Archives for category: Words

I like a smooth, well-mapped, route when I travel from place to pace, it’s true. I don’t at all mind “a road less traveled” – I just prefer to use a map. lol The enormous emotional relief, for me, in beginning down the path of mindfulness, of improved self-awareness, of improved emotional self-sufficiency, has been largely due to the increased sensation that this journey can make some sense, can seem to follow some sort of map. Sort of. 🙂 It’s a feeling of “safe travels” on life’s journey, for me.

…I’m less than ideally well-suited to unexpected drama, profound losses of perspective or resilience, or that emotional teeter-totter that gets slyly labeled “reactivity”. I falter. I panic. I want to run. Doesn’t matter if it’s my mess, or someone else’s. I really just don’t want to be part of it, and I begin to do a lot of emotional dog-paddling in life’s choppy waters, just trying to stay ahead of things, or smooth things over. I’d often rather just yield to whatever the chaos brings with it, accept and reject it, and fucking walk on. So often, it’s either my own mess to clean up and manage, or it belongs to someone dear to me, who has… for fuck’s sake… reached out to me (of all people) for help and support.

It was late last night before I’d self-soothed and medicated sufficiently to stop by brain spinning out of control on details that didn’t really belong directly to me, but touched my experience enough to be aggravating. I slept fitfully, once I was able to sleep at all, and my nightmares were not all that helpful toward sorting shit out. I was fairly grateful for the loud crashing noise on the roof over my bed, which woke me abruptly at 1:49 am. Heavy winds all day and into the night, really making a loud rushing and roaring noise, had been tossing the treetops back and forth for hours. Seconds after 1:48 am, I guess, a largish tree beyond the back fence couldn’t take it any longer and snapped just a couple feet up from the base. It hit the house and broke again, the top sliding down the roof into the neighbor’s yard, the mid-section crashing into the fence, and destroying a section of that, breaking again, and that piece falling sort of into my yard.

Well…shit. That’s not good…

Minutes later, we were all standing out there in the wind and rain, faces wearing looks of astonishment and relief. It could have been worse. In the darkness, the wind carried off any real sense of fear or anxiety, leaving behind only words of surprise, and cautious optimism. It would be hours before day light gave us a better look. Still, it was easy to tell it could have been much worse.

I went back to bed with that reminder in my mind; it could have been worse. So often in life this is true. lol

I woke to a lovely note from my Traveling Partner. I woke to no drama. I woke to peace and contentment. I woke to a large tree broken in pieces spread across the back yards, and a displaced squirrel looking up at me with a recognizable “wtf??” look. I smiled. I get it. I put out peanuts for the squirrels and made a cup of coffee for myself – and began again. 🙂

I’m always on and on about beginning again. (New beginnings are awesome, just as they are, so it makes a certain amount of sense to embrace the opportunity.) It’s not a matter of the clock hands moving a notch and calling it done, though, and I guess maybe it’s been awhile since I looked more closely at what I mean, myself, by “begin again”.

I mean, it’s mostly obvious, right? Isn’t it? …Isn’t it?

Is it?

Look, I fuck stuff up. I make mistakes. I succumb to my own bullshit. I overlook details that could give me clarity in a moment of confusion. I forget stuff. I get attached to an assumption or expectation, or cling to some pet idea, and find myself stressed out, feeling “attacked by life”, or just weird and broken. All of that and more. Each and every time I fall for my own nonsense, or overreact to some moment (or person), and every passing mood or moment – I have the chance to start over with that much more experience in life, that much more perspective built on that experience, and that much more real wisdom, built on perspective. Wow, right? I mean, fuck – every bad bit potentially builds a future of greater wisdom, balance, and resilience, if I view it from the perspective that I will have learned so much more, and be that much more able to make wise choices in life for having learned from my experience. That’s powerful. It implies, though, a missing step. I should clear that up…

Thing happens. I learn from it. Life improves. Okay, sounds easy enough. Here’s the thing. The “begin again” piece falls between “I learn from it” and “life improves”, not immediately after “thing happens”. The critical piece is definitely the learning. Without that step, I just keep repeating “thing happens” over and over again, without change or progress – because I’ve clearly set myself up for it, with that passive voice, right there, in my own thinking, lurking in the background, waiting for me to experience a failure or setback – “thing happens” is expressed such that I can so easily overlook who, or what, happened it; I’ve left out my agency. “Learn from it” reliably brings my agency back to me, even in the most bleak and broken moments. It’s an important detail, most particularly because of how often my own choices are a distinct part of any moment of suffering. (And yes, this includes my fairly difficult day, and experience, yesterday.) The bit about beginning again is my reminder that taking what I’ve learned from each experience allows me to move forward in life choosing my words and actions quite differently, perhaps, and most definitely based on that refined understanding. Forward momentum. Growth and change. Choosing wisely.

So many verbs involved. I’m not saying this shit is easy. I am saying, maybe, that looking back on it, it feels somewhat less difficult than it may have felt in the moment. Not gonna lie, though, it’s been a difficult journey in spots. That’s what makes each new beginning its own tiny triumph, too. Each time I fall, each time I fail, each time I cry, each time things just don’t work out for some reason, I can take another look at things, learn a bit more from what I’ve been through (or put myself through), and make (new)(different)(other) choices that get a better result over time. It’s just fucking slow progress, so I’ll call that out right now. Change is. We become what we practice. There are verbs involved. We each walk our own hard mile. Everyone’s results vary. There are no shortcuts. Incremental progress built on experience and reflection is sort of slow. Hard to see in the moment, easy to spot looking back, after a while.

Be patient with yourself. (How many times have I looked myself in the mirror with that advice?) Things didn’t work out? Begin again. Each and every time you begin again, do your level best to be the human being you most want to be, yourself, for you, based on your own values. Your results will vary. That’s just real. So start over. Yes, again. I know. Omg – so many beginnings. It’s almost like… it’s a journey. Up a staircase. 🙂 If you just stand there at the bottom, staring upward at all those god damned steps, it’s pretty massively overwhelming. So, just take one step. Give that some thought. Take another. Don’t be fixated on what’s at the top of the stairs, so much, and focus more on taking that next step. Consider your missteps, and maybe don’t do what didn’t work last time, when you take that next one. It’s honestly that simple, and it’s worth some repetition, and I found, for myself, that those two simple words communicated enough; begin again.

Oh, hey, look at the time! It’s a worthy moment for a beginning, on a Friday morning, and… as it happens… I’ve just now finished my coffee. 😉

 

*Note and reminder and words of thanks; we’re not in this life alone, we’ve got help, if we choose to accept it. Yesterday evening, my Traveling Partner pointed out choices (of my own) and recent circumstances that were very likely to result in a difficult day (for me), which I had entirely forgotten could be significant. That bit of additional insight and perspective were helpful and grounding. Definitely don’t forget that you are not alone. 🙂 Not really – there are millions of us on this mud ball. 😉

I smile when I notice I’ve given four posts this same title. I’m tempted to read the other three before I go further, and decide to do it afterward, instead. 🙂 “What matters most?” is a question I often ask myself, particularly when there are choices or plans to make. It seems a worthy question, whether intended to get at the specifics, or to take a more general approach. Suitable for many moments.

What matters most?

Right now? Sure, why not – what matters most right now?

In general? Definitely helpful to know what, in general, matters most.

In the context of this moment, this circumstance, right here, now? Oh, most assuredly; knowing what matters most in the context of some current challenge is very beneficial for sorting things out.

Here’s the thing I sometimes find peculiar; I often expect to know, implicitly “what matters most”, and I am, fairly often, wrong about what I actually think it may be, and upon reflection, I find that I “disagree with my assumptions” in some notable way that makes having reflected on the question very worthwhile. So… I do. More than occasionally, somewhat less than frequently.

What matters most? About the world, and humanity? I definitely want to understand that, to be the human being I most want to be.

What matters most? About Giftmas, and holidays based on sharing and giving? Yeah, I’d like to understand what matters most about these holidays, too – I’m pretty sure it isn’t the dollar value of goods or services being shared and given to others. Knowing what I find most significant in these holidays ensures I am most able to make skillful choices when I consider others.

I’m just saying, making assumptions about my own values is just as silly as making assumptions about the values of others. “What matters most?” is a question worth reflecting on, worth fully considering, and worth making choices on the basis of the understanding I gain.

Perspective matters, here. Life experience also matters. The fundamentals of the values I hold dear, themselves, matters greatly. It matters that I am honest with myself about who I am. It matters that I am frank with myself about the limits of my resources, and that even in the face of excitement and great joy and wonder in the moment, that I am still considerate of my long-term needs.

So, I sip my coffee on a Saturday morning, just days away from Giftmas, and fewer days from the even nearer birthday of my Traveling Partner. Gifts don’t seem to be adequate to celebrate what I cherish so much in life… what to do about that? Again, I ask myself, “what matters most?”

Once I have an answer, I’ll know better how to begin, again. 🙂

I hear it a lot. I say it too often. “I just don’t have time for…” and it’s nearly always followed by a statement of some activity or experience the person saying it really really wants to have.

“I don’t have time to read.”

“I don’t have time to paint.”

“I don’t have time to go to festivals.”

“I don’t have time to grow my own food in my garden.”

“I don’t have time to get my hair/nails done.”

“I don’t have time to go on vacation.”

“I don’t have time to learn a language.”

“I don’t have time to learn how to build that.”

“I don’t have time for travel.”

The time we lack? Okay, so adulthood is definitely busy with other agendas than my own, I admit that. I don’t have unrestricted use of my own time, which definitely sucks, and I admit that, too. Where I part company with the “no time” objections – even my own – is that I’m right here, right now, on the Internet, the most vast and deep time suck of humanity ever devised. How much time do I get back, if I shut down the internet? I suspect most of us do actually have time – more time than we make a point to enjoy willfully, for sure.

…All that time spent scrolling through feeds… I’d get that back.

…All that time spent on online shopping… I’d get that back, too.

…All that time spent on brain candy (videos and movies)… I’d even get that back.

It easily adds up to hours, even in a single day (as much as 6 hours, many days). All that time is actually my own, to use as I please, to spend as I wish, to enjoy with – or without – a purpose in mind. Why the fuck am I wasting it in this hapless fashion? Whose idea was this, and how did it become my habit?

I watch this video again. I think about it more.

…It’s time I take back my time. Again. 🙂

Oh hey, right, “Cyber Monday” is today; one more day on the calendar on which retailers attempt to hook more consumers than they typically can, generally by way of lavish promises of great deals. Often the deals are not actually all that great, and there is commonly much shaking of heads, murmurs of “let the buyer beware”, and promises by many not to succumb or be deceived next year.

I did not participate in “Black Friday”. I don’t plan to participate in “Cyber Monday”. What I can afford, in life, is already within my reach. What is not affordable, remains not affordable even on “retail holidays”. I refuse to be mislead or bamboozled out of cash I’m not willing to spend right now. It’s entirely adequate to have a holiday of handmade gifts – or even no gifts at all – and not only is there no shame in that; it can be wholly beautiful, heartfelt, and cherished to enjoy holidays in which something beyond material goods are celebrated. So. Make of that what you will. For me, today is just a work day, and “Black Friday” was a lovely day off enjoyed in the company of people dear to me.

To be clear, I’m not criticizing people who save up hard-earned cash all year to do their holiday shopping on Black Friday to in order to get the most out of meager dollars. I get it. I hope they each, and all, find everything they were hoping to, at prices that put all of that within reach. I’m a big fan of good quality of life, and I recognize that Black Friday is a choice opportunity to get ahead a little, for a lot of people. We each make our choices, based on our wants and needs, our own values, and our own experience. 🙂

Thanksgiving now over, time to dress the house for the Giftmas season!

I spent the holiday weekend well, I think. Saturday was mostly lost to housework, and it needed to be done. Yesterday I spent preparing the house for the upcoming winter holiday – I love Giftmas, with all the twinkle and glow, the colors, the lights… It is a feast for my senses. First thing in the morning, holiday music and pine scented candles, a cup of coffee, a list of things to do… and by day’s end, the list was checked off, the holiday music silenced, and I sat quietly in the glow of the lights, considering where the next ornament will go on the tree. I didn’t get the tree finished. The dining table is covered in ornaments. lol More fun for me, evening by evening this week. It’s enough, and I am quite contented. 🙂

…so many more…

Time to begin again. 🙂