Archives for posts with tag: celebrate love

Yesterday felt like a summer day. This morning a soft rain falls on a gray dawn, and the cool rain-fresh air fills the apartment. There will be no pastel sun rise this morning, only this soft rain falling, the sound of birdsong, and flat gray sky over the varied greens of lawn, meadow, and marsh beyond. I’m okay with that, it’s a lovely morning, and we need the rain. Storms pass. There are other days to fill with sunshine. 🙂

Storms pass.

I try not to let the weather slow me down. 🙂

I sip my coffee. It will be another hour before I lace up my boots and walk the rainy path through the park. I consider going the opposite direction than the path I typically take. Being comfortable with change seems  healthy. This week has felt both productive and leisurely – relaxed without being effortless, focused and purposeful without being obligation and drudgery. I have enjoyed my time, and my self.

Today my ‘to do list’ is focused on tying up loose ends of a variety of sorts, mostly basic housekeeping. I have a date with my traveling partner tonight, and I like to be able to set aside the housekeeping entirely while he is here and simply enjoy him, without a lot of fuss and bother.  One task (hanging drapes in the studio) has been carried forward from other lists on other days for some time now… I’ve been irked to see myself procrastinate on this detail of the moving in. This morning I notice again why I have put it off; it will require me to move my desk. I’ve no objection, it just makes hanging the drapes a project of a couple hours work, instead of a couple minutes, and overcoming the inertia caused by being content with my desk as it is, and the view out the window beyond as well, it’s hard to bother. (Once summer comes, I’ll be quite annoyed if I have still not hung the drapes; my studio is the warmest room in the house, and challenging to cool because the sun hits the window for a large portion of the day.) Hanging the drapes has value, although it isn’t my highest priority day-to-day. I could treat myself poorly over the continued procrastination on this task… I don’t. It’s simply not that big a deal. I let it go.

My sleep cycle has been thrown off a bit due to late nights in the charming company of my partner recently. I’m not complaining – totally worth it – I’m hoping, however, to rebuild good sleep habits before I go back to work. I woke this morning at 3:00 am, feeling that I’d slept through the night (but only about 5 hours), and when I tried to rise, was so groggy with fatigue there was no wiser choice than to return immediately to bed, but I slept quite restlessly and wakefully after that. Once or twice, now and then, this isn’t any sort of problem, but over time my emotional resilience and general well-being degrade if I don’t get enough sleep. (For me, ‘enough sleep’ tends to be a very routine 7.5-9 hours of more or less continuous sleep ‘through the night’, on whatever shift or hours I am living.) Good sleep requires practice. Yes, I’m serious – and practicing good sleep practices is another bunch of verbs. There are any number of informative articles about good sleep hygiene.

I stretch. Sip my coffee. Consider the day. Wonder why I wrote this blog post, which suddenly seems fairly mundane and somewhat uninteresting. I think about nice days, pleasant conversations, and easy moments; most of those are fairly mundane, and uninteresting to write about too, but they are experiences I enjoy greatly, and cherish. I think ahead to a romantic evening, and smile; my fingers and toes match (mani-pedi), and after I finish the laundry I’ll have favorite comfortable cute clothes laid out, ready to put on after my shower. It’s not so much ‘vanity’ as that I am a mammal, a human primate, and ‘sexy’ feels good. (Like a lot of things, practice, verbs, results vary; some of my challenges occasionally put me at risk of being slack on self-care details, and practicing good self-care is worth reinforcing.) I am eagerly putting effort into being ready to spend time with my partner; he’s absolutely worth the best I have to offer. There’s no stress to it, and the effort isn’t about being ‘good enough’ or being someone I am not; I make different choices in life, now. Self-acceptance, being comfortable in my own skin, and personal growth (and the effort to use the verbs) don’t seem to be mutually exclusive… I find it entirely okay to work at being me with greater skill. 😀 Today is a good day for that, gray skies and all.

Today is a good day to celebrate Love. (Most days are.)

…Change the experience. It definitely does seem to work that way. This does not diminish the effect of a changing experience also similarly being one route to changing my thinking, this seems quite true, too. How I experience my experience, and what my experience happens to be, influences my thinking… and my thoughts influence my experience, or at least some qualities about it.

I had a ‘what now??’ sort of moment yesterday, walking from one place to another, when I noticed that my face ached rather peculiarly. I took a moment to consider the sensation without panic, and without leading myself astray with fearful thoughts about aging and health. Yep. My face aches. At the edges of my jaw mostly, and a bit more toward my cheeks also, and this is a new development… I consider it further and bust out laughing out loud, startling some geese. Sure my face hurts… I’m smiling that much. I have been smiling, just… smiling… so much since I left my job that my face hurts! That’s a hell of a ‘reality check’ on a major life decision.

Yesterday passed quickly, and also seemed vaguely timeless and enduring. It was a pleasant day and I got quite a few things done. By the end of the day, I was feeling a bit as if the day were not productive, although looking back I no longer understand why. I made room for those feelings, and didn’t beat myself up over it; I accepted that by some definitions of productive, I wasn’t, and also made a point of recognizing that I was, myself, entirely content with what I did get done. This morning as I moved through the apartment, I am struck by how much I got done yesterday, as seen when I look at things with “new eyes”. Awareness really matters. Perspective remains very helpful. “Enough” is achievable.

My traveling partner and I celebrate 5 years this weekend. The thought puts a smile on my face that lights up my heart from within. I may not write over the weekend; my attention will be on Love. We have plans, and I’m very excited about celebrating love with this being I hold in such high regard… Any excuse to hang out together, really. lol 🙂

Today is still Thursday, and an entire day away from the start of the weekend. There are Thursday things to do, some verbs to choose from, and I’ve got a list of all the many things to do that can be done. Looking ahead to the weekend makes it to the list, but it’s well down past mundane chores like ‘take out the trash’, ‘do the laundry’, and ‘do the dishes’.  Much higher up on my list of things to do today are ‘live beautifully’ and ‘enjoy the day’… those seem pretty important, too. 🙂

Today is a good day to stop and smell the roses.

Today is a good day to stop and smell the roses.

I considered not writing today at all; my most popular post, historically, is a Valentine’s Day post from another year. I certainly don’t need to compete with myself for attention. I took time to read it again, this morning, myself – it still rings true with me, and it was a nice start to my morning to ‘see what the fuss is about’.

Be love.

Be love.

My lovely morning continued with pleasant conversation with my traveling partner. We exchanged catching up details, words of affection, Valentine’s Day pleasantries, and shared affirmations of our continuing deep romantic commitment to each other. He moved on with his morning, and I with mine. I feel well-loved and secure. Moments of hurting only threaten that feeling for those moments of hurting and moments are brief in the scale of an entire lifetime; it’s very easy to lose sight of that in the midst of a hurtful moment, but losing sight of it doesn’t change the truth of it a bit. It’s one of the best things about impermanence; the stuff that sucks is also impermanent. 🙂

Words of love - the most valued words.

Words of love – the most valued words.

I’m sipping my coffee and savoring the flavor of it; I selected a different varietal coffee bean than I generally do (in fact, I purchased a small assortment this last time, specifically with this weekend’s enjoyment in mind). No reason, other than feeling adventurous, and not wanting to become complacent with what I know I enjoy. Taking a chance on what is new can be very rewarding itself – or a shortcut to a reminder of what works best. Today I am fortunate – my choice is pleasant and satisfying as it is, and I feel rewarded for taking a chance on something new.

Even a cup of coffee can show love.

Even a cup of coffee can show love.

I am enjoying life in the context of being well-loved by the woman in the mirror. Romantic love is a wonderful roller-coaster of emotions, sensations, and moments, and there is nothing quite like it. I thrive on feeling loved – but how limiting if that feeling can only come from the love I receive from another?! Fortunately, that does not seem to be the case, and quite the contrary; if I am unable to love the woman in the mirror, treat her well, and enjoy her as the being that I am, I will be severely challenged to actually love any other human being well. Certainly, experience has shown I am only able to love another with whatever skill I have at loving myself – any illusion to the contrary is a staged production based on social contracts, marketing, and mythos. I’d rather have ‘the real deal’, myself; authenticity is different, and yes  – better.  The romantic love shared between connected engaged lovers is a very different experience than love of self, to be sure, I’m just saying I am doubtful it is possible to love well without loving oneself; I haven’t seen it done.

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.

The skies are a dismal leaden gray this morning, and there is a soft tapping here and there of raindrops on windows and walls. It’s not raining hard enough to make hiking unpleasant. I see geese and ducks making their way across the soggy meadow through the window of my studio, and wonder if the crow that visited my patio yesterday might return today. The grasses are so lush, and the willow tree is now covered with green-gold whips of spring budding, about to burst forth as leaves – spring so soon? The twisted gnarled pine in my view is near enough to see the tiny cones and dark needles with silvery gems clinging to them, raindrops not heavy enough to fall farther, waiting to sparkle in a moment of sunshine breaking through.

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.

I feel a surge of restless energy and love pouring through my veins and my consciousness – but what to do about it? Paint? Hike? Bake? Masturbate? Being human certainly provides plenty of options. Considering the choices in the context of the best possible self-care takes baking off the list immediately; I don’t need the spare calories, and managing my weight over time requires continued awareness of my lack of impulse control.  There’s room in the day for the rest, and more; I could get the week’s housekeeping done today, setting myself up for a leisurely day off tomorrow, and a relaxed work week. My day begins to take shape as I sip my coffee and write: a hike through the park on a drizzly morning – maybe down to the hardware store (a pleasant 3.5 mile round trip) to check out bird feeders and such – basic housekeeping, painting…

So many ways to say "I love you" to the woman in the mirror...

So many ways to say “I love you” …

I pause to laugh over the sight out my studio window; a rather large flock of Canada geese making their way across the meadow – by way of the gravel path between the community I live in and the park, walking slowly single file, quite evenly spaced and seemingly in order of size (largest first). They file past for some minutes (big flock – 30 or more geese), and bringing up the rear are some ducks. (I wonder where they are going.. and remember that I often used to see geese and ducks floating in the community pool early in the morning from the patio door of my previous unit.)

...so many ways to say "I love you". Are you listening?

Are you listening?

So…yeah. Valentine’s Day. There isn’t much to say about it that I haven’t said before, and it’s still another great day to take the very best care of the human being in the mirror – every day is – and in so doing, be more easily able to love others. 🙂 I think I’ll go do that.

Yesterday I spent the day gently, most of it, on mindful service to the small creatures in my life. I spent hours on aquatic gardening: doing a water change in my community tank, some pruning, planting, tidying things up, acclimating the new tetras that have been in quarantine, and generally spending the larger part of the day with the fish.  It was soothing and serene, and I definitely needed to support my inner stillness after a morning of unexpected turmoil.  Tending the aquarium was a good choice to get back on track and feeling calm and balanced.

The secret life of shrimp.

The secret life of shrimp.

It was a moment of shared humor to find myself discussing the aqua gardening, and commenting that I doubted there were any shrimp surviving, since I simply never see them…I gestured to the tank and…there’s a shrimp, right up front! LOL I took a moment to snap a picture, because I wanted to be sure later that I didn’t doubt my recollection of having seen him. 😀  All that cleaning and moving things around must have disturbed any shrimp in the community. I found several more lurking quietly in the Java fern. 🙂

What made yesterday sort itself out in such a wonderful way wasn’t heartfelt apologies, or emotional ‘laying down of arms’, or occupying time in spaces away from conflict, although those things generally help.  For me, it was more about taking time to be deeply engaged in a favored activity, a needful task of some complexity, that I gave my entire attention to for a while to a ‘greater good’. Mindful service. In this case, mindful service to my own needs, and my aquarium. Simple gardening on some level, and gardening is something I know puts my heart and head right, when I take the time to allow it, to pursue it, and to invest in the good in it.  (Experience tells me I could pay lip service to the idea of ‘mindful service’ and just go through some motions, and perform tasks to completion, while investing in being hurt and angry, and get nothing in return but a sense of futility and resentment – will and intent matter; results also require action.)

The day was a good one, morning challenges passed quickly, comfortably, and were quickly forgotten. That’s more progress, and it feels like something I can begin to count on. 🙂  I admittedly enjoy tallying up the improvements in emotional resilience, reductions in volatility, new tools, new skills, new experiences of living in a general state of contentment, and comfort within myself…it’s been a year (368 days) since my sense of self began to unravel in a terrible way, a process that took weeks, consumed the holiday experience, and ultimately found me as only a shell of myself, considering choosing to end my own life… What a difference a year can make!  I don’t discuss those dark days in any detail with people, even people I love very much; too much pain to share, too few words to express it without sharing the pain more than the understanding. I feel hopeful that those days are well behind me now, and nothing more than a memory.

The mindfulness thing was the key. Still is. There are so many times I wish I could convincingly say “no, really, try this“, to friends and loved ones with their own challenges, their own suffering… but generally, as with my own experience in my own life, there is a state of readiness needed to even hear the suggestion in a usable way. I was once someone willing to say, with conviction and based on my own experience, that I had ‘tried meditation and it didn’t do anything for me’.  “I tried meditation…” No, no I had not. Not like this. I had always been focused on focus, focused on concentration, focused on clarity – focused on thought. I did not understand ‘awareness’, ‘stillness’, or observation. I did not understand the importance of breathing. I’m not sure what I ‘understand’ now…but I practice. 🙂  It is enough.

A lot more is ‘enough’, now. I hope to more deeply explore ‘sufficiency’ in 2014, to be more deeply and mindfully in service to home, hearth, and to myself, to ask more questions, and be more comfortable with uncertainty, to continue my studies of life and love, and to connect more deeply and more intimately with my loves, with my friends, with my family. I’ll get started today – it’s a lovely day to change the world.