Archives for posts with tag: enjoy the journey

Too hot… Tooooo hot… My coffee’s too hot, Lady… 😉

Seriously, though? My coffee is too hot. lol …And it’s okay to be amused, to be silly, to be whimsical, to make jokes, to be merry, even in the morning, yes and all day, too. Lighten up when  you can, enjoy the moments that don’t weigh you down, and savor those, too. Even if – especially if – your heart is heavy with grief, pain, or trauma; those lighter moments can help us through some really dark times.

For clarity, because I assume by this point you are somewhat familiar with my whimsy (and word play, and over-use of metaphors), I’ll explicitly point out that this morning is merry and quite delightful, thus far. Neither the song I linked, nor the context of my experience right now, is weighed down by pain, or grief, or trauma – I’m just saying letting your heart be light when it will is a healthy thing. 🙂

Yesterday was as easy as the day before was difficult. It was a lovely day, summery, fun, fulfilling, exciting… did I mention the fun? And the fulfillment? A good day.

If you’ve made the whole thing about the job, you may be missing the point. 🙂

…Good days also end. They come around again. However dark times feel in one moment, it’s only one moment. There’ll be another. We can make choices, change choices, put verbs in motion, adjust our perspective, and even walk away from what doesn’t work. We have so much power over our own lives, often more than we use, certainly more than we recognize, when we feel hurt, trapped, or held back. How often is it our own choices allowing us to be hurt, trapped, and held back? (Sometimes it isn’t, let’s be real about that, and the harshness of our circumstances can be imposed upon us by bad lawmaking, by human nastiness, and by the choices of others, just as it can be by anything we’ve done, ourselves – also a thing, and yeah, even there, our decision-making can alter our experience of our circumstances to a greater or lesser degree, and we still have tremendous power to change the future.)

“This too shall pass,” applies even to the best of times. The best, sunniest days, eventually see the sun set. It’ll rise again. The wheel turns. There’s a new beginning just over the horizon. With this being the case, then it is also a given that it’s true of our darkest times. I mean, generally… there’s also death to contend with, eventually, no argument there. I don’t have much to say about that, and existential angst can get out of hand pretty quickly if we’re overly concerned about that.

Oh, nice… my coffee is cool enough to drink. I smile merrily. In this moment, that matters. That’s okay. I think all I’m getting at this morning is… be sure to have a good time, too. Enjoy living life. Enjoy the sunshine, and the rain. Enjoy this human being that you are – even while you work to become the person you most want to be. There is only practice, there is no “perfect” – enjoy the journey (you may not ever reach the destination).

The clock keeps ticking. It’s a new day, a new beginning, a new chance to be the woman I most want to be. It feels like summer.

…It feels like time to begin again. 😀

It’s amusing to me, this morning, that it took the better part of six months to stop reliably waking up before 5 am, even without my alarm set. One week of work, and this morning is a day off… and I comfortably and easily wake precisely at 5 am. No alarm. I could be sleeping in… only… I am no longer sleeping.

dododo

It’s always “now”, and the day begins.

An unreliable rain is falling. I’m sure it means to be a rainy morning for the effort the sky seems to be making, but so far it seems only a few moments of rain, and at best just a brief pattering of raindrops on the flue cover, before giving up. A half-hearted sort of rain. I’ve planned to be camping this weekend, with my traveling partner and son. My traveling partner was quite ill yesterday, and it seems unlikely he’ll be over it for a weekend of camping in the rain and chill of autumn approaching. I don’t yet know what the weekend really holds. It’s still quite dark outside.

I could expect to sleep in, and let the morning be wrecked out of frustrated expectations. I’d rather just get up, make some coffee, and enjoy the morning as it is, and so I make that a choice.

I could be invested in planning details of the camping trip that may or may not happen, and become irritable over plans not coming to fruition, or any number of life’s reroutes along the journey. I could be annoyed by the rain. I could be disappointed by my partner coming down sick, and become irritable over how inconsiderate I would also then feel. I’d rather simply enjoy the day, as it unfolds, maybe camping – prepared for it – maybe not – prepared for that, too, and enjoy life’s journey as it is. This too is a choice.

I could choose differently. Moment-to-moment, my will is my own – most particularly when I make it so. More verbs. Choose. 🙂 Today is a good day to choose wisely, to choose joy, and to choose contentment. These are choices, my choices. What will you choose? 🙂

This morning I am relaxed and alert after a good night’s sleep. I woke too early to a distant peculiar high-pitched whine; the train in the distance crawling slowly through the night, sometimes loud, sometimes noisy, doesn’t often wake me but in the wee hours this morning it did. It wasn’t relevant to the overall quality of my sleep, or this lovely quiet morning over coffee.

I enjoyed quite a nice weekend, and although I started it having to deal with my challenges it was skillfully done, generally, productive, emotionally nourishing, fun, relaxing, and fairly entertaining. I spent much of it at home in this beautiful space I am creating for myself, and a lot of it painting. I’ve been needing this so much – over the years of adult creative lifetime I have yearned for adequate space to paint. I’ve done some amazing work perched on the edge of couches, crouched on the floor in a corner, spread out across kitchen counters, dining tables, or on an easel of good quality and sturdiness wedged into a corner of one room or another, cautious about paint being flung thoughtlessly here or there… attentive to immediately clean up, every day, every time… I’ve gotten close to have real studio space once or twice, only to see it jerked out of reach at the last minute. I was well into my 40’s – almost 50 – when I understood how much I yearned for dedicated creative space to work. I put it aside as a fantasy. I put it aside as unreachable – so many times. (If this isn’t obvious; it was often my own choices that put fulfillment of this desire out of my reach.)

Most of my partners and lovers have respected my artistic side, some of have truly loved my work; I feel certain that had it been commonly understood how badly I needed more room to work – understood by me, myself, too – I’d have been ‘here’ sooner. One of life’s many missed details – handled. I smile thinking about how many conversations with my traveling partner over the years have come back to making a viable solution to the need for room to paint become a reality for me – even our very first conversations as friends often wound around back to quality of life matters being needfully inclusive of this thing I did not have at that time; he recognized it as a ‘need’ when I still thought of it as a daydream without substance, forever out of reach. Over the course of our 5 years together, he has regularly pointed out potential solutions – and when it was clear that there was profound value for me (and us) in my living quite separately day-to-day, it was the artistic space that sold the idea first, healing was a bit of an afterthought (for me). I’ve been well-supported in this partnership – as an artist, as a woman, as a human being, and as a friend. How the hell do I say ‘thank you’ for all that?? Well… by painting, I guess, and making the choice to live alone have value beyond the separateness of it. 🙂

One of the faces of Love, and another way to take care of me.

One of the faces of love, and another way to take care of me.

I spent the weekend in my studio. I love the way that sounds. I spent it getting it set up, and using that time of making order out of chaos to ‘get my head right’ on Saturday morning (Friday afternoon and evening I wasn’t really good for much, dealing with a flare up of my PTSD and focused on very basic self-care). By midday Saturday I was painting. Sunday I was painting. Monday I was painting. Somewhere in the midst of all that, I found time to read, to eat, to shower, to love – the love matters most, perhaps, but without all that other stuff, who is here to be loved? I enjoyed the time I spent with my traveling partner Sunday – and there was no awkwardness in his departure. “What would you be doing if I left now?” he asked pleasantly after hanging out a while. I smiled and gave it some thought, the answer was an easy one, “I’d be in the studio, sitting with the new colors and the canvases I am working on, thinking about that”. He smiled back at me and observed that the timing seemed good. No stress, no emotional weirdness – an easy (for both of us) comfortable (for both of us) departure, freeing us (both) to move on with the day quite naturally. It was quite lovely, both the time together, and the time apart. What more could I ask of love?

There are now four canvases in various stages of completion in my studio, and they are not a frenzy of similarly themed work using a similar palette for economy. They are not being rushed through to avoid inconveniencing a household starting a new work week. Each is an entirely unique experience with color, texture, subject; I am able to slow my pace to a moment by moment approach that feels completely different – and worth exploring. Mindful painting? Is this a thing? The path veers in a new direction…

…I walk on, enjoying the view as I begin again. Today is a good day for art, for music, for words – a good day to feed my heart and my soul, not just this fragile vessel. 🙂

This weekend I didn’t chase anything, didn’t force anything, didn’t insist on anything, didn’t apply pressure to myself, my experience, or my time. I suppose I could have. I could have gotten very stressed out about finding just exactly the perfect finishing touch Giftmas gift for my traveling partner, and blown my weekend on an unhealthy bit of hysterics when inclement weather messed with my plans. I could have held on to an assortment of assumptions and expectations of the weekend, and found myself facing Sunday with bitter regret – for both the things that did not happen, and the behavior that did. I didn’t do those things.

Instead, I allowed the weekend to simply take its course, embracing events as they occurred, and making the proverbial lemonade where lemons seem to have been provided…although…sitting here sipping on a tangerine mocha, made with fresh-squeezed tangerine juice from tiny sweet juicy tangerines so perfectly ripe they were not going to keep over days of eating, it’s hard to taste lemons. I made a fire in my fireplace, last night. I made another today, and contentedly kept it going through the gray rainy afternoon; it crackles in the background now. It’s been a weekend of contentment and satisfaction. It’s been lovely in spite of the rain.

Welcome in my own experience.

Welcome in my own experience.

The weekend is almost over, and a new work week unfolds ahead of me – the last before the Giftmas holiday. I’ll be out of the office for a few days (the week of Giftmas), and for a few days the next week, too. I pause, for a moment very aware how badly I really need this rest. I recognize that I am tired on a number of levels. This was an emotional year with a lot of complexity and change, and there is much to consider about the year to come. For now, I am content with contentment and that is enough. I sip on my mocha, making a mental note to finishing putting away the laundry that finished up just before dinner. Dishes, too. A box by the front door is my reminder in the morning to take it to the recycling bin; it arrived late in they day, during the pouring rain, and I didn’t take it straight out as I ordinarily might.

I've been very busy relaxing.

I’ve been very busy relaxing.

The evening is a quiet one. The lifestyle, too, is a quiet one. I’m not sure I knew sooner that this is what would suit me so well, when I looked ahead from many years younger. The mundane details aren’t dull to live; it’s peculiarly difficult to describe the luxury of hot laundry pressed to my chest as I dash back to my apartment in the rain, or the deep-down relaxation of finishing yoga and relaxing with my feet near the fire… just… relaxing, head back, gazing into the lights of the Giftmas tree… or emoji smiles and kisses from a partner I know is busy with other things, but values me such that taking the time is worth it, throughout the day.

This is a quiet life, and rich in excitement, delight, pleasure, contentment, joy, wonder…and moments of pure humanity; the difficult bits provide perspective, and comparison – reminders not to take what is so good for granted, not even for a moment. So… I enjoy the quiet weekend wholly and without reservations or concern, or trying to make it something more… or something less. More and more I am finding poetry in the ordinary, and lifetimes of love in moments of joy. Yes, there are verbs involved, and practice. I’m okay with that; I’m okay right now.

Small details are meaningful when we take time to notice them; small pleasures can fulfill our needs when we take time to enjoy them.

Small details are meaningful when we take time to notice them; small pleasures can fulfill our needs when we take time to enjoy them.

I don’t think I’ll chase anything today. Living life is enough.

 

This morning I woke feeling anxious. There’s nothing wrong, as far as I can tell. I am not in pain or struggling with difficult circumstances. It is a lovely chill morning, nearer to summer than to spring. I slept with my window open to cool the apartment overnight; it had gotten quite hot after the heat of the day, yesterday. The community of crows that lives in our neighborhood wake much earlier than the people tend to, and they woke me to join in the delights of morning – or perhaps they just didn’t realize I had hoped to sleep in? 🙂

Life is full of lovely moments, and beauty - I have to choose to see it.

Life is full of lovely moments, and beauty – I have to choose to see it.

Once I was up, and sipping my coffee, the anxiety had passed – although like a bad tooth, I could feel it any time my consciousness poked at it. I take a moment to appreciate the time I had taken to put to rest any unrealistic expectations about mood management and ‘happily ever after’, while I was moving in. Waiting for anxiety or disappointment to set in to take care of unreasonable expectations and unverified assumptions is an exceptionally efficient way to make things so much worse when they go wrong – and things do go wrong now and again, regardless of how ideal life may seem in some other moment. This morning isn’t so bad. I’m just experiencing some feelings of anxiety – and they are primarily very physical feelings, rather than being a wholly emotional experience. I sit back with a smile as I write those words – the physical feelings of anxiety are very like another emotion, a generally positive one – excitement. Eagerness, too, feels a bit similar to anxiety, on the physical side of things…and this morning I have plans about which I am quite excited, and eager for the morning to wear on such that it becomes ‘time to go’.

Recognizing that my ‘anxiety’ is actually ‘excitement’ and ‘eagerness’ allows the pieces of that experience that drive stress to dissipate; without the perception that something is ‘wrong’, these feelings are no longer ‘anxious’ at all.

Sometimes taking care of me is as simple as enjoying a flower in my garden.

Sometimes taking care of me is as simple as enjoying a flower in my garden. Sometimes I am that flower.

I continue to enjoy my morning coffee, and to watch the sun rise, filtered through the blinds of the ‘dining room’ window. (Trust me, this small space that is so heavenly to me doesn’t really rate identifying the ‘dining room’ and ‘living room’ as separate spaces. lol) I smile, thinking about yesterday. It ended well; I sold a painting, and bought a comfortable chair for my apartment, and a modest, practical set of pots and pans. It still delights me to observe how conveniently money works to simplify the conversion of art into needed goods. The transaction was a very practical demonstration of money as a spendable form of human effort. (From my own perspective, it has no other legitimate value or purpose. I suppose that says something about who I am.)

"Sunset Silhouette" 12" x 16" acrylic on canvas w/india ink 2014

“Sunset Silhouette” 12″ x 16″ acrylic on canvas w/india ink 2014

I enjoy this small place that is my own. I feel content here. It is strange to be so aware that the good feelings associated with living alone cause some anxiety, themselves, and a certain feeling of uncertain restlessness – particularly when things are going especially well.  As a result, I am more aware this morning that even the very good feelings I enjoy so much may take some practice to handle skillfully – perhaps as much practice as managing feelings of anger, despair, grief, frustration, or hurt.  When I am over-eager, or excited to the point of fidgeting and bouncing through my experience, I tend to make poor decisions, and may lack needed awareness of consequences; there are opportunities to improve through meditation, and mindfulness that are as powerful as learning to comfort myself when I am hurting. When I am content for longer periods of time than I am used to, I am prone to taking that experience for granted, and becoming unreasonably frustrated and disappointed when things go wrong; here, too, practices that improve perspective, self-compassion, and mindfulness also ease the rather mundane and unnecessary stress of a challenging moment on a lovely day.

Awake and aware, each day is a new experience.

Awake and aware, each day is a new experience.

This morning, I am both content, and excited about my morning – and I am taking time to care for this beloved darling broken self that is mine, before I head into the world to face what is real about what is also delightful. I stick with my self-care practices, instead of allowing excitement to drive me forth, unprepared for the day. It may seem a small thing, and in this lovely moment it may even seem unnecessary – it will matter very much later, when I am tired, or frustrated over something small, that I took time to take the very best care of me this morning. Yep. Even living with less stress, and more contentment, there are verbs involved. It is still a journey, and an exploration – I am still my own cartographer.

Today is a good day to enjoy my self – and enjoy the world.