Archives for category: Summer

Well, the drive down was coffee all the way, and started in the wee hours before dawn. Easy drive. Fun. Effortless. After-the-fact it seems featureless and unremarkable, such that I don’t specifically remember any specific detail besides stopping for coffee. lol I left “on time” and arrived safely. I was greeted warmly with love, and friendship.

The drive back, this morning, definitely coffee-themed. I pro-actively picked up a can of cold brew so I’d have that effortless coffee moment first thing, and waited until I was in the car to pop the top on it, to avoid waking my Traveling Partner. I stopped twice for more coffee, and to stand in the dawn of a new day, feeling the chill breeze that hinted at autumn.

I got on the road this morning with a heart filled to overflowing with pure love and delight, feeling wrapped in My partner’s high regard, and nurtured by his enduring affection. He’s a good partner; loving, kind, considerate, helpful, experienced, competent, forward-thinking, and exciting to be with. I chose well… this time. lol This is my only actually good long-term relationship, honestly (although, to be fair, I only have 4, maybe 5, to reflect on). I don’t kick myself about it; choosing partners, lovers, and friends is a complicated matter, and most of us don’t develop real skills in that area until later in life. If we’re fortunate, we nonetheless happen upon friends, lovers, and partners in the context of our circumstances, and things work out. We are social creatures. I’m sure we could do better, and I wonder why we don’t teach emotional intimacy, relationship-building, and healthy communication practices, in elementary school, as I sip my coffee.

I know some things that don’t work. One of those is money. It just doesn’t work to attempt to buy someone’s affection, even if they accept payment. 🙂 That’s not how love works. It’s not how loyalty works. It’s not how any sort of affection or friendship works. I don’t actually understand how anyone might think it would. I’ve seen it attempted any number of times by people with more money than qualities on which to build love or friendship. Painful. Awkward. Unsatisfying. I can’t help wonder why it doesn’t seem, just on a practical basis, more cost-effective to be a better human being… you know… just likable, considerate, kind, funny, nurturing… some assortment of the sorts of things that draw people in, right? lol It’s not effortless, does take work and practice… and so many of us seem utterly disposed to avoiding any sort of self-work whatsoever. Yeah… there are verbs involved. Results will vary. It’s necessary to practice, to fail, to reflect on our missteps, to begin again… oh… ever so many times. Some people make other choices, and experience other outcomes. It is what it is.

My affection is not for sale. Neither is my respect. My consideration and basic kindness is free, and generously given – as much as I can spread it around, I try to, and there is no minimum qualification for it. The world needs more basic kindness, and a lot more consideration, and no amount of money eases the lack of it.

Tending the flowers in the garden of my heart.

I sip my coffee, and think about love. Being loved feels amazing! Being able to love well feels pretty fantastic, too. These things literally can not be purchased. If you know for certain that these are things you want to feel, and you also know that it will require a lot of work and self-awareness, self-reflection, and willingness to grow, change, and do some verbs – put in the work – would you do it? 

Are you ready to begin?

…What could possibly matter more than love and loving? 🙂

It’s probably true for all of us, that we’d like to understand the world, our lives, the lives of others, much more than we really do – or ever could. We spend tons of time on “human interest stories” and posts and articles about other people’s lives and circumstances, seeking greater understanding of the human experience (or salacious titillation, which is, frankly, an unpleasant impulse ideally not indulged). It’s problematic, because, too often, it leads to becoming heavily emotionally invested in experiences that are not actually our own. Humans are fairly weird primates. lol

Our technology makes it very easy to “watch from afar”, distant connections, celebrities, neighbors, and even X’s and people who have walked on from where we now stand, making it clear they want no part of our bullshit any longer. Some people yield to that temptation, becoming obsessed with some other human to the detriment of their everyday lives. That’s mostly just sort of sad, really, I don’t know what to say about that… Let it go? Live life? Invest in what is actually yours? Enjoy or change what is within your own reach? Knock that dumb shit off? (Well, that last one there seems a bit rude, and insensitive, but… yeah; you don’t really have time for that kind of foolishness, we are mortal, life is finite, and there’s other shit to do. lol)

I know one or two folks who, even years later, still obsess about an ex to the point of madness. It’s hard to watch. I can’t call them “friends” of mine, to be clear; they don’t have time for friendship, they are far too busy with clinging, or plotting revenge, or grieving endlessly, to enjoy friendship, or even the simple pleasures of living life. It’s a weird place to spend one’s time, I think, but then again – I’ve chosen a different path. We each walk our own mile, paved with our own choices. We become what we practice, and are, unavoidably, generally speaking, one hundred percent a creature of our own making.

Our shittiest behavior becomes part of who we are. We will be recognized and described by those behaviors and choices.

Think about that. You are who you choose to be. You become whatever you choose to practice being. No kidding, even our worst “mistakes” as people are only “mistakes” that first time; once we’re called on our bullshit and told that our words or actions are objectionable, and we continue to make that choice? Now that shit is “on purpose”, even if not specifically willfully deliberate in the moment – unless of course we have some sort of mental illness, cognitive limitation, or challenge in life that specifically limits our rational agency and free will. What I’m saying is – we make choices. A lot of choices. Our choices are part of who we are, and say a lot about our character.

Choose wisely. The world is watching.

…Oh hey, just note; you’re going to fuck some shit up and make some terrible choices in life. It’s a human thing. Begin again. Do better. Keep practicing. It’s a long journey from here, wherever “here” is, to becoming the human being you most want to be… and fucking hell, there’s no map.

Ready? However bad things feel right now? It’s okay to begin again. 🙂

The last day or two have been strangely filled with the sound of breaking habits and routines. Again this morning, coffee holds no appeal. I have chai tea instead. With almond milk. My shower is cool, almost cold, and I take it before I do much of anything else, instead of after yoga or dumbbells. I put my shoes on as soon as I got dressed, instead of just before I leave. My TBI seems to be “whispering at me” through the fatigue and distractions; habits breaking everywhere, because that’s what does seem to happen with me under these circumstances.

I whisper back to the woman in the mirror, “keep it together, you’ve got this – now wear is your work badge, and why is it not hanging on the hook where it belongs? damn.” So human.

I remind myself to “stay on the path”. I go through the motions of the other usual morning things, check the clock, notice it is almost time to leave for work (already??) and I hadn’t written a word, or even scrolled through my feed (who are you??). It’s okay. It’s just my version of spontaneity. LOL I’m fine, just… a bit stressed, managing my anxiety, and living life pulled in more directions than I typically prefer. I take a healthy calming breath, and let it go.

It’s a Friday. Here’s a weekend ahead of me. It’s time to begin again.

I woke to an aggressively irritating, harsh, grating, repetitive noise that just would not stop… It was hard to move, and my head still feels stuffy half an hour after realizing that was the alarm clock, and finally finding the will to actually shut it off. Beyond groggy.

My fitness tracker notes that I slept deeply, continuously, but for less than 6 hours. Well, okay then. I’ll deal with that later, I’m sure. For now, at the start of the day, waking up matters more.

…I don’t feel like having coffee.

Wait… what? Well… I hope I’m not getting sick or something. Totally not feeling “coffee” today. Yet. It’s okay. I made a cup of tea instead. 😉 It manages to be both not coffee and also quite delicious. 😀

…New beginnings come in a lot of varieties of experience. Tea instead of coffee in the morning. A walk along the waterfront at lunch time instead of working at my desk. Choosing not to go to bed “on time” and dealing with feeling more than a little tired in the morning. lol Choose your adventure.

Those choices we make every day really do matter. We become what we practice.

I yawn over my tea. No “do overs” – just new beginnings. Tonight maybe an early night? lol

I check the time… yep. It’s already time to begin again. 😉

The School of Life doesn’t have a rigid test schedule that is easy to plan ahead for. Cheating is just about impossible. All the tests are entirely open book, and generally really fucking hard. There’s no curve to be graded on; each test, each question, each student stands alone in judgment, generally the internal self-inflicted judgment is most intense. The grading system is mysterious, flexible, and grades can change even in the past; we become what we practice, and the result is that context, meaning, understanding, and perspective over time can all change as we become someone we weren’t at some other, earlier point.

I’m just saying, the tests are hard.

It’s test time. Maybe it sort of always is, but I’m feeling it more this week. My anxiety comes and goes, and it is both unwelcome, and unsurprising. Happily, I’m also not extraordinarily tense about the anxiety itself, an experience which can really add a lot of additional anxiety to the anxiety that is more about the anxiety itself than whatever I may think I’m anxious about. It’s not helpful to have to sort all that out, but it can be majorly helpful to make the attempt to do so. No pressure… time is passing… what, it’s still there?? I chuckle over my coffee in spite of the mild persistent tension of the anxiety in the background. Shit gets real sometimes.

When a fresh wave of anxiety tightens the pit of my stomach, pulls me over my keyboard, pushes my shoulders high, and makes my chest tighten, I push back gently, raising myself up full erect on my spine, breathing deeply, letting my shoulders relax again. Another breath, reminding myself these sensations are only that, this emotion just a momentary experience – emotional weather. Another breath, “this too will pass”. The sounds of traffic and tinnitus mix with the sound of my very even breathing. Another slow even deep breath, the knot in my stomach begins to unwind.

I keep at it for a few minutes (in this instance, about 6 and a half minutes, actually), until the wave of tension and worry passes over me, and recedes. If yesterday is any predictor, it’ll come and go rather more frequently than usual today, not attached to much of anything, besides the general every day stress of managing expenses, change, and adulthood. I’m okay right now. There’s nothing much “wrong”, really. The comfortable awareness of this reassures and soothes me, and I return to sipping my coffee and writing.

Have a flower. It can be helpful to take time for beauty. I’m a fan of pausing for flowers. 🙂

Some of the most stressful things in life are made far worse by our way of treating ourselves, and this one piece of living life skillfully is so very much within our own control, it’s hard to imagine not to at least give improving those skills a try. It’s been a good strategy for me – admittedly, it’s also a lot of work, and self-awareness, and failing, and learning, and getting things wrong, and owning my own poor choices, or behavior, and change, and practice, and… yeah. It’s a commitment to self that rivals any commitment I could ever consider making to another person. I try my best not to let myself down, and when I do let myself down, I try my best to move forward having learned something from the experience.

I’m so human. There’s no “cure” for my head injury, or for my PTSD, and so… this human experience. Very human. Ups, downs, all the things. This week? Anxiety. I’m not mad about it, just saying; I go through it. It used to be worse and more often. It is mostly manageable, most of the time, now. That’s more than something – it’s enough. Truly.

Ah, yes, there it is again, surging up from a ball of background stress and fear lodged in my gut; anxiety. As it begins to grow large and fill my consciousness, I return my attention to my breathing, and make a point of letting it go, again. I shrug in the silence. I can do this all day. All week. All of the rest of my life if necessary. It’s far better than becoming mired in the feeling of anxiety, frankly. I’d rather practice the practices that dial it back. Yes, of course, there are verbs involved; I have to do the things that help. Just thinking about them won’t do it. Bitching about the anxiety, by itself, is also not effective – although it can be enough distraction to break the cycle, so I can’t say “don’t bitch about anxiety”. lol Sometimes that really does work, too.

Art, puzzles, an intellectual distraction of some kind, these are things that can also help reduce anxiety.

Funny thing; the anxiety does not really want me to focus on my breathing or other self-soothing practices at all. It would far prefer that I try to troubleshoot why I feel anxious, as if deep-diving those details and attempting to fix all that would resolve the anxiety. It might. It might not. Anxiety is its own thing, and it’s a bit of a mistake to fuse it with some narrative about “why” that I’ve built up in my head. Instead, addressing the anxiety itself, from the perspective of being an experience built on some specific sensations and emotions, and accepting that it may not be so directly connected to a “why” at all, tends to be most effective. It doesn’t actually matter whether I’m “anxious for a reason” – the anxiety doesn’t care about that at all, and makes shit up on the regular for me to stress “about”. lol I’m not falling for that bullshit anymore. 😉

It is a short work week. I’m missing my Traveling Partner. Anxiety is currently part of my experience. I’m physically fairly comfortable at the moment. My coffee is almost gone. These are all equally true observations of my subjective experience. One human. One experience. Tons of choices.

I take a deep breath and relax, and choose to begin again. 🙂