Archives for posts with tag: emotional sufficiency

I’m starting to feel genuinely settled in here at home. It’s lovely. 🙂

I woke this morning to darkness. That’s not really a surprise; the sun has been rising later in the morning, every morning, since the Summer Solstice. lol This morning I really noticed. Chilly, too. Chilly. Dark. It felt earlier than it was. I started the work day early, too. It’s Friday; I’ll enjoy being done earlier.

Fun fact; I started drinking coffee when I joined the Army, right out of high school. Not apropos of anything much, just happened to think about it, over my coffee, standing in the rain, on an autumn morning.

Life. Love. Work. Art. Coffee. It’s a Friday, and I’m fairly convinced that what I have in front of me, as a human, is “enough”. Feels good. I’m not bragging, by the way, I’m simply making a point of taking notice of my contentment, the way it has built over time, and the details that have turned out to truly “matter most” to me, individually, as a human being living this mortal life. I mean… I could want more… there’s more out there to be had, for sure…

…It can not be easy for my Traveling Partner, as we approach a major gifting holiday, that I feel such a deep and abiding sense of general contentment in life, right now… I mean… what do you give someone who literally “wants for nothing”? It’s not “a wealth thing”. I could want more expensive things, I suppose. I could seek more… of something.

…Books. Never too many books…

I catch myself wondering if years of my life characterized by striving, struggling, wanting, and envying what I did not have, were more about other things lacking in my life? That seems worth thinking over, and really reflecting on the nature of discontent, greed, seeking, and yearning. What makes us “want more”? Is it a universal given that it is about having less? Are the things we want and yearn for deeply truly connected to the things we’re missing in our lives, or are they proxies or substitutes that seem more easily within reach?

Thoughts over coffee. A morning that feels like enough.

Yesterday definitely felt like a holiday sort of day, and I enjoyed it immensely. My leisurely morning became my afternoon trip out to the local Ikea, and really it’s every bit that ordinary…only… yeah. I finished the day feeling rather more than typically festive.

One choice I made for the holidays this year was to take a break from therapy and coast on (and deepen) existing progress. I had been feeling uncertain of how far I’ve come, and was finding it harder to appreciate the effort and outcome, while also revisiting old and new hurts over and over again seeking further improvement. I needed a rest, and a chance to really just enjoy some time with the woman in the mirror, as she is, and see what we’ve got going on these days. Yesterday? Yesterday was the icing on that cake – because it could have been a very different day.

I picked up the car and even knowing there would likely be holiday traffic, I followed the GPS and allowed myself to take all the highways and freeways – it’s been a long long time since that held any potential for fun, for me, especially on a rainy day. I made the trip out there and back without incident – and without stress! Wow. That’s a big deal. I haven’t been seeking any improvement on that specific thing – but there it is. Nice.

I picked up the table and chairs I went there for – they were in stock, which I had verified before I left to get them. I didn’t have trouble lifting or moving the boxes myself – also an improvement, although not anything to do with my stress level, it’s just nice to see I am closing in on my fitness goals, too. 🙂 I got home prepared to wrestle with directions, tools, angles, confusion, a headache… the usual. My regular end result is a completed project of adequate functional quality, maybe with a chip or hidden bit of damage incurred due to frustration with myself, or low blood sugar making me stupid or clumsy, and the invention of at least one truly novel swear, and some tears.

Yesterday wasn’t that way at all. After I turned in the car, I sat down and had a coffee and a bite of dinner while I read the instructions once, then twice – and then again while I laid out all the parts in an orderly way for convenience. The table and both chairs were easily assembled without issue – or swearing. I took my time with the work, and the relaxed approach gave me some extra thinking power – I noticed and took time to correct small defects in the manufacturing (holes that were not punched or drilled cleanly, edges that were rough) as I worked. The result on this project? A beautiful table and two cute durable chairs – I have a dining set that I actually like, and enjoyed a feeling of accomplishment to see it turn out so well. Taking care of myself and my basic needs for the win!

Comfort, joy, and enough.

Comfort, joy, and enough.

Once all that was completed, I realized I was tired, and at the end of the day. I spent awhile relaxing and meditating, and made a point to reach out to my traveling partner that I would want a couple of hours in the morning for housekeeping before he heads over for Giftmas Eve dinner… which I will serve on the new table! 😀 That expectation-setting has real value, too; it contributes to keeping my stress level low. Most of the housekeeping is done; all that’s left is one more time with the vacuum cleaner, taking out trash and recycling, and small finishing touches, like making sure the hearth is clear of anything that could be at risk with a merry fire going. No rush, no urgency, no pressure.

I’m smiling and noticing there’s nothing fancy about yesterday that made it so festive – I took care of myself, enjoyed my day, and got things done. Clearly that was enough. I keep using that word – ‘enough’. Sufficiency has grown to become a prominent characteristic in my every day life – and my path ahead; as a concept it serves well to prevent me from yearning for things I don’t truly want or need, simply because they are ‘more’ or even ‘better’. ‘Enough’ matters on this journey of mine, and I am less encumbered by what I don’t have, because ‘enough’ is all I want.

How do you know what is 'enough'?

What’s ‘enough’? Your results may vary.

Today? Today is Giftmas Eve. The tree is lit, and the holiday music in the background sets the mood as I sip my coffee – I have butterflies in my tummy like an excited child who really believes a magic man in a red suit edged in fur on a sleigh flying through the sky will squeeze down the chimney with a fat bag of fun… based on merit, but without actually requiring anyone truly achieve anything. lol It’s pretty silly, isn’t it? I still believe in ‘Santa’… but I believe in what I understand of Santa as an adult; once a year random people reach past their moment and resources to do something extra for someone else – sometimes a lot extra for many, sometimes a little extra for those nearest and dearest. I’ve been Santa so many times… that’s the adult experience of Giftmas; the doing. There are verbs involved in the magic moments (aren’t there always, with all of them?) There are things about this experience I hope to carry forward into the new year – into every year, and every moment – especially the comfort and joy. 🙂

Home for the holidays.

Home for the holidays.

Merry Giftmas, Humanity! Take care of yourself – take care of each other – be generous with your kindness and compassion, and stingy with your anger. Don’t forget to take care of the human in the mirror – that one does so much for you, every day! Today is a good day to show yourself some love, some encouragement, compassion, patience, and provide yourself luxury self-care. 🙂

I am sipping my coffee contentedly, and sifting rather passively through words and ideas. I am open to inspiration but not finding any so far. I am content with this, too. My coffee is very good, and the morning is a pleasant one. My brain is not yet ‘firing on all cylinders’, and I am not inclined to be demanding or insistent with myself; it is a Monday, and there is no reason to rush. (That’s really the big advantage of my leisurely mornings; I don’t feel rushed. Ever.)

Coffee, flowers, and a celebration of morning.

Coffee, flowers, and a celebration of morning.

The days are already becoming shorter. It is no longer already daylight when I wake, and I enjoy watching dawn bring shades of mauve and blue to the darkness as I sip my coffee, yawning, and wondering what to write ‘about’. I feel content and satisfied, and well-rested after a delightful weekend. I find myself already eager to end the work day (that has not yet even begun) to hurry home to… read. Or write. Or paint. Or… do something with and for me, even if nothing more than cooking myself a tasty meal using produce from my garden, or taking a hot shower and enjoying the sensuous pleasure of water on skin.

This morning doesn’t need to be ‘about’ anything besides morning, itself. Enjoying the quiet, the serenity, the cool morning air, and a few moments for myself before the work day is enough. Weightier matters can wait for some other day, some other moment…”now” is not for any of that, apparently; my time is taken up with this very excellent cup of coffee, and the recollection of a lovely weekend.

Today is a good day to savor the moments that delight me and nourish my heart. Today is a good day to pause the hard work, the drama, the focus, and the energy spent on effort, to take a few moments for me just to enjoy me – and the outcome of prior hard work, focus, and energy spent on effort, and the lack of drama day-to-day. Today is a good day to be, on my way to becoming.

I woke very early this morning – 3:08 am. There was no particular reason to wake so early, besides not being asleep anymore. I had crashed for the evening a bit earlier than I have been for the past few days, but not so early that a 3:08 am wake up really amounts to adequate sleep. I’m not tired, though, and after meditation, I let my body call the shots and get up for yoga, and coffee.

This morning I take my coffee with just a hint of sugar (about half a teaspoon) and a splash of half and half (half a tablespoon). The beans are from a local roaster, and I smile thinking of the sunny Saturday visit to the now-nearby Farmer’s Market; it has a very different feel than the downtown Farmer’s Market I have frequented for years, and also quite different than the small one near my former residence. I like them all.

Choices come in many forms.

Choices come in many forms.

 

The time taken making coffee is more mindful, now. Using the pour over method of brewing my morning coffee leaves no particular room to wander off, or to be distracted. I enjoy both the process and the result. I enjoy sipping my coffee, savoring the awareness that each element of this cup of coffee in my hands has been chosen by me quite specifically… The cup is one that I bought shortly after moving the last time. (I had purchased one for each member of the household in white ceramic that says ‘Life is Good!’ – mine is the only survivor.) I selected the brewing method after auditioning several, knowing I would be giving up the espresso machine I had grown so used to. I selected the kettle, the burr grinder, the drip cone – even the filter papers were a choice from among several brands, and types. I selected the beans, and the grind. I brewed it, choosing even the quantity of coffee being used, then chose to serve it with a little cream and sugar. This modest accomplishment is meaningful to me; this cup of coffee is representative of my will in action, and my freedom to choose. This cup of coffee is a small piece of ‘who I am’ and enjoying it says much about the choices I make to savor my experience. It’s a small thing… from some vantage points. It is a fairly big deal for me, in the context of healing and growth, and life’s extensive curriculum on mindful living and good self-care. My Big 5 have a role to play in this simple cup of coffee – because living alone doesn’t take The Big 5 out of the game; I have opportunities to treat myself with respect, consideration, compassion, and in the sense that I put effort into my experience, there is reciprocity when my experience delivers something wonderful back in a ceramic mug at 5:00 am. I am open to my successes, however small. Yep. The Big 5 is accounted for. Clearly, enjoying this tasty cup of coffee contentedly and satisfied that all is well in this moment is a nice step forward in The Art of Being, too. A good start to a Monday, all around.

Today didn’t have to start so easily. I could have chosen differently when I woke. My demons were lurking in the background at the ready, waiting to tell me tales of doubt and fear, waiting to fill me with insecurity and sadness. Which is real? The feelings I didn’t choose, or the feelings I feel now? Would the doubt, insecurity and sadness be ‘more real’ or ‘more true’ of my experience – given that I could likely justify those feelings with thoughts, given a moment to ponder them and become invested – or is this simple delight in a cup of coffee on a Monday morning, and the smile on my face more real and true of my experience of myself, because I am experiencing it? We choose so much of our experience. I am sometimes frustrated when sadness or despair creep over me unexpectedly – I would not choose them willfully, and once I am mired in those blue moods, it can be difficult to remember to choose differently.

Feet up, relaxing - a worthwhile activity.

Feet up, relaxing – a worthwhile activity.

I am quite human. I am enjoying the experience of living alone, and it suits me well. On the other hand, life with my traveling partner has gone a long way to heal some of the chaos and damage that once prevented me from connecting with others in an intimate way, and prevented me from being vulnerable; close contact wasn’t something I enjoyed or craved beyond sex. That has changed, and although I enjoy living alone, I miss hugs hello and good-bye, and cuddling in the evening, and conversation over my second coffee in the morning… Thinking about the loss of those things in my day to day experience quickly brings tears to my eyes – which surprises me every time, because it seems to defy my contentment, and to mock the day-to-day ease of life in this solitary space. I don’t understand the tears, and I find myself resentful of their intrusion, and uncomfortable with myself in those moments. Stray tears interrupt me when I answer the question ‘are you happy?’ – because although I am, I miss love, Love, and contact.  It is an interesting emotional balancing act, and I sometimes wonder if I am ready for this particular piece of life’s curriculum. I sometimes feel a bit like a child in school, having skipped ahead in the book eagerly, and suddenly finding myself in over my head, and not easily able to understand the material in front of me.

“Are you happy?” is a question worth asking. It is a question worth contemplating. When the tears fall, I take time to comfort myself, mostly with a reminder that ‘happily ever after’ isn’t a real thing, and that ‘happy’ isn’t what I have been seeking for some time now. I enjoy it when I feel it, but I no longer pursue it. I am content with contentment, and sufficiency is…you know where I’m going with this… sufficiency is enough. Making ‘happy’ a goal fucked me over way too many times to want to continue to chase that dragon through my remaining years. Happy is a choice, and a moment to savor when I am fortunate to enjoy it – contentment can more easily be built and sustained on good practices.

A few tears do nothing to damage this beautiful life.

A few tears do nothing to damage this beautiful life.

The apartment was warm and a bit stuffy this morning when I woke. I opened the patio door and the front window to let the fresh air blow through while I sip my coffee and write. In the distance I hear the traffic, still sparse in the early morning hours. Rain begins to fall. I enjoy the sound of rain. The apartment has cooled off and the air is fresh and clean. I am content, and calm, and feel at ease with myself and the world – and my choices. I am so close to ‘happy’ I can reach out and touch it, pretty much any time. This maddening brain injury sometimes trips me up; a question about whether I am happy causes me to consider ‘why would I not be happy?’ – launching thoughts of the challenges and losses, and the emotions associated with those thoughts are immediate, real, and visceral, even in the abstract, and I find myself in the strange position of feeling feelings that are not the same quality of ‘real’ as the moment I am living. Hard on me, hard on people who love me – particularly those that pose the question seeking the positives. It is an interesting pile of rubble swept aside as ‘trivial’ among the details of the chaos and damage…looks like it has come time to clean up that corner of my heart more thoroughly, if only to more fully enjoy the delights of this life I am living.

The rain falls. The fresh breezes blow through the apartment. My coffee cup is warm in my hand. I have uninterrupted time in the morning to meditate, to write, and to be.  Lonely sucks – solitude is precious. There are verbs involved, and my results vary. 🙂

Today is a good day for choices. Today is a good day to savor contentment, and a good cup of coffee. Today is a good day to practice the practices that care for me most skillfully, and best meet my needs over time. Today is a good day to love the woman in the mirror. Today is a good day to make eye contact, and share smiles with the world.