Archives for category: Logic & Reason

It’s just a thought, on a Monday morning; communication is a pretty big deal. It changes the map, changes the journey, and changes the experience – shared or individual. The magical thing about communication is that it does not have to be weaponized and hurled down range as a hurtful salvo of toxic waste – ever. It can be shared gently, with great care, and received with great tenderness. Ideally… it is useful, enlightening, and promising of a better future moment once considered.

The flip side of using words, of communicating with consideration, is listening – deeply, fully present. I’ll note this is the greater challenge for me, personally, although making considered, authentic, use of communication opportunities does require some verbs, itself. Listening seems to require a few more.

Communication is useful for analyzing patterns – and breaking them. (image credit to my Traveling Partner)

It began simply as a weekend at home, ill. It ended feeling re-connected, deeply involved, wholly committed, and very much in love. The power of words should not be underestimated, Friends. The conversations that walk that mile, however, are not necessarily the “easy” ones; small talk isn’t going to get it done. I’m sipping my coffee and appreciating my Traveling Partner’s willingness to talk and listen, to “go deep”, to share intimate details of that most private personal space within each of us; thoughts and feelings. Wow. It got real, and it got deep, and things were shared that perhaps would have benefited from being shared sooner, together, and a few that presented profound healing opportunities to be shared at all. It was powerful.

…It still is. 🙂

…Worth it. 😀

So… here it is Monday. I’d so much rather stay home with my Love than go anywhere else, right now, but there’s a job to be done, and I’m being paid to do that. So… coffee at hand, dressed for work, and smiling, I prepare to begin again.

…Really, though? I’m sitting here sipping my coffee thinking about love, and how much I enjoy this partnership. How much I’ve grown – and feel that growth supported. How much he’s grown, and how much I enjoy supporting his growth, too. I even feel, fairly literally, wrapped in love; most of my selections for work wear today were suggested by, or gifted to me by, my partner. There’s something magical to that. My smile deepens. I think that I smell his cologne in my studio… I think, too, that it makes my coffee taste better. lol Love is a hell of a flavor enhancer. 🙂

I smile, and finish my coffee, and let a new day begin untouched by old troubles. Use your words. (So worth it.) Then…? Begin again. 🙂

 

 

I am groggy this morning. Waking up feels more than ordinarily difficult. My thoughts wander, fractured, and disorganized. My coffee is… cold. For real? Am I drinking the dregs of yesterday’s cup, left carelessly on my desk? That’ll teach me. (No, seriously, I learn some of the best and most useful life lessons by way of carelessness, haplessness, and basic fucking up. lol) I take steps to correct my mistake.

I kill some helpless minutes by making a numbered list, simple steps, for learning from mistakes. lol

  1. Experience the error.
  2. Recognize the error.
  3. Correct the error.
  4. Move on from the error.
  5. Learn something from the experience.

I listen to the traffic outside the window. The morning is still quiet. The sky is still dark. Plenty of opportunities for new beginnings of all sorts. 🙂

I refill my vape; trying to do so while driving is poor decision-making, and just not a good choice, so I do it before I get in the car. Strawberry lemonade. I know, I know – all sorts of places are banning flavored vapes. Well, isn’t that fairly fucking stupid? Just saying, people have been vaping since the 90s, and this whole other new storm of fear and controversy doesn’t seem to correlate to the long-time process of vaping nicotine, itself. So… something else? Sure. Obviously, something. Banning flavors, though, (we’ve got to think of the children!) is just… yeah. It’s a little weird to ban a legal substance, being used in a legal form, with the sole outcome of forcing adult consumers to use a form that is known to be harmful to health, and to also require them to consume it at higher doses. No kidding. I don’t “Juul”, though, and I don’t use a “pod system”. (I use what is called a “regulated mod”.) The nicotine in my vape is very low concentration (3 mg per 100 ml of ejuice, resulting in my own daily use being about a half milligram per day, generally, at most). Most cigarette smokers use a lot more nicotine, according to the NIH. I don’t like the taste of tobacco, and I’ve never been a smoker (I tried a cigarette, and thought that was the nastiest thing, ever, many many years ago). I do, however, like the sweet taste of strawberry lemonade, or butterscotch, or pineapple – and the miniscule amount of nicotine I use, since I started (at 56 years of age, and most definitely an adult consumer), turns out to be a profoundly more helpful anxiety medication than anything the VA ever gave me. So… fuck the flavor bans? I mean… children are not legally allowed to purchase or use nicotine products anyway. Making the laws hard on legal adult consumers to attempt to restrict child access and use seems a tad… off the mark? Just saying. I dislike decision-making driven by panic, or media hype, or hysteria; it’s generally quite poorly done.

…At the same time, I also think it would be pretty splendid if all the flavors used in vape products were tested, regulated, and safe for vaping – that seems appropriate, and alleviates consumers of having to pursue chemistry degrees to ensure their individual safety in the marketplace. Have we not had this conversation before, as retail consumers and voters? I mean… I feel sure we have… and possibly, I mean, I think we did, even set up a regulatory agency responsible for, you know… the safety of the food we eat, and the substances we use… you know… something like a… Food and Drug Administration?? 😉 Just saying; the groundwork is laid. The regulatory body exists. Maybe do something wise and reasoned with the opportunity, eh?

Fucking humans. lol We can, each of us, do just a bit better today than we did yesterday. I’ll make it a point to do so, today. Will you? 😀

Well, okay then… let’s begin again. 🙂

…Home…work…home…work… Back and forth, pretty much continuously, distractingly interspersed with a couple days off, not quite convincing me that I have ample leisure. lol Omg – fuck this. I sigh and sip my coffee. I breathe, exhale, relax… And remind myself that the bills are paid, and this home is comfortably warm on a chilly morning. I had hot water – and indoor plumbing – and sweet smelling shower gel in my morning shower. This cup of coffee? Work was involved in that, too; coffee beans aren’t free. The electricity that ran the burr grinder? Paid for that, too, with money I worked for. So…okay. Work is thing, I guess I’m stuck with that for now.

…I’m so ready to get off this treadmill. Have been for a long time. It aggravates me to see articles about the need to “raise the retirement age” – let that shit be optional, voluntary, and self-determined! Damn – you think I want to be “gainfully employed”? Um… no. It’s just that our society is built on the exchanges of goods and services made possible by the additional exchange of currency. Currency that represents our labor (and in a most bitter and unfortunate additional bit of truth, the “exchange rate” of life force for currency is neither “fair” nor “equal” and some human beings are most definitely paid too little for their time, whereas others are paid far far more than any real value that could be assessed based their life or humanity). So… work. Home to enjoy. Work to pay for it. Back and forth.

It really does bug me when “retirement ages” are set such that they only account for those who wish to work longer. Of course, it would also bug me if the agency of adult human beings was undermined such that people who are capable and eager are forced out of the workforce solely due to their age. Either way, it’s the lack of agency I’m actually objecting to; we are not machines, we’re not all identical in appearance – or intention. Some people earnestly want to work in their later years – I’ve met a few. (Keeping things real, I’ve met far more who felt they had to continue working because they needed the money and were not financially prepared to retire.) I’ve also met people who are looking ahead to retirement before they were 30. (I’m one of those, but I’m also likely going to be someone who has to keep working due to not being financially prepared to retire.)

Sipping coffee thinking about the work-life treadmill on a Thursday. Of course, I have choices, and I mull them over now and then, fully aware I could, perhaps, paint full time (and be creatively contented and probably below the poverty line), or go into business in my working profession as an independent consultant, or do some other work I’d never considered but is incredibly lucrative – people who have freed themselves from the treadmill do exist. I just don’t happen to be one of them. lol This morning I’m tired, and I woke with a headache from a dream that I was commuting to work driving my car backwards. lol Too many late-ish nights, not enough sleep? Another sip of coffee, and an internal commitment to going to bed “on time” tonight, is the only result of my fatigue-y cynicism.

The truth is, I’m good at my profession. I’ve chosen to continue it a couple times after attempting to escape it. I’m pretty skillful at the “going to work every day” thing, in a way that quite a few people I know are not. I support myself, loved ones, and creative endeavors through these skills, and I feel satisfied with all of that. I’m just tired this morning and yearning for a freedom from routine that I not only don’t have – I’m neither comfortable with, in fact, nor skilled at managing well. lol It is what it is. (This sort of thing is specifically why I don’t make major decisions while deeply fatigued or stressed out; my thinking changes when I am relaxed, and able to face challenges from an emotionally neutral, practical perspective, and I make very different decisions.)

Choices. Verbs. The things that are. The things that are not – or are not, yet. The wheel keeps turning. If I don’t like my circumstances, there are alternatives. If I don’t like the person I see myself becoming, I can make changes. If I don’t like the conversation going on around me, I can walk on. Hell, even when the conversation I’m not enjoying is the internal “conversation” going on with myself, I can definitely “fix that” – I can begin again. 😉

Well, shit. I didn’t manage to fit 10 minutes into my work day for meditation, yesterday. It was a busy day, no doubt, but… couldn’t I have managed to make that work? Looking back, it’s clear I could have, and equally obvious I did not; I was there. lol

I’ll try again today. 🙂 Each journey has many steps.

I got home, and enjoyed a lovely relaxed evening with my Traveling Partner. Overlooked meditation, in favor of warmth and camaraderie. Shit. Damn it. LOL Clearly, I need more practice with my practice. 😀

Today is another day. I’m open to making it a good one – and that includes getting my regular meditation practice back on track. Totally doable. Entirely about choices, and actions. It’s well within my own power to meet this need for myself. 🙂

I’m just saying; I’m human. It’s a thing. “Perfect” isn’t on my bucket list as an achievable goal. I just keep practicing; we become what we practice.

I sip my coffee and contemplate the recent days of camping, and lessons learned.

Long, savored moments of golden light and blue sky linger in my memory.

One understanding that returned home with me is simply how little I truly need to feel content. My contentment is not built on a foundation of material goods, branded items to fill spaces, or a huge bank balance; it’s more about moments, experiences, and connection. Even in solitude, these are the things that matter most: relationships, presence, and people. The things and the stuff? All distractions, nothing more. Useful tools, at best. Very heavy baggage at worst.

I smile and look around me. How much of “all of this” do I really need? Less than I have – I know that with certainty, because I’ve lived with (and on) less. A lot less. No doubt I will one day do so again. The wheel turns, and this too shall pass. It’s not worth becoming attached to “stuff”. Comfort also has real value; being uncomfortable is unpleasant and stressful. It tests us. There’s a balance to strike. “Sufficiency” is the word I use for that balance – having enough, letting it be enough, valuing it for what it is (and nothing more) without striving or struggling, comfortable, and contented. It’s a nice goal; I can easily visualize what “sufficiency” looks like to me.

…Still. I could do better. I have room to improve. Room to struggle less. Room to let go of more baggage and bullshit. Room to be more present. Room to do my “best”, more skillfully, more often. Room to be more content, more of the time. Room to take greater care. Every new day is a “growth opportunity”, in a very real and personal way. The path stretches out ahead of me. I finish my coffee, thinking about the work day ahead, and giving thought to where 10 minutes of meditation may fit in, and what choices I can make to be more the woman I most want to be, to find balance, sufficiency, and contentment, and to be present in all my relationships with my whole heart. Years of experience, still practicing. lol

It’s already time to begin again.

 

“Success” is a funny thing; it is defined quite differently from individual to individual, from task to task, from moment to moment, and exists on a slippery gradient that shifts just when it seems to be “obvious”. When we chase it ferociously, it’s often not our effort that determines our outcome, it’s more about our focus… or our willingness to learn, to grow, and to begin again. There is, unquestionably, effort involved, and that varies, too… with preparedness, with good fortune, with circumstance, with how much help we are likely to receive, with how relatively difficult our own notion of success actually is (for us, individually). It’s weird to me when I see people pin all their hopes and sense of self on a single idea of success. Personally, I like my success to stay fairly manageable, and not keep me up at night. So… small stuff generally. 🙂 It adds up.

A flower seen along yesterday’s walk.

Why am I on about this, on an easy Sunday morning? Simple; I walked 3 miles yesterday, hitting a tiny milestone, a modest goal, and finding a small bit of success on my fitness journey. It’s such a small thing. All the driving last year, and the lack of trail miles that resulted from the lost leisure time spent on the road, resulted in starting this year struggling to make 2 continuous walking miles with any ease. I like ease. I embrace ease. I strive for ease. Which means… I need more time walking. My scale agrees. lol I’ve been at it this year, a bit at a time. I’ve been slowly and steadily losing the weight I’d accumulated (in part due to diet, and definitely due to not walking – see the pattern?). I had been approaching things rather unproductively, for some time, pushing too hard and struggling across my imagined finish line, and ending up so exhausted (or injured) that I’d need days and days (weeks) of much lower intensity work to recover… and… um… walking is pretty low intensity as it is. lol I changed my approach; it helps to study and learn, and reinforce practices that have proven to work.

I’ve put in some study time. Consulted a dietitian. Gotten more serious (again) and more focused (again), and returned to seeking and accepting – and celebrating – smaller successes. They do add up. Yesterday’s three miles will join the three miles I’ll walk later today, and next week getting an easy two miles in over my lunch break won’t break a sweat. It bodes well for my camping trip, and how much fun that will be, hiking out in the trees, with so much more ease. 😀

I’ve got my favorite site reserved. 🙂

When my practice fails me (because I am allowing myself the choice to fail myself), I begin again. Knowing what matters most to me, myself, helps with that; practicing things that have no value, no positive outcome, or which contribute nothing positive to my life can be added to that long list of things to let go. Recognizing successes is dependent on understanding success… my idea of success is pretty definitive if I’m hoping to recognize my successes. It took me awhile to get here. It’s easy to let an externally imposed notion of success drive our choices and our behavior… education, marriage, offspring, career, address, social status, wealth… none of that is specifically, explicitly, characteristic of “success”. Seriously. You get to choose for yourself what your success looks like. Is an unwed PhD-holding carpenter living in a small town successful, or not successful? Hard to say, isn’t it, unless you know what they want from their life. Is an accountant of limited means, living luxuriously, resources stretched to the breaking point, losing sleep to panic attacks, while impressing colleagues and neighbors, a “success”? Well… “At what, exactly?”, would be my question. (I tend to think not, but again; I would need to understand their idea of success to have any reasonable thoughts on that.)

So…yeah. My idea of success really only applies to me. I’m more successful, professionally, than I ever imagined I would be; it wasn’t what I was focused on in life, generally. I’m more emotionally well, and enjoying better mental health than I have at any previous point in my life – that feels incredibly successful, to me. I worked to get here, and it’s been a slow, often quite difficult journey. Worth it. Am I wealthy? Nope. I don’t expect I ever will be. I’m content with knowing the bills are paid, and that “getting ahead” is within reach. It’s enough. I’ve already wasted too many years on someone else’s idea of success (a parent, a partner, a teacher, an employer… lots of folks out there ready to suggest that we are not successful because we have not yet achieved something significant to them). What gets me out of bed with a smile every day may not be the thing that satisfies you. Do you. Definitely a better choice, day to day. 🙂

Still… I do put time and thought and effort into being a better me today than I was yesterday. Every day. There is no “finish line”. No completed product. No final goal. No level of mastery such that I can’t continue to make that single, purposeful effort to be my best self, as I understand the woman I most want to be, here, now. There’s always another mile I could walk. Sometimes I’ll falter. Sometimes I’ll fail. That’s okay too; I can begin again.

I smile into my fairly dreadful cup of coffee and consider my morning walk. It’s early, and not yet hot. The trail I intend to walk is level, and paved, and not likely to be crowded at this time of morning. I’m eager to get started, but also aware that I didn’t think to grab socks when I slipped out of the bedroom with the rest of my clothes; going back in risks disturbing my sleeping partner. I really don’t like messing with people’s sleep; a byproduct of my own sleep difficulties coloring my thinking about sleep, generally, and my tendency toward (perhaps excessive) consideration. I catch myself mindlessly scratching at a mosquito bite from yesterday’s walk, stop myself, and add “bug wipes” to my camping list, still smiling. The moment also serves as a useful reminder that I would do well to walk in my hiking boots today (not wear sandals) – if only because mosquito bites on feet just suck so much. lol

I think over my approach to getting socks without waking my partner, smiling, and grateful for the lovely start to the day. So far? Very successful. 😀