Archives for posts with tag: date night

Yesterday felt like a summer day. This morning a soft rain falls on a gray dawn, and the cool rain-fresh air fills the apartment. There will be no pastel sun rise this morning, only this soft rain falling, the sound of birdsong, and flat gray sky over the varied greens of lawn, meadow, and marsh beyond. I’m okay with that, it’s a lovely morning, and we need the rain. Storms pass. There are other days to fill with sunshine. 🙂

Storms pass.

I try not to let the weather slow me down. 🙂

I sip my coffee. It will be another hour before I lace up my boots and walk the rainy path through the park. I consider going the opposite direction than the path I typically take. Being comfortable with change seems  healthy. This week has felt both productive and leisurely – relaxed without being effortless, focused and purposeful without being obligation and drudgery. I have enjoyed my time, and my self.

Today my ‘to do list’ is focused on tying up loose ends of a variety of sorts, mostly basic housekeeping. I have a date with my traveling partner tonight, and I like to be able to set aside the housekeeping entirely while he is here and simply enjoy him, without a lot of fuss and bother.  One task (hanging drapes in the studio) has been carried forward from other lists on other days for some time now… I’ve been irked to see myself procrastinate on this detail of the moving in. This morning I notice again why I have put it off; it will require me to move my desk. I’ve no objection, it just makes hanging the drapes a project of a couple hours work, instead of a couple minutes, and overcoming the inertia caused by being content with my desk as it is, and the view out the window beyond as well, it’s hard to bother. (Once summer comes, I’ll be quite annoyed if I have still not hung the drapes; my studio is the warmest room in the house, and challenging to cool because the sun hits the window for a large portion of the day.) Hanging the drapes has value, although it isn’t my highest priority day-to-day. I could treat myself poorly over the continued procrastination on this task… I don’t. It’s simply not that big a deal. I let it go.

My sleep cycle has been thrown off a bit due to late nights in the charming company of my partner recently. I’m not complaining – totally worth it – I’m hoping, however, to rebuild good sleep habits before I go back to work. I woke this morning at 3:00 am, feeling that I’d slept through the night (but only about 5 hours), and when I tried to rise, was so groggy with fatigue there was no wiser choice than to return immediately to bed, but I slept quite restlessly and wakefully after that. Once or twice, now and then, this isn’t any sort of problem, but over time my emotional resilience and general well-being degrade if I don’t get enough sleep. (For me, ‘enough sleep’ tends to be a very routine 7.5-9 hours of more or less continuous sleep ‘through the night’, on whatever shift or hours I am living.) Good sleep requires practice. Yes, I’m serious – and practicing good sleep practices is another bunch of verbs. There are any number of informative articles about good sleep hygiene.

I stretch. Sip my coffee. Consider the day. Wonder why I wrote this blog post, which suddenly seems fairly mundane and somewhat uninteresting. I think about nice days, pleasant conversations, and easy moments; most of those are fairly mundane, and uninteresting to write about too, but they are experiences I enjoy greatly, and cherish. I think ahead to a romantic evening, and smile; my fingers and toes match (mani-pedi), and after I finish the laundry I’ll have favorite comfortable cute clothes laid out, ready to put on after my shower. It’s not so much ‘vanity’ as that I am a mammal, a human primate, and ‘sexy’ feels good. (Like a lot of things, practice, verbs, results vary; some of my challenges occasionally put me at risk of being slack on self-care details, and practicing good self-care is worth reinforcing.) I am eagerly putting effort into being ready to spend time with my partner; he’s absolutely worth the best I have to offer. There’s no stress to it, and the effort isn’t about being ‘good enough’ or being someone I am not; I make different choices in life, now. Self-acceptance, being comfortable in my own skin, and personal growth (and the effort to use the verbs) don’t seem to be mutually exclusive… I find it entirely okay to work at being me with greater skill. 😀 Today is a good day for that, gray skies and all.

Today is a good day to celebrate Love. (Most days are.)

Mornings like this one are nearly as challenging for me as difficult ones; it’s ‘too good’. That sounds silly put that way, and I’m smiling. Tired, too. My traveling partner and I enjoyed a Friday night that still finds me dizzyingly in love, stars in my eyes, a song in my heart, and a lifetime of romance on my mind. I slept well and deeply, although it was past midnight before I slept, and before 7:00 am when I woke. It is a slow and leisurely morning, and I haven’t decided quite what to do with myself… Later I will spend time hanging out with a friend, maybe do something around the house… or nap. I could nap. lol. Stars in my eyes… but I could use more sleep.

My coffee is good, and I am enjoying it with a morning of listening to a favorite musician play beautiful grooves.  Most mornings are every bit this pleasant these days. I think about the musical we watched last night, and how slyly lessons on perspective and how we craft our personal narrative were worked into the humorous jabs at religion. I go about my morning humming catchy bits of the tunes that are still stuck in my head, and blushing and smiling about the delightful romantic evening shared, extraordinary…connected.

Love.

Love.

Another morning or another time will be soon enough for more words. This morning, I am simply enjoying my experience, and savoring the sensation of loving and being loved. It’s enough for this moment. (Enough for most moments.)

I slept well again last night. It’s wonderful. I definitely needed the sleep. By midday yesterday, after a great night’s sleep the night before, my body and mind were pretty certain sleep was the thing, and I wanted more than anything to go home at lunch time for a nap. 🙂 Instead, I went home for a sandwich and some yoga, enjoyed a walk in the fresh air, and got back to work. It was a long day, but a short ‘commute’ home – I was ‘in for the night’ by 7:00 pm , and by 8:00 pm I was fed, showered, and curled up under the covers teasing myself with the promise of reading for a while. I went straight to sleep and woke to an alarm clock I had fortunately remembered to set.

This morning, my pour over coffee is luscious, warm, and crafted according to my preferences. I didn’t have to ask, or compromise, or go out for it. I can count on me for a good coffee in the morning. I am learning how much I actually can count on me, for all sorts of things. The last two times in my life I have made an attempt at living alone were characterized by fairly chronic anxiety, insomnia, and poor decision-making, and like living with an ill-tempered child. This time is rather like an idealized version of living with my best friend. It’s still just me, here; I  have learned to treat myself fairly well. What matters most [to me] is clearer, and what to do about it seems more obvious [to me].

Although I am having my own experience, I am still a human primate; intimacy, connection, and contact are important to me. I thrive on love. Affection matters. Touch matters. Feeling valued matters. Being visible is a big deal, emotionally. Adjusting to how those things fit into this new context is taking some time, and firm adherence to good self-care practices; I rely on myself to take care of me almost entirely now. I’ve been here before, but this is my first shot at doing it skillfully, effectively, and achieving notably good results. I still want, need, and count on the positive interactions I enjoy with others to fill emotional needs for connection, and contact. I am a social creature, and even at my most reclusive I thrive when I enjoy close connections with others. There are, of course, verbs involved. My choices matter; interactions are not all equally valuable, or equally pleasant. My results vary. 🙂

Yesterday I went to the mail box after work, I’m not getting much mail here yet but I know bills and statements will be coming to this address now. There is a certain loneliness in an empty mail box, living alone. I opened the box…nothing. Oh, wait…there at the back…an envelope. I noticed happily that it appeared to be a real letter, and from someone dear to me. A ‘welcome home’ card! The handwritten note inside commented that she thought I might like to get some mail that isn’t a bill. I felt understood, valued, and loved. It was a nice moment. I am peculiarly sentimental about such things; I will keep the card for some time.

A smile came in the mail today, wrapped in a plain envelope.

A smile came in the mail today, wrapped in a plain envelope.

I still write letters on paper, and send cards, myself. I do it because of how I feel when I get one, at some moment when I am feeling distant, disconnected, or alone. A few minutes, the price of a stamp, the effort to address an envelope, and the consideration it takes to put the words together and follow them with a 🙂 and a signature are a small price to pay for the powerful moment delivered in a plain envelope. I find myself thinking about sending sweet notes, pictures, drawings and cards to my traveling partner – a sort of love delivery service. Living apart I do miss those small moments of connection, and finding new ways to connect over distance is something I consider often. (Consideration being one of my Big 5, this makes sense to me.)

In moments of great hurt or anger, I find value in letter writing, too, although of the sort I would not generally consider sending; there is clarity in seeing words on paper, and it can be a calming perspective, allowing me to take a step back from the moment, and see things through new eyes. I find writing a good self-care practice, generally, and the act of writing to an individual, about relevant things shared between us, can often soothe my heart in moments of hurt, or ease my anger or doubt, and sometimes helps me gain perspective or understand something better than I did before I saw it in words. I can’t point any fingers at my TBI on this one – I have no idea whether this is a shared experience that many people value, or unique to  me. I am learning to doubt ‘uniqueness’ on a number of levels. 🙂

There is power in our words. We choose them and express what we can. Our lies can affect someone else’s reality. Our anger can do real damage to someone else’s heart. Our lack of consideration, or disregard, can tear down a relationship. Our support and compassion can tear down walls. Our love can change someone’s mind, or heart. Hell, our love can change the world – it just takes a lot of it to overcome the chaos and damage. Even the words we direct at ourselves, in the privacy of our own minds, have enormous power over how we understand our experience, and how we experience ourselves.

I had observed, hanging out with my traveling partner over the weekend, that living alone I miss the welcome home greeting each evening when I get home from work. It’s a poignant moment these days; I unlock the door content and smiling, and there is this instant of pain when I step across the threshold into silence, alone. It’s a hard moment for me.  I wondered last night what I could do, myself, to meet that need. If words matter…can I throw words at the problem? Last night I explored that a bit with a sticky note in the bathroom, on the mirror, reminding myself of some task I didn’t want to forget…and at the bottom of the note I drew a wee heart, and added “You are loved, and thanks for taking care of this right away. You matter.” I had forgotten about it completely when I woke – and seeing it first thing made me smile in much the same way getting the nice card from my aunt did, last night. I don’t know that I have more to say about it, right now. It doesn’t quite rise to the level of a practice, but it was interestingly effective and thought-provokingly so.

I have plans to hang out with my traveling partner this evening after work. I am eager for the day to pass to get to that point; our time together is precious, and pretty wonderful. Living apart highlights the value of the time together, and small things stay small; we both put more into ‘now’, and appreciate the time together in a more willful way. It’s lovely. I don’t waste time wondering why it took living apart to feel this secure about love; I am content to act on what I observe, and I am eager to be in his arms, feeling the warmth of his flesh, and his smile.

I bloom when conditions are right, and in my own time. Don't we all?

I bloom when conditions are right, and in my own time. Don’t we all?

Today is a good day to enjoy the company of a ‘best friend’ I can count on every day, every moment, without ever wearing out my welcome [me]. Today is a good day to appreciate love and lovers, and the value of a hug, and a welcome home. Today is a good day to treat myself well, because it is the best way to treat me. Today is a good day to enjoy the journey.

 

Writing isn’t coming so easily this morning. I’ve had a number of interesting ideas take me a direction that just didn’t look like somewhere I cared to go…3 actually, amounting to something like 700 words. Deleted words now; I didn’t even safe drafts. I’m okay with that – my words, I can do what I like with them.

Other sorts of course corrections and changes are less simple. I can’t just delete a poor choice and go a different direction, once my choices are made and acted upon, the way I can when I write – no backspace button, either, for that ‘oh crap! not that direction…’ moment. In action, life happens quickly and continuously. Good decision-making, and wise actions matter – and so does self-compassion, and self-acceptance, because I definitely also manage some poor decision-making along life’s journey, or take actions that could not be described as ‘wise’ (‘fumbling in the dark’ would be more accurate, at best, some days).

Today, the writing is my metaphor. It’s not going super smoothly today, and I’m okay with that, too – there’s no pressure, it’s living life and sometimes it is more challenging than others. Today I feel vaguely… vague. A bit directionless, having dumped some errant notions that were holding me back, but having not quite firmed up the foundational ideas and decisions that will take me forward on a more valued trajectory. Camping is sounding really good from this vantage point; I need some stillness to think on what I want out of my life.

Blue skies and wonder; worth looking up for.

Blue skies and wonder; worth looking up for.

My traveling partner arrived home earlier than planned yesterday; I was in the office and aside from the happy awareness he was safely home, it didn’t change my experience. We have very little time together, partly due to my work hours, and timing. I got home and enjoyed the warmth of his greeting, and the delight of welcoming him back…for about half an hour. He crashed out early in the evening, and clearly needed the rest. I spent my evening quietly, and enjoyed an early night, myself. We’ve carved out some time on the calendar to enjoy together tonight; I plan to stay up later than usual to make it happen, because the time we share is worth adjusting my routine and losing some sleep.

I may be vague on what to write about today… I am not vague about love, Love, or my traveling partner. I hear him up for the morning…today is a good day to share love.

I hurt this morning. It’s ‘just arthritis’, and my spine aches, and I’m stiff even after this morning’s predawn yoga. It’s not new. Hell, it doesn’t even get in the way of a good time, generally. I feel it, however, and it intruded on my meditation more than once. Some of you are likely in pain, too. It sorts of goes with the whole ‘human experience’ package; this is a relatively fragile vessel, prone to injuries that accrue damage over time.  As excited as I am by how much the yoga and meditation do help…I still need additional pain relief to be comfortable much of the time. Taking pain killers comes with risks of its own, and even the Rx pain-killer I take doesn’t eliminate pain. I’m probably grateful for that, actually; how much damage could I do myself entirely by accident if I could not feel any pain?

Pain tells me something about my experience – both right  now, and the experience I have had over time.  Pain tells me something about how I am taking care of myself, and it tells me when there is more that needs to be done.

What pain is not, is ‘everything’, although it can certainly feel like ‘everything’ sometimes. Today isn’t that, I’m just thinking about pain in this moment, and feeling compassion for the myself regarding the pain I am in, and how it limits me (or how I choose to allow it to limit me), and I am thinking about the pain you may be in as well. Your pain also matters. Whether physical or emotional, the pain any one of us is experiencing in the moment may not be ‘everything’ – but it colors our experience, and may influence how we interact with, or perceive, others.  It’s so easy to get from ‘I hurt right now’ to ‘someone must pay for this bullshit!’ and find myself treating someone else poorly, because I hurt.  As I prepare to head into the world today I contemplate that and consider the pain other people are in, and hope that the effort to be mindful that we’re each having our own experience, and that for each of us the pain we are in, ourselves, is the pain we feel the most will keep me on track to treat myself and others with compassion and consideration – in spite of my pain. [That was a long and awkward sentence, my bad. Please read it again if you need to, before we move on…]

There’s not really more to say about pain. I’ve got mine. You’ve got yours. We’re all in this together. We’re each having our own experience. I’ll head out and do my best not to be unpleasant with people, and chances are you will to. If we should chance to meet, I hope it is pleasant for both of us, in spite of our pain. 🙂

"The Stillness Within" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas with glow.

“The Stillness Within” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas with glow.

I had a wonderfully intimate connected evening with my at-home partner last night – and that, too, in spite of my pain. We had dinner, and did a small bit of fun decorating, a little shopping, and something new. After we did yoga together, we also took time to meditate together. I am fairly shy about that, honestly; it feels very intimate on a level I lack language for, and it was wonderfully connected and calm and loving and… I definitely want to do that again. I’m not a yoga instructor; I practice because it works for me, helps me stay flexible, touches something in my heart, and helps me build emotional resilience, and recover a beautiful shape as I lose weight. I don’t think any of that means I have what it takes to go around teaching people something. My at-home partner really prefers to practice yoga with someone, rather than alone, and expressed some frustration with her lack of flexibility. Practicing together gave us a wonderful way to connect in a physical way, to share, to comfort, to enjoy each other; I was surprised that I didn’t feel self-conscious about gently sharing personal ‘best practices’ for some of the challenges she shared. It was a nice life lesson; we can each share what we know with the ones we love. Gentle coaching, loving communication, and heartfelt welcomed touch requires no certification.

It was a lovely evening to practice new skills. I found myself tapping new learning from some powerful books: Emotional Intimacy, Mindfulness for Beginners and Just One Thing come to mind. We shared new music suggested to us by our traveling partner with our yoga and meditation, which was a lovely way to connect him to the experience we were sharing. I don’t remember any pain from those moments, although I was in serious pain beforehand, and obviously so later, too. Funny how that works. How does that work? I’m glad it does.

Unfinished canvas...what will it become when the moment arrives?

Unfinished canvas…what will it become when the moment arrives?

Today is a good day to enjoy the moment. Today is a good day to acknowledge progress, however small. Today is a good day for love. Today is a good day to treat people well – even myself. Today is a good day to change the world.