Archives for category: Allegories

I was sipping my coffee on a morning after my Traveling Partner had returned home from some trip or another. It was quiet in the room, and in our home, and even out on the street beyond. I woke ahead of the alarm by quite a bit, and there was no hint of dawn-to-come in the sky. Not at that point. My coffee was too hot to easily drink. Based on a couple hesitant, testing, sips, it was also not very good. I pondered the variables in a cup of coffee, mystified and still groggy; how is one cup so crappy, and another so sublime? Don’t I make them all the same way? Do the tiniest subtle differences in timing or process make that much difference? (Are the differences, perhaps, not with the coffee, itself, at all?)

I sighed quietly, a measured, careful, observed exhalation, slowly released following a deep breath. I felt my chest expand as I inhaled, contracting as I exhaled. A cough interrupted the quiet. Another sip of coffee. That moment was okay, and I remained with it, centered and calm, for a while.

(This particular moment was almost a year ago – a blog post written, never published. It finishes thusly…)

It was an okay homecoming. I knew, when I arrived home, that my partner was wholly exhausted, having driven 1800 miles straight on home, then on arriving, unable to actually sleep (coffee is an excellent tool to keep one awake for a long drive, and the risk to our sleep, later, is often one we find acceptable at the time), until much later – shortly before I went to bed, myself. I made dinner. We ate it. Shared a couple of anecdotes. Managed to be contentious and at odds with each other for a moment, and got over that. We are, unavoidably, quite different people, and also quite similar. Neither of those things is an assurance of always being comfortable together, or always being in genial shared space, or even holding the same opinion about literally anything. We’re individuals.

The evening passed gently after dinner. We entertained ourselves with conversation and videos. Eventually, he called it a night, and later so did I.

I woke easily, and well-rested. I’ve already forgotten some useful habits for shared space. lol I think about the commonplace usefulness of any basic tool, whether it is a screwdriver or a habit; lacking the most appropriate tool for any given task is likely to result in greater than average difficulty, increased task complexity, frustration, and time lost to struggling with pieces that don’t fit. In the same way a screwdriver isn’t the correct tool to fit a pipe, good self-care practices are not likely to also be good communication practices (although good communication is a part of good self-care, when it comes to boundaries and expectations). It has been a common (and way too real) experience on this healing path that my own wellness does not change the general state of wellness for any one other person – and they still live their life, and see things through the lens of, their own perspective on life, on circumstances – and on the relationship we share. We are each having our own experience – and we’re not all using the same tools to get any given job done. It’s pretty complicated stuff, and a lot of human beings are barely managing their own bullshit; it’s a lot to ask that people also be kind, compassionate, patient with one another, assuming positive intent… it starts to feel more like juggling than living, at some points. It’s still worth making that attempt, in my own experience.

…It also takes practice. As with using any unfamiliar tool, it definitely takes practice, and some basic knowledge. Your results may vary – particularly where relationship skills go! (You’re not doing that job alone, and even such things as “getting along” and “communicating” and “sharing” require practice, and a commitment to learning and growing, and you can only do your own.) It can be seriously frustrating, however familiar and commonplace a task seems, to grab that screwdriver, and once already frustrated, realize that the damned thing is a Phillips-head screwdriver not a flat-head. Well, shit. That got complicated fast. True in life, love, and home repairs. LOL

So… I guess I keep practicing. 🙂 Honestly, in every practical way, I only need to practice my own practices, and handle my own self-care. The relationship stuff works out much more easily when I give other people room to be themselves, care for themselves, and we’re open to both the differences, and the things we share – while still understanding that however close we are, or may become, we are nonetheless quite individual. I smile and drink my coffee; nothing new here. I struggle, mostly, when I forget to let go. Attachment to assumptions, expectations, or internal narrative can quickly sabotage an otherwise good time.

…Strangely timely as we two individuals prepare to move. I found it “by mistake” (or at least not looking for it) moments ago, as I considered writing something that, oddly, feels pretty well-covered by the draft I opened with an errant mouse-click. Helpful circumstance. One that puts me gently “back on the path” feeling I’ve understood myself just a bit better in this moment right here, right now… I settle myself into work, and begin again. 🙂

I woke early. I laid awake awhile, content and not in any hurry to start the day. Maybe I could drift off again, I thought, several times. I didn’t. I got up a few minutes ahead of the alarm, made coffee, and got the day going.

I spent yesterday, Father’s Day, with my Traveling Partner, relaxing together – what else? I mean, seriously? The pandemic isn’t a hoax, and there is still a lot of risk out there in the world, although many places are beginning to open. I went out, briefly, for a walk. Getting to the unpopular trail I’d selected (because it is unpopular), I passed several local restaurants, now open for dine-in service. The parking lots were packed. Father’s Day. I get it. I also don’t get it. Do people think the virus will take a holiday? I found myself wondering how many days it would be, following Father’s Day, before the next spike in new cases?

I sip my coffee and let all that go, this morning. Just another morning living life in the time of pandemic. 🙂

I’m tired, but not groggy. I’m in pain, but it is manageable. I struggle with that juxtaposition of circumstances that is the collision of inspiration… and the lack of ability to act on it; the studio is packed for the move. I shrug it off; the feeling of inspiration, at least for now, is not unpleasant. Soon enough, there is a new studio to set up. New work to plan. I’m excited about the move, and my excitement stokes my inspiration. Plein air watercolors of roses painted from on the deck, perhaps? 🙂

I breathe, exhale, relax, and sit quietly sipping my coffee after taking time for meditation and a bit of exercise. I look over my “to do list” from the weekend. Most of the items are related to the upcoming move. I got quite a few things done, and I make sure each completed task is struck through. 🙂 Satisfying. Another week begins. The wheel continues to turn. The path ahead unfolds, ready to be walked. I let the morning unfold gently as I sip my coffee. So much to do…

…I guess I’ll go ahead and begin again. 🙂

I sip my coffee and watch a cool video on a Wednesday morning, reflecting on the small wonders and good moments that have sprung forth during the pandemic…

this video, for example

I know. It’s a small thing, to see a group of musicians overcome the limitations of being socially distanced and stuck at home. So many small moments of unity. Candles in the limitless darkness, eh? Still, it’s something. Don’t forget to pause for beauty. Listen to a favorite song, sung a new way. The moments matter.

Have you been outside? I mean, at all? Taken a walk in the sunshine? Stood in your yard looking at the sky above you? For sure, it’s a poor time to gather in a large group in a bar, on a beach, at a club – I’ll pass, thanks.

There’s a lot going on in the world, in spite of the pandemic. There are things to celebrate – there are also things to protest, to mourn, to regret… there are songs for that, too. Sometimes, the same songs suffice.

Take a moment. Take a breath. Be present in your life – in your moment – every precious moment of our all-too-brief lives has something to teach us.

I sip my coffee, reflecting on life, on love, on my good fortune, in this moment, right here. It’s enough.

I look at the time. Still time for coffee with my Traveling Partner, if he’s up for it. I feel fortunate, indeed; there’s still time to begin again. 🙂

There have been a lot of rainy mornings, lately. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy. It’s rainy this year. It’s been raining, mostly, for what feels like weeks. I’m not even complaining; I like the rain. I sit here sipping my coffee contentedly, listening to the rain spilling over the clogged gutters on this rented duplex. It’s been pretty comfortable here, generally. The few things that are not as I’d like are, unfortunately, things the landlord takes care of, and that’s been complicated by the pandemic. I sip my coffee and think over which ones matter most, and wonder whether I will live up to my commitment to myself to take care of those things with greater skill, care, and timeliness as a homeowner? I like to think I will…

…The rain falls. I sip coffee. The morning shifts from “before work” to “work”. It’s an easy adjustment these days; it has become routine. I’ve grown comfortable with working from home. My Traveling Partner is considerate and supportive of the change in lifestyle. (I’m fairly certain he enjoys having me home more… I know I enjoy not having to commute through traffic.) Hell, I think I enjoy my job even more, working from home, which I did not expect at all. 🙂 Bonus.

We continue to prepare for the move, and I continue to count down the days. I’m often distracted with it, occasionally scrambling to pull my consciousness back to “now”, when I realize I’ve been considering, again, some small specific detail that honestly can’t be sorted out properly until the time comes. I smile to myself. Managing my excitement gives me lots of opportunities for practicing mindfulness – just as managing my anxiety would. I definitely prefer the excitement to the anxiety. I notice again how similar those states can feel, physically. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let it go.

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.

I think back to that painful move out of a shared living situation, into my wee solo domicile at #27. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s been 5 years, now. I put my will and my energy into “embracing change”, and finding my own way. In the five years since then, I’ve done a lot to heal and grow. I find myself embracing change again, moving again, and feeling content and prepared. It’s a lovely change from the heartsick uncertainty of that abrupt move 5 years ago.

“Stay on the path” was a regular reminder to myself then, and it served me well (then, and since). No map, though, and this path is not well illuminated. I’ve stumbled a time or two. I’ve taken some wrong turns, and made some “route changes” along the way. Life does not come equipped with “GPS” for our decision-making. 🙂 It’s a very human experience.

I smile, sip my coffee, and reflect on 5 years of progress. I remind myself, again, to “stay on the path”. My results may vary, but I can always begin again. It’s enough. 🙂

 

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. 🙂

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. 🙂 I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. 🙂

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. 🙂