Archives for category: The Big 5

I’m sipping my coffee, and smiling. Profound joy, and great delight, fill me up this morning. I’m content. Well-loved. My coffee tastes good. I got the rest I need. It is simply a lovely morning, and I’m in love. πŸ™‚

…The love, and loving, do tend to “light up” the day, most splendidly. πŸ˜€ I hear love songs in my head.

It’s a bit peculiar… I was so cynical about love as a younger person. I’d been hurt too often, too deeply, to “believe the hype” or appreciate the promise offered by real intimacy. It was a painful journey from that place, to this one, and I struggled for a long time to balance my tendency toward inappropriately deep (often undeserved)loyalty, with my lack of ability to form healthy attachments, or bond closely with lovers.

… I’m not there, now. Love feels so much different, from my vantage point, now, it is quite tempting to take a satisfied approach and figure “damn, I’m awesome at this love stuff!!” I’d lose a great opportunity to continue to grow my skills, and deepen my relationships, if I did. πŸ™‚ I breathe, exhale, relax, and let go of my expectations and assumptions, and sit present on a lovely morning, feeling loved.

Last night I came home to work to a magical wonderland of being loved, appreciated, valued, and cared for. It was an evening of connection, intimacy, warmth, and an experience of deep, lasting passion – with a human being who is also my best friend. Wow. I’m still smiling. My Traveling Partner blows my mind with his ability to love, to demonstrate that love, to share it, to deepen it, to connect with me.

This morning, I sip my coffee, smiling at the world, and myself. Love is “all that“. Love really does “matter most”.Β  πŸ™‚ I’m grateful to have the chance to experience, explore, deepen, and enjoy the love I know. It’s hard to embrace the next moment (or begin again), just now… I’m very much enjoying soaking up the love in this one. πŸ˜€ I think I’ll do just that, for now, sit here, contentedly, feeling the love.

p.s. I love you.

Well. That was a night of something other than rest. lol Nightmares woke me around 2 am. It was almost three before sleep caught up with me again. My dreams, thankfully, shifted gears, but… the content was strange (very) and fantastical… something about a church service breaking out into a raucous, violent, drunken party in the basement of a building in which corporate performance reviews were about to be given out under (for some reason) strict secrecy. There were Leprechauns in attendance (whether they were party-goers or work colleagues wasn’t at all clear), and for some reason, the professional folks were all wearing pajamas, and big screen tvs were showing Saturday morning cartoons. Very odd. Let’s never discuss it again. LOL

…Being awake, sipping a hot cup of coffee, seems a relief, and a clear return to normalcy. πŸ™‚ It’s enough. I yawn through these first sips of coffee, tired after the 3rd (4th?) consecutive night of fairly bad sleep. These things often go in cycles, so I refrain from taking it at all personally, and figure, more than likely, the rough sleep is due to the injured shoulder; it is a pain that is disrupting my sleep. I feel it every time I try to turn over, every time I lay on my right side, and my sleep ends up interrupted, restless, and not very deep. Lots of opportunity for dreams, and yes, nightmares. I remind myself that I already have a doctor’s appointment scheduled, and look at my calendar. It’s not on my calendar, so I look it up online, and add it – and invite “my work self”, so it’ll be on my calendar in the office also. πŸ™‚

Nothing to see here – all routine human stuff, the business of living life. πŸ™‚ I’m okay with “average”, “routine”, and “normal”, and drama is not welcome here…so… yeah. I get back to sipping coffee, and feeling this shoulder ache. lol

My thoughts careen through memories and random stream-of-consciousness weirdness for a time.

I breathe, exhale, relax, and sit present with the pain in my shoulder, and the tinnitus in my ears. It’s some time before I realize some of what I’m hearing is traffic beyond the window, and some of it is the fan on my computer. Another sip of coffee, contemplating the day ahead, gently (work has been intense, lately). The cup returns to the stone coaster on the desk with an unexpectedly loud clunk, and I shoot a suspicious look at cup, coaster, and fingers still wrapped through and around the white porcelain handle, motionless – as though freezing for a brief instant somehow mitigates the loud noise in the quiet room. LOL

…I wonder, for the first time, why the hell I am using a stone coaster with a porcelain coffee mug, early in the mornings, in a very quiet environment, when I am specifically cultivating the quiet? This seems an inexplicably counter-productive choice. Shouldn’t I be using a soft, silent, coaster, perhaps of cork… or… fake fur…with googly eyes? I quake silently with mirth at the mental image of a fake fur coaster. (Omg, I need more sleep. lol)

Something about the mirthful moment is a reminder of recent inspiration; my Traveling Partner shared something artistic (a painting technique), and I found it inspiring, fascinating, and potentially very suited to my artistic approach. I’m excited about the weekend to come; maybe I will spend some of it in the studio? The idea becomes a smile, another sip of coffee, and a moment – it almost becomes a plan. My eye roams the room… paint… glitter… glow in the dark… canvases… Yeah, I’m overdue to get some creative work done. I think I screwed myself attempted to exorcise the toxic demon that is an X of mine by way of paint on canvas; an individual so utterly vile, so irredeemably poisonous, that even finishing the representation was hard to approach, and the likeness sits unfinished on my easel, holding me back. Maybe I should “finish” it with some quick machete work, instead? The idea amuses me, maybe enough to finish it properly, let go, and really, finally, completely move on.

…It’s the forgiveness that’s hard, isn’t it? Once we have been wounded badly enough, deeply enough, damaged thoroughly enough, the forgiveness becomes… difficult. It’s hard to stay with the awareness that the forgiveness isn’t about the person who hurt us, not really, it’s about us, ourselves, letting go. Forgiveness doesn’t absolve someone of the wrongs they have done. It’s not an excuse, and does not condone bad behavior. From my perspective, the forgiveness simply allows us to move on, to admit to our pain, to refuse someone who has injured us any further opportunity to command our attention through their hurtful acts; we can walk on, and leave them to deal with their own pain, their own chaos and damage. Not my circus, not my monkeys. It’s a letting go that mitigates some of the damage, releases us from the powerful hold someone who has hurt us can maintain, and lets us get on with our own lives. There is no lasting requirement to see the forgiven one again, ever, or interact with them, or pretend we were not hurt, or to allow any further damage. I think what makes forgiveness hard is that it is clearly more kind, and more compassionate, than vengeance or punishment – but even though either of those (or both) may be entirely deserved, they do a lot of damage to the person needing to deliver them. It’s a bother, and a weird puzzle.

I can’t have vengeance, and I can’t punish that X, ever, enough to “make things right” – there is no amount of punishment available that could do that work. It is what it is. (Maybe we’re all someone’s villain?) Forgiveness tastes bitter in my mouth, like unripe fruit; I haven’t been ready. That portrait has mocked me, now, for months. That X does not “deserve” forgiveness… then I remember; my X may not “deserve” the relief that forgiveness may bring… but I do. πŸ™‚ Forgiveness is for the one forgiving. Forgiveness allows us to walk on. I guess it’s time. After all, what are they to me, now? Nothing and no one; it’s time to let them go in a proper and final way. I’ll feel so much better – and I’ll finish that damned painting. LOL

I glance into my empty coffee mug. Obviously. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

A few years ago, a much younger version of me was heading home from work, it was late, a hot evening, and… the train seemed to be late. The later it got, the more anxious and agitated I was becoming. There was already so little time. The more stressed out I became, the more bothered I was by even the slightest restless movement of other aggravated commuters – and the longer we waited, the more of us there were. Frustrated clueless conversation reached me from various pairings of “been waiting” and “just got here” commuters; that was making me angry, too. “Just stand still and wait!” I snarled quietly under my breath. In fact… I had, at one point, gotten to the “teeth-grinding and sub-vocalization” level of stress and pure, distilled frustration. I wanted to rip my damned heart out of my chest to stop the pounding.

…I just wanted to go home. That’s all.

Yesterday morning, on the way in to the office, I observed that there was a rail interruption for construction, and a shuttle-bus detour provided, on my usual route to work. I didn’t think much about it. It did add some minutes to my commute, but at 5:30 am, that’s not exactly noteworthy – and there are no crowds, just stoic sleepy-eyed commuters quietly heading to work on auto-pilot.

After a very busy, very weird, day in the office, I headed for home quite a bit later than usual – or planned – and made my way to the train platform. I didn’t see anything much to be concerned with, and I wasn’t troubled by the awareness of that bit of construction… I mean… they were probably done? Or… maybe I forgot? It wasn’t on my mind, is what I’m saying, even after I saw the sign.

Oh. Huh. Well… I guess that’s a pretty big project.

Pre-occupied with my own thoughts, I got on the train, and promptly forgot about the construction. Some few minutes later, the train stops. I look around puzzled and realize I’m at the last stop; the detour. Time to grab a shuttle bus… wait… where are the buses? I see a lot of passengers milling around waiting. Hell, the transit company is giving away free shave ice to the passengers waiting in the heat (almost 90 degrees F, a bit more than 32 C). No shade anywhere. It’s hot, and people are cross about waiting. An absolute raging douchebag pushes past a substantial queue of passengers growling “where do we get on the shuttle? where do we get on the shuttle?” squeezing past people with strollers, elders on walkers, and women in burqa’s to get to the front of the line. So rude. I’m irked, but… I breathe, and let that go.

We wait, and wait longer. I see transit employees on walkie-talkies beefing about the delay with the buses. I can see that traffic patterns have been interrupted to accommodate shuttle buses, there are cones, barriers, and signs everywhere, and frustrated workers in oranges vests – and more walkie-talkies. A bus arrives, after a time, and we all crowd on it. Finally. It won’t be long now. I’m almost merry – I’m at least content. I’m heading home.

So… about that.

Quite a crowd, waiting for a train, on a very hot day.

I ease myself past groups of strangers. I notice that even considering the construction, it seems odd that the platform is so crowded. It looks like more than one train’s worth of passengers. I overhear someone complain that they have already been waiting 20 minutes. I keep walking, to the far end; it looks less crowded.

10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes later… no train. More shuttle buses have continued to arrive. There are easily 200+ people waiting on the platform, crowded together, fussy, irritable, frustrated with waiting, growing more and more impatient, and potential for conflict increases. Giving the matter some thought, I realize I will not even want to try to crowd onto the first train that eventually arrives… maybe take an Uber, or… a bus? I make my way to a shady spot at the edge of the park alongside the platform. I exchange expectation-setting messages with my Traveling Partner. I hit my vape a couple times. I drink some water.

Well…so… the traffic around the construction is such a snarl, and being peak rush hour on top of that, and Uber was going to cost me dearly (on this whole other unreasonable level), so that was out. The estimated time for the closest bus I could walk to that would take me more or less directly to where my car was parked was a bit of a walk, followed by a bit of a wait, and then quite a long ride… the train would be faster, when it got here… So. I waited.

The crowd was sufficiently large that getting them in one shot from eye level was difficult.

More people accumulated on the platform, until it was clearly no longer safe for more, and they spilled onto the track that was not in service, and on into the edge of the park, where I was seated in the shade, at the edge of the piled up human stress-puppets, all waiting for the train. Still no train.

By the time the next train arrived, there were easily 300 commuters waiting for it. Trust me, they don’t hold that many. No way I was going to take that train. Maybe not the one after it, either. I watch people push on, crowding each other. I sat back, away from all that, having a vape, and watching the afternoon sunshine slowly turning golden as the sun began to sink lower in the sky. That train left so crammed with human beings, they were literally pressed against the doors and standing two abreast in the aisles as it pulled away. No thank you. The next train looked much the same, but as it left, there was actually room on the platform to stand and wait for the next, which came in just 5 minutes.

(As it turned out later, in addition to the construction snarl, a transit employee confirmed that there was the additional hassle of someone having thrown a shopping cart in front of a moving train, further east on the westbound line, resulting in the transit company having to remove that train from service, and clear the track – and backing up trains rather a lot, creating the fairly horrible delay I’d found myself caught up in.)

I got on the train, no pushing, no snarling, no frustration, and took a seat. All the seats ended up full, and a handful of folks standing – that’s what the train generally looks like in the evening, as I head home. People were a bit more tense and aggravated than usual, and there was a crying baby (the shrieking “I’m fucking pissed and you just don’t get it” crying of a confused, discontented, uncomfortable, too hot in the summertime, baby who has no will to be consoled). At one point, the entire train had to be stopped over … drama and bullshit. Tempers flared over priority seating for disabled passengers; a seated disabled woman with a child in a stroller refused to yield her seat to a woman insisting she was “more disabled”, rail-thin, appearing intoxicated, pushing a wheeled shopping basket. All hell broke loose when rail-thin woman touched the seated woman’s baby, as if to move the child out of her way. People were yelling. I was more than a little surprised it didn’t break out into a proper brawl. Other passengers got involved. Eventually the driver call-button was pushed. That’s when the train was stopped, and held, at the platform, while the driver intervened. The rail-thin woman was ejected from the train by the driver, firmly, although he did point out (and truthfully) that another train followed closely behind his. We continued our journey. The baby commenced to crying again.

At each stop, a few more passengers disembarked. It got quieter. The train reached my station, and I got in my car, and went home (by way of the grocery store, for salad ingredients for a dinner that we didn’t have, because it was late, and we were neither of us very hungry). I enjoyed a pleasant evening with my partner.

So… simple. So… easy. No freak out? Nope. No tantrum? Nope. No snarling at other people impatiently because… “omg, what the fuck??” Nope. I was pretty chill the whole time – in spite of the heat. (lol) It’s summertime, and that means construction, and construction delays, and… well… I don’t know. I’m fine. It wasn’t a big deal.

Who is this woman I have become over time? She’s pretty patient about construction delays, cranky passengers on crowded trains, shrieking babies, and douchebags who line-jump crowds on hot days. I like that about me… I sip my coffee and wonder when I became this woman, and what did I practice that got me here? Did the meditation get me here? The reflection and perspective-seeking? The savoring small pleasant moments and building emotional resilience over time? The creation of, and existence within, a calm and generally contented environment at home? I’m not perfect; I’m surprised. I fully expect that some time in the future I’ll lose my shit over something dumb (I have priors)… but… last night? Last night wasn’t that time. πŸ˜€

This morning? Pretty nice morning. My coffee is just okay, but it’s still coffee, and I’m grateful. I load up the dishwasher, and set it for a delayed start to avoid waking my partner (who I think I already woke with my bumbling around half-awake after the alarm jerked me from dreams of love and contentment). I consider the commute ahead of me. Maybe I’ll drive in. LOL I smile to myself; a good start to the day. I look at the clock… definitely time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Too hot… Tooooo hot… My coffee’s too hot, Lady… πŸ˜‰

Seriously, though? My coffee is too hot. lol …And it’s okay to be amused, to be silly, to be whimsical, to make jokes, to be merry, even in the morning, yes and all day, too. Lighten up whenΒ  you can, enjoy the moments that don’t weigh you down, and savor those, too. Even if – especially if – your heart is heavy with grief, pain, or trauma; those lighter moments can help us through some really dark times.

For clarity, because I assume by this point you are somewhat familiar with my whimsy (and word play, and over-use of metaphors), I’ll explicitly point out that this morning is merry and quite delightful, thus far. Neither the song I linked, nor the context of my experience right now, is weighed down by pain, or grief, or trauma – I’m just saying letting your heart be light when it will is a healthy thing. πŸ™‚

Yesterday was as easy as the day before was difficult. It was a lovely day, summery, fun, fulfilling, exciting… did I mention the fun? And the fulfillment? A good day.

If you’ve made the whole thing about the job, you may be missing the point. πŸ™‚

…Good days also end. They come around again. However dark times feel in one moment, it’s only one moment. There’ll be another. We can make choices, change choices, put verbs in motion, adjust our perspective, and even walk away from what doesn’t work. We have so much power over our own lives, often more than we use, certainly more than we recognize, when we feel hurt, trapped, or held back. How often is it our own choices allowing us to be hurt, trapped, and held back? (Sometimes it isn’t, let’s be real about that, and the harshness of our circumstances can be imposed upon us by bad lawmaking, by human nastiness, and by the choices of others, just as it can be by anything we’ve done, ourselves – also a thing, and yeah, even there, our decision-making can alter our experience of our circumstances to a greater or lesser degree, and we still have tremendous power to change the future.)

“This too shall pass,” applies even to the best of times. The best, sunniest days, eventually see the sun set. It’ll rise again. The wheel turns. There’s a new beginning just over the horizon. With this being the case, then it is also a given that it’s true of our darkest times. I mean, generally… there’s also death to contend with, eventually, no argument there. I don’t have much to say about that, and existential angst can get out of hand pretty quickly if we’re overly concerned about that.

Oh, nice… my coffee is cool enough to drink. I smile merrily. In this moment, that matters. That’s okay. I think all I’m getting at this morning is… be sure to have a good time, too. Enjoy living life. Enjoy the sunshine, and the rain. Enjoy this human being that you are – even while you work to become the person you most want to be. There is only practice, there is no “perfect” – enjoy the journey (you may not ever reach the destination).

The clock keeps ticking. It’s a new day, a new beginning, a new chance to be the woman I most want to be. It feels like summer.

…It feels like time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Well… still human. I checked. lol

The path is not always smooth, paved, nor well-lit. We each walk our own hard mile – often doing so while assuming everyone else “gets it”. Truth is, though, sometimes we’re not even sharing the same language, or going the same direction. Taking that personally is just an extra – and unnecessary – “fuck you” that we invent and deliver… to ourselves. Unnecessary. Doing better is complicated sometimes.Β  Awareness. Non-attachment. Letting go of small shit. So many verbs. Practices to practice. Not taking things personally is hard sometimes. We have assumptions, expectations, and beliefs, all getting in the way of clear-headed-ness, and tripping us up in vulnerable, meaningful, important moments. What a mess.

Sometimes “human” is complicated, and a little weird; I just now noticed I am writing with my glasses off. This makes no fucking sense. I can’t see without them. LOL There’s a metaphor there.

I put my glasses on. Sip my coffee contentedly. From the vantage point of this morning, right here? This path is just fine. πŸ™‚ Maybe I just needed to put on my glasses. πŸ˜‰