Archives for posts with tag: embracing change

Boundaries are funny things. Relationships are fraught with things to do with boundaries: tested boundaries, inadvertently violated boundaries, well-intended willful transgressions of boundaries, and failures to set and manage boundaries with care (or skill). I have, more than once, been situations such that I’ve set a boundary, unsuccessfully reinforced that boundary, and later found myself in violation of my own boundary/limitations! I’ve received firm “push back” regarding a thing I did/said or did not do/say that seemed, in the moment, unreasonable to me, because I’d been letting that person “off the hook” on something very similar that mattered to me, and subsequently feeling a lot of resentment when they undertake to set that boundary, themselves. Instant drama. I mean, for real – this is a major shortcut to conflict, strife, and unhappy discourse. It can develop into a serious see-saw of repeatedly broken “rules” in a relationship, and result in resentment building up over time, even though in some cases it would certainly appear that all concerned want the same basic outcome, and are setting a same/similar boundary on a single clear concern. 0_o

…Humans being human…

I reminded myself, yesterday, to “get off the see-saw” when my partner approached me courteously and set a clear simple boundary (that I had, myself, set at some previous time, under other circumstances). I felt my annoyance flair up. Didn’t I say… I stop myself. Here’s the thing; my Traveling Partner was only asking of me something that I myself want to see be our shared routine. So… what’s with the aggravation? Isn’t a cheerful “sure thing!” more appropriate? If something matters to us both, enough to set boundaries to support it, aren’t we in agreement on the value/importance of that thing or practice? It would seem so. Do I really need to “have my moment” on it? Isn’t it enough to appreciate that we’ve had a meeting of the minds on the topic? Do I actually also need to have “credit” for “coming up with it”? For real?

…Why do I care who gets “credit” for a quality-of-life-improving idea, within the context of a healthy partnership?

Clinging to our righteous position on some detail or another (particularly something as facile who suggested what first) when all seem to be in agreement on the basics of what has value and what is to be done about that, well – it’s just stirring up drama. lol I don’t much care for pointless drama. I really don’t. So, I took a breath, offered my enthusiastic agreement to the requested boundary, and moved on with my day. Why would I choose any differently? 🙂 In relationships in which people have shared values, similar (or the same) ideas, and yes, even boundaries, are highly likely. Staying focused on the outcome instead of the request (or suggestion) makes so much more sense than fussing over being asked to do what we, ourselves, would ideally like to see done. lol

I smile to myself over my coffee. Sure, sure, changing a habit, and building a new practice is a lot of repetition. Being responsible, accountable, and aware of my actions is routine stuff (and yeah, sometimes challenging) – ideally, I catch my own mistakes and correct those, and move on. No fuss, no bother, no nagging, no turmoil. 🙂 Practices need practice. I’ve got time for practicing. The same is true of my Traveling Partner. We’re both equally human. My TBI doesn’t make me more (or less) human – it just requires me to be mindful, to need a few reminders, a bit of patience, and a lot of practice. 🙂 We have time for that.

I listen to birds seeing beyond the window, and let my thoughts wander to mornings at the new address… what will those be like? What birds will be seeing? Will there be squirrels on the deck there? I was out there yesterday, briefly, tape measure in hand. The neighborhood is quiet. I could hear birdsong and breezes. It’s exciting to contemplate this move… another beginning. 🙂

…I like beginnings…

 

My traveling partner updated my operating system for me yesterday. Change is. It has been, so far, the least stressful such change I’ve experienced. Building my first pc kept me up all night, two nights in a row, struggling with connectivity on an unfamiliar OS. Another iteration, years later in a lifetime long ago, resulted in a weekend of frustrated tears and arguments, emotionally tripping over the well-intended ‘help’ of another partner. In the more recent past, my traveling partner has endured my tension, fear, and anxiety over upgrades to my computer…what if something goes wrong? What happens to my data? My pictures? This is part of… me; I had grown to experience my computer, my hard drive(s), as an extension of self. My challenges with memory, with finding a sense of continuity and enduring self, resulted in an unhealthy emotional attachment to the machine – my computer. I could easily be pushed to panic by any perceived threat to my data. It made updates, upgrades, and changes pretty emotionally complicated.

Life does not stand still. We don't remain where we begin.

Life does not stand still. We don’t remain where we begin.

This is a strong partnership. My traveling partner ‘gets me’ more than most. He silenced the Windows 10 nagging for me, ages ago, and I forgot all about the imminent threat of change to ‘my back up brain’. He quietly went about his own business for a while, did his upgrade himself, used the new OS awhile, brought it around my place on his laptop and there were opportunities to say ‘”h hey, can you just do that while I…” . I expect someone else’s laptop or computer to be set up differently than mine; I approach that situation very openly, handling the machine and myself with care, and unconcerned about little things like ‘change’. A couple of weeks ago, he observed that support for my current OS would likely go away ‘eventually’ and it made sense to consider the new one. I agreed, in the abstract, and he suggested letting Windows have those files ‘ready when the time comes’, and turned the Windows 10 nagger back on. That didn’t sound like a big deal, and I comfortably agreed. Over the weekend, he suggested he may have the opportunity to do the upgrade for me, if I were willing. I waffled a bit, and settled on ‘yeah… okay, I guess, sure’ or something equally vague and half-hearted. He pointed out it would be easy enough to do myself – for some reason, that felt very reassuring, and I even considered doing so, more than once. The day came – yesterday – he mentioned in the morning that he’d probably go ahead and take care of it while I was at work. Years ago that by itself would have caused me huge anxiety – someone in my machine while I was away?? This is not that relationship. (Please note, throughout, his use of affirmative consent practices – win and good.)

I arrived home and it was done. New OS, new emotional experience of such; I felt eager to log on and check it out, but put it off to enjoy the evening together over dinner, and some quiet hang out time. I woke to the alarm, from a deep sound sleep, having entirely forgotten that my computer is on a new OS. My morning has been an explorer’s adventure, checking it out. Things are different. Not bad different. Hell, mostly not good different. Just different. I am rarely confronted by evidence of the quantity of small tweaks and changes to settings I actually do on my computer to be really comfortable… some of those are overwritten by this upgrade, and I am pleasantly surprised to observed that I am not stressed out by small things this morning; today they stay small.

The rain falls beyond the window. I hear traffic in the distance, and the sound of some sort of machinery humming, strange and far away – probably a train paused, idling, alongside the platform not too far from here, on the other side of the nature park, and just beyond the adjacent business park. My coffee is tasty. I wonder again how it is that my partner sleeps through the terribly loud burr grinder in the still of the wee hours each day. I disregard the work day ahead; it gets nothing from me until much later. I consider the small delights of home and hearth, and the joys of having my traveling partner staying with me awhile; I am unconcerned about small deviations from the routine – there’s always room for love here. We make the choices that welcome love home.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

Today is a good day to embrace change and be open to what is new and unexpected. Today is a good day to reduce negative bias by enjoying all manner of pleasant things, being present for each moment, and lingering contentedly over the recollection of them; they are more important [to me] than the stressors. Today is a good day to continue to change my experience – and my world.

The week ended well, which wasn’t something I expected, but I do often find that dread is a poor choice of foundation for anticipating or predicting things with any reliable level of accuracy. My back is aching, and it will be a short weekend, but I am not suffering, or struggling, or fussing with frustration over what is not, or even what is.

It was not obvious at first glance what the day might hold for me.

It was not obvious at first glance what the day might hold for me.

I am home, comfortable, and relaxed – although I am still in street clothes for the moment. Dinner is in the oven; it made sense to get it started before I shower away the last reminders of work (the tension in my shoulders, and the subtle sense that a presence of the office lingers on my skin).

I allowed myself to enjoy the beauty of the dawn uninterrupted by anxiety or dread.

I allowed myself to enjoy the beauty of the dawn uninterrupted by anxiety or dread.

I let my traveling partner know I’d be offline this evening after scrolling through my Facebook feed and realizing I could easily kill all the hours of my short weekend doing so; I choose differently tonight.

A bold blue evening sky lead me home.

A bold blue evening sky lead me home.

There are a lot of changes coming, some seasonal, some grand, some inconsequential to the point of going unnoticed were I not the person I am. I forget sometimes that this quantity of change is sometimes stressful for me in ways I can prepare for by being aware – and being kind to myself. There are as many good things about change as there are uncomfortable things about change – and there are so many changes I straight up embrace (still dealing with some of the consequences of change, nonetheless). I’m not bitching about change – there’s no point. Bitching about change is a little like complaining about spelling mistakes; the complaint changes nothing whatever, and really… it just is, sometimes. I can observe the change, accommodate the change, resist the change, embrace the change and build on it… I definitely have choices. Change is okay.

I took the scenic route; this is my life, why would I cheat myself of beauty or of love?

I took the scenic route; this is my life, why would I cheat myself of beauty or of love?

It’s a quiet autumn evening solo, and it feels comfortable, safe, utterly without anxiety in this precious tender moment of my time – spent entirely on me. It’s beautiful, and it’s enough.

Being love. Being the woman in the mirror. Being content on an autumn evening.

Being love. Being the woman in the mirror. Being content on an autumn evening.

I spent a restless night, dreaming strange dreams, waking, returning to sleep and repeating the cycle without any stress or agita. It was a restless night nonetheless. I had to take a break from some medication I’d been taking, due to other health concerns, and over days wound up standing on the threshold of Hormone Hell once again. Annoying. Now…now I get to adjust to the hormones all over again, and that’s a few restless nights and strange dreams. It’s not so bad – I think I am getting some better at this. 🙂

In other areas of my experience, the endless practicing of practices, compassionately applying fail sauce when needed, and dusting myself off to practice some more is paying off; every day more small details play out in a way that feels, from my perspective, as though it is my experience, indeed, and that I am generally enjoying much of it – and what is not enjoyable, still tends to be reasonable, understandable, and an opportunity to grow. Perspective matters. Good communication basics matter. The will to let things go, and refrain from making someone else’s experience personal to my own – yeah, those things matter a lot. Is life ‘perfect’? Is it ever, for anyone? Listen to some of the peculiarly specific Bitching of the Rich and Shopping sometime, at a place like Whole Foods – even the privileged and the mighty find things to be discontent about. (Can you imagine a mom barely making ends meet on minimum wage complaining in the grocery store about the packaging at the meat counter being a potential choking hazard for her dog – and how her dog will only eat prime rib, but the cook won’t feed the dog, and is she really expected to open the package, herself? I doubt you’ll ever hear such a thing from a woman on minimum wage or assistance. Whole Foods is great place to listen in on privileged foolishness.) There is a lot of perspective to be had in the world, quietly observing fellow human primates in their natural environment – be careful even around the domesticated ones; human primates are quite dangerous, and easily provoked to verbal or physical violence. (They just aren’t as tame as they look.)

Perspective is a very big deal for me. I sometimes move too quickly through my experience, before I give myself the opportunity to reason, and to choose well. This is an effect of disinhibition – I feel, I react –  I have the thought, I say the words; sometimes it is embarrassing and quite public, sometimes it is frustrating and quite lonely. It is a part of my experience, and I am learning practices to help me manage it. The most critical one is probably meditation. The time I have spent so far really embracing stillness, practicing meditation as though it meets the most basic of biological needs – like sleep, like eating, like breathing, like sex – has taken me a very different direction that I had been headed. One that is vastly more positive, compassionate, agreeable, engaging – supportive of the needs of others, without under-cutting my own. One that refuses to abdicate my decision-making, sense of self, or joy, and refuses to over-compromise when it comes to meeting my basic needs as a human being. “Life-changing” is a fair observation. Perspective matters so much that it not only helped me get this far – it helps beat back the not-as-uncommon-as-I’d-like despair that sometimes hits me when I come face to face with having to put myself first among my priorities, and face rejection, resentment, anger, or the defense forces of the status quo; change is not always a comfortable fit for everyone facing it. My changes impact the experience of others who interact with me. The limitations of my injury sometimes leave me unprepared that what I want and need and will be good for me may face opposition, or be in conflict with the needs of others. There’s perspective, standing by for me in the those moments, reminding me to be kind, compassionate, and remain focused on what matters most – to me.

Like awaiting the inevitable first rose of spring, it is important to trust the process, and know that mindful living, good self-care, and putting my oxygen mask on first will take the journey in a positive direction.  "Baby Love" in the garden, the most loved rose in my garden opens first this year.

Like awaiting the inevitable first rose of spring, it is important to trust the process.
“Baby Love”, the most loved rose in my garden opens first this year.

Sometimes I have a peculiar feeling that I ‘don’t know who I am’; it always passes when I realize what I am feeling is really the chasm between who I am, in my own experience, and how different that is than who I sense I have been defined as external to my own experience, by others. Lucky me, this one’s easy; I am the sole and exclusive subject matter expert on my experience, on how I feel – on who I am. There is no ‘second opinion’, only other perspectives not my own. Better still? I choose. I decide. I create my experience. No, those things are not ‘selfish’ in any inappropriate or cruel sense; they are a natural statement of personal power and autonomy, utterly necessary for self-love, self-compassion, self-assurance, and a comfortable sense of self. The Art of Being would seem to require that I go right ahead and be; it’s a verb, and the verb is to choose. 🙂

Today is a good day for choices, for changes, and for love. Today is a good day to be at the top of my own agenda. Today is a good day to embrace what I love about who I am. Today is a good day to enjoy my experience.

 

I woke early this morning. It was very late before I fell asleep. A short night; there are potential consequences later in the day, when I start to feel fatigued. These days that is nothing more than something to be mindful of, to account for with kindness and compassion – and patience with myself.  At this early hour, that’s all theory for later. For now, I am quietly enjoying the too-brief tranquility of mornings and studying. This morning I am studying concepts of attachment and ‘clinging’ that undermine growth, development, ‘becoming’, and emotional resilience.

Sure, why not?

Sure, why not?

I spent a few moments, recently, grieving the loss of a particular experience I wholly enjoy. Like so many things, it could be that its time has simply passed; change is.  I experienced the sadness of that, the loss, and generally such moments feel destructive, joyless, and despairing to me. Yesterday I deviated from my norm, some glitch in my programming turned up and… I understood concepts related to attachment that I have been struggling with for some time now.  Change is. Growth happens through change – whether we embrace it or not – but the nature and extent of our growth may be affected by whether we embrace change or struggle with it.

Change is part of life.

Change is part of life.

I’m not saying I like the concept. I’m just saying yesterday I woke up to an important idea, and accepted it; when I can let go of attachment to specific experiences, possessions, or qualities of character I have chosen as ‘my identity’, I can achieve something new, try something, experience more, and move forward on life’s trajectory.  Even the most perfect of lovely mornings, repeated endlessly, could grow stale.  So, okay, I can find contentment in change…loss still hurts. Saying good-bye can still feel sad. Grief and grieving are still honest and heartfelt emotional experiences that are likely for most of us, at some point in life. Nothing unique there… but I grieve a broken porcelain demi-tasse cup with the emotional depth and intensity that some save for losses of life, and it occurs to me that may not be the best way to take care of my heart, or treat myself well.

I see this same scenario play out in other lives, too; at work, having to change schedules unexpectedly, it isn’t unusual for a coworker facing such a change to take it all very personally, to cling to what they know, and to fight change with a ferocity one might find reasonable on a battlefield…and then to see that same coworker happily embracing new opportunities opened by that change in schedule, once they experience it. Change is scariest when I cling tightly to what I have right now, to avoid facing change, itself.  It mattered yesterday because I was contemplating a change in household hours/schedules that can’t help but throw my own routine out of whack, and that sort of thing sometimes takes me weeks to adjust to.  I realized I was not helping myself by holding on to my attachment to what had been.  I still feel sad that I may be letting a delightful emotional butterfly flutter away…but I am also grateful to have enjoyed it so much, for so long.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile 'now'.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile ‘now’.

There are so many experiences I have enjoyed that just aren’t part of my experience now. Every one of them remains part of my experience over time, and my history. Each has value as a treasured memory. Each exists as a sort of random card in an infinite deck of things I enjoy that could reoccur. Many of them won’t. Holding on to them, refusing change, prevents me from embracing new experiences to add to that infinite deck.  Sounds so easy, so obvious…but…

I really like sipping ice-cold root beer and sitting near the fan on the screen porch at Grandmother’s house, eavesdropping on adult conversations on a humid summer afternoon.

I really like playing monopoly or cribbage by the tent stove, with my motor pool colleagues, waiting for my guard duty shift.

I really like running bare footed down the trails in the woods, where I was not supposed to be playing and could generally be found (with some effort) any childhood summer morning.

I really like lazy Sundays with generous brunches, sleeping in, a lot of sex, a great playlist, and a bit of gardening.

I really like late night strolls through park-like old residential neighborhoods on balmy summer nights.

I really like spending the day out on the water on my grandparent’s sail boat.

I really like being out at the range, honing my skills, and competing with myself and feeling like a bad ass.

I really like keeping a few chickens.

I really like slipping away to a nearby swimming hole on a Friday when I could be working, but the broad blue skies of Oklahoma suggest otherwise.

I really like hanging out with a lover, sharing anecdotes about who we each are, growing closer, and laughing together over coffee or lovemaking.

I really like new love and romance.

I really like being between jobs and taking months off for me.

I really like summer vacation.

…And I miss these things. There are a lot of experiences, moments, and relationships that I enjoy right now that I won’t have in some tomorrow down the road. Just like that list of experiences I am not having in my now.  Some of them I may experience again. Some of them I may never experience again.  Hell, some of them I don’t want to experience if to do so I have to return to the life or context in which I had them before. That’s something to consider, there.

So. Sure. It makes sense to let go. To accept change. To adapt. What comes next? Something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Today is a good day to embrace change.