Archives for category: Love

In video games new levels sometimes look really different. Handy. It’s less obvious with birthdays. Sure, sure, I’m “a whole year older”, but that work is behind me now, and 55 is basically all but one day entirely ahead of me. Everything looks entirely the same. πŸ™‚

Perspective on the day. A familiar view.

I had things planned that took me downtown in the morning. Those plans toppled like carefully arranged dominoes, but not soon enough to spare me the trip. lol My day was entirely spent indulging myself gently from there, gardening, reading, and generally delighted with the lovely day from moment-to-moment. I missed my Traveling Partner, and far more the person, himself, than the gift he’d sent (that he had alerted me would likely not arrive in time). (I do like presents, but missing him is not about material things.)

It was a lovely day in the garden.

My mail carrier surprised me by being early. Packages. πŸ˜€ A gift from a friend, and a wee package from my Traveling Partner; his gift arrived on the very day. I eagerly opened them both. Earrings and a book. The earrings are lovely heart-shaped peridot earrings that sparkle in the sunshine, and go very nicely with my mop of messy layers and waves of colorful hair. The book is how I ended up spending much of the delightful day reading, trying in part to puzzle out why this book? A birthday mystery. lol

I did not end up readingΒ this book, but this is the book I was gifted. πŸ˜€

I spent the day gently, enjoying my own company. Time well-spent. Facebook filled with birthday well-wishes over the course of the day. Each “happy birthday” made me smile, and take note of the good wishes of my friends in a bigger way. My Mom phoned. We talked for about half an hour, really taking time to catch up. It was a great start to a new year, a new level. By the end of the day, plans that had gone awry were no longer part of the experience, at all. πŸ™‚ I spent the day very present, in my own experience, with myself. It was quite lovely. I find myself wondering how best to incorporate that into every day, into every experience with myself…? I’m betting there are verbs involved. lol No doubt it will require practice. πŸ™‚ I’ll probably need to begin again… a bunch of times. I could probably get started on that now…

…”Now” is an excellent time for beginnings. πŸ™‚

Well…

…55, eh? Okay, let’s do that, then. Hardly avoidable without drastic, unpleasant measures, easier – far easier – to go with it.Β  πŸ™‚

My plans today are fairly loose, and more “about me” than not. Some self-indulgence, some chill time, some phone calls, a walk in the woods, lunch out, some pampering, all suffused with the additional luxury of this being a “work day” in the middle of the week, which I’ve taken off for no purpose but to enjoy this moment celebrating my survival.

Birthday Flowers

I’ve made it to Level 55, y’all!!! OMG!

I made an unfortunately shitty cup of coffee after my shower this morning. I’m drinking it anyway. The mug is warm in my hands, and I’m frankly grateful for the luxuries of potable water, an electric kettle, and very fresh, carefully roasted, whole bean coffee. I mean, seriously, bitching about a less-than-ideally-well-made cup of coffee would amount to nothing more than inconsiderate rudeness to the woman (me) who took the time (mine) and made the effort (also mine) to make it in the first place. lol I suppose I could have dumped it out and started over. It just wasn’t that big a deal this morning… and I think maybe I get extra experience points to also enjoy this moment, present and aware – even aware of the less than excellent cup of coffee. πŸ˜€

This is a day on which I’ll spend considerable time reflecting on the “XP” accumulated along life’s journey. I’ll contemplate Level 54, and wonder if I missed really cool “side missions” that could have benefited my personal growth later on. Did I overlook any fun Easter eggs? Have I failed to appreciate the profundity of one circumstance or another? I’ll look ahead in the game play, as much as I am able, and try to sort out Level 55 before I get going in earnest… What does the map look like? Where are the obvious hazards? Which “short cuts” waste time and resources, and are best avoided? Are there known strategies that work better than others? What are my resources, my limitations, my skills – what is my plan? In every life-level, there is some moment, or event, or “bad guy” to conquer (there’s a reason games are a great metaphor for living)… what form will it take? What will the important lessons turn out to be?

In the game of life, we don’t really get to repeat a level…but… it’s possible to half-ass a level so thoroughly that very little is gained (or even to “fail” it at great cost to ourselves), or find we’ve wasted our time such that we don’t really have any XP to show for it at all, and just sort of ooze over the finish line into the next level without much in the way of progress. We can’t really level up prematurely, either, but we can gain so much XP in a single level that the level becomes peculiarly, radically transformative. Sometimes we expect levels to have that kind of importance… 18… 21… 30… 40… and sometimes they don’t, in spite of our expectations (lookin’ your way, 40). 55? This isn’t a level people spend much time talking about… I wonder what surprises await me?

…55 doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy, aside from simply being here; as a much younger woman, I did not anticipate getting this far in the game. 55, from the perspective of 20, seemed “old” (in spite of being only 35 levels ahead of me)… now it just seems… well, not old, that’s for sure. I wonder where the day – and this level – will take me? So far, at approximately 2 hours of game play on this level (already)… it’s a level full of questions, and speculation, and it’s not very difficult (yet). LOL

There is this lovely day ahead of me, a blue sky overhead, birdsong, sunshine, and plans for lunch. It’s a good start. I guess I’m ready to press “Start” and begin again…

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. πŸ™‚

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. πŸ™‚

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. πŸ™‚

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. πŸ™‚

Tuesday it was Kate Spade. This morning, I read that Anthony Bourdain has also taken his own life. I pause for a moment to consider the engaging chef whose books and television shows entertained and educated me. I enjoyed his wit. The headline “Anthony Bourdain Has Died” didn’t prepare me for the further information regarding his suicide. There’s a certain different ache in my soul when I read of suicide…

…I know what despair feels like.

Well, shit. It’s a scary, seriously frightening and frustrating world these days. I get feeling overwhelmed by despair. Some days it is hard not to. We will see, for days to come, articles about suicide help lines, and some analyses of what drives people to take their own lives. There will be salacious gossip about the lives of the fallen. Someone will share a recent article about the high rate of senior or veteran suicides. Most of the people who read those will shake their heads, and turn away, unaware someone dear to them is on the brink of making that major “life” decision.

Connect with your loved ones, your friends, associates, and coworkers. Be sure to mention that they matter to you in an authentic way, and be real about it. It’s not about hyperbole and fake compliments, and it isn’t necessary to use superlatives. Easier to straight up give voice to that thing they do that you enjoy, or count on, or appreciate, or wish you did as well – or, fucking hell, just have lunch, or coffee – make time. Be present. Don’t rush those connected social moments; they are what matter most in our days. There’s no knowing when someone may choose to check out, and while you may not be able to change their mind about it, you can, at least, enjoy who they are while they are here.

On the other side of the equation, please consider sticking around awhile? If you’re considering a firm end to the chaos, and stress, and trauma, and struggle, and despair… please, just for a moment, consider that there may be other things you have yet to try. There may be practices that improve your experience, even if they don’t change the entire world, itself. Incremental change takes time – please give yourself some. Someone, I promise you, will miss you if you go.

I stayed. There are a lot of verbs involved, but it has been, very much, worth it to have stayed. I’ll go on with that, with staying around I mean, because things got better. Things continue to get better. I can’t promise that for you, but I can assure you that choosing change results in changes, so long as you do the verbs. πŸ™‚ Your results may (will) vary, and the changes you choose in life may be somewhat askew from the changes you subsequently find unfolding around you, but change is. Despair isn’t particularly sustainable, it’s just annoyingly difficult to see through when we’re feeling it.

There’s one irksome thing about suicide that never fails to leave me feeling bereft and discontent; I don’t know why. No, I mean… I don’t know why. That’s what leaves me feeling so bereft and discontent. I’m not sure there’s any solid “why” to suicide. Surely, people have their reasons. Many leave a note behind, but often those are not public, and even when they are public, they leave so much left unexplained – as if I think there is, or should be, a reasonable explanation when despair overtakes someone. Despair is shitty enough to be its own reason.

One more time, I let the “why?” go, and pause for a moment to say good-bye to a fallen soul. I pause for regret. I pause to appreciate, to mourn, to find personal solace after a time. I pause to be aware I am, myself, okay right now… as though it could creep up on me, and take me by surprise, myself…

…Then I begin again.

I arrived home last night in due time. The ride from the airport to my place was efficient and pleasant, the taxi was clean, and the driver gave me a discount – for being nice. (What a peculiar world this has become, that basic civility and pleasantness are provided a cash reward, due to being uncommon.) The evening was relaxed; I’d left the house in a comfortable state to welcome my return. It’s a favorite practice; leave it as you’d wish to return to it. πŸ™‚ A good practice in life, in relationships, in the wilderness, at my workstation, in the kitchen… I’ve yet to come up with an exception of any note.

A quiet evening passed gently, without fuss, suffused with the glow of relaxed contentment, and emotional riches. Clearly, I needed to reconnect with dear friends. I’m glad I made the trip.

I mostly slept well, last night, and slept in this morning. The night was interrupted by frequently needing to pee; Portland’s milder cooler spring climate does not require so much water consumption, and as is the way of things, my body naturally made that adjustment. lol I didn’t expect to sleep in so deeply, so easily – or so late, waking up well past 7:30 am. I felt great waking slowly, then attempted to stand. Every muscle protested, as though I’d done a lot of heavy lifting, or engaged in a grueling physical competition. I didn’t do any of those things – just spent a few days in the Fresno area heat, in the company of friends, going here and there, on my feet, back and forth, doing things, and stuff – mostly just hanging out. I feel like I’ve been beaten. LOL Fuck. The higher humidity of the Pacific Northwest grabbed me by the arthritis with a real commitment to making me pay for ever leaving. LOL

Yoga helps.

Mmmm. Coffee’s good, too.

More yoga helps.

I’m still stiff as hell, but I’ve got this beautiful day off ahead of me – and it’s all mine. I’ve no idea yet what I’ll do with it, but it is mine, and I’d planned it to recover from my trip away. Good call, too; I don’t need it as much as I thought I might, but having it feels like a wonderful way to care for myself. πŸ˜€

A beautiful day, a beautiful moment.

Golden morning sunshine peeks through the brash spring green leaves of the Big Leaf Maples beyond the deck, catching my attention with shifting breezes. A small brown bird hops here and there looking for seeds, and glancing at me expectantly; I wonder if there is recognition that the human primate is back, or specific understanding that I provide the seeds? The weather report suggests a pleasant high of 72, and a lovely day to be in the garden…

It’s time to begin again.