Archives for category: Practices

I recently read a meme or a post or an observation somewhere to the effect that we “don’t owe” “basic human decency” to [insert preferred list of “bad people” here]. I found myself astonished that “basic human decency” is so often seen as something we provide on a limited basis, and only to specific qualifying individuals. Then I laughed. Then I felt incredibly saddened. Seriously? “Basic human decency” is something to aspire to because we are human – and decent. It’s a literal baseline for decency; the minimum we offer, because “decent” is a human quality we cultivate. We provide that experience because it is characteristic of who we are. Portioning it out to just those who are adequately deserving suggests to me a fundamental lack of actual decency, altogether. Just saying.

I’m not pointing any fingers. Been there. I’ve been in that place where I was so angry (generally) and so wounded (emotionally), that behaving with any sort of decency seemed… unfair, or unreasonable, or… well… I wasn’t gonna do that. :-\ I did not understand at all that it was not about whether that person was “deserving” of decency – it was always about whether I was sufficiently developed as an adult human being to be capable of decency in those circumstances. It said more about me as a human being than anyone else. It’s very much the sort of puzzle that kept pulling my focus back onto me, when I started down this path – what I am capable of? What I can learn? What I can do to change myself? I have so little ability to change the world, or any one individual, and so much opportunity to become the woman, the person, the human being I most want to be. At this point, I could describe it as my life’s work. (I find it hard to accurately describe how far I have actually come as a person, and how far I recognize that I still have to go.)

My housekeeping? Not perfect. I’m prone to untidiness, but thrive within the context of a lifestyle that is very orderly, well-kept, and managed on a calendar. I have to work at order. I do. There are tons of verbs involved and my results vary.

My self-care? Hit or miss under stress, but generally pretty good these days, otherwise. I work at that, too. It’s a very human experience. More verbs. More practices. I begin again every single day.

My sanity? Mostly fairly well-managed these days. I do what it takes. I see my therapist when that is the needful thing. In years that I’ve been medicated, I’ve stayed the course on my medication(s) and taken prescriptions as directed as much as my memory (and coping skills) allow. I’ve made a point of getting off of medications that were doing me harm. I practice good practices, and I no longer punish myself for my very humanity. I’d say I’m generally sane, mostly fairly rational, and entirely willing recognize my mistakes, whenever that comes up (often). 🙂

My ability to be a basically decent human being? Pretty good, generally, with some misses here or there when I’m not entirely myself, or during some moment of severe stress, illness, or in the throes of misadventure. It’s a work in progress, frankly, I’d like to be more reliably wholly a basically decent human being, as a reliable default setting. I continue to work at that, because from my perspective on life, now, it seems the literal least I can do for the world… which make it sort of obligatory to at least give it a shot, and to really practice it until I am quite skilled. 🙂

My experience is my own. Same for yours. When we make wise choices that are appropriate to our circumstances, we tend to enjoy our experience a bit more. When we practice, and demonstrate, human decency, we are decent humans – something to aspire to, right there. The world would most definitely benefit from having a higher percentage of basically decent human beings. Life gives us opportunities to change, to grown, to learn, to practice – and we become what we practice.

Today is a good day to practice some “basic human decency” – certainly it is worth being good at that. It’s not about whether you deserve my basic human decency, though, is it? It’s about whether I do. (I definitely do.) 😉

Yep, this is not the greatest post in the world, this is just a tribute. lol It’s true.

Last night, just as I drifted off to sleep, I composed, in my head, an awesome blog post. I’m giggling over my coffee this morning, because I now only remember how satisfied I was with the topic, the themes, the use of language, the word play – I even felt it was wholly relevant, and also had some great ideas for images from my photos that really seemed to highlight the point I was making. Blam! Perfect writing! Or… something. No idea now; there is no opportunity to review it, to edit it, to publish it; it was only a dream. lol

Today is a new day. Tributes aside, there is more life to live, more experiences ahead to have, further to go on this path. The weekend was satisfying and delightful. I have one lone insect bite of some kind, on my wrist. It’s strange placement considering what I was wearing, and where I was staying, so I am thinking more likely a spider bite than any other. It itches – and reminds me of the weekend each time I notice it. I just end up smiling. Strangest damned insect bite. 🙂

The air quality is poor (still? again? both, sadly) and it is affecting my breathing, which sucks. It’s worse for other more vulnerable people. I make room for perspective. I use it as a springboard to be kind to people who are suffering in the heat and shitty air quality. (What else is it for?) The work week begins anew.

It’s a good day to take a moment for perspective and for kindness. It’s a good day to take the energy of the weekend and roll into the weekend refreshed and ready to go, ready to organize what needs to be done and get on it. There’s always more to do. What can I add to the things I am doing that has a chance to benefit the world beyond my own doorway? What can I do right here at home to improve my quality of life, and the quality of life my family enjoys, generally? How I can best be the human being I most want to be? What steps can I take to recognize my privilege and see past my own biases? (There will be verbs involved, for sure.)

I’m ready to begin again. 🙂

The weekend is here. Generally, on a “go-come-back” sort of weekend, I’ve been facing the drive, itself, sort of grimly. Once upon a time, I loved driving. A collision many years ago took some of the shine off of driving, but eventually, many years later, I regained much of my enthusiasm for it, but… trauma re-wires the brain. Well, shit. Damn… that’s… complicated. Now, although I do enjoy driving, I am also (perhaps excessively) wary of my fellow humans behind the wheel. Frustration, resentment, rage – these are all human emotions that can commonly be “weaponized” with the addition of a bit of entitlement, or some assumptions, or a certain sense of righteousness. It’s scary out there on the freeway. Humans are driving cars. :-\

Today feels different. Although the car I’ve been driving is quite a nice one, in great condition, with lots of power and and maneuverability, I often felt it was utterly necessary to have all that at my disposal simply to survive the highway in the first place. I admit that most of the time I drive, I feel it; my life is at risk just performing the task of driving, on the American roadway. That’s pretty shitty. The car, as nice as it is, tended to contribute to the feeling, rather than easing it, although I don’t know why. It’s possibly “just all in my head”, because, again with the frankness, much of our experience of our lives is. (Get over that. It’s a true thing. Learn to work with it, rather than fighting it.)

Today feels different, in part, I suspect, because this new car in my driveway is a better fit for me as a driver, for a number of totally practical reasons (starting with the smaller size of the vehicle generally). It’s also… mine. It feels like a different experience – because it is a different experience. 🙂

There’s a lot to enjoy about newness, difference, and novelty. It’s exciting. It’s energizing. It’s cognitively refreshing. It’s distracting (from things like pain and anxiety). I’m smiling and eagerly gulping down my coffee so I can get on the road… it’s just now 4:30 am. LOL No dilly-dallying!! I’ve got miles to cover! 😀

I’ve no idea what the weekend holds, but it is ahead of me, and it’s time to begin again. Let’s see where this road leads. Zoom-zoom!

Are you rushing to get to work? Rushing through waking up, showering, dressing? Rushing to be out the door “on time”? Breathless with anxiety before you even start the car? Already thinking about the day ahead in such specific detail that you’ve “borrowed trouble” to fret about before you even have any in the moment?

I used to do that. I don’t now. It was a good change to make, to slow down in the mornings. 🙂 Maybe not life-saving, but certainly life-changing. I went from a fairly tightly timed morning routine that took 17 minutes from the alarm clock to the click of the front door closing behind me, and reliably got me on the bus heading into town 3 minutes later (the stop was just across the street from my apartment). Any deviation from my routine put me at risk of being late to work, and I had huge issues with time, timeliness, and time management, at that time in my life (I wasn’t bad at it, just really tense and weird about it on this whole unnecessary level). Being late – or thinking I might be – was a fast track to temper tantrums and treating people poorly (myself included). It was a shitty way to live, and it didn’t make me more efficient, or even on time more often.

What do I do now? It’s pretty low tech, honestly; I get up earlier. Like, I get up a lot earlier. I get up “earlier than I need to” by quite a bit. Most variations in desired arrival time at work don’t require me to change when I get up in the morning, that’s how much earlier I get up. Right now, it’s easily 90 minutes after my alarm goes off before I need to leave, and I could as easily leave the house fully 3 hours after I wake up and still be “on time” from the perspective of a salaried employee, and I sometimes do. It’s lovely, really, to be genuinely awake when I leave for work, to be able to write at leisure even on work days, to have adequate time to dress, shower, do some yoga, and even meditate before work – and still have time to write. It puts me on the path to being my best self each day.

I got home last night tired and frustrated by feeling the cold I thought I was over trying to make a comeback. I really don’t need the hassle or inconvenience, and I sat quietly frustrated, tears of exhausted aggravation coursing down my face for some minutes. Just… tired. I skipped the company summer block party over it, too. Came directly home. No chores. No video entertainment. No music. Hell, I didn’t even pick up a book. Just sat, staring rather blankly, sipping chicken broth or tea, until I was “sleepy enough” to just go lay the fuck down and rest. I was asleep early. I slept hard. Deeply. Uninterrupted. I was irritated by the weird repetitive noise that woke me – my alarm. It took nearly a full minute to figure that out and shut it off. I turned the lamp on and off a couple times, puzzled why the noise was not stopping. lol Usually I am awakened by the subtle “click” sound that immediately precedes the alarm actually going off. lol

I definitely needed the restful night. I woke feeling more myself. Still cross about this cold trying to come back – and of course, immediately as the fucking weekend begins. That’s becoming a source of real frustration for me, lately; the weekend is my one real opportunity each week to get some legit downtime, and it’s so rare any more to just enjoy one. I’m sick. Or traveling. Or moving. Or I’m sick. Or I have tons of shit that just must get done, non-negotiable. Or I’m doing something for someone. Or I’m sick again. Or I’ve gotten injured. Or I’m traveling. Or… I need to slow down. Again. And maybe not just in the mornings. Mornings? I’ve got those down at this point. 🙂

It’s a journey. No single change, no one practice, solves for X in every one of life’s equations. There are more verbs. More opportunity to do more/better, while also practicing skillful self-care, and figuring out what is actually worth doing well and more often. Being and becoming are a massively challenging jigsaw puzzle, and the pieces not yet fit into the puzzle are all jumbled up together in an untidy pile; sometimes it isn’t clear which pieces are most valuable in any particular moment. I’m still such a beginner at this being human thing!

I finish my coffee. Take a deep breath, look at the clock, and exhale slowly. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

My coffee is tasty. The house is comfortable in the pre-dawn chill of a summer morning. The air quality is still pretty poor as smoke collects in the air from distant fires. My mind is more or less… blank. I’m not quite awake yet, at all. I take another sip of my coffee and stare at the screen. It too remains “a blank page” for some minutes before I finally just drop that into the title field, and sit quietly, drinking coffee, aware.

This is not an unsatisfying moment. I am not feeling frustrated. (I chuckle as I write those words, immediately hearing my Traveling Partner’s voice replying in my head “Well, how are you feeling?”) I am feeling content. Just that. This moment does not seem to require more.

We create our experience with our choices, and our understanding of it is a carefully crafted narrative we make up ourselves, that may or may not accurately reflect the details of our experience (or any other – we’re seriously really good at making shit up and convincing ourselves it is real). This particular experience, here, now, is built on my choice to relax and accept that I may not have anything noteworthy to write about this morning, and to fall back gently on “just putting words on a page”, “thinking out loud”, in real-time, unedited and uncensored. I smirk at myself using the word “uncensored” in the context of this particular morning; there’s nothing about the morning thus far that would require, or benefit from, censorship anyway. 🙂

I’ve caused myself so much stress, anxiety, suffering, and heartache, just by insisting that I do more, faster, so often. The arbitrary performance standards we set for ourselves (and each other) often have no basis in what works, or what matters most. Sometimes they are just numbers pulled out of thin air. Why let life become stressful over made up shit? Seriously. Same with our internal narrative; we often make up a story about our experience that is based on untested assumptions, unvoiced expectations, and wholly unrealistic fantastical details that are in no way factual – then we let it stress us out. (Note: consider not doing that!)

This morning begins another work day. One more after that, and it’s the weekend again. 😀 I’m ready for it… but first, I have to live today, in this moment, present and engaged, and doing both things and stuff. lol Have to? Get to.

…It’s already time to begin, again. 😀