Archives for posts with tag: change is

It’s been a few days of dealing with an “interesting” increase in my anxiety, recently. Like… a distracting, persistent, defiant amount of anxiety, of varying intensity… the sort of thing that surges back seemingly stronger than previously known (it isn’t, really), and difficult to manage. It’s been disrupting my sleep, and pulling my attention away from things that (truly) matter much more. Frustrating.

β€œAnxiety” 10β€³ x 14β€³ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic 2011

I woke early, pre-occupied with work, because that’s just the sort of thing Anxiety enjoys nibbling on before the day even begins. Any detail over which I’m less than entirely confident and comfortable with becomes fuel to her fire. Fuck Anxiety; she’s a liar. Anxiety forces me to view the world through a lens of fear, doubt, stress, and insecurity, and prevents me from embracing other qualities of my experience. I haven’t had to do such fierce battle with my anxiety in a long while. It’s fueled by the competing experiences of home-ownership and difficult (unpleasant) work-place relationships. The sense of obligation that comes of owning a home causes me to feel I “have to” endure more that is unreasonable, to set fewer clear boundaries, to be more reluctant to “draw a line in the sand” with higher ranking colleagues… all of which are uncomfortable, less than ideal, and probably also seriously bullshit. lol Anxiety, remember, is a liar.

I woke early, and spent my first minutes on meditation. It helps a lot. Coffee came later, because over the years I’ve learned too well that Anxiety likes a good cup of coffee every bit as much as I do, and not in a helpful way. lol Meditation first. Coffee later.

I looked over my work calendar, and quickly identified the source of my stress – it was really just one meeting on my calendar (that I own), and only due to a change of format being requested, for which I have had too little time to prepare. So… that’s not even “about” me. I reschedule the meeting to give myself (and another affected colleague) more time to make the requested changes. No harm done. Hell, it’s even a short week (after a Monday holiday) and so far it’s going very smoothly. Hard to argue with those results. πŸ™‚

I feel my tension ease, my Anxiety receding into the background, returning to being “anxiety” with a lower-case A. Nice. A good start to the work week… I mean… good enough. Amply adequate, for sure. πŸ˜€

The weekend that is now over was a lovely one. I sip my coffee, free of the crushing weight of the anxiety that had been nagging me earlier, and think about the lovely miles of trail walking, the scent of fresh baked cookies that filled the kitchen all weekend, and my Traveling Partner’s smiles. A good weekend.

Sometimes the obstacles along the way are small enough to just step over them. πŸ™‚

So, a new week, new beginnings – and new challenges. πŸ™‚ Sometimes the “new” challenges just happen to be old familiar ones – I just get to practice handling them, all over again. lol Didn’t think I needed to take that lesson one more time, but there it is – and we become what we practice. πŸ˜€

It’s time to begin again.

One step at a time, eventually measured in miles. One day at a time, eventually measured in years. One moment at a time eventually becomes a life well-lived, on a beautiful journey. ❀

What a peculiar and volatile time we are living in. A pandemic. The struggles of power and the trials of the powerful. Technological advantages changes what it means to be human, and how we think, and perceive the world around us. Social media “access” to the world that gives us each a megaphone to shout our opinions to anyone/everyone, unaware that we are still just as “unheard” as we ever were, but changes the way we hear others nonetheless. Messy. Difficult.

Change is.

First this change, then that change. Another change to another thing. A new different day. Another election or transition of power. Changes of jobs and roles and tasks and circumstances. Breathe through it. Another change is coming. lol Put it all on pause for a moment, and just sit with yourself. Let your thoughts and worries go, for a moment or two at least, and just be. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Tears? Let them come. Laughter? Let it fill you up. Be present and fearlessly authentic in your own life – most especially when it’s just you, in a quiet moment, alone in some quiet place. Give yourself at least that one small opportunity to find calm, and to embrace contentment.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Begin again.

Autumn is a season of change.

Fighting off change doesn’t prevent or halt change from coming, but – and this is worth noting – very few of the shadows that fall over us signal impending doom. Most of them are just shadows. πŸ˜‰

The morning began gently, with coffee shared with my Traveling Partner. It was a lovely quiet morning, followed by what is, so far, an utterly ordinary, rather relaxed work day rather typical of my Fridays. Good enough. The state is back on a strict “lockdown”, and more businesses are shuttered for the time being than were closed two weeks ago. Thanksgiving is coming… there’s still this pandemic going on. No big event for us, just a quiet joyful celebration-for-two at home. Still feels like something to celebrate. I’m certainly adequately thankful.

I eye my cold coffee mug after a last swallow of long-cold coffee. It’s a fine time for a second coffee… and that’s another chance to begin again. πŸ˜€

The evening light trickles into the studio through small gaps in the semi-sheer fabric blinds, along the sides, and through small holes for the strings. I’m sipping water, thinking about making dinner, and considering the election – and Giftmas. The winter holiday season is so close at hand. So is the election. (Although, to be fair, I live in Oregon, and I voted last week. Done.)

My perspective on some elements of the winter holidays may have changed just a bit with the move into our own home… I find myself pleasantly disposed towards lawn ornaments, and outdoor lights. lol It’s been… literally never, that I could realistically consider anything fanciful or elaborate for outdoor holiday lights or decor. One downside of apartment living was that the lawn and exterior details simply aren’t part of the rental, in my limited experience. So… none of that, then. Or… if at all, quite likely very little.

I found myself stalled in a big box hardware store the other day, gazing wide-eyed at… lawn ornaments. Yep. Giftmas has already arrived in retail purgatory, and it is lit. LOL

…Or…I could wait for actual deer to stray onto the front lawn. It’s a thing they do. πŸ™‚

The point though, to my musings this afternoon, as the sun drops low, isn’t about the actual lawn ornaments, or their cost, or whether it is too soon for holiday dΓ©cor to dominate my thoughts… or even the upcoming election, which is already wholly irrelevant to me for now, having already voted; it’s about the change of perspective. The altered point of view. The fact of it – and also how little it really took to find myself experiencing a change in thinking.

In this particular instance, I did not seek or manufacture my change of thinking. My point of view has been altered quite literally because my point of view is altered; I moved. What I see outside my windows each day is different. The door I see as I walk up to the front door is a different door, opening onto a different way of experiencing my life. New context. New environment. New challenges. Change is. It hasn’t all been effortless joy, fun times, or relaxed – or relaxing. The light switches are not where I expect them to be. (Some of the challenges are frankly quite silly, and very individual.) There has been a lot of work. A lot of upheaval – which is difficult even when I welcome it. I’ve grown, and sometimes in ways I did not expect, and wasn’t looking for (and did not know I would be a better version of myself thereby).

Lawn ornaments.

…Weird way to take note of growth and change…

…You know, I very nearly don’t have a container garden now, too… Had I mentioned that? Yeah… the deck is lovely as it is, without the clutter of a lot of pots, and the spiders and dirt and work that go with them… I had to get super real with myself; I’m only up for a certain amount of work, generally, and I have often fallen way behind on caring for my container garden. With the move I had some decisions to make. I do love that forest view. …And… I’ve also got a nice bit of front yard that is pleading with me to put in the effort there, creating a lovely cottage garden suited to my taste. I probably don’t have the sustained strength and purposefulness to garden both in the front and on the deck. I decided to leave the lovely view of the forest beyond the deck uninterrupted by potted roses… the roses, at long last, can put down roots, too. That gives me so much joy… and a reason to think about lawn ornaments with the future in mind.

…I still don’t know where the roses will each go… it needs more thought.

I finish off my water, and the sun sinks a bit lower. It’s time to begin again.

The week began with unexpected (but welcome) contractors. It continued, yesterday, with the return of the (now expected, still welcome) contractors and the completion of the dry walling, taping, texturing, and painting. Today? Carpet, and, I think, the completion of the last bit of our moving “adventure” (which was the discovery of a leak, by way of the visible damage it had caused). Finally.

New homeowner shit. I’m not bitching – I’m delighted to have a home. I’m just counting down the days (hours, now?) until I can sigh contentedly, feel safe, settled, and at home – without huge holes in the walls, and an entirely unfinished closet, and paintings stacked everywhere in a seemingly haphazard way. lol πŸ™‚ I’m sipping my coffee feeling grateful for this house, our home, this partnership, and my partner – and mentally listing for myself all of the many things we’ve gotten done since we moved in, just 98 days ago. πŸ˜€

…Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? I feel simultaneously that I’ve “been here a long time” (and thus, it feels unreasonable that I’m not yet wholly “moved in”) and also feel as if we just moved in “a couple weeks ago” (in which case, it totally seems reasonable to still be “sorting out some details”).

In early April, we began looking for a home of our own together, quite seriously. The search became “urgent” in an earnest “this has to get done because we’ve got to move” sort of way, in spite of the pandemic, at the end of April. By May 19th, we’d found what we were looking for, and made an offer. I’m still surprised by how quickly that went. We closed at the end of June, and began moving in. Pandemic restrictions at their most severe (up to that point), we did the move ourselves, and it took just shy of 10 days to get it all “done”, such that we were no longer moving out of anywhere, just putting finishing touches on moving in. That makes it all sound rather easy – and it was as easy as my Traveling Partner could make it, no doubt. Organized. Well-considered. Planned carefully. Executed skillfully. Still hard. Still a lot of manual labor. Some fussing. Some crying.

…There were some trying moments, that’s just real…

Since we moved in, there has been what now seems like an inevitable cascade of “small things” to handle. Squeaky doors. A hot tub leak. Quite a bit of spilled water. Cleaning. Things to assemble. Small repairs. Totally ordinary homeowner stuff. lol At first it mostly felt new, and delightfully autonomous (no call to a landlord, no delay in getting stuff done that wasn’t chosen), then it began to feel sort of “crushing”. (Strictly temporary. Change is.) We fixed things, and moved on. I feel a bit as if this last bit of contractor work really finishes the move, is what I’m saying. (Omg, so many words just to get to that idea. Sorry.)

No idea what comes next. New adventures. Everyday life. Contentment. Romance. New recipes? New neighbors.

A sunny day on the deck, a view of the forest beyond.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

My coffee is a memory. By the time I got to actually drinking it, it was already rather tepid. It lingers, cold, and bitter, in my recollection. My day is off to a rather poor start for no good reason. At some point, the quality of my experience becomes up to me…

I reflect on things quietly, thinking perhaps I’ll gain perspective through writing, then find myself stalled, unwilling to tackle the “harder questions” this morning, in spite of knowing they would do well to be asked, and where possible, answered. Instead, I make an ambitious list of household chores and resolve to complete those. It’s easier.Β  Today is, in most respects, an ordinary enough Sunday.

…Order from chaos… sometimes I find it helps with other challenges troubling me in the background…It helps to have a list.

Same view, different day. Perspective matters, but we each have to walk our own hard mile.

I remind myself to make room for other perspectives, to listen deeply, to be open to change…

A slight change in point of view can make a difference in understanding our circumstances.

…I wander off to get started on my list. Another new beginning… the day may improve, if I can stay open to that potential. I can always begin again…

…Sometimes this shit is hard. Seems so, I mean. Subjectively. I remind myself “one practice at a time, one step at a time, one task at a time; it all adds up”… I feel unconvinced and blue. Some days suck. I make a mental note that change is – even the most miserable moment is just a moment, and it’ll pass. I have choices. I have practices that I know I can count on to be uplifting. Yeah, not super convincing that time, either. I’ll “get over it” and “move past this”. For now, this is the experience I seem to be having. I try not to take it personally, and stay with both this actual moment, and these feelings; the moment, which is frankly fine, is my anchor, my point of “safety” that gives me a firm foundation to consider the feelings without becoming mired in them (that’s the intention, anyway). I’m okay right now. That’s real. The emotions are emotions. I make a point to refrain from conflating the feelings with actual experiences.

…I make a point to consider the experience separately from the emotions I feel during or about the experience, itself…

…Uncomfortable or unpleasant experiences are something I can learn and grow from. Fighting that isn’t particularly helpful. Getting mired in unresolved emotions isn’t particularly helpful (or comfortable) either. I take a breath and turn towards my discomfort, seeking growth… and begin again, again. I eye my “baggage” and personal demons with some distaste and impatience, and snarl to myself “bitches, I can do this “begin again” shit all fucking day, just go ahead and fucking bring it“. That at least gets a laugh out of me.

I check my list, and yeah, I even check it twice. There’s more to do… and it all begins with a beginning.