Archives for posts with tag: a moment of stillness

I hadn’t really noticed I’d lost sight of ‘the future’ until I was inspired to plan on something a bit further along on my calendar – more than a year away. I’d been bouncing between past and present, working to hold myself firmly in the moment…and forgot about the future, more or less completely, which seemed odd once I noticed it.

I’m sipping my coffee this morning, feeling something sort of anxiety-ish, and recognized that I am actually excited, which is quite a different feeling. I find it hard to focus on things that matter less than this idea that hovers in the distance, still just a plan, and an intention. I am planning a solo hike in the Olympic National Park. I was inspired by a recent article about the quietest places that remain within reach, places where one can stand in stillness and not hear the sounds of humanity’s machines in the background. The Hoh Rainforest is one of them, apparently. I’m not sure the ‘where’ really matters at all. I could as easily be planning a solo hike in the Grand Canyon, or Death Valley, or the high desert of southern Oregon, or the Yukon wilderness…all remarkable places, all with wilderness within reach, all having that ‘remote’ quality that so often accompanies a sense of stillness. It is, rather obviously at the moment, the planning that matters most.

One detail of this fragile 'now'.

One detail of this fragile ‘now’.

There are actually quite a lot of places of beauty and wonder to see in the world. Seeing them before they are gone seems like a good idea. I’m not ready to do 2 weeks in the wilderness alone, quite yet, though – thus the valuable planning time, equipment testing time on shorter hikes and camping trips nearby, and study. Yes, I’ll actually be studying the trail, the history of the area, the local flora and fauna, reading trail reports from other hikers, looking at maps with great care, reading FAQs from the Forest Service… and daydreaming of a long long walk with a big big smile.

The map is not the world...

The map is not the world…

There’s a lot to consider. I enjoy the planning, and the anticipation, and the focal point on the horizon of my future…more than a year away. 15 miles down the trail would be a poor time to discover I forgot my bee sting kit… or didn’t break in my boots… or really can’t carry enough food for the trip… I’d rather get all of it worked out beforehand, as much as possible – to do literally my best planning to enjoy a great experience is the goal.

Small details sometimes have big impact.

Small details sometimes have big impact.

I had a notion to check on something small that matters to my self-care, and happily report that SuperBetter now has an Android app! I’ve been waiting for this – I’m not at my workstation at the best times/places to use SuperBetter most effectively. The Android app is a delightful upgrade there.

It’s funny that although all these things are important, something else that I finally understood more clearly soaked into my consciousness about communication, following a really enlightening conversation with my traveling partner yesterday morning before work. I hadn’t previously understood a basic concept of hierarchy in delivery of information that can be applied easily to spoken word, and although after-the-fact it seems odd that I hadn’t understood it (to the point of being vaguely embarrassing after more thought), it is an idea with power and value; deliver the highest level summary first. Answer the yes/no question with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). It’s the listener’s opportunity to engage, and that is the fundamental starting point of conversation, shared interest, and connection. I have long tended toward verbosity. You probably already know that. 😉 I am eager to see where this new understanding may take me, and how it may affect my relationships.

Today is a good day to arrive at a new starting point, and begin again. Today is a good day to consider the future, too. Today is a good day to plan a journey – don’t forget to bring a map! Today is a good day to remember that the map, however detailed, however lovely, however accurate it may seem, is not the world.

I woke earlier than I wanted to, again this morning. I found myself, moments later, musing over a tasty latte my traveling partner made for me how strange it is that not so long ago I was reliably the first person awake every morning, even on weekend days. There were hours of quiet solo time on weekend mornings, rarely seeing anyone else awake before 8:00 am; time during which I could not easily get started on chores, and music would be ‘headphones only’, while the household slept, quiet time for reading, for meditation, for creative thought. Things changed at some point, though I am unsure quite when, or why. Now, I’m not only not the first person up on weekend mornings, I am seemingly utterly unable to ‘sleep in’. It just isn’t there for me, right now; the common sounds of movement, conversation, cupboards, doors, drawers, and conversation just don’t permit it. (I’d have to be heavily drugged to sleep through all of it, and I don’t take those sorts of drugs these days; the side effects and consequences are not worth it, long-term.)

I woke feeling reasonably rested, though, and not excessively discontent at the lack of languorous sensuous waking up time – it’s been so long since I enjoyed that experience I have begun to doubt it exists in reality. I dragged myself out of bed, and managed to refrain from bitching about being awakened, again. Meditation, and a few still calm minutes matter, and make a difference; I managed to keep from bitching aloud about the unsatisfying experience. The morning’s irritating wake up was behind me pretty quickly, and I sat sipping my latte after meditating, and enjoying the charm and delight of the holiday decor, the tree and the lights, and the quiet beauty of a pearly sunrise.

I’m enjoying my second coffee of the morning, an ordinary Americano, an ordinary morning. The laundry is started. The dishes are put away, and the dishwasher set up for the day’s coffee cups, plates, and flatware. I took my time with my morning yoga sequence, and because although I woke with a nasty headache, and a measure of arthritis pain, I didn’t feel quite as stiff as I often do, I tried a fairly simple arm-balance, my first such attempt. I happily toppled over a couple of times, trying again, until I was certain of two things: this will be easier when I’ve lost a few more pounds, and this is also something that requires patience with myself, and more practice. I feel satisfied with the attempt, and proud of myself to have come so far at all.

A holiday scene, for lack of a better segue.

A holiday scene, for lack of a better segue.

This morning I am thinking about contentment and consideration. It is mere coincidence that they both begin with ‘C’, but having noticed that, I’m finding it hard to let go of it, wondering what other related things I can add to the list that also begin with ‘C’. (My thinking brain is jumping into the morning with real enthusiasm – and full of distractions. lol) The point of today’s exercise is not lists of words that begin with the letter ‘C’, however. Today I am taking time to carefully consider which of my actions and choices are genuinely considerate of the needs and experience of others, and which are being rationalized as ‘considerate’, when in fact they are actions and choices that are specifically intended to meet needs of my own, any consideration involved being a byproduct, not an intention, or matter of will. It’s an important distinction, I think, because I am making choices; it seems necessary that my intention be entirely clear, at least to me.

Most inconsiderate behavior I observe – whether my own, or someone else’s – seems pretty consistently, and fairly literally, ‘thoughtless’. That makes sense considering the very definition of ‘considerate’. Do I have the will – and ability – to make each choice a thoughtful one? To make each action intentional? To truly consider the potential outcomes of each choice, each action, in advance? How much potential for joy, delight, and nurturing do I lose each time I take an action, or say words, thoughtlessly? Mindlessly?

Mindfully treating the world well, really being a considerate human being, is a very big deal; much of what is amiss in the world, regardless of the cause, could potentially be mitigated, if not entirely resolved, if each of us were truly, sincerely, wholeheartedly mindful and considerate. I don’t think I’m wrong about this one…but I don’t know that I have words enough, or the intellect, to deliver to you inarguable logical proofs. I look out into the world, though, and I can’t help but wonder… Would kidnapping and raping as a tool of warfare be a choice a considerate human being could make? Could a mindful, considerate law enforcement officer choke an unarmed man to death by willful intent, and aware of the deliberate nature of that choice? Could protesters become looters, or nihilists, in the passion of the moment – if they were considering the outcomes of their actions with willful intent, and consideration of their fellow human beings who would be affected? Could business leaders still justify forcing employees to involuntary labor on Thanksgiving Day, if they were making those choices with full consideration of the needs of others, and the impact on the hearts, souls, and experiences of their colleagues were in the forefront of their intent? Could a healthy young woman getting on a train shove an older lady using a walker out of her way and take the last available seat, if she acted mindfully, with consideration, and intent? Somehow…I keep finding my way back to the thought that simple consideration could solve a lot of the petty ills of the world with great ease – and potentially also ease some very major nastiness besides.

Help me prove it? Today is a good day to be mindfully considerate of the consequences of choices and actions, of will and intent, and of the needs of both self and others. Today is a good day to change the world.