Archives for category: The Art of Being

So this is home, is it? Here, now? Interesting that it feels so much so, so soon, so easily, so completely… Is it that way in each new place? Do I make myself at home, everywhere? It’s possible… I don’t take the bait when my restless monkey mind suggests I could dig into old journals and past blog posts looking for “truth”. The relevant truth is here, now, and it is enough. I feel at home here.

I woke well before day break. Dawn is still some time from now. The morning is dark in these wee hours, and the busy street I live on is utterly silent and without traffic so early on a Saturday morning. I woke early, rested, unable to sleep any longer. Easily handled; I got up and made coffee. πŸ™‚

The move is over. I live here. There’s more unpacking to do. I still can’t reliably find my way around in the dark. I’m still constantly misplacing things I’ve set down “for a moment” in some convenient spot “where I can’t lose track of it”, then wandering off and forgetting where I’ve set down… my phone… my keys… that list I just made… It’ll be some time before I really know this space and where everything is “put away” in it. I have regular reminders that I am not yet entirely unpacked, and moments of anxiety about things that may be lost, or overlooked, and actually it’s just that there’s quite a lot still in boxes. An example is that I don’t unpack books until I am certain I have the shelves where I really want them – but some of the boxes of books have some little odd other thing in the top of the box, if there was a bit of space there, but I don’t easily remember that item X is in that box of books over there – for now it just “feels missing”. Getting fully moved in is a process – but it’s lovely that I already feel “at home”, nonetheless. πŸ™‚

I notice that the pre-dawn darkness has lightened up enough to become dawn. Daybreak is here, and the sunrise will soon follow. I decide to set aside my writing, and take my coffee to the deck…

The day begins.

There is no handy view of the sunrise here, but the scent and sound of the forest so near at hand calls to mind so many mornings out in the trees, camping. The traffic hasn’t yet commenced, and all I hear are the sounds of forest life, and a breeze stirring the leaves of trees so close they seem almost within reach. I love the view from the deck. There is no grand vista here, no horizon on the horizon, no broad expanse of meadow…but there is also no busy pedestrian trail, no playground equipment, no basketball court, and no neighbors smoking cigarettes on the patio next to mine. This feels safe, and private, and comfortable. The deck gets some sun, it gets some shade – the roses are doing well here, and making a good recovery from the exposed heat of summer at the other address. I enjoy the convenience of having a water source at hand, making caring for my garden much easier. I check the yard from my deck vantage point, looking for forest creatures who may have chosen to visit, but this morning there are none. There will be other mornings. πŸ™‚

The move is over. The rest is just housekeeping. πŸ˜€ I live here. This is home. I sip my coffee as the sky lightens, and smile. Joy feels good. Contentment feels good. Feeling welcome in my own space, and in my own life, feels very good indeed. I take time to really savor these feelings – and to welcome myself home.

I woke unexpectedly breathless, heart pounding, unsure of where I was – and no art on the walls yet to pull me back from The Nightmare City. I told myself it was nothing. Got up. Took my morning medication. Had a big drink of cool, fresh, water. Took some deep breaths. I found myself wandering room to room, throwing open the windows, as if only the fresh morning air could calm me. It did feel good. I made coffee out of habit. I really just want more cold water, although… I’m not actually thirsty.

I stand in a cool shower for some minutes, coffee forgotten, trembling, heart still pounding, and feeling mildly weak and a little dizzy. I finally think to check in with myself more specifically. “Am I okay? Physically okay?” I give that some thought, becoming more aware, and more present, right now. I have no recollection of having had a nightmare, but aside from that, I feel very much as I do when I wake from a really bad one, abruptly.

After my shower, feeling some better, I drop some ice cubes in my now-tepid coffee (damn, how long was I standing in not-quite-cold water at 4 am?) and step out onto the deck “for some fresh air” (as if I hadn’t already thrown the house wide to the breezes as soon as I woke). I’m okay. Still feeling a little unsure of myself, actually, vulnerable, and filled with vague anxiety. It’s been awhile since I woke in the middle of a panic attack. Uncomfortable. It wasn’t helpful that I am in a new environment. I’m okay right now, though, and that’s enough to get by on.

I watch the sky lighten beyond the window of the studio, beyond the security door, beyond the hedge, a few tall trees silhouetted against the sliver of visible sky. There are streaks of clouds, low on the horizon, and clear pale sky overhead. I write a few more words about the weather, then delete them. I sit staring quizzically at my computer screen for some minutes, not just uncertain what to write about, but also simply… unsure. Too aware that I woke up a bit unhinged, still feeling… feelings. Sure, I’m okay, for most values of okay, and I’ll be fine, but right now, in this tender moment, I need something more from myself than small talk about the fucking weather. lol I need a connection.

I decide to begin again. I take my coffee, and head to the deck to enjoy watching the morning unfold its beauty in leaves and light to a soundtrack of birdsong, breezes, and morning traffic. My results vary. Of course. Sometimes there are verbs involved.

 

 

I woke around 3 am, and made a point of not getting up. I eventually fell asleep again, and slept in until almost 6 am! I woke slowly in the stillness and quiet of a pre-dawn Thursday. Another day of moving in, but planning to make a final visit to the old place, sweep up, vacuum, and hand over the keys.

I live here now. This new place. My aches and pains are here. My joyful moments will be here too. My peace and contentment are already here… I unpacked those yesterday, I suppose. πŸ™‚ My coffee is definitely here. My restless rather disorganized approach to housekeeping is here, too. My baggage and limitations are here… pretty sure I just saw those a minute ago…but in the calm of a lovely morning, I’ve misplaced them.

Yesterday I finished moving into the kitchen, which really needed to happen quickly; frequent meals out, delivered, or taken home from elsewhere are not sustainable indefinitely. This morning I woke to a minimum balance reminder I’d previously set to protect myself from over-spending during the move. Well, shit. That snuck up on me. My inner dialogue this morning is all to do with money, and budgets, and being attentive to details… less chastising than reinforcing.

4 years ago, I’d have probably been in hysterics for hours, freaked completely out both by seeing that reminder, and also simply because I was having to think about money. Particularly first thing in the morning (or right before bed, or at any time that wasn’t planned in advance, or … ) This time? I rolled over, and before I was even quite awake, calmly moved some money into that account in quite a routine way, and moved on with my morning with a firm thought in mind that I’ve exhausted my moving budget, and life moves on with the regular day-to-day budgeting in mind. Things will be tight this week. I’m not particularly concerned, because I specifically prepared for this. πŸ™‚ It’s a nice feeling.

…I manage to be mildly irked with myself, and realize I’d been betting I could “bring this project to a close on time and under budget”… and I missed. On time, sure, easily… if I only count the moving out bit. lol Under budget? Nope. My skills at anticipating costs and making a budget have grown over time, it wasn’t likely I was going to spend less on this move – I was accurate about what it would cost me. I’ve been pretty accurate about how much time it would all take me, too. lol I sip my coffee thoughtfully and decide to celebrate that I budgeted and planned so accurately, instead of celebrating how much less I was able to spend that I expected I might. πŸ˜€ Win!! πŸ˜‰

I take time to care for the stressed out roses, and also to appreciate “Fireworks”, which arrived and immediately burst into bloom. What needs my attention no longer prevents me from appreciating what can be enjoyed.

On a more serious note, when I allow myself to become attached to an outcome, I may as well also plan to be quite frustrated, disappointed, and chronically unhappy, because those will likely be common experiences. Over time I have continued to practice letting go of being attached to outcomes, simply because my “crystal ball” tends to be sort of smudgy and vague, and I am often incorrect about the direction life may go, or the outcome of one choice or set of circumstances or another. Being willing to embrace change, and able to enjoy what is, even when it isn’t what I wanted, or what I was going for, results in a fairly frequent opportunity to simply enjoy myself, enjoy my life, enjoy my circumstances. It’s nice. Non-attachment is a pretty big deal for me. Effective.

I live here, now.

I guess I call this move done, at this point. I live here, rather than there. There’s more to do to move in, but it’s all right here. The “moving budget” is exhausted. Life moves on from moving to… whatever is next, I guess. Laundry probably. lol Β Housekeeping. The moving in, itself, becomes part of… life. Hell, friends have already begun making plans to come around. I definitely live here, now. I slept in. I sleep deeply and wake gently, even in the night. I can find my way around the place, in the dark, mostly. I’ve done dishes here, and cooked a proper meal. The pantry is stocked. My clothes hang in the closet. The miscellaneous crap currently strewn on the bathroom counter is mine. This is home. My new “drama-free zone”.

There’s more to do. More time to do it. There will be verbs involved. My results may vary. I live here, though, and this is my place. I am content. This is enough. πŸ™‚

I’m off for a couple days to get all moved in. I woke this morning too early (earlier than needed, earlier than desired, earlier than I’d planned on) and I am sipping my coffee distractedly, exchanging words with friends who are also awake, preparing for their work days. This is a “work day” for me as well, just work done here at home, in mindful service of home and hearth, taking care of the woman in the mirror. I pause to appreciate having the time off hours available to do so.

I look out the window, through the security door, and smile at the decorative stake that will soon support my hummingbird feeders. It is the one that used to hold the bird seed bell and suet feeder next to the patio at my old place. It makes me feel pleasantly at home to see it here. It’s taken me days to decide where to place it; I wanted to be easily able to see it, from inside the house, which didn’t actually leave many options. I like the placement I selected. I take a moment to fill up on that feeling of satisfaction and contentment. Really pausing to savor those small pleasing moments helps build a substantial reservoir of emotional resilience, as well as – over time – shifting my baseline implicit experience of life in a positive long-term way. It doesn’t happen fast. Β It does require practice. There are verbs involved. My results often vary. Still totally worth it. πŸ™‚

What works in one place or circumstance may not be quite the thing in another.

I sip my coffee with a similar experience of contentment and quiet joy. Fresh coffee beans of excellent quality, freshly ground, and a carefully prepared pour over instead of the effortless lower quality mass-prepared machine-brewed single-serve drip coffee I’ve allowed myself to become accustomed to for convenience. I have missed this measure of quality and self-indulgence more than I understood. Why should I rush myself on a day off? πŸ™‚

I’d have slept in… only… I woke up. LOL It is, apparently, a day I am eager to enjoy. πŸ™‚

My ankle has been aching fiercely, more than usual I felt, and the foot (same one as the ankle) on which I’d dropped my (very small) safe still feels terribly bruised, more than I expect it too after several days, and it has slowly been turning a strange shade of blue as the bruising continues to develop. I stopped by Urgent Care on my way home to have it seen to. I wasn’t too surprised to be told I’d cracked a metatarsal bone. So… less about the ankle, actually, and more about the foot, which explains why my ankle brace was giving me so much less relief than it usually does. My foot is now wrapped up a bit differently, but no cast, and I’m still moving around with relative ease using my cane. Nothing much has changed for having a doctor take an x-ray and give me a diagnosis, honestly, but I know why I hurt, and that lets me make better self-care choices. I’m doubly appreciative to have time off for moving in; I’ll have to do it with great care, and more slowly. Totally fine. I’ve got this… after coffee. πŸ™‚

I love it here, so far…

…I can’t find anything here, yet.

So much more to do!

There is more work to be done restoring order from chaos. More verbs. More moments. More lists. More practices. My coffee is finished, and the sky has lightened from dawn to morning. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

Getting through these couple of work days is harder than I expected. The days drag. I feel distracted. There is a garden waiting for me at home that needs love. There is unpacking to do. There are things to put in their proper place – and proper places to be determined. The work day, yesterday, did eventually end.

I’d taken car yesterday, and will again today. My ankle is still aching and the bus stop is some distance away. On my way home, happily following a suggested route offered by a more experience colleague, I made a stop for some odds and ends but instead found myself wandering discontentedly through the aisles; I no longer cared about the errand, I just wanted to be at home. So, I went home.

I meant to do things. I meant to unpack more stuff. I meant to do some laundry. I meant to vacuum. Instead I made a mug of chicken broth and sat in the stillness, quiet and content. I watched the golden glow of late afternoon fade to twilight. I listened to the birds. I watered the container garden on the deck. Eventually, night fell. I went to bed. It was quiet a deliciously restful evening.

I spent much of that quiet time just soaking in the newness of this place, and continuing to get a feel for it. I still can’t quiet find my way around in the dark here, not yet. There is more to learn.

It’s an exciting time, now that the panic of having to move suddenly is behind me, and I’ve done that bit. So much chaos. I’m looking forward to the long weekend ahead, that begins tonight. Making this space my own is the fun part. Then, the journey ahead begins. I don’t know yet where it leads. I think of my Traveling Partner. It’s funny how much it matters to me that he also be able to find contentment in this space…but it does.

One more work shift… I think about work and I am immediately vaguely distracted feeling, already eager to return my thoughts to home. There is so much to do here! I’ve got keys to the apartment, though, until Friday. If I can get all the boxes unpacked, I can drop off the cardboard recycling in the big bin at the old apartment… handy. Living in a house means no more dumpsters. lol Every detail of getting settled in here is so prominent in my thoughts. It’s hard to recall now quite why I was so stressed out and angry about having to move… having moved, that bit is now in the past, and seems unfamiliar. I know I don’t like moving…but I really like moving in. lol

“Fireworks” burst into bloom as soon as I began watering her. We thrive when we are cared for.

It’s a good day to take care of the woman in the mirror. It’s a very good day to begin again.