Archives for category: Allegories

I’m sipping my coffee on a Monday and turning over a metaphor in my head. I’ve been giving it thought all weekend, actually, well – if by “all weekend” I mean “since I started putting up the holiday tree”. 🙂

It began simply with the necessary (for me) task of untangling ornament hooks…

Like my thoughts, some things need to be untangled before they are really useful.

It’s really that simple metaphor that has me feeling thoughtful. I’ve had this same tangle of ornament hooks since… oh… for about 20 years. Here’s the thing, though; one year, I couldn’t find them. The only ones I could locate to purchase as a replacement that year were long hooks. (I use, generally, by preference, the short ones.) I turned up the others while decorating the tree – they were at the bottom of a fairly ordinary brown box. I combined the short hooks and long hooks, and put them all “conveniently” into a single small plastic container. Now, each year, I have to untangle ornament hooks before I can get started hanging ornaments. (If you suggest I simply toss these and buy new ones that are less tangled, I’ll point out , first, that some of my oldest ornaments have original hooks on them that are older than I am, which I have not discarded in spite of discoloration due to age, and also, this is a metaphor, so… perhaps the point was missed? 😉 )

Each year I carefully untangle and set free enough of the short hooks from the grasp of the long ones to decorate the tree. Each year I carefully put them all back into the container they share – even the long ones it was necessary to free from the tangled mass, in order to get to the short ones. Each year, I put them back in a more orderly state than I retrieved them in. Each year I open the container to find they are entirely tangled all together once more.

…There really is a metaphor here…

“What’s your point?”

It’s a good question, glad you asked. The point is, I think, that the content of my own thoughts can sometimes be fairly tangled up, with “long hooks” of ancient hurts, old baggage, new baggage, and a variety of expectations and assumptions, all sort of hooked into the “short hooks” of useful observations, clarity, real understanding, valuable perspective, and the present “here and now” sorts of things that create a well-lived life. The tangled mass can impede good communication, mess with my clarity of mind, and undermine my feeling of emotional well-being. It’s pretty important to sort things out, and untangle those long hooks to get to the useful short hooks, and really get on with living life.

It’s not that the long hooks are worthless; they’re hooks. They serve a function. I have some few ornaments that are most easily hung from those long hooks. Some of those are even quite beautiful – it’s just that nearly all the ornaments on my tree hang most pleasingly, easily, and conveniently from the short hooks. So, why the hell do I keep the long ones at all, though? I guess… as with the bullshit and baggage tangled in my thinking, and in my poorly processed lingering bits of baggage, I get started on that, and along the way I free up enough short hooks to meet my needs in the moment, and then just sort of … pack all the hooks back into their container… for… convenience.

Yeah. So. Giving that some thought has kept my mind occupied this weekend (a generally splendid holiday weekend). 🙂 There’s something to learn from this container of hooks. 😀

The house is quiet. Cool jazz plays in the background, softly. I sip a small glass of sherry, sweet, smooth, and deliciously raisin-y; it tastes of luxury, and satisfying moments. I look back on a gentle, fulfilling day of celebration, utterly lacking in any hint of drama, stress, or conflict. The day was spent harmoniously, in the good company of my Traveling Partner. It’s been a memorable Thanksgiving Day, peaceful and connected. Intimate. Romantic. Fun.

Dinner for two was effortless; we went out. We went to dinner sharply dressed in our best “going out to dinner on a holiday” clothes, subtly coordinated with each other’s choices. There was no particular wait; we made reservations well in advance. There was no traffic, really, most people were already at home, in their kitchens, or with their families, making merry their own way. It was an easy evening out. The meal was quite pleasant: good food, great service, worth the price paid. The drive home? Similarly pleasant. It was, in the simplest terms, an easy, delightful, holiday spent wrapped in love. My Traveling Partner looked fantastic. My mirror suggested to me that I looked pretty wonderful, too. The mingled scents of his cologne and my perfume complimented each other well, and were applied with care so as not to overwhelm dinner.

…I don’t know what else to say… this was my experience, this year. I’ve had others. My results, over a lifetime, have varied. This was one exceptionally pleasant, relaxed, and satisfying- an intimate holiday.

…I’ve much to be thankful for. Not just this grand date out with my love; also, just generally. Here in the quiet, sipping my sherry, I consider my life in context. I consider all the many unspoken “thank you’s” due here, or there, or again, just generally. Not all of life’s lessons are “easy”, and sometimes, the cost to learn them is pretty fucking high. Still, close attention to the curriculum, and learning (and growing), and becoming more this woman I want to be is worth it, so far, and the payout seems to be lovely moments (or days) such as this. It’s enough.

…This too shall pass. lol Just being real; clinging to this moment wouldn’t serve me well. As with clinging to any other moment (or notion, or assumption, or expectation), clinging to this charming here-and-now experience would set me up for failure in some other moment. So, I sip my sherry in the quiet of evening, content with what is, and not much concerned with anything else. There is time for this, here, now. It’s certainly worth savoring.

For me, Thanksgiving kicks off “the winter holiday season”, which will last through New Year’s Day. There’s much to enjoy, to explore, to wonder upon… It is a “season of gratitude”, and also of contemplation, consideration, and change. It is a season to be most generous, and also a season to let go of ego, and share the journey for a little while, to reach across the strange chasms that separate “us” and “them” to become “we” for awhile. It is a season to receive gifts graciously, and to forgive with an open heart (and open mind), aware that we’re all in this together, although we are each having our own experience.

…This can be an amazing life. Slow down. Enjoy some of it. Stop yelling for a minute. Hug someone you love. Care about your loved ones more than you care about being right. Laugh – yes, and even at yourself. Is any moment of anger really worth sacrificing the beautiful lives we could have instead, so easily? I’m just saying… use your words, not your weapons. (It should go without saying that well-mannered, reasonable, people do not take up arms against their loved ones in a moment of anger, for fuck’s sake. …And killing them? Just… no. Do not do that. Ever. Just… no. That’s not love. Ever. At all. Shouldn’t have to say that… unfortunately, it’s clear from the news that some folks did not get that memo. 😦 )

…I sip my sherry and dispel the grim thought that one thing I am truly grateful for is that I survived my first marriage…

I’m definitely grateful I didn’t spend the day cleaning and cooking, and then find myself also having to clean up afterward. Been there (fuck that). Today was unreservedly joyful, and so emotionally rich and satisfying, I hesitate to mention it for fear it may burst like a soap bubble. I needn’t worry so. It’s already so quiet now…

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful warm Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe you didn’t, this year? In that case, there’s still some good news; you can let this one go, and simply begin again. 😉

Don’t get sucked into the hype. I mean, generally, right? Also – here. Good advice from random internet strangers is… random, strange, and if one is very very fortunate, may also be “good”. No reason to assume it is accurate, or going to work for you, or reliably successful for everyone who tries it, or even a good value. True of the internet, of holiday catalogs, of Black Friday sale prices… Yep. If someone is pushing hard for you to buy one, try one, or trust one… there’s likely some measure of profit in it for them. Just saying. 😉

This cup of coffee is good. I slept well, besides the strange dreams about spending too much for too little. lol

Last night was fun, and tiring, and I have happy memories and another pair of shiny boots. Not as shiny as the pair my Traveling Partner shined for me; I’m out of practice. By the end of the evening, my shoulders burned from the effort. Still, we had a great evening, spent in each other’s pleasant company, while I shined my boots. He coached me through details of the way he does it, himself, I did what I could to pay attention, while not becoming distracted from the actual process I was actually doing. 🙂 I’m happy with the results. Ordinary enough Chelsea boots become beautiful, gleaming toes seeming to smile at me. Like a delicious emotional sundae, contentment, satisfaction, and love all swirled together. 😀

I crashed hard at the end of the evening. I slept through the night, deeply, as far as I can tell. I woke easily, at the end of my dreams, shortly before the alarm. A nearly perfect night’s sleep, for me. I woke feeling pretty good, and with my sense of self-in-space (proprioception) decently accurate (so, not clumsy), and not in any noteworthy amount of pain. Nice. I sit with the comfort of being me in this moment, for a few moments more. It’s not only pleasant to feel good, to feel comfortable in my skin, it’s helpful to make a point to enjoy that, explicitly aware of it, and unashamed. I find that it helps shift feelings of “always hurting” or “always being sad” that built over time (a long long time), to a more contented sense of self, less focused on the pain I have (when I have it).

…Lots of parentheses this morning… I wonder what’s up with that? 🙂

My eye lands on the elegant holiday catalog on my desk. Beautiful photographed foods, advertised as “gourmet” and certainly presented in a most spectacular way… prices that seem very much consistent with the visual appeal. I’ve order such things, a time or two, for special occasions. I almost always end up less than ideally satisfied with them; the pictures and descriptions are a fantasy. I think I am paying for a reality. The results vary. lol I’d be better off learning to make/cook the item I think I want, in most cases, or finding a local retailer of fine foods, or goods, or services. Shopping appeals to my nature. Laboring to learn a new skill, and practicing to become sufficiently masterful to get a “catalog quality” visual result to present to guests, or give as a gift, or even enjoy for myself? Maybe just a bit less enticing. lol It’s a lot of work, and “easy” appeals to my nature far more. Guess which is likely to be the emotionally and cognitively healthier choice? Yeah… not “easy”, for sure. Easy gets me fat. Easy finds me becoming lazy and slow. Easy feels so good, though… like streaming an endless video playlist, or having a favorite beverage on tap, or having household automation, or… yeah. We don’t serve ourselves well to make our lives to “easy”. Effort is part of our experience.

…Still sucks to work hard, to want to rest so badly, and to have to just keep on going. It’s part of what drives us (me, for sure) to seek “easy”; fatigue.

This morning I sip my coffee, occasionally peaking at my shiny boots, which are so beautiful and so satisfying, and then at that catalog – so enticing and colorful, so convenient! There’s a lesson here… about ease… about value… about moments… I haven’t even opened that catalog this year. I’m definitely wearing the hell out of these boots. 😀

Where will you begin, when you begin again, this morning? Chasing ease, fighting fatigue, grasping at convenience? Sitting down focused and purposeful, handling a task that matters to you, satisfying yourself with your own work? Something in between? I admit; I want the outcome I get from my efforts to also be convenient and easy. It’s not a thing, really. lol My Traveling Partner loves me enough to endure my somewhat irritated look, when he reminds me I set expectations about doing a particular task for myself (nearly always some self-care detail) – less nagging than I sometimes suggest. He cares. He knows how good it’s going to feel, for me, to wake up the next day with those boots shined, or the kitchen tidy, or… whatever it is.

Holy shit, though, that guy… not only does my partner shine a wickedly gleaming pair of boots, he pulls his weight on the housekeeping, too. I came home to a place so tidy, last night, it was (and is) “catalog ready”. 😀 He even made a point of locating, and bringing in, all the holiday decoration stuff for me – adding ease to my experience. Even found an excellent spot for my rather ridiculously large holiday tree. lol So much wow. A proper partnership. I sure hope I said “thank you” enough… I feel very loved, this morning (and, honestly, most days, more so than I can adequately – or comfortable – describe). 😀

My mind wanders away from love, past “easy”, and on to the many things I see around me that I’d like to get done. This studio isn’t going to tidy itself up! And oh, hey – it’s time to begin again. 🙂

The alarm was harsh in my ears. I was facing away from it as I slept, but didn’t understand that for some seconds as I flailed around seeking it with my hand. Now mostly dressed, coffee made, I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes and trying to shake off this fog in my head. Slow start to the morning.

Lovely evening behind me. We went out for dinner. Came home and relaxed. My Traveling Partner shined a different pair of my boots, as I watched. He’s skillful. Works with care. We talk about boots. Life. Shopping. It’s a gentle evening, and by bedtime – shiny boots. 😀 I pulled them on this morning with great delight. They are a shiny wonder, and there is immense joy and love in making them so. I definitely feel loved. 😀

There’s got to be a metaphor here… my reflection… my partner’s love and effort creating the mirror. 🙂

Less important, but no less remarkable… I saw an ex yesterday. They did not see me, so it seems. Seeing them, at my workplace, would have been a meltdown moment, perhaps as recently even as last year. This occasion? Unimportant except for one, very specific thing; the fact that it wasn’t important is so important. Wow. Hell of a “report card” there. 😀 No panic attack. No hysterics. No running and hiding. No lingering storm of terrible emotion. No aftermath of endless tears. No feeling like I was drowning. Just… a woman noticing that someone she has no interest in seeing or associating with passing through shared space, unaware of her presence. I let it go, and got back to work.

Strange juxtaposition of experiences. Thought-provoking. I’ll save further reflection for another time. I see by the clock on the computer that it is already time to begin again. This new day won’t live itself. 😉

When I think over some of the repetitive things I say, (personal slogans, self-directed motivational battle-cries of various sorts, succinct aphorisms, that sort of thing) I’m aware that many have come and gone over the years – some healthy, some unhealthy, some… more than a bit misguided. One stands out for me, steadfast and true, like the sort of old and trusted friend that will tell hard truths; “begin again”. It’s not really about “do-overs”, you know; it’s about gathering the strength to just start something anew. It’s about first steps following hard falls, and taking an approach that skills require practice, and that there is value in an attempt, and yes, even in the failures. It’s about resolve. It’s about exerting a worthy effort, in the face of ennui, or a deep depression, or a lot of pain. It’s about insisting with myself that I live life, not just wait around to die.

…It’s definitely not about “easy”. There are so many verbs involved, so much will, and real (and repeated) effort. Isn’t that characteristic of living, generally?

It’s a Tuesday. An ordinary enough beginning to a new work day ahead. Meetings. Calls. Emails. Spreadsheets. Slide decks. Drafts of new processes. Improvements on old processes. The usual office-sorts of work things to do. I’ve done other jobs. Had other sorts of Tuesdays. I’ve been invested in a different quality of life than what I work for now, with varying degrees of success (this particular experience of life in these past handful of years has been by far most satisfying and emotionally healthy). I’ve been fortunate to explore other lives, other experiences of being human. New beginnings have long been required following the end of something else. 🙂

These days I don’t worry too much about failures; they are part of a learning and growth mindset. I embrace a new beginning and get after it. No, it’s not really that easy sometimes. I may get excited about shiny new boots, even eager to maintain that shine, and keep them lovely, but when the time comes, on a rainy Sunday evening, to set aside the next episode of some favored show, or put down my book, in order to shine those boots… that’s the hard bit. Taking the step. Doing the verbs. It’s not enough to “commit”, and – omg, I am so sorry to say these words – you can “manifest” shit 100% of all your days, and it’s still waaaay more likely that you will find yourself achieving whatever it is if you do the fucking verbs required for it. Yep. “Manifesting” your future is about as effective as daydreaming. 😉 Do the verbs. Make the effort. Or, an alternative, accept that your will isn’t up for the task at hand and let it go. Seriously. What do you really want, that you want enough to work for it?

I’m not saying it’s easy. Seriously not saying that at all. I sat around not shining those fucking boots all week, and then all day that Sunday, even in the face of my partner’s tender reminders that I said I wanted to shine my boots, and gently suggesting it as an activity when I may have seemed bored, and then again shortly before the evening ended; I wanted to wear them, shined, on Monday. lol Omg. I just… couldn’t didn’t. You know what else? Those fucking boots were not shining themselves. LOL My partner offered to do it for me… well, damn, that’s just kind of sad and a bit embarrassing for me. (He’s so sweet. He knew I wanted them to look great, and just cares that much.)

…So… I finally shined my boots. I was happy I did; they looked great. They even got noticed. Nice. 🙂 (Okay, okay, also a little vain. Small pleasure, though; I enjoyed the satisfaction of caring for something I like.)

There’s a lesson here somewhere. Not quite a parable, I guess… but maybe. No time for overthinking it, this morning, it’s already time to begin again. 😀