Archives for posts with tag: can I walk with you?

I’m sipping my morning coffee later than usual, after sleeping in a bit, unexpectedly. It’s too hot to drink. I’m okay sipping it carefully, “testing it” for future, safer, drinking. There’s no rush. The sun is up, the morning is unfolding into a new day. I feel rested… and eager. It’s Thursday! (Date Night) Magical.

Just a cup of coffee and some lens flare; we bring the whimsy, the poetry, the music. Magic moments are created by our perception, and acceptance.

Just a cup of coffee and some lens flare; I bring the whimsy, the poetry, the music. the joie de vivre. 

When I first met my traveling partner, I already understood my role in making the magic of things like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and after many years, I still happily and enthusiastically throw myself into the whimsy and fun of making that magic happen. I didn’t recognize, strangely enough, how much went into the magic of love and loving, and still held onto expectations that somehow it just happens. I over-invested pretty heavily in peace-keeping endeavors any time there was any hint of conflict or difference, fearfully driven by old baggage, chaos, and damage. I was generous, hospitable, and kind (if rather cluelessly so), but those behaviors were interspersed with some frightful (sometimes symptomatic, sometimes just nastiness born of having been permitted to continue with bullshit) bad behavior. Chaos. Volatility. Tantrums. I’m a fucking adult. It had to be hard for people loving me. Hell, it was hard; I was there.

Today, I make magic. Small magic, but nonetheless, magic. I’ll tidy up, and make a point to do some things I know matter more to my partner than they do to me, just because they do matter to him. I’ll put extra time and care into how I feel, myself, and how I look – it is ‘date night’, after all. 🙂 I’ll make a quick trip to the store for a handful of things I just don’t keep in the house, generally, that I know he very much enjoys, so those things are here for him, and I’ll double-check for pantry and medicine cabinet items he might need, and ensure I haven’t run low. All very practical stuff. I’ve learned some excellent practices for nurturing love’s logistical needs.

I still have so much to learn about love! There’s magic in intimacy, in connection, in touch… those are trickier, and rely on verbs with real nuance, requiring greater awareness, more sensitivity… I am regularly challenged to the limits of my current understanding of love, and still eager to take another step, love more deeply, love more intently, love with more skill… and we’re not even talking about the sex piece, yet. LOL So much to learn to love truly well.  There’s patience, and perspective, and listening deeply, and speaking gently, and making room for strong emotion, and surrender, and honoring the sacred ‘other’ that is my partner’s tender heart… So much to learn. I stay it’s a lot to learn less as a statement of frustration, and more like an eager student, opening an enormous text-book for the first time, and looking at the table of contents in awe. Every lesson is worthy. Every lesson builds on the lessons already learned, in anticipation of lessons to come. It’s big, “the book of love“, and I don’t expect to finish it cover to cover even in a lifetime.

Tears slide down my face – the weird happy/sad tears of profound joy experienced fully and also in the context of how fleeting joy must be, just to be joy. (Tears that actually become tears, because my TBI can be a major impediment to the sort of emotional regulation most people take for granted.) Then I laugh at myself – tears in the sunshine. I have this powerful love for this singular human being, without any real understanding why I feel the way I do, or whether it will outlast this fragile vessel, or even if the feelings I feel are ‘real’ – I mean, as real as this table top, or this sunny morning. We’re both so very human, dragging our own customized baggage all about everywhere we go, and sometimes sharing the load. Are the things that fill me up from the inside as real as the struggles that impinge on my joy from external sources? Maybe? Probably? Does it even matter? Maybe love is a placebo… would I suddenly stop loving if it were? (No. No, I wouldn’t…I’d probably use the powers of the mind to intensify the experience. lol) The tears don’t last – they’re more a moment of appreciation that became too visceral. 🙂

I sit smiling, sunshine spilling over my hands on the keyboard. I sip my coffee contentedly. It’s a lovely day – and a good one for love and loving. A good one for sex, too, sure, but that’s not the point – and as much as I want all that, too, I want to be clear (even with myself) that it isn’t ‘about’ sex. I conflated sex and love for much of a lifetime, and it’s hard to sort out all the baggage from that mess, but it’s a worthy project; the love matters most. Real love. Adult love. Romantic love. Sexual love. It’s just that the intimacy leads – not the other way round, that much I’ve learned. Without a foundation in intimacy, and an emotional connection (of some kind), sex seems (to me, at this point in life) repetitive, physical, distant, and somewhat peculiarly unsatisfying, however good the sex is technically, and suitable only for breeding. A bit annoying, really – I used to be good at sex. lol In my twenties I wasn’t even emotionally capable of actual intimacy, embarrassingly, obviously so, when I recall key moments when one lover or another with a deeper understanding attempted to get more from my heart that I knew to offer; I was still too broken for any of that.

I listen to love songs in the sunshine. I let the smile on my face become a slow groove that sends love-chills up my spine and butterflies to my tummy. I love Love. 🙂 I have a near infinite capacity for it (you probably do, too) – I’d happily love everyone good and decent and loving with all the infinite moments of love my heart has to offer… if only I knew how to connect deeply with each one, on their own terms (and mine), in an authentic and intimate way. I’ll keep practicing – there’s too little love in the world as it is. Practicing love more often is a goodness. Every moment we practice to treat those we love just a bit better than we did before really matters; from there we can learn to love the world. 🙂

Today is a good day to practice loving. There are verbs involved. Today is a good day to be love. I think I’ll grab some verbs…

 

It was a generally lovely weekend, and I enjoyed it greatly. The one or two isolated moments of disharmony were too human, and too brief, to make much of and they quickly passed. It was a weekend to connect, to bond, to listen, and a weekend to be very aware of how much I also needed my own attention, if only for a few hours.

Meditation continues to be a key practice supporting my emotional wellness.

Meditation continues to be a key practice supporting my emotional wellness.

This weekend I took time to continue to ‘move in’ and get more settled; I’d only begun that process when my traveling partner unexpectedly landed on my doorstep for an extended stay. I had halted the process of ‘getting all moved in’ without really noticing I had. Providing him with support and care, and seeing to his comfort is also a high priority, and I attended to it immediately – then forgot I still had quite a lot to do for me, as well. One of the many valued opportunities for me in living alone has been learning to take care of myself, and to be more reliably self-sufficient, specifically because I do tend to ‘overlook myself’ in the context of cohabitation with intimate partners. This weekend I attended to a great many more ‘me-centric’ details, and put some effort into continuing to get moved in, myself.

My favored spot to meditate has been in front of the patio door, and living alone it hasn’t been a headache to simply leave my cushion sitting right there; I step around it. Living with my partner, the comfort of ‘having to step around it’ was no longer exclusively about me, and the cushion was somehow ‘in the way’ – funny how perspective changes on such details. Living alone, meditating in the living room  works beautifully. In a shared living space, the living room is now a busy common area, home to the stereo, television, video games, and fireplace – as well as the door to the patio garden, adjacent to kitchen and dining space – and no longer seems a good fit for meditating at some points in the day, there are too many distractions. Choosing to meditate less frequently, or on a schedule, doesn’t work for me, so I put time into rethinking where I meditate during those hours of the day when doing so may conflict with my partner’s activities, and decide to make sure my bedroom is also set up to be a convenient and inspiring place for meditation.

My studio quickly filled with paintings that are not yet hanging, many of which had been stacked in my partner’s bedroom, because it was an empty room when I moved in. Paintings not yet hanging in my own bedroom contributed to the disarray, as well as projects in progress. Painting rails for temporary displays and drying space have not yet been installed. Soon. This weekend I focused on hanging paintings in my bedroom, making that space ‘more my own’. I walk around the apartment quietly with my coffee, smiling at how much got done with weekend, and feeling very much ‘at home’.

This morning felt very natural. I woke a bit ahead of the alarm, not uncommon, and shut it off, choosing a few minutes more time meditating, rather than attempting another 15 minutes of sleep. It was nice that my cushion was already there, and the walls hung with carefully chosen art work on themes that tenderly guide my thinking toward perspective, balance, sufficiency, and mindful awareness. My stiff aching spine benefits from ‘sun salutations’ before I consider myself really ‘up’ for the day. By the time I got to the kitchen to make coffee, I was feeling fairly awake, and ready for the day. I quietly emptied the dishwasher while I waited for the water to heat for my coffee, feeling generally very comfortable, and very much at home. I had been concerned that I would feel less at home here, myself, with my traveling partner moving in. It seems I have learned some things about taking care of me, over the past year. I realize with some astonishment that, in fact, I lived alone for less than a year…

In the not-quite-a-year that I have lived alone, I have learned a lot about the details that matter most (for me) about cohabitation: the intimate friendly presence of a lover so near, the hellos and good-byes, the day-to-day graciousness and shared delight, conversations, planning for the future, shared tales of time apart shared more frequently in greater detail involving less time, the humor, the support, the availability of hugs, shared problem-solving, teamwork, and sure – sex, too, but surprisingly (to me) that isn’t the most singularly important detail…turns out that the most important details are about emotional intimacy, rather than physical intimacy. There remains so much to learn about life, about love, and even about the woman in the mirror. I am eager to share this piece of that journey, and see where it leads. There are a lot of verbs involved…

Sharing the journey? A good opportunity to be love.

Sharing the journey? A good opportunity to be love.

Today is a good day to start a journey. Today is a good day for love.

Well…or something of that sort. I sometimes find it difficult to be certain I really am making progress, or that new skills actually function as hoped for, or that I’m experiencing real healing and holistic long-term improvements in quality of life, as well as in-the-moment improvements in how I experience my life.  An analog of this experience might be learning math in grade school; it is very difficult at that time in one’s life to understand what use it will have later on. Today, I found myself actually using new skills in a natural way, applying mindfulness to stress in-the-moment, using improved communication skills to clarify misunderstood details and context, taking care of me by expressing limitations and setting boundaries without being confrontational or accusatory and generally taking a brief moment of emotion and distress in my day, and allowing to be simply that – a moment.  Hell, I’m even having an excellent day – without mental gymnastics, denying myself my heartfelt emotions, or trampling on my own needs and boundaries.  Yeah, I actually do feel a bit like I ‘passed a test’.  If nothing else, I am encouraged that I am learning a few things that are helping me enjoy more of my experience, and really treat myself and my loved ones well.

In the spirit of celebrating a great report card, I’m going to get back to having a great latte, a lovely quiet morning of jazz and conversation, a little housekeeping as the day wears on – in short, enjoying my Saturday.  I hope you enjoy yours, too.

A picture of another lovely day.

A picture of another lovely day.