Archives for category: Relationships

The morning seems peculiarly physical as experiences go. My hair feels very soft. My coffee? This morning, the heat seems more noteworthy than the flavor of it, and I appreciate the warmth of the mug in my hands, in the chill of the morning. The headache, the arthritis pain, these too, are physical experiences. I notice the “taste of sleep” in my mouth, and remind myself to brush my teeth.

I don’t feel particularly emotional, at all. I am. I feel. This moment now, right here, is what it is. Is there more? Well, sure, but here, right now, this is enough. Later I will go to work. Do the things that provide the resources to continue on to do other things that make it easier to live a beautiful life of contentment, emotional safety, and modest comfort. I’ll go to a job. I’ll return home. I’ll do some chores. There are verbs involved (and just as many, regardless whether I am taking care of emotional needs, or physical ones).

This shit isn’t magic, People; there is will and decision-making involved, and even that won’t get many people to their goals. There is effort, commitment, and actual real work that has to back up our choices. Don’t like dishes in the sink? Do the fucking dishes. It’s that kind of basic stuff we so often get stuck on, isn’t it? Let something go in one moment, end up pissed off and fixated on it in some other moment. lol Stop letting shit just go. Build the life you most want to live – starting with your choices, and followed by your actions, and repeated in endless iterations until you stand contentedly in the midst of the life you have chosen to live.

Where you find yourself in life largely depends on the choices you make along the way.

It’s really that easy.

It’s also really really that hard.

It’s also your choice whether it is easy or hard; it won’t be without effort.

It gets way more challenging when it’s not just one person, living alone in a house, I get that. I hear you. When we share our space, explicit expectation-setting becomes critical, as well as quickly making it apparent how important shared goals, values, and willingness to work can be. I could not comfortably live in a house full of people and be the only person doing the fucking dishes, or cleaning the bathroom. There’d definitely be some fucking… “clear expectation-setting”, and it might get uncomfortably frank. (Easily summarized as “I’m not your fucking maid”.)

A lot of people enjoy a beautiful well-kept comfortably luxurious environment – it’s lovely to live that way – but the set of “all people who enjoy living beautifully” and the set of “all people willing to do the work to live beautifully” is not two identical sets of people, at all.Β That gets awkward fast if just one person willing to work for it is overwhelmed by the lack of consideration, or investment, or will, or ability, of several other people – who may only be willing to live that way, not put in the time, effort, or resources. Harsh.

Do your part. Whatever that is. Do it. Anything less makes a person just another “taker”, more often than people want to admit about themselves. Fucking hell, at least offer to help and really mean it. Be aware of the potential for resentment in your relationships, if you allow someone to carry more than their fair share of the work involved. Be willing to look in the mirror honestly; are you part of the solution, or are you holding things up, or worse – are you part of making extra work for everyone else?

I’m sitting here, comfortable at home, sipping an excellent coffee, prepared in a clean kitchen. Those things are what they are because I do the work involved. This morning, I am smiling, because my Traveling Partner, when he is here, also does the work involved, ensuring that I am not treated as a servant, or overloaded with housekeeping, or feeling resentful over “doing everything around here” when he is here at home. It’s quite a lovely partnership in that regard. There are no dishes on my counter. πŸ™‚ I’m not working any harder – and maybe, actually, a little less hard than I ordinarily would; I have help. Instead of gaining the stank and mess and workload involved in picking up after more people, I gain the extra time to enjoy life implied by having help with all the work, because I’m not alone here right now. It’s lovely. πŸ™‚

It’s also not perfect. I don’t have that kind of energy or time, and yeah; there are very human details and a touch of untidiness here and there. I’m comfortable, and content with my choices. πŸ™‚

I’m not meaning to be critical of your lifestyle – that’s not my point. Live as you wish. If you wish to live well, to live beautifully, though? There are verbs involved. There’s work to be done. If that beautiful life you seek is in the context of shared cohabitation in some form, it’ll be much easier if every-fucking-body does their part. No kidding. Everyone who uses the kitchen? Well, if they are all committed to cleaning as they go? The kitchen stays clean. Same with the bathroom – you use it? You help with cleaning it. Do you walk on the floors? I guess you’ll also be taking a turn vacuuming, and helping out by not dragging in mud and dirt from outside. Your dog, cat, other? You’re making sure, full-time, on the regular, that their waste is managed – promptly, and hygienically? It gets gross fast, if you’re not. Seriously – it’s a lot of work. All of it. It’s still got to be done, if the choice in life you want to make is to live well and beautifully. It’s one of life’s non-negotiables, actually.

This is not a dichotomy. It’s a not a single choice between live in filth and live beautifully. There’s a whole lot of choices here. Maybe you and your housemates really just don’t care about dishes at all, but the condition of the floors is a real quality of life headache? Maybe everyone really wants a sparkling clean bathroom, but the general tidiness around and about is less of a big deal? It’s something to discuss explicitly; what is the shared vision? And what is to be done if there’s just definitely that one person who wants to enjoy it all but has no interest in helping out? May I suggest that they be directed to relocate? No kidding, I don’t think I have another solution for that, unless pure resentful rage and constant very direct bitching until they move out counts. I’m sorry. I legitimately wish I knew how to get people to be more committed and helpful at home about quality of life matters that matter to other people.

Isn’t that a challenge that occurs in life, just… a lot? Lack of will. Lack of consideration. Lack of interest in doing the work. I mean, I go through it too. How many years did I waste in therapy because I kept looking for someone or something to blame for my pain, rather than allowing myself to simply accept that, being in pain, I needed to make some changes to ease it? The verbs were mine, all along. lol

How do you want to live your life? What does your vision of comfort and contentment look like? Are you doing the things it takes to have that experience?Β Maybe, just maybe, you could. Start small. Change one bad habit, because the outcome matters to you, every day. Keep at it. Fail and start over. Improve over time. Move on to another less than ideal habit or practice. Make a change. Repeat. We’re closing in on a whole new year – are you even well-informed about what you would do differently if it were entirely up to you? What would your life look like, if every detail were as you wish to see it? Is your vision truly your own? Is it practical and achievable? Can it be scaled back to get started in a more achievable way, if it is so exceedingly lavish as to be wholly impractical and unachievable right now? I’m just saying; more of this is within your control than you may realize.

…And it’s a wonderful time to begin again. How will you live your life? What is the change you wish to see in your world, right there at home? πŸ™‚

It’s funny, isn’t it, that things change so much in such a short time, and often in such unexpected ways. Sometimes subtle, sometimes quite obvious, sometimes in unimaginably pleasant ways, sometimes less so – change is.Β 

I smile and sip my coffee. This morning it is exceptionally good. I feel well-rested, content, and calm. The morning begins well. I enjoy this feeling, savoring it, lingering with it, not asking it to be anything more than what it is. Grateful for it, and appreciative.

Some lovely fun hours in the company of dear friends, and my Traveling Partner, were a nice addition to the weekend. I am still enjoying those recollections, too. I think about all the many small commitments to mutual support, and shared experience, that make up these relationships – as much about “family” and community, as they are about friendship. Our relationships are so much of who we are. Almost a “living mirror”, in a sense; we see reflected back what we are able to deliver, ourselves. It’s a lot of work to maintain a low-drama experience in the context of our relationships, sometimes, but it is possible. I smile and think about that for a few minutes more. How do we share the best of who we are with the people most dear to us? How do we encourage them to do the same?

I glance at the time. It’s an ordinary enough work day, and I’ve commitments aside from those to family, community, home, and hearth. There’s also the work thing, and it’s already time to begin again. lol

…Are you ready for a new day? What will you do with it? πŸ™‚

I like a smooth, well-mapped, route when I travel from place to pace, it’s true. I don’t at all mind “a road less traveled” – I just prefer to use a map. lol The enormous emotional relief, for me, in beginning down the path of mindfulness, of improved self-awareness, of improved emotional self-sufficiency, has been largely due to the increased sensation that this journey can make some sense, can seem to follow some sort of map. Sort of. πŸ™‚ It’s a feeling of “safe travels” on life’s journey, for me.

…I’m less than ideally well-suited to unexpected drama, profound losses of perspective or resilience, or that emotional teeter-totter that gets slyly labeled “reactivity”. I falter. I panic. I want to run. Doesn’t matter if it’s my mess, or someone else’s. I really just don’t want to be part of it, and I begin to do a lot of emotional dog-paddling in life’s choppy waters, just trying to stay ahead of things, or smooth things over. I’d often rather just yield to whatever the chaos brings with it, accept and reject it, and fucking walk on. So often, it’s either my own mess to clean up and manage, or it belongs to someone dear to me, who has… for fuck’s sake… reached out to me (of all people) for help and support.

It was late last night before I’d self-soothed and medicated sufficiently to stop by brain spinning out of control on details that didn’t really belong directly to me, but touched my experience enough to be aggravating. I slept fitfully, once I was able to sleep at all, and my nightmares were not all that helpful toward sorting shit out. I was fairly grateful for the loud crashing noise on the roof over my bed, which woke me abruptly at 1:49 am. Heavy winds all day and into the night, really making a loud rushing and roaring noise, had been tossing the treetops back and forth for hours. Seconds after 1:48 am, I guess, a largish tree beyond the back fence couldn’t take it any longer and snapped just a couple feet up from the base. It hit the house and broke again, the top sliding down the roof into the neighbor’s yard, the mid-section crashing into the fence, and destroying a section of that, breaking again, and that piece falling sort of into my yard.

Well…shit. That’s not good…

Minutes later, we were all standing out there in the wind and rain, faces wearing looks of astonishment and relief. It could have been worse. In the darkness, the wind carried off any real sense of fear or anxiety, leaving behind only words of surprise, and cautious optimism. It would be hours before day light gave us a better look. Still, it was easy to tell it could have been much worse.

I went back to bed with that reminder in my mind; it could have been worse. So often in life this is true. lol

I woke to a lovely note from my Traveling Partner. I woke to no drama. I woke to peace and contentment. I woke to a large tree broken in pieces spread across the back yards, and a displaced squirrel looking up at me with a recognizable “wtf??” look. I smiled. I get it. I put out peanuts for the squirrels and made a cup of coffee for myself – and began again. πŸ™‚

Sipping coffee, thinking about self-care, reflecting on visits with friends and weekends when my Traveling Partner is here at home. I smile, a deep, lasting, crease-this-face-permanently sort of smile when I think about his time here in terms of his being “here at home”. Damn, that feels nice. πŸ™‚

Words matter. Our narrative matters (to us). How we phrase things, the context in which we put things, the assumptions we allow to live in our thinking – all of that matters, because all of it colors our day-to-day experience over time. We’ve got so much control over that it can literally change our experience of living our lives to change the way we understand and think about pieces of that experience – even without changing the underlying facts of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Interesting. Promising.

I enjoy a few minutes of conversation, mixed in with my morning writing. I lose the flow of my thoughts, while gaining a feeling of being connected, supported, understood, recognized, and well-regarded. It’s hard to call that a poor trade-off. πŸ™‚

It’s the winter holiday season. There’s a lot going on right now. I meditate more, and more often, but easily lose track of basic self-care practices (including meditation) in the excitement of time spent with loved ones, the busy-ness of the season, the flurry of social events, and yeah – colored lights reflected off of ornaments and objects that I only see for this handful of weeks, each year. lol It’s an important time to also keep self-care well-managed; mistakes in this area can result in all manner of weird holiday drama (that is actually so very common). It’s easy to overlook ourselves in the rush to do things for others; taking care of ourselves, though, fuels our ability to care for others.

Hey, reminder, in case anyone’s forgotten, the self-care I’m referring to when I say “caring for ourselves” is not about buying ourselves things, keeping things for ourselves, getting loaded on exotic intoxicants, or selfishly hoarding time, goods, money, or our presence. I’m talking about getting the rest we need, taking care of our basic hygiene skillfully, eating nutritionally dense calorie appropriate meals, taking medication on time, and creating an emotionally nurturing internal world view that is so inclusive we are even able to love and appreciate that human being in the mirror, while also extending our compassion, empathy, and kindness to others. Fuck. That’s a lot to take in.

Are you taking care of yourself? Drinking enough water? Getting enough rest? Spending some time walking in the sunshine and fresh air? Eating healthy meals prepared from safe, nutritious ingredients? Laughing? Enjoying the company of those dear to you? Limiting your work hours so that you also enjoy some leisure? Seriously – someone cares about you (and, one of those someone’s is ideally you, I’m just saying…) so take care. Please. πŸ™‚

Oh, hey, will you look at the time? Already time to begin again. I’ll start with self-care. Will you? (Please?)

Weird night. I woke repeatedly to answer a question someone asked me – in my dreams. Different dreams. Different questions? No idea, I was confounded each time my attempt to answer (out loud) woke me, because I could not actually recall the question I had tried to answer. My sleep cycled through this strange sequence some 5 times, to my puzzlement when I finally woke, to enjoy the day ahead. No nightmares, although my urgent desire to answer this single question was really frustrating to wake from feeling so incredibly unsatisfied.

I make my coffee. Answer a couple messages. Still feeling sort of weirdly out of step with the day, the time, my experience, I rather randomly (it felt) threw open the patio door and took my coffee with me to my meditation cushion, and restarted my day. Bare feet extending over the door sill, sipping my coffee, feeling the hints of mist-not-quite-rain tickling my skin and dampening the edges of my pajama pants, I sat a while, smiling to myself, enjoying the chill of the autumn morning with the warmth of the house at my back. One of the squirrels began to approach, but realizing the peanuts were really quite near me, without any door between us, he retreated to the deck rail to flip his tail at me rather aggressively, and chitter his annoyance in whatever passes for language among squirrels. I presume it must be a similar experience as arriving to a breakfast destination only to realize there’s a wait. lol Not meaning to be a buzz kill, I move back a bit and close the patio door, so my squirrel neighbor can enjoy breakfast in comfort.

A rainy day, a squirrel.

I sit quietly a while longer, thinking about spring camping. (You may recall, I’ve said I’m “a planner” by tendency? It’s a true thing; I’m planning my spring camping weekends as “now” as I can; it’s less than 6 months away! I frankly feel a bit rushed. LOL) This past year, my camping plans were almost entirely derailed by the regular weekend trips down to see my Traveling Partner; gas money, and time, that in other years would have been camping trips, and the usual recovery weekends between such things were spent recovering from commuting back and forth to be in my lovers arms for just a day or a few hours. My nail-biting as I review maps and details is less about nights out in forests, and more about days out on trails; I need the exercise, and trail hiking is my favorite way to get it.

Ultimately, we each choose our own path…

I figure, maybe if I put more planning under my hopes and dreams for 2019, I can enjoy more of all the things. πŸ™‚ Other things sort of got in the way this year. Break ups, moves, career changes, lifestyle changes, resource changes, business organization changes… all these sorts of things are incredibly disruptive for people, when they come up. For us (together), we handled at least one of each of those in 2018. It was an expensive, and emotionally taxing, year. In some ways inconvenient, unpleasant, and painful. Disappointing. Hard. In other ways, though, it has been a healing journey, a bit of progress, finding some better ways, forging stronger healthier connections as we end relationships and associations that were toxic or overly costly in human or social currency (or, yeah, financially). We’ve all had our own hard mile to walk this year. You, too? Probably, right? πŸ™‚ We’re all in this together, so it’s a fairly safe assumption we’ve each had our challenges.

The year is quickly winding down. There will be no elaborate “punch line” or “finish” to the end of 2018, I suspect, just a fatigued sigh and a moment of relief that it is over, that love wins, that I made it through from one crazy blow out rager of a New Year’s party at one end, to… what? What will New Year’s Eve be this year? Will I be home alone quietly, spending the holiday as is generally my practice, in meditation, contemplation of the year past, and the year ahead? Will I find myself surrounded by friends (or strangers) at some massively loud banger this year, celebrating full on with a crowd of other people, also celebrating, and all the over-stimulation that provides? Fuck – I’m still blown away by the house party I attended last New Year’s. It was… intense. lol The delicious illusion of inclusion and hopefulness that night really set the tone for what it seemed the year would become… of course, it didn’t. Because that’s how illusions work; all show, no substance. The hopes we fostered that night became the disappointments in the year ahead, but of course, we did not see or acknowledge that, then. lol Why would we? It was as if casting a spell, shared by all of us, over all of us, hoping for something much better than we’d previously had. Or… maybe it was just a party? πŸ˜‰

Mt McLoughlin, Oregon

This year I expect to be a tad more studious about my New Year, whatever I do with it. It’s always a great time to begin again. πŸ™‚ We can’t really know where our journey leads, but we’ve still got to make the journey. Sometimes what looks like a destination, turns out to be nothing more than scenery along the way. It doesn’t change the worthiness of the journey itself, to discover that our path leads past something beautiful in the distance, rather than directly to it; what we see from our own limited perspective in one singular moment may not be as real (or attainable, or desirable, or as near at hand) as we’d like to make it. πŸ™‚ There are so many more options on life’s menu than we can see from the perspective of one moment.

The map is not the world. The fantasy is not the reality.

I look over maps of trails and camps nearer to where my Traveling Partner currently resides… there are some choice locations that are wilderness, in spite of their nearness. There are choices that are very near, indeed, and so manicured, maintained, and resourced, they would be more glamping than camping. Some cool opportunities to be “near enough” that he could pop over to my campsite, or I could pop over for a few hours of partying and music, and we could still generally be doing our own thing… this is a solution that appeals to me greatly. πŸ˜€

I sip my coffee and daydream, as the gray sky shifts in tone and hue from “why are you even up already?” to “why are you still lounging around in jammies?”. Looks like it is time for another coffee…