Archives for the month of: January, 2020

I noticed the peculiar balmy quality to the air this morning, on the way to work. It persisted through the day. Warmer weather than is typical for January. The air is soft and very still, and the scent of it hints at summer storms. Decidedly peculiar weather.

I enjoyed the commute home more than I generally do. It felt easy. Effortless. Unfettered. The sky looked stormy, without looking anything like winter, somehow. The temperature remained quite mild, even into the evening. I went for take-out, for dinner. I went to the store a bit later. I had the energy to do this-n-that – maybe borrowed from the stormy sky. Still no rain falling, just the scent of the hint of a promise of rain… later. I smiled as I drove home. I smiled as I drove through town, first on one errand, then on the next. I pulled into the driveway smiling.

The weekend is here. I’m still smiling.

The amount of pain I am in is every bit as uncomfortable as the worst winter I’ve ever had with my arthritis. Something like 30 years of pain-filled winters; every winter feels like the worst one, ever. I wonder for a moment if, in fact, they’re all quite similar, and I simply lack the capacity to recall it with clarity. Sitting here in pain tonight, I kind of appreciate that possibility. It is what it is, though, and bitching about it as endlessly as I experience it doesn’t help with the pain, and doesn’t improve the experience, so… I let it go. Over and over again, I notice the pain, with a breath, with a movement, with the completion of one task or another, or just a change of position. I notice it. I let it go. When it is too much to bear, at all, I fall back on a pain reliever. I try to get by without them. I don’t find them something worth counting on. I’m frustrated with the song and dance involved with every refill, every new doctor, every change of health coverage; most of the time, I’d rather be in pain that deal with any of that. Sometimes, it’s too much to argue with, and I reach for relief.

Here’s the thing, though; I’m enjoying my life, generally, in spite of the pain. That seems an important detail. I hold on to that for a few moments. I make the effort to focus on that, more than the pain.

My sleep has gone to crap, again. No idea why. I remind myself it’s a thing I’m aware I deal with, and have since… yeah, I don’t have a memory of a time in my life without sleep disturbances of one sort or another. I shrug without thinking, and feel the pain in my spine flare up, in this new place I don’t remember hurting before quite recently. Annoying. I take a deep breath and coax my shoulders into relaxing once more. Tonight? Yep. I took a pain reliever. Are you kidding me? Pain sucks, and also, I’d like to hurt at least enough less to sleep a few hours, if not deeply, at least straight through without waking. Goals. lol

All of this is so… human.

I listen to the last of the rush hour traffic whooshing by, on the street. I think about the trail I plan to walk, tomorrow, and wonder which turns to take, and where I’ll turn around and head back for home. There’s a longer loop trail near by, and extension of another familiar walk. Maybe I’ll take that walk, and push past my recent distance, for a grander goal? I feel twinges of pain mocking my intentions…

I shrug all that off, quite deliberately, and imaging an obscene gesture at my unseen enemy. “You don’t tell me!” I think… I’ll just begin again. 😉

It’s quiet this morning. The start to this day feels… muted. Not dull or in any way a failure to satisfy, it’s just… uncomplicated. Serene. Relaxed, but purposeful – and quiet. I sip my coffee… contentedly? Something short of satisfaction or enthusiasm, but far from discontent, sorrow, or ennui. I’m here. Present. Awake. Aware. Ready.

There is no need to chase something better, right now. This is entirely okay. Adequate. Sufficient. Enough. My coffee isn’t great, but it’s good. The weather is neither cold nor warm, and although it’s not raining, it probably will, later – and clearly has, during the night. I feel “between things” in a comfortable way.

I am considering a moment I shared with my Traveling Partner last night. Strangely emotional. Unexpectedly considerate, and aware. Honest. Almost tender… maybe a bit too honest to really be tender, though. It was very real. It was a moment of love, wearing its most honest face. I keep using that word. “Honest.” It is a quality of appreciate about us.

I remember my tears welling up; they were deeply felt, but not sorrowful. I give some thought to his frustration with my tears, and wonder if he understands that I really heard him, and so very much appreciate what he was saying – not just the words, but also the loving intent, and the tenderness implied by that. I feel cared for, and visible. I consider the words, the meaning, the intent. I consider the implications. I consider my self-care practices, and all the things in life I enjoy, that I sometimes needlessly defer because… well, why exactly? Isn’t that the point of our conversation, in the first place? To be sure to make a point to do the things in life I enjoy and want to do, and also embrace and enjoy love, within the context of this lovely partnership?

I smile and finish my coffee. The work day is only just beginning, and there is much to do. This is a good moment to begin again. 🙂

I’m still chuckling about getting all the way to work yesterday without realizing I had forgotten my phone. 🙂 You know what? I totally survived it, and there was honestly no actual stress involved. lol It was interesting how wholly unprepared for the morning I actually was, yesterday, though. I’m not sure why… I didn’t feel particularly groggy, or tired. I bumbled about my morning routine fairly unconvincingly, as though it were all new, or maybe… an afterthought. All good. The day happened, without regard to my readiness for it. 😀

Here it is another one. Good cup of coffee. Good night of rest. I feel comfortable, and from the vantage point of just waking, not in much pain. Nice. Good start to the day.

I get lost in my thoughts for a few minutes, staring into the pre-dawn darkness beyond the window of my studio, drinking coffee. This is not wasted time. It is time spent in a contented reverie, relaxed, calm, and present. I smile, partly because the smile feels good, and partly because this moment feels a bit like an achievement. No anxiety. No doubt. No seething unsettled unsatisfied rage. Just a woman, a moment, and a cup of coffee in the morning. This moment feels like a destination arrived at. My smile deepens in a moment of self-directed encouragement and quiet joy.

Sufficiency. Contentment. Perspective. These can be built, worked at, and nurtured, so much more easily than one can “chase happiness”. Having built them over time, I find them a durable foundation to explore joy, to find “ease”, and to experience fearless presence in my own experience. A worthy journey, thus far. I enjoy the morning’s wee quiet celebration.

I think ahead. I can’t see beyond the “fog of the unknown” future ahead of me, not really. I trim away expectations, and regularly check my assumptions, looking for hints that I have mislead myself, and making corrections before fanciful self-deceits can sabotage my experience. Gently vigilant. Still so human. I’m not even frustrated by that. Not this morning. Not over this good cup of coffee, in this pleasant moment. I laugh at myself joyfully, for no real “reason”.

Without warning, in an instant… and we can only be prepared for so much.

Emotional resilience is that quality which allows us to “fill our tanks”, or build a healthy foundation, to be emotionally able to withstand life’s unexpected moments, occasional crisis or trauma, and to bounce back with our sense of self and general “wholeness” intact. It’s that resilience that allows us to hear the sound of a glass door unexpectedly shatter, breaking the peace of a work morning into countless fragments, broken, chaotic, and then from that wreckage, to retrieve a perfectly excellent day of work, and life, and love. I happen across the photograph, and recall the moment that I heard the “crack!” of that door, a corridor away, as it yielded to some force of physics. I’d already forgotten about it, and in a moment when I later walked past the shattered door, my eye saw only the beauty of the patterns of the fractured glass. Having forgotten my phone, I asked someone else if I could use their phone to photograph it… which created a joyful space for a conversation about art, and life. It’s rare that the woman in the mirror gets to be the artist she is, in the place she works for a living. It was quite wonderful, and somewhat distracting, and I finish my coffee pondering the happy coincidence that I had forgotten my phone. That worked out nicely. 🙂 I was present – for all the moments.

Later, after I returned home, my Traveling Partner and I relaxed and enjoyed our shared evening. My phone was still forgotten on the charger. I was still present, enjoying the moments my partner and I share. Quite delightful. I hope I learned some things… It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

I woke smiling when the alarm went off. I got up and was through most of morning routine before I realized I’d forgotten to put on my glasses. Most especially hilarious, because without them I really can’t see much at all. lol Nonetheless, I contentedly went through the motions, showering, choosing clothes, dressing, making coffee… then noticed, when I was watching the pour-over process, and the dense brown foam on top of the grounds seemed… sort of fuzzy. I thought then to ask myself that important “why?” question, and realized I just hadn’t done this one specific small task I generally do, immediately upon waking, every day, since…oh… like… “always” (since I was about 8? 9? My near-sightedness was identified fairly late).

…I’m still having an excellent morning. 🙂 Enough is, as the definition suggests, enough.

I sip my coffee. Check my email and unsubscribe from some things I no longer read, or care to have clogging up my inbox. Have a quick look at the news. Write… nothing of great consequence, or momentum, just a few words on a page.

What a lovely weekend it was. My smile deepens. I think about love. I think about home cooking. I think about contentment and joy. I think about movies, and sharing them with my Traveling Partner. I think about how it is definitely the sharing that matters most, it’s less about the movies. Another smile, another sip of coffee. Another Monday. 🙂

A handful of healthy practices may not save the world, however much they have transformed this individual human experience of life. I’m still fuzzy on the “save the world” plan details, anyway. I’m sometimes not at all sure we actually can… but… I’ll take contentment over misery, any Monday it’s offered to me. It’s enough. I’ll work on what’s in front of me that needs my attention, and then, when the time comes (and it always does), I’ll begin again. 🙂 So far that’s been working out nicely, in general. 😀

…I glance at the time, and finish my coffee.

It’s a quiet, relaxed, weekend. I’m enjoying it. There’s nothing much of consequence going on, and I’m okay with that. My walk yesterday tested me, and I hit some goals and unlocked a new level of achievements over the steep, hilly terrain. Today’s walk was level, paved, and at the end, rainy. Both were satisfying. Both provided new perspective, and things to ponder.

Consider what it means that it is necessary to put up a barrier to prevent people crossing this creek using this pipe. 

I spent both walks smiling and thinking. They were not exactly “effortless” experiences, but more relaxed and easy feeling than walking had gotten to be. That’s comforting knowledge; I can still choose my path, still walk it, still make gains on my more out-of-reach goals. It’s not too late for incremental change over time. 🙂

If it’s this “easy”, how is it we need so much practice? How is it we are so… human??

So… I seek to choose my practices with care, even trying to eat healthier, exercise more generally, and making each moment count towards practicing to the be the human being I most want to be… it definitely requires practice. I’m okay with that; I become what I practice. (You do, too.)

What are you practicing? Is it time to begin again?