Archives for category: forgiveness

I’ve been enjoying some lovely mornings with my Traveling Partner, instead of writing, knowing that our mortal time is precious, and too brief. As it happens, he’s traveling, this very morning, and although he is in my thoughts, he won’t be around to have coffee with me tomorrow morning. I’m feeling pretty content with having deviated from my routine for a couple days, to enjoy his charm and good company. This morning? Less than ideal for entirely circumstantials reasons, and although we hugged in passing, it was more a “Tag! You’re it!” sort of thing, a kiss, a hug, and I headed for the office, and he headed for the airport some short time later. I already miss his smile, his scent, his humor, and his good heart. 🙂

…What was less than ideal was mostly that we were out of coffee, so not only did I not have coffee in the morning, I couldn’t even offer him a cup made-to-order, upon his awaking to greet the day. :-\ Wholly disappointing on so many levels. Waiting until I get to work to have my first cup of coffee is definitely “less than ideal”. Not a fan. It’s even my own fault; I got distracted by news that he’d be flying out this morning, as I was heading home last night, and simply forgot to stop for coffee beans. It was on my mind. I’d committed in advance to taking care of it at a favorite spot downtown, so he focused on preparing for travel. Thus… no coffee. Damn it. Still, in all other respects, a lovely enough morning, and an acceptably positive start to the day.

Now? Now I am putting thought into this moment, this life, and a short list of tasks I committed to taking care of while he’s away – and a whole weekend ahead to do it. 🙂 Smiling, thinking about love…

I stood outside in the cold, taking my break, getting some fresh air and life perspective, as dawn became day, and found myself contemplating sufficiency, and love, and progress, and forward momentum, individual and shared successes… and I could almost hear old baggage hitting the pavement. I felt myself letting go, giving myself closure on a couple of prior relationship aggravations that still pained me, that I had continued to struggle with. It didn’t amount to “forgiveness” – maybe this just wasn’t about that? It was more that I could really appreciate, on this cold autumn morning, that the ends of those relationships really did free me to elevate (and, paradoxically, to deepen) this one that I value so greatly. Particularly with regard to consideration of an ex who relished tearing people down, who seemed to have so much power to hold us (my Traveling Partner and I) both back in life, through chronic gaslighting, narcissistic manipulation, pitting us against each other, petty jealousy and drama (and much, much more!)… and there I stood, on this magical autumn morning, clear skies, cold breezes, feeling… free. Free of her bullshit, free of her drama, and sort of chuckling to myself about how incredible all our lives together could have been, if she had been… someone else. lol Not her fault… just her choices. (Mine, too, I’m not inclined to overlook the power of my own decision-making, and one of the best I made was walking on from that tedious, painful, regrettable relationship before the damage was worse than it was.) We’re each so human. I’m sure she sees herself as entirely blameless, perhaps even “the good guy” – and this morning, any possible perception of injustice in that likelihood simply stopped mattering at all. Irrelevant to the point of being distant, and almost fictional. She has no power over me. Even her memory is faded, stale, and impotent.

The smile on my face as I returned to work almost hurt. A merry grin, innocent, content, and free… it feels good to put down some of that baggage, after so long, and to be here, now, and wrapped in love.

…Another opportunity to begin again. 😀

It’s just a thought, on a Monday morning; communication is a pretty big deal. It changes the map, changes the journey, and changes the experience – shared or individual. The magical thing about communication is that it does not have to be weaponized and hurled down range as a hurtful salvo of toxic waste – ever. It can be shared gently, with great care, and received with great tenderness. Ideally… it is useful, enlightening, and promising of a better future moment once considered.

The flip side of using words, of communicating with consideration, is listening – deeply, fully present. I’ll note this is the greater challenge for me, personally, although making considered, authentic, use of communication opportunities does require some verbs, itself. Listening seems to require a few more.

Communication is useful for analyzing patterns – and breaking them. (image credit to my Traveling Partner)

It began simply as a weekend at home, ill. It ended feeling re-connected, deeply involved, wholly committed, and very much in love. The power of words should not be underestimated, Friends. The conversations that walk that mile, however, are not necessarily the “easy” ones; small talk isn’t going to get it done. I’m sipping my coffee and appreciating my Traveling Partner’s willingness to talk and listen, to “go deep”, to share intimate details of that most private personal space within each of us; thoughts and feelings. Wow. It got real, and it got deep, and things were shared that perhaps would have benefited from being shared sooner, together, and a few that presented profound healing opportunities to be shared at all. It was powerful.

…It still is. 🙂

…Worth it. 😀

So… here it is Monday. I’d so much rather stay home with my Love than go anywhere else, right now, but there’s a job to be done, and I’m being paid to do that. So… coffee at hand, dressed for work, and smiling, I prepare to begin again.

…Really, though? I’m sitting here sipping my coffee thinking about love, and how much I enjoy this partnership. How much I’ve grown – and feel that growth supported. How much he’s grown, and how much I enjoy supporting his growth, too. I even feel, fairly literally, wrapped in love; most of my selections for work wear today were suggested by, or gifted to me by, my partner. There’s something magical to that. My smile deepens. I think that I smell his cologne in my studio… I think, too, that it makes my coffee taste better. lol Love is a hell of a flavor enhancer. 🙂

I smile, and finish my coffee, and let a new day begin untouched by old troubles. Use your words. (So worth it.) Then…? Begin again. 🙂

 

 

This morning it takes me awhile to get where I’m going with this. Please forgive. Short night, early morning, sluggish thinking.

Sometimes patterns of light distract from illumination

Is it really notably different whether you are being obviously aggressive to someone, or acting out passive-aggressively? I personally don’t think there is, aside from the lack of forthrightness, and personal accountability. Micro-aggression fits in there, too; it’s in the intention, it’s in what the underlying feeling is, it’s how the person attacked feels the harm. I think most of us dislike feeling attacked, whether or not it is provoked by obvious ill-intention, or subtly camouflaged.

With overt aggression, I am at least certain I’ve been attacked. There’s an honesty to it. A certain… certainty. It’s not pleasant, but it’s clear. I may be taken aback, or wounded, but I also have unmistakable means to deal with it. Passive aggression is sneaky, sly, and dishonest. The attacker masquerades as well-intentioned, in some cases convincingly (to outside observers). The attack is no less damaging. The attacker no less intentional.

I try to avoid passive-aggressive attacks, and micro-aggressions (sometimes complicated by a lack of self-awareness), as well. I’m not a perfect human being, but a willful, considered, attempt, and a good-heart, go a long way. There’s less I understand to do about my own potential for overt aggression, beside stifle it, keep it in check by force if necessary, and continue to work on not having to deal with it, by making it less a part of my implicit thinking, and “natural” behavior – by practicing other ways with a firm commitment, and apologizing swiftly and without reservations when I recognize I’ve hurt someone.

…I’m my own human being. I find living with other human beings incredibly difficult. I’ve been badly damaged by violence, aggression, passive-aggression (and her evil twin, gaslighting), and the scars are, in some cases, still very raw, the wounds still easily re-opened. Healing from this kind of damage can take… a lifetime. I’m sitting here at 56, feeling rather as if I’ve used up most of the time available, without much improvement. Oh, I take the improvements I do get. I value those (they are the thing that makes life livable). I keep at it. There’s plenty to work on. It’s true, too, that the only thing I can truly effect change on – talking about human beings, human feelings, human experience, here – is this one. Mine. Me. What I do, what I think, how I behave, how I feel – all mine to work on, and perhaps improve. There is literally no realistic potential to change anyone else’s behavior, or how they interact with me. It’s hard, if I hold onto a perception that “they” are the cause of my experience.

Stare at something long enough it may appear to be more significant than it is

Sleep matters too much – even to love. I don’t get enough good sleep. It affects my cognition. It affects my emotional balance. It affects my ability to reason. I take some pretty profound steps to maintain good sleep hygiene – because it’s necessary to ensure I get the minimum amount of rest necessary to sustain human life. It’s been two weeks since I last got more than an hour of deep sleep, according to my sleep tracker, and that was interrupted and in smaller increments. Before that? Back in September, same thing; interrupted, 5 and 10 minute chunks of deep sleep, interspersed with light sleep and wakefulness. I have to go all the way back to July to find a night when I got more than an hour and a half of continuous deep sleep. I’m often short on REM sleep, too, mostly just getting “light sleep” that is neither deep or REM sleep. It’s no wonder I’m tired so much, and I guess no surprise that my resilience has been reduced, and my temperament more irritable, over time.

…During my first (very violent) marriage, I went nearly a decade without actually sleeping more than an hour or two a night, mostly just resting motionlessly, and sleep-walking through my “waking” life… My sleep issues are not about my current relationship, they have been with me a long long time, even into childhood.

I don’t have any idea, just now, what to do about it. “Stop being annoying” and “stop being irritable” are bullet points on a long list of things to change that don’t work that way. I know to start with improving my self-care. Meditation matters that much. I know to harness the power of gratitude when I am feeling resentful and hurt, and to let go of small things, understanding that we are each human, each having our own experience, and that taking things personally is what allows them to hurt so much in the first place – as well as giving others power over my experience. Even the most direct actual-no-bullshit-fully-intended-to-specifically-hurt-me attack isn’t all that personal; it’s usually an expression of that other person’s own pain, frustration, challenges, hurts, and baggage. Often, people don’t know another way to behave. They do what has worked for them in the past. Taking that shit personally just piles my baggage onto their baggage, and it all gets very heavy – for everyone.

It’s not as if people who favor aggression or passive-aggression are actually enjoying all that stress and agitation. (The sorts of human beings who enjoy that kind of thing are a wholly other sort of monster, and I do my very best to stay far far away from those.)

is there really a pattern, or is it a trick of the light?

Then, too, there are so many circumstances in which my own understanding of “what’s going on” is colored by my baggage, my perception altered by my own pain, and I see an attack – or an attacker – where there is really only another human being, being human, and it just happens to conflict with me, also so human, being human, myself. My own feelings of being hurt, or my own petty resentments, build up a foe in my thinking – an opponent, a challenger – against whom I struggle…

…I’m nearly always, in truth, struggling with myself. There’s a lot of bullshit to let go. There are a lot of great reasons to let go of my own bullshit. (No good reasons to hold on to it.)

I sit here this morning sipping my coffee, past feeling sorry for myself, around the corner from feeling aggrieved by the brief restless night. I am listening to my Traveling Partner working out his feelings his own way, tidying things, handling chores that nag at him visually, checking things off his “to-do list”. It was a brutally early morning for both of us. Neither of us slept well, I’m fairly certain. It wasn’t personal, or chosen, or intentional, or deliberately inflicted in any way. No bad guys. No real “good guys”, either. Just people. Human beings who choose love, but struggling in the moment to live that intention, gently. Too real? Too common, for sure. I listen with care, identifying the tasks by the sounds, mentally refreshing my own to-do list as I hear him move through the house.

I used to think love wasn’t a “real thing”, because it isn’t easy, and requires actual effort. lol I’m grateful for love, even when I am frustrated or confounded by what love asks of me, as a human being committed to love and loving – and doing so well.  That’s really where it gets complicated. Every-fucking-body is so damned human. I can love haplessly, without real skill, and it doesn’t take too much work… aaand.. doesn’t last too long, flaring up and flaming out, leaving chaos and sorrow in the aftermath… that’s the “easy” way (and most common outcome). Harder is working together, listening deeply, fostering a long-term sanctuary in our hearts, keeping a welcoming embrace always at the ready, and seeking to build, approach, support, and persist in our tenderness and gentleness, day after human day. Life is a long journey – I’m fortunate to have the Traveling Partner I do; we chose each other. Some days we have to reach across a very human moment, to choose each other all over again. (So worth it, rarely effortless.)

sometimes it is enough that there is sunshine streaming through a window; it doesn’t need to be more complicated than that

He puts his head in my studio, makes eye contact, asks a question, starts a conversation – builds a bridge. Love is worth a little bridge building, when our very human stormy weather floods our path. He gets it. (Usually before I do.)

I finish my coffee and begin again. 🙂

 

One thing I routinely find myself struggling with (and I use the word “struggling” very specifically, aware that there is definitely a better way, and other practices), and struggling rather unsuccessfully, is getting enough “cognitive space” and cognitive rest to really be rested, and really get what I need out of my own mental bandwidth. It’s hard. All day, when I’m at work, continuous input, stimulation, and other human voices. Then, at home, my only opportunities to connect and be close with my partner have to come out of whatever time is also left for me to care for myself, to take care of hearth and home, and finally, if I’ve left myself anything at all – time to simply be. To reflect, and to meditate. I too often find myself either left without adequate clarity of thought; distracted from my own by the world, or those dear to me, or commonplace noise… and distracted from those distractions by my own persistent attempts to read what interests me, or sit with my thoughts, or plan, or consider the future… and, those attempts are distracted by all the things that preceded them… and around and around, until I am dizzy and short-tempered, and unable to form correct sentences, or really understand what I’m hearing…

…It is 100% a crappy experience, and deeply fatiguing. People end up becoming impatient with me, and by that point, I already can’t adequately explain myself, through my frustration, and theirs.

I’m not particularly skilled at dealing with this. There are no pleasant ways to say “not now, I need to be there for me, myself, right now, and this is too much” without somehow communicating rejection. It’s hard to tell someone I care about, who is super excited about what is going on in their experience, that I need to also enjoy my own, for me, and that I’m running out of room to do that, somehow. It’s boundary-setting I need to do for myself… and I’m honestly fairly terrible at it, generally not wanting to be “a buzzkill” or seem disinterested… I do my best, whatever that is, in the moment, and it often feels inadequate; everyone wants to be heard. I even know this. I just don’t know how to definitely be fully present and 100% engaged with someone else, when I also need to ensure I am doing the same for me.

I’m sitting here frustrated and angry with myself. I’m still a bit ill, which isn’t helping. I isolated myself rather than continue to piss off someone who matters to me so much, but… I seem unable to put the time to any better use than this; bitching about my frustration that I am so challenged by this particular puzzle. How do I both be fully present for everyone else, all the time, and also do so for myself? How does this work? When is “my time” for me? And I’m not asking that rhetorically to drive an emotional point, or express resentment – this is a sincere and gently intended question – when is that time?

I haven’t been sleeping deeply for quite a long time. Even when my sleep tracker tells me I am getting enough hours of sleep, very little of it is deep sleep, almost none of it is continuous. I am mostly getting interrupted light sleep. How do I treat myself better? Would I be having the same frustrations in ordinary interactions with other people, if I were sleeping better? What does that take? Why am I having these challenges?

I know it isn’t helping that I’ve been taking OTC symptom relievers for this cold. I foolishly let my partner talk me into taking Sudafed yesterday, too. Experience tells me that some of my experience right now, emotionally, is likely an unwelcome after-effect of yesterday’s cold medications. Why isn’t it easier to hold that thought in my real-time consciousness when I am interacting with other people?

More questions than answers tonight. I feel the tears that want so much to fall. I refuse to accommodate them out of self-directed pique, maybe a bit of personal spite with myself. I hear my partner put on music he knows is “everything to me”… I find myself wondering what he means by it, and whether he understands this music the way I do. Probably not; we’re each having our own experience. How human. Still… I assume positive intent. I know he loves me. If nothing else, it’s a gesture, a hand extended across a divide. A moment of shared experience. A chance to begin again, together.

Until pretty recently in my life (in years), it was rare to have even one day that was good from beginning to end. It’s not that rare now, at all. It used to be rare to have one such good day in a week, certainly rarer still to have more than one. Most of the time, now, I tend to have mostly good days, most weeks, and most of those days are good from the time I get up, until I finally call it a night. I still have occasional bad days. I’ve had a few lately. That has to be okay, too, and it has to be something I can “roll with” – more than endure, but also accept, embrace, and learn from. New beginnings aren’t all sunrises, great coffee, and contented smiles. 🙂 Some new beginnings are a real relief from anguish, and some are “a-ha!” moments of profound, nurturing, epiphany, born of constant struggle.

…What I’m saying is, sometimes shit’s hard. lol

I’m okay. Yesterday was a generally good day with some ups and downs. I took more time for meditation. It helps, and I knew that it would. This morning, I sip my coffee content with the overall outcome, and curious how my Traveling Partner’s late-in-the-evening business meeting went. (I went to bed before it was over.) We enjoyed a fun outing in the middle part of the day, running errands and shopping. It felt good to get out together, and enjoy the sunshine, and the shopping. It was lovely, and easy, and the sort of thing that reminds me how much we do love and enjoy each other. The day lifted me out of my funk. Helpful.

I face the day with a smile, enjoying these first sips of coffee, and thinking about a new tale to tell, feeling creatively inspired and wondering if that will last long enough to see the project through. Maybe? I mean… I know me. LOL You could wallpaper a house with the writing projects I did not finish, or completed but did not publish. Writing is so very much part of who I am… publishing? Less so. 😉

It feels like a good day. I refrain from looking at my work calendar in advance, and check the weather instead. I am amused to see our second morning below freezing… and make a note to winterize, or be prepared to face regret and broken pipes, some icy morning. It’s very early in the season for freezing temperatures or icy weather, and it means I’ll need to start the day early, to give the car time to warm up, and I’ll want to drive with care; the icy roads in this area are no joke, in spite of how mild the climate generally is. Rain-slick evening roadways become sheets of invisible ice by morning, and it’s a thing we know happens around here, so… mentally prepared. 🙂

…Speaking of which… I guess it’s already time to begin again. 🙂