Archives for category: Parables

Change takes time. I mean, obviously when change is forced on us, some parts of change and changing, and certainly the requirement to do so, can hit us with real force in a very immediate way, no doubt about that. What I am pointing out is more that the skillful adaptation to change takes time. I roll with my changes as skillfully as I am able to, in the moment, but it does definitely take me some time to “get used to the new normal”. The experience of “change taking longer to get used to” is something I recognize as part of my TBI and the day-to-day realities of dealing with it, but it is also an experience most people likely have to one degree or another.

When I moved from the smaller apartment (#27) to the larger one right on the edge of the park (#59), the very specifically mirror-imaged kitchen messed with my head for months; I just kept clawing at the wrong side of the doorway for that damned light switch. It was the better part of a year before my brain finished making that change. Even with practice, some things change really slowly.

There’s a different car in my driveway this morning than there was 10 days ago. I was only getting started on getting used to commuting on transit, again. This morning, it’s back to commuting by car, but the car is different. This is no small thing, but it’s also no big deal. It’s both noteworthy and inconsequential. It likely will be somewhat different; the car handles quite differently. Sounds different. Feels different. Surrounds me differently. There are different features to learn. Different placement of some things, compared to the car I’ve been driving. Some things feel more natural than in the sedan. Other things feel quite strangely placed, as though the manufacturer “doesn’t know me at all”. (It’s mostly more comfortable and familiar-seeming than less, though, which is nice.) The new car is a first for me with this manufacturer, actually. A Mazda. Funny how much difference small changes make. They add up, too. It means driving very mindfully is a thing I need to make a point of for some time to come. I can’t really rely too heavily on implicit memory right now; I have none that applies to this vehicle. lol

One very telling thing? I regularly catch myself humming an old Queen song, “I’m In Love With My Car“,Β  when I am thinking about this car. lol It’s been awhile since I had a car that I felt that way about, myself. πŸ™‚ I’m almost excited to drive to work today. For me, with the injury I have, that also means being very mindful and present is a huge thing, especially the first few weeks driving this car; it’s my one way to keep excitement from resulting in inattention or poor judgement, which can be a common enough result of being overly eager or excited about something, for me.Β  I’m definitely excited to be driving it. So… a good choice of vehicle? πŸ™‚ I mean… it’s not a powerful luxury sedan (they tend to be a bit outside my comfort zone, and always feel sort of… huge), nor is it a fantastical beautiful sports car sort of machine (which, I’ll admit, I adore on this whole other level, but the driving of which bring out personality traits I don’t find are my best)…but, it’s every bit of the machine I find myself wanting most, day-to-day: nimble, quick, and capable of going where I want to go. I smile when I see it there in the driveway.

Some of the fun in life is about change. Every change is a new beginning. A “do over”. An opportunity to become more the person I most want to be. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad I’m getting over this head cold, too; it’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee wondering why it tastes crappy this morning, and smile at the recollection of the numerous friends who would likely point out that it could be simply that it is coffee. Having a… “fondness” for (addiction to?) coffee isn’t something everyone has, wants, or seeks out. Coffee, sometimes, tastes like some rare combination of cardboard and tobacco tea. lol It’s not always flavorful and delicious, especially preferring it, generally, black. This morning, this cup of coffee tastes a bit like… coffee filter paper that’s had one cup of coffee run through it, the grounds dumped out, and then refilled with crushed dandelion stems, and some sort of bitter tea has resulted from this process. Only… I don’t really taste “bitter” in any clear way, so… just… not good. lol

…I could set it aside and not drink it, I mean, if I weren’t concerned about the headache that would come later today… or… yeah. Okay. I know, I know. It doesn’t make any sense. Why would I continue?? This is addiction. It’s how it works. I take another sip of my coffee…

…I drink rather a lot of coffee, and sit with that for a few minutes, just thinking about that, and taking stock of how skillfully I am/am not managing that addiction? (Addiction is what this is. The legality is not relevant to the chemistry.) My consumption over the past year has crept up to a very steady “3 coffees”…but… it had reached a point at which those “3 coffees” were all quad shot beverages. lol Oops. That’s a bit much, and even with ensuring my consumption is all in the morning (unless willfully and explicitly to support a late night), it is enough to interfere with good sleep. I’ve already cut way back to just “3 coffees”, meaning, just three actual coffee beverages (and if any one of those is an espresso drink, it only has a double shot in it). My coffee habit, over the years, has required some vigilance. Every now and then, it’s important to notice “how bad it has gotten” and take a step back, adjust, and put myself back on track with what I am really comfortable with. I recall one point in my 20s when I literally (no kidding) walked around more or less always with a coffee cup in my hand, and drank generally nothing else.

This particular cup of coffee is actually really quite remarkably bad. Wow. If they were all likeΒ this, I probably would not drink coffee at all.

I let my mind wander to other things. My Traveling Partner somewhere out in the world… The day ahead… Car shopping… The heat of summer… I sip my coffee and enjoy the quiet morning. It hasn’t mattered whether the coffee actually tastes good, not for a really long time. Not really. Sure, the coffee thing is what it is, and what it is, is that I’m addicted to coffee. I’m even okay with that. It’s a moment. A ritual. A part of a stabilizing morning routine that begins my day slowly, encouraging me to take the time to really wake up (and helps a bit with that), before I face the world.

…It does need some awareness and management, that’s just real.

My aching back is back to being more about my arthritis than injury or muscle soreness. Pain sucks, regardless, and I welcome any lessening or reduction in it. I enjoy the moment of “feeling better” without pointing my consciousness back to the pain itself. I find that focusing on the pain, and becoming invested in the emotional experience of the pain, in the moment, tends to amplify it, and I really don’t want to add that to my day. I breathe, relax, and let the awareness of pain, generally, fade into the background. I won’t lie; it’s not a perfect solution. I still hurt. I’m just not letting pain pwn my day. πŸ™‚

I finish my coffee and look at the clock. The world goes on being the world. People are still people. Buses are still running. Commuters are still rushing across town. Work is still something that occupies far too much of the time of far too many people. Too many other people don’t have enough work to support their quality of life needs (because, keeping it real, too many jobs don’t pay a living wage at all). There is still a need for balance. There is still a search for it. Life is a process, and a verb. Active. Changing. Real. Filled with choices.

There is time to begin again. There is time to become the person I most want to be. There is time to change the world. There are verbs involved. Ready? It’s time.

Timing is a thing. It’s morning again. I’m rather aggressively slurping my coffee. There’s less time in the mornings, and I am feeling grateful that I started waking up at 4 am weeks ago (months?). I still get an hour for myself before it’s time for feet to hit pavement, and head to the bus that will take me to the office. I’m not complaining, just noting the change to my routine, and to my timing.

I exchange a few words with my Traveling Partner. I am very much missing him. I think about love for some little while. I try not to count the minutes. πŸ™‚

The walk to the bus stop is easier each day as my body gets more used to it, and my brain gets re-calibrated to the time it takes to get to work. The commute is basically doubled in duration, in both directions, and the bus is crowded in the afternoon, on the way home. I’m not surprised by these things, they are merely characteristics of the new normal.

All the way home, each evening, I consider the things I am going to get done once I arrive. I get home too tired for any of that. This, too, is familiar. Yesterday evening was fairly skillfully done. I managed to stay fully on track with my self-care stuff, and even enjoyed the evening quietly before calling it an early night and getting some sleep. I slept through the night. I woke to the alarm. Getting up was harder than usual – I really wanted to sleep on. lol I tried to convince myself it is Saturday (it’s not; it is Wednesday) and almost went back to sleep. So unlike me.

Finally acknowledging, regularly and out loud, that I have been pushing myself too hard allows me to also admit I need more rest, like, seriously. I’m looking forward to sleeping in Saturday, in spite of knowing I’m likely to wake with the dawn, anyway.

There’s really nothing profound about any of this, and the common truth of life is that much of it is mundane, ordinary stuff, lacking in profundity or significance. A good night’s rest still matters, though. A good cup of coffee (if you’re into coffee) still satisfies. Routine is routine. Average is average. Ordinary is what most moments and days are made of – that’s not only “okay”; it provides the framework to understand the extraordinary, and recognize significance of moments that are indeed profound. This morning is not that. It’s just morning. That suits me just fine – it’s enough.

I smile quietly and swallow the last of my coffee, my eye on the clock. It’s already time to begin again. More verbs. My results may vary. πŸ™‚

Whatever it is, this, too, will also pass. Good or bad. Fortune, or misfortune. Enjoyable. Regrettable. Memorable. Forgettable. The clock ticks. The wheel turns. Time and moments pass.

It’s been a bit more than a year here in this duplex. A bit more than a year living quite a bit of distance from my Traveling Partner. A bit more than a year driving his car, because he observed I needed it a bit more than he did at that time, and didn’t yet have my own. It’s been helpful having it, for sure. It’s been evident, over the year, that I need a car, myself, more than I realized. I’ll shop around a bit and take care of that soon. No rush. I’m pretty self-sufficient on public transit, and the bit more walking and exercise that takes will be good for me right now. πŸ™‚ It was an important eye-opener to recognize that the driving commute was robbing me of some much-needed exercise that a walking (or part riding, part walking) commute provided, and how important that really is.

Today I return to the part riding, part walking commute I had planned to make part of my daily routine when I first moved in here, before I had the car to rely on. Hell, I may stick with that even after I buy a car. I’m not expecting it to be a hardship, just time-consuming, and with music, books, and my camera along for the journey each day, it’s not even likely to be “wasted time”. πŸ™‚ I’ve “been here” before. The wheel keeps turning.

I’m grimly amused that my back hurts so fiercely this morning. It’s not my arthritis. Feels like I “slept on it wrong” and now have the back equivalent of a kink in my neck, as though my ribs were weirdly cramped together on one side for too long, and now hurt peculiarly in one spot, on the opposite side from which I usually feel most of my pain. Fucking craptacular meat sack – always breaking down or going wrong in some fashion. Being human can be so messy, and uncomfortable. Of course it would be the case today, in advance of a change in routine that requires more exertion, that I’ll also be more uncomfortable. So human. No doubt it’ll ease over time. I breathe, relax, and get a second coffee.

…No coffee along my commute route, now… Well. Shit. That’s a change…

I check the weather with more care than usual; it’ll matter what the weather is later in the day, and will be too late to second guess what I will need to have along in my day back by then. Sunscreen gets added to my day pack. The forecast says sunny, and peak heat at 90 degrees. I add a bottle of water, too. I set my cane by the door; I’m jumping right into a bit more walking than I’ve grown used to, and it will serve me well to be prepared for that to fatigue my ankle. No sandals today; hiking boots instead. Sure, circumstances change, and the wheel keeps turning, there’s nothing about that which suggests I must also be taken by surprise, or wholly unprepared for what life may drop in my path. πŸ™‚ Planning is a thing I can do. (You too, if you choose to.)

Well, there’s a new day about to unfold ahead of me. A new journey to take. A new path to follow. I wonder where this moment leads? To find out, I only have to take another step. I only need to begin again. πŸ™‚

I’m sipping my coffee thinking about my adventures yesterday, and comparing the experience of making a journey from the driver’s seat, or the passenger seat. Same distance to cover (in life, as well)… same route… different hands at the wheel. Different decision-maker. Different outcome? Maybe, maybe not – but definitely a different experience.

As the driver, I tend to be watchful and vigilant, wary of obstacles, and alert to the “important” details – which nearly always have to do with getting from the start to the end of the journey, rather specifically, and sometimes to do with the timing. As the passenger, I tend to be more interested in the journey, itself, the scenery, the surroundings, and even the conversations along the way, or the music on the radio, and my physical comfort. The focus is shifted away from the practical details of the driving itself.

I’m finding it worthwhile to reflect on this; far too often I entirely overlook “the passenger experience” when I am driving – not enough mental bandwidth? Lacking in mindfulness? Merely overly focused and purposeful at the exclusion of having a little fun, too? Left brain versus right brain? No idea – I am simply aware that often, when I am “the driver” in life, I tend to be rather specifically stuck on the details of doing the driving, and too often miss out on some of the potentially equally (more?) important details of enjoying the journey, itself, for what it is.

I’ll probably turn this over in my head much of the day, as I go about the business of leisure, and self-care, and housekeeping, on a relaxed summer Sunday. πŸ™‚