Archives for posts with tag: be the change

I woke ahead of the alarm after a restless night. The apartment was 77 degrees when I woke, which was 5 degrees cooler than when I went to bed. Even some strategic open windows and a fan going were not enough to cool the place down much. Now I sip my coffee, all the windows wide to the pre-dawn breezes and cooler air. I’m hoping to get the indoor temperature down to 70 or less before I go to work; it’s another hot day, but forecast to be only 82. Tonight won’t be so stifling hot in here, if the day is no hotter than that, out there. πŸ™‚

Because the windows are open, I am listening to the chorus of birds waking as the sun rises, and it is now, in every practical sense, summer. The birds were up before the sun. The cacophony of peeps, chirps, tweets, whistles, calls and responses, twittering, and trilling become a more complex grander song of morning than any one bird could sing. The commuter traffic beginning in the audible distance, and the sound of a later-than-usual freight train on the siding a mile or so away are not enough to drown out summer birds. πŸ™‚

Just before the sun breaks over the horizon, I see the slimmest crescent of moon just at the edge of the treetops. As the sky begins to lighten, it disappears. The lawn at the edge of the patio is revealed with the sunrise; it is covered with geese and ducks contentedly sleeping in, heads tucked down, just one sentry looked out for cats and kids.

Summertime

My Traveling Partner checked in yesterday, just at about that time when it had become more difficult to stave off worrying, having not heard from him for more than 24 hours past the end of the calendar event. The timing was most amusing. I’d barely completed my thought, “how long would I wait before doing something about nothing hearing from him reasonably becomes a thing I’d want to do…?”, when my phone buzzed with a message from him, letting me know he was on his way back. Well…so… clearly the answer to my question was “a little longer”. lol I feel more at ease now, in some subtle way, just from knowing he’s okay. I definitely don’t enjoy having doubts about that, real or imagined. πŸ™‚

The sun is not yet quite “up”. The sky is light, a pale wash of cerulean blue, with a hint of orange along the horizon, showing through the trees. No clouds. Still… it’s a good moment to begin again. πŸ™‚

I woke a bit early this morning, still smiling from the lovely evening spent with my Traveling Partner last night. I’ll probably be smiling for days, unless something entirely different knocks the smile off my face at some point. Hot coffee, headphones on, great playlist, smiling… this is a beautiful moment, as I start my day, still warm from a leisurely hot shower, still comfortable after my morning yoga… did I mention I’m still smiling?

What we see is often determined by what we’re looking at – and how we feel.

This moment is delightful. It’s still just a moment. Mindfulness is only part of this peculiar puzzle that is my journey from surviving to thriving; perspective matters every bit as much, I think. Take that lovely blue sky moment shot yesterday, pictured above, for example. It’s not an entirely frank image… I zoomed in on a small bit of blue sky, and some tree tops at the edge of a parking lot, downtown, near the waterfront, surrounded by concrete overpasses, framed in traffic, asphalt, and homeless people. I grabbed that sliver of beauty and blew it way out of proportion. I think I do that often, even without a camera. It’s also possible to do that in quite the reverse (and exceedingly common), zooming in on the suffering, the unpleasantness, the litter, the damage, the pain, the violence… life has a lot to offer, and it isn’t all pleasant happy fun stuff.

Still

How we view the world, how we experience our own lives, does have to do with our perspective on it. We filter our experience through our perspective. We give the details context, even going as far as making up, or filling in, missing narrative.

Still

Don’t miss out on the fun of life, or it’s whimsy!

We have choices, even about what to look at, and how to see it. Those choices matter, too. Balance matters. Perspective matters. Being “real” matters – and it matters how we define “being real”.

I don’t have anything super useful here, I’m just saying… perspective is a thing, and it’s useful to have some. Moments are moments, pleasant and unpleasant, and there will be some. πŸ™‚ Taken together those ideas don’t stop life (and moments) from being rather like a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle which has pieces that are all shades of gray, and each piece uniquely shaped. Assembling such a thing into something that is ordered seems complicated. I don’t actually know if it is complicated…

…I’m just going to dump the pieces out of the box, and get started on this puzzle. πŸ˜‰

I woke feeling merry – then moved to get out of bed. Holy crap, why the evolutionary-hell did it seem utterly necessary to develop arthritis pain?? I sigh, and ease myself slowly from the bed to something more or less like a standing position and make my way to my yoga mat.

(There’s a chance I watch too much Rick and Morty…)

Yoga helps. I’m not so stiff afterward. My coffee is tasty and hot. I’m still smiling and aside from being in pain, I “feel good”. I am learning to define Β how I feel by qualities other than physical pain… it definitely makes a better experience, day-to-day. I suspect this will be a valuable trait as I age. lol Besides… fuck pain!Β  I put my headphones on, crank up some favorite dance tracks, and keep moving. I may be a plump, curvy, middle-aged fat chick with some wear and tear, but I’m fucking smiling, bitches – and I feel wrapped in love and smiles this morning in spite of pain. πŸ˜€ Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!!! πŸ˜‰

Finding my joy has been a journey all its own, and part of “all of the everything” along the way. I can recall being a deeply bitter, disappointed cynical shell of a human being, a dry rotting husk where my heart could have been. Unpleasant. (That describes both me, I think, and my experience, itself.) It wasn’t surprising, knowing what I know (which is most of everything) about my experiences. What surprises me even now, though, is how much I yearned to be someone completely different. Not “different from the woman I am” as much as “a woman having a different experience than I am” – and looking back it took a long damned time to figure out (with help, frankly) that my own choices were a large part of where I landed in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming poor people for poverty, or rape survivors for having PTSD and trust issues, or domestic violence victims for struggling with repressed rage and learned helplessness; no victim blaming here at all, implied or explicit. What I am saying, is that I didn’t recognize how much personal control I have over my own state of being. I could always make choices that change the quality of my experience for better or for worse – that’s a lot of power, and carelessly wielded it results in a lot of emotional chaos. We do have choices. A lot of them. So many choices it can be a little overwhelming… does it matter if I wear a dark blue wonder woman tank top under my sweater this morning? Not so much… but it’s a choice. The choice whether or not to budget my finances is a much bigger deal, as choices go. Or, the choice whether or not to labor away in a job that defies my values, and working for a person I don’t respect, and who treats me poorly – that’s a big deal for sure, and yep, also a choice (and a choice I am very glad I made differently, at long last).

The music keeps playing. I keep dancing in my chair while I write. Now and then the music moves me such that I’ve got to get up between paragraphs and enjoy a particular track in a more physical way. I love to dance. I make no claims of skill – I just enjoy movement, and music, and the way they go together so well. Β At 53, and more than a bit self-conscious about … something… I don’t comfortably dance with ease and freedom in public spaces (anymore/yet). It can bring me near to tears to brush too closely to plentiful recollections of being young, fit, sexy, flexible, and so easily able to be the music in a physical form. Stiff from arthritis pain, back broken in two places, fused and wired back together, and too heavy to feel light on my feet for very long has talked me into a level of self-consciousness about being seen exactly as I am that I’ve not yet sorted out, and which creates conflict in my sense of rhythm, which adds to my self-consciousness. At any rate, it’s a source of emotional discomfort that I rarely discuss. It’s part of my journey these days; there is so much music I want to see live, and I want to be comfortable in that world, too.

The unexpected frankness with myself this morning, on this tender sore place in my heart labeled “too fat” opens my eyes to how much I’m hurting over this, and the tears spill over my cheeks like tiny waterfalls. The worst of it is the sting of knowing that the mocking skinny girl lurking in my thoughts isn’t about experiences I’ve had of other women; she’s the woman in the mirror, at a much younger age, that woman so easily able to dance, lacking any awareness of where life would take her, and brutally insensitive about others. Straight up, it’s not about treating otherΒ women badly over matters of weight, appearance, or beauty. I know my own heart. I know that woman. I know what she was about. I know her. I find myself acutely aware of who I was and the content of my thoughts, then. Life itself got tired of my shit, and now I am faced with all manner of many things I was uncomfortable with as a younger woman. lol Well-played life. You’ll make me wise, yet. Perspective matters, and it can be painful to develop.

Kindness matters too. And compassion. My tears dry as I savor the wry humor of being so carefully placed in life to experience a broad range of experiences. Gnothi seauton. I could have been a better person than I was in my 20s, but I wasn’t – and I wasn’t even aware of what a basic and shitty human being I actually was. Self-awareness demands a lot of me, and this morning it demands that I acknowledge how much I yearn to feel as comfortable on the dance floor as I do in my living room. As comfortable with my partners as I do when I am alone. Funny… until I became aware I felt otherwise, I didn’t realize this is a journey I also very much need to take… so… I guess it begins here? In a blog post I didn’t realize I was going to write, about an issue I find more personal than my sexuality… my emotional comfort with my physical self. Again. Still.

I’m still smiling. Still sipping my coffee. Still dancing through the pain. All good things – and there is further to go on this journey, and I suppose that is also a good thing. πŸ™‚

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Smiling and sipping coffee, feeling content with the moment, and starting the day, I find myself thinking about art, about life, about “home”, about the future, about what is and what isn’t, and what could be, and what is less likely… I am relaxed, and okay with the moment. It’s a pretty ordinary moment.

I am aware, too, that as recently as 2 years ago, this state of contentment and ease was not only not the day-to-day experience I had of life, it was not even common. I sometimes wondered it this experience could even be real. I think about the changes I’ve made over time, the different choices, the practices – particularly making meditation, hiking, and reading an everyday part of my life. Changes of heart. Changes in thinking. Changes in relationships. Changes in jobs. Changes even in personal values. Yes, there have been verbs involved, and choices, and practices – and my results have varied. Still… incremental change over time is a thing. A very real thing. It’s just sort of slow, sometimes, and it requires me to commit to the practice in front of me more than to the outcome I may think I want out of it. It has mattered to treat myself truly well, and to care for the woman in the mirror as a partner and dear friend, and as an ally.

Storms or sunshine…

What about you? Where are you on your journey? Are you content? Are you at ease with yourself? Do your choices build on your values? Are they meeting your needs over time? Are you the person you most want to be?

You can begin again, any time. If not now, when?

Well… it always is time to face one change or another, is it not? If not simply the passage of time making some change to the face of the clock, it’s sure to be something else. lol

Today I am more than usually sensitive to, and aware of, change, just generally; I am making a change in my scheduled work days, and today becomes one of those. So… sure enough, I woke hours ahead of the alarm, once or twice, checking to be sure that time exists, and that it remained “still nighttime” and that I hadn’t missed my alarm, my bus, my moment… I got this with most changes in routine. I don’t give myself grief about it anymore; it’s part of how – and who – I am. Since there isn’t “one way” to be human that succeeds above all other possible ways, I am content that this is part of my own. πŸ™‚

…Of course, for no clear reason, everything seems to take just a little longer this morning, on a morning I have a firm – and different – “walk out the door time”. I’m okay with that, too; I keep an eye on the clock. (That’s possibly what has seemed to slow things down!)

Change is a thing. Fighting this one would do nothing to make it go more smoothly, or to feel effortless – and because it isn’tΒ “effortless”, at all, it makes more than a little sense that it doesn’t feel effortless. lol I make the effort, and with a smile, because this is a change I am choosing – it has value for me. It frees up a weekday for appointments and whatnot that I will not have to take time off work for. Nice. Even my Traveling Partner sounded ready for it, eagerly pointing out we’d now have Fridays to have fun together. πŸ™‚ I had thought of that too. It’s a good fit.

…Still human though. It still feels like “Sunday” – a day to sleep in, to do laundry, to tidy up, to relax… the dawn is just beginning. The dark trees on the horizon are silhouetted against the pale blue-gray pre-sunrise cloudy sky. It may rain more. I feel mildly annoyed for a moment to be awake so early, ready to pull on my hiking boots… but not going hiking. I laugh it off. It doesn’t matter the day of the week, they’re all just days. I’m eager to see what this one holds.

I’m ready to begin again.