Archives for posts with tag: choose your adventure

This morning I opened my browser and then as I opened the window for a new blog post, I noticed it. A suggestion, an idea, something a bit more meta right there in my visual field – “Add New”. In this case, “add new” blog post, and a fairly mundane intention, but it’s grander than that, isn’t it?

Do it.

Add something new to your experience of life. Do that thing. Start that project. Write that novel (or poem, or story, or letter, or – yes – that blog post). Don’t be stopped by that whisper of doubt (“I never finish anything…”, “I don’t have time…”, “I don’t know how…”, “I’m not good enough…”) – because, trust me, that’s all in your head. Seriously. If you are defining yourself as “never finishing anything”, for example, you’ve not only chosen to make/accept that definition, you’ve committed yourself to living it – and you could choose differently. πŸ™‚ So much promise contained in our decision-making! You can, if you choose to, generally.

So, before the howls in the back of the room about the potential damage that can result from promises that we can literally “do anything we choose”, I’m going to shut that bullshit down right now; clearly, there are verbs involved. Always. LOL You want to be President? Obviously pure will alone will not suffice to get you there. There is so much to do and prepare for in advance of even the opportunity to be on a ballot! However, if that happened to be what you did want to do or achieve in life, simply beginning on it, and committing to it as a goal, would definitely be required before you could proceed in that direction at all… and then so much more. It would certainly keep you busy in life making your way down that path.

On a smaller scale, things are somewhat less daunting, and the timelines may be quite a bit shorter. Want to speak a new language? Go get started on that! The internet is wide open in front of you and offers more than memes and kitten pictures. Perhaps you’d prefer to make music? That’s a thing people love doing, and it’s within reach. Life gets a bit more complicated with regard to new skills, activities, and projects, when we also attempt, in advance, to create an outcome that has to result from whatever we’ve chosen to undertake – and that’s kind of a shame, really. Once we become frustrated with that currently out of reach end-result we think we’d like, we often give up on the skill, activity, or project in frustration, having entirely lost sight of how much we just wanted to do that, and enjoy it, in the first place.

Do it. Do the thing. Learn something new. Build or make something. Develop a skill. Invest your time and effort in your own experience of living life, because it feels good to do that. Work on a craft you love. Pursue a hobby that puts a smile on your face. Tend to the garden of your life with loving care, and enjoy the flowers and breezes, while you pull the weeds. Harvest time comes soon enough, and when it does, that’s something altogether else to enjoy. Enjoy this moment, too. Right here. This one. Add something new to your experience to enrich your experience, without too much concern about a “pay-day”. Isn’t joy payment enough?

It’s time to begin again. I wonder where the day will take me?

It’s too early in the morning. I woke up about an hour ago, at 2:30 am. I feel rested. It makes sense, I went to bed around 7:00 pm, too tired and sleepy to stay up any longer. Is it the consequence of wholly disrupting my routine(s) with a near-continuous-party weekend – or am I still getting over the last bit of contagion that smacked me down some weeks ago? The lingering dry cough suggests it might be that… or maybe seasonal allergies.

I smirk at myself for a moment to contemplate that I spend a great deal of time, these days, in the one part of the country I fully know causes me to have Spring allergy symptoms, of all the places I have ever lived or traveled – southern Oregon. LOL Hell, I’m contemplating retiring there. The thought has me straight up laughing literally out loud… and coughing… but I’m not there right now, so… it’s probably not allergies. Sick again? Still?

Does any of that matter beyond making sure I am able to skillfully care for myself?

This is poison oak. An important part of self-care is recognizing common hazards. Just saying; know poison oak when you see it.

Symptoms of OPD (Other People’s Drama) swirl around my experience without becoming directly part of it. I dislike drama enough to create a very nearly entirely drama-free lifestyle, somewhat at odds with the approach many people take, which is to bitch about drama without doing anything much to stop it, minimize it, or to set boundaries about it. I don’t really understand that. I’ll just be over here, doing my thing, my way.

I sip my coffee and contemplate the weekend to come. I’ll be here at my place, working on feeling more at home in my own space, and being committed more willfully to the path in front of me, myself, and this journey I am on. Does that sound “selfish”? I guess it could be called that; I am living my life. This one. The one I live myself. It is, unavoidably, my own. I’ll get some housework done. Spend some time in the studio, painting. Maybe get a nice hike in – the weather looks like it will be good for it.

I think about my Traveling Partner. I wonder how he is doing. I think about the upheaval in his day-to-day experience, and wonder at his ability to roll with so much change, so regularly. I doubt that I would be able to easily accommodate that amount of chaos in my own experience (these days), and chuckle to recall that I was once the most chaotic element of his experience. Tons of people in my social network live with far more chaos and turmoil than I choose for myself. I don’t really understand the choice to do so, but I’ve only understood it as a matter of choice, myself, for a relatively short while (a handful of years, during which I have been choosing differently, most of the time). It’s a challenging change of thinking to accept that we choose our experience. It is a change that requires practice. Much of the time, a great deal of what we endure, of what we suffer, of what we experience daily is entirely self-selected; we not only chose it for ourselves, we set that shit up with great care. We worked at it.

…Or… We did not specifically work at creating something different. There’s that. Either way; there are verbs involved.

We become what we practice. We live the life we choose (and build) for ourselves. There is so much power in that awareness, so much opportunity to change, and grow, and become the person we most want to be… but. We are each walking our own mile. It’s a very individual experience we’re all having, alone, together. Can you do a better job of it? I can’t answer that for you; I only know I can. It just takes practice(s).

Who do you most want to be? What are you doing to become that person, authentically? Where will your journey take you? I don’t have answers to those questions; I’m over here walking my own mile. πŸ˜‰

It’s time to begin again.

 

Which matters more, skillful self-care or following through on plans? Or, how about this one, is keeping regular hours more important than “being there” for a friend? Or, what about “work life balance” – is the work more important than the life? Is the income more important than the quality of the experience? Is it more necessary to be a skillful emotionally self-sufficient adult, or to hold on to a child-like sense of wonder, whimsy, and joy?

Here’s a thought; maybe stop trying to divide every damned thing neatly into two clear choices? Life does not actually exist in that form in any common way. We have immense power over our own experience, through our choices, and life’s menu is far more vast than any one false dichotomy.

Yes – good self-care really matters. When I don’t care for myself skillfully (nutrition meals, appropriate caloric intake, good sleep hygiene, getting enough exercise, taking prescribed medication on time as directed, following a strict meditation practice, and generally treating myself as someone who matters to me), my world and my experience of life slowly begins to degrade over time, until my quality of life overall suffers, and I am not the person I most want to be.

Yes – following through on commitments matter. We count on each other as a community. Our shared strength far exceeds our individual strengths. Planning and following through allows us all to level up based on shared strengths.

Yes – work/life balance matters; when we work for pay, what we “earn” is a direct conversion of our life force into spendable currency that we need to meet other obligations and care for ourselves, but it also comes at the cost of giving up precious limited life time, life force, and individual resources. Clearly, there needs to be a balance, and most likely that balance should favor us as individuals, rather than our employers, generally. Or so it seems to me. We are not machinery.

Yes – learning to adult skillfully takes a lot of the strain out of adulting at all. If we can’t adult for ourselves, more than likely we’ve pushed that burden off onto someone else, who is now having to be the grown up in the room for more than one person. Be your own boss. Be your own grown up. Be the person you most want to be.

Yes – child-like wonder, a sense of whimsy and fun, a playful nature, and the willingness to let go a little, and to enjoy life, are delicious additions to a generally adult experience of life. I highly recommend it – but perhaps not the expense of the adulting basics necessary to keep one’s shit together appropriately day-to-day. <shrugs> I don’t know. Do you.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not a choice between two things. That’s a gross over-simplification of how real life works for real people in a real world; it’s so much more complicated than that, so much richer. Choices. Subtlety. Nuance. All the things.

I know. It sounds like a lot to deal with, and it is so easy to become overwhelmed. Narrowing things down to two clear choices seems so much easier – but that’s an illusion. It’s a game we made up that doesn’t really work very well, due to overlooking all the many other choices beyond just whatever to we’ve decided to admit exist in the moment. Mix and match. Choose your adventure. Allow yourself the freedom to look at the whole menu, don’t just sit down to life’s table and fall back on some shortcut for efficiency’s sake – this is your fucking life!! Live it.

Should I go to the store for windshield washer fluid at the end of a long work day – because I do need it – or should I “just skip it” because I am tired? Well, come on now, there are clearly more choices, right? I could… pick it up on the morning from the gas station down the street on my way. I could order it online and have it delivered, and hope that I don’t really need it sooner than that. I could make some homemade from ingredients on hand. So… yeah. More than two choices, by far. This is true of most experiences. Give yourself a chance to consider more than two choices. Yes, and even consider choices that you, perhaps, see as “not really an option”; you may be filtering out more than you realize.

False dichotomies are everywhere in our thinking. Advertising is practically built on them. Politics, too. It’s a lot of bullshit, frankly, and we can do better. That is also a choice. Are you ready to choose differently? Are you ready to begin again?

I woke early this morning. Like… really awake. Rested. Alerted. Not sleeping. Inconveniently enough, at 2:17 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I wandered around the house in the darkness for a few minutes. Finally decided to go ahead and just be up and retrieved my glasses from the nightstand. I am up too early to take my morning medication. I make an iced coffee, black. I set a reminder about the medication.

I scroll through my “news feed” on Facebook and wonder if maybe Facebook should stop calling it that? I close the app, done with it, and committed to avoiding the old practice of just… endlessly scrolling. There’s nothing new to be gained in doing so, and much time to be lost. I sip my coffee. Cold, refreshing, served in a wine glass.

3:00 a.m.Β It has its own feel, doesn’t it? It does for me. The “quietest point in the night”. Stillness. Darkness. It’s rare to live with people who are awake at 3:00 am. I often am. I knew someone once who referred to it as “the bottom of the night”. I don’t remember who.

Other people feel differently about “the strange hour” of morning. Is it night? Is it morning? Should I be wakeful? Oh no, I’m not sleeping! I used to find maximum anxiety sleepless at 3:00 am… that was rather a while ago. Maybe a long time. These days… if I’m awake, I’m awake. I’ll sleep another time. Clearly not now. I sip my coffee in the studio and look over the work I have laid out, work in progress, the open sketchbook on the extended work surface created by storage cabinets filled with paintings. I smirk at my artistic productivity and feel a moment of sympathy for whoever has to deal with that when I’m gone. I make a note to keep better notes, to archive more meticulously, to practice better practices as an artist, not just as a human being. I am awake, being me, at 3:00 am. Who else would I be?

My open inbox on an alternate browser tab sits ready in case my Traveling Partner is also awake. It is undisturbed except for the trickle of spam emails from businesses and whatnot, arriving one by one during the wee hours. As they come in, conveniently one at a time, I unsubscribe. It seems too much effort when faced with a full inbox at 5:00 am on a week day. 3:00 am on a Saturday morning, one at a time? Ideal for unsubscribing (your results may vary).Β  (Turns out my Traveling Partner is awake, and he pings me back cute loving emoji; he’s working the trailing end of a Friday night gig, too busy for more, even at 3:00 a.m.)

This delicious quiet time took years to develop; it exists beyond the anxiety about sleeplessness, beyond the anxiety about “why am I awake?”, beyond the anxiety about “how will I go on?” and beyond the anxiety about all the things that plague a tired mind struggling to sleep at 3:00 am. This delicious gentle peaceful quiet time only exists because I created it for myself. Yep. You get to create this experience – choose it, build it, enjoy it – if you want it. Or, alternatively, you can also choose to dwell in anxiety in the wee hours. πŸ˜‰ Not my call to make for you.

There are other versions of 3:00 a.m., of course. The Party People know what I’m talking about. The performers know. Ravers. DJs. Bands. The graveyard workers know too. The breakfast cooks and bakers getting the day started before the dawn, they know. So many versions of 3:00 a.m. Sitting in the quiet darkness of suburbia, windows dark in the neighborhood, and only the eerie light of occasional streetlights glowing, marking the way for the stray early morning traveler, all I hear is quiet. The busy street at the end of my driveway is silent. It won’t last. The Saturday adventurers headed for fishing, hiking, camping or road trips, will begin to make their way up the road around 4:00 am. The community will slowly wake, a bit at a time, as the dawn unfolds. But right now? The stillness wraps me, effortlessly. I linger in it, luxuriously.

Coffee #1 for the day is almost gone. Coffee #2 is only a daydream, a hint of a plan, a thought that perhaps a lovely hot mug of coffee out on the deck, in the chill of pre-dawn darkness, listening to peeping frogs and early birds waking, would be a nice start to the Saturday. I laugh, realizing I started Saturday some time ago. Before 3:00 am. I hear the traffic begin and notice the time – 3:56 a.m.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜‰ It’s 4 in the morning.

Well, here it is Monday… again…already… What a good weekend. So good, actually, it’s hard to look back on it without some measure of guilt, knowing my Traveling Partner did not have such a good experience with his weekend. Hard to look ahead to the day, too; I’ve got another doctor’s appointment, another diagnostic procedure. An entire work week ahead, beyond today, too. I’m already less than excited about that. lol Clearly, new beginnings have value – and I could use one this morning.

I am already feeling a little aggravated, and it’s foolish – exceedingly foolish. Honestly, any time the word “aggravated” finds its way into the same sentence with the brand “Facebook”, well… yeah. Totally foolish. I laugh and let that dumb shit go. New beginnings are often as easy as letting something go. πŸ™‚

With my morning quickly restarted, I still find that I am less than ideally engaged with the concept of “work”, generally. πŸ™‚ I have so much of my own stuff to do. I learn that all over again every time I take a long weekend, a vacation, any kind of real break from the day-to-day grind. The reminder is writ large and in bold strokes. Life exists beyond our employment. We are not defined by (or limited by) our occupation – the world is so much larger than a job. πŸ™‚

A few minutes exchanged with my Traveling Partner. How does this one human being so easily nurture and support me, treat me well, value me, and respect my heart, from such a great distance? I still crush on this guy like a teenager. Hilarious. πŸ™‚ We talk briefly about the weekend. The present. Our future. Friends. A pleasant conversation with my partner over my morning coffee. The world feels… right. I finish my coffee smiling. It’s a good beginning.