Archives for posts with tag: espresso

I’m sipping my first Americano from the new espresso machine. The machine-that-had-been died. This new machine is the clear master of the coffee universe, and it has the features to prove it…but it takes the might of the pantheon of greek gods to lock in the porto filter – and the simultaneous requirement to be as delicate as a surgeon. šŸ™‚ New skills in development, clearly, and some concerns about whether I will ever ever sleep through someone else making a shot of espresso ever again. I sure didn’t this morning. I woke at whatever brutally early hour my partner was testing the new machine – eagerly, and with great skill, I don’t doubt, but banging out the puck into the knock out box (I’m sure it has some proper name…) is as loud as someone hammering nails into the wall to hang paintings. Pretty loud at 4:30 am. The new machine is a birthday gift to my traveling partner – and a combined household effort to make it happen promptly. It’s a delight to have this tasty coffee first thing, and over time I’m sure I’ll get used to the different sounds of this machine, and able to sleep through much of it.

Here’s the best part of my morning coffee…it’s enough. Honestly? It’s enough when it is a french press of pre-ground drip coffee. It’s enough when I’m out of coffee and resort to black tea. It’s enough because that’s truly all I ‘need’… and…if I’m honest with myself, I’m addicted to the amount of caffeine I get each day in this form, and it’s both a preference and maintenance of that addiction. So. ‘Need’ is an appropriate word here, and I’ve got no baggage with this relatively harmless habit. The important word is ‘enough’. The experience of my morning coffee has varied over the years – and nearly always been ‘enough’. It’s a powerful lesson in sufficiency; take away someone’s addiction, and see what they find is an acceptable stop-gap measure, or a worthy substitute. That’s when I see directly into the face of sufficiency. My choices aren’t always about enough. My brain is very skilled at making ‘more’ seem reasonable, and from reasonable things easily escalate to ‘achievable’ and from ‘achievable’ the distance to ‘must have’ is short enough to traverse with great ease – and little mindfulness. I gotta work on that.

A different coffee, on a different day, in another place; memories of love are sometimes captured in pictures of coffee.

A different coffee, on a different day, in another place; memories of love are sometimes captured in pictures of coffee.

This morning I woke with a headache and a stuffy head. I’m not sick, just getting used to the change in household climate that accompanies the change in weather. My room feels too hot. I haven’t found the correct balance of bed-clothes, yet…which suddenly finds me feeling rather embarrassed to give it even a thought; how many people are struggling to sleep through the cold nights of winter because they just don’t have enough? My heart aches in a strange way I don’t recall feeling often in years past. I’m moved to participate in the holiday charity drives in the office out of some soft yearning to ease the suffering of the world, more than to avoid the embarrassment I used to feel because I didn’t consider the human experience broadly enough to be truly moved (and while aware of that, I didn’t know quite what to do about it at that time).

I am thinking, now, of all the things that drive humanity’s winter holidays…feasting and gifting, hospitality and generosity, the warmth and glow of inclusive celebration. It’s easy to get lost in the media spin, the marketing, and the advertising pushing consumers to consume – and to buy – and there’s so much more to it than dollars, at least there is for me.

Following my path where it leads.

Following my path where it leads.

Today is a good day to think ahead to the holidays. Today is a good day to plan and prepare for what is ahead, and to roll with the changes when life delivers on a different promise altogether. Today is a good day to hand craft something to enjoy, or to give – or both. Today is a good day to take care of me, and to appreciate others. What a rich palette life paints with; today is a good day to enjoy the colors. Today is a good day to celebrate with the world.

It could be a metaphor, although I did actually walk rather a lot this weekend, and had an eye-opening moment of perspective while walking from one point on a map to another.

Beauty is in the details, so are awareness, understanding, and love. So is growth.

Beauty is in the details, so are awareness, understanding, and love. So is growth.

It’s a quiet Monday morning, and I didn’t notice that I hadn’t been writing until the weekend was already over. I was kept busy by life and love and the doing of actual things. I was in a lot of pain, and also living well, and generally in a good state of awareness and with a pleasant demeanor. It was a pleasant weekend, generally. Life’s lessons this weekend tended to be more of the ‘slog through the exercises carefully and check your work’ variety than the sometime intensity of grand eye-opening moments or epiphanies of some more exotic sort.

Another side of beauty.

Another side of beauty.

While I was out on Saturday, I saw some younger girls tensely discussing their appearance and how to lose ‘enough’ weight; they were all very lean, wearing very fashionable clothes, and a lot of make up for such young girls. My initial reaction started out as one of active resentment and irritation. I struggle with my weight, too. As I passed one of them made an unkind comment; I’m not ‘thin enough’ Ā – or ‘young enough’, whatever that means to them. Ā I contemplated the destructive power of the standard of beauty that is culturally enforced in the media, and wondered if these girls have any idea how ugly mean is, or how little someone else’s idea of beauty matters to ones own contentment?

I made a long trip Saturday to a store on the other side of town that I favor, and being willing to travel for what matters to me the journey was pleasant and necessary. I stopped for lunch on my way back and spottedĀ a sign at the counter that got me thinking…

It's a sign...

It’s a sign…

I contemplated ‘food insecurity’ (my Granny would have called it ‘going without’ or ‘privation’) and leaner times in my own life, and later struggles with my weight. I let my mind roam, and considered other times and sorts of deprivation, shortages, and hard times, and later challenges with ‘greed’ in those specific areas. I was still standing at the counter, trying to order lunch. I made a connection in the moment between my recent success in managing my weight, and the ease lately in making decisions that are moderate, and appropriate to my resources. “Greed” is something I find I have difficulty feeling any compassion for… in myself or others, and I realized I still held on to some repugnant (to me) binge/purge programming deep in my operating system. I let my shoulders relax and smiled at the girl at the counter as I stepped up to order… a half portion of a healthy sandwich, and a bottle of water. I felt satisfied to be able to take care of my needs, and content not to go further. That’s been a big deal lately: sufficiency. When I stopped – really stopped – trying to fill some desperate feeling hole in my experience labeled ‘I don’t have enough to feel like I have everything’, I found myself utterly content and satisfied so much more often. What matters most, truly? If you live alone, is 4000 sq ft of penthouse with a view of the world necessary? Whether it is affordable is a different question. How many of us experiencing ‘food insecurity’ or some other form of privation put ourselves there by choosing excess in some other area of life? Too much house? Too much car? Too much credit? Too many pets? Too many dinners out? For most of us our individual resources, however plentiful, are finite. I am learning to make wiser choices with my resources, and my needs. Sufficiency, I am finding, often feels lavish, when I simply enjoy what is enough. Excess, as with a Thanksgiving meal, overshoots that mark so far that sometimes it neither satisfies nor sustains me…and is, itself, unsustainable.

A foggy morning heading somewhere...

A foggy morning heading somewhere…

Every journey begins. I don’t always have a clear view of where it will take me. It was that kind of weekend. One choice at a time, one step at a time, one opportunity to connect at a time… I’m building who I am tomorrow with each choice today. Today is a good day for choices, and a good day for consideration. I may be having my own experience… but life, love, and the world are not all about me, ever. We’re all in this together.

Perspective matters, too.

Perspective matters, too.

Sometime in the past, men did work. It was valued, and lauded, and a monument built to the work and to the men. Interesting details are celebrated and noted in life, and in this case one detail stood out for me, a connection across time…

Yep. They drank a lot of coffee.

Yep. They drank a lot of coffee.

So here’s to you, working people, on a Monday morning…

Coffee. Any form, every morning. Here's to  you, Monday!

Coffee. Any form, every morning. Here’s to you, Monday!

Today is a good day to be a better human being than I was yesterday. Today is a good day to consider what I have done, and what I want my legacy to look like when I’m gone. Today is a good day to be the woman I most want to be. Today is a good day to love well, and to love honestly. Today is a good day to change the world.

 

I woke gently and feeling decently well. The morning is quiet. Yoga felt good and I’m not in much pain. The pale sky slowly turning blue suggests another lovely summer day, probably hot. Ā I pulled an exceptional double shot of espresso this morning, rich and dark and topped with a dense crema. I’m having ‘a good hair day’, and the clothes I picked for work fit well and I feel beautifulĀ – which still matters even at 51. So…what’s with the tears?

It started while I was meditating, big hot tear drops began welling up, and sliding down my cheeks. First just one or two, then a torrent, and finally sitting quietly, shoulders shaking ever so slightly, still focused on breathing, tears falling… Why am I crying? There’s no mistaking it now. This is not weeping, although it is not sobbing either. I’m not in hysterics. I don’t feel anxious, or afraid. It’s almost as if…it’s all just ‘too much’, and here are the tears, spilling over because there’s just no more room for emotions to be kept packed away behind a veneer of resolve, control, and ‘appropriateness’. I even ‘feel okay’ inasmuch as I’m not in much pain, slept decently well, and don’t even have the usual headache. Still…the tears fall.

Instead of lashing out at the world like a frightened animal, or panicking and throwing an hysterical tantrum built on anxiety, fear, and assumptions, this morning I simply let the tears fall. Plentifully. Even continuing to meditate. This morning, instead of paying my tears no heed, and saying or thinking something powerfully dismissive like ‘pay no attention to the fluid leaking from my face holes, I’ll get that checked out’, I gave my attention over to my emotions for a moment, still breathing, still present, and compassionate. Something pretty wonderful happened…I feel ‘loved’ and cared for. There’s no one here but me. One partner away, taking care of his own needs, resting and taking comfort among friends. The other, somewhere else in the house, possibly sleeping; it’s very quiet this morning. It’s just me, as I said, and yet… I feel secure, nurtured, comforted…I can do this for me? Myself?

The tears stopped. Meditation continued. A smile tugs at the corners of my mouth now and I feel the small crinkles at the corners of my eyes – the sort I’d expect if I’d been happy all my life – and I feel grateful for this strangely cleansing morning. I still don’t really ‘understand’ the tears, but maybe I was just ‘full up’ with emotions and some had to spill over. It’s been a very trying week so far, and my heart feels altered by it somehow. Being surprised about the depth and richness of my emotional life doesn’t occur to me – then I wonder why. (Go, Brain! lol Can I get just a little constancy, please? No. No, I can not. It’s not how we’re wired, is it? šŸ™‚ )

Interestingly, having finished my espresso and my email, I’m not only no longer crying, I feel just on the edge of … ‘merry’. There’s something important about taking care of my heart, and treating myself well, that was slipping from my grasp, and I think I am understanding more right now than I ever did previously… it’s not just take care of my body well, or maintaining good self-care, and an orderly comfortable environment. Taking care of me also has a specificĀ emotional component that I missed, something very specific; treating myself with real compassion, with acceptance, with kindness. Ā These aren’t just keywords in a search about meditation, mindfulness, mental health or menopause… They are real experiences, that provided to myself, by me, actually do result in real feelings of being cared for and valued. (Can you see the light bulb over my head?)

Choices along the way change the journey.

Choices along the way change the journey.

This feels good. Ā It’s a bit as if I’m standing at a point on my path with a sign post… one way leads to greater self-control through rigid habit building, and skilled maintenance of those habits, and a certain tolerance for misery… the other… says only ’emotional self-sufficiency’, leaving me to guess at the nature of the destination. Ā One direction paved, heavily traveled, landscaped, manicured, well-mapped, reviewed often… and in the other direction, more of a trail, cut into the underbrush, shaded with a dense overhang, disappearing around a bend into the unknown… I recall an oft-repeated quote from a Robert Frost poem than never really resonated with me before. “…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,Ā I took the one less traveled by,Ā And that has made all the difference.” Ā I look it up and read the entire poem, taken a moment to really savor the relevance in the moment.

Continuing my journey...walking my own path.

Continuing my journey…walking my own path.

Today is a good day for poetry, and a good day to be moved. Today is a good day to treat myself well without reservations. Today is a good day to feel content, strong, and whole – and to enjoy this moment that I do feel that way. Today is a good day to change the world.

One of my favorite experiences is the simple delight of a leisurely morning, so much so that I wake each day fully 2 hours before I have to leave for work, with no agenda beyond having my morning coffee and some time for me, enjoyed on my own terms. That my partners do so many things, and make so many small choices, to ensure I have more of these mornings than not, is most certainly one of the most loving things I regularly enjoy.Ā  This morning was one of those delightful leisurely mornings, although it was not in any fashion ‘routine’.

For one thing, I spent much of the morning in my rose garden, sipping my latte – which was a different flavor than what I generally favor first thing – and contemplating the work to come. My weekend begins on Friday. The roses need dead-heading, feeders need replenishing, there are some shrubs I plan to have removed that need to be marked, and I gently considered the fall pruning of trees and shrubs with an eye for future summers; the aesthetic result matters to me. I hardly noticed the drizzle that came and went, and it was well into an hour before I realized time had passed at all.

The blueberries are excellent this year!

The blueberries are excellent this year!

I still had time to enjoy a second coffee, and I enjoyed the robust hit to my taste buds of a favorite morning choice – a double shot of espresso, a little milk, and a hint of vanilla. Yum. I lingered over my espresso while I watched fish swim.Ā  My anxiety about sick fish has mostly receded, and it seems I identified the issue quickly enough for early treatment to prevail.

A good day ahead of me, now, and a lovely morning behind me. I’m eager for the weekend…eager to be in the greenhouse…content to be 50, female, and in love. From this perspective, life feels pretty damned splendid.

...there are seedlings to plant...

…there are seedlings to plant…

…But life doesn’t wait for the weekend, and neither should a good time! Heading to the old-time-y candy shop down the road over lunch with my colleagues.

Enough sugar on hand to fuel a universe entirely populated by hummingbirds!

Enough sugar on hand to fuel a universe entirely populated by hummingbirds!