My first coffee is almost gone, and what’s left is almost cold. Another work week begins. Another Monday unfolds ahead of me. Life in the time of pandemic remains fairly constrained, and a little surreal, sometimes. It is what it is. Is it helping? Probably.

Fish swim in the aquariums. Over the weekend, my Traveling Partner added the skimmer I ordered to my 29 gallon peaceful community tank. I watched fish swim. Friday afternoon, the remaining new inhabitants of my shrimp tank arrived, were acclimated, and got to move in to their new home. I got some tidying up tasks handled. We spent happy hours talking over computer builds, and re-organizing this-or-that to improve our quality of life. It was a nice weekend. No drama. Good company. πŸ™‚

Improving my meditation practice has been paying off in improved emotional resilience and reduced reactivity. Win. πŸ˜€ Getting more exercise has been improving my general fitness (and wellness), which is an exciting quality of life improvement, itself. So far so good, right? πŸ™‚

Yeah, that’s it. Nothing to complain about, really. That, itself, points to a favorite practice; savoring the good moments. I know, it can be super satisfying in some way to linger over painful moments, challenges, petty aggravations – a bit like scratching a mosquito bite. It’s hard to leave it alone. It doesn’t really do any good, though, to scratch at it, dig at it, pick at it – and doing so causes real damage. So… as comparisons go, it’s so accurate it’s not a metaphor anymore. When we invest, emotionally, our time and attention and focus on some painful moment, or challenge, or bit of irritation or inconvenience, it gets bigger and more important in our thinking. It becomes a larger part of our implicit experience and the very nature of our character can be influenced by such things over time.

“We become what we practice” – spend enough time angry about shit, and anger becomes who we are, generally, and over time it will seem that there are many more things “to be angry about”. Letting shit go, letting small shit stay small, and refraining from taking things personally, over time, results in changes in “who we are”, too. It’s a choice. What experiences do you make time for? What emotional states do you linger in? What are you focused on, in life?

I don’t know that changes to my experience are the true drivers of the changes to how I experience my life, as much as changes to what I make a point of focusing on, and spending time with, emotionally. I do know things are far better than they were in 2013. I also know that if I were in a state of despair, right now, and someone told me “it’ll only take 7 years to change how you feel about life!” I might not have been sufficiently encouraged to make the changes I needed, then, to make… hard to say. There’s been a lot of work involved. Study. Practicing of practices. Self-reflection. More study. More practice… and repeat. Again.

…Here’s the thing, though; it’s worked wonderfully well. It’s been a profoundly successful journey. It is a journey still in progress, and one which I embrace with real enthusiasm. So much has changed…

…Every new beginning has lead me here. Each step along the way has had value. My results have varied. It has been necessary to growth through some uncomfortable experiences. So worth it. I smile, finish my coffee, and glance at the time… Already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

…Where does your journey start? Are you ready to begin?