Archives for category: Metaphors

It’s an interesting morning, so far. Calm. Content. “Quiet” (for some values of quiet; Kendrick Lamar reminding me to be “Humble” on headphones here). I feel very much… myself.  Gently, authentically, comfortably this one particular human being that I am. Nice. I should probably just stop right here and get on with that – it’s a feeling worth savoring. 🙂

You know I haven’t “always” been “here”, right? You can also extrapolate from the first paragraph that I am not “always” “here”, generally, right? (Otherwise, this moment is not noteworthy in any way, merely a state of being.) I begin the journey somewhere very different. 🙂 I say “begin” rather than “began” because I have grown to accept the idea that I am fairly persistently and regularly beginning again – even to stand still. To move forward, to grow, to get from a beginning to a planned end point that includes willful forward progress requires quite a bit more than simple practices and beginning again; it requires practice, beginnings, endings, letting go, reaching out, opening up, acceptance, change, choices… and so many iterations of self along the way that ancient anxiety regularly reaches out to attempt to stall me with fearful whispers that I may “lose myself” or perhaps my way, or maybe love itself will be lost as a consequence of change. It’s an illusion; the journey is always in progress, and I am always taking steps in some direction – even standing still requires effort.

I still have bad days. I still face challenges. I still cry. I still have nightmares. I still hurt sometimes. I still face fears. I still have doubts. I still feel the sting of insecurity. I still deal with loneliness. Still. That’s actually an important word here. I’m here. Still. That’s no small thing. By itself, the fact that I live is a measure of progress. 🙂 For a long while I didn’t really ‘get’ that there was something beyond ‘living’… I had to embrace just being alive before I could see over that wall at a more distant horizon – thriving. The journey continues.

Storms pass.

This morning feels different. Feels good. I’m feeling comfortably poised between emotion and reason, equally aware of internal, and external. Open to love. This is a good place to exist in this moment. I feel content, and open to changed perspective and new ideas. Is this thriving? Is it time for this journey to step beyond the familiar to new territory? I wonder…

What does a beginning look like?

…And I begin again. 🙂

Yesterday quickly descended into further emotional distance, and definite anhedonia. I found myself asking “the” question, too: “Am I depressed?” It had crept over me fairly slowly, then finished with a slam – the house I was going to go see, out in the countryside, went pending right about when I got in to the office. I was bummed.

There are sunny mornings.

This particular source of frustration comes up pretty regularly, and house-hunting is becoming a big downer, mostly because frustration is my kryptonite, and also because the process itself brings me into regular contact with an industry built on corruption, with little in the way of healthy pro-consumer regulation. (Seriously, I’d be pretty appalled to walk into, say, Ross and pick out a pair of jeans, carry those to the register, and have some other customer take them out of my hand, step in front of me in line, and firmly tell the cashier “I’m willing to pay more than you are charging for these, so they’re mine.” That’s hard to deal with over and over again.) I just want to go home. No, I mean, seriously, for me the entire process of house-hunting is 100% only intended to let me “go home” – to a home that is mine, that I can count on, that I can make my own and improve or change, and make more secure and comfy and safe. Having to throw regular exposure to frustration into my day-to-day experience by choice (particularly over something so heartfelt) is … yeah. Hard. Icky. Discouraging.

There are mornings that seem strangely gray.

I reached out to my Traveling Partner and let him know my weekend was upended and as a result quite unplanned. I was mostly venting, and not reaching out to change his plans. He understood – and we miss each other regardless of our plans. He suggested coming to hang out, if that sounded good to me. I was still struggling with anhedonia; nothing sounded good at all.  He helpfully prompted me to consider my experience through another perspective; my physical health. Recognizing my pain management challenges, my poor quality sleep, and the basic frustration of  house-hunting and how that affects my mood, generally, put me in a better place for the day, and I even found my to making new plans that really suited where my heart is, combining some hang out time with scouting other areas for livability, that might be good choices for future house-hunting.

Each moment, however similar seeming in some detail or another is entirely its own experience.

I committed to sleeping in today, and I did – I woke at 6:30 am feeling fairly rested. A leisurely shower felt delightful. My coffee is hot, and I feel fairly chill and merry this morning. Sleep is a very big deal.

Yesterday’s sunshine has given way to today’s steady drizzle. Fuck I hate driving in the rain. LOL Still… lovely day to enjoy a drive in the countryside, in no hurry to get to the end of the day.

A different morning, a different place, another moment to begin again.

…I guess I’ll begin again. There are verbs involved. 🙂

I am fairly certain I don’t actually “feel like” writing this morning. I’m not sure I really have anything much to say, but making that observation only causes me to wonder when I ever really do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel down or blue, not even a little bit, just… distant? Removed? Dis-engaged? Remote. Not for any obvious reason… I’m just… coasting… on a level surface. lol

A hint of slow creeping disarray in my environment nags at me to do… something. To at least do something about the disarray itself, which is aggravating me this morning. There’s this flutter, more a deluge really, of loose papers left not-quite-piled (definitely not neatly stacked) messily on the floor near the closet – the file cabinet in which they belong is in that closet. The papers are not in that file cabinet. I have trouble tearing my eye away from them, as though drawn to a crime scene unexpectedly encountered along a walk. I don’t realize I am still staring at it… and then repeat that experience again and again. The untidy bit of paperwork is left out from filing my taxes. lol I could put that shit away. I’d simultaneously both really like to do that, and also really feel inclined to continue to ignore it in favor of doing many other things. It’s just one detail… well… no. It isn’t. There’s the mysterious stack of books… my sketchbook, some seed catalogs, garden books, a letter I’ve started to someone written on a yellow legal pad… This stack of things was on the dining table. I moved it “out of the way” a number of times; now it sits rather awkwardly on the living room floor in front of the bookcases, between the speakers… just… there. No point to it. It makes no damned sense.

There are dishes in my damned sink this morning. 😦 In fact, the dinner dishes have been in the sink each morning for days now. I start the dishes on my way out each morning, but fail to empty the dishwasher each evening, and repeat the tedious irksome cycle again the next day.

I could less this go on awhile longer without bothering to sort it out… “It isn’t that bad.” Sure. Whatever. It’s not about the magnitude of disorder, though – it is about disorder creeping in and gaining a foothold.

I find myself shaking it off, aware that there are verbs involved. I recognize as I sort through my thoughts that my lack of interest in writing is largely due to my greater urge to tidy up and put my world right. It’s just me here, so there’s no one else to blame or bitch at… and I really do enjoy a tidy living space. Making excuses about letting things go only tends to let things go longer, and make room for more excuses, and accommodate more small disorderly inconsequential messes… and eventually those grow enough to begin to connect to each other, and over time a small mess, a bit of untidiness, becomes a bigger deal, and evidence of truly disordered thinking (at least for me). Time to get a grip; summer is coming, and living beautifully feels ever so much better on terrible hot sweltering days, than being surrounded by disorder. Although, it’s not the seasons, nor the weather, that have anything to do with it at all; I’m a human primate, and I’ll make patterns, draw connections, see correlations in all manner of things that have no relationship whatsoever outside pure coincidence. lol I’m just saying, it’s time to tidy things up again – it is, in fact, clearly overdue.

Does my untidy living space negatively affect the quality of my emotional life? Or does my mental health drive the untidiness to taking over my space? Does it matter, if the quality of my life and experience improves when I tidy things up? There are, of course, still verbs involved. 🙂

Looks like it’ll be a weekend of housekeeping and tidying up. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone camping. I can’t recall now why that is. I remember what sweet relief being camped out under the stars can be… So… Why has it been, seriously? More than a year? My gear stands packed and ready, and my Traveling Partner will be off on his summer travels soon, and this year leaving the car with me looks like a thing. 🙂 Convenient for so many reasons! Heading into the trees and reaching distant trailheads, are surely among those reasons.

It’s been nagging at me since yesterday; June is near at hand. The weather will be lovely for camping, most likely, and summer just beginning. This morning I sit down purposefully and make reservations, securing a favorite tent site. When I get into the office, I’ll request the time off. 🙂

A favorite spot waits for me.

My “last” camping trip was cut short by my lack of preparedness and the fairly irksome discovery that I had forgotten both my bee sting kit, and any coffee at all, proved to be too much for me. (I’m very human!) I went home feeling vaguely, somewhat playfully, “disgraced”. I can do better, and knowing that I can, and didn’t, continued to bite at my consciousness like a stinging insect for some time after that. I did actually go camping last year (that other wasn’t really the most recent trip, at all) though it doesn’t linger in my memory with so much clarity, it too is a recollection tinged with “failure”. I went to a distant trailhead, camped under the stars during a meteor shower, but struggled to enjoy it because it was one of those super popular locations that everyone thinks is their own secret find, and it was over-crowded, swarming with hikers, picnickers, rowdy party folks hollering from camp to camp through the night, and headlights sweeping through the trees all night long, as weary travelers arrived, discovered there was no room, and turned around to drive on. Not really a pleasant trip as much as checking a trail off a list, and doing so rather half-heartedly, once it proved to be – for now – beyond my abilities to get to the summit. I could go there, and try that again, except that the crowds were just not my thing at all. I head to the trees to be alone without all that. lol

I have everything I need to just go camping on a moment’s notice. It came in handy during the recent power outage; I simply lit candles, started a fire in the fire-place, and invited friends over to chill. No panic. Camping generally feels easy like that, too, these days. I quickly get set up, and then quickly shift gears to slow things down, stretch time, and soak in the sounds, scents, and sights of the forest. I spend most of my time hiking, reading, writing, and meditating. I take pictures. I sit quietly. I sit quietly a lot. I could do all these things at home. I do all these things at home. Camping takes them to another level of inner stillness, and turns my attention more fully inward; there are no escapes from self out among the trees.

I’m eager to go. Eager to begin again. 🙂

 

Three words, and a very challenging practice.

“Assume positive intent”… well… that seems generally like a very good starting point in most relationships. Certainly our loves can be assumed to have positive intent (elsewise perhaps we benefit from choosing our loves with greater care!) The average stranger in passing rates an assumption of positive intent, and even in the face of moments that might suggest that a stranger’s intentions are less than ideally positive; it’s highly likely that it is my own narrative coaching me to a different outcome than any action, choice, or intention of that stranger. Most of us, much of the time, are far to self-involved to willfully and deliberately, with consideration of the consequences, and planning of the details, do each other some harm. Hapless inconsiderate douchebaggery notwithstanding, most people, most of the time, are mostly doing something that is more or less, in that moment, their rather human “best”.  Assuming positive intent applies a little social lubricant to my interactions, rather in the same way that saying “please” and “thank you” do. Assuming positive intent is the flip side of being courteous.

I write this morning, thinking about “assuming positive intent” in the context of three experiences.

The first of these was a gentle chiding by a professional peer in response to a cynical remark I made in the office. She had replied, with some firmness, “you aren’t assuming positive intent”. She was right. I have since thought it over a lot. It was an important observation. Too often past pain and trauma in relationships, or current struggles that linger, become source material in my thinking and decision-making in the present. I can do better than that – with practice.

The next experience was my homecoming last night. It was obvious my Traveling Partner had been and gone. It was obvious because my produce delivery had been brought in, and because there were coffee cups and glasses left on end tables here and there, and a cushion moved to a “comfortable guest spot” in the living room (I’d left it by the patio door). A used tissue on the floor. A small decorative container I’d left closed, was left open. I started to be annoyed about having to pick up after people I didn’t hang out with… which was tested by also being pleased about the produce being brought in. An assumption of positive intent helped out here; by choosing willfully to assume positive intent, I was reminded that my Traveling Partner had a super full calendar yesterday, and likely hadn’t intended to linger at my place at all, possibly rushing off without double-checking that things had been tidied up. It made it a lot easier to get past an “I’m not the maid” moment.

The third experience was waking up this morning and reading (again) about the United States dropping a fucking “MOAB” on Afghanistan. Yeah. I’ll admit right now; I can’t find any room in my heart to assume positive intent on this one. There is no moment at which taking a human life by force holds an assumption of positive intent. Dropping a big ass bomb far away hoping to kill a couple dozen people just seems like … heinous short-sighted crassly violent stupidity. So we killed some people we’ve decided to define as “bad guys”, based on our own narrative… but… what about the other effects of slamming the planet with a big ass bomb? What about the earth itself? What about other people? (“We have no evidence of civilian casualties” is a pretty pitifully insensitive remark to be making, when the bomb that was dropped likely obliterated everything within a substantial radius, entirely.) What about… other life forms than human beings? Seriously. We’re just not “everything that matters”. What about desert foxes, wee mammals, birds, reptiles… what about the fucking environment we all live in? This? Not the time for assumptions of positive intent, because right here, it is plain to see the aggressive, violent, damaging action we’ve taken. It isn’t pretty. It’s not okay. It was toxic muscle-flexing, stupid, short-sighted, gross over-kill. Not an action taken from a position of assuming positive intent, or with any wholesome outcome in mind. The dead were the bad guys? Yeah, well – apparently so are we; dropping a bomb is not a good guy moment.

I take a deep breath and another sip of my coffee. I look back on a lifetime of experience and acknowledge that I didn’t always feel the way I do now about war – or assuming positive intent, either. Growth and change – and practicing practices, and choosing different verbs, and walking this path through chaos and damage, working to heal, and finding other ways to be than continuous raging fury – have taken me a very long way from that woman in the mirror that I was at 23. 53 is nearly over… 59 days remaining, then I’ll get to take 54 for a spin, and see how I like that one. I know one thing; I’ll be practicing assuming positive intent – and I won’t be dropping any bombs.

We change when we grow. There are verbs involved. I’ve had to begin again a whole bunch of times, and walk on from discouragement, from pain, and even from friendships that could not be sustained any longer. I’ve made choices to change. I’ve had change forced on me unexpectedly. I’m having my own experience. 53 is among my very favorite years of life… it’s had some lovely moments (quite a lot of them) and some interesting challenges. Totally worth all the verbs and practicing. 🙂

I look at the time; it’s time to begin again. 😀