Archives for posts with tag: embrace change

I’m sipping my second coffee on a sunny Sunday morning. My Traveling Partner is preparing to undertake some household projects, partly to improve our quality of life, and partly (I feel fairly certain) to satisfy his own creative joy. I feel content, and also a certain strange happy satisfaction to see his power tools ready for use, and hear the details of his plan for the project in front of him. It “feels like home”.

…It has taken so long to get “here”.

One perspective on “home”.

In this instance, not a geographical location at all, nor an address, maybe not even a point in time – it’s more than any of that. Feels good, though, and I take a moment to think about a conversation I had with my partner, when he moved into my wee duplex with me. We were talking about the potential need to move into a somewhat bigger place (pre-pandemic). I remember feeling distressed and agitated, and struggling to communicate what felt so “urgent” to me, personally; I did not want to move again unless it was into our own home. It felt non-negotiable after having to move 5 times in 10 years. The constant chaos involved in moving is unpleasant for me, and has longer-lasting emotional wellness impact than I manage comfortably. The frequent change in living space messes with my head, and results in a loss of implicit knowledge of my surroundings – not necessarily a critical detail for everyone, definitely important to me personally.

I sip my coffee, appreciating the warmth of it, on a cool summer morning. The dewy surfaces out on the deck evaporate in the sunshine. My workstation, still set up in the dining room, has a view out to the deck. I can see my partner out there measuring things, taking notes. I smile. This is, if not “everything”, is surely enough to feast on with a happy heart.

“This too shall pass”. Of course. Everything does, at some point. We don’t know when the clock will run out on our fun, or our happy adventures, or the warmth of a smile that is dear to us, any more than we know with any certainty when our miseries or hardships will end. Everything does, though. Everything. I remind myself to embrace this charming happy “now” unreservedly. Enjoy the journey. Embrace change. Invest in love.

…Good cup of coffee… nice morning…

…time to begin again. 🙂

 

My coffee has gone cold. It’s been that sort of morning. Distractions. Being here, “now”, instead of driven by habit.

I woke to a misty drenching rain that I was only aware of once I stepped out onto the deck, shortly before dawn. So lovely. I love the sound of rain on leaves, and the bit of forest just beyond the deck definitely provides it. I’m still smiling. My thoughts are still full of raindrops and birdsong. I started the morning with a rainy day soak in the hot tub, which was soothing, and I’m in so much less pain because of it. The bonus, this morning, was in the conversation. My Traveling Partner opened the door on a fairly deep discussion for such an early time of morning (more or less “pre-coffee”). A rare thing. It went well, and looking back feels as productive as it felt helpful in the moment. New perspective on old issues. Gentle sharing, with consideration, and thoughtful use of language. Win. (Way to do “adulthood” well on a Thursday!)

Raindrops and blossoms on the pear tree beyond my window.

Eventually, the work day had to begin, and so it has. Same great job, same great boss… same real life “harsh reality” that change is a thing. Change just is. Few promises, few guarantees, and a lot of changes – that’s real. Too real this morning. Yesterday I got the news about a personnel change that matters to me (emotionally) a great deal. Hard to see someone I enjoy working with moving on. I mean… I’m glad they found something promising that will meet more of their needs, for sure. I will miss working with them a lot – I’ve learned a lot working with this colleague, and become a more skillful professional as a result. I also appreciate their enthusiastic interest in deep conversations, meta analysis, and unusual tangents and correlations. It’s hard seeing them go.

…I’ve “stood in this place” before, and the time that follows has sometimes been pretty unpleasant, and I’ve left jobs over the loss of… “communion”? Maybe that is the “right word”? Certainly, I’ve left jobs when things reached a point where I no longer had professional relationships I really enjoyed among my closest colleagues. This time, I’m in a healthier place as a human being (in spite of social distancing, pandemic life, and all of the baggage and bullshit I still tend to lug around). I don’t find myself catastrophizing what the future may hold. 🙂 It’s just a change.

Change is.

I sip my now-cold coffee, haplessly left behind on my way to soak and converse with my Traveling Partner as the rainy dawn unfolded into a gray rainy day. It’s still a good cup of coffee. I don’t mind that it is cold. Sometimes changes are just changes, and even though they “feel like” a big deal in one moment, later, in some other, they’ll probably just be what is. 🙂 It’s enough for a Thursday morning. I take a moment to contemplate change.

I begin again.

 

I was sipping my morning coffee in the dim of dawn, sun not yet peaking over the horizon. I was thinking about a friend who often seems to default to negative self-talk, and assumptions about others that are built on suspicion, fear, and mistrust. I know enough about my friend’s personal history to have some limited understanding why they would hold such a bleak perspective on life, relationships, and yes, even on the person in the mirror. I hold my friend in very high regard, and our mutual affection and appreciation has lasted many years…but even I am not immune to being the recipient of my friend’s mistrust, suspicion, and doubt.

My thoughts this morning, after recently having coffee together, were less about how uncomfortable it can feel to be viewed as an adversary, unexpectedly, and absent any input on my part to justify or support that view, and more about how unpleasant it must be to go through life that way, living in the context of some implicit certainty that everyone, eventually, is an enemy. It saddens me, and I struggle to balance my understanding and compassion with my feelings of helplessness and frustration – and lack of being understood clearly. My own communication challenges don’t make it easier. My own emotional baggage and personal history with relationships with other human primates don’t make it easier, either. I sipped my coffee, breathing, exhaling, relaxing, and consider my perspective, and where I can, also the perspective my friend expressed, with as much depth, and understanding, as I am able to do.

Perspective changes what we understand of the world.

I think back to articles I’ve read about mindfulness, and the handful of those that point out that undertaking a mindfulness practice can throw emotional health and balance into chaos for some people. I even accept that this is one of the potential experiences people may have; when we have adapted to darkness, the brightness of being flooded with light is not necessarily and immediately helpful, comfortable, or pleasant experience. Some of the things we keep to ourselves over a lifetime, dismissing our concerns, diminishing our sense of self, or building our narrative on a ton of self-serving made-up shit to compensate, perhaps, for the bleakness of our sense of doubt and futility, end up being powerful (and possibly successful) coping mechanisms for the hardest shit we don’t want to face – and having coped with, we don’t have to. Then along comes some “healthy” mindfulness practice that sounds awesome, that our friends are into, and we hop right into it, eager and enthusiastic… then, we find ourselves face to face with the darkness being dissipated by a light so bright we can’t see what it hides from us, and… we run, terrified and damaged, fearful of change, resisting what so bright a moment of illumination might really show us. After all, we’d coped with all that bullshit. We’d found a way. Now, here we are, facing our self, unexpectedly. Not always a pretty picture, and we’re not all ready for that.

Changing our own perspective doesn’t always feel comfortable. Whether or not “mindfulness” can be said to “work” is more than a little bit dependent on what we expect it to do, and whether that is what we actually want – or are ready for.

My friend and I talked about my journey, and theirs. We spoke of expectations, and of “reality”. My friend had, at one time, been a huge advocate for me finding my way to a more positive perspective on life. At that time, they seemed so unbelievably positive to me that it was hard to understand the thinking behind those words – wasn’t it a matter of “character” or personality? Wasn’t my personal history “real”, and sufficient to justify my chaos and damage… and negativity? Wasn’t my cynicism perfectly “reasonable”? Here I was sitting over coffee, after far too long out of touch, and I was the positive one, the contented one, the one bouncing back. My friend seemed overly negative, and out of touch with their own emotional experience, lacking in a certain authenticity and “presence”, that felt strangely dishonest and uncomfortable to me. The conversation came around to meditation, and mindfulness practices, generally. “All that’s bullshit,” my friend said firmly. “I tried that stuff back in the day, and it only made me cry a lot, and made me doubt my relationships.” I sat quietly listening (which can be difficult for me), then replied “What did your therapist say about that experience?” My friend answered abruptly, “I quit therapy. It was expensive, and kept making me doubt my place in the world, and my relationship with my partner.” She gestured vaguely, something like waving off that topic with her hand. “I didn’t need all that, I’m unhappy enough without help. Self-reflection bullshit just made me rethink everything. Who needs it?”

I keep turning the conversation over in my head, in the time since. So much of what she had shared seemed unhappy, and infused with a sense of having failed herself in some mysterious way, punctuated by occasionally accusations of some other person setting her up for failure. If she is so deeply unhappy in life, in her relationships, wouldn’t she expect self-reflection to hold up that mirror, and show her precisely that? Doesn’t that open the door to the potential that change could be made – chosen – and offer the chance to walk a different path?

No answers, this morning, really. Just questions, and self-reflection, and the illumination offered by shining a bright light into my own dark corners. There’s always an opportunity to begin again. 🙂 I am my own cartographer; I choose my path.

Mondays have a bad reputation. I’m no longer sure why. Is it merely that so many people work unsatisfying jobs to which they must return each Monday? I’ve definitely been there. It wasn’t the easiest thing to choose differently. I had to learn that I could. So far, the current job has not yet lost its appeal, and going on 6 months, now. 🙂

I woke during the night, no idea why, and quietly walked through the apartment, restlessly, for… what? For about 10 minutes, that’s what. lol I’ve no idea what woke me, and I was on autopilot as I walked through the apartment, from bathroom to kitchen to patio door to studio window, finally standing at the front door, looking out into the wee hours of night, feeling the cold wet breeze circle me and filling the doorway. It was the refreshing cool of the breeze that helped me realize I was indeed awake and walking around, and also that I was still quite sleepy and inclined to finish the night. I returned to bed, and to sleep.

…And here it is, Monday. My coffee this morning is quite terrible, which seems rather odd. In all other respects the morning begins quite well, and I’m not inclined to fuss over the coffee. I rather thoughtlessly rubbed something irritating into my eyes, which as irritants go is unpleasant, but could be so much worse. I notice, as I dispose of the tissue I had dabbed at my eyes with, that I overlooked the little trash can in my studio when I took out the trash this weekend. I’m a tad irked by that, but it is also a very small thing. I shrug that off, too. How much Monday misery is entirely self-selected based on the apprehension that Mondays will suck? It’s been a long while since I’ve actually had a shitty Monday… Today still doesn’t qualify. I keep choosing to enjoy the morning. There’s no particular need to force it, I am okay right now, and that’s enough.

Monday? Yeah, it is. That doesn’t have to be any more significant than any other day of the week, though. There are verbs involved. Choices. Perspective. Practices. You can always begin again. 🙂

I woke to the sound of rain. It was raining when I dropped off to sleep. The outside temperature stayed above freezing through the night, and is expected to near 50 degrees (F) today. The snow is disappearing. The ice has softened and is giving way to slush. It’ll be a wet, slushy, muddy commute today, quite different than yesterday’s icy cautious trek.

My careful commute still got me to this lovely vantage point.

My careful commute still got me to this lovely vantage point, yesterday. Today it will look different.

Tonight will be warmer. It will be too warm for a fire in the fireplace to give comfort. There will be even less snow, and even more mud. I’m okay with all of that; I may see my Traveling Partner. 😀 It’s been weeks now, and I miss him greatly.

This morning starts in a peculiarly unscripted way. I don’t really know what is to come of the day, not even a little bit. I don’t find that it causes me any anxiety, which is a change itself, from years when the slightest mystery or deviation from plans, caused me incredible stress and anxiety. This lack of plan, this lack of expectation, it’s not even uncomfortable… I’m okay right now.

The world, too, is in a state of change. In a sense, a very real sense, pretty much nearly everything almost entirely always is in a state of change, to one extent or another. Fighting that caused me so much needless stress. Holding the awareness of ongoing change at arm’s length, trying to carve out a moment of stillness by halting change itself, and then feeling the inevitable frustration and disappointment when things did, unavoidably, change, regardless of my wishes… it was… hard. Embracing change, for me, has meant taking that first step again and again and again; being comfortably aware that change is. It has no characteristic that allows for me to avoid it, negotiate with it, prevent it, limit it, halt it… or change the thing about change that is change itself. From there, it’s all planning the Plan A, and the Plan B, and finding the sweet spot in life that allows me to accommodate change comfortably, which has typically involved not getting hung up on expectations and assumptions – or even plans.

Even today; I am hopeful I will see my Traveling Partner. I don’t “expect” it to be today. I don’t “assume” that it will be today. It may be. It may not be. There’s nothing on the calendar that is firm on that topic, as of now, and there are other things going on for both of us… so… I know he is eager to see me. I know I am eager to see him. We miss each other. Our intention is to get together at the next good opportunity, once the roads are safely navigable once again. Good enough. It allows for change to happen quite comfortably, without drama. I like that.

Today is a good day for change. (There’s no stopping change, so it’s quite nice that it’s a good day for it…) Today is a good day to be content with what is. Today is a good day to enjoy this moment, here, whatever it is, while I can. It will change, sooner or later. 🙂