Archives for category: Words

Even more exciting, and much more worthwhile, than The Bottle Cap Challenge! Yep – and we can’t even opt out, not really. It’s The Communication Challenge – the one where any given pair or group of human beings attempts to communicate ideas, across the vast chasm of differences in perspective, filtered through individual experience and assumption-making, using poorly defined terms. lol Oh my.

…It’s not always easy, is it?

Yesterday, my day was literally filled with variations on the theme of challenging communications. It was an interesting assortment.

…Team communications…

…Individual entirely non-work-related social communications…

…Communications overheard in passing by uninvolved-but-now-interested individuals…

…Communication with people who lack emotional intelligence…

…Communication with people far more emotionally intelligent than I am…

…Communication with people who have a clear – but also hidden – personal agenda at stake…

…Direct communication…

…Misleading communication…

…Necessary and also delicate communication…

…Frank communication that was “long overdue”…

…Heartfelt warm communication…

…Tense, purposeful, communication in which I, myself, had a clear (and also frustrated) agenda…

…Dispassionate routine communication of factual details…

…Passionate communication of concerns…

…Communication advocating a position…

In some cases, some of those were a single conversation, others were common occurrences in several conversations; there are so many opportunities to communicate, in a single day. Some conversations were easy, comfortable, helpful, or merry. Other conversations felt like work – real effort was involved in “getting an idea across” or in truly listening with my whole attention to ideas I felt disinclined towards, to the point of being reluctant to hear the speaker out. It was a very interesting assortment of moments.

I arrived home, tired, at the end of what felt like a long day (because it was), and definitely ready to stop communicating. LOL

…I’m sure I learned something. I know that during my struggle to relax at the end of the day, fighting off a surge in anxiety that was making sleep difficult to come by, I was pretty certain that mastering my greatest communication challenges would have a lot to offer in the way of reduced stress, because damn, I was definitely stressed out. I sip my coffee and think about that.

I think over the communication challenges in which one or more parties to the conversation showed signs of stress, or frustration; how can I do better? Create a less stressful experience? Listen with greater care? Be more patient? Define my terms more clearly? Slow down enough to avoid being provoked? All of these seem like excellent steps. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I contemplate the very nature of “being provoked” in conversation, and wonder… to what end? I definitely have some room to grow here. You, too, probably. 🙂 Everyone.

…I promise myself another reread of The Four Agreements. I consider, with some amusement, that none of the books on my reading list are specifically on the topic of effective communication, most especially considering how much of it I need to do, day-to-day. lol I think about how little real coaching, encouragement, mentoring, or development, we provide each other as human beings… Where did we get this notion that so many things in life will just sort of “happen” over time? It’s rather strange, is it not? 0_o

I tell myself “the weekend is almost here”, then tease myself for the lie; it’s only Wednesday, and frankly, weekends do not have curative powers. We’ve all still got the lives (and baggage) that we do. The way out is through. 🙂 Another breath. Another exhalation of breath. Another moment. The wheel continues to turn.

I’m not perfect. Still practicing. There is so much to learn – and so much I can do to be more the woman I most want to be. I see daybreak turn the sky from dark – to slightly less dark. I am reminded that seasons do change, and that moments do pass. It’s time to embrace a new one, and begin again. 🙂

I slept in. It’s a lovely summer morning, before the heat sets in. Water is heating for coffee. Internal plumbing means I have hot water on tap for a refreshing shower, and air conditioning keeps the place comfortable for the heat of the day. I caught sight of a bunny down in the yard, from the deck this morning, as I watered. I’m not in any particular pain, right now. I feel good in my skin. So much goodness in this one moment.

A chipmunk grabs a quick bite before darting away.

A bit like small, timid, creatures expecting to be hunted, sometimes we handle our best moments fearfully, ready to dart away at the first “sign of danger”, waiting for disaster to strike, or convinced we don’t “deserve” it, or that it isn’t real. :-\

This morning? I’m just enjoying the moment, and this fine cup of coffee, which I’ve only now finished making. It feels like summer, and I am content to enjoy that. I’ll also note that “this”? It didn’t come naturally. I used to face all the good life had to offer me with terrible anxiety – certain that it would all be “taken away”. Soon. That perspective made it super hard to really relax, and really wholly enjoy myself. Contentment stayed out of reach. Happiness was largely out of the question. Life felt harder than it had to.

I’m not sure how to convince or persuade that there is another way, besides living another way, making other choices, and sharing my experience. Your results may vary. We each have to walk our own hard mile; we are each having our own experience. Still. This is a great place to begin a new journey. Or this. Hell, if you’re into reading, there are stepping stones and mile posts all along this path. Yes, it does require effort. Yes, it’s work you’ll do the rest of your life. I’m not trying to discourage you by calling it “effort” or “work”, either, just being real, reading about doing what it will take is not at all the same as doing the things it will take. Still… the effort, for me, has been very much worth it.

…It’s a lovely sunny day. My coffee tastes good. My heart is at ease. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee. My face is wet with the tears that just keep coming. The phone call this morning was brief. Heartfelt. Tender. My sister’s resolve and her will to hold her feelings in check impress me, even as I continue to weep. We kept the call brief; no doubt she has other calls she wants to make. Neither of us like crying “out loud” in a public way, and seeing as we’re so “strong”, we manage not to cry on the phone. Much. The call ends, the tears start.

I consider not writing, but… grief isn’t an everyday experience. I already feel… shattered. This, in spite of knowing it was imminent, in spite of being “well-prepared”, in spite of speaking gently and explicitly with my Mother, herself, about this moment, frankly, compassionately, honestly… in spite of spending yesterday well-supported by a loving and concerned partner… nonetheless; I am crying. Routines are something I can fall back on to hold life together, until… something.

“This, too, shall pass.” (I know, I know – I fucking know that, now knock that shit off, while I shed these honest tears for the passing of a complex woman, who gave me life. I’ll be okay, just not… right now, exactly.)

…Anyway. No idea how this amount of grief may affect my writing. I’m glad you are here. I hope you are well. Maybe I write a lot more than usual over the next several days? Maybe I find myself unable to lift my hands to type words in row at all. I don’t even know. I guess we’ll find out together, eh?

It’ll be okay. I reflexively offer myself all the comforting platitudes I can find. “We are mortal creatures.” (That’s a very real observation, at the moment. Painfully real. It offers no particular comfort. Perhaps it will later…?) It’s not really helpful, and I let it go.

…I don’t really know what else to do. So… I begin again.

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… 

Moments come and go. Whatever shit you’re having to wade through in life, it’ll pass. You can, of course, slow that process down some, by clinging to misery. I don’t recommend it. Take a breathe. Relax. Be in this moment, and let that one go.

Sometimes the flowers are tucked away behind the vines.

Sunny days come and go. Rainy ones, too. I’m just saying; this, too, shall pass. That’s real. Take a breath. Have a cup of coffee. Walk in the fresh air, among the trees, or under broad open skies.

“Human” isn’t always easy. Actually, quite the opposite seems to be the case; being human often seems needlessly difficult. Worse – we choose the difficulty level on the game of life, more often than we realize we do. We make specific, considered, deliberate choices to make the game so much harder. I’m not sure why that is. We could each do things quite differently than we often do…

…You can begin again. Let it go. Breathe. Start over. Just a thought.

My coffee is good. This moment is deliciously quiet, and gentle. Morning has not yet really gotten going. I’m okay with taking that slowly.

We each walk our own hard mile. We often don’t notice others suffering, and have little ability to place the suffering of others in the context of suffering generally; our own pain often feels like the worst pain, ever. “No one else could ever understand how bad this is…” We isolate ourselves from the support we are seeking, forgetting how common most of these human experiences actually are. We sometimes choose to withhold compassion and kindness, because we aren’t receiving it, ourselves. It’s weird how that works.

I sip my coffee and consider The Big 5. Respect. Reciprocity. Consideration. Compassion. Openness.

I could do better.

It’s time to begin again.