Archives for posts with tag: do you know where you’re going to?

The evening light trickles into the studio through small gaps in the semi-sheer fabric blinds, along the sides, and through small holes for the strings. I’m sipping water, thinking about making dinner, and considering the election – and Giftmas. The winter holiday season is so close at hand. So is the election. (Although, to be fair, I live in Oregon, and I voted last week. Done.)

My perspective on some elements of the winter holidays may have changed just a bit with the move into our own home… I find myself pleasantly disposed towards lawn ornaments, and outdoor lights. lol It’s been… literally never, that I could realistically consider anything fanciful or elaborate for outdoor holiday lights or decor. One downside of apartment living was that the lawn and exterior details simply aren’t part of the rental, in my limited experience. So… none of that, then. Or… if at all, quite likely very little.

I found myself stalled in a big box hardware store the other day, gazing wide-eyed at… lawn ornaments. Yep. Giftmas has already arrived in retail purgatory, and it is lit. LOL

…Or…I could wait for actual deer to stray onto the front lawn. It’s a thing they do. πŸ™‚

The point though, to my musings this afternoon, as the sun drops low, isn’t about the actual lawn ornaments, or their cost, or whether it is too soon for holiday dΓ©cor to dominate my thoughts… or even the upcoming election, which is already wholly irrelevant to me for now, having already voted; it’s about the change of perspective. The altered point of view. The fact of it – and also how little it really took to find myself experiencing a change in thinking.

In this particular instance, I did not seek or manufacture my change of thinking. My point of view has been altered quite literally because my point of view is altered; I moved. What I see outside my windows each day is different. The door I see as I walk up to the front door is a different door, opening onto a different way of experiencing my life. New context. New environment. New challenges. Change is. It hasn’t all been effortless joy, fun times, or relaxed – or relaxing. The light switches are not where I expect them to be. (Some of the challenges are frankly quite silly, and very individual.) There has been a lot of work. A lot of upheaval – which is difficult even when I welcome it. I’ve grown, and sometimes in ways I did not expect, and wasn’t looking for (and did not know I would be a better version of myself thereby).

Lawn ornaments.

…Weird way to take note of growth and change…

…You know, I very nearly don’t have a container garden now, too… Had I mentioned that? Yeah… the deck is lovely as it is, without the clutter of a lot of pots, and the spiders and dirt and work that go with them… I had to get super real with myself; I’m only up for a certain amount of work, generally, and I have often fallen way behind on caring for my container garden. With the move I had some decisions to make. I do love that forest view. …And… I’ve also got a nice bit of front yard that is pleading with me to put in the effort there, creating a lovely cottage garden suited to my taste. I probably don’t have the sustained strength and purposefulness to garden both in the front and on the deck. I decided to leave the lovely view of the forest beyond the deck uninterrupted by potted roses… the roses, at long last, can put down roots, too. That gives me so much joy… and a reason to think about lawn ornaments with the future in mind.

…I still don’t know where the roses will each go… it needs more thought.

I finish off my water, and the sun sinks a bit lower. It’s time to begin again.

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ I’m pretty okay where I stand in my life, today. It’s enough. πŸ˜€

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.

It’s a lovely autumn day. I’ve spent it on mindful service to hearth and home, and some pleasant opportunities to enjoy the company of my Traveling Partner. We both seem to be having a very good day. I’m enjoying that, unreservedly. I’m also in pain.

The forest beyond the deck, on an autumn morning.

If I allowed my physical pain to stop me from getting things done or enjoying my experience in every moment I am experiencing physical pain, I’d have to just give in. Do nothing. Enjoy nothing. Go nowhere. That doesn’t sound like the best possible way to experience life, so… mostly I choose differently. It sometimes feels like an endurance race. A test of will. A hex. Today? Today it feels like a lovely autumn day on which I happen to be in pain. Verbs. Choices. Practices. Self-care.

We each walk our own hard mile. Sometimes it’s not “well-paved” or “smooth and level”. Sometimes that hard mile is miserable, tedious, or painful. Sometimes it feels endless. Persist. Endure. Choose. Don’t like the outcome? Try choosing something else. Begin again. If every mile of this journey called life was easy, effortless, and on an obvious path, it would likely also be incredibly dull, and certainly there’d be damned little reason to grow, to learn, or to change. So… there’s that.

There’s also this pain, but… it’s wrapped in a sunny day, and I feel wrapped in love. πŸ™‚ It’s enough.

I’m sipping coffee and thinking about dear friends. Thinking about family. Thinking about people. We don’t know what we don’t know; we’re each having our own experience. However unique, individual, or different, we feel we are compared to “everyone else”, we just don’t really know what is going on in other lives in any really deep, detailed, or complete way. We see bits and pieces. We make a lot of assumptions. We ask too few questions, and sometimes don’t listen to the answers when we do ask. We tend to behave as though we are more similar than we really are, while also thinking we’re having a fundamentally different experience of being human. We’re not. And also – we are. LOL It’s complicated.

I think about how to be “more present”, how to listen more deeply, how to “be there” for others when needed, without undermining my ability to “be there” for myself.

I think about kindness, compassion, and consideration. I think about how long this journey to being the woman I most want to be sometimes feels, looking back. I think about how astonishingly short it sometimes seems, in any one moment. I think about change.

…Apparently it is a morning well-suited to thoughts. πŸ™‚

I think about how much work love can take… and how rewarding doing that work can be. I think about how pleasant yesterday was.

Life in the time of pandemic is peculiar. I’ve connected with some friends more deeply – or at least more often – and my partnership with my Traveling Partner on life’s journey seems to have deepened, and become stronger in practical ways, and deeper, emotionally. (We snarl at each other now and then; pandemic living has some challenges. We take it less personally, and bounce back more readily.) We’re human. We love each other. We both find working at love worth our individual and shared effort. We’ve both said as much, in actual words, at some point in the past several weeks.

Preparing to move feels strange, but maybe this is the last time? Maybe it isn’t. I’d probably serve myself best by avoiding becoming attached to the idea of permanence. lol Non-attachment for the win? Again?

Always, and already, life presents an opportunity to begin again. πŸ™‚

Early morning quiet, interrupted now and then by the sound of a passing car – a pleasant enough start to the day. I’m groggy. My sleep has been poor for a couple days now. Short nights. Wakeful. Restless dreams. It isn’t what it once was, to have such nights; they lack the stress I would have also experienced years ago. I let go of that, and so, a few nights of poor sleep are merely that; just a few nights of poor sleep. The weekend is almost here, and perhaps a night that isn’t followed by an alarm going off will be just the thing I need. πŸ™‚

I found myself missing my Traveling Partner quite a lot yesterday, and also feeling a hint of playful-but-serious envy for his travels, themselves. I didn’t need any of that to be a thing, and I’m not feeling haunted by regret that I did not make it out to see my Mom in person, before her death. I am, however, feeling something… a certain restlessness, a yearning, a need to “get away” from “everything” for awhile. I need to be out among the trees. πŸ™‚ I haven’t done much camping in the past year, and it’s something I really get a lot out of. Healthy time away. Time to reflect, without distractions. Cell phone becoming, instead, a camera. Just thinking it through got me excited about doing it.

One possible future… and one beautiful now.

I sat down in the evening, after work, and made a plan. Found some likely dates. Booked a favorite camping space in a favorite state park a few weeks from now. Booked a camping space out on the coast even a bit further out, on the calendar, as well as on the road. One trip for the peace among the trees, listening to the birds, hearing the deer step by daintily before I wake, hiking forested trails, and spending time meditating, and writing. The other trip? Beach-combing, and star-gazing. Nice. I smiled all evening, and woke up smiling this morning, too. I feel a certain sense of accomplishment in the background; it feels good to take action on personal needs in a constructive way. Not only that; I managed to plan almost-last minute, and still got a good camp site near the beach in the mid-September (still summer, in Oregon). πŸ˜€

It won’t matter about the weather, anyway… it’s about the journey.

…I’ve got to remember to get more Deet (mosquitoes) and sun-screen (omg – what do I do about that now?? I guess shop for a safer sunscreen. lol) Oh, and make a list… lol

I giggle with excitement over my coffee; truth is, I’m fairly well-prepared without lifting a finger. A routine check of my gear (unpack it, look it over for wear & tear, missing essentials, that sort of thing, and repack it), and I should be more or less ready to hit the highway. I like to hike – and I like to hike trails I can’t easily get to, trails that are too remote to be crowded, but still safe for me to hike solo. I end up camping a bunch to get to such places. lol It’s not about the camping, and as a result, I tend to camp fairly efficiently, and purposefully, most of the time. I don’t like to fuss and waste time looking for this or that just to load the car. πŸ˜€ I keep my gear ready-to-go, from about mid-March to the end of October. (I still hike in colder months, and talk long walks on nearby trails, but I don’t like sleeping/waking in the cold, so I rarely camp in winter, by preference.)

…I still catch myself musing about what I need, what I’ve got, what I may need to change about how my gear is packed, and making a mental list (or several). I’m looking forward to the time away.

I catch myself thinking about things I reliably always pack and don’t use. It’s so tempting to reduce weight by not taking those things. I already travel pretty light; I can generally carry my gear – all of it – in a single trip from the car to the campsite, if not backpacking it, then coming pretty close with a backpack and my hands full. It’s helpful to keep the load at a minimum (age, fitness, pain management…). So, why the heck am I carrying stuff I don’t use?? That sounds dumb…

…First aid kit? (haven’t needed it yet, still gotta carry one – not dumb) That’s the sort of “extra weight” I tend to carry; safety gear. A spare headlamp. Solar lights. Water filtration (state parks usually have potable water on site). Bottled water (heavy, and generally left behind in the car, once I confirm there is on site drinking water). Emergency blanket. My gear looks like I expect, at any moment, to be stranded unexpectedly in the wilderness, with no clear date of likely rescue. lol Realistically, that’s a thing that could happen, and I’m solo hiking most of the time. Why not be prepared to look after myself with some measure of preparedness and skill, in the event I am injured on a trail, or get stuck, or lost? Just saying… my “extra” weight stops being extra, when circumstances become more challenging.

Life works like that, too. Being prepared for contingencies, having a “plan B” (or C, or D, or E) can make a huge difference to our personal success in life. Being ready to pivot with new circumstances can make the difference between “getting there” at all – and “getting there” comfortably. Still, it matters to “keep the load light” and not carry so much baggage that we can’t really travel with any ease – and again, it’s a metaphor; works in life, and in camping. πŸ™‚ Just saying; it’s worth it not to carry extra baggage. It’s worth it to bring what it utterly necessary on our journey. Having (and using) the right tools is a worthwhile investment in our time, our effort – and our preparedness for circumstances.

What’s in your tool box? Will it get the job done?

What’s in your backpack? Will you be able to reach your destination, with what you can carry?

I notice the time. Finish my coffee, and begin again. πŸ™‚