Archives for posts with tag: always do your best

Oh sure, it’s a few days yet before the Vernal Equinox, so Spring is approaching, but not yet here. Still feels more like Spring than Winter, this morning, and the song birds seem to agree; the morning air is filled with the sound of them, even though the sun is not yet up. The air is soft and smells like forest, even though it’s a bit chilly… it’s more like the chill of Spring than the frosty mornings of Winter or Autumn. I say this in spite of my recollection that yesterday morning was quite frosty. lol I’m eager to welcome Spring.

Already there are signs of Spring among the trees.

…During this year-long (and then some) pandemic, time has seemed more easily measured in seasons, than in days, weeks, or months…

My first week at the new job is nearly over. It’s been a peculiar week, in one very specific way; I’ve had the subjective experience of “checking off a list” in my head of things that have been unsatisfying or “problematic” at various previous places I’ve been employed, not because “oh, it’s that here, too…”, but because delightfully to the contrary, these concerns are explicitly demonstrably confirmably not issues at this new place. Wow. Powerful. My cynical side whispers “okay, but what is wrong here… what about that?”. So far, I’m tickled to shrug her off with a laugh; I haven’t found anything to give me reservations or hold me back. It’s seems to be a pretty healthy well-supported environment. I make a note on a future calendar date to check in with myself about my overall job satisfaction in six months, a year, two years. Looking over past notes, I can see that it is often the case that concerns I am aware of within 6 months often become the thing driving my departure at the two or three year mark. Interesting. (I’m a slow learner, I guess.)

…Pretty good start on this particular new beginning…

Last night went well, after my Traveling Partner and I sorted things out in the evening. Apologies that had been made were eventually accepted, and normalcy allowed to return. We hung out a bit. Soon enough it was the end of the evening. I enjoyed my first night of deep restful sleep since the DST change, and even slept through the night. It was lovely. I’m not at all annoyed that it took 4 nights to “get my sleep back”, either; there have been years when it took weeks.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced with seeking change, and with working to “stay on my path”, and in the pursuit of emotional wellness, has been allowing and accepting success when it comes. That’s been more difficult than I expected. Non-attachment (to outcomes, to emotions, to people, to the past…) requires committed practice, and self-awareness (which also takes practice), and my results do vary. Incremental change over time can be so slow as to seem undetectable, leading to some unpleasant “this never changes” feelings and unhappy “why do I even try??” moments. Harsh. Moments pass, though, and over time change and progress are revealed – and experienced. It does go faster, though, when I let myself have those wins without reservations or self-doubt. It’s all too easy to doubt, to resist, to argue, to refute, to turn away… because the things I am working to change are often “coping skills” that have their source in real trauma, and it can be tough to persuade myself, on some deep remote still-damaged level, that I don’t need them anymore. What if I do?? (So what if it does feel that way, though; is it the healthy way to cope? Is that way of coping “who I most want to be”?)

So, a pleasant Thursday morning begins the day. Another beginning. Another opportunity to practice the practices that best support me (and my quality of life, and my relationships) – and to become the woman I most want to be. 😀

It’s not a demand, really. “Always do your best” is the fourth of the Four Agreements. I keep coming back to it, however many learned tomes I immerse myself in, however many notes I take, or cross-references I make, however many relevant observations or light bulb moments come to me from hours of study, or therapy. I regularly find myself considering, again, the Four Agreements.  (My traveling partner had recommended The Four Agreements, a few weeks into our association, and before we were lovers. I often think of him with love when I am reading it.)

The basics, and a good starting point.

The basics, and a good starting point.

If I had truly mastered these, would I face so much struggle? Would I have hurt so much for so long? If they were nothing more than saccharine platitudes, would I find renewed relevance so frequently, or so often find myself thinking ‘yes, of course’ in contemplation of a missed opportunity to practice one or more of these simple ideas?

I have suggested, and shared, and gifted this small book so many times… As with anything else, there is a verb involved, and the will, choices, and actions of the individual. I think there is a relevant ‘old saying’… how about ‘you can lead a person to knowledge but you can’t make them think’? Oh that’s not it, is it? It’s ‘lead a horse to water…’, but not so very different, truly. 🙂 We don’t live each others lives, and ideally we don’t make each others choices, or undercut each others opportunities for growth; it’s nice to have help once in a while, but the life we live, the path we walk, the choices we choose belong to us alone. A person can read The Four Agreements as many times as they care to, and never benefit because they chose differently, or did not act on what they read. We have the amazing freedom to choose poorly, any time, to be short-sighted, to hold on to grievances, to struggle, to hold on to resentment; we choose who we are. We create our experience.

A rainy day flower. Beauty needs no excuse.

A rainy day flower. Beauty needs no excuse.

Yesterday, in spite of being ill, was a very pleasant day. It was a pleasant day in spite of one partner having to come home to work because construction noise in the office was so significant it was causing major stress. It was a pleasant day in spite of my traveling partner being very focused on preparing for the next trip away. It was pleasant in spite of the rain, and in spite of the headache. We made good choices, and treated each other well. Sure, I’d like not to be sick, but being sick did nothing to diminish the lovely day, yesterday.

Yesterday, maybe because I am ill, I also had a serious nightmare – terrifying enough to launch me from my bed, all my bed clothes in hand, body pillow clutched to me, cowering in the corner, against the back of the bedroom door when my nearest partner came to check on me, having heard the bang of my frightened self slam into the door, or the wall, whimpering. I don’t recall the dream now, only the sense of tremendous relief when my open eyes began to see, and I was safe in my room, my partner gently soothing my fear with tender touches, and soft words reminding me where I was in the moment, and that all was well.  As fatigued as I felt, it was hours before I could persuade myself to try sleep again, and strangely my bed just didn’t ‘feel right’ after that, until I woke this morning, quite comfortably and on time, a tad amused that I’d forgotten to set my alarm at all, and that it didn’t really matter.

There is a part of me that is curious what the nightmare was about. There is a wiser part of me who understands that doesn’t matter at all, and the kinder choice for my experience is to let it go.

What is 'enough'?

What is ‘enough’?

Today is a good day to listen well, really listen, without waiting to speak. Today is a good day to do my best, and understand with compassion that most people generally are doing their best, as well. Today is a good day to avoid making assumptions; assumptions are only stories we tell ourselves, and they have a lot of power to cause needless suffering. Today is a good day to ‘be impeccable’ with my words, using them well and with kindness, and understanding that clarity does not require callousness, or cruelty.

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So, I woke this morning to an unpleasant vibe. It happens. I am human, and each and all of my partners, friends, and dear ones are, too. We are also all having our own experience. It got me thinking about The Big 5, and how much difference it has made to me to reevaluate my own relationship values, and to pursue them in a committed mindful way.

So… I gotta ask… Are you respectful of others? Not just when you think they ‘deserve it’, but because you are respectful? Do you allow yourself to expect and require respect in return, without being confrontational or demanding? Would you respect yourself enough to end a relationship that didn’t measure up?

How about consideration? Are you considerate of others, and able to treat them well, and recognize that their experience is their own, and consider
it when you interact with them? Do you expect and require that you be treated with consideration yourself, and communicate clearly and without aggression or hostility, when you perceive you are not? Do you treat yourself with consideration, and make meeting your own needs a priority?

Do you value reciprocity and act on opportunities to support your relationships with action? Do you expect and require reciprocity from your relationships, and refuse to invest in unbalanced relationships where servitude is expected, and resentment is fostered?

Are you compassionate toward your loved ones, and to yourself, and able to support them emotionally, and be supported in return, even when the challenges and stress are between you, and part of your shared experience?

Are you open? Open to new experiences, open to the vast potential for success, open to change and choice, and open to sharing who you really are and the honest details of your experience without shame or fear- or in spite of it? Can you appreciate and value it when facing the fearless openness of another?

Just saying…these seem better than many alternatives.