Archives for category: Parables

My coffee is delicious this morning, for those values of deliciousness to which coffee drinkers refer, when we suggest our coffee is delicious, obviously; it may still taste terrible for the non-coffee-drinker. lol It’s hot, though, and well-brewed, with care, and I am enjoying it. The weekend is already over. A new work week already exists as the immediate future. The weekend was lovely; time spent with friends, time spent with each other, savoring existence.

At some point, the phone rang (more common now, than when we had social media). First mine; an unidentified number from Mauritania. Since I don’t know anyone there, or do business with any companies there, I dismissed the call without answering it; walking away from drama, inconvenience, or unpleasantness, that I recognize, is pretty easy. I do it all the time. πŸ™‚ The second ring was a friend, the phone was my partner’s, and the call was to bring up other drama, somewhere else, based on shit-talking other people, and those other people being people prone to talking shit, and this friend being the unfortunate recipient of shit-having-been-talked, he reached out to share the experience, and the shit he had heard. Unexpected OPD. Other People’s Drama is bad enough, but yeah, it’s even less pleasant and more, sort of, well… “sticky” when OPD becomes “personal”. It’s hard not to get emotionally invested when feeling attacked. It’s hard to “let that shit go” and remain mindful that even when it feels so personal, it really isn’t, at all. People talking shit are generally pretty well mired in their own chaos and damage, drowning in their own bullshit, and using the “theater of distraction” to pass the time in hell. It’s not about me.

I shrug that shit off, and walk on. It does make it easier to tell who my friends are, there’s that. lol πŸ™‚

It was a small, tiny, and insignificant moment out of a delightful weekend. I’m glad we let it go and moved on with what matters most. πŸ™‚

Now there’s the work week ahead, and I find myself, for just a moment, getting wrapped up in some other flavor or version of drama – office politics. I chuckle and let that go, too. There is no value or purpose in letting those details become the focus of my work (neither the tasks themselves, nor the characteristics of the days). Letting that go isn’t so hard; I focus on the questions, not the certainty of my answers. Disagreements, in theory, are not personal; we’re all working toward the same goals. I take that as a given, and practice assuming positive intent, and in doing so, all my relationships improve.

…It does take some practice. We become what we practice. I finish my coffee, notice the time, and begin again. πŸ™‚

Hey, welcome to morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you find yourself reading this)! Got your coffee (tea, beer, fizzy water, or whatever it is you drink to refresh yourself in this particular moment)? Mmm, me too; coffee. Hot, black, delicious – a carefully crafted pour-over, made just the way I prefer it. It’s an acquired taste – not everyone likes coffee, and not everyone who likes coffee prefers their coffee black. There are quite a few preferences we individually express, and, obviously, that’s part of what makes us individuals – however similar we actually are as mammals, as primates, as citizens, as community members, as families… yep. Similar and different. Individual.

Who are you? Are you living your values? Are you making the choices that slowly allow you to become the person you most want to be? We toss around the phrase “a work in progress” to excuse so many things… but… are you working on being the best version of you that knowledge, skill, and practice, allow? It’s just a question. I can’t answer it for you, or change the outcome of your self-reflection. I can’t do those verbs – those verbs belong to you. πŸ™‚

I had a difficult day, yesterday, for some values of difficult. I felt irritable all day. Easily annoyed. Frustrated by life. I found myself, more than once, seething in the background, but unable to ascertain “why”. A couple years ago, such a day would have resulted in many more similar days, perhaps, or escalated to some explosively unpleasant emotional moment that “ruined the day”. Yesterday, I was patient with myself. Willing to be aware of my challenges, without pushing that experience (and energy) out into the world, and other relationships. My Traveling Partner and I exchanged testy, irritable words in the morning, but the moment passed quickly, and resolved itself entirely, and the remainder of the day was a delightful one, with the one shadow being that bit of moodiness lurking in the background, waiting to take me by surprise. Well, that can really only happen if I let go of being aware of it – gently observant, compassionate, non-judgmental self-awareness for the win! Each time it surfaced as a concern, I made room to be aware of my emotions, and also the realities of my moment, to the fully extent possible for me. I let go of expectations. I let go of assumptions. I made a point to approach the worldΒ  – and more importantly, myself – with considerable care, and unyielding commitment to refraining from lashing out at others as a result of my “headspace”. It was fairly effective; the day, generally, was quite a lovely one. Win and good.

I relate all this as a reminder that we can choose. We have a lot of choices. πŸ™‚

This morning I begin again, over coffee, after a good night’s rest. A little later, brunch with a friend. Some time after that, a trip to a local artisan’s market. Fun. Monday will come soon enough. πŸ™‚

What about you? What about your choices? Who are you? Where does your path lead? Do you take your coffee black? Cream and sugar? Blended with ice and high-fructose corn syrup? Flavored? With whip? Dairy or non-dairy? Extra shots? Perhaps you eschew coffee altogether? What I’m saying is, it’s a big menu, and there’s room for you to be who you are. How will you craft that raw self into the person you most want to be? What will you learn from life’s traumas? How will you approach educating yourself? How will you interact with the world? It’s a big menu…

…Are you ready to begin again?

I woke to the sound of a phone ringing. At 4:00 a.m., that’s alarming. In the case of waking me on a Monday morning, literally so, since I then turned off the alarm and got up to start the day, after a few moments of considering the sound, silently, in the darkness. I couldn’t go back to sleep; who phones at 4:00 a.m.?

As it turned out, there was no phone call. No ringing phone. Just a sound in my dreams. lol

It was a lovely weekend. It ends with some dangling loose ends, like laundry “finished” – but not actually folded and put away. I woke aware of it, but without any particular sensation of anxiety, disappointment, or frustration.

I spent some of the day, yesterday, out in the sunshine, in my container garden. I took stock of roses that died during summer heat, and succulents that died during winter cold. I moved containers away from the warmer locations against the wall of the house, into the sunshine. I planted early seeds. I weeded. I swept. It felt productive, and celebratory. I felt productive, and celebratory.

…I just now remembered, again, annoyingly enough, it was also “St Patrick’s Day”. Omg. So over it. Americans who love to drink, drinking to excess on the excuse of… of what, exactly? Exactly what is “St Patrick’s Day” celebrating if you are neither Catholic, nor Irish? I’m asking, because I still don’t find an obvious connection between the narrative of the saint, himself, and the celebration of enthusiastic over-consumption of alcohol to which green coloring has been added. So, to be clear? My own celebratory moment in the sunshine was nothing to do with “St Patrick’s Day”, and everything to do with Spring, itself. lol

A good day. A good weekend. Another work week begins – and, potentially, with it, a whole cascade of new beginnings. I don’t know how the week will unfold. There are no promises that every day will be a garden in the sunshine, or a shared moment with a loved one. I’ve got this moment, here, with which to craft a lifetime of experiences. I choose a lot of what that feels like, and in some cases, quite willfully. Those choices are huge. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a dream, clinging to an outcome that is not yet, and may never be, and lose sight of all the precious opportunities in this “now” moment, just as it is. I sip my coffee and contemplate the day ahead. I make a point of letting go of attachment to a variety of imagined outcomes to imagined scenarios (“what if…”), and breathe in the now. It’s enough, just as it is.

It’s time to begin again.

Well, new job… new opportunities for contagion. lol Shit. I’m sick. Oh, it’s not any sort of dire life-threatening sort of thing, just an annoying virus of some kind. It began with robbing me of my appetite night before last, but I didn’t really notice that. Yesterday the tickle in my throat, and a spectacular fit of sneezing heralded the coming of the new virus with more certainty. By midday, in the office with it, the weakness, aching joints, and fatigue, joined the party, and I went home to take care of myself. I think my Traveling Partner may have it, too, but I was too sick yesterday to be at all clear about that; he was an absolute pro at providing nurturing and care, and if he was sick, too… wow. It wasn’t obvious, and as sick as I was, we enjoyed our time together.

…I meant to actually just go to bed, and to do so early. What I actually managed to do was sit around wrapped in a fuzzy blanket staring blankly at the television for several hours, then went to bed. lol I woke too early, but also too… awake. Now? Now I’m up. It’s a new day. I get started canceling plans; I am still feeling ill, and there is no good reason to expose my friends to this. I’m already looking forward to that moment when I… just go back to bed. Self-care first, and some coffee, then I will yield to the call of warm blankets, and a quiet room.

Mindfulness will not prevent a head cold. A great meditation practice will not prevent me from feeling confused, weak, and ache-y, when I’m sick. This is just real. I keep grinning every time I consider the “new love” excitement of realizing that mindfulness practices really were helpful for me – every day, every moment, significantly improved with them – and how easily I was tempted into enthusiastic cheer-leading, and also into gradually slipping into thinking errors about what it was capable of doing for me. Great self-care means practicing all the practices that support my wellness – emotional and physical – without putting any one of them on such a high pedestal that it becomes a set up for failure, over time. I’m not dissing meditation or mindfulness, at all, I’m just pointing out that – as is often also the case even with the medicines we take – no single practice (for mindfulness, for self-care, for emotional well-being, for physical health…) can do 100% of everything we need – for everything we need. Just… It doesn’t work like that.

I’ll still meditate today, if I’ve the mind for it. It’s an important practice, a foundation of my emotional health, and I get a lot out of it. I’ll still practice mindfulness, as much as I am able to while I’m feeling ill, and whether sick or well, it’s a practice I find worthwhile for keeping me grounded, realistic about life, and able to maintain a clear perspective on the things that matter most to me. I’ll shower, and practice good hygiene. I’ll make the effort to eat healthy calories. I’ll drink water. I’ll rest. No one of these great practices will cure the common cold. It is what it is. They are what they are. Only that.

…Imagine how awkward, uncomfortable, disappointing, and frustrating it would be, if I fostered a belief that meditation would cure my cold… and then it just didn’t. I might be angry. I might give up on my practice, and lose the benefits it does provide me. I might lash out at others, or rhetorically, spreading my feelings around my tribe or community, and undermining the practices of others with the festering wound of my disappointment and my sense of failure. I would wonder if I were “doing it wrong” and whether it’s “all bullshit”. What a lot of wasted emotional bandwidth. 😦

Meditation has been a practice that has served me well, thus far. I continue to practice. I value the effect it has on my day-to-day experience. I am emotionally more well, in the context of having a committed meditation practice. It’s still only what it is, and it can’t be more than that.

Today I have a cold. At some point, I’ll meditate awhile, and when I’m done with that… I’ll still have this cold. These experiences are not related to each other, and that’s entirely okay. This? This is not my best writing. It is, however, a parable. A moment to pause and reflect on what meditation is – and isn’t – and what it do – and what it don’t do. πŸ˜‰

Once I’m over this sickness, I’ll definitely begin again. πŸ˜€

It’s sometimes necessary, I find, to accept what is. No, I mean, really, really push past the clinging and exasperation, the disappointment, the frustration, all of it, and truly accept the “now” I find myself in, and do so quite fully, without denial or blame. It’s not always easy. Words are easy. Verbs take effort. Reality may allow me to delude and deceive myself awhile, but… reality always wins. It is.

…Let’s set aside the also real reality and true truth that we make up a lot of our experience in our own heads, and much of what we “believe” about our circumstances is in no way actually supported by reality. It’s made up bullshit we refuse to let go of. Truth. Mull it over.

Reality always wins, and most harshly, reality wins in some uncomfortable ways when I refuse to accept things as they are, without clinging, without attachment, and without self-deception. It’s snowing again this morning. Well, it was. As has been the case for a handful of days, now, our weird winter weather continues; snow during the wee hours, enough to dust everything and coat the roads. By noon, it will have all melted away in the cold winter sunshine. I’ll head home in the winter chill, across dry pavement, perhaps a hint of rain in the sky. The cycle will repeat. Schools have been canceling on days without any actual snow. Businesses have been closing, or opening later, on mornings with utterly dry pavement. It’s… strange. It is also 100% of what it is, and nothing more; no amount of argument or discussion will change it. Reality doesn’t bow to opinion. Ever. My feelings about the snow are not relevant to the facts, themselves. Reality is not an emotion.

I think over the day ahead, without much regard for the weather. I expect it will be more of the same, as it has been; my expectations still don’t amount to facts, truth, or reality. I contemplate my commute, and think ahead to spring, and maybe handling it differently. Park closer to work, spend less distance/time on the light rail or bus, walk more. The walking more sounds so lovely… I already get more walking than at my last job. I’m not sure what changed besides the address that frees me to do so… a different mindset. Did I make that change? (Probably.) Is the role that different? (It is.) Is the location more enticing for walking around? (Definitely.) Choosing change comes with a ripple effect; when I have chosen wisely, so many details are changed for the better, and when I have chosen poorly, quite distressingly similarly, many small details may change in ways that affect my experience in less pleasant ways. Choosing wisely is worth slowing down for. Fully considering the changes I choose, and the changes those changes may cause, is worth making time for. Change will come, regardless, and choosing it skillfully, navigating life instead of bobbing haplessly along its currents, can certainly alter the outcomes.

Well… here I am. Another day, another beginning – and more change to choose, more choices to make, more life to live. It’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚