Archives for posts with tag: celebrate

I’m feeling pretty good this morning. By itself, that’s worth some celebrating. I’ve still got my headache. I’m still in pain with my arthritis. I’m still managing my anxiety. All of that is utterly routine and ordinary (for me), and just part of the background. Other details seem quite… splendid. I slept well and deeply until early this morning. I woke to pee at some point, inadvertently also waking my Traveling Partner. No stress though. We even seemed generally happy to see each other, even at that ridiculous hour.

My homecoming yesterday was delightful. We’d missed each other quite a lot. Other than a quick trip to the store for dinner groceries (the result of which was some amazing roast beef sandwiches), we hung out together at home all day. He cooked lunch. I made dinner. We enjoyed carefully curated content (mostly educational). It was a lovely Sunday.

I’m feeling more stable on the new medication – just in time for an incremental (and quite small) increase in the dosage of one of those on my way to the anticipated “correct dose”. I started that this morning. It feels comfortable, no surprise “other” effects. Nice.

In general, it just feels good to be home. I love that it does feel that way. I sip my coffee feeling festive and celebratory and … relaxed. It’s quite nice. I’m not amped up. I’m not dragging ass. I’m here, present, and content. I don’t think I need much more than that in life to get from enduring my experience to thriving, day-to-day.

…None of this means there is no struggle. None of this means I don’t have to work at living my life to live it well. None of this means I am without symptoms, or free of challenges. Just being real; there are still verbs involved, and I’m not alone in this; we’re each having our own experience. I’m just saying, this feels improved, and if not “effortless”, totally do-able. Just getting here from where I began is hugely worth celebrating. (Personally, I don’t think we celebrate enough, and we’re too hard on ourselves and each other.)

I still have to deal with my chaos and damage. I’ve still got challenges with things like memory and emotionality. All part of living my life, I suppose. Still… it could be so much worse (and has been). I’m grateful to be standing where I am, with the perspective I have gained over time. I’m grateful for this generally very healthy partnership, and to be so thoroughly loved. I’m grateful for this job, for our home, and to live in a pleasant little community. Worth celebrating.

I finish my coffee, and get ready to begin again. ๐Ÿ˜€

My Traveling Partner and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend. 11 years as lovers, 10 years married. We didn’t do much about it, aside from noting the moment together, enjoying each other’s cooking, hanging out, and spending precious moments together. It was a very human experience; we also took turns dealing with our own, and each other’s, physical pain, and occasional off notes in love’s symphony. lol So human. We enjoyed good conversation, a deep connection, abiding affecting for each other, and some great music. Again, nothing particularly fancy or extraordinary, and with the pandemic being what it is, we spent our time together at home. ๐Ÿ™‚ It is enough.

On one of my walks, I noticed the wild roses preparing to bloom. So soon?

It was a lovely weekend, and that’s how I remember it when I look back, in spite of being also aware that there were some moments I could have handled better (and some that perhaps he could have handled better). Yesterday I was in so much pain, generally, that by day’s end I’d maxed out on OTC and Rx pain relief, and still hurt enough to just call it a day quite early, thinking I’d just read quietly until whenever I felt sleepy… I don’t think I ever even picked up a book (or my Kindle).

I woke ahead of the alarm, with that painful day quite behind me, and an entirely new day ahead of me. I got up. Dressed. Went for my walk. Returned. Showered. Made coffee. Greeted my partner as he started his day. Now… here I am. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sipping my coffee. Writing. Simple verbs. An ordinary morning.

Which moments are worth celebrating? Milestones like anniversaries seem an obvious choice. Perhaps it is less obvious to celebrate a routine pleasant Monday morning and a good cup of coffee? There are so many moments of suffering in a human life… I find value in celebrating even the small successes, and easy wins. Doesn’t seem to do me any harm to do so, and it tends to fill my day-to-day experience with small celebrations, which, generally, is quite pleasant. So… I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

“The Alchymist” finally has a proper home in my garden. ๐Ÿ™‚ Worth a moment to celebrate a very long journey to “home”.

A neighbor gave me a hand digging the hole for my only full-size potted rose, yesterday. I didn’t expect it, and was astonished that it was done so quickly. It was splendid to successfully replant The Alchymist into the garden from the big nursery pot it has endured for so long. 6 years? 7? (Could be going on 10…) I smile thinking of the remaining 3 roses that will go into the ground this Spring. I’m delighted that I have, thus far, managed each replanting without killing new growth, tearing off or breaking new shoots, or knocking off buds. ๐Ÿ™‚

I was surprised how many buds there were on the long graceful canes of The Alchymist, already. Last year it only had one flower. LOL

…Small celebrations…

I remind myself to take a moment for life’s goodness, however humble, and to celebrate successes, however small. These moments are worthy of taking note, of savoring, of really enjoying – however brief they may seem, however modest in scale. An amazing, beautiful life can be built on small moments. ๐Ÿ™‚

…And already it is time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚ What are you celebrating, today?

The cycle of holidays and seasons continues. I woke hoping to catch a glimpse of the Morning Star this morning (or, perhaps, this evening)… but no, it’s the Pacific Northwest, and the morning is cloudy, wet, and gray. No stars this morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

Winter Solstice at home, 2020, the year of pandemic.

Yesterday’s flood waters have already receded. The morning is balmy and feels strangely mild after a day of chill winds and pounding rain. It’s the Winter Solstice (and, I hope, a merry one for you). I am smiling and eager, sipping my second coffee. I’ve planned a day’s painting, a way of celebrating, of meditating, of committing this day to memory. It’s special; I’m here, at home. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Traveling Partner gave me some amazing gifts for Yule, and I opened them yesterday evening at his request; new paint, new brushes – and my lasting joy in this partnership reinforced, yet again, by his consideration. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m feeling very loved. I’m eager to get to work on new canvases, in this new studio.

I think a point I am making is that dates on calendars come and go. What lingers is the joy we take from the precious moments we share – when we allow those to be the details central to our thinking, and our recollections. (I mean… there are other choices.) What we commit to memory, and those details we regularly revisit, become the defining details of who we find ourselves to be, and how we see life, generally. Joy is not exclusive to any particular holiday – or any particular moment. I try to find my joy everywhere I can.

…This morning I am spectacularly joyful, on the order of an excited child…

I smile and sip my coffee. The euphoria of this one moment will fade. Perhaps even the rich cherished memory of it will also fade, with time. Hell, with the passage of time I may forget which particular gifting holiday resulted in my having these exquisite brushes. I have this moment, here, now, though, and I have this joy to cherish. It’s enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

The morning sunshine breaks through the clouds. Perhaps a sunny day ahead? This studio has very good light on sunny days… I think it’s already time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Solstice, Humans. Here’s hoping we each find such joy as will sustain us through our darkest times, and my best and fondest wishes that we don’t need to use it that way, at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Giftmas isn’t the wholly inclusive holiday we like to imagine it is (those of us who are deeply into it, I mean). There are a lot of people who suffer the winter holidays as they suffer winter itself; eager to put it behind them, and wishing to see the sun again. It’s complicated being human.

When we are told to “be happy”, it can make us feel ever so much more miserable that we seem unable to achieve that for ourselves.

When we have the religious values of one or many faiths thrust upon us repeatedly, for weeks, as secular human beings who don’t practice a faith at all, we may feel excluded from practicing community and culture, itself. We may feel invisible, and unappreciated, as human beings.

When we are bombarded with media marketing for luxury goods “on sale” that we can’t envision ever being able to afford at any price, it can make us feel like outsiders in our communities and our world – trapped.

When we hear “glad tidings” of “comfort and joy” on every radio station, every streaming service, every TV advertisement, and in every retail store or restaurant, while we grieve the loss of loved ones, it can make us feel very much as if the world doesn’t see us here at all.

The result is often that we punish ourselves with our misery, even to the point of feeling guilty or ashamed that we don’t “get it” or “enjoy all that”. That’s pretty shitty, and it’s not fun, and it is uncomfortable. Any of that. All of it.

I’m very merry at Giftmas, myself. In spite of not being a practicing Christian (see: “Giftmas”), in spite of many years of being not at all “happy”, in spite of having very little money in many years (and this one) to spend on gifts, charity, or feasting, in spite of grieving poignant painful losses: I am merry, each Giftmas. I even want to share how that can be a thing.

A good beginning.

There’s no money to splash around on luxurious lavish gifts and frippery this year (and nothing in the picture above required me to spend any money, this year; it’s built on what I already had, and have cared for, for a lifetime), instead, I’ll share “How to be Merry at Giftmas”. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s a simple enough idea, in it’s most basic form; make it yours. That’s basically it, summarized. I know, I know, saying something super simple to communicate something nuanced is a bit of a cheat, intended to make it feel accessible, but sometimes missing the most important points. So. Ready? Merry Giftmas, Y’all! Here we go!

The magical Giftmas that almost wasn’t.

Start with where you are. Start with who you are. Your authentic self, your actual values, your own vision.

I grew up in the midst of violence, emotional, physical, sexual (and uncomfortably commonplace in the culture). Guns, alcohol, and rage just… every-fucking-where. Poverty. Trauma. Chaos. Fear. Learned helplessness. Abuse. Gas-lighting. Rather peculiarly, each year that I can clearly recall (sorry, head trauma, right?), it seemed as if “Christmas time” was some sort of surreal cease-fire in the household hostilities (and somehow, even out in the world). “Healing” wasn’t even on my radar yet; I still had an additional lifetime of further trauma, turmoil, and heartbreak ahead me, that I could not even see. (It’s likely that, in some measure, a great many of us do, actually, regardless where we stand right now. Sorry.) Something about the holidays stuck with me; the best bits, actually. Grand holidays meals when far away family arrived to join us at the table. Mornings of twinkle lights and brunch recipes untasted at any other time ofย  year. Gifts. Out of the pain, out of the chaos, for some weird reason, once a year we all sat down together and exchanged gifts. Gifts. We took from our own resources, to give of ourselves to each other. All of it amounted to an extraordinary departure of all of the routines. It seemed… magical.

I have come so far from this place.

My first “Christmas” as an adult, at 18, was… weird. I was in the Army. I was in advance training (and for fuck’s sake already married??), and I went “home” (to my parents house, at my new husband’s instance, even though I was deliberating estranging myself from them, for… reasons). It wasn’t much of a holiday. Uncomfortable, strained by the presence of a stranger (my new husband). I don’t actually recall it at all clearly; I was working too hard trying to live everyone else’s vision of what my life should look like to really make sense out of it, at all. It would have been… 1981?

My Giftmas stocking – and how I keep track of where I was each Giftmas. ๐Ÿ˜€

That was the missing puzzle piece; an understanding of what it takes to make a holiday, myself. See, that’s the thing; we have choices. The day, the season, the time, these are ours to make as we wish to experience them.

I re-created my vision of Giftmas that year, made it over based on my own vision of celebrating the winter holidays, and Yule, in accordance with my own understanding of the “meaning of the season”, which, speaking frankly, has nothing to do with gods or religions, and everything to do with community, charity, gratitude, love, and celebration. It’s winter. We’re all stretched a bit thin at the end of the year – it made sense to me that my Giftmas could be a celebration of sharing, fitting the cultural practices, and keeping all of what I love about the winter holidays, and letting go of all of what did not suit me, personally. I enjoy the merriment. I enjoy the moment to celebrate lost loved ones and honored departed, yes, and still be merry – there is no shame in our tears, or our joy. I love to give a friend some small thing, to say “thank you”, “I love you”, “you mean something to me”, or even just “I know it’s been hard this year”. We’re all in this together, each having our own experience, and each year we have this colossal near-global cross-cultural celebration that clearly extends well-beyond the reach of any one faith; it’s just not really at all about religion. Any religion. lol It’s about everything else, so joyously and so much that any religion within it’s sphere of influence wants a piece of that pie. Me too. So – I celebrate Giftmas. It’s an honest celebration of plenty-amidst-famine, and I celebrate lavishly and generously when I have a lot, and I celebrate joyously and heartily with whatever I’ve got when times are tough. I generally celebrate the season as commencing with the Thanksgiving meal – a season of gratitude and sharing – and I celebrate until I end the holiday season with New Year’s Day with my personal “One Hour” celebration (a contemplative time to explore the past, and plan for the future). It’s scalable sort of holiday, for me, that I can blow out of all reasonable proportion in times of plenty, and still enjoy with irrepressible joy in times of privation. That’s right. I think Giftmas lasts more than a month. LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

Actually, I take the long holiday season so seriously that I regularly give gifts randomly all through the season; nothing gives a beat down to a stressful moment like an authentic expression of value in the form of a small unexpected gift, or a moment over a holiday treat. ๐Ÿ˜€ Certainly, there is no legitimate reason to ration connection, presence, or joy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s okay to feel deeply. It’s very human. I even raise a glass to my Dad.

It does take practice. Sometimes there are poignant moments. I’ve shed many tears either putting up, or taking down, the holiday tree; every ornament has real meaning for me. Gathered with care over many years, each is like a tiny memory box, bringing back floods of emotion, and memories untapped any other time of year (not all of them are pleasant, and I often remind myself that the way outย  is through). I have reflected on so many holidays, and taken from them what worked for me. This is the secret sauce, and the source of merriment; this holiday is mine.

Like our lives, a celebration is built on so many things. Yeah, there are verbs involved.

Merry Giftmas, friends and readers and friends who are readers, and humans I don’t know at all. Make of it what you will. May the season show you magic and wonder – and may you be the creator of magic and wonder in someone else’s holiday. May the year ahead show us each the path to being the human being we most want to be, and may the journey to become that person be enlightening, and maybe not to terribly difficult. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Are you having a rough holiday season this year? Please – oh please, dear one, please begin again! โค

My head is still buzzing with the distracting excitement of the show last night. My tinnitus reminding me there is value in ear plugs. My hallway is short two paintings that recently hung there, now hanging somewhere else. My “art closet”, filled with work carefully stacked by size, is one painting less full today. I am groggy. I am too much awake to sleep more, though I need more sleep. My eyes feel like they are covered in sand paper, and my iced coffee does nothing to quench my thirst (how the hell am I so damned thirsty?). I have a drive ahead of me – hours down the highway, on a weekend likely to be “a long holiday weekend” for about half the long-holiday-weekenders out there taking time off for 4th of July travels.

Between the lake and the sky, there is a distant horizon, whether I can clearly see it or not. “Lake & Sky; Infinitely Blue” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow.

Begin again? Right now I can barely just continue. lol The headache developing could be dehydration… or lack of coffee… or fatigue… or… well… I’m a fucking mammal. A being of light wrapped in a meat puppet that I think I control. lol Who the fuck knows what all the potential missteps and annoyances may actually be? There are probably a lot of possibilities I wouldn’t even know to consider. S’ok. One thing, then another. I shower. Do some yoga. Water my garden. Drink water. Drink coffee. Meditate. Post about the art show (hey, it’s the 21st century, this is a routine form of communication now). Pull myself together a bit at a time, giggling every time I pause to consider that a great many of the Friday night Party People who attended the art show – or the after party – are just finally wrapping things up and going to bed. I’m glad I got a couple hours of sleep.

Here comes the day. It’s the weekend. I’m eager to see my Traveling Partner. Eager to enjoy the day, building on this lovely moment, right here. My heart feels light in spite of the world being rather irksome. It’s something to savor, to build on, and to enjoy. It’s not just okay to feel good in dark times – it’s really rather necessary. Without the good times, emotional fatigue can set in, and then what? We’re no good to each other if we are not able to feel what is good and pleasant and right in our moment, in our day – in our world. So. Today seems a lovely one to take a breath, and enjoy this bit, while this enjoyable bit lasts.

…Then later, I’ll begin again. ๐Ÿ˜‰