Archives for posts with tag: be kind

I’m okay. Just awake, for a moment. It’s nothing.

I think I have already picked up a head cold, following the local relaxing of mask requirements. A sneeze woke me. I will go back to sleep after I finish this glass of water, and take some cold medicine.

My conveniently timed appointment with my therapist yesterday was helpful. I don’t necessarily feel any lighter of heart, but I feel that I understand myself a bit more. I’m not being so hard on myself, as a result. That actually helps. Be kind to yourself and the people around you. These are difficult times.

I got a walk in, after my appointment. Shared lunch with my Traveling Partner. Made a point to meditate. Now, here, in these quiet wee hours of morning, mind soft and open, and not feeling pressed for time, or under attack by “everything”, I am making time to write, and reflect. Feels good to take better care of the woman in the mirror.

Spring is almost here, again, already. It’s definitely a good time to begin again.

Spring flowers in the garden.

We’ve all got a story (or stories) to tell, haven’t we? (It’s a rhetorical question. We do.) So often, it also feels as if “no one is listening” – even if they just fucking asked for a bedtime story. LOL Being human sometimes seems needlessly complicated.

My Traveling Partner stopped into the studio with chocolates and a smile. I’d just finished with a phone call he’d earlier expressed interest about, wanting to know the outcome. So… okay… I start to share, but the timing is a poor fit – he’s livestreaming, and needs to get back to that rather promptly. I’m invited to come along to where he’s sitting, to share any relevant (to his experience) information. Cool. Awesome – I do that. Only… I’ve misread the moment and begin to go down the path of “sharing my story”, instead of simply “answering his question”. Those are rather different things, in any conversation. 🙂 I get it wrong a lot, and I work on it often. Story-telling is about a carefully crafted narrative with a “larger purpose” (sometimes educational, sometimes entertainment, sometimes something else) than just answering a simple question. Stories have meaning and context and plot and are about more than one question, one answer. He sets a clear boundary in the moment; he’s not available for a story right then, and recognizing that is already a win for me. 🙂 I answer the simple question and walk away, and although I still needed to deal with my momentary hurt feelings (no one likes rejection, and being shut down pretty much reliably feels like rejection, regardless of the intent), the interaction felt like a “win”, generally.

I get over my emotional moment pretty quickly. Realistically, his idea of an interesting story and mine are quite different, anyway, and I too-often overwhelm him with narrative details that are neither useful nor actually interesting to him. Better communication skills are still something I work on – a lot. Every bit of progress I make is useful in all my relationships (personal or professional).

I turn my head left, to my other monitor. Another sort of “carefully crafted narrative” is unfolding there, and I watch the video as it does. The work day is already over. I think about the afternoon ahead. Other moments. Other stories to tell. More opportunities to practice skillful communication, and more chances to be the person I most want to be. It’s a journey. I take a moment to think about the many miles I’ve walked on many trails… and the stories I could tell. They don’t all need telling. They don’t all have an audience, if they do. 🙂 Figuring out the difference is one more thing to practice.

I “slept in” – for some values of that expression – and woke to a rainy rather mild winter morning. I made a point to go to the store one last time, yesterday, hoping to enjoy the entire holiday weekend at home without venturing into retail spaces at all. I made this excellent coffee which I continue to sip on, now. There is holiday music playing in the background, with a warm, cozy holiday café scene as a backdrop on my monitor. No children live in our home – I’ve still got NORAD’s “Santa Tracker” up, where I can see that famous fat man in red flying around the globe in a sleigh pulled by reindeer (somehow, it still “makes sense” to me that this is even a thing! lol). Giftmas at home.

So merry

…Giftmas. At home. So many moments lead to this one, now, and I feel content, merry, and wrapped in love. My Traveling Partner woke around the time I did. It’s a lovely morning. So far, every detail of the holiday is just delightful, and seems lavish and rich in keeping with childhood expectations of the season, without actually being costly, or built on unaffordable excess. It’s just… pleasant. We took a modest approach to the holidays this year to focus more on longer-term goals. You know that pandemic thing? Yeah, that’s still going on, too – so the thing we’d likely both like most to do more of, which would be socializing in various settings, maybe having a holiday dinner or a party, these are all things that are pretty much not on the menu for us. We’re still masking any time we go out (or answer the door), and practicing fairly strict social distancing – we’re definitely not ready to invite a mob of friends over to party. Not yet. Hell, we haven’t even had a housewarming party yet, or had my partner’s brother over (who lives rather close, a couple towns up the road).

…As content as I am to spend time alone, or with only my partner for company, I am also “feeling the pandemic” as it wears on, month after month. Funny how much life we’ve lived in spite of that, and how much we’ve gotten done. lol I miss friends, though. I take a minute imagining how much harder it may be on my partner, who is much more social. He’s pretty much stuck with “just me” for company day-to-day. I doubt that he finds that boring – but it probably gets super annoying, sometimes. Maybe lonely, too.

Holidays aren’t always so easy as this one. I feel fortunate, and grateful. I think about other Giftmases, some long past, some even quite horrible, others so magical as to become defining moments in how I celebrate the season, even to this day.

When I was a kid, I didn’t really “get” how much actual work my parents both put into making Christmases magical for us. I mean it was pretty hardcore stuff that I only learned later; late nights into the wee hours assembling various “some assembly required” items – like my first bicycle, one year. Mornings no doubt came far too early for them, with eager kids waking nearer to 5 a.m. than to sunrise. When we were little, even the tree itself was part of the magic; it sat in a bucket of water for a handful of days, on the porch, and I truly believed then that it was part of Santa’s work to put up the tree, and decorate it – because for a couple years (at least) that’s how it all went down; no tree when we went to bed, and a world transformed on Christmas morning. Wow. The wonder still saturates my memories. That is some difficult shit to live up to! LOL It’s no wonder my Mom’s first thought on Christmas morning was coffee.

One year, Santa deviated from his usual routine. I must have been around… 9? (Sisters at 6 and at 3 years then.) I woke early on Christmas morning – super early – and there was… something heavy on my legs. I quietly turned on my light and discovered my Christmas stocking was there, at the foot of my bed! OMG OMG! Santa had come!! I went to my parent’s bedroom and tried to wake my Dad and tell him… he woke only enough, and only long enough, to tell me to “go back to bed for a little while” and that I could open my stocking quietly, and enjoy that. “Santa must have known your Mom and I want to sleep in a bit.” (“Sleep in” my ass; they’d probably just barely dropped off to sleep at that point! LOL) So, I did go back to my bed, and crawled back into the warm blankets. I started joyfully exploring the sweets and toys in my stocking as quietly as I could; it was stuffed almost to bursting. My sister woke minutes later, and came into my room (seeing the light under the door, probably) and excitedly told me about their stockings, on their beds, too. I passed on the encouragement to enjoy those, in bed. I think we were all still happily playing, nibbling chocolates, and enjoying our quiet holiday when my parents woke later (still properly early, but closer to something like 7 a.m.). It was splendid! It happened that way every year after. For me, it made stockings singularly important to the holiday in a whole new way.

Thanks for the magic, Mom & Dad. I haven’t forgotten.

Santa’s flying over Pakistan, apparently. This cup of coffee is almost gone. The rain continues to fall. Merry Giftmas. Here’s wishing you the happiest of holidays, however you choose to celebrate.

The frown finally lifted. My jaw finally unclenched. My sheer-force-of-will pleasantness in meetings eventually resolved to simply being pleasant. I let go of being angry, in favor of feeling angry, which eventually let me look beyond my angry feelings to my hurt feelings, and then eventually to just letting shit go. Now? I guess I’m “quietly over it”, and it’s enough. Ideally, small things stay small. It’s not always easy to see that through from intention to outcome. It takes practice.

Neither societies nor relationships are (ever) “perfect”, not really; both are made up of human beings who are themselves entirely “human” in all the error-prone meanings of that word, and compounded by the very (very) subjective nature of our individual experiences. Hell, it’s not even a given that we’re all “doing our best” – or that any one of us is capable of a personal best of sufficient real-world value in any objective way. It’s an inefficient system, at best.

Work keeps me occupied. I pause for a break and reconnect with my Traveling Partner. The gray skies beyond my window seem to reflect back our own individual moodiness, today. Suitable backdrop. I think we’re past it, though, with “clearer skies”, though not exactly “sunny”. Metaphorically, I’m hoping for sunny skies (and sunny days) ahead. Funny thing though; the metaphor of climate and weather with regard to emotions and relationships breaks down a bit if pushed too far – we don’t control the actual weather, but do have substantial control over our emotional “weather”. Oh, for sure, not 100% of the control we might like to have, sometimes, and sometimes what we most want to control of the emotional weather isn’t ours to decide at all. Communication takes effort. Listening is work. Kindness requires practice – even for people in love with each other. “Being angry” is easier than taking the time and care to really process feelings of anger with real consideration, self-compassion, and without adding drama to someone else’s experience. It’s hard. It’s worth practicing, and improving over time. It’s worth failing at it and learning from that, and continuing to practice. Incremental change over time is slow – and it’s hard as hell to make the same room for someone else to fail and grow, as it is to do that for myself.

It’s a pleasant afternoon. My partner brings me a small serving of gelato. I take a break to enjoy that, and review what I’ve gotten done today, and what I’ve got coming up tomorrow. There’s so much to get done before the year ends – and it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

The dishes are cleaned up. The left-overs are put away. The Thanksgiving holiday is behind me. I woke from a sound sleep to the recollection of a tender kiss from my partner shortly after he woke, and a dream that Brian Cox had sought our help “moving the planets around” – so we could more easily study those currently so very far away, but pulling them closer. LOL

Dreamscapes are so interesting. I expect to find details from recent experiences, and it is interesting to see a physicist whose content I have not viewed recently turn up – most particularly since I don’t spend any notable portion of my life involved with physics!! I just watch a few videos, now and then, on a variety of physics topics, out of basic human curiosity. I listen to rain falling beyond the windows… but the windows, in this case, are not mine. Another video. A video of rain falling beyond the windows of a cozy library.

…What is my reality made of, exactly? Where does “real” begin – and end? Is that a question for physics… or philosophy… or neuroscience? I have questions. 🙂

Yesterday was an amazing intimate little holiday for two. It was lovely. I spent much of the day on the meal, and did what I could to make it as traditional – and as lavish – as Thanksgivings I remember from childhood. My Traveling Partner set the menu. I chose the recipes and did the cooking. By the end of a long day in the kitchen, I found myself equally grateful for the freedom to enjoy such an undertaking, and also the freedom from having to undertake such an effort day after day after day, as so many of my female forebears had to have done for their families every single day. Fucking hell, what a massive undertaking. Yep. Super grateful for the modern conveniences that allow me (and soooo many others) to leave the fucking kitchen!!

…G’damn that was a good dinner, though…

I’m human. I’m not a chef or professional cook – never have been. I “learned to cook” mostly through trial and error, with some “helpful” reinforcement in the form of being yelled at (first marriage). My cooking is thoroughly average. I do a few things really well – and most everything else requires a recipe, and considerable care. I do a few things pretty dreadfully – and those I just frankly avoid. LOL This year, Thanksgiving was quite wonderful, partly because there really just wasn’t any pressure or stress. Two people at home, dinner would be happening regardless, and all the shopping was already done. I ended the cooking feeling pretty proud of myself; everything came to the table at the proper temperature, at the same time. My Traveling Partner carved the turkey breast. We enjoyed a genial festive meal together, and the glow of being well-fed, and well-loved, afterward. I no longer recall what small detail or another may have been less than entirely “perfect” – from this vantage point, it was all quite splendid. I’m grateful for that, too.

…Leftovers for days…

Monday seems far away. I’m also thankful for that. It’s nice to have the long weekend to enjoy. Later today, after my coffee, after a shower, maybe after a walk (if the rain slows down)(it actually is raining here, too, not just in the video I’ve got on), I’ll get started on the holiday decor. It’s time to get the tree up, the wreath onto the door, and the mantlepiece decorated. 😀

…How the hell is it already almost Giftmas??

Sipping coffee, feeling thankful. I hope this feeling lasts the entire year. 🙂