Archives for posts with tag: be the change

This was a weird week. Work felt like 3 Mondays – and I believe 3 Mondays make a case (…of the… lol. I know, it’s bad.) Yeah. So. Today, though? Not a Monday.

The morning started with a foggy drizzle and chilly, still, air. No breeze. No traffic. The commute was easy. I don’t remember it in any detail, aside from the pure moment of delight as the signal light at intersection after intersection turned green immediately ahead of me. Bliss! I maintained a disciplined eye on my speed, marveling at the sequence of intersections, and enjoyed the uninterrupted momentum. I wasn’t speeding, wasn’t going slow… just… driving. It was lovely.

I parked and stood in the chilly morning cityscape for some minutes, just breathing, listening, watching. It felt… mischievous and tempting. I considered getting back in the car and going… where? Somewhere. Somewhere new, or strange, or… away.Β  Ah. Is that it? I smile at the morning, gray and misty. Am I needing “a getaway”? Cuz… that usually means I’m not taking care of myself, and have made that infernal “to do list” a bit too long. I nod wisely to myself, as if I think I know something, and head to the elevator to enjoy a few hours of feeling like I know things.

I got home less concerned about knowing, and more focused on being. It’s a chilly evening. I turn on the gas fireplace. I make a cup of tea. I put everything else aside and properly care for this fragile vessel, and the woman in the mirror.

…At least for the moment, I am not concerned with politics, the scary world we’ve made, how mean people can be to each other, the cost of living life, my health, mortality, or bank account. I’m just sipping this cup of tea, and taking a few quiet minutes. (You think I’m writing; this laptop is balanced carefully in my lap, I am seated on my meditation cushion, with a cup of hot tea gently perched on my knee – a sneeze could be very costly right about now – and I am sitting contentedly with my thoughts, and the lovely view of autumn arriving slowly, and only writing now and then… and almost not at all.

I sit awhile.

Then awhile more.

I finish my tea, and continue, seated… relaxed.

…Sometime, later, I begin again. πŸ˜‰

Well then.

I did get safely home. I did not rant at cars the whole way or fill the entire universe with vile invective. I did not. The one momentary loss of reserve happened to occur while I was on the phone with my Traveling Partner, as I was making a feeble attempt to disregard the guy ahead of me driving 10 mph in a 30 mph zone, during rush hour traffic, with cars bumper to bumper behind me – and blue skies and open road ahead of him. Well, shit. That was frustrating. It’s an everyday practice now; can I get from point A to point B, driving a car in traffic, without losing my cool? I generally can, these days. Now and then, I’m just… astonished to the point of lost perspective that people can be such shitty drivers so much of the time. I mean, seriously? What the hell. Safety first, definitely, but omg, then? Please also actually just drive your damned car like you plan to get somewhere. lol

…On the other hand? I set myself up for it today. I went in to work early. I worked without taking breaks. I failed to have a second cup of coffee when I got to my desk. I think I had a bite of lunch…but I clearly did so mindlessly; I don’t remember it at all. I hear it was a great lunch at the office today… I almost certainly had something… By the time I got into afternoon traffic, great dark storm clouds were blotting out the sinking sun, it was much later than I’d have left under other circumstances. I had a headache, and my blood sugar was almost certainly low. The other drivers weren’t the only shitty drivers on the road; my own judgment was surely impaired by my approach to the task, as I was rushing toward my destination, attempting to “beat my blood sugar home”.

(…Um… That’s not how that works.)

I was doing a fairly shitty job of really adulting today… but I was highly productive. For my employer. At the expense of my well-being. Which does not remotely achieve the goal and purpose of working for a living. See that? That’s a word. Words matter. They convey meaning.

I got safely home – even found my lost perspective shortly after I got off the (hands-free) phone call with my partner, who made a point to keep it super short (even though we enjoy talking). It was no doubt evident I was not at my best. He’s sharp like that. Aware of my mood. Aware of my… awareness. πŸ™‚ First thing in the door, once I arrived home, I heated up some soup, and took care of the thing most likely to drive volatility at that point, my blood sugar. I took time to have a big glass of water. I took time to reeeeeeally stretch, and then relax. I went out onto the deck and inhaled the rain fresh air, and watched the storm clouds moving in for more. I sat down to tackle an errand I’d have been in no shape for, if I hadn’t managed my self-care, and then re-assessed the evening.

I rushed off without writing this morning, and didn’t even notice. In the settling gloom of twilight, arriving home rain scented to a stress-free space, I started seeing the thread, how the day developed from that first rushed moment, and never, ever, let up, not even once. It wasn’t a bad day. It was, in fact, generally speaking, a good day – pocked with challenging moments that weren’t even actually bad, just very busy. I’m tired. Cognitively fatigued, but brain still buzzing with busy-ness. If I don’t hop down off this mental treadmill, there won’t be any sleep for me tonight, and the work day will start even earlier tomorrow, and I’ll be short-tempered, error-prone, and lacking in both perspective and sense of humor. Get me tired enough, pile on a few more days, and I fall back on routine and process to keep me going to the point that any deviation at all holds the potential to see me really losing my perspective and ability to reason clearly. So… “Let’s have none of that…” I think at myself. Amused by the notion that just throwing words at the problem could solve anything. This? This needs action. Action… not words. Action …words? Action words.

Verbs.

Fucking verbs again. Damn it. I’m tired and silly. I’ve given all of what I had, today, to my employer, and really there’s nothing much left for me. Acknowledging it is enough to fill my eyes with tears, and my lip trembles. I feel like a child… Then, I wonder what I think I mean by that?

I keep sipping on my soup. It’s warm and comforting. Filling. Soothing. Tears never quite come; I’m finally taking care of this person I say matters to me that I’ve been fairly literally abusing all damned day. I let myself have that moment of self-directed anger. I really “listen” to the frustration and, yes, even “hurt feelings” that result from just treating myself like dirt all day. In my mind, I imagine a toddler storming at a parent, raging, stomping, “I’m mad at you!!”.

…”Yeah, kid,” I think back at myself, “I’m mad at me, too. I can do better. I’m sorry.” My eyes fill again briefly, and the moment passes. I feel myself pout a bit mentally, when it hits me… and I hear that hurt child-like inner voice again, “you didn’t leave any time at all for cartoons”.

Shit. That does suck.

I glance at the time. I really do need to slow things down, a lot, or I won’t sleep. I put aside the notion of doing more, other, stuff. I dim the lights quite a lot. Yoga, meditation, and an early night will have to do this evening. It’s a poor choice to stare at an illuminated screen for any length of time, this late, all wound up this way. I take a few moments to medicate, and get ready to head for my meditation cushion.

It’s time to hit the reset button. Tomorrow I can begin again. πŸ™‚

That was my first thought when I got home last night; this looks like the end of summer. A soft rain was falling, and the deck was littered with fallen leaves. I turned off the A/C, probably for the year; an open window will be adequate from this point, most likely.

…I think to check the weather. My assumptions, my internal narrative, my recollections of prior years… none of these rise to the level of “facts”; I check the weather, this morning. My musings on an autumn-feeling evening are not relevant to my experience of what the weather may be on a late summer morning. There is rain in the forecast, and a high of 68. Yep. That’s autumn. πŸ˜€

It’s time for change.

The seasons are changing. The wheel continues to turn. There’s no avoiding evolving without actually quitting the journey entirely. We’re aren’t really made for standing still.

I take a deep breathe, and glance at the clock. I finish my almond milk chai latte with lingering amusement that I woke too lazy to make a cup of coffee. I don’t have to settle for that, with myself. I shrug and smile into the pre-dawn darkness.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Damn. Fuck this week. Already. Shit.

I say “this week”, but in all reasonable ways, and well-considered perspectives, this has been building slowly, event by event, detail by detail, day by day, and stitched together by threads of good intentions, affection, kindness, and commitments. I’m still having some moments of major anxiety as delicately balanced circumstances teeter on the edge of not going very well at all, which is stressful on a level I don’t recall feeling in a long time. It’s hard.

…Every new responsibility adds to the burden.

…Every new need piles on still more to a growing list of shit to do.

…Every new moment of stress dials up the intensity of the anxiety in the background.

…Every day… each moment… add another… then another… now one more… still standing? Here, have a little more extra… and more… and again… and still… and even… and then… and now… wait…what?? No time for questions – go go go!!

I caught myself “screaming into the void” on the commute home – a solo rant, with some ferocity, something on the order of a spoken word performance, or poetry, only much less pleasant. lol Not tearful, not exactly frustrated – just mad… about feeling anxious. Mad about feeling ill-equipped to be fully adult, even now. Mad at circumstances that could be just the tiniest bit better and end up quite splendid. Angry just to feel these ancient-seeming feelings of “shouldering the load” again. It’s not any one thing. It’s not any one individual. It’s not specifically work orΒ specifically personal. It’s not lacking in context. I’m not “in it alone”. I’m just one human, having this human moment of mine, myself, and really feeling it. Which is… uncomfortable.

Mid-rant I remembered something I have been finding important; I don’t grow much through experiences that are comfortable, or reliably pleasant, or completely planned and predictable… or easy. That’s just real. Ease does not correlate with personal growth. That thought shut me down completely for a moment. I even stopped being so aggravated by that ludicrously slow driver ahead of me (15 in a 25 – one lane, no passing room) maintaining easily 3 car lengths of distance from the car ahead… during the evening rush hour commute… down a road with intersections more frequently than every quarter mile… with bumper-to-bumper traffic behind him for many blocks (I could see when I got a good view from the top of the hill in my review mirror). Yep. Even that stopped bugging me in the moment that I realized I’d been handed something precious – discomfort, anxiety, and a chance to work through those things and grow.

I’m pretty committed to my personal growth as a human being – I don’t know how much time I’ve got to complete this project, really, and I’d like to get as far along as I can toward being the human being I most want to be. It’s a real and true thing, that “doing better than I did yesterday” is a bit more complicated if the days roll by so gently that what I feel most of the time is delicious simple contentment, wrapped in the affection and high regard of those who hold me dear. I can choose change, but I won’t kid you; I’m not likely to choose to be uncomfortable, stressed out, anxious, fearful, worried, nervous, or in dread of what comes next out of this craze-tacular fun house of chaos and human drama. I like it easy.

Well it doesn’t feel fucking easy right about now. I’m having to bring a lot of attention to maintaining good self-care practices in the face of a lot more stress than has been commonplace for a couple years now. I’m having to skillfully practice “letting shit go” when holding on to it only creates more stress, and has no productive outcome. I’m having to really search for perspective, really work to find balance, and really practice the practices that have brought me so far in such a short time – as if failing to do so could send me crashing into a pit of despair (which it easily could). So many verbs. So little time. πŸ˜‰

Tonight I’m not doing beginnings – just practicing. πŸ˜‰

…A soft autumn rain begins to fall beyond the open window. I chat a bit with my Traveling Partner. The scent of petrichor wafts into the room, filling the space with fragrant reminders that this too will pass. Summer is ending. The tightness in my chest and shoulders begins to diminish. My breathing becomes deeper as a smile starts to transform my face. I’m okay right now. I let my thoughts glide over my day gently, finding a kinder truth in tense moments that are now behind me. I listen deeply to my internal dialogue, pointing myself to a compassionate path, reconsidering human beings in the context of their humanity. Reminding myself to assume positive intent, each time I note that perhaps I had not done so. I take time, too, for gratitude; a lot of people came through for me today, in so many small ways. My smile feels pretty steady, and I feel pretty much at ease; the anxiety in the background is subtle now, less a plague and more a pimple. (…Maybe if I don’t fuck with it, it will clear up on its own?)

I listen to the traffic go by outside. The house is very near to the street, and the walls don’t keep out much noise. Right now it isn’t bothering me; I am aware of the open window. That makes a difference to me for some reason. The noise doesn’t matter. The smile matters more. This gentle moment matters more. Taking a little time to enjoy the moment matters more. Following through on moments and smiles may not save the world, but right now, in this moment, it’s enough. πŸ™‚

Well, the drive down was coffee all the way, and started in the wee hours before dawn. Easy drive. Fun. Effortless. After-the-fact it seems featureless and unremarkable, such that I don’t specifically remember any specific detail besides stopping for coffee. lol I left “on time” and arrived safely. I was greeted warmly with love, and friendship.

The drive back, this morning, definitely coffee-themed. I pro-actively picked up a can of cold brew so I’d have that effortless coffee moment first thing, and waited until I was in the car to pop the top on it, to avoid waking my Traveling Partner. I stopped twice for more coffee, and to stand in the dawn of a new day, feeling the chill breeze that hinted at autumn.

I got on the road this morning with a heart filled to overflowing with pure love and delight, feeling wrapped in My partner’s high regard, and nurtured by his enduring affection. He’s a good partner; loving, kind, considerate, helpful, experienced, competent, forward-thinking, and exciting to be with. I chose well… this time. lol This is my only actually good long-term relationship, honestly (although, to be fair, I only have 4, maybe 5, to reflect on). I don’t kick myself about it; choosing partners, lovers, and friends is a complicated matter, and most of us don’t develop real skills in that area until later in life. If we’re fortunate, we nonetheless happen upon friends, lovers, and partners in the context of our circumstances, and things work out. We are social creatures. I’m sure we could do better, and I wonder why we don’t teach emotional intimacy, relationship-building, and healthy communication practices, in elementary school, as I sip my coffee.

I know some things that don’t work. One of those is money. It just doesn’t work to attempt to buy someone’s affection, even if they accept payment. πŸ™‚ That’s not how love works. It’s not how loyalty works. It’s not how any sort of affection or friendship works. I don’t actually understand how anyone might think it would. I’ve seen it attempted any number of times by people with more money than qualities on which to build love or friendship. Painful. Awkward. Unsatisfying. I can’t help wonder why it doesn’t seem, just on a practical basis, more cost-effective to be a better human being… you know… just likable, considerate, kind, funny, nurturing… some assortment of the sorts of things that draw people in, right? lol It’s not effortless, does take work and practice… and so many of us seem utterly disposed to avoiding any sort of self-work whatsoever. Yeah… there are verbs involved. Results will vary. It’s necessary to practice, to fail, to reflect on our missteps, to begin again… oh… ever so many times. Some people make other choices, and experience other outcomes. It is what it is.

My affection is not for sale. Neither is my respect. My consideration and basic kindness is free, and generously given – as much as I can spread it around, I try to, and there is no minimum qualification for it. The world needs more basic kindness, and a lot more consideration, and no amount of money eases the lack of it.

Tending the flowers in the garden of my heart.

I sip my coffee, and think about love. Being loved feels amazing! Being able to love well feels pretty fantastic, too. These things literally can not be purchased. If you know for certain that these are things you want to feel, and you also know that it will require a lot of work and self-awareness, self-reflection, and willingness to grow, change, and do some verbs – put in the work – would you do it?Β 

Are you ready to begin?

…What could possibly matter more than love and loving? πŸ™‚