Archives for category: Free Will

I’m sipping coffee and listening to videos, waiting for my thoughts to gel around some idea, or word, or notion; it’s not happening. I’m content, and relaxed, and feeling pretty good in my here-and-now, and it’s enough… so… “no words”. lol It is what it is, I suppose. There’s a lot going on in the world, and a lot of it matters a great deal, but this moment, here? Pretty relaxed. It’s a weekend day. Housekeeping later, coffee now.

One sunrise, last week.

My morning walks have been at a favorite park for a couple weeks now, since it re-opened. Dawn is coming later, each day, and soon it will be too dim in the morning to easily and safely walk these trails so early. I haven’t yet sorted out how my routine will need to change. Some days, it still feels very new to be so “settled”. It’s not as if every day is the same – they differ rather a lot. My “routines” have still not really established themselves as a natural byproduct of my comings and goings. I guess I’m okay with that – I sort of have to be as a consequence of simply being okay with myself. 🙂 Still, though, I’ve got to figure out when and where I’ll be getting my mile(s) in, once the early morning is “too dark”.

Same walk, different morning.

There was an air show this weekend. The noise did not cause me any particular stress. The traffic was not much of an inconvenience. Looks like it was probably a pretty cool family-friendly event.

…I feel a thought arise, and slip away before I can make any use of it… I think it may have been interesting, or relevant, or tie some idea to another, but… it’s gone now. LOL

My Traveling Partner is spending quite a bit of time in his shop. It makes sense; it’s the time of year for it. It fits my sense of seasonality in the context of family life. He’s been making parts for other tools, and making things that solve small household problems – like handy hooks to hang the attachments for my mixer, tucked out of the way, still very convenient. The wee hook specifically fit these mixer attachments. So cool! My father and my (paternal) grandfather were both “makers”, and I feel very much “at home” with my partner doing things in his shop. It feels “right”. 🙂

I finally planned time for a camping trip. Getting a reservation anywhere I wanted to be was pretty challenging, and I ended up opting for “car camping” this year vs hiking into a more remote spot. Nonetheless, I’m super excited about it – and choosing car camping means somewhat better comfort, and I’m pretty stoked about that, too. 😀 Coffee with chipmunks, squirrels, and robins, as the sun run rises, sounds pretty good. Long walks with no destination. Afternoons napping in the heat before taking another walk before dinner. No fireside stuff; the entire state is a huge vast wildfire zone right now, but the summer heat will mean I won’t ever be so chilly that a fire seems necessary for comfort, anyway. I take my computer when I go to the coast. I take a notepad, a sketchpad, and a pen, when I go camping. lol It’s a very different experience.

I walked away from my writing before I’d finished my coffee, and spent time relaxing with my partner, talking about projects, hanging out, watching videos, and then got started on housekeeping chores for the week. It’s been a fun day. I completely forgot I was in the middle of writing a blog post until sometime after lunch. LOL I’m smiling and sipping an afternoon cocktail – a rare treat – and checking off the chores. Just laundry left now, and it’s in progress. I took time to combat an accumulation of tasty leftovers by making a nice lunch salad. A good summer afternoon meal. Life feels… pleasantly ordinary, more or less. It’s a hot day. It’s comfortable in the house. My headache is somewhat diminished with careful, reliable hydration, and good nutrition (I mean, what the fuck do I even know about any of that, really? I’m not a doctor, I’m just saying, it seems less severe, some days, if I am definitely drinking enough water, and eating a balanced diet with lots of leafy green veggies in it. I do not care a bit if that’s a “placebo effect” resulting from simply thinking those things matter, or if it is “real”. I don’t hurt as much, and that’s enough).

The tall icy glass, in which what is left of this gin & tonic sits, sweats condensation; cold glass, warmer room. I sip on it slowly – as I said, I rarely drink alcohol these days, so I take my time with such things to minimize risk of foolishness or poor decision-making. 🙂 My Traveling Partner makes an exceptional cocktail. He also has some familiarity with my problematic history with alcohol (having grown up around multiple family members with acknowledged, legit, “drinking problems”, and my own early behaviors around alcohol as a young soldier), and he’s cautious with such things (which is appreciated, not forced on me). I enjoy the fantastic sometimes complex flavors of a well-crafted cocktail, and we stick with the delights that rarity requires: exceptional quality of the ingredients, sourced with care and thoughtful selection, flavors outside the “everyday”, and cocktails that are notable (for their history, or their ability to evoke nostalgia, or for simply being especially delightful in flavor) – but notable in some way other than their ability to intoxicate. We’re not really “about” the potential for drunkenness, and it shows in how rarely we drink, and how slowly we drink when we do. LOL Drunk people break shit.

I’m happy to enjoy a partnership so safe that I can even relax and enjoy a cocktail now and then without worrying that I’ll turn right around and “burn my life to the ground” on a funeral pyre of addiction. I understand better, now, that in some respects it isn’t about the addictive substance nearly as much as it is about the relationships that support my emotional wellness day-to-day. There’s a ton of more recent science on addiction, if that’s interesting to you for any reason at all. I encourage you to study more (I mean, like, always, and anything that is of interest to you) – definitely check your sources. “Karen’s Facebook group” is likely a less rigorously peer-reviewed source for information on the science of addiction than, you know, scientific studies available on PubMed, or some other reputable source. Just saying – fact-checking is good stuff. Knowing your source? Good stuff. Reading and applying critical thinking? Good stuff. Do your homework.

…And, hey, if you’re just not well-informed about a topic, not an expert at all, maybe just don’t share that uninformed opinion at all, eh? It’s okay to lack information. It’s less okay to make shit up like you know something about it. I know, it’s hard; we all want to be experts.

…Reminder: I’m no expert. Nope. Not even on mindfulness. I’m just a human being human, doing the best I can to be my best self, trying various practices that may help me along the way. I’ve got a reading list – did you notice I didn’t write any of those books? Yeah. That’s because I am not an expert. At all. Just a human, being human. Sharing what I can of a complicated journey, in case other travelers are also wandering around without a fucking map. 🙂

It’s been a pleasant Sunday. I’ve gotten a few things done. The garden is looking lovely, and the roses have now established themselves where they’ve been planted. I smile when I think about the years and the miles and the containers being carried from apartment to apartment over decades… so few survived to see home, here. It was a lot to ask of a wee rose in a container. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there, somewhere. I’ll think it over for awhile, and see what I can make of it.

I think the words as I type the title of the post. “Pause for a minute” is often decent advice, as free advice goes. Confused? Slow down, pause for a minute, let the busy brain get caught up on things a bit, and then sort shit out. Writer’s block? Lacking inspiration? Pause for a minute, look around, take a deep breath, and consider the moment, itself, and all the things immediately at hand. I often find that enough to grab a hint of an idea, or a flash of inspiration, enough to move on with. Feeling sad, defeated, frightened, angry, resentful, or overwhelmed? Pause for a minute, let the thoughts come and go, feel the feelings without acting on them, and really “be there” for yourself in that difficult moment – what would you say or do to support your bestie, if they came to you with these feelings? Give yourself a minute to think that over. Choose action, instead of succumbing to reaction.

It’s not too much to ask of oneself to pause for a minute. Even two, or three, or five minutes. We’re talking about less than 0.5% of the entire 24-hour day. 🙂 Surely we all deserve that much (and more) of our own time, for our own purposes. 😀

…I don’t bring it up for any particular reason. I just sat down to write. Came up with nothing much, but I’ve got a minute, and a fresh cup of coffee, and this blank page in front of me… so… I paused for a minute. Here we are.

Taking a minute to pause and reflect, to catch up, to rest, or to sort things out for myself is a low-cost solution to a lot of life’s challenges.

Easy enough. Step 1. Pause for a minute. Step 2. Breathe. Step 3. Begin again. 🙂 Are you ready? It does take some practice…

Back to life, back to reality

There have been other times, other places, other loves… other successes, other failures (often failures), other paths that lead away to other destinations. Today? I’m standing here. Now. Looking further along the path, it’s no longer at all clear where this path may lead (was it ever, really?). I mean, I’m not frantically seeking a course-correction, or mired in despair about where I stand, here and now. I’m just taking note that I’ve come kind of far, since… other times.

Paths lead away…

Like any path, the journey itself holds so much of the experience – more than the destination, itself, so often.

Waves approach, recede, and return again.

Like waves on the seashore, practice is repetitive. Lessons keep coming back until we’ve learned what we can.

It’s a Monday. Ordinary in most respects. Adults adulting. Life being lived. Choices being made. Being and becoming. It’s not so much “difficult” as… ongoing. I’m not even fighting it. 🙂 There is always another task to be handled. Another opportunity to reflect on being a better human being than I managed to be yesterday. Another chance to be the woman I most want to be.

…I get it wrong a lot…

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I slept as deeply last night as I had slept restlessly the night before, which is to say, very. I woke once during the night, thinking it was morning, and seeing the room somewhat illuminated, as if by imminent dawn, I got up to look out through the glass door to see what the day may hold. I was surprised that it was not yet close to dawn. The light was only the ground floor hotel lighting (of the beach access below my balcony), diffused and reflected by a dense fog. No view here. None. I went back to sleep.

I slept deeply and woke… discontented and restless. The fog persists. I can only now, just barely, make out the edges of the low tide. I frown at the fog. I’m surprised to feel completely disinterested in a beach walk on a foggy morning – so unlike me! I shower, feeling fussy. I dress, feeling a tad restless, not quite “cross”. I get coffee, reflecting on the feeling of the moment. I return feeling mostly pretty well sorted out; I miss my Traveling Partner more, at this point, than I am enjoying my own company. It’s not a surprise. I was gonna get here sooner or later – far better to arrive at this emotional place before I finish my bit of away time, able to return home fully appreciating the human being waiting for me there. 🙂

So, I packed my bag. Re-loaded the car. I’m taking my leisure over my coffee, and a bit of writing. The wide-open balcony door fills the room with briny ocean breezes. Eventually, this moment right here will feel “complete” and be finished, likely with the click of the “publish” button, or perhaps after one last lingering look out to the horizon, as the morning sun begins to burn away the fog? At that point, I’ll message my partner that I’m on my way home, and get that journey going.

…It already feels like “time to begin again”… I miss that guy. 🙂

So, I sit here with my coffee, the sound of the ocean, and this quiet moment, watching the fog diminish, then thicken, revealing the rocky shore at low tide, then coyly hiding it away again. If I were to curate a collection of moments to share, this one might make it into that collection; it has a certain moody unsettled loveliness. More than enough to satisfy a desire for solitary contemplation.

I hear the plaintive forlorn call of a seagull before I see the bird fly past. Yep. Time to begin again.

The waves hit the beach in a regular cadence, still managing to be quite varied and individual. The sound of it is thunderous through the open balcony door. The sky is azure, broad, vast, and seemingly infinite-of-horizon. The mild beiges and tans of the sandy beach separate land and sea quite conveniently. The numerous rocky outcroppings of various sizes just “offshore” become a fun festival of tidepools when the tide is at its lowest. The weather is “perfect” (for me), neither chilly enough to require a fleece or sweater, nor hot enough to make bare feet on sand uncomfortable. I walked miles yesterday, and again this morning. It feels good to feel so solitary, so conveniently. I’m not far from home (about an hour’s drive), and the beach is certainly not deserted, but in every practical way, I am far from the routines of every day life, and wrapped in solitude in spite of the nearness of other stray human primates scattered along the beach, walking with their thoughts, their dogs, or their families.

…I even went walking among the tidepools before I had my coffee this morning! I did not want to miss the revelations that low tide has to offer. 🙂

Tidepools to explore

I returned to the room after coffee and a bite of breakfast – a bit of a luxury. [Side note: I love “brunch”. My Traveling Partner is less enthusiastic about being up and dressed and out the door dealing with other human beings first thing, just for a meal as easily made (and often better quality) at home. I enjoy the variety and lack of effort (no cooking, no clean up). So, when I take time away, I definitely look for a choice opportunity to get breakfast or brunch. 😀 I’d even plan an entire weekend away around a really noteworthy brunch… I’ve got one or two of those on my “do this someday” list. LOL ]

Today, I’ll spend more time writing, reflecting, and letting my brain “get caught up” – clear that overloaded buffer – and then return to the beach for more miles and minutes.

I’ll be quite content if this little getaway is no more productive than a series of walks and naps, honestly. This is one way I recharge. 🙂 Making a point to take this time to recharge is one way I ensure I am most able to be my best self, and fully participate in a wholesome healthy way in my relationships. When the relationship I have with myself is not sufficiently nurturing or self-supporting and emotionally self-sufficient, I lose traction on being able to skillfully provide loving support and nurturing to my partner. 🙂 That was a hard won lesson to learn, and I sometimes feel I must be quite a bit stupider than I feel day-to-day that it took me so long to understand that.

…I do miss my partner, though… funny how these emotions exist side by side, mixed up together.

The coffee in the hotel room is quite horrible. I have no idea why otherwise nice hotels persist in providing these absolutely shit little drip coffee machines, with ancient packaged ground coffee of similarly terrible quality in these rooms. It would not be notably more costly to do just a little better than that. Hell, an electric kettle and a good quality instant would be an improvement. LOL I knew what to expect, so I made a point to bring along a better quality of coffee, so… it’s at least drinkable, more or less.

The beach, easy to see through the open balcony door, begins to fill with people. It’s after 10:00 am now. Time to begin again. 🙂