Archives for posts with tag: enjoy the moment

This may be a tough week for a fair few humans. (Realistically, that may be a generically true statement…) I have a wee personal practice that I use to “lighten the load” on very busy or emotionally challenging weeks. It’s not something I thought up. You can read about it here, too. Rick Hanson, PhD, knows a thing or two about practicing practices. 🙂  Simply this, in as few words as I can manage, savor the good moments. Wait, don’t blow me off on this, don’t shrug and say you already do… pause a moment, and really think this over.

Do you spend as much time immersing yourself in the joyful, sweet, moments and simple pleasures that life affords you, as you do moments of stress, frustration, or outrage? Is every moment of irritation over some article in the news balanced by really sinking into the good feelings in other moments? You can give your soul a chance at wearing a merry grin all day, just because the weather is nice, or because someone held a door for you when your hands were full, or because you really enjoy the way the light strikes that one spot just so right after lunch. It has mattered so much for me, personally, to have made this particular practice a way of living my life. No promises, your results may vary (my often do), and a practice does imply with frankness that there are verbs involved… but this one is so… rewarding. So enriching. So quietly powerful. This one builds over time, though, so it’s helpful if you don’t go into it thinking that 10 minutes from now you’ll radiate pure love and compassion. It is, after all, a practice. So… um… practice it. lol

I keep practicing.

I keep practicing.

I thought about this one as I sank into sleep last night. It felt so incredibly good to lay down, to feel my entire body relax and settle into comfort. To feel wrapped in warm blankets. To take those deep relaxing end of day breaths. To feel utterly at ease for some moments before sleep caught up with me. It felt “better than it should” I thought at the time, and realized in that instant how much I have invested in being able to really feel that moment in such a visceral way that I can recall it easily later. Progress. I woke still smiling, figured I’d share. I’ve probably shared this one before. It’s that big of a deal, honestly. One of the two or three “major changes” I’ve made over the past 4 years, that have had the most lasting positive impact in my everyday experience. 🙂 Definitely share-worthy.

Some practices have clear names that tell what they are about. Meditation. Exercise. Self-care. This one is called “Taking in the Good” by Rick Hanson. Simply that. Today is a good day to try it out if you haven’t already. It’s a good day to begin again, if you’ve taken it up before and let it go. This one? It’s a practice that could change the world – or at least, your world. ❤

This morning I woke with the alarm clock. It’s been weeks since that’s been necessary. I’d probably have awakened plenty early without it, but having a firm departure time this morning, it was the safer choice to set the alarm. This one small change is enough to throw me off my routine this morning, and I overlook taking my medication for almost half an hour after I am “awake”. I’m not sure I’m actually quite awake even now. I take another sip of my coffee.

Rain? Maybe.

Rain? Maybe.

The morning sky seems peculiarly dark. I find myself wondering how this is so – I’m generally up at this hour, and don’t recall the sky being so dark… The sun rises 12 minutes later than it did on June 21.  So. Darker at this time? Yeah, probably a bit, but I think it’s more to do with the heavy dark clouds overhead. I watch the dawn begin with a flicker of sunlight breaking through the clouds, and breathe deeply.

Day break. Time to begin again. :-)

Day break. Time to begin again. 🙂

The sunrise begins to color the sky in shades of peach, pink, and orange. Feeling my toes cold against the concrete patio, I feel a moment of appreciation for walls, doors, a roof, and this moment as the sun rises. I put the morning on hold and enjoy the sunrise, until the heavy clouds take back the dawn.

The sunrise is so brief, surely there is time to enjoy it?

The sunrise is so brief, surely there is time to enjoy it?

It’s back to the VA, this morning. I’m feeling hopeful, and mostly pretty emotionally comfortable. I am looking forward to a visit with my traveling partner after I return home. The minutes and hours we spend together are precious. I take time to appreciate love. I check the clock. I smile contentedly; I’m right on schedule.

I’ve no specific expectations of the day, beyond attending this appointment and returning home. I’ll see where the day takes me, and then I’ll know what I’ve done with it, afterward. I’ll practice being present for each moment. I’ll breathe through any stress, remind myself it will pass, and practice not taking things personally. I’ll make a point to enjoy is enjoyable in each moment, however challenging. I’ll let go of my attachment to outcomes, expectations, and assumptions. I’ll walk my own path, and practice making mindful choices that meet my needs over time. Today seems a good day for it. 🙂

Numbers are funny things. I’m no math whiz, but I spend a lot of time with numbers. Numbers fascinate me. I’ve been thinking about 53 for days. Today is my 53rd birthday. It’s not a spectacular benchmark, as birthdays go, but I didn’t really expect to see this one as a younger woman. So. There’s that. 🙂

A new day. A new year. New choices. New opportunities.

A new day. A new year. New choices. New opportunities.

Fun facts about 53? It’s a prime number. I’m not sure I’m actually ‘in my prime’ though, some days. There are more facts about 53 readily at hand on Wikipedia, and elsewhere. In the meantime, aging is a thing. Real, and if one is fortunate, inevitable.

I have no elaborate birthday plans, no lengthy wish list for birthday gifts, no unmet need so specific that only cash exchanged for goods, wrapped in paper, and provided to me precisely between dinner and dessert will address it. I struggled to come up with something to want, beyond my traveling partner’s good company, and the well-wishes of friends.

53. 53? 53. Definitely 53. Tired more often than I’d like to be. In more pain some days than I can easily manage. I weigh a few pounds more than I’d like. Certain the career I had doesn’t suit me. Uncertain where my journey will take me next. Standing between what was and what will be, awake, aware, and content to continue the journey, mostly without a map. Wiser than at 23…but I thought so at 33 and 43 too, and I look back on those moments with a smile; I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, and wisdom was more of an idea, a hope, and a goal. I suspect that is still the case, at 53, and that I will be smiling at my idealistic foolishness, mistakes, and wrong-headedness, at 63, 73, 83… if I am around to test the theory, I’ll be grateful. I’m grateful to be here, now. Grateful that most of what isn’t ideal can be chosen differently.

What do I want for my birthday? Something intangible. Something I already have. Love. Contentment. The pleasure of my traveling partner’s companionship (although he is not in this room, now, we’ll spend much of the day together, later). I want to feel good. Enjoy the day. Sure, I want to be adored, it’s my birthday…enjoying the day is enough. Sometimes the unexpected, the unplanned, the unsought moment is what makes a day memorable; why chain myself down with plans and expectations today? It’s my birthday.  🙂

Sometimes enough really feels enough. Sometimes the choices are plentiful and obvious – but not so numerous (or complicated) as to become difficult to consider. Sometimes outcomes are quite favorable. Sometimes life feels easy – love, too. Sometimes there isn’t much to say about things, or events, and being here matters so much more than anything I can say about it.

I am sipping my morning coffee and enjoying the quiet stillness of early morning. I am feeling grateful to enjoy both the moment, and the context in which I am experiencing it. I am feeling buoyed by love (and friendship) and partnership, and content to be human.

Life is enough.

Life is enough.

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.