Archives for category: loneliness

It’s a Saturday morning. I am awake early. I make a delicious cup of coffee, and later a couple of eggs, prepared simply, with a bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I feel content and satisfied. I scroll through my feeds; too many memes and shares, not enough original content. I move on. I do some self-study on topics currently most interesting to me. I take time to meditate.

I feel good.

I think about these things before I sit down to write. I consider how routinely I “begin again” and how often I suggest it as a great practice, recognizing what I’m really saying is something as elementary as “don’t beat yourself up over that, just start over”, which is less succinct, and less likely to become clear programming. I find myself wondering if that’s really enough to be at all helpful for friends or readers who haven’t yet tried a new beginning in that sense that I mean, and don’t quite know what to do with that moment of transition between the end/consequence of the one moment, and the fresh-start newness of the next.

I drink my coffee and mull that over. Is it a complicated question? “How to Begin Again” doesn’t seem the sort of thing that would, generally, require explicit instruction… but… I already know I’m wrong about that, a lot. So…

  1. Step one, well, I guess something’s gotta end, or be completed, or fail horribly leaving us feeling wretched and lost, or at loose ends, or puzzled, or discontent, or… Yeah. I guess step one has to be the end of something or other. Let’s start there. πŸ™‚
  2. Now begin again.

Okay, okay. I’m being a smart ass, and a bit flippant, and maybe that’s not appropriate for you, in your circumstances, right at the moment? Got it. I’ll… begin again.

  1. Let’s go ahead and still start with something that ends. πŸ™‚ A circumstance, a moment, an experience – and hey, maybe that’s your “now”, right now, and it hasn’t ended yet, and you’re really quite unhappy and miserable and feeling beat down by life, or overcome by ennui or sorrow, or frustration… damn. That sucks. Let’s step 2 the hell out of that, shall we?
  2. Breathe. No kidding. Take a moment and just get some wholesome cleansing deep breaths. Let that other shit go, just for a moment or two at least? Surely that’s fine? It’s a choice. Take a moment for you, and just breathe.
  3. Even while allowing yourself to consider what has passed, whether success or failure, however miserable, worried, or anxious, please also work on letting go of your attachment to the specific outcome, and let go of any expectations you were holding on to. Let yourself have a clean slate on this – it’ll be okay to do that, I assure you. πŸ™‚ The map is not the world, and clinging to an understanding of an experience or circumstance can definitely color your future experience and decision-making.
  4. Go ahead and feel your feelings. Yep. Feel ’em. Emotions are not the bad guys here, and we can develop a less reactive, more awareness-based approach to our emotional life. Finding balance between emotion and reason is a very nice bonus to all this practicing. πŸ™‚
  5. Still breathing? You’ll want to keep that going, generally. πŸ™‚
  6. If you are wanting to literally re-start whatever you just failed at, now’s the time, perhaps, to consider what success really looks like – and maybe also ask yourself some questions about why you view it that way? Is that your own legitimate authentic honest assessment, or have you borrowed someone else’s opinion’s or values there? Please consider usingΒ  your own. πŸ™‚ (Much easier to succeed in life when you are pursuing your own goals.)
  7. Make a plan. Oh, I know – an ever-loving fuck-ton of you, out there, are not planners at all. I’m not saying a word about whether or not you execute a specific plan. I am most definitely suggesting that you still sketch out some sort of loose notion of what you want to get done, even if it’s only in your head, and even if you follow through completely differently. When we feel prepared, our stress level in life is generally lower. Just saying. Think it through. Consider your next steps, and your goal. Consider alternate outcomes – a lot of them. Be okay with as many of those as you are able to allow yourself to be. Consider how those alternate outcomes may also be quite okay, maybe in totally different ways. (Some people might call this “daydreaming”, but it can be done very productively.)
  8. Allow yourself to acknowledge what is and has gone well. Contemplate for some moments all manner of similar experiences or circumstances or events or relationships that have turned out quite well, based on your choices in the past. Consider them. Savor these memories of success and sort of “fill up your consciousness” with the things in life that you appreciate, and have turned out quite nicely.
  9. Still breathing? Don’t forget to breathe.
  10. Now’s the time. Whatever it is, take another lovely deep relaxed breath, recognize and enjoy your humanity, and be aware that through our challenges is our path to growth; we don’t learn much from our successes, or the easy wins in life. We don’t become stronger by way of experiences that don’t test our strength. We can’t fathom the depths of our capacity for joy or love without also experiencing the weight of our pain and sorrow.
  11. Ready? Do the thing. ❀ (All sorts of different steps and verbs go with this one, obviously. You get to choose those; that’s on you.)

I still think it’s fine to just… start with step 1 and finish with a step 2… but… I’ve been practicing for a while, and at this point, it does feel pretty natural to sort of cram all the rest of that between them. LOL

I smile and think about this journey of mine, and how far I’ve come from that hurt creature uncertain life is worth living… that was only… 5 years ago. The world isn’t really a “better place” than it was then, in most regards, and actually, it seems a bit worse, in a number of ways. Still… I feel better, about the world, about myself, about my life, about my ability to love and to heal and to nurture, and to make wise choices. I treat myself, generally, reliably well. I treat others better than I was ever able to before – or knew how to do. Strange to consider how all this progress has been built on so many small beginnings.

My legs ache. I am contentedly fatigued from the effort of the weekend. Joyous effort. Heartfelt effort. Connected effort. The effort we make in life really matters; it’s how we get results. Well… I mean, sure, there’s “luck” of course. Good fortune puts a lot of folks on the path to one win or another, or general success in life, but let’s not kid ourselves about that; there’s a lot of effort that often isn’t seen, or shared. People – lots of people – go about the doing of things, often unnoticed by passers-by.

Sooner or later, however longingly I dream of hiking a particular trail, there’s no progress on making that a reality until boots hit the ground.

Start somewhere.

What’s your dream? Are you working on it?

What’s on your horizon? You are your own cartographer on this journey.

If you’re not working on your dream, realistically, how do you expect to achieve it? Pure intention? Casual assumption that gritting your teeth and firmly “manifesting” it will get you there? “The Universe” looking out for you… why? Someone’s going to hand it to you? Because you’re a great person? Seriously? So, I’m here with a short cut for you – and almost surefire not quite guaranteed path to success (your results will vary); make an effort. No kidding. Sucks, I know, right? Effort?? Like… actual work?

Are the obstacles you face truly as immediate and non-negotiable as you imagine them to be?

Our results are often closely correlated to the effort we make to attain them.

Whose advice are you taking? Sometimes the commandments we perceive as written in stone aren’t so permanent at all.

To put it in more practical terms…how many NFL players just happened to be spotted casually throwing a football around at some point in their life, having never played the game, and just happen to be so fucking fantastic that they are offered a deal on the spot? How many drivers are stopped at an intersection during their commute and offered an opportunity to compete in Formula One racing? One-time karaoke singers invited to perform at The Met? Let’s count carefully now…

…0. Probably. (I didn’t actually look all those scenarios up – if you find an example, I’d love the link to the narrative.)

The point is, if you want to be a professional football player, you’ll probably want to learn to play the game (as a starting point), and hey – maybe get really good at it. Most things work this way. You have to begin somewhere. Practice the thing. Become skilled. Go on to mastering the thing, or becoming in some fashion accomplished. Verbs. Effort. Action. Daydreaming doesn’t put pen to paper, brush to canvas, or a ball into the air.

Wherever it leads, the path we choose in life isn’t going to walk itself.

Hell, we don’t even get to rest on past glories for future successes; it is necessary to keep at it. Whatever it is. Effort. Fuck – I gotta say, that sounds like work. (It is.)

It isn’t always clear where a path leads, or how to reach a desired goal or destination in life. Sometimes talking about it helps.

I spent the weekend with my Traveling Partner. It was intensely connected and intimate, and we had deep conversations about things that feel important – emotional conversations that were not always easy, and could have wrecked a weekend, were we not the sort of partnership that thrives in an environment of authenticity and depth. I got in the car this morning, before dawn, to head back up the highway feeling refreshed, renewed, and filled with something more nuanced than inspiration, more powerful than motivation. I feel push-pulled back into a more verb-packed groove. I hope it lasts. (There will be verbs involved, and no doubt my results may vary.)

One more moment, one more opportunity, one more new beginning.

It’s a good day for a beginning. πŸ™‚

I planned. I prepared. I packed the car before I left for work, eagerly contemplating getting out of the office “early” (I’d already worked more than 40 hours this week, before Thursday event started, and part of that on my weekend, it wasn’t going to be “leaving early” any more than my “extra” day off tomorrow is really “time off”; I was just fucking done). Looked pretty good from the vantage point of beginning the work day – at 5:30 am.

1:00 pm came and went. Pretty much every minute of the day had, at that point, be spent fighting one small work-fire or another – for other people – and data entry.Β  A fucking mountain of it. I’m not actually complaining about that; it’s part of the job, and I am both skillful and fast. It’s annoying to be offered “help” with it, and spend still more time fixing mistakes – and the more fatigued I am from the extended work hours week after draining week, more and more of the mistakes I have been fixing have been my own. So human. I’m convinced everyone I work with is pretty spectacular, and working to the absolute limit of their ability, generally. I fight back tears of frustration so much more often than people realize.

2:00 pm came and went. I missed a ping from my Traveling Partner, asking if I’d left the office yet. He’s eager to see me and spend time together. I message back that I should be done soon.

3:00 pm came and went – more things break. More things to fix. More questions asked. More questions answered. Support this thing. Find that data. Finish this task, then that one. Swamped by low-priority non-negotiable workload, the minutes… are hard. I’m… so done. I’m aggravated by the long hours I end up choosing to work because the work needs to be done. No back up. Team of one. I have a few snarling “fuck this shit” moments, feeling, in the absence of immediate direct stimulus to the contrary, unappreciated. Here’s the thing, though; I’m very much appreciated, and valued. I even recognize that. In the moment, it’s still hard to feel overworked. It’s hard to have to choose self over profession – more often than I want it to be. I matter more. …But…but… money is a shortcut to quality of life. Fucking hell. Some days I feel so trapped.

As 4:00 pm approached, I started wrapping things up, even while recognizing there was more I could do. Of course there is. Always. Very few people work for organizations that understand structured managed workload based on organized routines and interdependent orders of operation. Most organizations just race at break-neck speed from crisis to crisis, reacting – regardless of how well or poorly they plan. I shrug thinking back on the day. It’s a business approach that keeps me employed. I manage chaos. I gently and firmly seek to impose order on chaos. Chaos won today. I don’t really feel like talking about work. lol

I finally got out of the office. Into the car. Couldn’t get myself to start the car. Stared at my phone awhile feeling… distant. Cut off. Confused. Irritated. Overwhelmed. I just wanted someone to help me figure out what to do next… which, considering I just left work, seems odd to me now; I tend to be so purposeful. I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

Fuck! I feel… left behind? “Ignored”? (Way to take it personally, when I know I’m… what exactly? Shit. What the hell?)

I called my partner. No answer.

I start the car and start driving… a direction. A quiet observant voice in the back of my thoughts suggestions I am not actually in any shape to be driving. I try to process that thought. It’s hard.

Where am I going?

The phone rings in the car. I click the phone button sort of… habitually. I don’t feel present. It’s my Traveling partner. Just the sound of his voice… I start crying like a little kid. I want to say that the whole day has been mean to me. I want to cry because nobody likes me (so emotional, so not a real thing – just feelings). I’m trembling all over and notice that I feel cold. We talk. He says words. I heard sounds. I hear emotion. His soft tender tone. “Take care of yourself…” I hear him encouraging me. I feel soothed. He suggests my blood sugar may be low. He’s probably right; I realize when he mentions it that I haven’t really taken the time I need to care for myself today, at all.

The phone call ends and I feel energized, cheerful, recharged… and my blood sugar is still low. And I’m still mired in rush hour traffic. And there’s no where good to stop. My frustration surges again. Tears spill over…

…Where am I going? I’ve ended up on the freeway, a small salad later, and I am apparently headed south for the weekend at a decent clip, thinking… okay, I can do this, this is fine…

Brake lights. So many brake lights for so far ahead. We sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Creep forward. Sit. Creep. Sit. Creep. Sit. The guy ahead of me is reading a newspaper with the overhead light in his car on. Creep forward. I figure maybe I should get off the highway, and take a rural route, and slowly move over just in time for the exit I want.

As I come around the curve of the ramp, I start noticing more how noise sensitive I also am. I’m also pretty nearly blinded by all the high intensity headlights that are so popular now; no divider, nothing to stop assholes with their high beams on from really fucking up my vision completely. Aging sucks ass. Fuck. I can’t see well enough to drive safely, I’m feeling reactive and noise sensitive – this shit isn’t about work at all, and it is very much about self-care. I turn left instead of right. Even though I’d been on the road at that point for almost 90 minutes, I was far closer to home than to the freeway headed south. lol I don’t even feel frustrated by the long drive home; I’m relieved to be out of the traffic.

My Traveling Partner catches up with me on the phone later. We agree that doing my usual early morning drive just makes sense. No one has hurt feelings over it. I mean, we miss each other, and yeah, I’ll admit I was crying for some minutes once I admitted to myself that I was not going to make the drive tonight – just pure disappointment and longing for the company of this human being I love so much. I’ve been home a little while. Car’s already packed. Some healthy calories later, a couple big glasses of water, an appropriate amount of cannabis for the need of the moment, and some unmeasured time meditating, I realize I didn’t write – again this morning. The sudden blast of resentment that blows through my consciousness catches me by surprise – without surprising me. I get it; it’s time to take back my time. πŸ˜‰

It’s time to begin again.

I am sipping my coffee in a state of contentment and feeling generally okay after an entire day of rest, following the recreational weekend. It’s worth it to take time to get adequately rested. So often, I enjoy a great time, let that occasion undermine my self-care, and move on to a new work week, and interacting with people, without “getting caught up”, and really caring for myself. It’s a poor choice to take that approach.

How much Monday misery is fully and wholly a byproduct of enthusiastic weekend endeavors? Probably quite a lot of it, and I suspect that Monday’s reputation for being a shitty day of the week is caused more by hangovers of various sorts, than by any actual day-of-week-related flaw. (Don’t even start with me about how you “don’t get hangovers”; the science suggests otherwise, and if you don’t like the word, don’t use the word, but for fuck’s sake don’t bullshit yourself about needed after-care!)

I’m sitting here grateful to be more aware of such things than I was when I was in my 20s – my quality of life could have been so much better, and there could have been so much less fucking drama! “Self-care” was not in my vocabulary.

I smile, and sip my coffee. Yeah… I don’t even try to go off the coffee. I recognize the irony. I don’t avert my eyes from the lessons I learn about addiction, generally, and good self-care, just because this particular intoxicant is legal. The legality of any given intoxicant has not one thing to do with whether it is effective, or what effects it actually has, or whether there is a hangover. Words are not experiences. Experiences exist independent of the words we use to describe them.

Take care of yourselves out there in the world, Party People! It’s Monday. Tomorrow is “terrible Tuesday”, too, and intoxicants vary widely in both effect, and duration of effect. If you’re working, you may not be at your best. That annoying argument? Probably a byproduct of your chemistry – you’re usually so much more reasonable, and measured in your responses. That flare up of bad temper? Yeah, excessive is a good word for that – it’s worth reminding yourself that you’re probably prone to being a bit over-reactive right now. You could do better. Are you drinking enough water? Have you had nutritionally dense healthy calories? Have you gotten the rest you need? You don’t need to dissolve into a private emo nightmare of drama and woe – you can practice good self-care, and heighten your self-awareness. Being more considerate of yourself (and, let’s be frank, of others) may ease some of the (literal) headaches of a (hungover) Monday… I’m just saying; you have choices. πŸ˜‰ Your results may vary, but you can choose how to deal with that, too. πŸ™‚

…Adulting takes so much practice. Have you “already completely fucked this day up”? Just begin again. ❀

It’s probably true for all of us, that we’d like to understand the world, our lives, the lives of others, much more than we really do – or ever could. We spend tons of time on “human interest stories” and posts and articles about other people’s lives and circumstances, seeking greater understanding of the human experience (or salacious titillation, which is, frankly, an unpleasant impulse ideally not indulged). It’s problematic, because, too often, it leads to becoming heavily emotionally invested in experiences that are not actually our own. Humans are fairly weird primates. lol

Our technology makes it very easy to “watch from afar”, distant connections, celebrities, neighbors, and even X’s and people who have walked on from where we now stand, making it clear they want no part of our bullshit any longer. Some people yield to that temptation, becoming obsessed with some other human to the detriment of their everyday lives. That’s mostly just sort of sad, really, I don’t know what to say about that… Let it go? Live life? Invest in what is actually yours? Enjoy or change what is within your own reach? Knock that dumb shit off? (Well, that last one there seems a bit rude, and insensitive, but… yeah; you don’t really have time for that kind of foolishness, we are mortal, life is finite, and there’s other shit to do. lol)

I know one or two folks who, even years later, still obsess about an ex to the point of madness. It’s hard to watch. I can’t call them “friends” of mine, to be clear; they don’t have time for friendship, they are far too busy with clinging, or plotting revenge, or grieving endlessly, to enjoy friendship, or even the simple pleasures of living life. It’s a weird place to spend one’s time, I think, but then again – I’ve chosen a different path. We each walk our own mile, paved with our own choices. We become what we practice, and are, unavoidably, generally speaking, one hundred percent a creature of our own making.

Our shittiest behavior becomes part of who weΒ are. We will be recognized and described by those behaviors and choices.

Think about that. You are who you choose to be. You become whatever you choose to practice being. No kidding, even our worst “mistakes” as people are only “mistakes” that first time; once we’re called on our bullshit and told that our words or actions are objectionable, and we continue to make that choice? Now that shit is “on purpose”, even if not specifically willfully deliberate in the moment – unless of course we have some sort of mental illness, cognitive limitation, or challenge in life that specifically limits our rational agency and free will. What I’m saying is – we make choices. A lot of choices. Our choices are part of who we are, and say a lot about our character.

Choose wisely. The world is watching.

…Oh hey, just note; you’re going to fuck some shit up and make some terrible choices in life. It’s a human thing. Begin again. Do better. Keep practicing. It’s a long journey from here, wherever “here” is, to becoming the human being you most want to be… and fucking hell, there’s no map.

Ready? However bad things feel right now? It’s okay to begin again. πŸ™‚