Archives for posts with tag: a room with a view of love

This morning it takes me awhile to get where I’m going with this. Please forgive. Short night, early morning, sluggish thinking.

Sometimes patterns of light distract from illumination

Is it really notably different whether you are being obviously aggressive to someone, or acting out passive-aggressively? I personally don’t think there is, aside from the lack of forthrightness, and personal accountability. Micro-aggression fits in there, too; it’s in the intention, it’s in what the underlying feeling is, it’s how the person attacked feels the harm. I think most of us dislike feeling attacked, whether or not it is provoked by obvious ill-intention, or subtly camouflaged.

With overt aggression, I am at least certain I’ve been attacked. There’s an honesty to it. A certain… certainty. It’s not pleasant, but it’s clear. I may be taken aback, or wounded, but I also have unmistakable means to deal with it. Passive aggression is sneaky, sly, and dishonest. The attacker masquerades as well-intentioned, in some cases convincingly (to outside observers). The attack is no less damaging. The attacker no less intentional.

I try to avoid passive-aggressive attacks, and micro-aggressions (sometimes complicated by a lack of self-awareness), as well. I’m not a perfect human being, but a willful, considered, attempt, and a good-heart, go a long way. There’s less I understand to do about my own potential for overt aggression, beside stifle it, keep it in check by force if necessary, and continue to work on not having to deal with it, by making it less a part of my implicit thinking, and “natural” behavior – by practicing other ways with a firm commitment, and apologizing swiftly and without reservations when I recognize I’ve hurt someone.

…I’m my own human being. I find living with other human beings incredibly difficult. I’ve been badly damaged by violence, aggression, passive-aggression (and her evil twin, gaslighting), and the scars are, in some cases, still very raw, the wounds still easily re-opened. Healing from this kind of damage can take… a lifetime. I’m sitting here at 56, feeling rather as if I’ve used up most of the time available, without much improvement. Oh, I take the improvements I do get. I value those (they are the thing that makes life livable). I keep at it. There’s plenty to work on. It’s true, too, that the only thing I can truly effect change on – talking about human beings, human feelings, human experience, here – is this one. Mine. Me. What I do, what I think, how I behave, how I feel – all mine to work on, and perhaps improve. There is literally no realistic potential to change anyone else’s behavior, or how they interact with me. It’s hard, if I hold onto a perception that “they” are the cause of my experience.

Stare at something long enough it may appear to be more significant than it is

Sleep matters too much – even to love. I don’t get enough good sleep. It affects my cognition. It affects my emotional balance. It affects my ability to reason. I take some pretty profound steps to maintain good sleep hygiene – because it’s necessary to ensure I get the minimum amount of rest necessary to sustain human life. It’s been two weeks since I last got more than an hour of deep sleep, according to my sleep tracker, and that was interrupted and in smaller increments. Before that? Back in September, same thing; interrupted, 5 and 10 minute chunks of deep sleep, interspersed with light sleep and wakefulness. I have to go all the way back to July to find a night when I got more than an hour and a half of continuous deep sleep. I’m often short on REM sleep, too, mostly just getting “light sleep” that is neither deep or REM sleep. It’s no wonder I’m tired so much, and I guess no surprise that my resilience has been reduced, and my temperament more irritable, over time.

…During my first (very violent) marriage, I went nearly a decade without actually sleeping more than an hour or two a night, mostly just resting motionlessly, and sleep-walking through my “waking” life… My sleep issues are not about my current relationship, they have been with me a long long time, even into childhood.

I don’t have any idea, just now, what to do about it. “Stop being annoying” and “stop being irritable” are bullet points on a long list of things to change that don’t work that way. I know to start with improving my self-care. Meditation matters that much. I know to harness the power of gratitude when I am feeling resentful and hurt, and to let go of small things, understanding that we are each human, each having our own experience, and that taking things personally is what allows them to hurt so much in the first place – as well as giving others power over my experience. Even the most direct actual-no-bullshit-fully-intended-to-specifically-hurt-me attack isn’t all that personal; it’s usually an expression of that other person’s own pain, frustration, challenges, hurts, and baggage. Often, people don’t know another way to behave. They do what has worked for them in the past. Taking that shit personally just piles my baggage onto their baggage, and it all gets very heavy – for everyone.

It’s not as if people who favor aggression or passive-aggression are actually enjoying all that stress and agitation. (The sorts of human beings who enjoy that kind of thing are a wholly other sort of monster, and I do my very best to stay far far away from those.)

is there really a pattern, or is it a trick of the light?

Then, too, there are so many circumstances in which my own understanding of “what’s going on” is colored by my baggage, my perception altered by my own pain, and I see an attack – or an attacker – where there is really only another human being, being human, and it just happens to conflict with me, also so human, being human, myself. My own feelings of being hurt, or my own petty resentments, build up a foe in my thinking – an opponent, a challenger – against whom I struggle…

…I’m nearly always, in truth, struggling with myself. There’s a lot of bullshit to let go. There are a lot of great reasons to let go of my own bullshit. (No good reasons to hold on to it.)

I sit here this morning sipping my coffee, past feeling sorry for myself, around the corner from feeling aggrieved by the brief restless night. I am listening to my Traveling Partner working out his feelings his own way, tidying things, handling chores that nag at him visually, checking things off his “to-do list”. It was a brutally early morning for both of us. Neither of us slept well, I’m fairly certain. It wasn’t personal, or chosen, or intentional, or deliberately inflicted in any way. No bad guys. No real “good guys”, either. Just people. Human beings who choose love, but struggling in the moment to live that intention, gently. Too real? Too common, for sure. I listen with care, identifying the tasks by the sounds, mentally refreshing my own to-do list as I hear him move through the house.

I used to think love wasn’t a “real thing”, because it isn’t easy, and requires actual effort. lol I’m grateful for love, even when I am frustrated or confounded by what love asks of me, as a human being committed to love and loving – and doing so well.  That’s really where it gets complicated. Every-fucking-body is so damned human. I can love haplessly, without real skill, and it doesn’t take too much work… aaand.. doesn’t last too long, flaring up and flaming out, leaving chaos and sorrow in the aftermath… that’s the “easy” way (and most common outcome). Harder is working together, listening deeply, fostering a long-term sanctuary in our hearts, keeping a welcoming embrace always at the ready, and seeking to build, approach, support, and persist in our tenderness and gentleness, day after human day. Life is a long journey – I’m fortunate to have the Traveling Partner I do; we chose each other. Some days we have to reach across a very human moment, to choose each other all over again. (So worth it, rarely effortless.)

sometimes it is enough that there is sunshine streaming through a window; it doesn’t need to be more complicated than that

He puts his head in my studio, makes eye contact, asks a question, starts a conversation – builds a bridge. Love is worth a little bridge building, when our very human stormy weather floods our path. He gets it. (Usually before I do.)

I finish my coffee and begin again. 🙂

 

I slept in this morning, sort of. Actually, I woke early, before 5 am, without any intention of getting up so early, because it isn’t necessary to do so today and I very much wanted to sleep in when I went to bed last night. I’m not sure I ever really returned to a deep sleep, but I coasted through a couple restful hours curled up with my body pillow, tangled in my blankets, and wrapped in thoughts of love, sometimes drifting off and dreaming, and got up some time later to the start the day.

I’ve a number of notions I’ve considered writing about this morning, but my consciousness is hung up on love and loving, and still soaked in the bliss left over from yesterday’s visit with my traveling partner. “It’s the love seat” I think to myself at one point, and that’s when I realize – not for the first time – how significant small changes can be. My hang out time with the wanderer seemed similarly more intimate, more connected, and closer sitting together on the love seat. Is that why a love seat is called a ‘love seat’ instead of being called a ‘mini couch’ or ‘wee sofa’? I amused by the thought that it might be called a love seat because it facilitates loving presence and connected dialogue…

I shopped high and low for the one I chose for its diminutive size (just 48″ wide). The small size of the room needed something similarly small to remain ‘in scale’ with everything else. At 60″ inches, many of the American love seats I saw would look huge in this room, taking up most of the visual space, and limiting how much room to paint I would have, even if I shift things around. That wasn’t going to meet my needs…on the other hand…I also needed to ensure that the seating would be ample for two, and not uncomfortable or cramped. I did consider comfort…I didn’t really consider ‘love’. It’s odd that it seems such a worthy choice, in general; the new love seat has also benefited me in my solitary space by taking me from my desk, often. It is a beautiful space to relax – and remarkably comfortable for me, personally. The details matter; at my traveling partner’s recommendation I have ordered some little pillows for the comfort of guests, and the wanderer noted at one point on his visit previously that ‘switching sides’ had benefit at one point during the evening – a practical suggestion that worked out for my traveling partner and I, as well.  That’s all very practical stuff…

Creating a beautiful space, building a beautiful life. Yes, there are verbs involved.

Creating a beautiful space, building a beautiful life. Yes, there are verbs involved.

…What matters most, as I sit here, is how remarkably delightfully effortlessly well the love seat seems to facilitate actual love, through proximity, through connected conversation, through crafted intimacy that seems so easily to become legitimate tender considerate closeness. When I sit in that spot, even alone, I find that I feel content – more content – and comfortable, my restless nature seeming to be soothed. I didn’t know when I chose it that all these qualities were shipped right along with this modest simply made love seat…but I definitely enjoy that it is indeed a love seat – a seat of love. 🙂

The love seat was not my first choice for next step with my moving in. I really wanted to get the curio and to get my breakables all out on display and within easy reach. My traveling partner asked me to consider getting the love seat first because he wanted very much to be comfortably able to sit close and share space with me more easily. I fussed a bit, internally, over what felt initially like my will being overridden…but the process of shopping for what I wanted of a love seat – and what I wanted of a curio, revealed that the items were not in the same category of expenditure, and that I would get ‘more bang for my buck’ with a love seat (And oh, ha ha – yes, I see the humor in the phrasing. And…yeah, that too. 😀 ).  Had I insisted, I know I’d have my curio parked in the corner where it plans to go, right now…and I wouldn’t have had last night, quite as last night was; choices matter. I’m satisfied that I’ve made a good choice that meets my needs right now – and over time. I do love seeing my breakables out on display…but while they may move me, they don’t touch me at all the same way as Love.

As with the a/c, the love seat turned out to be quite perfect for the circumstances, and again my traveling partner comes through with major skills in the area of encouraging and supporting love and intimacy. He seems sometimes to be ‘always right’, and while that is likely an illusion produced by a combination of being right often, and my intense affection for him…truly I’d be pretty foolish not to pause and consider his recommendations when he offers them counter to something I plan to do; he generally understands very well what I am seeking, and his perspective on how to get it often takes into account things I have overlooked. It’s hard, sometimes; my injury makes me vulnerable to poor decision-making, and acting on impulse, but my PTSD tends to make me resentful of experiences that feel as though my will is being denied me, and my desire to ‘be a grown up’ and take care of myself without help sometimes finds me reluctant to seek it (or accept it) – but when I  put down my baggage, the help I get from my traveling partner has been of great value. I know there’s a lesson there, and it’s something about listening deeply, reciprocal consideration, and recognizing the voice of love. I find my Big 5 values woven into so much of my experience.

It can feel like slow going, sometimes, but love, beauty, contentment...these experiences are worthy of the investment in time, and choices.

It can feel like slow going, sometimes, but love, beauty, contentment…these experiences are worthy of the investment in time, and choices.

So here I am today. I have love, and a love seat. I have a great cup of coffee, and bare toes tickled by clean carpet. I have a cool summer morning that will likely become a hot summer day. I have no firm plans, although perhaps the wanderer will come by much later. I have the recollection of an amazing time spent with my traveling partner yesterday – the sort of thing that is very much why it’s called ‘making love’ in the first place – some things seem to truly create love, and where love already exists seem to intensify and deepen it, well beyond what can be described in mere words…so no more words, today, and on with love and loving. These are things that have the power to change the world.