Archives for category: Free Will

It is the Sunday before a Monday – the Monday that I return to work, after taking time off to move, actually. I woke peculiarly early on a day I could have slept in. My Traveling Partner was also up early. We enjoyed our coffee together, listening to jazz, and discussing politics in a genial, civil way. We disagree about some things, small details mostly, and it’s rather pleasant to share, discuss, and acknowledge those differences without a shit-storm of drama or ire. Reasonable people, discussing things in a reasonable way. 🙂 Nice start to a Sunday.

In most regards, today, specifically, is a day I’ll use to “get back on track” with various routine matters of home-care and quality of life management. I’ll do some basics that generally “feel like” Sunday to me, personally. I’ll take out the trash (making a point to empty all the little waste baskets that sit conveniently in every room), and the recycling (making a point to break down any recent boxes that have arrived in the past day or two, preventing those from piling up unattractively). I’ll double-check that the pantry is well-stocked, and make a list of things that are running low or gone; I may not go to the store on a Sunday, but I like to have a list ready. Today, on this particular Sunday, I’ll also log into all my work tools, here in my new studio/office, and make sure that I have reliable connectivity, and that my tools and equipment are wholly set up and ready-to-go for what will likely be a very busy week. I’ve made little notes for myself, too, and these I’ll add to my Sunday “to do list”, too, there are various small useful errands on little notes in my notebook (we did not have connectivity for nearly two weeks, so a lot got written down on paper). One of those notes reminds me “write a blog post”, and so, of course, I do… 🙂

Most of my lists are simply practical reminders of what I’d like to get done. I carry a wee Rite in the Rain notebook, tucked in my purse, or a pocket, for convenience. 🙂

I sip my coffee, eyeing the worn rather old etched slate coaster on my desk. It’s been thoroughly cleaned since the move, but looks perpetually dirty. The worn inelegant surface hints at many years of use. The thin crack that runs across the surface suggests it has been kept for some reason beyond function or aesthetics. I smile. It reminds me of my Granny. It came from her kitchen. “Can I have this one?” I’d asked, on a visit to her home on Frenchtown Rd, many years ago (1997?). “Sure, Sweetie.” She’d replied with an indulgent smile. I didn’t expect it to be my last visit. I’m sure she didn’t either. We are mortal creatures, and our lives are finite, each moment precious. I find myself tearing up a bit, wishing sentimentally she had lived to see my Traveling Partner and I moved into our home together. She would have been so pleased for us. There’s even room for her to have visited, quite comfortably…

A souvenir of “home” – or, at least, of the places I come from.

The open window beyond my desk doesn’t have much of a “view”, and I already love the view it does have. It functions a bit as a “blank page” for writing, and has few “distractions” or features to draw my eye inadvertently. The two rather poorly pruned pear trees dangle fruit-laden branches over the new fence. I smile, even at the less-than-ideally leveled fence boards. Our neighbors replaced the falling down fence between our yards the very week we moved in. It’s clear they had not built a fence before. Funny that the quirks of this new fence provide more kind humor than irritation, for me. The neighbors are pleasant kind people, and the community is very welcoming. This new place already feels like home. In short, I like it here, and I love this house. 🙂 I expect I’ll spend many contented hours writing, and painting. (The closet in my studio is filled with stored art. I chuckle to myself at the possibility that what stops me painting, often, is more to do with having so many laying about than any lack of inspiration in the moment. LOL)

A closet full of paintings, neatly stacked by size. Some will hang, some will sell, some will linger waiting for their moment.

I finish the last sip of my now-cold coffee, and think over the day ahead. I hear my Traveling Partner call my name from somewhere else in the house; we’re still not used to having the extra bit of room that makes trying to talk to each other from different spaces sort of silly. I smile. It’s time to begin again.

Shouldn’t “embracing change” be easier than this? Is “easy” not actually “a thing”? Questions over coffee, on an overcast summer morning. My mind wanders unproductively between sips. The coffee is good, and that’s enough for this moment, right here.

I was sitting barefooted, cross-legged, in a favorite chair (the only comfortable chair in the new living room, presently… more room in the new house, same amount of furniture), on a morning so quiet I imagined I heard my Traveling Partner sigh as he woke, in another room. It’s a quiet house (so quiet!), and it seems unlikely that I actually heard the soft sound of his sigh, over my aquarium and my tinnitus. He approached a moment later, wearing his “just woke up” face. I offer to make coffee, and we share that. It is, generally speaking, a pleasant moment on a summer morning. I pretend, for the purposes of joy and love, that I’m not in the pain I’m in. I make room to be kind, and to listen, and to offer whatever support I can; he’s in pain, too. It’s been 10 days of fairly intense labor, getting moved out of the rented duplex, and into our home. For reasons of pandemic, and limiting exposure, we handled almost all of every bit of it ourselves, instead of hiring movers. I’m not sure I still think that was a great idea. lol

It was 10 days trying to get the internet set up. I wrote in the mornings, anyway. 🙂

“Home”. Damn, that sounds nice. I let the sound of it roll around in my thoughts contentedly for some moments. I find it so important to savor the successes – small, large, and in between. What I am suggesting is really taking time with those successes, enjoy and appreciate them, linger over their memory, and invest more of my cognitive and emotional bandwidth in that enjoyment and awareness, than I do in fussing over what didn’t work, or worked out uncomfortably or with problematic other outcomes. That “negativity bias” can really become an emotional wound, over time, swallowing up all the joy, and all the fun. Having a home of our own is a major milestone in our life together, and for me, in my own life as an individual human being. Huge win. Definitely needful to celebrate that. 🙂

I sip my coffee and look out the window of my new studio/office space here. I see the neighbor’s new fence, two pear trees, branches laden with young fruit hanging over the fence, and the cream-colored wall of their house just beyond. I see a sliver of gray sky. The neighbors – and neighborhood – are very pleasant, and very welcoming. Every new conversation begins in a similar way, with an apologetically, charmingly awkward excuse for not shaking hands or offering a hug; the pandemic is still a thing (very much so) in America.

…I hear my Traveling Partner call to me. As he wakes, his pain is more well-managed (mine, too, it seems very human). I want to hang out… I want to write. It’s been a while. There’s much to say, much to share. I think. Maybe. I mean… you’re here, reading, I should make that worth your while, yes? 😉 Perhaps, for now, this is enough?

Perspective, or view? What matters most? What is “enough”? Where does joy come from?

I sip my coffee. Finish my writing. I begin again.

 

Well, today is properly “the day”. The computers will be shut off, packed in their boxes, and prepared for the move. The last of the significant packing and boxing will be done, in preparation for the moving truck (that’s tomorrow). We took a day to rest up and hang out, yesterday, and got to bed “at a decent hour” to ensure we have taken care of these fragile vessels to be at maximum readiness for a couple days of significant manual labor. I slept restlessly. I’m not surprised. I won’t be surprised if my Traveling Partner’s sleep was also restless; we’re both excited, and eager to get the move done and start this new chapter in our lives.

I woke early. It was an attack of vertigo that woke me, the room seeming to spin like madness, in spite of my closed eyes. I opened them and attempted to hold back my nausea by grabbing the edge of the sofa, where I was sleeping, when I woke. I straightened my body with great care, and stifled the panic that comes with the vertigo, reminding myself it is only a sensation, not representative of any sort of “reality” outside my own impaired sense of balance. I breathed through the panic. Exhaled, relaxed, double-checking with each breath that my spine was straight, and that my muscles were relaxed. I waited it out, reminding myself to make a note for my next doctor’s appointment. I already know better than to attempt to get up and walk when I have vertigo. lol

Once my vertigo passed, I got up and made coffee. I have an early morning errand, then back to the house to pack things into boxes, alongside my Traveling Partner. He may not even be up when I leave. I find myself hoping he rests deeply, and maybe even sleeps in. We can have coffee together when I get back. 🙂 Tomorrow feels peculiarly far away, and also almost upon us. Funny how my sense of time and timing works, and how subjective, and even abstract, it can be. Even the vertigo seems to simply add a surrealist twist to the already peculiar moment-between-moments. I sip my coffee contentedly, and with some caution; if the vertigo isn’t entirely and completely cleared up 100%, I can’t safely risk driving, at all. That would fuck up any number of details of our careful planning; my morning errand involves letting contractors into the house to do some “before we move in” things we’d like to have done. 🙂

Receiving the house keys was a pleasant moment… I somehow managed to return to the rental (definitely no longer feels like “home”) without taking even one “share-worthy” photo of our new home… just pictures of smoke detectors, appliances, the fuse box, the FiOS box… basically just detail photos of things that need batteries, or that we’d want to know what the model numbers are, and those sorts of very practical details. lol I took one selfie for my Traveling Partner of my big big smile with the forest beyond our deck in the background, and sent that to him before I got in the car for the return trip. With the Independence Day weekend just ahead, there feels like more pressure to get things done “on schedule” than truly exists. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I sip my morning coffee. I smile, and glance at the time.

Move out priorities often differ from move in priorities. We’ve held back from packing the things we reliably use every day, because we’re still using them. At some point, all that has to be packed, too. The moving in needs also revolve around what we need first, but the needs change a bit. I don’t think our computers will be a high priority until after our bedroom is ready for sleep, our kitchen ready for cooking, and our bathrooms ready for personal care. Entertaining ourselves has mattered greatly leading up to the move out. The move in, though, is more than a little entertaining (as well as laborious), without connectivity, without computers, without videos, music, or games. I find myself feeling far more relaxed that with previous moves, and prepared to be comfortably flexible with the different approach we each take to the move. My Traveling Partner has a plan for the move. I have a plan for the move. Our plans overlap in spots, but emphasize different details. I work consciously on “staying in my lane” and trusting he has details handled, just as he does for the details I’m handling. It feels fun, and emotionally safe, and secure. Team work. I sit smiling quietly, sipping coffee, grateful for this partnership, and this (so far) easy move.

I’m finding it a bit hard to finish my writing this morning…but it’s most definitely time to wrap it up, and begin again. 🙂

I’m awake. I’m groggy. I’m drinking coffee. My calendar is full. My list of things to do seems as long as it has been for days. We’re definitely moving. In past moves, this is the part of moving when the self-care tasks fall by the wayside, and I typically find myself trapped in a cycle of “overdrive” and exhaustion, working unrelentingly until I collapse for minutes or hours, then back at it for every minute I can squeeze out of this fragile meat-based machinery, until fatigue finally nails me to a bed, a couch, or the floor, and I sleep for a few hours, and repeat the process day after day until the move is completed. Then, I spend days feeling disrupted, moody, bewildered, and overwhelmed, as I get used to a new place. Bleh. It’s not fun, but it’s “worked okay” for me, for many values of “okay”, generally. It’s often simply what I’ve had to work with, or perhaps I just didn’t understand it could be done very differently?

New day, new move, and a very different plan. My Traveling Partner keeps me self-care focused (“Hey, you’ve been out here working in the sun for awhile, are you drinking enough water? Have you taken a break?””Have you eaten something today?”). We each work on the things we’ve committed to with real purpose. We take time together to chill, to play, to laugh, to consume comfortable amounts of media content, and to enjoy each other. Hell, I even slept restfully last night, and woke at a fairly normal time this morning! He woke in a good mood, himself (we’re both fairly grumpy, many mornings, until we sort ourselves out and are properly awake). This move doesn’t just feel “different” – it feels good. 😀

I sip my coffee and look at my list. Nodding to myself, I double-check the details (“when does the donation drop-off open, today?”). My Traveling Partner comes into the studio, and says something pleasant, and rubs my neck for a few minutes, and reminds me about my posture without nagging. He puts on music in the other room, and I feel myself beginning to really wake up for the day ahead. There’s so much to do, and in a practical sense, with all the paperwork out of the way, the real work “begins” – building on the real work we’ve been doing for weeks, boxing and packing things. I smile to myself. There are certainly a lot of verbs involved, and this time? This time, those include self-care verbs, and verbs to do with love and loving, and shared verbs – so many shared verbs. It feels good to have my Traveling Partner’s help with this move. The last couple had some fairly poignant lonely moments (his, for him, too, I know). This feels very different.

My smile turns to a grin, and I feel filled with joy. It’s already time to begin again. 😀

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. 🙂