Archives for category: Healthy Living

Sipping my coffee, drinking water, sitting here with my fingers poised over the keyboard feeling a little distracted before my thoughts even begin to form into something coherent. I had a really useful and well-considered thought quite early this morning, but I didn’t take notes, and yeah I got distracted before I could really commit it to memory in any lasting way, and now… it’s gone. So human.

Yesterday, I headed home to finish my work day there with my Traveling Partner’s encouragement. He was missing me a lot. I was “feeling the mood” and eager to enjoy some close romantic time with him after the work day ended. We found ourselves in quite a different place rather quickly; he was sort of cross, generally, and my pain was flaring up. We still had a lovely evening together, but romance (or, to be more frank, sex) became progressively less likely as the evening developed. Very human.

I woke this morning with a headache. It’s Friday, though, and the entire day ahead of me yet. I’ve no idea where I’ll be on the other side of the day. I look at my work calendar. Somehow the day looks so long. (It’s actually a short one.) I sigh out loud feeling – still – distracted and somewhat discontented. Hilarious and rather silly. Another very human experience.

I think about tomorrow. I’m eager to “really sleep in”, although I know how difficult that really is for me, generally. I think about going out to breakfast with my Traveling Partner. We had meant to do so last weekend… and I forgot. He politely didn’t mention it to me. I realized my failed plan too late. I’d really enjoy having that out-to-breakfast experience with him, though – and although we’ve lived here now for going on 3 years (wow), we still haven’t gone out to breakfast here in our new “home town”. lol Pandemics suck. Still, I think over the logistics of going to breakfast and remind myself to bring it up with him and see if he’s up for it. We’re both plenty human. Our results vary. lol

Another sigh. It sounds loud in this quiet space. My eye strays again to my work calendar, and I “feel the clock in my head” ticking away. An internal rather self-imposed distraction. I let it go. I let my thoughts drift to other places, other times in my life, other human moments. It’s a bit like “scratching an emotional itch” in some peculiar way. I silently remind myself now and then “don’t pick at that!” – some memories are best left alone, unexplored, generally speaking. Human is complicated, and it’s not all sweetness, warmth, and love. lol

I miss late night coffees with far away friends, and a time in my life when work was sort of seasonal, and there were weeks of downtime between jobs routinely. This is not that life. I’m okay with this life, too – it’s a good one. I’m just saying, I think I could have slept in today, and enjoyed breakfast out with my Traveling Partner, and a lazy romantic morning… sounds pretty good. Work is… work. Today, I’m earning my pay just based on the effort it will clearly take me to steady down and focus on the tasks in front of me. LOL

A new day, a new beginning. What will I do with it? I don’t know yet. Where will this path lead? That’s not super clear right now. I do know this is a very human experience, one of many. Each just enough different to deceive us into thinking we are unique and special in all the world as individuals, when, just as truly we are all in this together, and very much sharing a fairly common human experience. lol

It’s a good day to practice Wheaton’s Law. It’s a good day to begin again.

How funny that this one got saved as a draft, and never published…? Strange. Here’s a peak back at 2015.

It’s been a lovely weekend, so far. There’s a bit more to it, yet, and I am smiling, and feeling unhurried. I spent yesterday enjoying me, and completing some practical tasks with a hint of the artistic to them, like hanging a few more paintings, and beginning re-organizing all the shelved books into some arrangement that is both visually appealing and allows any one book to be located…ever.

When I moved in, I simply shelved all the books to get them out of boxes (because boxes take up precious space) – in general I have no idea what books are where. Yesterday I carefully went through all the books and identified a handful that I don’t find worth keeping at this point in my life. The minimal square footage requires that I be frugal about possessions, keeping only what actually has meaning, value, or utility. Today I will begin the more complex process of sorting them by author or by topic, and re-shelving them in a more logical way that permits research, and of course simplifies grabbing a particular book before bed, if I choose. 🙂 Truthfully, sorting tasks are a favorite of mine; I find them calming, pleasant, and likely to promote clear creative thinking. I have spent the weekend sorting things…books…small parts and fasteners…canvases…thoughts. It has been a singularly self-nurturing weekend without stress or urgency.

I enjoyed the morning with my traveling partner, and he indulged my longstanding fondness for breakfast (or brunch) by taking me to a favorite local breakfast spot. Now that we don’t live together 24/7, each moment we do spend together is something I willfully and mindfully cherish. At some point during his visit, hanging out at my place and talking about books, paintings, and when to wall mount the big monitor, he made the observation (rather astutely) that I had ‘tolerated’ (or was it ‘endured’?) living with him because I adore him so, but that it has become obvious that my clear preference for myself is to live alone. It’s true. My traveling partner is quite literally the only person I’ve ever really enjoyed living with…and even so, would prefer, generally, to live alone. Living with other people has been some degree of mostly miserable, for as long as I can remember – even as a kid. Some of the broken bits, and chaos and damage, just don’t make cohabitation easy for me, and having to share day-to-day space with other people just doesn’t feel good – or easy. I end up spending a lot of time with my teeth clenched, feeling tense, angry, irritable, trying to find some space for myself in which I will not be intruded upon – and it’s not because other human primates are any more fundamentally flawed than I am, myself. I don’t know that I have a solidly rational explanation, and making the attempt holds plenty of risk of hurting feelings, or creating imagined sorrows. It is enough, I think, to say that I prefer to live alone, and that I am comfortable with solitude day-to-day.

This has been a fantastic weekend. I have spent most of it quite alone, not even venturing forth except to do a little gardening yesterday evening, and breakfast out this morning, followed by the briefest possible trip to the market for coffee beans, and dishwasher detergent. I am understanding something differently about myself, as a result of this lovely [and much-needed] solitary weekend; loneliness is not about solitude at all, at least not for me. Ah, but my traveling partner is so right about the things phrased in the negative – knowing what loneliness is not about is far less useful than understanding what it is about. Perhaps I will learn that some other day? I won’t be learning much about loneliness this weekend – I am enjoying the solitude. 🙂

Contemplating patience, incremental change over time, and the tender ongoing exploration of self that my move as supported got me thinking about the idea of ‘pacing myself’ – taking my time with things in a mindful way makes so much sense. I tend to rush. I am enjoying the outcome of slowing things down in both life and love, and investing in quality of life through careful choices, mindful actions, and a willingness to practice being present in each moment without sham efficiencies masquerading as ‘multi-tasking’. I am ‘pacing myself’. I am living my life thoroughly, and enjoying how naturally my home seems to have become a ‘no stress zone’.

Today is a good day to slow down and enjoy each task, and each moment. Today is a good day to love. Today is a good day for stillness, for solitude, and for contentment. Today is a good day to create the world I prefer to live in. [Your results may vary.]

That was quite a long time ago, I suppose. Have things changed? Sure. I live in a home in a small town. I’ve got a mortgage instead of rent. My Traveling Partner lives with me and is my fond and adored companion on life’s journey, every day. My garden is a little bigger. My job has changed (and changed again). Have I learned to slow down and pace myself? Well… a bit more than I once knew how, yes. My results still vary.

…And it’s time to begin again.

For love or money? Justice or mercy? Kindness or fairness? There are choices to be made, and I make them for myself every day, all sorts of choices large and small, significant and insignificant, major – and trivial. I’m not sure, though, that I am always quite clear on the difference between a choice that is trivial, and one that shapes my life. Part of the experience is simply making a choice in the first place, or choosing to coast on circumstances and the will of others. Yep. Even that is a choice.

I like to think that reason dictates the majority of my choices, but I am aware that what tends to be the case, in fact, is that emotions dictate many of my choices, and they make reason their bitch by insisting on solid rationalizations for why the choice “made sense”. Self-knowledge, and authenticity have rather firmly demanded that I understand the role of emotions in my decision-making with greater clarity, so I play a fun game with myself based on the underlying assumption that emotion is indeed the foundation on which my decision-making it built – then I go looking for the feeling at the heart of some particular choice. (Ideally before I make that decision in some firm way and back it up with actions. lol) In practical terms, I rarely make “important” decisions without a moment to reflect on it, often giving myself at least a day or two to think things over for major potentially life-altering choices.

Would you make all your decisions the same way if you knew with certainty going into it that you were not going to do so based on reason at all, but were quite likely to ‘react’ to circumstances and make your choices based solely on your emotions? Would you be able to make more skillful, wiser decisions that serve your needs more efficiently over time, and with greater life satisfaction, if you simply acknowledge the role emotion plays in your choices in the first place? Would you be more inclined to delay important decisions for moments that were in a specific emotional context to secure a specific (better or wiser) outcome?

“Mastering” my emotions has proven to be so much less about squashing them down, repressing them, controlling them, keeping them within some acceptable boundary defined by someone else, or denying them altogether than it is about embracing them, honoring them, making use of them to enhance my experience, and being more mindful of my needs over time, reflecting on what emotions say about my values and understanding of the world. Emotions are powerful, and they whisper things to me about what I value, and what I need; it’s worth finding the time to listen. It also appears to be a true thing that by giving myself some time to explore (and feel) my emotions, I reduce the likelihood that they will “explode all over the place” creating some sort of drama or messy bullshit emotional vortex that sucks the fun out of life and drags everyone around me into it.

Pro-tip: cultivate practices that limit or reduce your desire (or habit) of “venting” your emotions. Consistent with “we become what we practice” venting, as a practice, tends to make one very good at … venting. It sometimes feels like a relief (thus having the name “venting” as if to release pressure), but the longer term consequences are less than ideal. Practice venting your anger or frustration? You get good at venting anger or frustration – not dealing with it, not skillfully coping with your feelings, not understanding yourself or your experience, and for sure not communicating your emotions skillfully as an adult. Just saying. There are other potentially much more useful (and harmonious) ways of communicating emotions than “venting”. We are not pressure cookers, and likely ought not aspire to be such. lol

I am sipping my coffee on a quiet Tuesday. Payday tasks are handled, and the budget is updated. My Traveling Partner sends me an acknowledging reply. It feels good that all this feels so absolutely ordinary and routine. That reflects enormous progress from the profound anxiety I once felt any time I had to “deal with money”.

The future unfolds ahead of me, and I’m untroubled by my lack of view into events that are not yet. It’s a bit like walking a path through a dense forest that curves regularly; I’ll see what lies ahead a bit at a time, for a very short distance, and the view will change, and change again. That’s fine. There’s plenty to see and do and experience along the way, and it’s worthwhile to engage this moment and be present in it. Another choice that is mine to make. 🙂

…I think I’ll begin again. Perhaps with a second coffee?

Weird weekend. (I could stop right there, honestly…)

“Baggage” is a tough challenge for people who have been traumatized. It can be super hard to put that shit down, and properly “begin again”. Our baggage tends to linger in our hidden corners, tucked away carefully where it’s difficult to see how problematic our thinking has become. We struggle with decision-making and outcomes that create an unpleasant experience or prevent us from thriving in our lives. It’s hard sometimes.

I’m hopeful that a particularly painful and difficult conversation with my Traveling Partner really does have the promising positive outcome it appears that it may… I’ve just got to set down some baggage and back away from it, then do some things differently going forward. Him too, I suppose, although in this instance the focus was for sure on me and the chaos and damage I sometimes struggle with.

Love and words. So many words. So much love.

Once we were “on the other side” of that difficult conversation, we enjoyed our evening together. I woke this morning feeling loved (and hopefully he did too). I’ve got a massive headache, still managed to enjoy a cup of coffee with my partner before I left for the local co-work space I sometimes work from. So far a promising start to the day and week. Nice.

Moving back into my studio was a sort of mix of manual labor and thoughtful work and careful selection. Now that it’s finished, I can’t fathom why I stalled for so long. I find myself returning to my studio again and again, thinking about creative projects. I’ve rekindled my eagerness to finish a particular manuscript that has been languishing in a file on my hard-drive for awhile – almost a decade. Long overdue, and I did not understand that two things were holding me back: 1 poem I had included that I had serious second thoughts about, and those journals tucked away in a bin. Funny; I took care of the journals, and now project after project that had been stalled seem to percolate to the surface for their moment.

What’s holding you back? When will you tackle that?

How much baggage are you dragging along every day? How much can you “just set down” and walk away from? Are there things you could let go of, that you… just don’t? What is that doing for you? (Seriously, you probably wouldn’t cling to some of that sticky bullshit if you weren’t getting something out of doing so, if only the strange comfort of familiarity – which is totally over-rated.)

I’m no therapist, just saying – lightening the load makes for an easier journey. 😉

I sip my coffee and think my thoughts. There’s a garden to plan. A life to live. Love to embrace and nurture. Already time to begin again.

I’m sipping an especially delicious hot cup of tea. It’s made from a deeply smoky Lapsang Souchong black tea, steeped with a bit of lemon zest, and lightly sweetened with a bit of palm sugar. I made a point of setting a timer, and steeped the tea for just 3 minutes, the result being a lightly brewed cup of tea with a hint of citrus and a mild sweetness that I am finding quite lovely. I made my cup of tea in a humble plain white porcelain mug that fits neatly in my hands, cupped around it to enjoy the warmth. I slow myself down and enjoy the moment, the tea, and my thoughts.

My Traveling Partner and I began the morning over coffee together, and this evolved into a discussion of trunnions, trivets, and things to do in the shop. It’s an ordinary enough Sunday morning. I’d already started a load of laundry, and done the dishes. Nothing feels rushed this morning. I feel relaxed. The morning thus far is pleasant.

…Nothing fancy about any of this, so why go on and on about it? Well, here’s the thing; we put a lot of time, energy, and effort into pissing and moaning about the shit that goes wrong in life, the stressful moments, the crap we see on the news that distresses or angers us. When we don’t invest similarly in the things that go well, the things we enjoy, and life’s pleasant moments, over time we build an implicit understanding of life and the world that tends to be skewed in the direction of disaster, chaos, and unpleasantness – and although those things may be “real”, and even (far too) commonplace, giving them all of our attention every day throws off our ability to bounce back from stress, and reduces our ability to maintain balanced perspective on events (both internal and external). Just saying; I find value in giving my attention to what is working, a lot. Often. So, I take time to observe these pleasant moments in detail. I write down my thoughts on some of them, as I might with things that distress me. I seek to be as likely to discuss what I am enjoying as I am to bring up something that troubles me. I savor my joys – even attempting to put more effort and time into that than I do with giving any attention to my sorrows.

I’m not saying suppressing one’s emotions is a good thing. That’s not the point at all. Neither am I suggesting there is value in bullshit positivity that is inauthentic and forced. There little value in that, either. (It’s actually potentially pretty toxic.) I am saying pay attention to the pleasant moments in your life. Enjoy those. Explicitly and deliberately give yourself time with what you enjoy.

So, this morning? I am enjoying this cup of tea, and appreciating the time I took to tidy up my studio and “move back into it properly” after my Traveling Partner built me a new (better) desk. It’s quite a lovely change. Order from chaos. I can “feel myself think”, undistracted by clutter and shit left without attention for too long. I smile with some amusement; some of the order came at the cost of shifting some portion of the clutter to a different room, which now needs attention and tidying up. lol It’s a process. I’m okay with that. There’s more to be done, and this is generally true (in my life) day-to-day, so… nothing to see here. 🙂

I sip my tea and think my thoughts. Soon enough it will be time to begin again. Again. 🙂

Ask the questions. Do the verbs.