Archives for posts with tag: cultivating contentment

I’m sipping my coffee enjoying a moment of fond appreciation and gratitude for the life I am living, and love I am fortunate to enjoy. There are no guarantees; circumstances change. Change is. Count on it!

Sometimes small surprises really turn a day or week around. 🙂 I got a nice little package from my cousin. I had sent her a wee note card a couple weeks ago. I think very fondly of her, and we haven’t stayed in touch very well. She replied, and sent me a couple cute quilted items she had made. They are delightful. I’m still smiling. I feel loved. It was such a thoughtful gesture.

Yesterday, my Traveling Partner surprised me with a substantial token of his affection – handmade in wood, a symbol of balance. It’s lovely, and sits here on my desk, just past my keyboard. I don’t know where I will place it longer-term. I like it sitting right here, where I can see it. On my desk, I’ve also got the desk caddy he custom made for me in his shop; holds my stuff, in the relative positions where I would place them on the bare desk, in the order I generally use them. It’s brilliant and I love it. He made a pizza peel for us shortly after we moved in. I use it any time we make pizza. Sometimes I use it as a big trivet. lol

Balance and perspective – critical tools.

I’m starting the morning in a good place. I feel settled and contented. I feel loved. Valued. It’s nice. It hasn’t been effortless getting from “where I was” to “where I am”, and I won’t say that I don’t see a continued journey extending ahead me. 🙂 I am still learning, every day, what it takes to be the woman – the human being – I most want to be. It’s not a journey about money, or material success and comfort, and I definitely don’t see value in making it a competition with other human beings on their own individual journeys. I’m just one woman on this one path of my own, enjoying a quiet Saturday morning over a cup of coffee, and feeling grateful to be as fortunate as I have been.

Spring – the pear trees on the other side of the fence have begun to notice, too.

I’m eager to be back in the spring garden. I’ve got my early stuff planted – but I’ve also apparently got a raccoon “helper” who has been rummaging around in the grow bags I’ve planted with carrots and scallions, and I may need to do some damage control. lol My space for gardening is very limited, so the veggies will mostly be in grow bags, and when warmer weather comes, I’ll add a couple hydroponic pots for things like peppers. I hope to grow some Japanese eggplant, too, but honestly I think those are quite beautiful plants, and I’ll just put them into the flower beds out front. 😀

My veggie garden getting started for the year.

In the simplest terms, it is a pleasant weekend morning. I’m enjoying that quite deliberately, sipping my coffee and thinking about the many things I am grateful for. Embracing joy and cultivating contentment are worthy endeavors; in my own experience “happy” has not come “naturally”, it has taken quite a lot of commitment and work to get past all that ancient pain, all that anger, all that despair. It’s for sure worthy effort, but… it is effort. It does take attention, and practice to make changes. I smile to myself; this morning is sure damned close to feeling “effortless”, and that’s something amazing (and very much worth enjoying while it lasts).

I queue up some gardening videos. I immediately find my mind wandering to cooking… I laugh and drink my coffee. My delight is not affected; if I’d queued up a cooking video, I’d have been thinking about the garden. This is where my happy place is – here at home, where I can cook, and garden, and hang out with my lover (even in when we aren’t in the same room, I feel his presence here at home with me).

Sure, I’ll begin the day again, after I finish this coffee… nothing fancy planned. Grocery shopping. Run an errand. Get out in the garden. Love my partner. It’s a lovely day for all of that. That’s enough.

The sunlight is beginning to fade – early evening, approaching sunset, and still another couple hours (guessing) of day light before dusk settles. This is a favorite time of day, for me. I love the light, in the evenings. I enjoy the way the peach and gold and amber tones give a moment a certain luster it might otherwise lack.

…The election is approaching… Yeah, I know, me too; no real desire to talk about, struggle to avoid the inevitable next news story, talking head, or conversation in which the election is the topic of conversation. I mean, for fucks’ sake, vote. Please take at least that quite seriously. There’s no point in attempting to sway your individual viewpoint; we’ve all “shown up” and we’ve all attempted to make our point very clear over the past four years, with little success most of the time, and we’re all exhausted, frustrated, and saddened by the friendships ended by the divisiveness of the current administration. It’s been ugly. Let’s just get this shit over with, and just maybe begin life anew, sometime in November, rebuilding relationships, reaching across divides, maybe even “unburning” some bridges? I mean… we could. We so easily could begin again. 😉

Where will your path take you?

It can be so tempting to hang the entire future on a moment. Election or otherwise, there is so much more potential to an entire future than one moment. Just saying.

I’ve stopped reading news articles that lead with a headline of some doomsday scenario that is 100% pure imagination and potential, with nothing actually supporting the likelihood. I mean… I could tumble into a nearby creek after being struck by lightening while being bitten by a snake… but it seems unlikely. If I plan my day around that potential, or imagine a future that is dependent on the outcomes that could only result from that happenstance, I haven’t done anything particularly useful for my emotional wellness, my outlook on life, or even managed to be adequately prepared for what may actually be in my probable possible futures. lol I’m taking this thought farther than a “don’t catastrophize” reminder…

…It wasn’t so long ago that I was reading the news so compulsively, and so often, that my “state of mind” was adversely affected. I was anxious to the point of madness – and mostly over shit that had neither truth to it, nor noteworthy probability of actually occurring. I’ve stopped doing that, figuring that “falling behind on current events” by hours or days is a small price to pay for enjoying my life, and maintaining my sanity. 🙂 It’s already difficult enough to know how to be effective in the world… trying to do that on the basis of a bunch of alarming made up shit makes it just that much less likely that I’ll do anything besides become spun out and exhausted with frustration and outrage. (Perhaps that is truly the point of that style of “news” reporting? Render us captivated… but ineffective…?)

Reminder: COVID-19 – the pandemic? Remember that? Yeah. That’s not “made up shit”. That’s real. Just saying. Your choices matter. Protect each other. Practice social distancing. Wear a mask. Stay home when you’re sick and work on getting well. The pandemic is not a wholesale attack on our fucking civil liberties, and yes, it can “get to you” too. The lockdowns are a drag, I know. People are bored and eager to get out again. It’s hard. I get it. Fine. Do you. The death toll is climbing. Your choices affect other people – people who matter to you, not just far away strangers. (If you don’t believe that, I won’t convince you, now, I just don’t want to be that person who didn’t point it out when it came up in conversation. I guess I’m literally “just saying…”)

Weird time. The pandemic has been part of this entire year… I take a moment to consider that. I let myself begin again, new moment, new thoughts.

It’s quiet here in my studio. I hear the sound of a saw in my Traveling Partner’s wood shop in the garage. Sounds of home. I smile. Contentment may not be “the same as” happiness… still, I like it very much… and at this point, the line between feeling “happy” and feeling “contented” is rather blurry. I’m okay with that. I can so easily practice contentment, through sufficiency, observation, presence, acceptance, and non-attachment. Contentment builds over time. Practice by practice, moment by moment. Chasing happiness was neither satisfying, nor, as it turns out, was it particularly achievable. 🙂 I’m pretty okay where I stand in my life, today. It’s enough. 😀

What does it take to be “happy”? Sometimes autumn pears are enough… sometimes it takes a bit more work (and patience, and practice).

I think over the day. The week. The summer. The move. This peculiar year. Life in the time of pandemic…

…Then I begin again.

I slept poorly last night. I’m not taking that personally this morning. It’s a lovely morning. I sort of slept in. The coffee, shared with my Traveling Partner, was quite good. We sat out on the deck, listening to the birds, watching clouds drift by, and enjoying gentle conversation. I can’t imagine needing more than this. I sit quietly alone for a few minutes, here at my keyboard. I give myself time to savor these precious moments.

There is a day, and long weekend, still ahead.

My partner points out that the deck is spacious, suitably so for painting. He expresses some surprise that I’ve not yet had my easel out on the deck, painting. I find myself surprised, too. It’s been a busy time since we started down the path of moving into our home… little time, it has seemed, for painting, or really any sort of creative endeavors…only… I hear him in the garage, this morning (which has fairly quickly become a very organized woodworking shop through his efforts)… I find it inspiring to hear him working creatively. My eye wanders to the deck. I think about the tasks ahead if I were to undertake to paint out on the deck, this weekend… my studio is still in a sort-of-orderly state of disarray, awaiting repair work. My easel? It’s in the farthest least accessible corner of the room, tucked in behind the long expanse of my desk. Paint brushes? Put away in the drawers where I keep them… which happen to be those on the far side of the desk, over there near the easel. Paint and canvas are much more easily within reach, requiring only some general care and common sense to get at them. That easel though… I’ll need to move two bookcases… and move them back… and a stack of paintings that are placed “just so”, safely out of reach of contractor work space… with some care and patience, it’s not that big a challenge. It’s just some physical effort.

…Do I have the will…?

I smile and sip the dregs of my coffee. The day had originally been forecast to be very hot. It’s not looking like that will be a concern today, really, and the forecast has since changed. Cooler temperatures are now in the forecast. Suitable for painting outside? Yes, and for walking. 🙂 I think that’s my “next thing”, today – a walk. The nearby farmer’s market at the grange will open shortly, and it is pleasantly on the way for most walks I might take near home. They practice good social distancing, and folks are comfortable staying masked, which I appreciate. We finally found a good value in a set of pots and pans for the new house (many of those I had been getting by with before had lived out their useful lifespan and needed replacing). We’ve been doing a lot of summer cooking, out on the grill, and pots and pans were a low priority, but occasionally cooler weather reminded me they’d be needed for soups and casseroles, and things cooked in pots, generally, and my high level of background inspiration also finds me wanting to cook, to bake, and to make things at home. I remind myself to bring a re-usable bag along with me when I go walking.

Home. Feels like we’re really “there”… here. 🙂

Contentment can be cultivated. 

I did not notice until I sat down this morning that the busy week had so occupied my consciousness that I haven’t written in days. Funny that I failed to notice it altogether. (If you have been missing me, I recommend an assortment of older posts – so many words!) Strange to be this content, moment to moment. Even my “to do” list is taking on new characteristics, as tasks associated with moving and with getting settled are slowly replaced with routine housekeeping tasks, and items like “water the lawn” and “write a letter to ____” begin to show up.

…Yesterday, I sat so quietly on the deck, as evening began to take over from afternoon, a hummingbird landed on a taut bit of line that anchors one of the shades over the deck, very near me. We sat regarding each other for some time. I made no move to take her picture. It was simply a moment shared between creatures. There are more of those such moments as I get acclimated to the new environment, and slowly build new routines. I’m less patient with myself – and the process of getting settled in – that I would like to be. In spite of that, change is, and things are slowly finding new norms.

I look at the time. I feel the quiet of a Saturday morning. Seems a lovely morning for a walk… and I think it’s already time to begin again. 🙂