Archives for posts with tag: each time the only time

By the end of the day yesterday I was in so much pain I was showing every moment of my 53 years, and possibly borrowing some extra years, besides. Today, I’ll be kinder to myself and resume walking with my hiking staff, because the additional support is helpful. Winter isn’t my favorite season, and it’s mostly to do with my arthritis. I’m not bitching, really, it’s just a thing that is part of my experience, these days.

One morning...

One morning…

I got home from work, cold, tired, in pain… I put it behind me with a leisurely hot shower, pain medication, and a quiet evening. At some point, I was commenting on my pain to my traveling partner – as I recall, something about it “being much worse than…”, and he gently reminds me that it is always worst just as fall shifts to winter. He’s right, and the reminder stops my aggravated fussing with new perspective. I crash early, but don’t actually fall into a deep restful sleep for hours – I took an Rx pain reliever. I took it knowing it had a fairly predictable risk of messing with my sleep. Two nights in a row without getting the sleep I need; it shows in my typing. My spelling and syntax are off, and I make more grammatical errors even than usual. I am so tired this morning.

...followed by an evening...

…followed by an evening…

It’s Friday. I miss my Traveling Partner… but all I can think about is sleep. And laundry. How is it that there is so much laundry to do (and conversely, so little clean stuff to wear)? Did I not do laundry this past weekend…? Why didn’t I? (Does “why?” matter? Really?) The weekend ahead feels reassuringly planned around the obvious needs: housekeeping, laundry, and taking care of this fragile vessel (sleeping – oh, please let there be sleeping!!!). I can’t recall if I have plans with my Traveling Partner… maybe we do. Maybe we don’t. Maybe that won’t matter and we’ll see each other regardless… His birthday is this weekend. I catch myself thinking I’ve overlooked getting him anything, and then bust out laughing, out loud. I’ve totally already taken care of that – he’s enjoying his birthday/holiday gift in advance this year. 🙂 I know he has plans to go out, to party, something boisterous, something joyful – and I’m stoked that he does. I’m uncertain whether I will seek to join him… for the moment, what sounds exciting to me is… sleeping. lol I take a moment to consider his planning, and remind myself to invite him to come around for brunch or lunch or dinner or something on Sunday…

...a different morning, similarly gray...

…a different morning, similarly gray, still very much its own morning…

I spend some minutes contemplating perspective, and how subtle changes can still seem to change “everything”, and how the “everything” I think I know amounts to so little of all of the everything that actually is. 🙂

...each morning, from the same vantage point, another perspective on life...

…each morning, from the same vantage point, another perspective on life…

There is more to know that I ever will know. More to do than I will ever be able to make time for. More choices on life’s vast menu than I can hold in awareness.

...mornings...

…mornings…

Some days are easier than others. Some are more exciting or stranger or peculiarly without memorable feature.

...evenings. Each very much it's own moment.

…evenings. Each very much its own moment.

Today is a good day to take moment by moment, task by task, opportunity by opportunity. I listen to the rain fall. Each raining morning so similar, each nonetheless its own moment, a unique experience – a chance to begin again. A chance for a shift in perspective.

 

I woke up later than my idea of early, but while the most of the community is still sleeping on a Saturday. I returned to bed, but failed to return to sleep, and rose to face the sort of heavy gray clouds hanging low overhead that render the phrase ‘overcast’ a joke; this sky means business. The forecast agrees with my impression of the sky, and suggests rain is likely. I’m thinking about the multitude of area farmer’s markets and wondering whether the trip downtown (today) feels worth the time commitment. The nearer farmer’s market is also quite a nice one, having its own character entirely.

I hear the rain begin, a soft tapping on the tall meadow grasses beyond the window. I hear the distant persistent wail of a freight train, so far away it is mixed like a… a good metaphor escapes me; I am listening.

the view of a rainy day

Gray autumn sky overhead, and the day begins.

My thinking seems fuzzy and distracted by the many sounds this morning; geese overhead, raindrops falling more steadily, that train way over there somewhere, the unfortunately rather ceaseless sound of traffic on the nearby road, birdsong, crows conversing, all mixing in my awareness as a sort of blended, endless, buzzing, humming, lowing, rumbling… noise. As noises go, it’s quiet, and very much in the background aside from the crows, whose morning planning meeting on the lawn appears to have run long. 🙂 In this moment, the noise in the background is not an irritant, merely the soundtrack of morning.

rain

Yep. Raining.

It’s definitely raining. The patter of raindrops on leaves is quite audible now. Nice for the garden. I pause and really look out across the meadow, to the trees on the far side of the park, see that the leaves are beginning to turn. Autumn is coming. The leaves of gold and amber, hints of red or orange here and there, tell me it’s true and not just an impression on a chilly morning. I still have the windows and patio door open. It’s too soon for heaters, barely chilly enough for sweaters, and the cool morning breezes with the intoxicating scent of petrichor are delightful. The rain is back! I smile and breathe deeply.

Writing is "inactive" time... so is reading, meditating, and quietly inhaling the scent of a rain morning. There is so much to enjoy in life that requires us to take a moment of stillness. :-)

Writing is “inactive” time… so is reading, meditating, and quietly inhaling the scent of a rain morning. 

It’s been a busy week, filled with stressors that didn’t quite become a bother, and one that did. None of it seems very “real” right now, sitting by the window, contentedly gazing out the window to the meadow and marsh beyond. Any small adjustment in position reveals new things about a new day: a duck sitting just at the edge of my patio, runners on the path just beyond the playground, a cat patrolling the edge of the meadow, a raccoon mother leading her young home after a night out, songbirds taking a moment in a nearby tree, an egret stepping through the marsh gently, and even the ever-changing cloudy sky, as the clouds shift and roil into a smooth homogeneous gray. These are nothing to do with me, directly, they’re only observations through a window. Verbs, changes, choices – but not mine. I am only observing the verbs, changes, and choices of other creatures, which is my choice in this moment, and observation my only verb (trust me, my fitness tracker is pretty firm with me that writing is “inactive” time, which suggests rather pathetically that writing is not a serious verb 😉 lol). I am, however, changed – and changing.

Another perspective on rain drops and roses...

Another perspective on rain drops and roses

This moment of calm contentment and observation is a practice that I love, and it has proven to be quite powerful. It’s one I want most to be skillfully able to share, this idea of being engaged and present in this moment, right here, observing, aware, awake. It’s a meditation of sorts, I suppose, but perhaps more a state of being? When I meditate, as in seated on a cushion meditating, my observational awareness is directed mostly within, although I am also aware of my environment and surroundings, because otherwise how mindful am I really? This other thing, this “being engaged and present in this moment”, is a little different. My observational awareness is simply awake, aware, present, and engaged in living life. A letting go of over thinking and planning in favor of being and doing describes it some…

raindrops on roses

Is it the difference between saying “stop and smell the roses” and doing it? I think so. Today is a good day to test that theory. 😉

I pause awhile, considering my words, and I am again drawn into the sounds of morning. Where will today take me? Where will I take the day? I sip my coffee and wonder if those are entirely different questions, different ways of asking the same thing, or really not at all different aside from word order. My brain playfully suggests perhaps this is important enough to spend a lot of time on…? I sense an “inner child” eager to distract me with delights, and reluctant to follow through on adulthood this morning. After all – it’s raining! I breathe, and pull my attention back to this moment, here, now. I breathe in the fresh scent of rain. I listen, really listen, to the sounds of it: spattering raindrops, rivulets in rain gutters, tires on wet roadway.

IMAG8161

Today is a good day to be, and to become. Today is a good day for a journey built on choice – and built on change. Today is a good day to be here, now.

…And the rain comes, no mistake. Right now it is a steady downpour. Change is. I sit back and enjoy the rain while it lasts. Impermanence also is, and this moment, here, now, is enough.  🙂

 

I woke during the night, at 2:35 am. Maybe something woke me. Maybe I just woke up. I got up and wandered through the apartment room by room, not for any particular reason. I think I could have rather easily gone back to sleep. I don’t have a clear idea why I actually got up upon waking. I wasn’t awake long, only long enough to wander through the darkened rooms, illuminated, enough for eyes that opened in the darkness, by the outdoor community lighting along walkways filtering through the closed blinds. I stood in the open patio doorway for some minutes, breathing the cool night air, and watching the clouds scoot past overhead. I went back to bed afterward.

With no alarm set, and no requirement to wake at some specific morning hour to hasten for a building elsewhere, to take a seat among working peers, to process tasks and complete workload for an employer, I slept until I woke, rested. I savored my waking moments with sensuous delight, aware how imminent the return of the alarm clock’s harsh no-nonsense beeping may be. It’s a lovely morning to enjoy what is. What is not, or is not yet, or is no more, is… without consequence in this moment. Well, maybe some of the “is no more” stuff has lingering consequences… our choices matter. Our choices now become our circumstances in our as-yet-unknown future. Sure, that’s pretty much how it works, generally. The future, however, remains firmly not “now”. Our past choices may have consequences we deal with presently, still… our past is also not “now”. I’m enjoying this “now” moment, and it is a lovely one. Quiet. Calm. Content. This is enough. Enough for “now”, and “now” is what I’ve got to work with. 🙂

This particular "now" is a lovely one.

This particular “now”; one moment among many.

The busy week still feels fairly well-managed, not quite “effortless”; there have been many verbs involved. Small breakthroughs, too, in areas of long-time struggle, confusion, or chaos. Something clicked for me, and my approach to food is healthier, and feels less conflicted. Something else clicked for me, and some verbs became easier, more natural parts of my experience. The specifics are less meaningful to share than that life continues to be a journey – with steps, without a map, with choices, without guarantees; we become what we practice. Incremental change over time is very real. Sometimes, change is as “easy” as flipping a switch. Sometimes change is more a matter of choosing. Choosing again. And yet again. And practicing more. Being frustrated now and then, and continuing nonetheless.

Choices, context, coincidence, circumstances, all adding up to this experience of “my life” and “who I am”… this morning over a simple coffee, black, in a plain porcelain cup, white, on a chilly morning somewhere between summer and autumn, it all seems rather simple and uncomplicated. I smile, reminded somehow of impermanence, inevitable and real. Change is. I’m okay with that, too, on this simple quiet morning of enough.

Later will be soon enough for busier moments. A night out with my traveling partner and a friend. “Breakfast” afterhours? An afternoon of doctor’s and tests and imaging, before the weekend can begin. A weekend outing to the farmer’s market with a new friend who’s never been. A lazy Sunday of rest, and study. Moments. Each an opportunity to connect more deeply, share more openly, and savor life. This life. My life. Now. Learning to enjoy and savor my experience has been one of the very best improvements I’ve made in how I live my life; most moments are quite delightful. It used to be that I didn’t notice that, or take the time for anything less than a catastrophe – or an obligation. All the things that hurt and troubled me, and the things that I “had to do”, took all the time I had. There were definitely choices and verbs involved. It required practice, and the change over time was rather slow. It started here. Or… was it here? Here? Here. Oh, maybe… here? What I’m saying is; there are verbs involved, and practice, and without the practice and the verbs, we leave change to chance. 😉

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

Today is a good day to be here, now. Today is a good day to practice being who we wish to become; we become what we practice. Today is a good day to choose change; being leads to becoming. 🙂

 

…Well…hardly ‘coffee’ … and you may be sipping something quite different. (I’ve read somewhere that more people drink tea than coffee, and considered it myself this morning.) Maybe you didn’t even sleep well? I woke in the night to the sound of a cough next door, which caused me a moment of concern before drifting back to sleep; my neighbors are elders of many years – and my bedroom is separated from their by the differing floor plans which put their living room between the bedrooms of the two units, I find myself hoping no one is seriously ill. When the alarm goes off, I am alert – reaching to switch it off, and listening for sounds of wakefulness next door. Still, generally speaking, I woke feeling well-rested in spite of that.

Wait…why ‘hardly coffee’? Because I’m out of coffee beans, and don’t keep instant in the house. lol I noticed last night before bed, and took no action on the basis of ‘I can get caffeine at work soon enough’. We’ll see, eh? This cup of dark warmth here next to me is half decaf – in order to get enough beans through the grinder for a whole cup of coffee, I added decaf to it so… yep. It’s not the usual brew, and it won’t have the usual wake-me-up factor. I begin sipping it almost reluctantly, as if my brain is guiding my will via ‘who cares’ signals, but once I overcome my vague feeling of dismissiveness about the coffee this morning, I am finding it quite tasty and suitable to the morning. Assumptions, expectations – humans. (Note to self: just go ahead and give yourself a chance to enjoy things without forecasting the outcome, would you please?)

My back cracks and pops through my morning yoga, but the pain I am in is somewhat diminished having gone ahead and practiced my way through my practice – each change of posture accompanied by an assurance to myself that “I can always stop after this one…” I just keep going until I am finished. (Is it going to be that day?) I shower, dress, take medication… each step in my morning routine feeling subtly forced, like a child being pushed along on a school morning. I am the grown up in this house! Yeah… but I am also the laughing naked child dashing through the house, resisting ‘what must be’ for all those other opportunities… to play. I earnestly want to ‘skip school’ today – just not go to work, just not do ‘the thing’. I don’t really want to be the grown up today. I’d like to stay home and paint, or read, or listen to music, or garden. All the truly worthwhile things life offers for our enjoyment – and for which I do not get paid. LOL “Welcome to Adulthood” I hear the woman in the mirror mutter back to me – out loud. Considering I am alone with my thoughts in this wee haven, that just seems mean – it wasn’t at all necessary to speak the words! Besides… I haven’t really had my coffee yet, and I don’t want to hear conversation just now.

If I only see what is unpleasant, if I only hear unpleasant words, will it be a surprise if my experience is also unpleasant? I can choose my perspective.

If I only see what is unpleasant, if I only hear unpleasant words, will it be a surprise if my experience is also unpleasant? I can choose my perspective.

It isn’t a bad morning. It is a fairly ordinary, very human, sort of morning. I’m okay with that – as I said, it isn’t bad. Is it good? My traveling partner would most certainly point out that I am phrasing it in the negative to say the morning ‘isn’t bad’ (“How is it?” he might ask…) I might answer “It’s okay, better than bad… not noteworthy…I’m enjoying it well enough.” All rather vague, but all… okay. 🙂 It is in the nature of contentment that the fancy adjectives and superlatives get a little dusty from disuse. lol

The work week is at a half-way point. I am eager to hear word on the apartment I’d like to move into, but I am not impatient about it, since it is happening rather faster than I expected as it is. The weekend is ahead of me… a date with my traveling partner Friday night… friends over to plan shared hikes this year on Saturday…Sunday…well…I’ve no idea. The housekeeping doesn’t do itself around here, so perhaps Sunday will be spent on practical matters, and invested in myself entirely? I find myself wondering… once the chaos and damage has all been sorted out, and put away, and once the gates of The Nightmare City are closed permanently and locked, and once life has proven it’s point about lasting contentment… then what? Does such a thing ever occur in life? Would I stop writing? I haven’t really had to look at any of that realistically in earlier years; it wasn’t a realistic likelihood in the past – it may be the future. Life isn’t about perfection and standing still, though, and I am confident that life’s curriculum is more vast than any single lifetime, so… yeah. Probably still writing for a while. LOL 🙂

I tend to think about work and life very separately, and sometimes wistfully imagine that I make my living doing something profoundly important to mankind, something remarkable, or something meaningful… I wonder what that would be like? Ah, but I remember in this same moment things that do matter. The gratitude of the young employee whose needs were met using unconventional solutions. I remember a day when some particularly elegant piece of analysis improved efficiency by illuminating a challenge in a way that allowed it to also be easily addressed. I remember great moments of partnering with colleagues on exciting projects. I start feeling renewed excitement and commitment as my thoughts shift toward the professional side of my life. It’s complicated. I’d like more time to paint, more time to live my own agenda – I don’t actually hate what I do, as much as find that it competes with what I love. Perhaps I am almost grown up enough to tackle this one, too? 🙂

Today is a good day to live each moment right here in the moment I am in, enjoying the thing I am doing now with my entire awareness. Doing so tends to change my view of the world. 🙂