Archives for posts with tag: being there

Thursday afternoon, I arrived home from work a bit early. I had some thoughts about what I would do with the extra bit of leisure heading into a long weekend. A hot shower. A long soak in the hot tub. Leisure. I arrived and my Traveling Partner greeted me eagerly (always nice), and welcomed me home – then asked for my help with a project in the shop. I agreed, perhaps just a bit reluctantly (I was really looking forward to that soak…)(and some “down time”). I didn’t fuss about it from there; we just headed to the shop to get things done.

(Quick side note, and this may matter although it is a small detail, once I’m quite fatigued I am not especially useful in the shop, nor reliably safe around power tools, and we are both aware of this. I’m only properly helpful when I’m pretty rested, and at peak available energy.)

We worked together pretty skillfully, and quite merrily. He did the difficult stuff, and the complex things, I was mostly along for the shared experience, and as a “general day laborer”, working alongside him to hold things in place, hand tools to him, fetch other tools or shims or parts. It was a fun afternoon that lasted well into evening. I ended up bone-tired, with sore feet, and too fatigued to cook an evening meal. lol I would not have traded the experience for some other. We enjoyed the work together, and had a good time.

We didn’t quite finish the project we were working on, and so yesterday morning we worked it out that I would help out finishing that project before running a couple errands that would be best handled on a Friday. Another pleasant day. We both crashed early. We both woke this morning, neither super well-rested, neither of us sleeping very well, both in a predictable amount of physical pain. It is what it is. We treat each other gently and considerately, and give ourselves room to wake up completely with our morning coffee – me in the studio with my writing, and he in the living room listening to lo-fi and likely reading the news. A pleasant start to a Saturday morning.

…None of this was “my plan”. I’m even okay with that. It has taken time to learn to embrace “now” – and to include in that all the many details that are not planned at all. I can recall a time when asking me to deviate from planned activities on a rare afternoon off or long weekend might have seriously frustrated me, to the point of being a jerk about it. I might have spent the time resentfully, bitching about what I was not getting to do, and overlooking all the doing going on nonetheless. I knew more about planning and executing a plan than I knew about just enjoying my experience. I sip my coffee and smile. I’ve come so far! πŸ˜€

I did spend time tidying up so I can work, though…

I definitely want to spend creative time in the studio this weekend. Although I’m certain that this is my desire, and I’ve got a loose plan to do so, there are other things that catch my attention as potentially “needing to be done”… I’ve still got to finish cleaning up the hydro equipment and get my peppers started – which also means researching the nutrient recipe those will likely thrive on. Probably already time to cut the front grass again…and I enjoy the well-made reel mower that my partner got for me (I asked him to). I do need to “run to the store real quick” for various food-stuffs and cooking ingredients. I’ve got some returns in the car that need to go to a retailer about an hour up the road, too… leaving that for a weekday would be poor planning…

…I feel myself at risk of “using up” all the precious leisure hours I think I’d like to spend in the studio, as my awareness expands to include the many other things I’d also ideally want to see completed…

I sip my coffee and reflect on “now”. Just sitting, being, and sipping coffee. No rush to action. No frustration or anxiety. No resentment. Just me, this coffee, and this moment. I have choices. One of those is to let go of any resentment over plans that don’t come to fruition. Sometimes plan don’t play out “according to plan” – it doesn’t reduce the value of the time spent planning and reflecting, and it doesn’t hold me back from doing those things differently, or at a different time. And here’s some honesty for the woman in the mirror; the creative drive I am feeling right now is not paired with an evolved or evolving idea for work to start, or an eagerness to complete existing work in progress – I just want to. (I imagaine a cynical chuckle as if an younger version of me is weighing in on matters in the background, “How does it feel to want?”)

Maybe I paint today. Maybe I don’t. Maybe today I garden instead? There is work to be done, and plants to care for. Needful tasks that have some time-sensitive elements. I watch a favorite YouTube gardener talk about May. There is much to be done – and although it isn’t a “competition”, I can see that my wee brand new garden is a bit “behind” (based on my expectations, and what I see of the wild weeds all around), with our slow Spring having held me back a bit. Maybe today is for gardening and errands, and painting is something for a lazy Sunday? There is time for this – for all of it – if I allow myself to slow down and stay mindful of my practical human limitations, and enjoy the journey. Isn’t it that last bit that matters most? To enjoy the journey, the steps, the day-to-day? To choose my path wisely, and accept variations in human experience? To act with love, and really, truly, embrace (and cultivate) joy? I mean… I could fuss and storm about not getting some small detail to work out “just so”, according to some plan, but… isn’t there so much more to enjoy about living?

Baby Love blooming.

I smile and sip my coffee. My Traveling Partner comes in, rubs my neck for a few minutes as I lean gently against his warmth. Love is worth putting aside a clear plan, pretty much any time, I think. πŸ™‚ He leaves the room. I call down the hallway through the open door, “I’ll probably work in the garden today, I’d like to get the hydro up and running for those peppers!”. He answers me “I’ll be around if you need help, or have any questions I can answer!” (What I heard was “I love you”.)

My coffee tastes so good this morning. (Yesterday’s was pretty dreadful somehow.) I think I’ll have another. Watch that garden video to the end, and then, begin again. πŸ˜€

Look, sometimes shit gets real. No kidding. Happy life, good times, great friends, deep love, wellness, safety, security, luxury – you (or I) can literally “have it all” and in spite of all of that, sooner or later, tears will fall. I’m just saying – suffering is part of the human experience.

Sometimes shit hurts.

Sometimes we fuck up.

Sometimes people are dicks.

Sometimes the cards are stacked against us.

Sometimes the homilies feel disrespectful.

Sometimes the feedback feels like an attack.

Sometimes the suffering feels like the one thing it really isn’t; ceaseless.

No kidding. We can choose to stop amplifying our misery. We can choose to let more shit go. We can choose to take a step back and regain perspective (or gain it for the first time, yes, even that is within reach). We can choose to treat ourselves a bit better. We can choose to treat those we love better than we ever thought to before. We can right our wrongs – or at least make an honest attempt at it. We can be heard – and we can choose to listen.

…I did not say any of it is easy…

Begin again.

There is no “happily ever after” – do not be bamboozled by the sweetest of sweet moments; those moments, too, will pass. Hard times will come (again). S’okay. Expect it, be ready for it, and still let that go, too. Live. Love. Choose – and learn from past choices.

It’s not easy at all. My results vary. This morning’s tears, I hope, become tomorrow’s wisdom. Struggling with it? Fuck, yeah. Every time. I suppose I will have new opportunities to be a better human being than I was yesterday… every day. It’s sure true today.

…This morning’s failures can be a stepping off point for tomorrow’s success. It’s time to begin again.

…Again.

Busy morning getting ready for a busy weekend. If I look ahead too far, I’m already tired. lol I guess I’m ready, though. Art selected for the show. Bag packed for the weekend, in case I decide to head south directly from the gallery… at 2:00 am… (It doesn’t sound like me, so… maybe not, but I’d be mad as hell with myself to be unprepared if I wanted to.)

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…There’s still time to water the garden…

My coffee is tasty. My chat windows are rather busy. The day has already begun; I see sunshine beginning to highlight the highest leaves of the trees beyond my window. Summer mornings start early.

I take a deep breath, and relax as I exhale.Β It’s already time to begin again.

One of the sweetest outcomes of the choice to live alone is how much more obviously precious time with my traveling partner is. There’s little to share about last night. It was an intimate connected evening spent having dinner, hanging out, and enjoying conversation…about life, about love, about the future of our shared and individual endeavors, about recent appointments with doctors…words, shared between lovers. It was a lovely evening, and ended gently with time left over to spend in the studio inking details on a landscape, still thinking about love.

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

One of the things I most value about a strong partnership is the mutual support for individual endeavors. So many conversations amount to “Can you…?” “Yes.”, and “Will you…?” “Sure.” – and we know that other person so dear to us isn’t just throwing empty words into the space between us; they’ll really be there, as indicated. We offer ourselves, our time, our thoughts, to each other. We nurture the best within ourselves – and the best within that person we so adore. It’s a rare and beautiful thing, and it involves a lot of choices, and a lot of verbs. Totally worth it. It also turned out to be less about finding some ideal human with whom to have such an experience, and a whole lot more about being a human with whom someone can have such an experience. (Thank you, Love. It’s a journey very worth sharing.)

Getting here was a journey - it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

Getting here was a journey – it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

I sip my coffee and continue to linger on the recollection of last evening. I consider where life is taking me, and what choices ahead could most benefit me while also supporting my partner’s long-term needs. I think about these things in the context of community, of enjoyment, of sustainability, and of lasting-value. Mostly, I think about love and loving. I think about retirement; timing that carefully might result in being able to step away from the corporate grind into a handful of years supporting my traveling partner’s business directly, before retiring in earnest to paint and write full time. Suddenly, the idea of buying a little place of my own – our own – takes on a new dimension for me; how best to also serve my partner’s long-term needs becomes an important question. It’s a lovely morning to think about love, to ponder a shared future with someone so dear, and to enjoy my coffee with no agenda but my own. My choices matter, and it feels very good indeed to be so well loved, so thoroughly considered, so completely respected and valued, so heard, to be dealt with so openly and with such compassion. I enjoy the reciprocity in our partnership; my needs are as important, and as thoroughly discussed and supported together, as my partner’s are.

I smile when I realize my writing this morning reads a bit like a love note to love… Seems reasonable, really. Isn’t love worth a few words? πŸ™‚

As I near the end of my coffee, my thoughts turn towards more practical matters. I get no criticism about that from myself; there are tasks to handle, things on a to do list, and stuff to get done. I find all the fuss and bother of adulthood a bit more manageable if I organize my thoughts – and my activities. I consider my limited time, and the priorities of things needing to be done. What matters most? How important is it? Is there a matter of time or timing? I find myself less fearful and overloaded if there is more than one thing that just must get done in any one day than I used to be. (Many thanks, Google Calendar, Mint, and SuperBetter!) I even feel as if there is just a bit more time in each and every day… although… to be fair… I did move so close to work that I can walk there in less than half an hour, through a beautiful park, which cut my daily commute from a 3 hour+ round trip each day to less than a hour – I do have ‘more time in each and every day’. πŸ™‚

Taking care of me has been a journey about choices and practices. As it turns out, taking care of love has been a similar sort of journey – fraught with choices and practices, growth and change – and enduring affection. It was the affection that was missing from my journey with the woman in the mirror, for far too long. How powerful it was to make that connection, to revitalize my experience of life with and for myself – and how delightful that the result has been how much more I am able to love, and enjoy being loved in return. πŸ™‚

A thread in my tapestry, a color in my palette, so much of life is fueled by love.

A thread in my tapestry, a color in my palette, so much of life is fueled by love.

Today is a good day to love, to be loved, to share love – to choose love.