Sitting here sipping my coffee, watching the dawn sky slowly become morning, and lingering over this lovely moment, now. I hear traffic in the distance – it’s rare that I don’t. I hear birdsong, too, red-wing blackbirds, robins, and doves, mostly, this morning. The cool air of early morning seeps into the apartment from marsh and meadow beyond. I pause to appreciate screens on doors and windows – no mosquitoes in the house.

a;dsfha

Summer flowers, and a worthy moment.

This practice, the practice of being present in this moment, and of observing and being without judgement, this practice has become a lifestyle at this point – and it is one of my favorite practices, seeming to stitch together a wholly different experience of life than the one I’ve had of careening through the chaos from crisis to crisis in some breathless reactive panic. It’s so easy it is tempting to call it easy – and thereby overlook how challenging this practice can be…it does need practice. There’s no ultimate mastery, at which point I can dust off my hands, look around the room smugly, and say “See? Mindful. Done.” It’s an ongoing thing – and for good reason, when I think it over; life itself is ongoing. (Well, until it isn’t, but that’s an existential irritant for another day.)

The apartment has cooled down nicely this morning. Today is forecast to be a bit less hot. Yesterday was comfortably more pleasant than the day prior – which was a very nice change in weather, since my traveling partner was over hanging out, and I’ve currently no AC. More than once I’ve found myself thinking back to other places with or without AC, and thinking about relative comfort. It’s not as if I can gain too much perspective.

It’s funny how our monkey brains work; I think about missing my partner later, and I feel the missing of him right now as I do, and quickly find myself awash in emotions from the blue end of the spectrum, although, in fact, nothing whatever has changed – and my partner simply sleeps in the other room. lol It’s something I am more aware of these days – my mind ‘plays tricks on me’, not necessarily out of any malice (I suspect it’s some attempt to be helpful or efficient…), but definitely with the outcome of crafting my experience of moments that don’t exist ‘in real life’. Being present in this moment, mindfully aware, observing and being, without forcing things through some sieve built of assumptions, expectations, and ‘what happened that one time’ is an idealized state of being to be sure – and it requires practice. (Always with the damned verbs!) I don’t find it ‘effortless’ at all. (I’m sure I suck at it more than I succeed with ease – but most of my efforts fall somewhere between those points… not sucking, and often succeeding, with more effort than is easily described since even the effort doesn’t exactly feel ‘difficult’, just that it needs attention. And practice.) I do find it worth every bit of the effort it takes.

Practicing anything is a bit challenging, I find – we don’t seem especially well wired to do any one thing ‘all the time’, and sticking with committed practice isn’t easy – or more of us would be accomplished piano, violin, or horn players, having ‘picked it up’ in school.  Certainly, if practice were ‘easy’, I would now be quite skilled on keyboards, bass guitar, gardening, math, languages, interpersonal communication, basic construction, home repairs, and reading blueprints, schematics, and sheet music… well, I think you see what I’m saying. I’m not sure I’ve ever stuck with practicing any one thing until I achieved ‘full mastery’ (what I understand that to be, myself)…  but, I’ve become someone who practices. I didn’t start here; I had to practice to get here!

Changing my perspective on practice, practices, and practicing has been powerful. I’ll keep heading down this particular path, it suits me. My eagerness to learn has increased as I have become comfortable with practicing. To be comfortable with practice is also to become comfortable with not knowing, with lacking skill, with having to begin again… turns out those experiences have real value, and aren’t particularly painful, generally. I am learning to be kind to myself when I don’t know something – because punishing myself for innocent ignorance undermines my ability to develop and grow with real depth and character, by building an implicit sense that there is something broken about not knowing.

Where will the day take me?

Where will the day take me?

Today is a ‘work day’. There will be plenty to practice – I’ll be out in the world, being human, and talking to people who employ humans, and looking for a good opportunity to become one such human being employed by another. I hear my traveling partner up, making coffee. I smile, and think about all the practices I associate with love and loving. Today is a good day for practicing the practices, wherever the path leads me. 🙂