Archives for posts with tag: celebrate your independence

I’m awake too early. It’s the fifth of July, and this means my sleep was of poor quality, started too late, and was regularly interrupted by American enthusiasts of wasteful use of ordnance for noisy colorful displays of thinly veiled celebratory somewhat aggressive nationalist posturing… Independence Day fireworks. For some folks, it just isn’t enough to go see a public display (from sundown until well past midnight I listened to the sounds of shit exploding). It is also necessary for them to indulge in a wasteful display of flexing at the world metaphorically, in a comic opera of artifice and pretty colors. I can’t bitch overly much about it, inasmuch as these were not attacks on my person or property, and were not ever intended to be such. Just a nuisance to deal with a couple nights a year. Still, it wrecks my sleep, and rather than deal with the resurrection of old nightmares, I spend much of that time in the studio, with headphones on, painting and listening to music.

To be clear, I’ve got nothing specific against fireworks shows. I’m just like anyone else, ooh-ing and ah-ing over the colors and forms, and the craftsmanship that surely must have gone into those beautiful bursts in the night sky. I dislike crowds, though, also, so I rarely go. Choices. ๐Ÿ™‚ At home, in the quiet of the night, I dislike being taken by surprise by the sound of what could be gunfire, or artillery. That just seems… normal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I spent the solitary day on my own agenda. I even started with a list. It was fairly delightful to do so. No holiday meal to prepare. No complicated group planning for an outing. No timing for arrivals or departures. No guests. It was a lovely day in the studio, spent in part on “the business of art”, which is less fun for me, but managed to be quite satisfying. The afternoon and evening painting felt more than satisfying – needs were met. ๐Ÿ™‚

Late in the day a whiff of OPD reached me from far away. I made a firm point to let that shit go before it could ever get a foothold in my consciousness. It did manage to evoke some irritation, and a nearly audible eye-roll, before I got back to work on the painting that tedious drama-monster who is an ex has inspired; “Toxic”. (She’ll finally be able to say she inspired someone artistically. lol. I chuckle out loud every time I think about that.) A good thing to remember about artists; it is often something deeply unpleasant, unsettling, objectionable, contemptible, vile, or traumatizing, that inspires our most moving work. It is certainly the case, in this instance, that I’m working on this piece, in a sense, as a sort of exorcism. So done. lol So entirely completely over it.

“Independence Day” has become pretty personal for me, over the years. I celebrate – in an overtly positive, celebratory way – the end of my violent first marriage. I celebrate my independence from the terribly damaging entanglement with ex 3 of 3, too; it took weeks from when I moved into my own place (in May, 2015) to feel settled and comfortable, and to accept the uncertainty that existed, at the time, in my relationship with my Traveling Partner, and begin to find my own way. By the 4th of July that year, I was doing pretty well living solo, and learning to really deal with my issues more skillfully, generally, and getting a good bit of practice with that. lol My relationships were improving, too. Three years ago today was a pretty good day, generally. It’s delightful to read back and see how far I’ve come. ๐Ÿ™‚ Incremental change over time – still a really big deal, and something I can reliably count on. We become what we practice.

Are you ready to begin again? There’s a journey ahead. It’s yours. Choose your adventure. Start with one step.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

I woke to a gray morning, following a late night. I spent the evening hours meditating, studying, writing and reflecting. Today is the 21st anniversary of the end of a nightmare. Bits of chaos and shards of damage still linger, even 21 years later; my back will remind me every day of the high price of freedom. My scars are my receipt. 21 years ago I walked on, and I began again, ending my first marriage with some finality, and a great deal of relief. I survived it, and that’s enough, now.

Art therapy

Self-portrait in progress – I don’t have words for some experiences.

I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my very human mortality, too. Not in an angst-y “not me! why me?!” way – Death comes for us all, at some point. It’s more that… I’m only just starting to really live… it weighs me down just a bit; the not-quite-sad tears that perch on my eye lashes when I think about it weigh much more than they seem they should. I’m okay – I’ve known since I was a small child that Death is a thing. I’m not there, yet. I’m not having to face Death in person in any known immediate way. Last night found me gentle with myself, and accepting that this is something that I’m needing to think over a bit, letting it come, letting it go – accepting it. Hell, it wasn’t even the “most important” thing on my mind last night. ๐Ÿ™‚ It is probably a decently adult idea to ensure all my end of life stuff is in good order, regardless… wills don’t write themselves, and mine is out-of-date.

I enjoyed the evening less quietly than I often do, pausing everything else at intervals to learn something more with my bass. My fingers are sore, and the muscles in my forearms. I took the necessary step of checking in with the guys next door and finding the sweet spot – amp loud enough to be ideally audible for me, but not filling their apartment next door with the sounds of me practicing – because there’s probably going to be a lot of that going on, for a long time. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was an evening of meditation.

It was an evening of meditation, too.

Iย write several paragraphs, and delete them after re-reading them and realizing that I’m ‘just chattering away to myself’ in a rather… well… I’ll be honest, it sounded too much (to me) like an eager toddler tugging at my sleeve to share something, when I’m “trying to have an adult conversation here, honey.” I laugh at the visual image, which is of my mother on the phone rolling her eyes skyward as I earnestly try to shove some beetle or weed at her, eager for her attention. I sometimes feel I live on a plane tilted at an angle from everyone else in which very different things are fascinating and noteworthy. lol This has not changed about my experience of myselfย over the years, it is part of who I am. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m fortunate to have so many friends and loved ones who enjoy me as I am, and quite a few also living on ’tilted planes’. I take a moment to enjoy the warmth of the happy smile on my face as I linger on the awareness of the acceptance and affection I am so fortunate to receive. It feels very nice to consider acceptance. Just that – some small moment when another human being communicated that I am okay with them, no problem. However hated or diminished I’ve felt in some moment in life, if I’ve been able to lift my head from that pain to raise my eyes, the truth of it has been that I have also been well-loved, valued, respected, and found worthy by those dear to me! It took a long time to recognize that a lot of the hate I felt surrounding me sourced from within. I smile, and offer my gentle heart a moment of regret and apology; it never needed to be that way, it was a painful choice.

There is valuable perspective in taking time to look at things quite differently.

There is valuable perspective in taking time to look at things quite differently. “Chrysanthemums” 36″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas, 2004, shot in blue light.

I sip my coffee and smile. The gray morning is quiet, although a Monday; it’s a holiday. The sounds of traffic are muted, hushed, and minimal. The windows are thrown open to morning breezes. My coffee tastes good. My posture feels more upright than has been the case, sitting at my desk, in many years – I smile, recognizing early changes resulting from my renewed commitment to fitness. It’s a lovely morning. I feel whole and well and delightfully human – which is a pleasant experience. I breathe it in. As I exhale, I imagine letting go of past baggage, and inhale again, deeply, imagining welcoming Love home. My smile deepens. Contentment has proven to be such a wise choice for me, versus chasing the glamour of Happiness and her fickle ways. Happy comes and goes. I’m learning to accept that too. Contentment can be built, sustained, improved, deepened, practiced… No, it’s not ‘easy’.ย There is practice involved, self-awareness helps, acceptance is a nice value-add, and a willingness to embrace sufficiency doesn’t hurt, either. It’s not always clear which practices are ideal for me – I’ve taken a trial and error approach, and then also had to learn that practice is about incremental change over time, and follow through with learning to observe the small changes, not just the big change that is achieving a goal.

I didn't find freedom with a gun in my hand.

I didn’t find freedom with a gun in my hand.

I finish my coffee. The cat beyond the window finishes her patrol along the edge of the meadow. The morning remains quiet, so quiet. Coffee #2… or a walk in the park? It’s only a choice, either option is lovely, and I’m not attached to the outcome. Today is a good day to celebrate independence – how will you free yourself? ๐Ÿ™‚