Archives for posts with tag: asking the questions

Thinking about a question of perspective, of sorts. I occasionally have experiences where it is clear that the understanding of me held by the person I am interacting with is very much not at all consistent with how I understand myself. I often wonder how that comes to be, and whether it is their misunderstanding (of me) causing the mischief or my own potential lack of awareness of how I present myself: how my behavior is received, and how the words I say are understood. Are they “speaking with a golem” of the woman I actually am that stands somehow between us? Is it me? Am I so thoroughly lacking in understanding of my words and actions in a practical way? Is it both? Neither?

…Am I the woman I understand myself to be, and if so, is that true only when I am alone, or also when I am interacting with others? If I am not she… who the hell am I? A construct of the expectations and assumptions of others? That doesn’t seem quite right to me, so I keep thinking about it…

I think about it during the commute to the office. I think about it over my morning coffee. I think about it while I bite my nails. I think about it as I walk down the hall to a meeting. I think about it in the break room. I think about it at my desk while I work.

I think about this question now and then – and today is definitely one of those times. I think about it without gaining wisdom or coming to some sort of reliable conclusion. I think about it…

…Then I put it aside and begin again.

I am sitting quietly, sipping coffee, on a Sunday morning. Does’t feel like “the end of the weekend”, because it isn’t; I’ve got tomorrow off for the Memorial Day holiday. This feels, instead, like a proper “day of leisure”, and I am enjoying it quite gently. Perhaps I’ll garden later? For now, I am reading emails, reading the news, and contemplating questions. Big questions, small questions – there are a ton of questions worth asking. Many of them have achievable answers worth having, some of them have more power and enlightenment to offer in the asking, itself. To sort out which are which, I sit idly, asking the questions, considering the answers, and hoping to know more at some point in the future than I do right now, or at least to gain the wisdom to recognize sufficiency, even in the realm of knowledge.

Maybe I “get there”, maybe I don’t; either way, this is a good cup of coffee. 🙂

Be present. Listen deeply.

I slept well. I woke rested. My coffee is adequate, and I’m content with that. It’s a generally pleasant morning. Sunday’s bit of afternoon aggravation in traffic seems far behind me, and it would be easy to just let that go so completely that I leave myself at risk of repeating that experience for lack of fully considering the circumstances, and how best to care for myself and build lasting emotional resilience such that it doesn’t ever happen again (a lofty, potentially unreasonable goal, also worth keeping a watchful eye on).

The flowers in my garden may bloom on their own, but they do so more beautifully, more generously, more reliably, if I care for them with skill.

This morning I take time to consider what opportunities for self-care got overlooked, or set aside, and which among the later consequences turned out to be unacceptable compromises after-the-fact; it’s a helpful way to re-calibrate what matters most. It’s helpful for ensuring I continue to practice those practices that support my long-term wellness, even where that may occasionally also mean a long-term lifestyle change. (Trust me, making the changes in my lifestyle needed to skillfully support my emotional wellness, over the past three years, has been a journey all its own!)

Are there things I wasn’t doing, that reliably work for me?

Are there things I was doing, that reliably don’t work for me?

Are there things I hadn’t considered previously that, as practices, would support a healthy life, both physically and emotionally, and support activities like late night art shows, all night parties, social weekends, limited sleep, and being generally exceedingly busy? (“Is this an unreasonable expectation?” seems a good follow up on this one.)

Am I doing enough to care for this fragile vessel? (If I answer “no” to this question, are my expectations too high? If I answer “yes”, am I kidding myself?)

This morning I water my garden, turning these thoughts over in my head. Where is the path to success, to balance, to perspective, to wellness…? What path will I take, myself, on this journey through life? What matters most… to me?

What matters to the wellness of the world? Where do I fit in, there?

Every flower has its place in life’s garden.

I reflect on my choices. Am I the woman I most want to be? Am I living up to my promise, as a human being? What does it take to get there? Can I have/do/be that, too?

I reflect on my experience. I’m not hard on myself, although I am as honest as I am able to be from this wholly subjective perspective on my own experience. I could do better.

It’s time to begin again.



I woke with my calendar on my mind today. It’s not quite so hot, and the thing most prominent in my thoughts is an interview scheduled a little later in the morning. The cool pre-dawn chill easily cooled off the apartment before the sun made its appearance.

A new day, a new beginning; each dawn potentially the cusp of an entirely different future.

A new day, a new beginning; each dawn potentially the cusp of an entirely different future.

My ‘to do list’ this morning looks very different than it has for some weeks. I already have butterflies in my stomach, and feel vaguely as if I am ‘waiting’ for the time to arrive, and then to be behind me. Good self-care practices serve me well this morning, and I go through the routine details of an ordinary work day with reliable comfort; it’s only an interview, but it is my work day as well. I feel prepared. There are last-minute things to fill my head with, like re-reading the details of the job posting itself, and reviewing interview notes from the prior interview call. My clothes are ready, my jewelry selected with care, my nails are done. I am entirely this person, and in this particular instance I am a person hoping to be a good fit – and not out of desperate need to be employed in this moment, but delightfully enough because the position itself looks like it may suit my nature, my skills, and be work I could be proud of, on a team providing a valued service to the community. That sounds pretty amazing… to potentially come home at the end of a long work day, feeling accomplished and proud of what I do, rather than exhausted and resentful of the drain on my physical resources, would be a remarkable (and welcome) thing.

Well…I could write all day to avoid the inevitable reality of getting my “work self” together for this interview I am actually eager to do. (What’s with the foot-dragging, Woman?) Delaying the tasks and activities supporting the morning and the day doesn’t really serve me well, and today I definitely need my best from me. 🙂 Wish me luck? I wonder where the day will take me? What does the future hold? Hang on… I’ll go find out. 😉

I woke feeling groggy, content, and fairly…merry. That’s a good word for it. I feel good. I feel ‘right’ – as in comfortable in my skin, content with life, and okay with ‘things generally’ just at the moment. It’s a pleasant state of being. The morning is quiet, other than birdsong, and my coffee is good. I have indoor plumbing, the rent is paid, there’s food in the pantry, and clean running water. Pretty fucking luxurious compared to some of the alternatives (a quick search of the term “refugee” proves the point). I sip my coffee and make time to really appreciate how good my life is right now. I am aware of impermanence.

Is the cup half empty? Is it half full? Does it matter that it can be filled, or emptied... if the contents are enough just as they are?

Is the cup half empty? Is it half full? Does it matter that it can be filled, or emptied… if the contents are enough just as they are?

Some people reading this blog may not have a comfortable life. Some people reading this blog may have a far more lavish lifestyle than I do. In any category of quality of life economically, some people may be struggling to survive, despairing, or merely enduring their days, and others living their lives in a state of contentment, acceptance, or serenity. It’s not about money. I find myself wondering what role our circumstances really play in our emotional lives? Could I ‘hold this position’ and live in relative contentment and ease in a state of enduring privation, poverty, violence, or illness? If circumstances changed abruptly – and they do – would I lose ground equally suddenly? I have come so far with myself. I think of the woman I once was…the woman I am now…the human being I hope to become… What of suffering and loss? What of change? Can I hold my own in the world more comfortably now, without this gentle space that is mine only by virtue of a contract and steady payment? Would I practice good practices and take good care of this fragile vessel if life’s circumstances seemed to demand different sacrifices of me? More than I have to offer? Would I be able to yield to change, to ‘be like water‘ – or would I be broken on the wheel as it turns? Is the ease I so often have now something I have built?… something I have taken from the world?… or is it mere circumstance and coincidence, enjoyable but not sustainable? Can it be taken from me? Thoughts over coffee – and lacking any substance whatever that I do not give them myself. 🙂 Sometimes it’s good to ask the questions, see the words, and accept that doubt is, and fear is, and uncertainty most definitely is – then move along and enjoy the day, because it too is… and it is now.

Where does the path I choose lead?

Where does the path I choose lead?

A couple years ago, when I was re-evaluating life, and my values, and working out my Big 5 relationship values (Respect, Consideration, Reciprocity, Compassion, and Openness), I also made the decision to build my life on sustainable, practical, basics: perspective, mindfulness, and sufficiency. It meant making some changes. It requires continuous practicing of practices, and there is no ‘achievement’ at the end of some process of mastery. I am living my life, and practicing practices – living is a verb, and there are a lot of verbs involved in making a life. Choices. There’s power in choice when we awaken to it – and it can’t easily be taken from us unless we give it away. Despair and anxiety are liars; choice is. Every day of each life there are choices, and change available for the taking. That’s… powerful.

One day I will not wake to begin again... It's how mortality works. There is much to savor in each waking moment, and less to struggle with than I sometimes choose.

I am mortal; one day I will not wake to begin again… It’s how mortality works. There is much to savor in each waking moment, and less to struggle with than I sometimes choose.

It’s a lovely quiet morning. The sunshine reaches the studio window. I close the blinds to keep the apartment cool. I sip my coffee. I make my list of things to do today, and consider it. One day, in a life that is mine, filled with opportunities to choose. Isn’t this enough? 🙂