Archives for posts with tag: do better

We become what we practice. I keep saying it. It’s a thing you can learn more about. There are even actual experts in the field of becoming happy. No kidding. Right here. You’ve got this. There are just some verbs involved. A path. Some choices. A lot of practice. A bunch of beginning again. It’s a journey, and the journey itself is the destination.

You don’t have to choose to endure endless relentless misery. You. Yes, you. However bleak things feel in this moment right here, you can choose differently. Your results will vary – and incremental change over time can feel infernally slow, but you can choose to practice practices that improve your experience of life (and self), overtime, and maintain it long term. No kidding. This is real. Doing it. It works.

Maybe read a book? Got an entire reading list for you right here. 🙂 Watch a video? How about this one? (Be sure to also watch the less tongue in cheek follow up, though… 😉 )

You have choices. Maybe you chose poorly some recent day and you’re feeling sort of defeated. even now? Maybe you haven’t yet understood just how much of your misery you are not only choosing, but also working very hard to carefully craft and maintain it? Just begin again – please. Give yourself that chance. Be your own best friend on this one.

Be real with yourself. Be who you are. Be authentic about where you are in your life right now. It’s a place to begin. Now?

Begin again.

Yesterday, I had yet another opportunity to patiently explain to someone that they do not get to tell me what I think, why I think it, or how I came to the conclusion I did. It seems obvious, really; my opinion is mine to decide, and to decide even whether to share it. Attempting to force assumptions about my opinion, or my thoughts, or my feelings, upon me is… fucking dumb. A.) That isn’t how opinions or thinking work. B.) No one likes that shit or needs that from anyone else. Lastly, C.) Fucking hell, people, how hard is it, really, to ask a question and listen to the fucking answer?

It’s an extra special nightmare frustration when that person is a man and his tone is condescending and patronizing. I’m not a child or a little girl, and frankly, on its own maleness does nothing whatever to make any stated opinion or observed fact somehow more relevant, worthwhile, or legitimate, at all. I’m just… yeah. So done with that bullshit. lol I managed to walk on from that interaction without resorting to insults or name-calling, which turns out not to require any sort of heroic effort of any sort, I just reminded myself silently that I had things to do, and that arguing with an ass clown was not on my list today. lol

On and on. Trump didn’t change it – maybe didn’t even “make it worse” – but his presidency pushed it into the forefront (again)(I mean, really, we’ve fought this fight before, and had made a lot of apparent headway, but… no… here we are). Kavanaugh isn’t “new” or novel, or frankly even fucking interesting. Been. Here. Before. Been here all along. Maybe we can all work on this? We can do better. I mean, seriously America? Fucking Nazis? Are you kidding me?

Words matter. Choose them with care. Really listen to people. Really share your authentic actual thoughts with them (versus just quoting some regurgitated sound bite you lifted from a talking head on cable news). Connect for real. Ask the deep questions that matter most. Listen – really listen – to the answers. Put content over bullshit. Show your fellow citizens some “common decency”, consideration, empathy, and respect. Maybe even let “I disagree with that position” be the actual end of a conversation or disagreeable moment, and walk on. You don’t have to persuade or convince everyone that your position is right. Maybe it isn’t. Share it if you care to, then let that shit go, too. Quality of life is not about being right. Great relationships are not built on being right. Contentment and happiness are not made up of moments of being right. Fucking just listen once in a while, and even, now and then, accept that you do not know all of everything… or… just maybe.. in some particular instance… insisting on being right, regardless of perceived factual correctness, maybe be quite the wrong thing to do.

…Then… also… respect both your own expertise, and the expertise of your associates. Ask more questions than you answer. Listen to what you’re hearing, and really be present for that. Learn stuff. Grow. Assume positive intent. Have positive intentions yourself! Be authentically who you are – rightness and wrongness and error, flaws, mistakes, and character failures, and all; we don’t become who we most want to be if we can’t start from who we are right now and move on from there.

What I’m saying is, arguing is dumb. It wastes time, and people who are arguing are not listening to each other. Arguments are made up of people throwing their words at other people who are, at best, throwing words back – without listening at all. It’s ridiculous and gets no further toward truths than standing still quite silently would do, and quite possibly, standing still silently would be more effective. (It probably is, actually…)

Don’t argue.

Don’t yell. (Not really relevant, it’s just super unpleasant, and effective only for escalation the emotionality of the interaction in an unpleasant way; if you’re yelling to make your point, you already lost the argument. Just stop.)

Talk to each other. Really listen. Grow because you are hearing new information – or because you have the wisdom to refuse to incorporate ad copy, memes, or straight up misinformation, in your thinking, in spite of hearing it, again. Ask clarifying questions; there’s always more to know. Get context, and check your assumptions; you’re wrong more often than you realize (I promise you this is true).

People can be really fucking repetitive with shit they pick up along the way that they did not really think through themselves, or apply any critical thinking to, when they adopted it as their own. They cling to that shit. It’s tedious. Don’t follow the crowd. It makes for dull conversation, filled with half-baked bullshit, and actual lies.

Do better. Think your own thoughts. Use critical thinking skills to examine what thoughts you think you have. Check your assumptions for accuracy. Check your expectations to ensure they are shared, and realistic, and not left moldering in a corner all implicit and unverified and shit. Easy stuff. Slow the fuck down and ask yourself some questions about the thoughts you tell yourself are your own. Are they really? Fact-checked, lately, Bruh? Did you make any effort at all to determine whether the words you are about to say reflect who you truly are, consistent with the values you claim you have?

My coffee is tasty this morning. I’m mostly ignoring it. My nightmares were a tad too much “Handmaid’s Tale” for my emotional comfort, and I woke feeling confused, angry, resentful, irritated, puzzled, frightened, restless, and yearning for freedom. The conversation, yesterday, in which some rando man-human specifically told me I don’t think what I do, and can’t because I’m wrong about thinking it, was still grating on my nerves. lol At 55, I fucking well know what my political leanings are, what my philosophy of life is, and where I think my ideas potentially take me in life. I’m pretty over men thinking they have something to say to me about what I think. (Wow. I’m obviously still fucking angry about it, too… and only on this whole meta level as an archetypal conversation repeated over time, not the specific moment and individual. Wild. Why are we still here, at all?)

I grin when I think about the end of that conversation (for me). “I disagree with your position. We have nothing further to discuss.”

Sometimes, I gotta just walk on, and begin again. 🙂

Sipping my coffee and thinking about all the many things I’ve tried out over the years, qualities I have explored, places I have seen, styles enjoyed, projects undertaken, seems like a lot of variety – whole lifetimes of change. A lot of what I have been, I am not now. A lot of what I have done, I no longer do today. I’ve picked up skills, and built practice, that have since fallen into disuse… I give a moment of thought to the things that have mattered most (not all of which I pursued beyond the past moment in which they existed). I think of how all of this contributes to who I am, now.

…Hell of an interesting and varied journey… certainly worth giving a moment of thought to. I put on some music. I get a second coffee. I look around the studio, half-finished canvases… just everywhere. lol This back and forth stuff between here and there every weekend takes a creative toll. For the moment I satisfy myself thinking about the not-too-distant future that is (hopefully) retirement. My life is, I am hopeful, barely half over. 🙂

Try things. It’s okay if you don’t “stick with it” endlessly forever. Learn new things, try new stuff, make things, do things, learn things – there isn’t anything “wrong” with taking something up, learning a bit about it, moving on to the next interesting thing. Oh, I know, there’s a ferocious culture of “don’t quit” and “you never finish anything” lingering about to discourage shallow interest, and changes of heart – and that literally does not have to matter at all. Interested in the sound of Mandarin Chinese as a language? Start learning it. Lose interest in things that are hard? It’s okay; languages can be quite difficult, and maybe you give up on that – you are still changed by what you have learned. Expose yourself to the world of options and opportunities that exists. Become more than you are.

Become more than you are. Be the person you most want to be – whoever that is. 🙂

It’s not too late.

Begin again. 🙂

 

I woke up groggy, aware of today’s agenda. Court. So, okay, the day is not my own. Today, a guy stands accused of a bunch of burglaries, one of them my old apartment. That seems a long time ago, but finally, it’s time the case is heard. The commute through morning rush hour traffic, all the way across town the far other side, holds no appeal for me. I’m dreading it. I’ve already decided to take the light rail, instead, which will probably take longer, but be much less stressful…

…It’s already almost time to go. There is a certain focused tension to my morning. I’m admittedly not excited to burn up an entire day of my time off for this; I have my own life to live, and my own uses for that time. Still. Our justice system rests uneasily on some big ideals… If I don’t participate, or fail to do so in an honest and authentic way, I participate, instead, in the slow chipping away at our potentially-amazing-if-we-could-get-over-ourselves-and-get-our-shit-together culture. I admit it; I’d prefer to be a good guy in my own narrative, and to do so by actually being the woman I most want to be, not by saying nice words about myself. So. I’ll go to court. I’ll give testimony. I’ll hope that in so doing, truly justice will be served (by determining whether this guy actually committed those crimes, not by “getting a conviction” without regard to truth). I’m uncomfortably aware how commonly our “justice system” is not truly serving justice. I feel wary.

I feel tense. Aware. Present. I sip my coffee and consider the moment. I consider other, different moments. I breathe. It is a new morning. A new day. An opportunity to begin again… I think about beginnings, and endings. I think about perspective, and hard to confront truths in life. I think about lifetimes of human experience, varied and similar, strange and mundane, each of us having our own – all of us in this together.

It’s complicated.

It’s time to go.

Let it go.

Walk on.

Begin again.

 

I’m sipping my coffee and smiling this morning. The day begins well, and doesn’t seem to be complicated by any of the crap and minutiae that had been weighing me down last week. I feel… lighter. It’s a pleasant feeling.

I scroll through my feeds a bit; I spent the weekend mostly disregarding social media and enjoying the good company of my Traveling Partner, instead. It was a worthwhile change to make. We relaxed, laughed together, watched some great super hero movies, and enjoyed a weekend of intimacy, connection, and merriment. No drama. No bullshit. It was quite lovely.

The headache I had on Thursday robbed me of any particular inclination to write. Friday wasn’t much better, although by day’s end, it had finally gone. I could have resumed Saturday, but decided on a weekend wholly dedicated to love and loving. (I knew you’d understand.) This morning feels more than little like the weekend was a firm “reset”, returning me gently to what works best, more aware of what matters most. I hope that’s more than a feeling. I sip my coffee, while a certain merry smile plays at the corner of my lips; there are verbs involved. No dodging that.

I struggled with my mental health for years, before I understood how much my partnerships also mattered. I tried this treatment, that treatment over there, and assorted bits of pieces of woo cobbled together from the assurances of others and things I read. I’m glad I kept trying – it eventually led me through failure after failure to a distillation of desperation, fear, and futility that happenstance eventually dropped on my current therapist’s desk. That was a life-changing appointment. It began a domino-effect of changes in my life, job changes, changes in self-care, changes in day-to-day practices, and even including ending relationships that tended to invest in the damaged bits more than in my wellness.

Keep trying. Begin again. Start over. Keep practicing the things that do work. Let go of the things (and relationships) that don’t. Over time, things get better. Life gets better. The chaos can begin to be sorted out. The damage can be healed. We become what we practice; inevitably, as we learn practices that support our wellness, and lead us to becoming the person we most want to be, we “find our way”.

Keep trying. Begin again. Start over. Find your way. It’s slow going. I won’t lie. It can feel pretty pointless sometimes, when it seems like all the successes are so small in scale, and the chaos and damage so… vast. Don’t lose heart – most of that is an illusion. The scale of the chaos. The magnitude of the damage. Our relative value in the world. The worthiness of the journey. We make up a lot of our narrative, in our own heads, so our own mental un-wellness sabotages the very clarity we need to assess our mental wellness in the first place. Harsh.

I start coffee number two as a Monday begins. Every day a new beginning. Every new beginning a chance to be the woman I most want to be. No doubt a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂