Archives for category: inspiration

I haven’t been writing as often or as regularly. Are you missing me? I’m sorry. It’s Spring, you see, and this new job… life feels quite busy. Filled with tasks, meetings, conversations with my Traveling Partner about the perfect placement of “bass traps” and how best to fill the house with beautiful music. There are flowers blooming. There are others yet to be planted. Time ticks quickly by without me noticing, and days have gone by, again. πŸ™‚

Primroses in the garden.

Maybe this is simply another step on this long journey? I sip my coffee and look around my studio, here, at home. It’s also my office, and the work day will begin shortly. I feel safe and content in this place – the space, yes, but also this time in my life. How odd. When did this contentment arrive? This odd little “oh, hey, yes, this is who I am” sort of feeling that also feels… okay? When did I find this loving good humor with which to face my relationships? This sense of loving kindness that says “it’s okay that we’re cross with each other right now – it hardly matters because there’s just so much love to be shared” feels new and enduring… has it always been within reach? Is it fragile or likely to fade in some moment of impatience? There’s part of me that wonders how one could ever be cross in the context of this much love… and I smile, remembering that “cross” isn’t really a “state of being” so much as a feeling. Emotional weather, not emotional climate – at least for me, personally, here, now.

…How much have I changed? How is it I still recognize myself at all? (And, how is it I can still make a cup of coffee this damned bad??? LOL)

I sip my coffee and sit with this contentment… contentedly. πŸ™‚

Life is still pretty real. There is no “perfect” to attain. No A+ report card to receive. No ideal state of ease that never demands more of me. Shit breaks. Things need to be maintained. There’s always housekeeping to stay caught up on. Details. In fact, my Traveling Partner sticks his head in the door and gently pleads for assurance that I will “take care of the aquarium today, please?”; the pump is being a bit noisy, and one of the intakes is a bit blocked. I didn’t do my best work with upkeep tasks yesterday, sort of rushing through it between meetings during the work day. I assure him I’ll take care of it on my first break from work this morning; I know that sound grates on his nerves, and I also know that my fish rely on my attention to enjoy a good quality of life. So. No perfect here – and there’s always something that needs doing.

…It’s still important to take breaks, get rest, enjoy leisure, and really savor every lovely pleasant moment life and love offer. It’s a bit like an emotional savings account that is there for me “in case of emergencies” – funding, in a sense, the continued contentment and resilience when things do go sideways – and they will. I’m still very human. I don’t expect that to change.

It’s an utterly ordinary Thursday morning on a work day. This is a fairly ordinary suburban life in a small town in 21st century America. Nonetheless… there is much to do with the day ahead, and it wants a beginning. πŸ™‚ Am I ready? Does that even matter? πŸ˜‰ If I’m not – I can begin again.

It’s definitely Spring, now. Tiny green leaves are unfolding from swellings that became small buds on so many of the trees and shrubs! There is a green “mist” of unfolding forming in the view beyond the deck. Green things sprouting from the damp of the forest floor. Swampy ground becoming more firm. Little birds everywhere. My flower beds still reflect the sales-appeal-focused (simple, but hardy and low maintenance) plantings that were in place when we bought the house. (I’ve added very little, so far, planting only some dahlia tubers and a bare root rose that arrived a bit ahead of my expectations.) The primroses reflect a lack of care in color choices. They are still lovely, and blooming like they’ll only get one shot at it, ever.

Simple, lovely, enduring – and so beautiful in the Spring sunshine!

There are other wonders to come; flowers that have sent up leaves, blades, stalks, some with buds… I wait to see what flowers open next.

Next weekend seems the likely one for planting the rest of the container roses into the garden beds. It would be nice to tell them so, and know whether they are eager to stretch their roots, or have any thoughts on placement… fanciful musings over coffee on a Sunday morning.

My Traveling Partner has spent much of this new Spring cleaning things, tidying, bringing order to chaos – even “tuning the sound stage” in our living room, and finishing some dΓ©cor and design plans we’d made when we moved in (all delayed by the unexpected water damage and resulting fuss and bother after the AC was installed). He’s added acoustic treatments that removed the notable echo in the living room, and refined the placement of various objects to even further improve our listening (and viewing) experiences. It’s gorgeous and sounds wonderful.

…Every time I step into the living room, now, I grin so hard my face hurts. I feel very loved. I’m enjoying our considerable collection of music all over again, as if it were new. It definitely feels like Spring…

Pain? Pain is pain. That’s still a thing I live with. I shrug it off when I can. I attempt to be patient with myself and people around me when I can’t. I try to be consistent with my self-care and pain management. Work? Work is still work. I still work – it’s a necessary part of my life, for now. I like the new job – honestly? I like it enough that my enthusiasm for the work collides with my desire to hang out with my partner, and sort of drains away any time I may have planned for writing, for painting, for most endeavors that are not work, or time with my partner, or necessary housekeeping to keep those parts of life running most smoothly. lol Self-care fail? Yeah, admittedly. Small now… but it is the sort of thing that can fester over time and become chronic resentment, utterly without ever intending it. I keep an eye on it, and this morning, in a small inconsequential moment of disharmony, I acknowledged the opportunity and stepped away to write a bit.

…French toast later…

There’s often a new beginning just ahead. A choice. An opportunity. A whim. A change – desired, chosen, or inflicted. A moment of inspiration. A moment just being.

…This coffee is good, itself a new beginning of sorts…

…What about this moment? This blog post? These words? More beginnings…? I think maybe, yes…

I think about photos, songs, moments… and I think about love.

Thank you, Love “Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

A new beginning can be a bit scary, sometimes. Too often I have found myself hesitant to walk away from something that just doesn’t work for me. You too? I admit, it’s also often true that once I’ve taken that first step, life unfolds with less effort when I choose well – based on my values, and the real truths of my heart (and reality), and take those steps in the direction I actually want to go. Worth the moment of anxiety, doubt, insecurity, or fearfulness? Very much so; that’s just a moment, and it doesn’t last. Life, when we’re most fortunate, continues on beyond that moment. πŸ™‚

…This coffee is just about gone… French toast is sounding pretty good… it may be time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Funny thing about change… it changes things. Sometimes a lot of things. Just breathe through it; it’s only change.

I’m sitting here listening to the end of the work week. It sounds like this. Friday.

There is sunshine casting bold shadows over the deck. The afternoon is not quite warm, but it isn’t cold at all. I’m listening to music I love, sitting cross-legged, relaxed and smiling and feeling loved. My Traveling Partner had a lot to do with this lovely sunshine-y moment; he bought us a new amplifier for the stereo, and spent much of the past two days getting the sound just right. I feel a bit as if I am falling in love with a lot of great music, all over again.

I’m listening to music. Smiling. Relaxed. Feeling loved. Feeling fortunate.

…It’s a lot to take in, actually… it used to be pretty reliable that feeling this good would rock me off my center, and be followed by some colossally inappropriate, ludicrous temper tantrum or PTSD meltdown, at some especially inconvenient moment. As if everything good that I might experience needed some sort of emotional reckoning, or reminder that I was not worthy of good experiences. I’d end up filled with so much despair, and a sense of lasting futility. Mired in that mess, I’d exert real energy to make it all just that much worse, if such could be done – or so it often, inexplicably, seemed to be.

Today? Today I’m just relaxing on a Friday, listening to music, and feeling fortunate. I’m grateful to have come so far, but humbled enough by hard times to know that “this too shall pass” also applies to the best moments. Enjoy it. Savor it. Don’t take it personally. Don’t develop an expectation that the sun will always shine in this lovely spring moment. Be here, now. Breath. Exhale. Relax. And still, even now, also practice non-attachment. Enjoy. Breathe. Accept. Exhale. I’m still smiling. It’s enough.

Soon enough the album will end. The track will change. The sun will set. There will inevitably be a time to begin again. πŸ™‚

My coffee tastes different this morning. It’s not because I am sitting cross-legged on the surprisingly comfy Queen bed in this seaside hotel, not even because it’s fairly typically-terrible hotel coffee made in a fairly generically terrible-coffee-making drip machine sitting atop the small room-sized hotel refrigerator, but more because I am sipping it solo, with no chance at all of sharing the moment with my Traveling Partner. Right at the moment, in all practical terms, we’re traveling separately (he’s sleeping still, at home, I hope, and I am sitting cross-legged in sloppy-loose blue jeans, laptop perched precariously on my lap, waiting for my terrible coffee to cool enough to drink properly).

I’d say my goal of relaxing and getting some “down time” before shifting gears to start the new job has been successful; I woke having entirely forgotten about Daylight Savings Time, and looking at the clock and finding “6:30 am” to be both believable, and an acceptable time to wake on a leisure morning… I woke up. I laughed when I finally noticed the discrepancy between the clock that I had checked upon waking (which automatically updated) and the one that did not (provided by the hotel, plugged into the wall in the usual way). I shrugged it off and got started making terrible coffee and looking over the notes I took at several points yesterday, as I walked and wandered, waited and reflected, breathed and meditated.

The ocean does not care when or whether I check into my hotel room, nor when I leave. My presence makes no difference to the timing of the waves, or the fierceness of the winds.

I arrived to the shore much too early to check into the hotel, and my room was not yet ready. Didn’t matter much; the endless ocean tickled the shore without regard to check-in times. The hotel graciously allowed me to use the private beach access in the meantime, and I went down what seemed like 1001 concrete steps to the beach. The wind was brisk and cold. There were bundled up families flying kites and enjoying the day. There were even barefooted kids playing in the shallow water of the waves as they spread across the beach, then receded; they seemed as shore birds, running forward as the water pulled back, running back as the waves spread forward. I found myself reflecting on that. There’s something to learn, there, I suppose.

…This coffee is simply dreadful. I add sugar and the available non-dairy creamer. Still awful. I’m still drinking it…

I gave up beach walking when my legs became tired, and trudged patiently up those many steps once more. Room not yet ready, I headed into town and, masked and distant, and wandered through enticing antique shops.

In a shop filled with carefully crafted miniatures, I find room after room of furnishings that seem to be idealized versions of various stages of my own aesthetic, and wonder if, after all, so many of them could really have come from… doll houses?

The tourist “traps” that line the street are the sort common to any seaside town I’ve visited… saltwater taffy shops, “old time” candy stores, antique shops, t-shirts, sea shells, and nautically themed whatsits of all kinds (lighthouse sculptures, pirate “treasure”, glass fishing floats and paperweights, and “the world’s best” of some local dish). I wandered until I was more distracted by my own thoughts than engaged by what I saw in front of me, and returned again to the hotel, and to the beach, to walk and reflect awhile longer.

I sat for a long while, occasionally attempting to light a joint in the fierce coastal “breeze” without success.

I spent a couple of contented hours walking, and thinking. Reflecting on lessons learned, both generally (and recently), and also specifically (with regard to my most recent job, and how to make good use of what I learned in future roles). It was time well-spent. Aside from the wind and my tinnitus, the only thing I was hearing was… me. I walked the beach listening deeply to what the woman in the mirror has to say… about life… about love… about work… about a future that is unknown (and largely unknowable). I contemplated the confounds of expectations and assumptions.

…At check in time, I made my way to my room, let myself into this small space that is more or less my own (until check out time), and unpacked my baggage – literally, and metaphorically.

…Damn this is dreadful coffee. Wtf? Why am I putting myself through this? LOL I stare into the cup, warm in my hand, astonished by its prodigious awfulness with a certain amount of respect; it’s a hell of an achievement for a cup of coffee to be this bad.

I took time to reflect on all I’d seen, and on my notes, and the many “living metaphors” the day had presented to me.

I ask myself “the hard questions” on my mind as the day becomes evening… What matters most? What has me chained to some past moment? What have I accepted as the basis of my sense of self? Is that truly “who I am”? How do I free myself to soar to greater heights? Where does my path lead? The moments, questions, and the thoughts they carry with them crash onto the shore of my consciousness, and recede one by one. I find “embracing change” to be a process, and an ongoing practice. Taking some time alone to be with my thoughts – and, unavoidably, with my self, is a useful break for “sorting things out”. For finding the signal in the noise. Life may not have a map, but I can sure jot down some notes as I might if I were writing down directions to go from here to … somewhere else. It’s important to be clear on the desired destination. It’s important to be aware of where I stand right now. πŸ™‚ With those things in mind, how much more easily can I begin again?

…It’s that time, isn’t it? Beginning again, I mean. The new job starts tomorrow. The new laptop was delivered Friday, and is waiting for me to set it up.

…Fucking hell I am missing my Traveling Partner this morning. I missed him ferociously last night, too. The value in missing him has nuances that are worthwhile experiences of their own. Missing him reduces the likelihood that I will take his precious presence in my life for granted. Missing him reinforces how much I enjoy him being part of my experience. Being absent the many things he does for me (and for us), large and small, reminds me that I legit don’t do as well for myself on my own as I seem able to in this specific partnership. (Not dissing myself or minimizing how much I appreciate myself for (and as) myself, just saying there’s a ton of stuff that just doesn’t seem to stay on my radar, and my sometimes general lack of fucks to give, or pain, results in more chaos than I easily manage… and that seems far less likely in his company, and with his help.)

…And both of us make an excellent cup of coffee that is so much better than this warm brown liquid that I’ve decided can’t at all be called “coffee” – it’s just that bad, and I am seriously missing something better… and my partner… this morning. πŸ™‚

The sun is not yet up. Check out time is not for another 3 hours. There is time to walk on the beach, time for a bite of breakfast, and time to find a better cup of coffee. LOL There’s time to begin again.

A group of rocks along the shore, exposed at low tide, inaccessible at high tide. Even in that, there is something to reflect on, a metaphor in action, something to learn about who I am, and where I am headed.

I look at the clock, and see daylight beginning to show through the curtains. Definitely time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Time for a reset! It’s the last day at this job. There are a handful of days before the new one begins. Between now and then… new glasses… a vaccine (yay! my turn!)… then… what? How can I clearly and distinctly separate the one from the other, put down any stray baggage picked up along the way, and get some much needed “real down time”? I ask my Traveling Partner for his thoughts… he says out loud the words I am thinking in my own head, “Why not get a room at the coast, spend some time walking on the beach?” For real… why not, indeed? Caution + mask + social distancing + vaccinated…? Sign me up!

I make the reservation… beach view. I find my “weekend bag”. Camera. Tri-Pod. Sketchbook. Watercolors. Brushes. I start powering up my power brick, my laptop… and second-guessing all of it. Maybe I just go without all that fuss and bother and just… sit watching the waves, listening to the sea birds and the breezes, breathing along with the tempo of the world… Maybe. It’s a chance to embrace change.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚