Archives for posts with tag: coming home

I woke around 3 am, and made a point of not getting up. I eventually fell asleep again, and slept in until almost 6 am! I woke slowly in the stillness and quiet of a pre-dawn Thursday. Another day of moving in, but planning to make a final visit to the old place, sweep up, vacuum, and hand over the keys.

I live here now. This new place. My aches and pains are here. My joyful moments will be here too. My peace and contentment are already here… I unpacked those yesterday, I suppose. 🙂 My coffee is definitely here. My restless rather disorganized approach to housekeeping is here, too. My baggage and limitations are here… pretty sure I just saw those a minute ago…but in the calm of a lovely morning, I’ve misplaced them.

Yesterday I finished moving into the kitchen, which really needed to happen quickly; frequent meals out, delivered, or taken home from elsewhere are not sustainable indefinitely. This morning I woke to a minimum balance reminder I’d previously set to protect myself from over-spending during the move. Well, shit. That snuck up on me. My inner dialogue this morning is all to do with money, and budgets, and being attentive to details… less chastising than reinforcing.

4 years ago, I’d have probably been in hysterics for hours, freaked completely out both by seeing that reminder, and also simply because I was having to think about money. Particularly first thing in the morning (or right before bed, or at any time that wasn’t planned in advance, or … ) This time? I rolled over, and before I was even quite awake, calmly moved some money into that account in quite a routine way, and moved on with my morning with a firm thought in mind that I’ve exhausted my moving budget, and life moves on with the regular day-to-day budgeting in mind. Things will be tight this week. I’m not particularly concerned, because I specifically prepared for this. 🙂 It’s a nice feeling.

…I manage to be mildly irked with myself, and realize I’d been betting I could “bring this project to a close on time and under budget”… and I missed. On time, sure, easily… if I only count the moving out bit. lol Under budget? Nope. My skills at anticipating costs and making a budget have grown over time, it wasn’t likely I was going to spend less on this move – I was accurate about what it would cost me. I’ve been pretty accurate about how much time it would all take me, too. lol I sip my coffee thoughtfully and decide to celebrate that I budgeted and planned so accurately, instead of celebrating how much less I was able to spend that I expected I might. 😀 Win!! 😉

I take time to care for the stressed out roses, and also to appreciate “Fireworks”, which arrived and immediately burst into bloom. What needs my attention no longer prevents me from appreciating what can be enjoyed.

On a more serious note, when I allow myself to become attached to an outcome, I may as well also plan to be quite frustrated, disappointed, and chronically unhappy, because those will likely be common experiences. Over time I have continued to practice letting go of being attached to outcomes, simply because my “crystal ball” tends to be sort of smudgy and vague, and I am often incorrect about the direction life may go, or the outcome of one choice or set of circumstances or another. Being willing to embrace change, and able to enjoy what is, even when it isn’t what I wanted, or what I was going for, results in a fairly frequent opportunity to simply enjoy myself, enjoy my life, enjoy my circumstances. It’s nice. Non-attachment is a pretty big deal for me. Effective.

I live here, now.

I guess I call this move done, at this point. I live here, rather than there. There’s more to do to move in, but it’s all right here. The “moving budget” is exhausted. Life moves on from moving to… whatever is next, I guess. Laundry probably. lol  Housekeeping. The moving in, itself, becomes part of… life. Hell, friends have already begun making plans to come around. I definitely live here, now. I slept in. I sleep deeply and wake gently, even in the night. I can find my way around the place, in the dark, mostly. I’ve done dishes here, and cooked a proper meal. The pantry is stocked. My clothes hang in the closet. The miscellaneous crap currently strewn on the bathroom counter is mine. This is home. My new “drama-free zone”.

There’s more to do. More time to do it. There will be verbs involved. My results may vary. I live here, though, and this is my place. I am content. This is enough. 🙂

This morning I woke gently, slightly before the alarm clock. I got up feeling nauseous, which is odd; I often feel ill after my morning medication, but I hadn’t had it yet. For the first time in decades unexpected nausea in the morning doesn’t cause me to wonder if I am pregnant. (Yay, menopause!) I lay down for another minute or two to let the nausea pass, if it might be due to getting up too quickly and making myself dizzy. It does pass; I exchange it for hiccups.

It will be a hot day according to the forecast, so I wear cool summer clothes; in the chill of morning I am chilly and feeling a bit underdressed. I know the feeling will pass when I begin the walk to work, and it has me thinking about the a/c in the office – perhaps I should take a light sweater to leave at work for these hotter summer months?

I have worked out the theme and selected the canvases for the long wall along my living room. Many of them have never previously been hung, they do not yet have hanging hardware on them, and some of them are unframed (and clearly meant to be framed). I have a vision, and I am not yet ready to proceed. The lovely sheers for the patio window, too, are ready to hang…only the bracket to support the curtain rod is not quite long enough to reach past the vertical blinds in the intended way.

It isn't always clear where my path will take me.

It isn’t always clear where my path will take me.

In other times in my life any one of these somewhat frustrating circumstances could have blown my day, my experience, or at a minimum my mood. Instead, and seemingly without effort, I feel more or less prepared for each circumstance facing me, and that’s enough. I have forward momentum. I am not stalled in my tracks by other steps, small delays, or minor detours; these experiences are also part of the journey. I didn’t do significant work on this directly – although managing my frustration (rather, my lack of skill at dealing with it) has been on my ‘to do list’ for a very long time. It’s another bit of internal change that is going on as result of other practices, and day-to-day reductions in stress. I didn’t understand the degree to which managing day-to-day stress would improve things that didn’t seem directly stress related in my understanding of things. It’s very efficient, and I smile at the recognition that I am getting a lot of good results from a few simple changes, a handful of good practices, and a commitment to some verbs.

Well, sure, that makes sense...

Well, sure, that makes sense…

There is more to do. It feels a little awkward lately how often I sit down to write and find that few challenges speak up to be spoken about within the quiet of my thoughts. That’s no great tragedy, obviously, it just seems a bit unsettling to be so content – happy? – for so long. More than a month with so little drama that drama seems not to exist, and so little stress that I can count on one hand the number of times I have wept helplessly since I moved into my own place – and it doesn’t require all my fingers. I get more moved in every week, and the small details matter. Once I evicted my arachnid roommates (they were not paying rent, and biting me all the damned time), I settled into contentment, and life, on a new level. I don’t know that I have words for it – or that there is any way to share the experience in a comfortable rational way without sounding like I am bragging, or being smug. It is a humbling experience because I am both challenged to express it, and a little frightened by it – if I stare into the face of contentment, will it take its leave of my experience? It’s silly, but I have never been here before and I just don’t really  know.

I have lived alone a couple of times previously (it never lasted long), and never found this level of contentment for more than hours or days. My first exploration of living alone was when I left my violent first husband. I moved into a tiny partially furnished apartment in low-income housing. I spent most of my time anxiously peering through the curtains to check if he was still parked outside, sleeping in his car, or looking over my shoulder to determine where he was, somewhere behind me (he often was). It was not ever an experience characterized by contentment. I was trying to survive. The next time I made an attempt to live alone I had left my first husband permanently, and although I loved my quiet beige and white apartment, I spent most of my time anxious that my ex was still stalking me, worried about money, and struggling with my libido. Living alone didn’t last long, and it was not an experience characterized by contentment; I was still looking for ‘happily ever after’, contentment was not an idea whose time had come for me.  I don’t consider experiences with barracks life, or shared living, any sort of ‘living alone’ – there are just too many people outside those doors to qualify in any way as ‘solo living’ in the same sense. I also can’t realistically count circumstances where I was alone for a time when housemates, family, or partners were away for however long; not my house, not my rules, not my way.

I didn’t know what to expect when I moved into Number 27. I love this place. Oh, sure, it’s a rental and it’s an older one. The carpet is worn. The appliances (whether new or not) are modest, fairly sturdy and commonplace sorts. The kitchen and bathroom are small, on the edge of ‘cramped’. It is in a largish community, and my windows look out onto the lives of others. Generally speaking, it’s an ordinary enough sort of rental of (as it turns out) minimal square footage to be comfortable for me. I moved in prepared to struggle with sorrow, loneliness, frustration, privation, isolation… and I’ve had brief moments of sorrow, usually hormones or fatigue are involved, the loneliness turns out to be less about whether I am alone and much more about the quality and nature of interactions I have with lovers, however remote. Frustration? I don’t know, now and then I guess, in a very ordinary way, hardly attention-getting. Privation? Not a thing here. Isolation? Also not a thing here. This is my home. I love it here. I don’t mind that it is an older rental and a bit run down; I keep a tidy well-cared for home, and it is mine, and it is lovely and welcoming. The small ordinary details that fall short of ideal teach me what I am looking for in a ‘forever home’… which may turn out to be very like this wee place that is so very much home to me now (perhaps a bit larger in the kitchen, bath, and living room…) only situated somewhere a bit more private.

I once spent a lot of time daydreaming about ‘the perfect home’, and in my daydreams it kept getting grander, larger, fancier, more remote, more secure, with more interesting luxuries, more features, more gadgets…turns out, in real life, all I really want and need is… enough.

The path branches, forks, detours, and the way is not always clear - but the journey is what it is, I am my own cartographer, and enough is enough.

The path branches, forks, detours, and the way is not always clear – but the journey is what it is, I am my own cartographer, and enough is enough.

Today is a good day to let events unfold with an open mind. Today is a good day to coast through the small challenges on a smile. Today is good day for ‘enough’.

I am thinking of a hot summer day, humid, sweltering in the still air, waiting for a summer storm, or a breeze, or an excuse to retreat to any room with an air conditioner in the window. I am thinking of the past. It is a metaphor playing out a bit like a video in my imagination. Car on blocks in the driveway, hood up, and a sweat soaked mechanic head down over the engine, peering into the darkness below the machinery, gesturing vaguely with a wrench and calling out probably relevant information over her shoulder. “Yep…Here’s yer problem! Wiring’s crossed. You got no spark.”

It’s not a moment of ‘real’, it is a fiction, and I smile as I walk on toward the light rail station to head to work, thinking about the things that work, the things that don’t, and the colorful gentle humor of the way I ‘communicate with myself’ while I walk – not quite fiction, not quite memory, sort of ‘live action’, something like a screenplay, a bit like watching a ‘choose your own adventure’ video… and as useful as any other thought I might craft, truly, without the potential hurts of assuming it is ‘real’ and therefore more valid, or valued, than other thinking. I let my imagination jump the chasm across my injury to bring insights from me to myself. lol I learn some things through my mind’s eye and the Theater of Absurd Conclusions… and sometimes I just enjoy it.

Spring is approaching. My daydreams are filled with trails, trees, wee creatures watching warily as I pass, plans for hikes, and camping to come, and thoughts of home, and home making. (Go ahead, define the difference between ‘house’ and ‘home’ and get back to me; I’ll wait.) I am in a place in life when ‘putting down roots’ and feeling at home – really ‘at home’ – matters a great deal… but it isn’t something I’ve experienced very often in life, and learning good practices for building a sense of home isn’t as simple as it once seemed in the abstract.

…I am quite fortunate to be well-supported, emotionally, by my traveling partner on life’s journey (and… the secret is out – that’s why he is my ‘traveling partner’; we are traveling, together, on life’s journey). It’s quite a long trip from where I once was, to where I someday hope to be – it’s nice having some company along the way. 🙂

So for now, I walk on, still learning, still practicing, still putting intent and will (and some verbs) into finding my way ‘home’.

I can feel at home in a tent, among the trees... so home is not a building.

I can feel at home in a tent, among the trees… so home is not a building.

There's something about garden flowers that feels like home.

There’s something about garden flowers that feels like home.

Home is where the art is.

Home is where the art is. “Summer Meadow” 12″x16″ acrylic on canvas w/glow. 2014

 

Feeling at home transcends permanence.

Feeling at home can transcend permanence of place, but I don’t count on it; some places never feel like home.

Home is a feeling...

Home is a feeling… or a matter taste.

Something that connects who we once were...

Something that connects who we once were…

...and who we are, now...

…and who we are, now…

...with what matters most. "You Always Have My Heart" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas with glow.

…with what matters most.
“You Always Have My Heart” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas with glow.

How will I "find my way home"? "Daytime in The Nightmare City" 10" x 14" acrylic on canvas with glow, glitter and micaceous oxide. Indoor light, charged. 2014

How will I “find my way home”?
“Daytime in The Nightmare City” 10″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas with glow, glitter and micaceous oxide. Indoor light, charged. 2014

 

 

I woke early this morning. It was very late before I fell asleep. A short night; there are potential consequences later in the day, when I start to feel fatigued. These days that is nothing more than something to be mindful of, to account for with kindness and compassion – and patience with myself.  At this early hour, that’s all theory for later. For now, I am quietly enjoying the too-brief tranquility of mornings and studying. This morning I am studying concepts of attachment and ‘clinging’ that undermine growth, development, ‘becoming’, and emotional resilience.

Sure, why not?

Sure, why not?

I spent a few moments, recently, grieving the loss of a particular experience I wholly enjoy. Like so many things, it could be that its time has simply passed; change is.  I experienced the sadness of that, the loss, and generally such moments feel destructive, joyless, and despairing to me. Yesterday I deviated from my norm, some glitch in my programming turned up and… I understood concepts related to attachment that I have been struggling with for some time now.  Change is. Growth happens through change – whether we embrace it or not – but the nature and extent of our growth may be affected by whether we embrace change or struggle with it.

Change is part of life.

Change is part of life.

I’m not saying I like the concept. I’m just saying yesterday I woke up to an important idea, and accepted it; when I can let go of attachment to specific experiences, possessions, or qualities of character I have chosen as ‘my identity’, I can achieve something new, try something, experience more, and move forward on life’s trajectory.  Even the most perfect of lovely mornings, repeated endlessly, could grow stale.  So, okay, I can find contentment in change…loss still hurts. Saying good-bye can still feel sad. Grief and grieving are still honest and heartfelt emotional experiences that are likely for most of us, at some point in life. Nothing unique there… but I grieve a broken porcelain demi-tasse cup with the emotional depth and intensity that some save for losses of life, and it occurs to me that may not be the best way to take care of my heart, or treat myself well.

I see this same scenario play out in other lives, too; at work, having to change schedules unexpectedly, it isn’t unusual for a coworker facing such a change to take it all very personally, to cling to what they know, and to fight change with a ferocity one might find reasonable on a battlefield…and then to see that same coworker happily embracing new opportunities opened by that change in schedule, once they experience it. Change is scariest when I cling tightly to what I have right now, to avoid facing change, itself.  It mattered yesterday because I was contemplating a change in household hours/schedules that can’t help but throw my own routine out of whack, and that sort of thing sometimes takes me weeks to adjust to.  I realized I was not helping myself by holding on to my attachment to what had been.  I still feel sad that I may be letting a delightful emotional butterfly flutter away…but I am also grateful to have enjoyed it so much, for so long.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile 'now'.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile ‘now’.

There are so many experiences I have enjoyed that just aren’t part of my experience now. Every one of them remains part of my experience over time, and my history. Each has value as a treasured memory. Each exists as a sort of random card in an infinite deck of things I enjoy that could reoccur. Many of them won’t. Holding on to them, refusing change, prevents me from embracing new experiences to add to that infinite deck.  Sounds so easy, so obvious…but…

I really like sipping ice-cold root beer and sitting near the fan on the screen porch at Grandmother’s house, eavesdropping on adult conversations on a humid summer afternoon.

I really like playing monopoly or cribbage by the tent stove, with my motor pool colleagues, waiting for my guard duty shift.

I really like running bare footed down the trails in the woods, where I was not supposed to be playing and could generally be found (with some effort) any childhood summer morning.

I really like lazy Sundays with generous brunches, sleeping in, a lot of sex, a great playlist, and a bit of gardening.

I really like late night strolls through park-like old residential neighborhoods on balmy summer nights.

I really like spending the day out on the water on my grandparent’s sail boat.

I really like being out at the range, honing my skills, and competing with myself and feeling like a bad ass.

I really like keeping a few chickens.

I really like slipping away to a nearby swimming hole on a Friday when I could be working, but the broad blue skies of Oklahoma suggest otherwise.

I really like hanging out with a lover, sharing anecdotes about who we each are, growing closer, and laughing together over coffee or lovemaking.

I really like new love and romance.

I really like being between jobs and taking months off for me.

I really like summer vacation.

…And I miss these things. There are a lot of experiences, moments, and relationships that I enjoy right now that I won’t have in some tomorrow down the road. Just like that list of experiences I am not having in my now.  Some of them I may experience again. Some of them I may never experience again.  Hell, some of them I don’t want to experience if to do so I have to return to the life or context in which I had them before. That’s something to consider, there.

So. Sure. It makes sense to let go. To accept change. To adapt. What comes next? Something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Today is a good day to embrace change.

After numerous flight delays, I finally reached my destination, and a taxi. I was one 40 minute cab ride away from home.

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My homecoming was delightful, warm, loving, supportive. I know we hung out for a little while, I know souvenirs were brought forth, shared, discussed. There may have been an anecdote shared, or two.  I think we ‘got caught up’. I didn’t stay  up late, but I didn’t rush to bed, either; Las Vegas got me used to just going and going and going…ending the evening and going to sleep was challenging, in spite of obvious signs of exhaustion.

Yesterday happened. Most of it involved sleeping. I woke in the morning, too early, had coffee and started an argument. It hadn’t been my intention, and in-the-moment I wouldn’t have described the circumstances that way, but looking back, the step-by-step process of ‘starting shit’ was evident, and well-followed with considerable precision. I was still so incredibly fatigued that I was highly volatile, and that’s a poor moment to attempt conversation about political matters –  important or otherwise. This was not ‘important’. I was just killing time, waiting for an entirely other sort of moment, actually, and my choices were poor.  (Not surprising, really, my decision-making when I am fatigued is often quite peculiarly poor, and I suspect it is due to the specifics of my TBI.) I went back to bed, once it became clear I just wasn’t rested enough yet to be fit to interact with human beings.

Yesterday I slept 16.5 hours, waking 4 times for various reasons, and durations of time. I managed to drink about 128 ounces of water (thank you Hello Kitty water bottle!). I even managed to fit in some meditation, some yoga, and a couple short walks.  Apparently that is what it takes me to recover from 4 days in Las Vegas. lol (I think we could all have done without including a nasty tearful temper tantrum, next time I’ll try that.)

I am excited to be home. I am rested. Life feels very good.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to change the world.