Archives for posts with tag: building lasting contentment

I started the morning with meditation. Coffee came later. πŸ™‚ Nice morning for it. Not much to say about it. Pleasant morning.

It’s a work day, in the time of the pandemic. I am grateful to be employed. I’m grateful to be housed. I’m grateful that so much is going to so well in my life right now. I sip my coffee and sit quietly with thoughts of what is going well, what feels good, what is working out smoothly. Thoughts of sufficiency, thoughts of contentment.

…The point is not that my life is perfect, the point is to spend more time “dwelling on” what is going well, rather than investing that time in ruminations of what “sucks”, what “isn’t working out”, what is “holding me back”, or things that are painful, problematic, or inconvenient. Seriously. It’s a key practice I can’t recommend strongly enough; spend more time contemplating what is working, what is pleasant, and what you enjoy in your life, than you do fussing or bitching about what isn’t going as well. It has the potential to change your implicit experience of life, to change your actual brain, and could result in a more pleasant experience of life, generally. It also just feels better.

We don’t just find our “happy place” – we also create (or destroy) it.

…Isn’t “feeling better” one of the things we’d all like to do? “Being” a “pessimist” (or someone who is very negative about life) is not a permanent affliction (doesn’t have to be, anyway) – you can choose. πŸ™‚ Yes, I’m even suggesting that in the face of living a “terrible” set of circumstances, it is possible to have a better experience than you may be having… with some carefully chosen practices, practiced with care and consistency, over time. No guarantee, of course; I’m not an expert, nor a doctor. My results have varied, surely yours will, also. Still… over the past decade I’ve gone from being a very cynical, rather bitter, wholly negative human being to someone who is generally fairly positive, mostly pretty optimistic, comfortably content much of the time, who feels a secure sense that, generally, most things will (or could) turn out acceptably okay. πŸ™‚ It’s enough (for me). Life feels pretty good, mostly.

…There are a lot of implied new beginnings in that last paragraph, not gonna lie. A lot of work has been involved in getting myself from “there” to “here”. I still have occasional down days and blue moments. I still sometimes struggle with my emotional wellness and mental health. I’m a human, being human.

I finish my coffee with a smile. Go for a walk? A soak in the spa? Do some yoga? Start work early? I think things over…

…It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Sometimes finding a happy place is surprisingly close to home.

I don’t generally get so many opportunities to simply relax in the good company of my Traveling Partner. The opportunities we do get don’t always work out ideally well (both of us being quite human, and dealing both with our own “baggage” and our own issues with being in physical pain). It’s been an extraordinary holiday season, filled with connected hang out time, together, enjoying favored content from here and there, relaxing, playing games, making conversation about topics of mutual (or separate) interest, and because it isn’t reliably an everyday experience, I’ve embraced it without any guilt or reservations about how I am spending my time – even when doing so may subtly undermine long-standing practices that support emotional wellness (like meditating), or “press pause” on routines and practices that create the foundation of this life that has become commonly characterized by contentment. πŸ™‚ So… without apology or excuse, I’m not writing as often, and I’m fully living in this moment much more, at least for the duration of the holiday season. It’s quite nice, and I am making a point to savor the opportunity, the experiences, and the moment-to-moment joy of being so well-loved, and having the chance to love so deeply, myself.

Today is a pleasant Saturday, in the middle of a long weekend (for me), planned well in advance as part of my holiday. My Traveling Partner and I are both in pain, today. It happens. No drama or bullshit associated with that; we’re both very much aware of each other’s physical limits and concerns, and we cherish each other’s efforts, and the shared will to explore joy in spite of pain. It is characteristic of this partnership that we do so, generally. Worth the effort (and yes, there is reliably effort involved).

Note to self: it’s worthwhile to make an effort at the things that you’ve determined matter most. Your results may vary, but the outcomes will prove to be reliably better than not making the effort. Sooner or later, effort goes into something – what better choice than to make that effort in support of the life you most want to live, the experiences you most want to have, or becoming the person you most want to be? Choices. (And verbs.)

I smile and think of cruise brochures, plans for our shared future, life right now, and all the things that have lead to this moment, here, which leads on to those moments as yet unexperienced. I think about potential life-style changes, wellness, and longevity. I pause a moment to celebrate this experience of being partnered with a human being I truly want to spend my life with.

The smallest tokens of lasting affection can feel huge.

Giftmas has come and gone. It was lovely. Warm. Joyful. Loving. A delightful holiday. Precious mementos will remind me for some time to come just how exceptional this holiday was. I hope never to forget any detail, but… “always” and “never” aren’t concepts I feel comfortable investing emotional energy in. lol I’m content to smile when I do remember, and let the warmth of being well-loved wash over me, in that moment of recollection. Good memories. πŸ˜€

I sit quietly for a moment. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I feel the pain… here. Over here. That one, there, too. This newer one. This one that has lingered far too long. This one that is so well-understood. That one, that I just don’t understand. I let each one go; recognized, accepted, and where possible, attended to as skillfully as I am able to do. Another breath. Another exhalation. A sip of water. A correction in seated posture. Moments tick by.

“This, too, shall pass.” Even pain is mostly fairly temporary, inasmuch as it is not truly unfailingly continuous. It matters to savor those moments in which pain is lessened, or isn’t there at all; doing so reduces the likelihood of becoming mired in an implicit experience of “always” hurting. “Always” isn’t very common. Neither is “never”. I smile and let them both go. They’re oftenΒ  just words for a more nuanced experience that takes ever so many more words to describe accurately. “Often” is useful, but less than satisfying when describing the experience of pain; I want the emphasis that is associated with “always”. So human.

…Being in pain is human, too. Way more people spend a lot of time in pain than people around them seem to recognize. Don’t be a dick to people; maybe they’re in pain. Maybe it would be more helpful to be kind, to listen deeply, and to refrain from taking people’s crossness or irritability at all personally? We are each having our own experience. πŸ™‚

The new year (2020, in this case) is approaching quickly. Just days away, now. I’m eager to embrace a quiet holiday, filled with meditation, and forward-looking thoughts. A refresh of the budget seems in order. A new “map” of the future, too, perhaps? An update to my “life in weeks” chart, also; it’s been an eventful year. Perspective on it is worthwhile. It’s time to contemplate what to keep – and what to cast aside. Time to consider what matters most, and commit to the effort to bring more of that into my life, and to the effort to stay focused and purposeful, over time.

What about you? What matters most? Where are you headed in life? What will you choose to do about any of that? (So many choices!!)

…It’s already time to begin again. πŸ˜‰

 

This morning I opened my browser and then as I opened the window for a new blog post, I noticed it. A suggestion, an idea, something a bit more meta right there in my visual field – “Add New”. In this case, “add new” blog post, and a fairly mundane intention, but it’s grander than that, isn’t it?

Do it.

Add something new to your experience of life. Do that thing. Start that project. Write that novel (or poem, or story, or letter, or – yes – that blog post). Don’t be stopped by that whisper of doubt (“I never finish anything…”, “I don’t have time…”, “I don’t know how…”, “I’m not good enough…”) – because, trust me, that’s all in your head. Seriously. If you are defining yourself as “never finishing anything”, for example, you’ve not only chosen to make/accept that definition, you’ve committed yourself to living it – and you could choose differently. πŸ™‚ So much promise contained in our decision-making! You can, if you choose to, generally.

So, before the howls in the back of the room about the potential damage that can result from promises that we can literally “do anything we choose”, I’m going to shut that bullshit down right now; clearly, there are verbs involved. Always. LOL You want to be President? Obviously pure will alone will not suffice to get you there. There is so much to do and prepare for in advance of even the opportunity to be on a ballot! However, if that happened to be what you did want to do or achieve in life, simply beginning on it, and committing to it as a goal, would definitely be required before you could proceed in that direction at all… and then so much more. It would certainly keep you busy in life making your way down that path.

On a smaller scale, things are somewhat less daunting, and the timelines may be quite a bit shorter. Want to speak a new language? Go get started on that! The internet is wide open in front of you and offers more than memes and kitten pictures. Perhaps you’d prefer to make music? That’s a thing people love doing, and it’s within reach. Life gets a bit more complicated with regard to new skills, activities, and projects, when we also attempt, in advance, to create an outcome that has to result from whatever we’ve chosen to undertake – and that’s kind of a shame, really. Once we become frustrated with that currently out of reach end-result we think we’d like, we often give up on the skill, activity, or project in frustration, having entirely lost sight of how much we just wanted to do that, and enjoy it, in the first place.

Do it. Do the thing. Learn something new. Build or make something. Develop a skill. Invest your time and effort in your own experience of living life, because it feels good to do that. Work on a craft you love. Pursue a hobby that puts a smile on your face. Tend to the garden of your life with loving care, and enjoy the flowers and breezes, while you pull the weeds. Harvest time comes soon enough, and when it does, that’s something altogether else to enjoy. Enjoy this moment, too. Right here. This one. Add something new to your experience to enrich your experience, without too much concern about a “pay-day”. Isn’t joy payment enough?

It’s time to begin again. I wonder where the day will take me?