but also alone because most everything is precisely where I, myself, have placed it, and where I expect things to be, and also because the bags and baggage of my house guest are no longer here, and stray odd things my traveling partner brought over, with few exceptions, are also returned to their natural places in the world, more or less; they are not here.  Unsettling initially; apparently it takes me about two weeks to get used to having to detour around stuff that isn’t where it ought to be. I’m over that, already, and enjoying the quiet greatly… and will shortly enjoy some music, some early morning housekeeping, a second cup of coffee… and missing my traveling partner. 🙂

Enjoying missing my traveling partner? How does that even work? I don’t have an answer really, but two weeks with a house guest, a new job, new routines, changing personal care needs, having to stock the fridge with foods I don’t eat, not being able to meditate easily when I want or need to, accommodating other musical taste, other agendas, other interests – and often at the expense of my own – and even being nudged uncomfortably into yielding too often to an utter lack of any semblance of planning, or being considered when plans are made in my absence (almost certainly not the actual literal truth, it just often felt that way)… I still miss my traveling partner, and I’m glad (at least in this moment) to have that luxury for some little while. I need a break to care for myself, and figure out just a little more about how to do so skillfully in the face of guests, family, circumstances, employment – all of the things. lol

The quiet this morning is so very… quiet. When I pause to savor this peaceful moment, I notice that I still hear the ceaseless sound of traffic, the commuter train, the hum of the refrigerator, the occasional patter of raindrops… no simple silence this, it is quiet within, as much as it is quiet around me. That’s the quiet that I’m seeking – isn’t it? I’m not really asking, I’m just noticing, not for the first time, that it is the elusive quiet within myself that is so… elusive. Right. I used the word. Sorry – still on my first coffee. I comment quietly to myself how much more difficult this quiet is to build, to linger on, to enjoy, in the typical rush of a busy work week. Coming home exhausted to find a party in progress has some delight to it, but very little quiet. This particular thing, this finding quiet in the storms and bother of a busy adult life, this is the journey. Well… it’s a journey. It is my journey. 🙂 You can have it too, if you want – we can walk on, together, separately. There’s no limit on who takes this journey, there’s no competition over who walks farther, faster, or who reaches the highest height, or purest moment of awareness; there’s no trophy. There’s also nothing to wait for – gear up, my friends! Whether you lace up sneakers or hiking boots, walk slowly with a cane carrying your coffee in the other hand or wearing a fancy name brand hydration pack, if you begin again – and then begin again – and then again – and every time you falter you walk on from what hurts, and you walk on from what doesn’t work, and you walk on because you enjoy your own forward momentum in life, you’ll find the journey unfolds in its own way… your way. 🙂 Don’t worry too much about the destination, it’s a thing that seems to change with fair frequency, and has the least relevance to the step being taken “now”. Now is enough. Are you ready to walk on?

For clarity – it’s a metaphor; most sorts of things I struggle with don’t require a literal departure on foot and miles of walking. 🙂 (Some have…) It’s a favorite journey metaphor, for me, because I do walk so much… perhaps you are a runner, and your metaphor for forward momentum in life is a bit faster? Maybe you travel passionately, and your metaphor involves planes, airports, far away terminals, and distant wilderness unseen by amateur eyes? This adventure called life is “choose your own adventure” on levels so deep that even the metaphors are yours to choose, although I’m delighted to share mine with you. 🙂 I like a handy metaphor.

My phone chimes at me, notifying me of… something. I’ve no idea what. I had my last phone for literally years before I worked out how I wanted all the notifications to sound, and which would be silenced entirely. I’m beginning again. I’ve at least “tamed” them for now; the sounds are pleasant. The sounds are also pretty pointless. For now they communicate nothing much, only that on some form of incoming communication media that isn’t the phone, someone is trying to reach me. LOL I have to check to see whether I want to check to see what it is. Hopefully within days, I’ll know by sound what message app is pinging my consciousness, and whether I care to respond immediately or later, without anything but the notification chime alerting me; it’s a huge savings in mental bandwidth.

Life has a certain amount of natural order. I sip my coffee and enjoy that.

Life has a certain amount of natural order. I sip my coffee and enjoy that.

It’s a Monday morning. There are practices that precede the commute. Today, it’s enough to practice. Tomorrow, I can begin again. 🙂