Archives for posts with tag: do better

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. 🙂

I’m awake too early. It’s the fifth of July, and this means my sleep was of poor quality, started too late, and was regularly interrupted by American enthusiasts of wasteful use of ordnance for noisy colorful displays of thinly veiled celebratory somewhat aggressive nationalist posturing… Independence Day fireworks. For some folks, it just isn’t enough to go see a public display (from sundown until well past midnight I listened to the sounds of shit exploding). It is also necessary for them to indulge in a wasteful display of flexing at the world metaphorically, in a comic opera of artifice and pretty colors. I can’t bitch overly much about it, inasmuch as these were not attacks on my person or property, and were not ever intended to be such. Just a nuisance to deal with a couple nights a year. Still, it wrecks my sleep, and rather than deal with the resurrection of old nightmares, I spend much of that time in the studio, with headphones on, painting and listening to music.

To be clear, I’ve got nothing specific against fireworks shows. I’m just like anyone else, ooh-ing and ah-ing over the colors and forms, and the craftsmanship that surely must have gone into those beautiful bursts in the night sky. I dislike crowds, though, also, so I rarely go. Choices. 🙂 At home, in the quiet of the night, I dislike being taken by surprise by the sound of what could be gunfire, or artillery. That just seems… normal. 😉

I spent the solitary day on my own agenda. I even started with a list. It was fairly delightful to do so. No holiday meal to prepare. No complicated group planning for an outing. No timing for arrivals or departures. No guests. It was a lovely day in the studio, spent in part on “the business of art”, which is less fun for me, but managed to be quite satisfying. The afternoon and evening painting felt more than satisfying – needs were met. 🙂

Late in the day a whiff of OPD reached me from far away. I made a firm point to let that shit go before it could ever get a foothold in my consciousness. It did manage to evoke some irritation, and a nearly audible eye-roll, before I got back to work on the painting that tedious drama-monster who is an ex has inspired; “Toxic”. (She’ll finally be able to say she inspired someone artistically. lol. I chuckle out loud every time I think about that.) A good thing to remember about artists; it is often something deeply unpleasant, unsettling, objectionable, contemptible, vile, or traumatizing, that inspires our most moving work. It is certainly the case, in this instance, that I’m working on this piece, in a sense, as a sort of exorcism. So done. lol So entirely completely over it.

“Independence Day” has become pretty personal for me, over the years. I celebrate – in an overtly positive, celebratory way – the end of my violent first marriage. I celebrate my independence from the terribly damaging entanglement with ex 3 of 3, too; it took weeks from when I moved into my own place (in May, 2015) to feel settled and comfortable, and to accept the uncertainty that existed, at the time, in my relationship with my Traveling Partner, and begin to find my own way. By the 4th of July that year, I was doing pretty well living solo, and learning to really deal with my issues more skillfully, generally, and getting a good bit of practice with that. lol My relationships were improving, too. Three years ago today was a pretty good day, generally. It’s delightful to read back and see how far I’ve come. 🙂 Incremental change over time – still a really big deal, and something I can reliably count on. We become what we practice.

Are you ready to begin again? There’s a journey ahead. It’s yours. Choose your adventure. Start with one step.  🙂

I woke in pain this morning. Ah, but, I am also undeniably well-rested. That’s something. I scrolled through my feed too early, not quite awake, and fucking hell, the news is not very pleasant. On the other hand, there’s also quite a lot of hopeful news, and, historically, a lot of forward momentum, too. So… I guess that’s something to hold onto. Back and forth – finding “balance” is its own challenge. Like a pendulum or a see-saw, my experience, mood, perspective, and general sense of both wellness and self, shift, swing, adjust, wobble… It’s kinda crazy up in here. You, too?

Where is your fulcrum? What do you pivot on? What supports that search for balance, and soothes your stress? For me, it’s “now”. Just that, and it’s pretty basic, uncomplicated stuff. I come back to this present quiet moment, right here. If “now” is also really super shitty (and not the national or global heart-wrenching what-the-fuck-is-going-on “now”, we’re talking about our personal right here, this instant, “now”) I may need to walk on, get some distance, and work from some other slightly future “now”, when I get to it – more often than not I simply need to let go my attachment to something or other I’ve begun to cling to emotionally, and be truly present, myself, in this “now” right specifically here where I am, myself.

A flower. A moment. There is effort in tending my garden with care.

I woke in pain. Yeah, that sucks. Could be worse pain than it is. That’s something. Perspective is a big deal. I don’t focus on other moments of worse pain, though, that’s sort of backwards, as it happens. I sit gently with my thoughts, contemplating entirely other things than pain, at all. There’s the art show tomorrow night. That’s a thing. I’m excited about it. I consider the work I’ve selected, and what all I may need for the evening, generally, and the pain slips from my consideration for a time. I share a moment of conversation with a far away friend over my coffee. I water the container garden on the deck in the lavender light of dawn, before the summer sunrise. Perspective helps me find balance.

Carefully selected work waiting to be seen.

I sip my coffee, already past that irksome moment when I observed I’d yet again allowed myself to run out of “easy options”. I smirked at myself, leaning on the counter for support, hurting, painfully aware (literally) that the state of things is entirely my own doing, for me to manage. There’s plenty to make coffee with; it all requires effort. Effort, I point out to the woman in the mirror, is not a swear word, and is, in fact, a goal. Making more of it results in greater emotional and physical wellness, and connects me more fully to the things that matter to me most. There are verbs involved, and don’t I know it! I pull myself upright with a sigh, and make a pour over. My coffee is very good this morning. Better than convenient. Better than easy. Made with love. There’s a lesson in here somewhere.

Back and forth with myself all morning. Finding balance. Using perspective. Making an effort. Practicing practices. I smile and sip my coffee.

…Then sneeze, spilling coffee in my lap, and rather hilariously also sneezing it all over my keyboard. Damn it. Already time to begin again. 😉