Archives for category: winter

I woke to the sound of a phone ringing. At 4:00 a.m., that’s alarming. In the case of waking me on a Monday morning, literally so, since I then turned off the alarm and got up to start the day, after a few moments of considering the sound, silently, in the darkness. I couldn’t go back to sleep; who phones at 4:00 a.m.?

As it turned out, there was no phone call. No ringing phone. Just a sound in my dreams. lol

It was a lovely weekend. It ends with some dangling loose ends, like laundry “finished” – but not actually folded and put away. I woke aware of it, but without any particular sensation of anxiety, disappointment, or frustration.

I spent some of the day, yesterday, out in the sunshine, in my container garden. I took stock of roses that died during summer heat, and succulents that died during winter cold. I moved containers away from the warmer locations against the wall of the house, into the sunshine. I planted early seeds. I weeded. I swept. It felt productive, and celebratory. I felt productive, and celebratory.

…I just now remembered, again, annoyingly enough, it was also “St Patrick’s Day”. Omg. So over it. Americans who love to drink, drinking to excess on the excuse of… of what, exactly? Exactly what is “St Patrick’s Day” celebrating if you are neither Catholic, nor Irish? I’m asking, because I still don’t find an obvious connection between the narrative of the saint, himself, and the celebration of enthusiastic over-consumption of alcohol to which green coloring has been added. So, to be clear? My own celebratory moment in the sunshine was nothing to do with “St Patrick’s Day”, and everything to do with Spring, itself. lol

A good day. A good weekend. Another work week begins – and, potentially, with it, a whole cascade of new beginnings. I don’t know how the week will unfold. There are no promises that every day will be a garden in the sunshine, or a shared moment with a loved one. I’ve got this moment, here, with which to craft a lifetime of experiences. I choose a lot of what that feels like, and in some cases, quite willfully. Those choices are huge. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a dream, clinging to an outcome that is not yet, and may never be, and lose sight of all the precious opportunities in this “now” moment, just as it is. I sip my coffee and contemplate the day ahead. I make a point of letting go of attachment to a variety of imagined outcomes to imagined scenarios (“what if…”), and breathe in the now. It’s enough, just as it is.

It’s time to begin again.

Has it been since Tuesday since I’ve written? Like… at all? Conversations with friends…? Few. Posts on feeds? Rare. Emails to dear ones? Nope, none of those, either. Snail mail to aging relatives? Uh-uh. Nope. I’m off my letters and words, apparently. The combination of changes large and small, from daylight savings time (why are we still doing this??) to lifestyle changes associated with my Traveling Partner moving in, to commute and work changes that are part of changing jobs, even to the weather has it tries to shift toward spring… it’s too much, somehow, and I’ve been mostly unable to find myself sitting in this chair, writing. It’s “just not happening”, which is to say, I’m somehow not choosing to do it, nor feeling compelled to do anything about that, generally. How odd.

A view on the rainy Tuesday morning commute.

…I rarely have what could be called “dry spells”, with regard to writing. I do with painting, regularly, actually. I go months without painting, and think nothing of it, then suddenly exhaust myself in a creative frenzy, sometimes not eating, sleeping, or caring for myself at all properly – then wander the house a grinning caricature of an adult, admiring my handiwork for hours or days until returning to routines and self-care, and relative normalcy. Writing, though? That’s a day-to-day, part-of-who-I-am thing that typically drives other habits, and even my experience of time, itself. How strange to put an eye on this keyboard and find that I’m not especially interested… even though I am missing that moment with a peculiar yearning, also.

Wednesday, an efficient commute by car suddenly halted by a collision in the other lane, caused by less efficient commuting.

So… I’m sort of hit or miss right now. Inconvenient for that elusive concept of “regular readers” or any sort of reliably cadence to support a comfortable routine for others… but… this is me, and this is, right here, my actual life. 🙂 I’m figuring you may even understand, possibly better than I do myself. I’ve no real idea of what to expect of being “emotionally well” or “mentally healthy”, as a long-term state of being… is that what this is? Am I learning that it is safe to let go of habitual behavior, and safe to soften my routines? Is it? Is it, perhaps, simply a period of accommodation as I sort things out – so much has changed in such a short time. Maybe I am just working through those details, finding new ways?

Thursday, 7:00 a.m. looking a bit different after the time change. (Why are we still doing this??)

Anyway. I’m here. I’m well. I’m even, quite actually, fine. Life feels good. Love feels steady, reliably, and heated in this delicious way that defies description (without risking becoming pornographic, and this is not that blog).

It definitely feels like it is “all blue skies” right now. 🙂 I’m enjoying it while it lasts. 😀

Are you well? Are you on the path to becoming the person you most want to be? If you stay on that path, continue to treat yourself, and others, well, and continue to do the verbs it takes to get to the places in life you wish to go… you’ll surely arrive at a destination. What will you do when you get there?

Have you prepared for success?

What does your vision of success even look like?

Wait, don’t rush to answer – please avoid confusing this idea of success with anything to do with anyone else’s notion of success than your own, or confusing it with the very limited, basic, fairly bullshit, concept of financial success. I’m not here writing about fat bank accounts, and I’m pretty sure that’s not where human success lies. I mean, when you look into the mirror, and the person looking back at you is content, whole, emotionally intelligent, considerate, interested in a broader sense of well-being for more of the world than just themselves, and is, actually, the human being you most want to be, benevolently and merrily smiling back at you, relaxed, and capable… what will you do with that? Are you ready for that? Are you even aware it may be an outcome you could one day have to face?

And what if your dear ones don’t make that journey, themselves? What will you do then? Will you slide back into the muck in one callous moment of arrogance and disregard, unaware that could be a risk? Will you be there with and for them, regardless, because love matters more?

Who will you be, when you are the person you most want to be? Will you be aware of your arrival at that point, when you get there?

Questions over coffee on a quiet Saturday morning. My Traveling Partner sleeps. I write. Soon, I’ll head to brunch with a friend, and enjoy a lovely morning. Maybe head downtown afterward, and drop off some things at the office – while street parking is cheap and plentiful – or… maybe not. 🙂

I’m just living my life. It feels… good. 🙂

It’s time to begin again. 😀

I woke a bit ahead of the alarm. S’ok. I’m feeling better than I did when I left work Friday. I’m even up to going to work. I’m definitely feeling better, and even “over it”.

My Traveling Partner took care of me, cooking and keeping things on track around the house, while I was sick for what had remained of Friday, all of Saturday, and a bit of Sunday. By evening I was feeling okay. I even look back on it as a “lovely weekend”. 🙂 Definitely a quiet one, filled with rest and nurturing. Lovely.

Here it is already Monday. Already so much to do, to plan, to consider, to get done… I could borrow all that for this moment, and fret endlessly about things I don’t even have to deal with yet. I don’t, though. I sip my coffee, read the news with considerable care and being particular about where it comes from, and go through my email. I meditate. I relax. This time is my own. It is quiet, and I am here, now. 🙂

In a few moments, I’ll finish my coffee, without remorse or resentment for the day and week to come; it’s a time for work, and new beginnings, and change. “Nothing to see here” – this is life, being lived. At present, that feels splendid, and I take time to fully appreciate and savor this good moment, without any attachment to it, or any expectation that it is any more durable than any other moment; moments pass. That’s okay, too. I sit with the moment, present, aware, and fully immersed in it, built of it, observing blending with experiencing. Standing in my own footsteps without any yearning or discontent.

I smile and sip my coffee.

I breathe.

Relax.

I begin again.

I just finished reading After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield. It’s a worthwhile read on the topic of mindfulness. Interestingly, I happened upon an article about “why mindfulness isn’t working for you”, while sipping my coffee. The contrast was worth making a moment to consider.

Why would mindfulness practices “not work” for some people? I read on, and get to the part about mindfulness potentially being “harmful” for trauma survivors… which puzzles and saddens me; I’m certainly one of many trauma survivors wholly supported and helped by mindfulness practices – they saved my life, in quite a literal way.

I continue to contemplate these positions, so at odds with each other. Helpful vs harmful. Effective vs ineffective. Huh. I consider the following points that seem relevant:

  1. Mindfulness and meditation were only helpful for me after I found a specific style of meditation that was a good fit for me personally; it requires a commitment to practice, and it is helpful to select a practice that I’ll actually practice.
  2. “The way out is through” – I didn’t benefit from meditation and mindfulness practices because they were emotionally easy on me; a large part of the benefit was that these practices helped me process old trauma, and find my way to the “other side”. Nothing about that is emotionally easy, and there was (and is) work involved. Emotional work requires effort, and a willingness to do it.
  3. Mindfulness is not a “cure-all”; these practices are effective for what they are effective for, and only that. Beginning a mindfulness practice, or meditation practice, expecting that it will “fix everything” seems as silly as expecting to put on new jeans and be a different human being.
  4. Read #4 again. Meditation is not an escape from our self – or our life, or our need to do self work. We remain the person we are, with the challenges we have, and possibly still lugging around all our baggage, which we would still need to actually work through (if we want to let it go).
  5. Mindfulness and meditation are not “easy” practices. I mean, the fundamentals can be quite simple, for sure, and it is highly likely that those hurting souls looking for a fast fix may drop by and give meditation a try, but it’s also likely they won’t commit to a consistent practice. It’s not that the practices didn’t work, in that instance, let’s be real about that. We’re not all willing to commit to a routine or practice, in the first place.

Effective. Safe. Low cost. Yes, there are verbs involved (omg, so many verbs), and yes, there is a requirement to be consistent – and maybe even studious, if we’re serious about it. (Check out how many books on mindfulness are on my reading list!) Does it have to be hard? Well… we get out of life, frequently, a return consistent with our invested effort, in some regards. Certainly this is one of those, but a futile struggle with something that isn’t working out for you seems rather silly. If meditation isn’t working for you, find something that is? Or study why it isn’t. (Shit. More verbs. 😉 )

What are you really looking for? Are you on the path toward that goal? Those are good questions to ask, I think. If “meditation isn’t working”, it may be worthwhile to give a moment of thought to whether it was actually the most appropriate tool for the job you went into it expecting it to do. Sometimes, we grab the wrong tool, and make the job at hand much more difficult. Ask what you’re really trying to get done in the first place; doesn’t matter what tool you pick up, if you don’t know what you’re trying to get done, it’s going to be harder to finish the job.

I finish my coffee. I begin again.

It’s sometimes necessary, I find, to accept what is. No, I mean, really, really push past the clinging and exasperation, the disappointment, the frustration, all of it, and truly accept the “now” I find myself in, and do so quite fully, without denial or blame. It’s not always easy. Words are easy. Verbs take effort. Reality may allow me to delude and deceive myself awhile, but… reality always wins. It is.

…Let’s set aside the also real reality and true truth that we make up a lot of our experience in our own heads, and much of what we “believe” about our circumstances is in no way actually supported by reality. It’s made up bullshit we refuse to let go of. Truth. Mull it over.

Reality always wins, and most harshly, reality wins in some uncomfortable ways when I refuse to accept things as they are, without clinging, without attachment, and without self-deception. It’s snowing again this morning. Well, it was. As has been the case for a handful of days, now, our weird winter weather continues; snow during the wee hours, enough to dust everything and coat the roads. By noon, it will have all melted away in the cold winter sunshine. I’ll head home in the winter chill, across dry pavement, perhaps a hint of rain in the sky. The cycle will repeat. Schools have been canceling on days without any actual snow. Businesses have been closing, or opening later, on mornings with utterly dry pavement. It’s… strange. It is also 100% of what it is, and nothing more; no amount of argument or discussion will change it. Reality doesn’t bow to opinion. Ever. My feelings about the snow are not relevant to the facts, themselves. Reality is not an emotion.

I think over the day ahead, without much regard for the weather. I expect it will be more of the same, as it has been; my expectations still don’t amount to facts, truth, or reality. I contemplate my commute, and think ahead to spring, and maybe handling it differently. Park closer to work, spend less distance/time on the light rail or bus, walk more. The walking more sounds so lovely… I already get more walking than at my last job. I’m not sure what changed besides the address that frees me to do so… a different mindset. Did I make that change? (Probably.) Is the role that different? (It is.) Is the location more enticing for walking around? (Definitely.) Choosing change comes with a ripple effect; when I have chosen wisely, so many details are changed for the better, and when I have chosen poorly, quite distressingly similarly, many small details may change in ways that affect my experience in less pleasant ways. Choosing wisely is worth slowing down for. Fully considering the changes I choose, and the changes those changes may cause, is worth making time for. Change will come, regardless, and choosing it skillfully, navigating life instead of bobbing haplessly along its currents, can certainly alter the outcomes.

Well… here I am. Another day, another beginning – and more change to choose, more choices to make, more life to live. It’s already time to begin again. 🙂