Archives for posts with tag: experience

I am fairly certain I don’t actually “feel like” writing this morning. I’m not sure I really have anything much to say, but making that observation only causes me to wonder when I ever really do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel down or blue, not even a little bit, just… distant? Removed? Dis-engaged? Remote. Not for any obvious reason… I’m just… coasting… on a level surface. lol

A hint of slow creeping disarray in my environment nags at me to do… something. To at least do something about the disarray itself, which is aggravating me this morning. There’s this flutter, more a deluge really, of loose papers left not-quite-piled (definitely not neatly stacked) messily on the floor near the closet – the file cabinet in which they belong is in that closet. The papers are not in that file cabinet. I have trouble tearing my eye away from them, as though drawn to a crime scene unexpectedly encountered along a walk. I don’t realize I am still staring at it… and then repeat that experience again and again. The untidy bit of paperwork is left out from filing my taxes. lol I could put that shit away. I’d simultaneously both really like to do that, and also really feel inclined to continue to ignore it in favor of doing many other things. It’s just one detail… well… no. It isn’t. There’s the mysterious stack of books… my sketchbook, some seed catalogs, garden books, a letter I’ve started to someone written on a yellow legal pad… This stack of things was on the dining table. I moved it “out of the way” a number of times; now it sits rather awkwardly on the living room floor in front of the bookcases, between the speakers… just… there. No point to it. It makes no damned sense.

There are dishes in my damned sink this morning. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ In fact, the dinner dishes have been in the sink each morning for days now. I start the dishes on my way out each morning, but fail to empty the dishwasher each evening, and repeat the tedious irksome cycle again the next day.

I could less this go on awhile longer without bothering to sort it out… “It isn’t that bad.” Sure. Whatever. It’s not about the magnitude of disorder, though – it is about disorder creeping in and gaining a foothold.

I find myself shaking it off, aware that there are verbs involved. I recognize as I sort through my thoughts that my lack of interest in writing is largely due to my greater urge to tidy up and put my world right. It’s just me here, so there’s no one else to blame or bitch at… and I really do enjoy a tidy living space. Making excuses about letting things go only tends to let things go longer, and make room for more excuses, and accommodate more small disorderly inconsequential messes… and eventually those grow enough to begin to connect to each other, and over time a small mess, a bit of untidiness, becomes a bigger deal, and evidence of truly disordered thinking (at least for me). Time to get a grip; summer is coming, and living beautifully feels ever so much better on terrible hot sweltering days, than being surrounded by disorder. Although, it’s not the seasons, nor the weather, that have anything to do with it at all; I’m a human primate, and I’ll make patterns, draw connections, see correlations in all manner of things that have no relationship whatsoever outside pure coincidence. lol I’m just saying, it’s time to tidy things up again – it is, in fact, clearly overdue.

Does my untidyย living space negatively affectย the quality of my emotional life? Or does my mental health drive the untidiness to taking over my space? Does it matter, if the quality of my life and experience improves when I tidy things up? There are, of course, still verbs involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

Looks like it’ll be a weekend of housekeeping and tidying up. It’s time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s that time of year; my Traveling Partner is gearing up for a season of journeys, adventures, trips, visits, away time, festivals, events, shows… he will be going (a lot) and doing (a lot) and it is not my lifestyle choice to be so… busy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Inconveniently enough, our wedding anniversary and my birthday both fall in this same rather busy, utterly over-booked, time period. It could be awkward if I were someone different than I am. lol

Most years we don’t do much about our anniversary. Last year, we spent a remarkable weekend away together on the coast, and it was magical, romantic, and delightful. Attempting to repeat that experience by merely repeating the experience manages to be not at all how that works, and I know better than to force it (experience is a great teacher). Other relationships, other needs, perhaps; I know that in this one, I don’t need an annual moment of recognition to feel loved, valued, or to celebrate the delights in this shared experience… and I cherish those moments most when they occur without being scheduled. Maybe next year? The year after? Some year when we both earnestly need a getaway and time alone with each other, and nothing more will do? This year, we’re both busy with other things, and that’s okay, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

My birthday is weird like that, and different, too. It’s “my day”, by choice. For many years, after I turned 18, I insisted that everyone else also honor my day with me. I like presents, but it wasn’t about that – it was about agency, free will, and being the one to get to call all the damned shots for a change. I fought the powerlessness I felt in life, generally, by being a petty dictator once a ย year. The fact that there would likely be cake, or dessert of some sort, and a great deal of (my idea of) fun doesn’t really change the fact that I was also pretty demanding about things going my way. Once I understood that being a mini-monster once a year doesn’t really “balance the scales” in a life of learned helplessness and frustration, I let all that go. It wasn’t that hard; my birthday is still “my day”… but that’s just me being me, on my own terms, on my day, doing my thing my way and enjoying myself in a life filled with many other such days. It not only doesn’t require a party, it doesn’t require any outside participation. lol ย I enjoy spending time with my Traveling Partner, but it doesn’t have to be on any particular day – including the one I was born on. No idea what I’ll do with my birthday this year… maybe go camping. ๐Ÿ˜€

…I do like presents, though, and find myself hoping my Traveling Partner doesn’t actually forget my birthday, and perhaps brings me something back from somewhere interesting… ๐Ÿ˜€ (Still very human!)

Looking at it another way…

I am taking a moment this morning to appreciate being loved – this person I am, as I actually am, quirks and weirdness and mad moments and all. I’m taking a moment to appreciate this strong partnership that allows me to be me – the me I actually am, without demands that I be otherwise. It’s a nice feeling to wake up with. It’s not a passive thing, there are verbs involved here too, and practices; my own affection for the woman in the mirror is a large part of what gets me here. It’s got to be okay with me to be who I am, before it is at all relevant whether it is okay with anyone else. ๐Ÿ™‚

You may be in a different place in life, or with yourself… that’s okay too; if you want to be somewhere different than you are, you can make that journey. There are verbs involved. You’ll be having your own experience. Your results may vary. It’s okay, though; you can begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I definitely “feel 53” this morning. I’m okay with that; I am 53. ๐Ÿ™‚ The show last night was amazing. It was not really “a concert” or.. well… it was a fantastical stage production centering around music, themed on Alice in Wonderland, attended by beings willing to suspend expectations of the ordinary for a night and just… go with it. A needed, and worthy, break from the routine. There were dancers, jugglers, performance artists of several sorts, and painters practicing their craft live, to massive fabulous bass-y beats. It was quite wonderful. I got home very late, and I had planned and prepared for this to be the case… but, there were verbs involved, choices made, and of course today I begin again.

Down the Rabbit Hole 2017 at the Crystal Ballroom

My ears are ringing like crazy. I took ear plugs with me, and when I wasn’t on the dance floor, had a comfortable vantage point from the balcony of the historic theater venue – my ears are still ringing. Experience suggests my tinnitus will be a mild impairment for at least today, then fading into the background to exist as a mild persistent distraction once again. I’m tired. I can look at the number of hours that I slept and figure I’ve “gotten enough sleep”, but I feel groggy, and inclined to return to bed – but I won’t sleep now that I’m awake and consciousness is filled with morning sunshine. I hurt all over. As I think about that, my pain worsens. That’s a practical detail worthy of consideration; if I make my pain my focus, it becomes the most important thing in my awareness, and thereby becomes more prominent. I take a deep breath and let it go; it doesn’t stop me hurting altogether, but seems to reduce the magnitude somewhat.

Why all the bitching? I smile and sip my coffee, because I know something about me and this peculiar singular journey that is my experience; when I know where I am, I am more easily able to move on from that place. The challenge is to make the observation without making the observed detail a theme, or the focus of my experience, when it is something painful, uncomfortable, or perceivably “negative”. It’s worth remembering, too, that this also opens the door to more willfully lingering over, and savoring, the nurturing, delightful, pleasant, and uplifting experiences – deliberating shifting gears to make those a focus of my experience, or a theme, results in useful changes in implicit biases. The bitching, in this case, is structured and part of a process with a clear point. (Thanks cognitive science!)

A welcome seat with a decent view; the lamp included in the shot because it’s pretty cool, also. lol

I think over the high points of the evening… dancing with my Traveling Partner (we attended with another friend)… the music… the wow factor of the varied costumes of both the performers and the attendees… soaking in the lights, the scene, the wonder… finding a good seat with an unobstructed view that remained mine more or less all evening (even though I left it and returned several times)… losing track of my partner and his friend in the crowd and dancing dancing dancing through and among and around thinking I would eventually find them, and losing myself in the music instead (I found them when I returned to my seat! lol).

Sold out show.

My tinnitus fades into the background as I linger over the recollections of the evening. My back aches less. I forget that I’m rather amusingly sitting here with noise cancelling headphones on… but not playing any sounds. Going back to bed still sounds pretty nice… My eye wanders to the list of household chores I had planned to do today, from the vantage point of yesterday morning… I chuckle rather merrily and give silent side eye to the woman who wrote that list yesterday; I’m seriously doubting I will do even one thing on that list today. I’m okay with that. Today, rest and take care of me. Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Three words, and a very challenging practice.

“Assume positive intent”… well… that seems generally like a very good starting point in most relationships. Certainly our loves can be assumed to have positive intent (elsewise perhaps we benefit from choosing our loves with greater care!) The average stranger in passing rates an assumption of positive intent, and even in the face of moments that might suggest that a stranger’s intentions are less than ideally positive; it’s highly likely that it is my own narrative coaching me to a different outcome than any action, choice, or intention of that stranger. Most of us, much of the time, are far to self-involved to willfully and deliberately, with consideration of the consequences, and planning of the details, do each other some harm. Hapless inconsiderate douchebaggery notwithstanding, most people, most of the time, are mostly doing something that is more or less, in that moment, their rather human “best”. ย Assuming positive intent applies a little social lubricant to my interactions, rather in the same way that saying “please” and “thank you” do. Assuming positive intent is the flip side of being courteous.

I write this morning, thinking about “assuming positive intent” in the context of three experiences.

The first of these was a gentle chiding by a professional peer in response to a cynical remark I made in the office. She had replied, with some firmness, “you aren’t assuming positive intent”. She was right. I have since thought it over a lot. It was an important observation. Too often past pain and trauma in relationships, or current struggles that linger, become source material in my thinking and decision-making in the present. I can do better than that – with practice.

The next experience was my homecoming last night. It was obvious my Traveling Partner had been and gone. It was obvious because my produce delivery had been brought in, and because there were coffee cups and glasses left on end tables here and there, and a cushion moved to a “comfortable guest spot” in the living room (I’d left it by the patio door). A used tissue on the floor. A small decorative container I’d left closed, was left open. I started to be annoyed about having to pick up after people I didn’t hang out with… which was tested by also being pleased about the produce being brought in. An assumption of positive intent helped out here; by choosing willfully to assume positive intent, I was reminded that my Traveling Partner had a super full calendar yesterday, and likely hadn’t intended to linger at my place at all, possibly rushing off without double-checking that things had been tidied up. It made it a lot easier to get past an “I’m notย the maid” moment.

The third experience was waking up this morning and reading (again) about the United States dropping a fucking “MOAB” on Afghanistan. Yeah. I’ll admit right now; I can’t find any room in my heart to assume positive intent on this one. There is no moment at which taking a human life by force holds an assumption of positive intent. Dropping a big ass bomb far away hoping to kill a couple dozen people just seems like … heinous short-sighted crassly violent stupidity. So we killed some people we’ve decided to define as “bad guys”, based on our own narrative… but… what about the other effects of slamming the planet with a big ass bomb? What about the earth itself? What about other people? (“We have no evidence of civilian casualties” is a pretty pitifully insensitive remark to be making, when the bomb that was dropped likely obliterated everything within a substantial radius, entirely.) What about… other life forms than human beings? Seriously. We’re just not “everything that matters”. What about desert foxes, wee mammals, birds, reptiles… what about the fucking environment we all live in? This? Not the time for assumptions of positive intent, because right here, it is plain to see the aggressive, violent, damaging action we’ve taken. It isn’t pretty. It’s not okay. It was toxic muscle-flexing, stupid, short-sighted, gross over-kill. Not an action taken from a position of assuming positive intent, or with any wholesome outcome in mind. The dead were the bad guys? Yeah, well – apparently so are we; dropping a bomb is not a good guy moment.

I take a deep breath and another sip of my coffee. I look back on a lifetime of experience and acknowledge that I didn’t always feel the way I do now about war – or assuming positive intent, either. Growth and change – and practicing practices, and choosing different verbs, and walking this path through chaos and damage, working to heal, and finding other ways to be than continuous raging fury – have taken me a very long way from that woman in the mirror that I was at 23. 53 is nearly over… 59 days remaining, then I’ll get to take 54 for a spin, and see how I like that one. I know one thing; I’ll be practicing assuming positive intent – and I won’t be dropping any bombs.

We change when we grow. There are verbs involved. I’ve had to begin again a whole bunch of times, and walk on from discouragement, from pain, and even from friendships that could not be sustained any longer. I’ve made choices to change. I’ve had change forced on me unexpectedly. I’m having my own experience. 53 is among my very favorite years of life… it’s had some lovely moments (quite a lot of them) and some interesting challenges. Totally worth all the verbs and practicing. ๐Ÿ™‚

I look at the time; it’s time to begin again. ๐Ÿ˜€

This morning just a shout out to the farmers, pickers, processors, roasters, and workers of all sorts, unnamed and uncounted, who contributed in some way to my morning coffee. I am all kinds of grateful for it this morning. lol

I stayed up later than usual last night, enjoying a quiet evening of conversation with friends. Time well-spent, sure, but resulting in… consequences. My routine being thrown off a bit, further contributed to the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed, and then my sleep was not only short, but somewhat restless and unsatisfying… and here I am, frittering away the time before work looking at kittens on the internet, cartoons, and pictures of friends, because frankly I’m not up to much more quite yet. I am still on my first cup of coffee.

…I wasn’t even sure I’d write at all this morning. So tired, groggy, and… still waking up, more than an hour after waking up. ๐Ÿ™‚

Random photo I took last night as I arrived home for the day. No point to it, no relevance, just a whimsical moment in life.

Today is a good day for kitten pictures, good-natured humor that doesn’t hurt anyone, and a second cup of coffee… it won’t change the world, but it’ll probably keep me going through the morning. ๐Ÿ˜‰