Archives for category: Allegories

The sound of a ticking clock used to really cause me stress, for a younger me that was most especially true of the steady thunk of grandfather clocks during the wee hours, when I could not sleep. I would lay awake painfully aware that the minutes of my life were… passing. It was a poor choice to focus on the sound of the ticking of clocks when plagued by insomnia, but that’s who I was then, and there seemed to be ticking clocks nearly everywhere. I’m not so hung up on time, these days, and the sound of a ticking clock doesn’t bother me at all. Progress can be measured in some very peculiar ways. lol

My coffee is good. The day is off to an excellent start. My Traveling Partner was already up when I got up this morning, and we enjoyed our first cup of coffee together, which was lovely. I arrived at the co-work space at about the usual time, which made the choice to slow down and have coffee together ideal; it didn’t change the rest of my routine or plan for the day at all. πŸ˜€

I feel good. I sit with that for a few minutes… It’s not that I don’t have any physical pain, it’s more that it just doesn’t matter right now. I feel calm and centered. I feel infused with a certain soft contented joy. I feel… relaxed. It’s very pleasant. I find that it isn’t necessarily a useful mindset for writing; I am content with sitting here watching my thoughts drift by. lol So… I do that for a little while, without concern or shame. It’s a short enough life already – I think I’ll enjoy it the way I enjoy it, and be okay with that. πŸ˜€

Spring is definitely here. The morning is mild, and in the mid-40s about 6 degrees Celsius. I am thinking eagerly about getting the new blueberry bushes into the ground.

Waiting to be planted.

There’s preparatory work to do, to get the beds ready for the new shrubs. I’m okay with that – a lot of life works that way; we benefit from planning, and also from preparation. Those are both useful for getting the best possible outcome.

I think over the morning, and the day ahead. I remind myself of a couple of errands I plan to run later, and take a look at my calendar for lunch timing – looks like a good day go home for lunch with my Traveling Partner. πŸ˜€ What a splendid day so far… I smile and sip my coffee, and get ready to begin again.

I sip my morning coffee thinking about “change”, as I anticipate changes to come that may or may not be “what I want”. I’m okay with uncertainty these days, more than I’ve ever previously been as far as I can recall. Change is. I can prepare for it, embrace it when it arrives (or seek further, other, changes), and see where it takes me, or I can… not do that, and struggle with it instead. There is very little potential that I can avoid change. I sip my coffee and think about the conversation I had with my boss yesterday. Promising. No, I’m not going to be more specific – I don’t know what the future holds. I’m open to it, though, and ready to gently comply with circumstances, or seek further change – depends on the outcomes, I suppose. I’m certainly not expecting to “stand still” in life. lol

How do I “prepare for change”, though? Depends on the changes, I guess, but I usually start with envisioning life as it may be following the change(s) I anticipate (or have chosen). I take time to read and study details or ideas that are new for me, or present challenges – what can I learn before the change is upon me? Do I have questions? Concerns? I look into those details. I probably make a list of things I’d want done before the change comes – or will want to do to meet the challenge as it comes.

If my anxiety is vexing me with regard to some particular anticipated change, I spend time reflecting on successful other experiences of change in my life, generally. This reminds me that it’s do-able, and that I’m capable.

From there, the last bit of “change prep” I find reliably helpful is to be kind to myself, and alert for any potential self-sabotage that I’d do well to … not do.

None of us are truly alone on this journey that is one mortal life, yet we’re each walking our own path, and having our own experience. It’s a strange puzzle. With my boss’s words lingering in my thoughts, I contemplate where I can develop new connections, build new bridges, shore up incomplete knowledge, explore new learning relevant to the change we had discussed. It’s exciting to feel the process of growth and progress. One thing I enjoy about all this is that I get to keep everything I learn along the way – whether the change that comes is what I anticipated, or something completely different. I continue to grow. Exciting.

I sip my coffee thoughtfully. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. It’s a pleasant (quiet) Wednesday morning. It’s a good time to prepare for change. It’s a good time to begin again.

I’m enjoying the quiet moments before the work day begins. For about an hour I’ve been just sitting quietly, reflecting on this-n-that, mind adrift – it’s a favorite way to start my day slowly that can often result in a workday that feels like a weekend day, and a work week that moves purposefully toward the next weekend without agita, stress, or drama. It’s lovely. So, I’m sipping this decently good cup of coffee, breathing, and being. Not much else, really.

Spring is here. This morning I stepped out into a light misty rain, and felt the kiss of droplets on my cheeks without the sting of morning cold temperatures. The thermometer told me it was 44 degrees. Pleasant. I spent the short drive to the co-work space thinking about the young blueberry bushes that arrived just two days ago – they’ll replace the dying hedge we cut down last summer, and those unfortunate shrubs along the walk that I dislike. It’ll be really handy to have blueberries in the garden. πŸ˜€ I’ve got 6 bushes to plant, and 3 different varieties for good pollination and for disease resistance. Seems the wise long-term thinking…

…Thinking long-term, I’m expecting to get those blueberries into the ground this coming weekend, and getting the shrubs cut down and removed, and beds prepared, this week. I should stop by the local nursery for any needed soil amendments, and some blueberry-suitable mulch. I add that errand to my list for the week.

I sigh and sip my coffee contentedly. I love this quiet time, alone with my thoughts, uninterrupted. I breathe, exhale, relax. My heart is filled with love and enthusiasm, which is an enjoyable state of being. I sit with it awhile, thinking about my Traveling Partner, sleeping (I hope) at home. Beyond the windows, dawn begins to turn to day, and the white building across the street is a pale blue-gray that merges with the blue-gray of the dawn sky. The sun hasn’t yet risen. Another deep breath, and with this one I pull myself more upright, and give my posture and physical experience of self some attention. My pain today is a very commonplace “5 out of 10” – more or less “normal” for the season. I’ve already taken pain management steps, and there’s nothing more to do about it for now. I get up and stretch, anyway; Tuesdays are “long” in the sense that once the day begins, it’s more or less back-to-back meetings until late enough in the afternoon that I’m already thinking about calling it a day. I don’t even mind; most of my weekly meetings are on Tuesday. I can plan for that (and do). It’s convenient.

Before I went to the coast, my Traveling Partner (seeing my enthusiasm for making the shower steamers) sat me down at the computer with him and designed a simpler press (hoping for better finished results) than the inexpensive mooncake press I had purchased online. That one works pretty well, and creates a lovely steamer with a fancy very detailed top surface – but the result is unreliable and often doesn’t come out of the press cleanly. I had beefed about that a bit, and said I’d love a simple round puck with a flat surface. Boom! He designs one for me, and while I am away, he printed it on the 3D resin printer. (Wow!) I can’t believe I haven’t taken a picture of it yet… weird. (I definitely thought I had taken a picture of it…) That very day (that he designed the round press for me) he designed another that produces a hexagonal puck. So cool. He went a step further and added one additional design detail – the monogram with which I sign my paintings. The thought makes me smile so hard my face hurts. lol

One of the “Violet Forest” shower steamers, showing that I clearly need more practice getting the consistency and pressure just right. lol

The new presses are much easier to use than the mooncake press is, and they both produce an appealing result. I definitely need more practice getting the mix just right, and getting the press filled to just the right amount (about 50g), using the right pressure, and building a reliable process that is efficient. I think I’ve got a recipe I like sufficiently well to just keep at it with the same recipe, varying the fragrances and colors for fun. I greatly enjoy using the shower steamers I make; they are to showers what bubble bath is to a hot bath. πŸ˜€ Pure delightful luxury.

Another breath. I exhale, relax, and look at the time. The morning is now more blue than gray, and the clock says the work day is due to begin in mere minutes. I guess it’s time to begin again. lol I guess I’m even ready for it. I smile and finish my coffee.

Feels good to be taking better care of the woman in the mirror.

Feels good to begin again.

This morning I’m back at work, sipping coffee before the workday begins, and giving thought to how best to prevent burn out or overwork as I turn my attention back to the workday routine for the first time in bit more than a week. It’s rare for me to take so much down time, and rarer still to successfully without exception leave work entirely alone for the duration of my time off. It felt amazing, and restful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

…Now… where did I leave that list of shit I mean to take care of this week…?

I smile at myself in the quiet of the office in the early morning. The muzak was not left on over the weekend (or maybe there was a power outage or something), and it is super quiet, and as is so often the case, I’m first into the office, and I am alone. It’s good time for writing.

…Today I go pick up new glasses. Later this week, we finish up the tax forms and get those filed. New team mates to meet today or tomorrow. Coffee with a friend that I’d planned for Wednesday needs to be rescheduled; I won’t be in the city, I’ll be here in town (see “finish up tax forms…”). I have a nagging feeling there is something potentially missing from my calendar, but I’m aware that having managed to miss a couple committed deadlines for things recently, as well as completely forgetting about a couple of scheduled appointments in the past two or three weeks, I’m sensitive to the risk of further forgettery, and prone to wandering about with a “what am I forgetting now??” look on my face (and sensation in my head).

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. It’ll be enough (today) to remember to pick up my fucking glasses – I’d meant to do that when I got back into town on Thursday (the same day I’d planned to get the taxes wrapped up, which had been rescheduled from managing to forget about it the week prior). One thing at a time. That’s a good beginning. πŸ˜€

I sigh out loud. This cup of coffee is finished. It’s not even very good – just hot coffee of the not-quite-instant k-cup variety. I glance at my work calendar; looks like a busy week ahead. I squint at my calendar disapprovingly before adjusting my thinking based on the observation that meetings are pretty well grouped on Tuesday, with plenty of open time for focused work on other days. It apparently only takes me a week of being properly away to become completely “out of practice” with my work routine and expectations. LOL

I catch myself smiling; my thoughts wandered to the new shower steamers I’d made during my time off, some of which I haven’t yet tried. I think ahead to a lovely shower after work… maybe that new “violet woods” scent tonight?

Another breath. Another moment to reflect as day breaks and the sky lightens to a very “walkable” pale gray sky. By the end of March, I’ll surely be back on the trail with my camera in my hand before work each day, and spending more work days in the office at home (vs the co work space). Another sign of Spring, although my current favorite signs of Spring are the roses in my garden leafing out with new growth, and the hyacinths and crocuses blooming. πŸ™‚

Spring flowers.

Another breath. Another moment. A good time to make another cup of coffee, before I begin the work day. πŸ˜€ I’m ready.

Sipping my coffee and thinking about “authenticity”. It’s an idea that comes up in a lot of self-help conversations, and in therapy, and in a variety of other contexts in life. What is “authenticity”? Does it come with the same baggage as unkindness masquerading as “telling unpleasant truths” does? Can I be authentically myself and also seek to improve on who I am – or does that set up internal conflicts or create cognitive dissonance? (It’s rhetorical – yes, I definitely can be authentic, and also seek to do better than I did yesterday.)

Most simply, “authenticity” is

…a person who acts in accordance with desires, motives, ideals or beliefs that are not only hers (as opposed to someone else’s), but that also express who she really is.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosphy

No idea why this is what is on my mind this morning. I’m just drinking coffee, listening to music, and waking up on a relaxed Sunday. πŸ™‚ Let’s just go with it, eh?

Life is not reliably easy for most of us. There are challenges. Even “being authentic” can become one of those – think about authenticity in the context of your professional day… Is it always “safe” and “comfortable” to just be who you frankly truly are, when you are at work? For a lot of folks it doesn’t feel that way. How about at holiday dinners with extended family? What about out and about in the world? Do you adjust who you are depending on who you are with or what you are doing? (Another rhetorical question; you probably do, to some extent, that’s just part of learning to get along with a long of different people, in a lot of different circumstances. Doing it well is part of being invited back. lol) Do you take it too far and subsequently violate your own boundaries, undermine your ethical commitments, or stray outside your stated values in order to be welcomed and liked? That seems problematic… thoughts for another day, perhaps?

When you are authentically yourself 100%… do you like the results? Do you find value in the outcome? Do you enjoy who you are? Or… are you… wanting something very different from your experience? How do you seek to resolve that?

…Are you comfortable apologizing when you’ve hurt someone?

…Are you able to enjoy and appreciate who you are, exactly as you are in this moment?

…Do you consider the effect you have on those around you?

…Do you want more of yourself than you currently deliver?

…Are you succumbing to outside pressure demanding change that you don’t wish to choose for yourself?

…Who are you – and is this who you want to be?

Making some kinds of changes is hard. Like, really really hard. Becoming a different person, embracing new values, setting new (clear) boundaries, and making changes in life has the added challenge – however much you are eager to proceed down a new path – some people around you don’t want you to make those changes. They may want you to change, to be different than you are, but they have specific changes in mind that serve their needs and purposes; they are not actually invested in simply seeing you being your best self living your idea of your best life. They want you in a mold. The results would meet their needs, but would be less than ideally likely to meet yours. While that’s pretty fucked up, it says nothing about who you are – it’s about them. Pretty easy to let that go, and walk your own path with intention. πŸ™‚

So… if you think you’re a dumbass, and you want to be “smart” and “educated”, the solution seems a bit obvious; get educated. Read books. Listen to the conversations of people smarter than you are. Makes it sound “easy”, doesn’t it? It’s not. As we educated ourselves, we pretty reliably also learn a lot about how much more we still also don’t know. The path stretches out ahead of us as we walk it. Growth is still worth it. It’s just a journey. The journey is the destination; choose your path with care, and walk it with your eyes open. πŸ˜€

I used the “dumb vs smart” example for ease. I’m feeling lazy this morning. If there’s a quality you lack as a human being, the point I’m making is that you can most likely cultivate that quality – any quality. Choose wisely; we become what we practice. There may be consequences to becoming that person that you haven’t considered or may not be aware of… Being authentically who you are is a good place to start the journey of becoming who you most want to be. The key – in my opinion – is not “faking it”. Be real. Be you. Be open. Be honest. Be (or become) self-aware. Humility is helpful, too. Learning patience has value…but here I’ve gone and started laying out the qualities I value, myself. Maybe that’s not who you want to be…?

Do you know who you want to become? It’s an important bit of knowledge. If you know who you are, and you know who you want most to be, you have a start on building a path that takes you from the one to the other, over time. (Sooo easy!! LOL)

Modern life does not make authenticity easy for human primates. We set ourselves up for failure with constant exposure to a digital world where “everyone” is doing better, seems prettier, richer, more successful… and we compare ourselves to those illusions, and wonder why we aren’t also enjoying those (often entirely staged) experiences, too? We set the bar sooo high! The comparisons, validation-seeking, likes/clicks/views, and pressure to conform or to excel result in a lot of frustration and depression for people who don’t have a sense of value as they are right now. There’s a reason that people often say things like “you have to love yourself before you can love someone else”… the intended communication is about how foundational self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-worth, and self-compassion really are. Hard to get anywhere in life without them, no simple users guide to develop them… Complicated.

I’m in a good place this morning. I feel very much “myself”, without losing sight of things I am working to improve about myself – for myself. My coffee tastes good. The music I am listening to is lively, and tends to reinforce positive messages (helpful in this regard that my broken brain “goes meta” so often with music, in a sense I bend the lyrics to my will by zooming out a bit). I’m on my own path, and that’s not just okay – it’s chosen.

It’s a good day to live and breathe and be. A good day to choose to practice being the woman I most want to be. A good day to recognize “who I am” while I work on becoming who I most want to be.

It’s a journey. Are you ready to begin it?

…And it’s time to begin again…

It’s your adventure; choose it.