Archives for posts with tag: be present

It’s another lovely autumn day. A work day. I’m okay with that; the day is pleasant.

The view from the deck.

The physical pain that has been my companion for days (weeks? months?) is “not bothering me” for some values of “bother”; it’s nothing more, for now, than an uncomfortable nuisance. I ignore it as much as I can. Manage it otherwise, when I must, and try not to be a dick to people when it goes beyond what I can pretend is not there. Not much else to do for it. Certainly, bitching about it doesn’t help me feel any better. I let it go as often as I can.

…Like now…

I am sipping an afternoon cup of tea. I’m frankly enjoying it more now that it has gone cold, which amuses me. I originally made this pot of tea because I was feeling chilly. lol

I hear my Traveling Partner in the background. Sometimes in the shop. Sometimes at his computer. Sometimes in the living room. I smile every time I notice his continued presence. It’s less an interruption in what I’m doing than a simple reminder that there is life beyond work, and that love exists. It’s very pleasant. The sounds of “home”.

I take a moment for a break. A moment for comfort. A moment to be present, here at home, savoring what feels so good and right in this moment. Moments are fleeting – best to appreciate them while they’re fresh. 😉 Soon enough it will be time to begin again.

Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes predictably so, sometimes unexpectedly. It’s going to happen. That, by itself, is pretty certain. Life can get messy, complicated, painful, and unpleasant, sometimes.

…Still worth living…

Begin again. Take a breath. Cut yourself some slack. Take a step back and look at the situation differently. Make healthy choices. Express sincere regret, and offer (and accept) an unreserved heartfelt apology. Give people (including yourself) room to be human. Listen deeply. Breathe.

No, seriously – breathe.

Eventually tears dry. Eventually angry words stop lingering in the air. Eventually there is an opportunity to reconnect. Make a point to give room for those things to happen. Beginning again sometimes requires us to let go of hurting, or at least be aware of the hurting of those we have, ourselves, inflicted hurts upon – and ideally seek to do something about that.

I definitely pay the price when my meditation practice falls apart.

No finger-pointing or blame-laying here. I’m a mess and every bit as human as I could possibly be. This is not written from the perspective of me telling you, from atop some lofty tower, these are reminders for me. The woman looking back at me from the mirror is not always the person I most want to be.

I have some things to reflect on. Things I need to grow from. Things I need to make amends for. Things I need to make right. I could do better. I know there are choices to be made. There are practices to practice. There are verbs involved.

…First I’ve got to begin again.

Yesterday turned out to be a tad… complicated. Emotional. Busy? All of those things and stressful, too. I’m honestly a bit surprised it went so… well. “Just homeowner stuff”, I guess. (What?! Already??) I ended my work day early to deal with it. My Traveling Partner met with the hot tub repair person who was scheduled to be out, and showed up 2 hours early (I don’t think I’m going to complain about that – it was a relief just being able to get that work done, at all), and I focused on the other thing. A leak. In a wall. That caused mold. On paintings. Omfg. I actually don’t have adequate words for the stress in that first moment of catastrophic realization. :-\

…It also is not a catastrophe in any literal sense. Not at all. Small thing, caught very quickly, being handled.

The rest of the day was spent between managing my mental and emotional wellness, and actually handling the circumstances in a way that would successfully (and completely) resolve them. It went fairly well, once the initial heart-breaking emotional blast to my consciousness had passed. It seems a little silly and “overdone” after-the-fact, but in the moment the hurt was very real, the panic very profound. From the vantage point of now, it’s serious, but rather ordinary, and nothing to trouble myself over emotionally. Humans are weird.

The morning starts peculiarly. I’d just gotten up moments ahead of my partner, and was sipping my coffee and beginning my writing after a few minutes of meditation (okay, I was up long enough to meditate, make coffee, and settle in to write…so more than a handful of minutes had gone by since I woke). He got up. I made coffee. Seemed ordinary enough, and the day began pleasantly with talk of a soak…

Obviously, I’m writing, not soaking. (Well, obvious to me, I’m the one sitting here, now, in a moment that is long over by the time you read these words.) He’s behind one closed door, I’m behind another. Communication breakdown. Hurt feelings. Routine human shit. I can’t even take it personally, although I am disappointed to have to deal with it on a pretty Saturday morning, when I could be contentedly soaking in the hot tub with my Traveling Partner. We’ve both got baggage. We’re both quite human. We love each other dearly and still manage, now and then, to hurt each other’s feelings, frustrate each other, or treat each other less well than we’d ideally like to. There it is. Humans being human. There’s a lot of work that goes into doing that well. Results vary.

I breathe. Exhale. Let it go. Well…sort of. So I begin again, with a deep deep breathe, correcting my posture and sitting fully upright. I exhale slowly, patiently. I inhale, making a point to feel the compassion I feel for my very human self – and his. I exhale, feeling acceptance and love, and really releasing that frustrating tendency to take shit personally. I let it go. No attachment to the outcome. No requirement to “be” “right”. Open to enjoying the day. I inhale again, feeling my shoulders relax, aware of the minor headache at the back of my skull. I exhale, content and aware, hearing the sound of the A/C coming on, and taking in the sunshine through the window as it lights the neighbors house. I hold myself here, in this present moment, exactly as it is. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat. This is my favorite meditation – breathing. Still. Awake. Aware. Quiet. Just sitting. Just breathing. Letting go of everything that is not this moment, here, now.

Search within; it’s closest.

Some moments pass. I don’t know how many. I feel some better. I feel vulnerable to being easily hurt (maybe just a problematic byproduct of yesterday’s stress). I think about my best options for good self-care. I think about how to make things right with my partner. I’d like us both to enjoy the day, whether he chooses to spend it in my company or not. I remind myself of an errand I had planned to run, and one he may still want me to handle (asking would be the thing to do in this instance).

…Anyway. It’s time to begin again. I don’t know what the day ahead holds. No expectations. No assumptions. Open to succeeding.

Small changes add up to big changes, over time. Some of the small changes I made are a goodness, and result in improved quality of life. Some of the small changes I make are less so, and create potentially problematic circumstances – sometimes entirely foreseeable conflict results. Humans being human. Some of the small changes that are made around me manage to also improve my circumstances. Some, though, are a bother. It is what it is. Not all the small changes are mine to make, or made by me. Not all the small changes that occur are even about me.

I sip my coffee and think about changes.

This morning, there are three less aquarium fish in my tanks. The difficult thugs that were creating so much difficulty have found a new home. I hope it works out better for them. They were certainly too aggressive for my tanks, here. It was a poorly chosen small change to bring them here. I am feeling fairly confident that it is a beneficial small change that sees them on their way elsewhere.

Small changes involve verbs. This morning I broke down boxes for the recycling. Definitely a positive outcome as small changes go; boxes were piling up, and the clutter was an aggravation. This morning? Less clutter. Less aggravation. In the process, I got a paper cut, from a bit of discarded paperwork that was stuffed into a narrow box. Pulling it out, definitely a small change, resulted in blood loss (not much), and a very irritating sensation in the crook of my hand, between my thumb and fingers. Ouch. Annoying. Not a small change I’m super eager to embrace; I’ll have to keep my hands out of the aquarium water until it heals, for sure. I love my aquariums, but let’s be real; it’s not a great idea to immerse an open wound or cut in aquarium water. It’s definitely full of a variety of bacteria.

I remind myself to wash it, again; it bled more, and there’s dried blood all over my hand.

I look around at the many small changes that have resulted from prolonged staying-at-home over the past handful of weeks. There’s more I could do, particularly here in my studio, but wow – so much has already been done.

I finish my coffee, thinking about other small changes I could make to improve my quality of life. I think about spring. I think about the garden. I observe the morning sunshine illuminating the bedroom window, through the blinds. I pause to savor this quiet moment, before I begin again. 🙂

We really are social creatures.

Yesterday, the afternoon got dreadfully noisy, irritatingly so, when a neighbor chose to rev an ATV in his driveway, for well a couple hours, and then also drive it back and forth in front of his house, a couple houses down the street, and up just past ours, then turning it around and doing it again, constantly revving the engine aggressively. He wasn’t going anywhere, just making a fuck-ton of noise. It was grating on my nerves, and also, very obviously, on my Traveling Partner’s nerves, as well. I was maintaining as much “chill” as I could (admittedly having to resort to deep breathing exercises). My partner paced, and snarled abstractly at rude neighbors and noise, generally.

…I got more tense and aggravated, as my partner got more tense and aggravated. It became harder to manage, over time. That was as annoying as the noise. Why should my successful effort to maintain some inner calm fail because my partner is visibly aggravated? Hardly seems “fair”, but then – it isn’t about “fair”, is it? It is what it is. We are social creatures. We exist in shared context with each other. We are “each having our own experience” – but we’re doing it alongside one another, within view, sharing the journey. Our mood may be “contagious”. We spread that shit around.

…Spread the good moods, please, and the harmonious states of being; we could use more of those. lol 🙂 (I bet there are verbs involved.)

We got past it. The evening was lovely.

This morning I sit with my coffee quietly. I am facing a different moment of frustration (life has plenty of those to offer). I breathe, exhale, and work on letting it go, with limited success. So human. Again, it is what it is. Wishing it away, or railing against circumstances isn’t helpful. I allowed myself to get excited about something, and that excitement became implicit expectations in my head – and in my decision-making – and now, the timing is “off”. A whim of circumstance intervenes in my anticipated joy, and I’m… annoyed. Frustrated. Irritated. Waiting.

…I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let it go. I repeat this exercise several times. It’s harder to let go of it fully; I am anticipating my partner’s annoyance and frustration with it later, and that’s not helping. I begin again. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let even that go…

Things change. They change again. Change is. That, by itself, is a layer of complexity in our expectations – implicit or otherwise. I remind myself to be mindful, to maintain perspective, to embrace sufficiency. I sip my coffee, and begin again.