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I don’t think I actually ever gave thought to how often, or how much, “suction” place a role with regard to the general state of a human mouth. lol Having a molar extracted, and the resulting perforation of my lower facial sinus, with all the requested after-care that follows, is definitely an education in maintaining mindful awareness. The balance between “aware” and “self-conscious” – the latter of which tends to cause more moments of “sucking on my teeth, in some fashion – is, itself, a very new thing to explore (all over again). It generally… um… sucks.

(I’m aware of how dreadful that pun was, and nonetheless I spend five minutes wracked with mirth, trying not to laugh literally out loud, nor to stifle my laughter in any way that might result in disturbing the healing of that tooth socket, with the realization that my situation literally illustrates the point I was making the first place driving still further laughter. What a morning. What the fuck is the point of “uncomfortable merriment”? Why is that even a thing? lol)

Eating is complicated. Drinking is a major challenge. Even sitting around, generally, reading, watching a video, or just being thoughtful, seems to continuously put me at risk of subtly (or less so) “pulling” at that wound in my mouth with some quantity of suction unintentionally. “Rinsing” my mouth requires a rather delicate approach, since any sort of “swishing” technique likely involves – you guessed it already, I bet – suction. It’s not the very firm sucking-suction of deliberately sucking on something (like a straw) that trips me up; it’s the common everyday rather mild suction of things like holding my tongue to the roof of my mouth, or drinking from a container with a small opening, or… swallowing. lol That last one plagues me – it is unavoidable. I’m not bitching, I’m just saying; there are techniques involved that I did not already know.

I woke to rain. I find myself wondering how the Praying Mantis hatchlings are doing. They hatched yesterday, from purchased egg cases that I put in the garden in the spring.

There appear to be hundreds of wee mantises on this one rose bush, basking in the sunshine.

The dense foliage of the reliably well-leaved out rose bush on which I placed them offers a lot of places to hide safely, and with my container garden being very near a forested green space, and birds coming and going at the deck feeder every day, there is plenty of food for the young mantises – and plenty of predators to be concerned with. I spotted them fairly quickly, when I went out to water the garden.

I watched them for awhile.

I watched several quite skillfully avoid a largish, probably quite frustrated, garden spider who had also taken up housekeeping in the rose bush. I was feeling certain that sooner or later, the spider would have her meal, when a young mantis turned the tables on the predator-prey narrative, and began to enjoy her first meal – of spider. Wow, Nature, way to present a life lesson!

I watch awhile longer. Choices. Verbs. Sunshine. Moments.

I felt huge peering down at the wee creatures in my garden. Some of them stared seemingly fearlessly, curiously, back at me. I felt a tickle on my arm, and notice that one, then several more, have jump from the bush to my arm, and my hand, as I held my camera outstretched for a closer shot. I use the opportunity to give them an easy ride, slowly, around the garden. It delighted me to see each jump off to a new location in a hanging basket, potted salad greens, a bucket full of blooming flowers, or another rose. I remind them to watch out for spiders, before I go back inside.

I woke this morning to rain. It only makes sense to wonder how the little new comers are doing. Coffee first, I decided, and here I am – with a drink bottle (selected specifically for the size of the mouth of the bottle) partially filled with cool-not-icy-cold coffee, listening to the rain and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. I give some thought to where I might take my walk today; it’s the weekend, and I’ve been enjoying being out on the trail again, rain need not slow me down (it’s not rainy hard, just sort of dripping gently). Muddy or slick trails would be less than ideal… maybe along the waterfront? The well-paved trails are popular, so it’s not likely to have the same “away from it all” feel as I might experience on a wilderness trail, or even a suburban forest trail miles in, further along than an easy walk with a child would take one – still a lovely walk, worth taking. The city is reliably a beautiful and varied view.

Some other rainy morning, along the waterfront, and a view of a city I love.

…I keep coming back to this not-excessively-painful-but-definitely-wholly-uncomfortable-and-quite-inconveniently-tender-complicated-to-care-for wound in my mouth; it distracts me. I also find my thoughts returning to the wee newcomers in my garden. I can’t do much about the extracted tooth; the jaw and gum need time and care to heal. I can, however, satisfying my curiosity about the mantises – verbs are required. A moment of action is all that is necessary…

The smell of freshness, summer rain, and petrichor fill my senses when I step out onto the deck. The sound of rain on the big leaf maples is musical. It isn’t raining hard; just a steady misty drizzle, barely hard enough to be explicitly rain. I check “Baby Love”, the rose on which the mantis young found themselves on their very first day, eagerly seeking signs that “the kids are alright”…

Petals have fallen in the rain, but the wee mantis young take the rainy day in stride.

I spot first one, then another, then several, then, as my eye begins to calibrate to their shape and color, their plentiful numbers are revealed. Most have simply stepped around to a convenient underside of a leaf, or even the narrow protection of a stem. A few just stand out in the rain, damp, seeming unconcerned.

They are everywhere I look. A good metaphor for so many things I sometimes struggle to see that are “right in front of me”. 🙂

A few minutes of writing, some coffee, a rainy morning… I’ve been most particularly tempted by this deliciously rainy summer morning… I think I’ll begin again. 🙂

In the garden, or on the trail, it’s a lovely time to embrace this “now” moment. (Your results may vary; there are verbs involved.)

The text this morning was to the point, although not as abrupt as I imply in the title of this post. I feel grateful that my sister is right there, with our Mother. For a moment, I imagine this stern, strong, witty woman who raised me, pushing her chair back from a crowded card table, folding a less than ideal hand, and heading into the kitchen to refresh drinks. That memory is of a lifetime ago, in a far away place, disconnected from my experience of “here” and “now”. Do I want her to “hear my voice”? “Non-responsive” doesn’t sound like she’s likely to register voices… we’ve spoken recently, and regularly – is it enough?

…We don’t have a “Book of the Dead”, in our culture… It’s a strange random thought, a forerunner to intense grief.

There are tears in my eyes. I resent them; it’s too soon. Life stretches ahead of me, while I reach my thoughts – and my heart – across great distance. Imagining her as I remember her best; in her late 30s, in her early 40s. Strong. Determined. No bullshit. Rapier wit. Iron will. I observe the characteristics in myself that I most likely got from her; my tenacious loyalty. My intellect. My commitment to being a good provider. My reluctance to walk away from a bad decision. My willingness to hide my emotions for far too long. My laugh. That same laugh that her Mother had, too. I hear Granny’s laugh in my recollection. I feel, for a moment, my Mother’s warmth – like summertime in my heart. I sip my coffee and celebrate this woman who made me.

…Grieving comes soon enough. It’s important to examine those cherished moments as treasures, with great delight, and excessive merriment, and not allow the tears to wash those away. They matter so much more than the tears ever could.

Life didn’t have a map – you did okay with that, Mom. No reason to expect death to be more difficult to master; in a sense, we prepare for it all our lives, don’t we? Striving, clinging – and learning to let go. Good fold, Mom. Safe travels.

You are part of me. My journey began with you.

I sit quietly with my coffee, remembering life with my Mom. My “origin story”. Some details are fuzzy, others crystal clear. Some moments remain painful to this day, others bring me immediate joy when I recall them. One thing is certain; she will not be forgotten. Tears later. Coffee now. I wish she were sitting here, sharing that with me, right now; I have so much to ask, and now there is no time… 

I woke up to the alarm. Showered quickly. Made my coffee.

…Something missing this morning… something… work, life, time, things, and stuff… what does this moment need? Momentum. Cue playlist. lol I haven’t felt like dancing in the morning for quite a while… this morning, the thought of the work ahead of me today and the hints of the day to come in the changing pre-dawn light slipping between the blinds in my studio mix together and create a moment that just begs for a soundtrack. One sec… I got this. LOL

…How many of those somewhat invisible middle-aged folks around us, and even our elders, are listening to something we might be surprised by, if we slowed down enough to be present and connect? Appearances are only that. Assumptions are a joy killer. Great shared moments are built on presence. 😀

My choices. My playlist. My coffee. My moment. 😉

Life is bigger than “mine”, though, isn’t it? That’s true, too. I smile in the face of 56. I sip coffee quietly before dawn. I am having my own experience – and we’re all in this together. I decide to “change the channel” on the morning, and restart, perhaps a different journey? I scroll a moment, and find just what I’m looking for… right here. Yeah… better. 🙂

…Slow down. 🙂

Hey there, Summer. I hear your footsteps approaching softly, sneaking up on the balmy dawn, just days before the Solstice. Roses blooming everywhere. It’s hard to consider the work day ahead, when the deck, the rose garden, and the sunrise are just over there… out of reach of this moment, and this cup of coffee. 🙂

The blue skies aren’t my doing; how I choose to face the day, is.

I sip my coffee. Breathe. Embrace this moment – and the moments ahead. I let go of the moments that are behind me. I remind myself to call my mother, later. I feel summer coming. I smile. The music keeps playing. One moment of many, this one as good as the next, generally. I notice it with a measure of astonishment; how far has this journey come? 6 years ago, even “contentment” was not a given – I was working my ass off to figure myself out, to find my way, to build a life that could, just maybe, for a moment, be worth living. Did I notice when I got here? I think it is more likely I struggled, fussed, and filled my days with the things I understood most, even then; the chaos and damage, the drama, the bullshit and baggage… and one thing I didn’t necessarily understand, but seemed to be doing something useful; all that practicing of practices. Meditation. No kidding, it really has made that much difference. A journey spanning a lifetime, and cover the distance between despair – crying every day, emotionally raw, unbalanced, disordered, and woeful – and this place, here; generally content, sometimes happy, rarely crying (so rare), easy. Man, I do love “easy”. 😀

I notice the time. I finish my coffee. I begin again. 🙂

 

It seems worth saying as simply as possible; if life is a journey, then perhaps our wrong turns show is more than our journey would otherwise reveal, and require only observation, consideration, and a course correction to put us back on the path that leads us to our destination?

Waiting for a train is faster than walking, but so few of the choices regarding the route are left for me to make…

Where does your path lead? Is it a destination in life you have specifically chosen? What is holding you back from the journey you most want to make?

Maybe it’s time to begin again?

It’s lovely to have a best friend, a devoted lover, a close social circle – someone to count on. No argument, it’s amazing to have all those things. Sometimes we don’t. We also don’t have to wither away and die of loneliness and heartbreak when we are alone. For real.

Treat yourself as well as you would treat your best friend, your devoted lover, your close social connections. Treat yourself with kindness. Patience. Affection. No kidding – be there for yourself, and become that person you can always count on. I so dislike pointing it out again; you have choices here. You can choose to be that best friend that you need, and become that person you can “always count on” – or you can choose some other path. Yep. There are verbs involved – and the uncomfortable matter of learning to trust yourself with your own heart. Learning to listen to yourself, deeply. Learning to hold yourself in high regard – that one can take a bit of work, if you’ve been crushing yourself with nastiness from within, for many years. It does take some practice to change the way we treat ourselves.

This practice is a bit tricky – self-indulgence doesn’t meet the need. Lavishly going beyond your means, also isn’t how it’s done, generally speaking. It’s a subtle thing, more about appreciating who you are right now, and supporting your endeavors to improve, and continue to become the person you legitimately most want to be. Already that person? Then this wee practice is probably already part of your experience.

This practice could be called “enjoy who you are” – I mean, that’s what I’m talking about. Be you. Appreciate your qualities. Embrace the best you have to offer the world, however humble. Become more of the best things you are, and grow some new great qualities over time. It’s that easy – it’s also that hard. I mean, what if a characteristic you yearn for is to be exquisitely good at math, or skilled at a number of languages? The study could take you quite a lot of time. Like a lot of New Year’s resolutions, and “fresh starts”, it’s easy to set the goal too high, too far, or too much, then frustrate yourself, and end up yielding to your frustration and giving up. “See? I knew I…” That’s both too easy, and too obvious a ploy. 🙂

Start here, now, today. Start where you are. Start with what you do enjoy about this human being that you are – even if it is so small and delicate as to be more a question than an observation. 🙂 It’s okay – you’re safe with you. You can trust you. Enjoy that enjoyable thing about you for a moment or two – seriously! Just enjoy you own presence in your experience. Sit with that awhile. In fact, do that every day; take a moment to enjoy you. Some little quality, or experience of living life, that you enjoy, can become the magic carpet that carries you into a lovely day. Follow it up with cutting yourself some slack when you make a mistake. Fix that shit, let it go, and move on.

Be kind to yourself. Also – be genuine and honest with yourself. (Not mean, just gently honest.) Take small steps toward large goals, and be considerate that journeys may require going some actual distance, and take some actual time.

Those people around you who like you? They know something worth knowing – how worthy you are. Those people around you who don’t like you? Hey, you’re an acquired taste, a being so entirely yourself that liking you isn’t for everyone. Could you be different or other than you are? Sure. Do you want to? I mean… if you don’t want to change, great – like yourself and let go of drama. On the other hand, sitting around pissing and moaning with self-loathing and self-contempt are not just huge buzzkills, socially, they also waste precious time that could be spent enjoying life. Choices. Verbs. Journeys. All for you. 🙂

It’s time to begin again.