Archives for category: Words

Yesterday got off to a great start, and finished, rather literally, with a bang. Well, more of a crash. I got tail-ended in rush hour traffic. No “lol”, no emoji, no minimizing, no catastrophizing; I got hit from behind by an inattentive driver while I was stopped, with sufficient force to leave an impression of her license plate frame in my bumper. It wasn’t what I planned for the evening, it certainly wasn’t what I expected, but it is a thing. It occurred.

I’m okay.

It was a generally weird day that stands out a bit in a sort of “report card” fashion, because quite frankly an ever-loving-shit-ton of stuff (all super strange oddball outliers of events and circumstances) went peculiarly sideways yesterday, a lot of it rather inconsequential, some of it to do with money, all of it touching on the sorts of things that would have grievously triggered me even a year ago. I’d have been emotionally incapacitated, flooded, and completely overwhelmed by a day like yesterday. It most likely would have sent me crashing into a period of learned helplessness and despair that could last weeks, punctuated by reactive relief-seeking acting-out that wouldn’t have helped at all, probably made things much worse.

This morning, I am relaxed after a good night’s sleep. I feel pretty comfortable physically. I’m still on for my trip down to see my Traveling Partner, and don’t seem to be dealing with any significant after-effects of yesterday’s experiences. Things seem quite fine, actually. As though yesterday were entirely separate from today in every way, other than being adjacent to one another on a calendar page. So. Apparently it is possible to “enjoy” a day of utter chaos, with some destruction and loss, and yet somehow not go to pieces, not melt down, not lay waste to whatever is left to hold on to… It’s possible to do a bit better than merely survive what is uncomfortable, chaotic, and destructive. That’s some good news right there. 🙂

I got hit hard enough that I felt light-headed and strange when I got out of the car. Wobbly. Worried about my back, my neck, my head – the other driver. Late into the evening I continued to wonder if the persisting headache was from being struck, or just another persisting headache like so many? This morning – no headache. That’s enough. I slept well, and I feel comfortably able to get back in the car and drive down the highway. Road trip!

Today feels like a good day for beginnings. I find myself hoping this particular day includes a big reduction in the quantity of weird shit going on compared to yesterday. lol Yesterday was a bit much to take, and I’d started to feel a bit.. hexed. Still… wow. How much more well-prepared for living life am I, that yesterday didn’t destroy me? Didn’t even blow me off course! That’s… yeah. Wow. I gotta stop celebrating at some point, though; it is far to easy (for me) to let a moment of celebration become a careless presumption that I am “entirely well” or in a place where I “don’t even have to worry about any of that”, and I lose myself in a quagmire of poor decision-making and frivolous use of resources, and find myself both accountable, and unprepared to care for myself. Like a kid taking the training wheels off their bike for the first time, then falling on their ass. I’d like to avoid that fall.

I find it best to have my moment, enjoy recognizing the progress I have made, and return fairly quickly to practicing the practices that support my wellness over time, and that meet longer term needs, and keep me on a path that supports my goals. 🙂

So, this morning I begin again. Again. I make choices. I get up gently when the alarm goes off. Yoga. Strength training. A leisurely shower. I check my list and begin doing the small things I’d want done before I return home: top off the aquarium, make the bed, tidy up a few things, drop my kindle in the side pocket of my bug out bag. I look around before I sit down with my coffee to write a few words before the weekend really gets going; is this the home I want to come home to? Will I feel “welcomed” when I return? Will I be comfortably able to just walk in, set down my bag, and chill? Satisfied that I have met the needs of a future me (only days into the future, but you know, we haven’t met, yet, and I do want her to be welcome when she gets home) I relax and make an Americano.

I sip my coffee contentedly. I take a few minutes to check in with friends. I smile thinking about a moment in the office, yesterday. I’d seen a colleague looking a little… well, we’re both veterans, and he had that look of being “stuck in a different moment” and avoided eye contact. I reached out over our messaging service a little later and just asked him how he was doing? He said “I’m good”. I wasn’t sure I believed that, but it’s not necessarily helpful to pry people open like clam shells. I replied “Awesome. Big plans for the weekend?” He sent me an emoji back and commented “That’s a solid buddy check right there. I had a moment, earlier. I’m okay now” and proceeded to tell me about his upcoming plans. We shared a bit. Turned out I felt the need for some support too, but it was less obvious to me that it was to him. The power of connection. The power of relationships and shared experience. That interaction was one high point of a strangely chaotic and messy day.

I’m not sure I’ll ever fully leave some of life’s pain behind me. I don’t really expect to entirely clean up all the chaos and damage – but it is pretty fucking splendid just to be able to live my life without everything seeming to crash down, over and over and over again, like a house of cards in a strong breeze, any time something goes a little sideways. Progress. Incremental change over time. Lots of practices. Lots of verbs. Lots of choices.

Oh hey, look at the time! There’s a highway just over there… and a journey to make. I’ve got a map for this one, but even in this instance, the map is not the journey, and I have to make this trip, myself. 🙂 I’m having my own experience.

It’s definitely time to begin again. See you on Sunday – in the glow of evening light, perhaps? 😉

My evening was not ideally productive and this morning I notice that somehow the evenings this week have seemed to slip by with very little getting done, and few of my intentions being realized. It’s those damned verbs piling up like speed bumps along  my journey, becoming unfinished (or unstarted) tasks, slowing me down. I frown at my hands for no obvious reason, as I contemplate the long list of crap I hope to get done before I get in the car and head south to see my Traveling Partner this weekend.

Damn, I love how much more I see him, now that there is a car parked in my driveway. lol In general, I don’t mind the drive, and find that I don’t lose anything by it. I find it agreeable to have two 4-hour blocks of time spent in solitude, almost in a state of meditation, driving a familiar route, seeking that comfortable state of calm and contentment, “playing by the rules” and keeping a commitment to safety. It is both a game and a journey, and I’ve yet to even turn on music. I just drive, focused on driving well and safely, and eager to see my Traveling Partner, but also not stuck on specific details like departure times, arrival times, or “being there long enough to make the trip worth it”, or any of that. I just go. Love. Return. I do it with as much presence as I am able to maintain, as continuously as I am able to maintain it.

Other drivers are analogous to “other people’s drama” on my physical road trips. I use moments of frustration to practice practices like reframing the experience of the moment based on an alternate possible understanding – changing my assumptions about other drivers can change my experience. Did that guy “cut me off” because “he’s a jerk” and “a shitty driver”? Is there a chance that he legitimately didn’t realize he’d left me so little following distance, and was perhaps, instead, feeling the pressure of that much faster car tailgating him in the fast lane and just trying to get over out of that guy’s way? Did that person who slammed on their brakes in front of me need to brake at the last minute because there was something in front of them, too small for me to see, or did they realize they missed their turn and panic for a moment? Is that person riding the center line an inexperienced driver feeling insecure at high speed?

Distracted drivers – I struggle with compassion for your experience, I admit it. Get off the fucking phone. Put down your device. Stop fucking around with the buttons and knobs you can’t quite see on the console and just… drive your damned car. lol (Yep, still human!) You get my point, though; I play some games with myself to make the narrative I create about what is going on around me less “me vs the world”, less a personal attack and more just humans being human and chaos of circumstances. Instead of those long drives being endlessly tedious, they have become opportunities to practice, to build emotional resilience, to explore what it means to be human, myself, and even to grow a little. 🙂 Weekend well spent. 😀

Buuuuut… There’s still shit to get done here, before I go, to take care of the woman in the mirror, and to provide myself with the homecoming experience I most enjoy. I like to come home to an orderly home, no dirty dishes, no laundry that hasn’t been put away, no disorder, no “catching up” to do, no loose ends, bed made, carpet vacuumed… as though I care about my quality of life (which, I do). So, this evening, unfortunately, won’t be particularly relaxing, nor will the remainder of the morning; I have shit to do. lol One thing that doesn’t need doing? I don’t need to pack. I’m so glad I updated my bug out bag for regular use; it’s ready to go. I have literally nothing to pack. I’ll dress, grab my handbag, my keys, my bug out bag – and leave. It’s that effortless now. 😀 (Way to go, Me! Nice job taking care of you. ❤ )

I look over my to do list, sorting things to put stuff I can easily take care of this morning at the top. Run the dishwasher, check the fridge for things that may spoil if left over the weekend, take out the trash, make the bed, clean the toilets… Some stuff just has to wait: it’s too early for the noise of vacuuming, putting away the rest of the laundry has no excuse – I just don’t feel like doing it this morning. lol Looking over my list, thinking through the details, it’s clear that there is less of this irritating day-to-day stuff than it felt like there was, and more “bigger deal” stuff that can comfortably wait for next weekend, like hanging paintings, unboxing the last of the books, installing the new shower head, and other assorted final moving in details. What little stress I may have been feeling dissolves. There’s not even an hour worth of fussy odds and ends of housekeeping to do, really. That’s a nice feeling.

I look at the time. Sip my coffee. There are things to do. I’ve got a list. It appears to be time to begin again. 😉

I ran into a very senior colleague yesterday. She complimented my hair, the many blues and greens of which continue to change as they age. I make a point of commenting that this, in part, is the intent, and that planning the colors includes accounting for what the selections will look like as they age together, washing out over time, and fading in sunlight. She expresses interest and we continue to talk.

It’s no coincidence that I make my living in the realm of planning things and analyzing time utilization (fascinating stuff, time and how we use it); I feel more secure, personally, with a plan in place – for pretty nearly everything. Plans are, in a sense, the future potential of new routines. At least, I see an association between plans and routines… Something to think over more another time, perhaps. I make a joke about having no spontaneity at all, only plans, plans “B”, “C”, and back up plans, fallback plans, contingency plans, emergency plans – and a willingness to refrain from becoming attached to any outcome, which sometimes gives a loose appearance of spontaneity that can be misleading. She laughs, not understanding that the humorous tone is the only joke there; the rest is legitimately part of my experience. 🙂

I love anticipation – hard to relish or savor that without some planning.

I love daydreaming – and it’s super easy for a day-dream to be gently nudged over into becoming the beginning of a plan.

I love the comfortable certainty and secure feeling of having a routine, which, when included in planning just feels oh-so-super comfortable and gives a sense that I am prepared for life.

Shit goes sideways anyway, of course. Plans are overturned so easily on a single decision, sometimes not even my own (often not my own). Rolling with changes is easier with additional alternate planning already available, and back up plans to those alternate plans, and contingency plans to those alternate plans – one never knows where chance may take the journey, but it’s easy to imagine a bunch of ways that it might, and plan for those. I like to feel prepared. lol I like to enjoy the company of far more spontaneous friends, and over a lifetime I have evolved a way of coping with change that involved more, rather than less, planning to account for the unintended consequences of life’s unexpected moments. I spend rather a lot of time thinking about the future. It took a while longer to learn not to become attached to a future (that does not yet exist), while still embracing all the many options (that may or may not ever be truly within reach).

I used to suffer a lot of despair and disappointment. Attachment to outcomes, expectations, and untested assumptions is a short path to heartache. Letting go of that attachment? It’s a race track to freedom.

This morning I am looking ahead only as far as the coming weekend. I have a plan. So far it is intact, and I am daydreaming joyfully about the weekend to come, to be spent in the good company of my Traveling Partner. 😀 We spent a long while on the phone last night, intimate connected conversation about our future. About my not-so-distant-I-hope retirement. About where we each live. About what we want of life. It was lovely. It felt like a date. When I got off the phone I sat quietly for a long while, just relaxing and savoring the feeling of being loved, and planning a future.

This morning I woke with a contented smile and a calm heart. My coffee is delicious. The world (at least this small piece of it over here) is quiet. I look around me at the many things to do, to change, to craft, even a few things yet to unpack (hey, it’s a process, it takes me time! lol). I won’t be doing any of that this weekend. I look ahead to the evenings between now and the weekend; I make a plan.

This is life. It is worth living. There is much to do. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I’m not telling you what to do, just suggesting that if you happen to notice you are being programmed, whether by “the media”, or an advertiser, or an authority figure, or a cultish workplace, or a religion, or a school, or really whatever is pinging on your consciousness with a specific agenda-driven outcome in mind that profits some entity that is not you… Change the channel. Seriously. Walk on. Move out of view, out of reach, out of range. Choose a different activity, a different focal point, another perspective.

I’m not really sure what else to say about this one. My consciousness is my own, right up until that point at which I hand it over to someone else. My will is involved here – so is my awareness. There are verbs involved in de-bunking the bunk, and revealing the many frauds perpetrated on our consciousness each day (often by precisely those agencies purporting to tell us the “truth”).

I try to choose what content I consume with the same care that I choose the food I eat, the water I drink, and the moments I share with others. It’s harder than it looks, sometimes. 🙂

One commonplace example of what I am talking about is Facebook. How many times have you scrolled through the newsfeed multiple times without noticing most of the content is repeated, and also “sponsored”, rather than actual posts from chosen friends? Programming. Just saying. Maybe don’t choose that – or don’t choose it so often. Do you even have any clear idea who Facebook is programming you to be? We become what we practice. Repetition is learning. Who are we becoming? Why are we allowing it?

Something to think about. There’s only one you, until you become one of many cookie cutter people all stamped out from the limited content broadly shared (and filtered) by an agency you have no control over, and which does not reveal its method or goals to you. Then, you become copies of one another, all nodding along politely as you grouse about the same things, using the same language, sharing the same appropriately polarized dichotomies approved for use that year. Yuck. We have more to offer each other, ourselves, and the world.

Facebook isn’t “the bad guy”, they are merely providing a requested service to which we happily succumb. There are others. Lots of others. We choose those, too, and in choosing who we allow to program our consciousness, we have at least some small choice over what fills our consciousness… but we can be free even of that. It’s also a choice. I’m not even saying “give it all up”, though surely that’s one choice that holds great promise. I’m just saying, be aware, be awake, and choose. Make that choice your own.

I guess I’m sort of grumpy this morning. It’s early. The work day is ahead of me. I’m very human. 🙂 My coffee is super yummy, and in general I am content. I smile at my crossness, recognizing that this morning words are from me, to… me. I need to stop looking at Facebook (or the news) first thing in the morning. Fuck those bitches. lol There are better things to do with mornings, and my cognitive liberty has great value to me, personally.

I take my coffee out to the deck, into the pre-dawn darkness. It’s a lovely morning to begin again. 🙂 It’s a lovely morning to change my world. I have choices.

This is a story about coffee – sort of. 😉

It’s a metaphor.

Small things sometimes stall me. I know I can, I have the experience, but lacking a clear recollection, I hesitate, stymied by nothing more than my lack of clear recollection. Hesitation becomes fear becomes inaction. It’s a thing. Today, it’s a thing about coffee. lol

At some point, living at #59 (my previous apartment), my Traveling Partner left some of his things with me, and one of those items was his espresso machine. Nice one. Too big for my space, so it was being stored in a closet. I have considerably more counter space in the kitchen, here in The House Where I Live (so much more delightful, it gets named instead of a number). I put the espresso machine on the counter, when I moved in, and have since sort of just… kept it clean, and “worked around it”. I hadn’t turned it on, or made use of it at all. Nothing stopping me but fear.

The fear started off simply enough; it isn’t actually my espresso machine and I didn’t want to “break it” (which, realistically, should not be such an easy thing to do, considering what it is built for). I put off re-reading the manual, or looking at a YouTube video for days. Well… for 60 days, actually. I smile realizing I’ve been here just two months (a whole two months!). Over the past 60 days, that hesitation to act became insecurity about acting, reluctance to follow through, and finally just a straight up failure to act that was at risk of persisting indefinitely, with the final result that I would have a rather large fancy paperweight on my kitchen counter serving no purpose. Silly.

I put “reboot espresso machine” on my to-do list days ago. I ignored that for a while, fearfully. This weekend, however, has been all about being present, being at home, and working down the list of tasks I had in front of me, many of which fell into this same “tread carefully” category of odds and ends I felt uncomfortable with. Like the sub-woofer. Like the espresso machine. So, yesterday I read the manual. I watched a manufacturer-sponsored video on using the machine. I bought almond milk made specifically for making espresso beverages (different texture than the usual sort). I had already emailed customer support and specifically inquired whether there would be gaskets needing to be replaced after 2 years in storage (there are not, they said). Finally – verb time. I filled the machine with water. Turned it on. Ran some out as hot water. Ran some out as steam. Checked the settings on each feature… and by the time I’d done all those things, it was much too late in the day for strong coffee, and I’d run out of courage. lol I talked myself out of making a coffee, and put that off for the morning.

I woke peculiarly early today. Like… seriously. 2:51 am. Somehow, I managed to be so entirely awake that getting up to pee did not naturally result in going back to bed, and I got up. Fuck it. It’s almost 3:00 am, and 3:00 am is “almost 4”, which is only half an hour from when the alarm would go off, so… Right. I’m up. Coffee time!

I hesitated, again, as I stood in front of the espresso machine, watching it heat up. My eye slid to the right; I could make a pour over… Then I glanced left; a cup of coffee made in the Keurig is drinkable, quiet, and efficient… I recalled the video, which had reminded me how easy it is to use this espresso machine (a semi-automatic), even first thing in the morning. I recalled how many times I have actually made coffee using this very same espresso machine, when it sat upon the counter in my ex’s house, where we all lived together. As the machine continued to heat, I recalled, too, that my Traveling Partner and I intend each other nothing but love, and share everything we have with great joy; there isn’t really any chance that I would willfully damage his espresso machine, nor is there any realistic chance that he would take it badly if something were to go wrong and it got damaged without ill intent. So… what’s the hold up? Well, at that point, just waiting for water to heat up. 🙂

The beans were fresh. The grind may need some adjustment, but that’s fun for another day, preferably a day with plenty of time in it for drinking coffee. lol The puck was quite perfect, the smell of freshly ground coffee was enticing. The shot I pulled wasn’t my best – perhaps in another lifetime, I’d have poured it out and used the opportunity to begin again. At 3:15 am on a Monday morning, I found I was just as content to let it be, and embrace imperfection – and coffee. 🙂 I steamed the milk, enjoying the ease of it far too much for the simple process it is, as enthusiastic as a toddler turned loose in the toy aisle.  I took that first sip, of that first latte made by my hand in my own home in a bit more than 2 years (has it only been such a short time?). It was warm, and tasty, and seemed to me in that moment to be quite perfect – even as I recognized opportunities to improve my craft. There was no room for criticism in that moment; it was enough to be drinking a latte I made for myself. 🙂

Contentment is something I have found I can build. I can craft it from fairly simple ingredients; moments that are enough, small successes, and letting go of attachment to outcomes and expectations. Finding that I can build contentment, and sustain it, has resulted in so many lovely moments – even actual genuinely happy ones that linger in memory and sustain me through tougher times. It’s nice. It’s a process. There are verbs involved. My results vary. Sometimes… yeah, I’m so human, sometimes I have to overcome my fears. Incremental change over time requires practice. 🙂 We become what we practice.

I smile at the clock and sip my latte. I have plenty of time to begin again. 🙂