Archives for category: forgiveness

Hey, welcome to morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you find yourself reading this)! Got your coffee (tea, beer, fizzy water, or whatever it is you drink to refresh yourself in this particular moment)? Mmm, me too; coffee. Hot, black, delicious – a carefully crafted pour-over, made just the way I prefer it. It’s an acquired taste – not everyone likes coffee, and not everyone who likes coffee prefers their coffee black. There are quite a few preferences we individually express, and, obviously, that’s part of what makes us individuals – however similar we actually are as mammals, as primates, as citizens, as community members, as families… yep. Similar and different. Individual.

Who are you? Are you living your values? Are you making the choices that slowly allow you to become the person you most want to be? We toss around the phrase “a work in progress” to excuse so many things… but… are you working on being the best version of you that knowledge, skill, and practice, allow? It’s just a question. I can’t answer it for you, or change the outcome of your self-reflection. I can’t do those verbs – those verbs belong to you. πŸ™‚

I had a difficult day, yesterday, for some values of difficult. I felt irritable all day. Easily annoyed. Frustrated by life. I found myself, more than once, seething in the background, but unable to ascertain “why”. A couple years ago, such a day would have resulted in many more similar days, perhaps, or escalated to some explosively unpleasant emotional moment that “ruined the day”. Yesterday, I was patient with myself. Willing to be aware of my challenges, without pushing that experience (and energy) out into the world, and other relationships. My Traveling Partner and I exchanged testy, irritable words in the morning, but the moment passed quickly, and resolved itself entirely, and the remainder of the day was a delightful one, with the one shadow being that bit of moodiness lurking in the background, waiting to take me by surprise. Well, that can really only happen if I let go of being aware of it – gently observant, compassionate, non-judgmental self-awareness for the win! Each time it surfaced as a concern, I made room to be aware of my emotions, and also the realities of my moment, to the fully extent possible for me. I let go of expectations. I let go of assumptions. I made a point to approach the worldΒ  – and more importantly, myself – with considerable care, and unyielding commitment to refraining from lashing out at others as a result of my “headspace”. It was fairly effective; the day, generally, was quite a lovely one. Win and good.

I relate all this as a reminder that we can choose. We have a lot of choices. πŸ™‚

This morning I begin again, over coffee, after a good night’s rest. A little later, brunch with a friend. Some time after that, a trip to a local artisan’s market. Fun. Monday will come soon enough. πŸ™‚

What about you? What about your choices? Who are you? Where does your path lead? Do you take your coffee black? Cream and sugar? Blended with ice and high-fructose corn syrup? Flavored? With whip? Dairy or non-dairy? Extra shots? Perhaps you eschew coffee altogether? What I’m saying is, it’s a big menu, and there’s room for you to be who you are. How will you craft that raw self into the person you most want to be? What will you learn from life’s traumas? How will you approach educating yourself? How will you interact with the world? It’s a big menu…

…Are you ready to begin again?

It’s definitely Spring. Small sprigs of new growth are turning up everywhere. Flowers beginning to bloom, though generally only those that bloom earliest, not minding the remaining handful of chilly rainy days to come. There’s a metaphor here.

Leaves unfolding, welcoming Spring.

I looked out onto the deck yesterday, early in the morning, and made a decision to begin readying the container garden for Spring. I let go of grieving roses lost to summer heat and succulents lost to winter cold, and looked on the garden with new eyes, vision no longer obscured by tears. There is so much promise in a Spring garden. More metaphors. I sat down with seed catalogs and thoughtfully considered what to replace, what to move on from, and what new opportunities are in front of me, now. I made careful choices based on a lifetime of experience, which now includes the heart-wrenching woes of the past year, and also, the extraordinary joy I’ve found, and so often. I made a tender sentimental choice to replace just one of the lost roses, with another of the same variety. I took time to appreciate that it will be “the same rose”. I made mental notes of some things I’ve learned from caring for that particular rose for nearly 3 decades, in a pot, and some things I can do more skillfully this time around. I made an exciting choice to add a long-gone favorite I’d had to leave behind many years ago, and somehow never replaced, in spite of how much I loved it. I’m eager to see it thrive here, in this more wholesome place. I added a rose that has a tiny bit of baggage to it, too, unconcerned with any of that, and trusting that the here and now will allow me to let all that go; it’s not my baggage, and it wasn’t my rose. I picked out a new one that so beautifully complements the others that it just seemed to be a necessary thing. (Are you keeping track of the metaphors, here?)

The Spring garden is about more than roses. I like to grow some vegetables, too. I also happen to be a tad whimsical, a bit careless, possibly with a tendency to be a bit lazy… and… yeah. I’m the gardener I’ve got. I do better each year, and learn more about making the most of what, and who, I am. This year I made the choice to pick out a handful of veggies I’ve done very well with, that don’t seem to require much of me, and just one thing that tends to insist I am attentive to a lot of higher-maintenance details. Ease, balanced with challenges. That’s the goal, anyway. So, this year it’s carrots, beets, various salad greens, Swiss chard, ground cherries, and tiny alpine strawberries. I’m fairly terrible with growing peppers, so why bother with that? Tomatoes? Well, I grow pretty awesome tomatoes, pretty easily, but they don’t agree with me so much these days, and I don’t generally eat them. lol There are more metaphors here. Are you listening?

Ready for Spring.

I’m not trying to tell anyone else how to tend their garden. I can’t even make skillful recommendations; I don’t know the lay of the land out your way, or what the soil conditions are like, or whether you are an urban gardener, or someone with a hobby farm, and I certainly don’t know what food you like to eat, or whether you have a fondness for beetles, or… you see, it’s all very personal and subjective. I just know that when I tend my garden, I need to show up, to really be there – or the roses die in the summer heat, the vegetables bolt or whither, and the succulents die in the cold. I’m just saying, my garden is a deeply useful metaphor for a great many things going on in my life, rich with lessons to teach me as I reflect on my experience, fingers in soil, birdsong in my ears, and gentle breezes kissing my cheek.

It’s time to begin again. I finish my coffee, smiling, and thinking of Spring. It’s a metaphor.

Each morning this past week has been a little different. Some mornings, my Traveling Partner and I sit quietly together, sipping our coffee, making very little conversation. Other mornings, I’ve “awakened” for only some limited values of “awake”, and groggily made my way across town to the office, in silence. It’s a relaxed and comfortable approach to living, and I am content. I’m also rather hit or miss on maintaining habits and practices that I know serve me well; I am still getting used to this shared space, this shared life. I’m wrapped in love, and that feels wonderful. I am still sort of bemused and caught in a state of cognitive disarray, nonetheless. lol

…This too will pass. All things do. I continue to practice non-attachment, and that singular practice is my day-to-day reminder that the busy-ness of life will eventually shift, like a breeze, and I will return to suitable habits and routines… or… perhaps not. Am I done with that? Beyond the need for such strict structure? I don’t personally assume so; I’ve lived with this woman in the mirror for far too long to make assumptions about long-term emotional wellness, or “ease”. Life has ups and downs. Change is. I’m even okay with all of it, every bit as much as my own awareness of this fragile moment reminds me that moments pass.

I took a day off to enjoy a long weekend, hoping to embrace some calm, and slow things down a bit. So far so good. Perhaps the afternoon will be spent preparing the garden for new roses? All but three of my cherished roses died in the summer heat, unattended, as I traveled here and there to spend time with my Traveling Partner. I cried over that, of course, and a certain sense of sorrow clings to the recollection… but… change is. Even among roses. I have a multitude of seeds from hips of roses I fancied along my travels this past autumn. Some from surviving roses in my garden, some from wild roses growing near tended urban rose gardens, others from the gardens of friends; I smile wondering what promise those seeds hold. I am moved by the promise of a seed, that’s not new for me. I shopped for some roses to replace the roses that died, and was struck by how little interest I had in replacing the ones I had with identical roses, my interest instead veering toward other roses… different roses, roses that speak to me now. I picked 4, and already wait for them eagerly.

Here it is Spring. New beginnings are such a Spring thing. πŸ™‚

It’s time to begin again, isn’t it?

It’s lovely to have a best friend, a devoted lover, a close social circle – someone to count on. No argument, it’s amazing to have all those things. Sometimes we don’t. We also don’t have to wither away and die of loneliness and heartbreak when we are alone. For real.

Treat yourself as well as you would treat your best friend, your devoted lover, your close social connections. Treat yourself with kindness. Patience. Affection. No kidding – be there for yourself, and become that person you can always count on. I so dislike pointing it out again; you have choices here. You can choose to be that best friend that you need, and become that person you can “always count on” – or you can choose some other path. Yep. There are verbs involved – and the uncomfortable matter of learning to trust yourself with your own heart. Learning to listen to yourself, deeply. Learning to hold yourself in high regard – that one can take a bit of work, if you’ve been crushing yourself with nastiness from within, for many years. It does take some practice to change the way we treat ourselves.

This practice is a bit tricky – self-indulgence doesn’t meet the need. Lavishly going beyond your means, also isn’t how it’s done, generally speaking. It’s a subtle thing, more about appreciating who you are right now, and supporting your endeavors to improve, and continue to become the person you legitimately most want to be. Already that person? Then this wee practice is probably already part of your experience.

This practice could be called “enjoy who you are” – I mean, that’s what I’m talking about. Be you. Appreciate your qualities. Embrace the best you have to offer the world, however humble. Become more of the best things you are, and grow some new great qualities over time. It’s that easy – it’s also that hard. I mean, what if a characteristic you yearn for is to be exquisitely good at math, or skilled at a number of languages? The study could take you quite a lot of time. Like a lot of New Year’s resolutions, and “fresh starts”, it’s easy to set the goal too high, too far, or too much, then frustrate yourself, and end up yielding to your frustration and giving up. “See? I knew I…” That’s both too easy, and too obvious a ploy. πŸ™‚

Start here, now, today. Start where you are. Start with what you do enjoy about this human being that you are – even if it is so small and delicate as to be more a question than an observation. πŸ™‚ It’s okay – you’re safe with you. You can trust you. Enjoy that enjoyable thing about you for a moment or two – seriously! Just enjoy you own presence in your experience. Sit with that awhile. In fact, do that every day; take a moment to enjoy you. Some little quality, or experience of living life, that you enjoy, can become the magic carpet that carries you into a lovely day. Follow it up with cutting yourself some slack when you make a mistake. Fix that shit, let it go, and move on.

Be kind to yourself. Also – be genuine and honest with yourself. (Not mean, just gently honest.) Take small steps toward large goals, and be considerate that journeys may require going some actual distance, and take some actual time.

Those people around you who like you? They know something worth knowing – how worthy you are. Those people around you who don’t like you? Hey, you’re an acquired taste, a being so entirely yourself that liking you isn’t for everyone. Could you be different or other than you are? Sure. Do you want to? I mean… if you don’t want to change, great – like yourself and let go of drama. On the other hand, sitting around pissing and moaning with self-loathing and self-contempt are not just huge buzzkills, socially, they also waste precious time that could be spent enjoying life. Choices. Verbs. Journeys. All for you. πŸ™‚

It’s time to begin again.

Sipping my coffee, scrolling through my feeds, reading the posts of friends dropped into this app or that one, during the night. There is content that troubles me, and I see a lot of it; people posting vague remarks that are self-critical, negative, and on a hopeless sort of downer that shrieks of depression, self-loathing, and… a regrettable lack of understanding that there are, still, and yes, even if they are deeply depressed, some choices involved. Harsh. Why the ever-loving-fuck would someone repeatedly post this sort of quagmire of terribly self-contempt-filled morsels on which to feed themselves? Horrifying.

I don’t have to look too far in the past to “get it”. I only “don’t get it”, now. It’s one major drawback, for me, of healing and forward momentum; it can be hard to understand, or identify with, those past challenges. I guess I’m grateful for that, generally, but when I want to offer comfort, or suggest there is another way, I wish I were more easily able to do so. How do I tell someone in such circumstances “that’s just your opinion of yourself, and only for right now, and holy crap – did you know you can change that??”… when it is their own heartfelt convictions, and deepest terror, about themselves, that I’d be seeking to challenge? I mean, I can say words. Words I’ve got – lots of them – but, generally, these friends are not listening to those words. They hear the words they say, themselves, about the self they so loathe. Anything I could (and often do) say is drowned out in the din.

…It can be heartbreaking to scroll past egregious thinking errors that recognizably mire dear ones in misery. We each can only do so much. If a feeding frenzy of corrections, positivity, love, and encouragement, in response to such posts does nothing to bandage a wounded heart… what can? Well… being present helps. Listening deeply helps. Constancy and steady patient friendship helps. Eventually, though, it’s down to that person and those feelings. …And the verbs…? Yep. No surprise; they’ve got to do the verbs, themselves. No one else can actually undertake to do the work to feel better, aside from the person having the shitty experience – particularly if that shitty experience is one they’ve willfully crafted for themselves and reinforced over time.

Well… shit. That sucks. I’d love to be able to reach out a hand to a friend and take their pain away. Generally, it does not work like that. If I cling to them, wrapping myself up in their pain, eventually some may even sap my strength for living my own life, and caring for my own heart – and not out of malice, just done in a way not so dissimilar to someone overboard grabbing for a life vest or flotation device and just holding on desperately. So, I focus on self-care, and listening deeply, and sharing the journey, and “being there” – but I also work to set skillful boundaries, to be there for my own self, reliably, and to avoid getting sucked into drama. I do what I can to encourage friends who are suffering to choose less suffering, if they are able to. I still feel sad when I watch them choose suffering again and again, in a way that appears crafted and willful. My heart aches for them; I’m pretty sure that if they were able to really understand how much suffering they specifically choose, foster, nurture, and feed, they would also understand they could choose differently.

…I couldn’t treat myself differently until I both understood that such a thing were possible, and – but? – also not until I was ready to see myself differently, and as worthy of better treatment from myself. Harsh – but the truth of it is that I can’t walk that mile for anyone else. I can only suggest that there is such a path available to be walked.

It was a lovely quiet weekend, spent in the gentle good company of my traveling partner. Some snow fell. Some rain fell. Movies were watched. Content was shared – as was contentment. It was warm and connected and close. It feels good to share the company of such good companions: my Traveling Partner… and the woman in the mirror. It feels good to be in a place in life where my own good company is precious to me. I finish my coffee, wondering what words it takes to suggest to the worn down, forlorn, depressed, or anxious, that they, too, have this amazing relationship near at hand…? That perhaps the answer to the question “when will I find someone?” could be found in their mirror, right now?

The coffee is finished. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚