Archives for posts with tag: do the verbs

I’m sipping my coffee and drinking water. Through the window, the sliver of sky showing betwixt the buildings is a lovely mauve. Minutes ago it was a delicate shade of lavender. I enjoy the subtleties of a sunrise, I must say. 🙂 This coffee is pretty good, too.

Yesterday was pleasant. I worked from the office, in the city. Had an afternoon coffee with a friend I don’t see often. Went to my therapy appointment at the end of my work day. I made the commute home after therapy, and enjoyed pizza with my Traveling Partner. He had spent the day busy in the shop, and wasn’t yet done with work for the day. I played an hour of video games. We hung out for a short while, and suddenly, the day was over. Here it is another work day.

My ears are ringing ferociously this morning, and I woke with a stuffy head, but I’ve got this sunrise, this moment, and this good cup of coffee on which to begin my day. Not bad. (And by “not bad”, I mean it’s quite nice.)

I keep thinking about “building a model” of a healthy relationship. It’s on my mind a lot. I keep coming back to these 10 critical characteristics that I think are necessary to build a healthy relationship:

  1. Mutual respect
  2. Mutual consideration
  3. Mutual encouragement
  4. Mutual support
  5. Shared values
  6. Compassion
  7. Clear expectation-setting
  8. Clear communication without mockery, contempt, or condescension
  9. Skillful listening
  10. Equitable distribution of labor

There are probably things missing from this list that some people might suggest be added. “Trust” comes to mind, and I’ll tell you why it’s not on this list; I see “trust” as an outcome, not a building block. Clear communication, respect, consideration, listening skillfully, and clear expectation-setting should – as a group of practices – lead to trust developing. I don’t personally see trust as a freebie that exists by default between lovers. Trust is built, trust is earned – and trust is a byproduct of these other characteristics. I’m betting if trust is lacking, so are many of these – because having them leads to trust.

…I’m no expert. I’m still working out my own thinking on this…

I glance out the window while I sit here lost in thought, finally noticing that the sky has become a lovely pale tint of periwinkle. Blue skies today? I think ahead to camping later in the Spring once the weather has warmed up a bit…

Already time to begin again…

I type the word “pieces” into the title field, and immediately get distracted wondering why it appears to be misspelled. That’s the way of things sometimes, isn’t it? We puzzle over things that are not especially puzzling, mislead by a mistake in our thinking, or an erroneous “observation”. It’s pretty human that we do this – we are imperfect creatures with a persistent notion of being “better than” other creatures in some noteworthy way. lol

My coffee is good this morning. It’s a quiet Saturday. I had planned to sleep in. My Traveling Partner woke me. All good; he woke me sufficiently late in the morning to totally count as having slept in, and truly there is a new day ahead and plenty to do. It was nice to start the day with a few minutes of meditation, then coffee together until the point at which he began finding me less comfortable to hang out with (perhaps due to my fidgeting, or perhaps the pattern of my breathing had become irregular making affinity behaviors uncomfortable, or perhaps nothing really to do with me at all, but nonetheless ascribed to something to do with me). I give him some room to breathe, and take my coffee into the studio.

As soon as I sit down at my desk I feel uplifted and lighthearted; my Traveling Partner built this lovely space for me. Well, I mean – it’s a room in our house, and he outfitted it with this desk, built my computer, and installed the acoustic treatments. So, yeah. He had a lot to do with this space that wraps me in comfort and inspiration. The paintings on the walls are mine. I am surrounded by things that encourage and delight me. It’s an important space in my home – and in my experience. A piece of a bigger puzzle.

There are so many “pieces” in being this human primate that I am. My love of writing. My compulsion to do so. My willingness to share it. My fondness for my partner. My delight in this home. The enjoyment I take from the sound of rain. The pleasure I find in a cup of coffee – down to the coffee beans, and the cup itself even. I can spread the pieces out quite far and find value in distant forest trails, paths that wander the edges of a marsh, or suburban sidewalks that meander through neighborhoods filled with other human primates living other lives. I can focus on quite tiny details and find myself in the sensation of bare feet on carpet, deck, or lawn, and the sensation of fabric on skin.

There is so much joy and pleasure to be had in a single human lifetime. It’s easy to overlook all that when things go wrong and when I face challenges. There’s sorrow in this life, too. Pain. Hurt feelings. Lost opportunities. Vast choices such that the mind is overwhelmed and shortcuts just feel… easier. There’s so much to learn, and so many things to fail at before mastering anything at all. In years that I have focused too much on the difficulties, the joy in my life was diminished and life was dismal. In years when I have focused on hedonistic pleasures with a devil-may-care disregard for any moment but “now”, I’ve failed to grow as a human being – and also somehow failed to thrive. I find it a peculiar balancing act to find a comfortable middle ground, somehow settling on seeking calm, contentment, and joy – without “chasing” happiness. It seems to come to me often enough when I take this approach, though, so… I’m good with it. 🙂

I’m rarely deeply unhappy anymore. It’s been a long journey. It’s not over. I still struggle with the hardships I face. I still have challenges and fight the internal battles with my personal demons daily. It’s a worthwhile endeavor – and the conviction that this is the case is one major victory among many. I’ve come so far! Sure, I still have some rough days. Still struggle to get adequate restful sleep. Still have nightmares. Still have this headache, and this arthritis. Still deal with lasting effects of early life trauma, my TBI, my PTSD – but what a difference it has made to select my partnership(s) with more care, and to properly take care of myself! Meditation has proven to be a long-term value. Simple health-improving steps have also “given back” more than it feels like I have had to put in. Totally worth the “effort” to drink more water, to take my medications on time, to eat a calorie-and-portion managed nutritious diet, and get more exercise. Hell, those things are working out so well, I’m motivated to “do more better” and take things further. I keep practicing.

Nothing fancy or particularly unusual about today. It’s just another day. A sunny weekend Saturday with no explicit agenda unfolds ahead of me. Where will my path lead? If it’s not too chilly, it might be a good day to do some garden prep and tidy up spaces for Spring… Certainly looks like a lovely one to get a nice walk in, too. Maybe I’ll paint? I could work on my manuscript. I could bake some cookies, or finish tidying up and reorganizing the library (which is also our guest room, and presently a bit cluttered). What I do with the time is actually less important than that I do something, and that I treat myself and my partner well. The quality of the experience matters to the outcomes. I reflect on that and sip my coffee.

It’s a lovely day to begin again. What will I do with it?

Always with the taking, eh? 😉

I’ve got a couple days off ahead of me, and a long weekend to enjoy with my Traveling Partner. I hope we do. We’ve had a couple heartfelt, heavy conversations about intimacy (in general, and specifically) recently, and it’s on my mind. I don’t question that we love each other, or even that we’re “right” for each other. Love simply requires some work and attention and there are verbs involved, even in matters of love and loving. It’s not a romantic crisis, so much as a reminder to put in the time, the attention, and the work that love requires to thrive. Coasting on the magic is unfair to a partnership, and it’s a poor way to treat love. The pandemic has been hard on the two of us. We are each having our own experience, walking our own path, and sharing a complex journey. It takes some balancing, some yielding, some compromises, encouragement, connection, and willingness to repeat what works, and also to face what doesn’t. 🙂

I may not write much this weekend. I don’t know. I guess I’ll see where the days take me. I have this interesting intimacy-building exercise tumbling about in my thoughts… maybe “cocktails and questions” would be a fun pandemic date night? There is a whole universe of classic and modern cocktails I’ve never tried (I don’t drink much)… could be fun.

My vertigo seems to have cleared up. I just have this headache, now, and it is familiar. My arthritis pain is also as comfortable as an old friend in comparison to the frightful chaos of the vertigo. I’m almost happy to “just be in pain”.

Anyway. The days ahead are likely to be introspective, intimate, and deeply personal. Maybe romantic. I’d rather enjoy those wholly that attempt to juggling reflecting on them with the real-life experience of enjoying them, so I may be quiet for a few days. That’s a good thing. 🙂 Another way to begin again.

This morning the work day seemed to start too early. To be fair, that’s partially a result of waking later than usual, and having an early morning soak before coffee. It’s just not my usual “order of operations” – but my back is pretty happy with me, and my pain feels well-managed. My coffee is just as satisfying as it would have been, had I chosen to have it first. :-)’

Coffee goes so well with an autumn morning!

Really first-rate self-care relies on me to select wisely from the available tools at hand – as is the case with most projects and work. lol 🙂

I sat down at my desk this morning and eyed my calendar suspiciously. Differences catching my attention without being obvious, and it takes me a moment to fully realize that a couple meetings I expected to slog through have simply disappeared from my day. Nice. I look over the other work planned for this week, and the weeks ahead as the year finishes. Good day for it. I consider my tools, and decide I’ll benefit from something that improves my focus. I put my headphones on, and begin again.

Not quite a love letter. More like “a moment”. Thoughts about love over coffee.

Back in 2010, this human being (who became, over time, my Traveling Partner) and I began hanging out. Colleagues. Friends. Commute buddies. We became lovers. We became partners. Family. He moved in. We moved on – together. We married in 2011, for mostly fairly practical reasons. Other lovers came and went. Other relationships developed, and failed. We continued (and continue even now) to travel life’s journey together.

Today is our anniversary. I’ve got a lingering headache that has been with me a day or two, and although I took the day off I am awake quite early. He was up later into the evening than I was. He sleeps in. It’s a quiet, lovely spring day, during the time of pandemic. It’s also our anniversary, and I am smiling. 🙂

…I may not write more this weekend. I am more inclined to spend some time just existing, and pausing the routines for harmonious love, and a persistent feeling of joy – and gratitude. This is a pretty special love. If love ever faded, I doubt I’d walk on; this human being is also my best and closest friend. It’s hard to imagine a life that does not include the both of us, generally together.

We have sometimes lived apart, by choice, sometimes by circumstance, and we live together, now. Our choices for habitation have not marred our affection for each other. Actually, they’ve had nothing to do with love, or loving each other.  Love thrives when we thrive. It’s not about who lives where. We’re very human, each struggling with our own baggage. Each having our own experience. Each with our own taste, our own hobbies, our own hard moments, our own private joys. We have individual competencies and individual short-comings. We share the journey by choice. It isn’t always “easy”. I haven’t noticed either of us complaining about the effort that is sometimes involved in lasting love and a healthy partnership; it’s very worth it. (For me, for sure. Hopefully for him, as well.)

I pause and reflect on Love. “Love doesn’t pay the bills.” This is true. I’ve lived without love. Often. Hell, I’ve been in relationships in which “I love you’s” were frequent, but fairly meaningless, or filled with subtext and conditions – looking back, I recognize that those were not honest authentic love, as I understand it now. I’m okay with it; those experiences helped me become someone who is willing to work for what love offers. I learned a lot. I’m a better lover, a better partner, a better friend, having grown considerably through problematic relationships. Long honest looks in the mirror taught me much about the role I play in a partnership, as a human being, and the nature of reciprocity, openness, authenticity, and consideration, and how very necessary they each are to sustaining lasting love.

I’m a better woman – and human being – than I was when my Traveling Partner and I met. I feel less “broken”, and more capable. I am far more willing to “do my share” – and I recognize that an equal partnership does require that everyone involved do the work to create, maintain, and deepen that partnership. I sip my coffee contentedly. Are we perfect? lol Of course not. Is love perfect? Is life perfect? Ever? Hell, is perfect “perfect”? (Hint: there is no “perfection” to reach in life or love. There are processes, practices, experiences, and perspectives – we can choose contentment, and enjoy the journey, or… not. There is no “perfect” out there to achieve. The journey together is the destination, and the goal.)

Yeah. I’m smiling. I’m okay with “us”. I’m okay with this moment, together. I sit quietly awhile longer, before the day really begins. It’s enough. 🙂