Archives for posts with tag: be present

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. 🙂

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. 🙂

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. 🙂

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

I only just noticed I was already “at the office” and working, rather than fully here in this place, in this moment. I left the office with an important piece of work completed, but with room to take it further, to correlate more details, to consider more variables, to increase the complexity… and was so deeply involved in it that my day ran well past the usual time, quite by mistake. I spent last evening continuing to think about work, barely aware that I was, but I certainly wasn’t fully in that moment, either. Eventually, I went to bed. This morning I woke from dreams of working, and filled my head with further thoughts of work. An hour after waking, I notice. Coffee cup is empty, no recollection of drinking it, half-finished email to myself (addressed for my work email address) with some notes for further work waiting to be sent. I take a deep breath and step back from the work, and make a second cup of coffee.

This mindfulness thing takes practice. 🙂

Another couple deep breaths, a few minutes spent pulling my consciousness from the sticky mud of this enticing work assignment. A second cup of coffee. Time spent becoming awake and aware and present here, now. I notice, too, that I’m still in my jammies and fuzzy spa socks… how have I not showered and dressed for work?? I am startled by the realization, and spill hot coffee on my keyboard and in my lap. Some fun time with swear words, and then it’s off to the shower to properly get ready for work…

This self-care thing, this adulthood thing… yep; they take practice, too. lol

Once the morning routine is back on track, I sit down to write, and catch up on things-not-work-related. The weeks seem to race by since I took on the new job… 7 months in, I guess it doesn’t count as new so much any more. lol I smile, and sip my coffee. I chuckle to myself – how fast was that shower? What’s left of my coffee is still warm.

I sit quietly sipping my coffee, and thinking about life, generally, and feeling rather content with things as they are. The house hunting is just dreadful and although I am taking a patient approach, I am entirely made of human and have some moments when I feel very discouraged. Yesterday was an example of how that can so easily develop; I noticed a listing that had sat without much interest for quite a while. Okay, why? I noticed it is listed as a HUD home, which generally means it is a fixer that my VA loan won’t be suitable for, and I don’t even go so see those… this one, though, was in fair shape, and my inexpert eye just couldn’t see a reason it wouldn’t qualify for a VA loan, so I asked to see it. It was definitely (and comfortably) in my price range, good location, and met all my minimum needs… we arranged for me to see it after work. Within an hour of firming up plans to go see it, it went pending. LOL This has happened a couple times, in a way that seems to defy likelihood. It’s every bit as irksome as making an offer on a house at several thousand dollars over list price, just hoping to have that offer considered at all, and find out later it sold to another buyer who could afford to pay not only thousands over list, but offering tens of thousands over the appraised value, which is tens of thousands of dollars over list price. I try to avoid being angered by that, but also struggle to understand why that buyer wasn’t looking at nicer homes they could afford at a higher price point? I find myself beginning to fuse with that other emotional experience, even though, here, now, everything is calm and quiet. I take a deep breath and let that go.

Being present in this moment, takes practice. 🙂

I smile over my coffee and think about going to lunch with my Traveling Partner and a friend, yesterday. It was a lovely break from the day-to-day routine, and I definitely needed a break from that work project. I laughed at the end of the day when I noticed my departure from work was delayed from my usual time by almost exactly the length of my lunch out. I felt a moment of satisfaction, as that seemed to me to be exactly as it should be. 🙂 Pleasant recollections definitely feel better than fussing and feeling discontent and aggravated by the frustrations of house hunting. Then, I notice the time. The work week is not yet over, and here it is, time to go, already.

Today is a good day to be present. Today is a good day to be and to do. Today is a good day to begin again. All of that takes practice. There are verbs involved. 🙂

I woke during the night, at 2:35 am. Maybe something woke me. Maybe I just woke up. I got up and wandered through the apartment room by room, not for any particular reason. I think I could have rather easily gone back to sleep. I don’t have a clear idea why I actually got up upon waking. I wasn’t awake long, only long enough to wander through the darkened rooms, illuminated, enough for eyes that opened in the darkness, by the outdoor community lighting along walkways filtering through the closed blinds. I stood in the open patio doorway for some minutes, breathing the cool night air, and watching the clouds scoot past overhead. I went back to bed afterward.

With no alarm set, and no requirement to wake at some specific morning hour to hasten for a building elsewhere, to take a seat among working peers, to process tasks and complete workload for an employer, I slept until I woke, rested. I savored my waking moments with sensuous delight, aware how imminent the return of the alarm clock’s harsh no-nonsense beeping may be. It’s a lovely morning to enjoy what is. What is not, or is not yet, or is no more, is… without consequence in this moment. Well, maybe some of the “is no more” stuff has lingering consequences… our choices matter. Our choices now become our circumstances in our as-yet-unknown future. Sure, that’s pretty much how it works, generally. The future, however, remains firmly not “now”. Our past choices may have consequences we deal with presently, still… our past is also not “now”. I’m enjoying this “now” moment, and it is a lovely one. Quiet. Calm. Content. This is enough. Enough for “now”, and “now” is what I’ve got to work with. 🙂

This particular "now" is a lovely one.

This particular “now”; one moment among many.

The busy week still feels fairly well-managed, not quite “effortless”; there have been many verbs involved. Small breakthroughs, too, in areas of long-time struggle, confusion, or chaos. Something clicked for me, and my approach to food is healthier, and feels less conflicted. Something else clicked for me, and some verbs became easier, more natural parts of my experience. The specifics are less meaningful to share than that life continues to be a journey – with steps, without a map, with choices, without guarantees; we become what we practice. Incremental change over time is very real. Sometimes, change is as “easy” as flipping a switch. Sometimes change is more a matter of choosing. Choosing again. And yet again. And practicing more. Being frustrated now and then, and continuing nonetheless.

Choices, context, coincidence, circumstances, all adding up to this experience of “my life” and “who I am”… this morning over a simple coffee, black, in a plain porcelain cup, white, on a chilly morning somewhere between summer and autumn, it all seems rather simple and uncomplicated. I smile, reminded somehow of impermanence, inevitable and real. Change is. I’m okay with that, too, on this simple quiet morning of enough.

Later will be soon enough for busier moments. A night out with my traveling partner and a friend. “Breakfast” afterhours? An afternoon of doctor’s and tests and imaging, before the weekend can begin. A weekend outing to the farmer’s market with a new friend who’s never been. A lazy Sunday of rest, and study. Moments. Each an opportunity to connect more deeply, share more openly, and savor life. This life. My life. Now. Learning to enjoy and savor my experience has been one of the very best improvements I’ve made in how I live my life; most moments are quite delightful. It used to be that I didn’t notice that, or take the time for anything less than a catastrophe – or an obligation. All the things that hurt and troubled me, and the things that I “had to do”, took all the time I had. There were definitely choices and verbs involved. It required practice, and the change over time was rather slow. It started here. Or… was it here? Here? Here. Oh, maybe… here? What I’m saying is; there are verbs involved, and practice, and without the practice and the verbs, we leave change to chance. 😉

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

Today is a good day to be here, now. Today is a good day to practice being who we wish to become; we become what we practice. Today is a good day to choose change; being leads to becoming. 🙂

 

We become what we practice. I still suck at listening, by the way; it takes more than a day with a friend to gain, hone, refine, and maintain a new skill. It would be quite silly to expect things to be easier, faster, or simpler; practice is a verb, sometimes of the sort that must be used daily. So… I keep practicing.

recommended summer reading

Recommended summer reading.

I had a wonderful day listening. Talking too much. Being fairly wrong, fairly often. Being insightful once in a great while. Laughing. Sharing. Connecting. It was a first-rate good day with a friend. 🙂

Today? More listening. More practicing. More sharing. A drive to the beach to beat the heat, perhaps… There are choices, opportunities, and verbs involved. My results will quite likely vary. 🙂

being a beginner has some distinct advantages

Being a beginner has some distinct advantages.

The sky lightens slowly beyond the trees. Hints of peach and salmon hues this morning, nudging away a vaguely violet fading night sky. There is bird song. There are crows handling their project planning in coarse calls across the meadow, back and forth. Unnecessarily loud runners pass by, enjoying unnecessarily loud conversation; it is too early to regale the sleeping community along the park with discussion of conference calls gone bad, but… it happened anyway. lol I want to shout out the window “use your inside voice!” or… something ruder. That’s not necessary either, and the runners run on by without suggestions from me.

I sit smiling, sipping my coffee as the dawn reveals the new day. Life feels easy. I enjoy the feeling without insisting life remain “easy” – impermanence is also a thing, and life is unlikely to comply with my expectations or be ruled by my assumptions. It’s enough to enjoy this moment now; there will be others. 🙂

It's not necessary to chase the dream; we become what we practice.

It’s not necessary to chase the dream; we become what we practice.

Today is a good day to practice the things that work best – and the things I want most to improve upon. Today is a good day to enjoy the woman in the mirror, and all her beautiful humanity. Today is a good day to listen, to share, and to savor life. It may not change the world – but it’s likely to be a lovely day. 🙂

Begin again. Seriously, whatever it is that’s just not working out well, take the morning as a starting point, and begin again. Do over! Be the person you most want to be – today. Now. The very next conversation. It may go very well, it may go very poorly – it may take practice to be who you most want to be, as a human being. The distance between one human being and her goals varies by human being. We are each having our own experience.

Begin again.

It may go well, it may go poorly – you can even begin again tomorrow. Again. Don’t like who you are, when you think about the person in the mirror? Make different choices. Use different words. Begin yet again. Do you. No one else can be the person that you are, yourself. There is so much more to being and becoming than school-job-car-career-marriage-house-children-retirement-death, isn’t there?

What about that story you want to tell?

What about that place you yearn to go?

What about that idea you have?

What about that skill you want to develop?

A novel doesn’t write itself when I am not looking at the keyboard. The beautiful poem in my  head doesn’t make it to the page without assistance. The walk toward the distance on which I might see many things isn’t going to unfold ahead of me without my also taking the steps. The painting I can see in my thoughts won’t hang on my wall – on any wall – unless I paint it.

This is my life. There are verbs involved. Every day, every moment, every choice, becomes an opportunity to be and to become more the woman I most want to be. I may never be a well-known author; I write nonetheless, and it is part of who I am. I am unlikely to be a famous artist; I paint, a lot, and the joy in it is the painting, itself. Over time I have come to accept as a given that it is the journey itself in which the value lies; destinations being so finite and limiting, are of far less importance. When I become focused on an outcome, committed to a result more than an experience, I lose my way, mired in bullshit, drama, and tedious details – and forgetting this is my life, worth living.

Is love a journey or a destination? Or... is love a verb?

Is love a journey or a destination? Or… is love a verb?

I spent last evening wrapped in love. I’m still so soaked, so saturated, so imbued with sacred sentiment it’s harder than usual to use practical language, clear simple words, sentences with proper grammar and form; my heart soars, and my thoughts are poetry. I love. I am loved. It’s so much more than enough…

…I am not so easily able to love like this, fully, reciprocally, tenderly, openly, and with great consideration, without loving the woman in the mirror, first – and with a very similar enthusiasm and passion as what I might show a lover. Of course, there’s always more to learn. I reach for “How to Love” for today’s studious reading, and “More Than Two“, also. Today seems a good day to study love, to give it the serious support and earnest dedication to learning that one might give to a college course needed to graduate. What could be more important to study than love, and loving? It’s certain that I could be better at it, however good at it I may be in some one relationship, or some one moment.

Today is a good day for love, for loving, for being the woman I most want to be. There are verbs involved. My results may vary. That’s all okay, too; love is enough. 🙂