Archives for category: Free Will

It’s a lovely morning for gratitude. Yesterday, too. My Traveling Partner said something about it, yesterday, and it still resonates with me, this morning; we are fortunate. I can work from home, and still have my job. He’s here with me, and we’re sheltering in place and social distancing, together. We’ve got what we need, generally speaking, to get by, with reasonable comfort, day-to-day. The things we are going without, are endurable inconveniences. We’re very fortunate.

…This will be true even after the toilet paper runs out…

…Realistically speaking, a lot of that “good fortune” is a matter of literal “luck”, and timing as much as any specific planning or preparedness. I sip my coffee and fill up on feeling grateful; it could be so much worse. It is, for a lot of people (maybe you…). The economic impact is real. The impact to human wellness and quality of life is real. The convenient delivery services available to some, are not affordable for all. Some people don’t even have a roof over their heads, and are forced to “shelter in place” on parking lot surfaces marked out by tape. Some people are actually trapped on cruise ships waiting around for the virus to catch up with them. Scary times.

When I start feeling restless, cooped up here at home, I remind myself how much this matters, and how fortunate I actually am. I sip my coffee quietly, appreciating how much harder this would be, if the coffee ran out, if the water was shut off, if the power got cut, if my partnership was unhealthy or my relationship an abusive one… This is a morning for gratitude.

I’m also grateful for the artists, performers, entertainers of all sorts, who continue to do what they do, making it available on YouTube, or a variety of other streaming services and web sites. Grateful for the connectivity that puts those things within reach. I’m grateful for unread books, and favorites worth re-reading.

…I’m grateful for love.

It’s enough to be able to begin again.

Well… literally a quarter of the way through this year, and possibly the one reliably positive outcome of this “social distancing” thing is the very firm limit it places on April foolery. I sip my coffee and appreciate that, for a moment, and listen to my Traveling Partner snore softly in the other room. I woke feeling rested, and contented. It’s a nice start to the morning. Yesterday seemed like a very good day, in this strange new “normal”.

Pandemic life. Groceries delivered. Supplies of this and that run low unexpectedly, sometimes turning out to be damn near irreplaceable. Stepping out onto the deck feels like “really getting out”. Things that have been online activities for a really long time blur with things that have never been online until recently. Food delivery services deliver from damned near every imaginable restaurant in the area, small, large, or exclusive. Hell, even the local pet store will deliver live animals, and anything to care for those. I mean, while delivery services last.

Seems to be a sad truth that some business that insist their employees continue to work, also persist in treating them poorly. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to turn out well…

I sip my coffee and scroll through the news, mostly without stopping; it’s all repeats of rephrasing of reshares of some distant original content. I try to hold myself to a personal commitment to read any given story only once, preferably the original. Doing so seriously cuts down on the repetition, and reduces my stress. 🙂

…It’s still so early (in the morning, I mean). I nudge myself away from my work tools. Too soon. 🙂

I take some time to watch fish swim.

 

The new aquarium next to my desk lights up slowly. I smile appreciatively, and enjoy the moment, watching the fish begin to “wake up”, thinking thoughts about “what do fish dream about?” and immersing myself in this “now” moment of morning “me time”. It is a precious routine, and I work to preserve it. I give myself over to consideration of the long-term plan for this tank. The aesthetic, the inhabitants, the purpose. The three tiny thugs who live in it now were not ideal choices for my notion of a happy tank, but I enjoy their antics in spite of lacking fondness for their bullying. I make notes on my “to do list” for aquarium maintenance (water testing, pruning, things like that) for this week, reminding myself “not today, though”; it’s going to be a busy one, and I know I’ll be tired at the end of it.

…Self-care still matters (matters more?) in this time of pandemic. 🙂

I sip my coffee and glance at the time… there’s a work day ahead of me, and it’s time to begin again.

 

Another Monday morning, and yes, a Monday morning during the time of pandemic. There will be about 1 in 7 such days, for now until whenever life returns to some semblance of normalcy. Where are you finding your joy in the spaces between news articles about COVID-19? You’ll definitely want to find a bit of joy, the weight of this health crisis is pretty significant, and in spite of that, there is still purpose in life, still small delights to experience, and still a vast expanse of human experience to explore. 🙂

If the circumstances are getting to you, and you have not already tried this next practice, maybe give it a go: breathe. Meditate. (You’ve got time at home to practice!) Take a step back from the 24/7 news cycle. Start a “sanity project” that takes up a great deal of your cognitive bandwidth, and engages your creative side in a positive way. Improve your quality of life – with what you have on hand. It’s challenging, for sure. It’s something, though, and I’m pretty sure we all need something. 😉

None of us are immune to the pandemic facing us all. Be well. Be safe. Wash your hands regularly. Practice social distancing. Stay home. If you’re thinking you’re doing “well enough”, please reconsider; approach the circumstances with a beginner’s mind, trust that there is more you don’t yet know, and do better than your best. I remind myself, too. I could do better.

The weekend was a lovely one, in spite of the pandemic. In spite of the rainy spring weather. In spite of feeling confined at home. There’s not much to say about it. I’m certainly getting better at fitting meditation time into my day-to-day routine. 🙂 I enjoy spending time watching fish swim in the aquarium, and the time I’ve been spending on maintaining it, and improving it, has been worthwhile, and satisfying. No easy distractions from the things I could be doing at home that need to be done. The results are pretty good. 🙂 The stress level at home surprisingly well-managed.

…Another Monday… another opportunity to begin again. 😀

It’s very early, on a Sunday morning. The aquarium lighting is on, but still quite dim, simulating a slowly approaching sunrise. My cup of coffee is hot, and tastes good (to me). I sip it slowly, while I wake up. I scroll through years of bookmarks, deleting those that are out of date (either because it is relevant to a topic in which I no longer have interest, or because the link itself has become a “dead link”). It’s an easy bit of housekeeping that doesn’t demand much of me. The sky beyond the window slowly changes from darkness to a dismal rainy day blue-gray. Rainy spring days are common enough around here, and I’m not complaining, just taking note.

I take a look at my supply of flavor concentrates for vape juice and reorder things I’m running low on. It’s less than ideal to discover, in the middle of mixing a batch of juice, that I’ve run out of a key component in the recipe I’m using. lol Once I’m a bit more awake, I take a look at the budget, and think over our household supplies – are we running low on anything important? Do I have to go out for it, or can it be ordered? Life in the time of pandemic; we definitely appreciate the many delivery options.

I check my list of things to do. Some housework, some chores, some projects, it is a list intended to keep me busy, occupy my time, and also deliver quality of life value to a shared experience. I smile, thinking about yesterday; I spent the day, mostly, reading. It was lovely. I sometimes find it hard to find the time, and the quiet, to read for a while. It is so worth making the time (and finding the quiet). 🙂

I look at the envelope laid with care on my laptop for later attention. The census. Maybe I’ll do that today? Good day for it, I think to myself. Why not?

I finish my coffee, sigh contentedly, and begin again.

So… okay, we’re all human beings. This “social distancing” in a climate of anxiety about wellness, disease, economic downfall, shortages, and human mortality is draining, and tests my patience. (Yours, too, I bet!) Yesterday was punctuated with a bit of snarling, a handful of cross tears, some frustrated moments… Yes, it’s hard sometimes. I sip my coffee feeling fortunate, in spite of that; it could be much worse.

I take some time to watch fish swim.

Gratitude, perspective, sufficiency, and basic mindfulness are all great tools for getting me through stressful times. They do each require that I take that step… sometimes it’s “a step back” to gain perspective, or a pause for gratitude. Sometimes it is a step forward, and a considered reflective reminder that “sufficiency” is enough. (Omg, I can’t help giggling, it’s one of my favorite little aphorisms that is also a tautology.) Sometimes, it’s just a matter of moving from one moment to another, to sit down and seek yet another moment, of stillness, of breath, and then beginning again.

You know what it isn’t, though? It isn’t “easy”. These are not easy times, and I often feel “tested”. I have some coping practices that seem effective day-to-day, but I persist in being quite human, nonetheless, and sometimes that is complicated by sharing space with another human being. We are in this very much together, and somehow still also very much having our own experience, even in these close quarters.

He games… I watch fish swim. We help each other out with projects. We tackle projects on our own. We take turns choosing video content. We both interface with the world using our phones. We connect. We interact. We take a moment for ourselves alone. No surprises here; we’re enduring the challenges with the rest of the world. Similar frustrations. Shared difficulties. Common experiences among friends and neighbors and communities and nations afar… we’re all in this together. It’s gotten very “real”, though, hasn’t it?

I have another sip of my coffee, I pause for a moment of conversation with my partner. I look at the fish, swimming in the new tank next to my desk. I check the time; the moment feels timeless, unlimited, and not anchored to any calendar events. How will I know when to begin again? lol

…I guess when I finish this coffee. 🙂