Archives for category: Parables

This guy writes way better than I do, and this morning I am reading his work; the new post from Wait But Why. He knows the map is not the world, but also understands that we are each our own cartographer. He writes using allegories, metaphors, and analogies. He’s funny, smart, and on point.Β  So, this morning, I am just going to enjoy my coffee and read. Totally time well spent. Join me? πŸ˜‰

I spent Sunday in the studio. It was lovely. Music, paint, and chill creative time – an investment in self. New work drying, waiting to be seen in sunlight, and a beautiful recollection of time well-spent. “Being a creative” – probably true for any sort of artist, really – is quite possibly the most precious and “important” part of “who I am” that I could ever think to share; it’s how I tell the stories I don’t have words for. It can’t actually be taken from me – by anyone.

I’ve been in some shitty relationships, and gotten tangled up with some human beings who did not actually have my interests in mind at all, and did not mean me well – but only one of those, ever, has dared to lay an angry hand on my art work. Her existence as a human being colors the way I feel about new relationships, sadly, making me very cautious, indeed. Generally, human beings I have been emotionally involved with have been pretty uniformly respectful of both my creative process and the resulting work. Not that one; it is clear that the behavior is willful, deliberate, and intentionally chosen for maximum cruelty and manipulative power. While that sucks completely, and causes me real pain, I know something she has not yet learned; tit-for-tat nastiness does more emotional damage to the person doing it than to the person being treated poorly. The damage to me amounts to only as much as I permit. Non-attachment is huge here. Having learned that lesson a very long time ago, there’s no reason to interact with her at all. (In keeping with my own admonitions “don’t take the bait”, I am careful not to allow myself to be baited.) Certainly I’ve no interest in game-playing or “pay backs” – what a waste of precious limited life time that would be.

Work in progress, not yet completed, inspired by an X. “Toxicity”.

Walking on from something as dear to me as my art work, when I know it is in the hands of someone who will (or has) destroyed it – and who I have clear confirmation has that potential, because she’s already damaged some of it (and won’t return the rest) – is uncomfortable. It’s hard. No lie. Is all that beautiful work lost? Maybe. It may be that I will have to handle it with a civil stand by, at a later date, or criminal charges, or a civil lawsuit, certainly, it is not necessary for me to “take care of it” myself. For now? I have other things to do with my life, and no interest in being emotionally manipulated. I let it all go. I walk on. I spend delightful leisure hours in my studio, painting new work.

I hear from my Traveling Partner late in the day. We talk. I feel wrapped in his love. That’s a story I will tell on canvas, in colors and brush strokes, for the rest of my life, and it is one that brings me great joy.

So much love it regularly spills onto canvas. πŸ™‚

Pay backs are bullshit. Don’t be tempted into playing that game; you’ve already lost once you allow that toxic mess into your thinking. Stay on your path. Be the person you most want to be. Don’t become a thing you despise because you feel hurt or angry. (I know, I know, there are verbs involved, and your results may vary.) Transcending the willful hurts delivered by another can be incredibly difficult, but… every time you do? You demonstrate the beauty of your fundamental humanity. Taking that “high road”? You show the quality of your character – to everyone. What that person so invested in hurting you thinks about you (or says) is irrelevant, to you, and to the world; they have shown who they are. Let them have their skewed world view, and walk on. “Being right”? Not as important as your life. You don’t need to defend yourself to others, or “prove” a point. Life your life. Live it well. Treat others well. Be kind. Be true to your values. Let go of whatever you have to, in order to break the chains that bind you to another by anything but your own choice to be with them (ideally because you mutually meet each other’s emotional needs in a positive supportive way, that encourages personal growth and nurtures you all).Β Β Just my thoughts on that sort of thing. It works for me.

Another day and week begin. A satisfying weekend becomes a new work week. Clearly, it is time to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

 

The rain continues to fall. I woke early and got my boots on for a hike. It ended up quite short; the trail I’d chosen was slick and muddy, and the steep bits were treacherous. I turned back when it stopped being pleasant, because I didn’t head out with any need or intention of conquering a challenge; I was just out for a pleasant hike. πŸ™‚ The rain had other things in mind, and I’m frankly not the one to argue with the weather. lol

Yesterday was delightful. I continued to tidy things throughout the day. I read. I meditated. I worked in the container garden on my deck. The experience of increasing order over the course of the day seemed to also result in a deepening sense of contentment and order in my thinking. It occurred to me that today would be a weekday, and ideal to get an appointment to have my hair cut. Today began to take shape; I would spend the afternoon “in the city”. I added a couple casual errands to my list of stops, not with any firm outcome in mind, but more a sightseer on life’s journey, today. A favorite wine shop… just to check out what sherries and ports may be in stock. A favorite spice merchant…because spices smell good and inspire me. I could get my nails done… I could go to the museum… the library… that fun little shop that is always closed when I pass by…

…I feel a wave of poignant memory wash over me and sorrowful tears spill down my cheeks unexpectedly, as I recall the first time I shared a work commute with my Traveling Partner, and shared with him my earnest desire to go to a shop at a particular train station along the way. I’d only barely pointed it out, and he was on his feet, extending his hand to me, “Come on,” he said. I followed him – because I wanted to be with him. We enjoyed browsing together, and sharing excitement over this or that artisan ware or beautifully crafted piece. Year after year, ever since, at every birthday, and every Giftmas, I’d asked him to buy me something specifically from that place. It wasn’t the most convenient location, generally, for either of us, and so it never came to be – and it never will. That shop closed permanently after the holidays were over this past year. It exists now only as a precious memory. A moment missed. I let the tears fall; it’s just a feeling. Feelings also pass. πŸ™‚

There are still tears on my cheeks, and already I’m okay. It’s nice to be in this more resilient place as a human being. There is no particular chance that a poignant moment, a sad memory, or a regret will blow an entire day, these days – and why should it? These are things to consider, surely, but no more than that. Moments to learn from. Moments to cherish and to understand. Moments that make for a nuanced experience with real emotional depth. I reach for my Rick and Morty earrings, a cherished gift from my Traveling Partner. He “gets me”. I smile, feeling well-loved.

It’s a lovely morning to begin again.

Friday was efficient. Purposeful. Carefully planned. Strictly and professionally executed to plan. Wrapped up neatly with a clear-headed, safe, and calm drive down the highway, arriving at my destination “on time” (meaning to say I got there when I said I would).

Saturday was beyond complete. Spent in the company of close friends and loved ones, the sort of assortment commonly called family by a great many people, it was a day of sunshine, of laughter, of heartfelt worship, of sharing, of celebration, of healing, of wonder, of joy, and of music. It was a fantastic fucking day all around.

Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I grabbed a nap, knowing I would be heading back up the highway in just a few hours. I woke and enjoyed being surrounded by warmth, good humor, and merriment before packing up the car to make the journey back to this place that I live. I had a good cup of coffee. I shared the morning sunshine. I cuddled dogs, and hugged friends, and held my Traveling Partner so so so close, for an endless moment of such intense love that I feel it still, even now.

What a perfectly lovely weekend!! I sip my Monday morning coffee soaking in the memories, smiling.

I’d kind of like to erase my memory of the drive back…but that’s not really how having a shitty memory actually works. Not quite. Being able to simply choose to erase a memory isn’t so easily done with wisdom, anyway; there’s something to learn here. It’s the hard bits that teach us the most. So.

The drive home sucked. lol It’s that simple. What can I learn from that? What can I learn from the juxtaposition of the deliciously loving weekend with that shit drive? Could I point the finger to having made the trip on less than ideal sleep? (Not really; I was feeling well-rested when I woke, and I was very-well-caffeinated when I started down the road.) Was it the weather? (Clear weather, dry pavement, sunny morning, partly cloudy – so, no.) The traffic? (Traffic was light, and generally moving at or faster than the posted speed, so… it’s hard to say it was the traffic.) Was it… the people? (Here’s where it gets complicated…) I had some of the most hair-raising experiences on this particular commute. I maintained a comfortable (for me) speed without much difficulty, and was generally in good humor and patient about moments of congestion near cities and towns, and I want very much to say it wasn’t the people… because… if it was…? I was one of those, too. Was it… me?

By the end of the drive, it is enough to say, I wasn’t just glad to have parked the car, and finish the journey, I was sort of feeling regretful that there would soon (this morning) be yet another requirement to get behind the wheel at all. :-\ (It was that bad, yeah.) I feel nervous and reluctant. I feel anxious in advance. I feel hesitant and insecure.

Fuck, that was a shitty drive. lol

That drive was also just a blip on life’s radar. Just a moment. A single journey from point to point, and completed demonstrably safely inasmuch as I am safely here, and no collisions, no tickets, nothing “really happened” that had any lingering obvious consequence on the participants of the day. I’m okay right now. I take a deep breath and let it go (again). Making myself mindful that it is behind me, and aware of how spectacular the weekend was in other ways. I think about those things, and make a point of thinking more about them than about the aggravations of the drive back. That’s what works.

A few minutes into this practice, and it becomes easier to acknowledge my own role in the drive back; I was feeling annoyed to be leaving what now feels like home to head to a place that doesn’t at all. To live a life that has begun to feel more lonely than solitary. I was feeling more energetic than enthusiastic about the drive, and that energy was more artificial (caffeine) than natural (mood). I felt a strong visceral sense of real frustration anytime my speed or flow of movement down the highway was impaired or constrained by another driver’s “shitty decision-making” – nearly always defining that as “getting in my way”, without taking any time to consider the scenario from their perspective, what they hoped to achieve, and what the purpose of their decision really was. I was taking shit exceedingly personally – which, by the way, makes for an incredibly crappy drive. Few things feel as irritatingly unpleasant as the perception of a hostile universe undermining my experience in the moment. Few things that feel that unpleasant are also so entirely and completely made up and “all in my head”… right?

There wasΒ one guy, one moment, one time out of my weekend driving which clearly was indeed “personal”, intentional, and an attack on my perceived self by another human being (definitely having his own experience) who – rather randomly and at great personal and community risk – slammed on his brakes on the highway, in the fast lane, at high-speed, immediately in front of me, while flipping me off, after I flashed my high beams at him as a request to move to the right hand lane when it was clear (to me) that I was closing in on him pretty fast, and he was “just camping out” in the passing lane with no traffic alongside him, ahead of him, or anywhere near him at all. I did so from many car lengths back. He waited to execute his potentially deadly maneuver until I had closed the distance to about 2 car lengths. When I moved to go around him (figuring slamming into him made a lot less sense) he whipped into that lane immediately ahead of me, still flipping me off. He did this twice more, accelerating, then slamming on his brakes, and blocking my ability to safely get past him. It was clearly personal for him. He was definitely having his own experience. That also happened on the trip down, not the trip back. When I think back on the drive home, there’s really nothing of significance to consider. Turns out, as it happens, my crappy experience yesterday may have been 100% purely entirely my own. I feel the looks of puzzlement and awareness try to form on my face at the same time; that angry man was likely having a shit drive, or a bad day, himself. It wasn’t anything more to do with me than my drive yesterday was really anything to do with anyone but me. Huh.

I laugh and finish my coffee. We covered this in the very beginning, I tell myself, with a smile and a shake of my head. It’s in The Four Agreements. It’s at the top of my reading list. lol

A new day. A new commute. And also – not new, or different, at all. Routine. Practices. I have another chance to be a better human being behind the wheel of my car. So do you. It’s a good day to begin again. πŸ™‚

I read a really cool thought-provoking positive post on Facebook from someone on my friend list. New-ish friend, and from the perspective of 54, quite young. I was delighted and fascinated by her approach to the ancient human question of “what do I want to be when I grow up?”, expressed as a question to her friends (and possibly the world) “what is your occupation?” followed by “was it hard to get there?” – I spent some time thinking about it, just as a straight up question, without understanding it to be, more properly, a search query put to the humans in the room, instead of Google. (By itself, that delights me.)

I answered the question. A friend answered the question. Another friend answered the question. One respondent, rather disappointingly I found, myself, very explicitly directs the questioner to consider some specific line of work, as if it isn’t the questioner’s journey, entirely, and a whole wide world of “occupations” to consider, many of which lack that sort of very clear path to a very obvious objective. As if the question had not been specifically phrased to achieve something grander by way of an answer. lol I hope she chooses her path with far less… certainty. Ease and convenience, and all manner of things that are obvious, definitely have less risk – and also promise far less reward.

I realized in considering the questions, I’m not at all unhappy to be where I am. Fuck, it took a while to get here, though, didn’t it? LOL Every step, every turn, there were people attempting to direct my hand, my decision-making, and very few of had any interest of mine in mind.

Walk your own path, young traveler. Make your choices, even in the moment, with your experience and your future in mind. Try things. Taste exotic foods. Tempt your senses with novelty. Find balance and perspective – your balance, your perspective. Do you. The map – any map – is not the world. The plan – any plan – is not the project. You are your own cartographer on a journey into a future that hasn’t been determined. There are verbs involved. You will try. You will fail. You will try. You will succeed. You may find that your notion of what success would look like is very different from the success you actually achieve. That’s okay too. It matters more to succeed on your own terms. To love well. To treat people with great consideration. Your results will vary. What matters most is to be present in your experience, and to love well and deeply. You may change the world…

…Are you ready? It’s time to begin the future. (Don’t worry, you can begin again tomorrow.)