Archives for posts with tag: be the change you wish to see in the world

G’damn the world is a scary messed up place right now! Politicians legislate hate – instead of building a society founded on the noble principles they claim to espouse. Human beings killing each other – as though they have any right to take those lives. Sometimes it’s up close, personal, intentional – sometimes it’s as impersonal as a government taking what it cares to take. The lives lost? Human. Human lives. Wasted potential. Lost loved ones. Where is the “humanity” in that loss or that waste? We could do better. By “we”, I mean – you and I. I could do better. Couldn’t you?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” We’ve heard that. Read it. Said it out loud. Maybe have it on a coffee mug, t-shirt, or bumper sticker. What are you doing about that? Are you making a point to treat your partner(s), family, and friends better? Are you making a point to pay into systems that do real good in the world? Are you voting to improve the laws that govern your community? Are you taking time to lift others up? I’m not telling you what to do, or how to do it, or when, or whether, or anything like that… I’m just wondering, myself, sitting here, where to turn my attention, my dollars, my effort, and my time. I already know there are verbs involved.

I’m sitting here sipping a glass of clean water, feeling grateful to have the access to clean safe drinking water. Even in America, that’s not guaranteed. I’m fortunate. Fortunate to have pretty good city water. Fortunate to have a partner who is skilled, handy, and cares enough to add additional water filtration so we have water that “feels fresh” and tastes good, reliably available any time.

There’s a small bright yellow bird hopping about in the pear tree beyond the window. I practice safe garden practices that don’t put the wildlife at risk. My neighbors maintain those pear trees with care. Pretty – but also a lovely habitat for that little yellow bird. Fruit later. Habitat now. Choices make changes.

…Choices make changes…

My garden is coming together. The unexpected flurry of snow today doesn’t seem to be holding anything back, so far. I’m making a garden. Making change in this small landscape that is ours. It reflects the “make change” attitude my partner and I seem to be taking, generally. He’s in the shop, working on projects. Useful. Beautiful. I’ll be in the garden, on and off, pulling weeds, planting seeds, making change. Feed the family – feed the soul.

Lately I’ve been pretty blown away by my Traveling Partner’s willingness – eagerness – to “make change”. Our life improves thereby. Our partnership improves, too. Life feels pretty good here within the confines of our little corner of suburbia, here on the edge of agriculture, on the outskirts of small town living, not quite “out in the country”. I love it here… and still see opportunities for positive change. I could do better. Do more. Do differently. Sometimes it isn’t about big changes. Small strategic, sustainable changes are cumulative over time. Plant one seed – grow one plant. Plant a bunch of seeds – grow more plants. Plant those seeds with an eye for placement, and willingness to nurture them, tend them, watch over them… grow a garden. Feed the family. Feed the soul. Make change.

…I think it’s that simple.

I’ll be in the garden. Beginning again. Thinking about change.

What a lovely Saturday it is, here. I mean… yeah. Gorgeous sunny mild morning, no agenda, no “heavy lifting”, emotional or otherwise, just a pretty day. My Traveling Partner has been in good spirits all morning. Me, too. Coffee was decent – neither my best nor my worst – and we enjoyed it together before moving on to our own tasks. I spent considerable time entertaining myself watching the new “bamboo shrimp” in the aquarium, and doing some maintenance (mostly to do with removing some algae, being careful not to disturb the Blue Velvet shrimp who also live in this community tank). I’ve got a grocery list for a quick trip to the store a bit later, and a plan to make some oatmeal cookies.

Looks like a relaxed day ahead, and I honestly can’t thank me enough for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s right. It’s on me to make sure I get the downtime I need. It’s up to me to set clear boundaries, and to know my limits. It’s up to me to “budget my energy” (and my time), and to choose my tasks and the things that occupy my attention. Today, I think I’ve chosen wisely. ๐Ÿ™‚ I plan to enjoy this with my whole self, too.

From my walk, yesterday.

I’ve been having to be more intentional about getting my walks in, lately. It’s become too dim in the early morning to walk entirely safely in forested places (both due to the risk of tripping over a hazard, and also the potential for predatory wildlife). So… I told myself “no problem, I’ll walk on my lunch break”. That sounded completely reasonable, but I underestimated my lack of enthusiasm for suburban neighborhood sidewalk “hikes”. As it turns out, by midday, many of the places I do enjoy walking regularly are also filled with moms & kids, school outings and groups of kids, trail runners, dog walkers… and loud conversations. Not at all what I’m going for. It’s been challenging me to think differently about where and when I get my walk in. I really don’t want to overlook it, though; walking has started to feel like it has the potential to be a “use it or lose it” scenario, and I really don’t want to find myself permanently off my feet at some future point solely due to lack of effort now, while effort-making is relatively “easy”. So here I am. Thinking about walking, which is just a bit amusing to me.

Forward momentum doesn’t have to be fast. It often isn’t. Progress. Achievement. Things that have steps, require effort, include task-processing, or have verbs involved are often found in a slower pace than I’d ideally like. You too? Incremental change over time can be ridiculously slow to the point of being imperceptible without really really looking for it. So… look for it. You’ve come so far – even if there is further to go, you’re here, now. Celebrate that. Why not? Some work went into this place you stand right now. It’s not where you’re headed? Not where you want to be? Yeah, okay, I get that – me, too. There are things I know I want to understand more. I keep studying. There are places I want to get to. I keep walking. There are goals I want to achieve. I keep working at them. Each step, each task, each moment – hopefully – taking me closer to those experiences and destinations. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes “slow” has to be enough.

My coffee is finished. The morning moves on. I’ve got my recipe picked out, and I’ve got my shopping list, and I’ve got this day ahead of me – and it’s mine to enjoy as I choose, in this place I call home, with this human being who is my partner, on this lovely mild sunny Saturday on the edge of autumn. It’s time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Frankly, the inauguration didn’t get my attention. I don’t give spoilt children, narcissists, or petulant adolescents my precious limited time on their terms. Call me a “whining liberal” if you need to do some name-calling, that’s on you, reflective of who you are and what your values are, not me or mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I spent yesterday awed by the power and beauty of millions of women nationally and worldwide marching in protest of a president whose values do not represent them, and are actually a threat to women’s well-being and civil rights. It was… amazing. Yeah. Powerful. Peaceful. Wise. I was awestruck at the clarity of our shared voices. I was and am moved, empowered, and encouraged. Before I let it carry me away, I am also quite mindful that the tear-down begins today, in the many voices that oppose women every moment of every day, for no other reason than that we are women. Yes, well, we’re each having our own experience. There are always voices in opposition to change, regardless what good the change itself serves. At least for the moment, I am content and empowered and feeling strong in the face of future attempts to diminish me. It’s a nice feeling.

We share this world, this life, with so many other creatures...

We share this world, this life, with so many other creatures…

This morning, I’ve spent much of the morning bird-watching. I’ve had many visitors to the feeders today. Ducks. Canada geese. Squirrels. Jays. Even crows have stepped right up to the patio to enjoy the generous brunch laid out for their enjoyment. There are seed bells, and sunflower seeds, and assorted whole nutmeats strewn about, and peanuts in the shell aplenty, and a couple different suet blocks hanging here and there, one full of bugs and mealworms and such. Aย lavish brunch buffet on a Sunday morning. I share it with them over wilted greens, homemade applesauce, and hard-boiled eggs still warm from cooking, and a good cup of coffee.

It took awhile for them to trust me enough...

It took awhile for them to trust me enough…

I particularly enjoy watching the squirrels this morning. They have figured out the peanuts are on top of the bistro table, in the well of the soon-to-be-disassembled holiday wreath. The jays have known for a while, and regularly stop by to grab a peanut along their way. Today the squirrels also make their way to the table top, sorting through the peanuts quickly; peanuts with intact shells are carried off and buried. When they select a peanut with a shell that is broken, they finish the job, tearing it open and eating the peanuts within, while watching me curiously through the window. The jays are particular about the peanuts, too, although I don’t know what they are selecting for. They pick up several, before choosing and flying away with their chosen morsel.

A rare visitor returns this morning.

A rare visitor returns this morning, but I didn’t get a picture as good as this one from yesterday.

Today, littler birds favor the sunflower seeds strewn on the lawn with the bits and pieces of nut meats, and the fallen bits from the seed bells and suet feeders, rather than competing with the larger birds for a place at the feeders. The Northern Flickers zoom up to the suet feeder closest to the patio, striking it with enough force to send it spinning wildly. This seems their favored method, and since I’ve seen them do it quite differently now and then, and also repeat this interesting behavior seemingly willfully, I’ve come to accept that perhaps they just enjoy a good merry-go-round? lol They are fun to watch, and rather larger than my suet feeder was specifically intended to support. They don’t seem to mind that. ๐Ÿ™‚

It's taken most of a year to get the crows to come close.

It’s taken most of a year to get the crows to come close.

Not one of these creatures has any idea what millions of human beings are doing with their time or why, aside from their daily observations of our coming and going… or so I have been taught to believe over a lifetime. I can’t say that I really know that for sure. I know that they come to my patio, accepting my generosity, and comfortable enough to linger and return regularly. I am content to be kind to my fellow creatures, whether they “understand” me or not; it’s part of who I am. When I began to understand that my fellow human beings are among “my fellow creatures” and began also extending my kindness and good nature to them, I was changed as a human being, in a wonderful way. I enjoy kindness extended to me. I appreciate it when people are compassionate. I am learning to deliver those experiences to others, by default, as a common byproduct of who I am, every day. I am transformed from the woman I was in my 20s – a fairly narrow-minded, right-leaning, callous-without-awareness, self-centered creature who was more cruel to herself even than to the world around her (and therefore thought she was treating others well, by comparison). It’s been a long, and fairly peculiar journey. I sometimes wonder if anyone who knows me – who knew me then – really knows me now at all?

A gentle phone call from my Traveling Partner reaches me as I finish my coffee. I finish the call feeling so very loved. The disturbing fun-house mirror of American politics seems very far away right now. I’m okay with that. I’m okay right now.

It’s a lovely morning. That’s enough.

I woke around 1:30 am or so. I never figured out what woke me, and it didn’t matter much. The night was quiet, and I almost went right back to sleep – then the anxiety hit me, out of nowhere, ‘about’ nothing, just washing over me, filling my awareness…

What does the darkness conceal? What can it show me?

What does the darkness conceal? What can it show me?

I got up for a short while, at that point, and there was no line to wait for a seat on my meditation cushion. ๐Ÿ™‚ I opened the windows and patio door to let fresh breezes cool the apartment. Meditation during the night is some of my favorite, although I doubt I’d set my alarm to have the experience of it. My anxiety passed. I’ve no real idea how long I was meditating, and since this morning is a Sunday, there was no need to check the clock. I returned to sleep.

“Sleeping in” is a rare treat for me, generally, at least at this point in life. I woke much later than I typically do, unconcerned about the change in time or timing. I made coffee, saving room to laugh at myself; having made a French press to share with a friend yesterday, I’d forgotten to reset the quantity of ground coffee needed, on my burr grinder. This morning I inadvertently ground all the coffee I’d be needing for the entire day! Oops… Such a small thing could have been enough to set me off and destroy my mood for an entire day, once upon a time. It’s a nice change that this morning it only caused laughter.

I’ve no particular agenda for today, and my “to do list” remains a blank page. Today is a good day for it. ย I could paint. Play video games. Garden. Clean up the ludicrous quantity of photos on my phone (8976). Read a book. Write. Practice on my bass guitar. Tidy something up that feels disorganized. Hike. There are by far more choices than there is time in the day. Hell, I could spend the entire day contentedly dithering about my choices for what to do with my time… and everything I listed seems quite a lovely way to pass the day [to me].

Isn’t contentment enough? Today I’ll be doing… something. I suspect I’ll be quite content, whatever I choose to do with my time, today. That’s definitely enough. Choosing contentment, and practicing the practices that put it within everyday reach, may not be ‘everything’, and maybe it won’t ‘change the world’, but it is enough – and it has profoundly changed how I experienceย my life. ๐Ÿ™‚ We become what we practice.

Choose. Begin again.

Choose. Begin again.