Archives for posts with tag: feeling loved

I woke to the alarm after a restless night. 4th of July, of course, is a noisy holiday. I’d enjoy it more if more other Americans enjoyed it more often at public fireworks events, rather than in their driveways, streets, and the park beyond my patio. It was well past 11 pm before the bangs, crackles, and booms died away. I let it go, and got what sleep I could.

There is a peculiar low-hanging mist on the meadow this morning. The day is forecasted for a high of 88 degrees. I’m dressed for the hot weather, and appreciative how little time I will have to spend in the heat (it’s a work day, the office is well air-conditioned). I try to avoid fussing and fretting about how hot this apartment will be when I return to it, and instead work on cooling it down now. To be relatively comfortable at day’s end, on a such a hot day,  it needs to be below 70 degrees in here when I leave the house for work. I miss the tree that used to shade this place, keeping it comfortable even on very hot days. I feel my anger about the loss of the trees here surge, and begin to combine with other small irritants that have eroded my contentment here over time. I take a deep breath, and let that go, too.

I got to hang out with my Traveling Partner last night, and it was beautiful and connected and joyful…and…real. We really talked about a couple of things we’d been very careful about for some time. It was…needed. It was even tender. It was… worth having the conversation. I was able to say “I miss living with you…” and feel the tears start as my heart filled with the recollection of us two, living together, in our own place, for that one precious perfectly lovely year of deeply connected new relationship joy… and he didn’t resist, or become tense, or angry, or any of those things. He looked at me tenderly, with concern, and affection, and said something sane and wise… “You thrive living alone…” I don’t recall what else he said, or what came first, or what came after, just those words, and the somewhat puzzled look on his face, and the clear desire to “be there” for me, and to understand. I do thrive living alone, this is a true thing. He’s so right about that.  I do miss living with him… but… I don’t miss cohabitation generally. I actually do thrive – really thrive – living alone. I am disinclined to easily recognize that, when I think about living with my Traveling Partner, no fault of his; I’d never lived so well with another person, ever, than with him. It was… the very next best thing to living alone (which I hadn’t really done previously for any length of time)! I’d probably feel uncomfortable saying it so boldly and firmly this morning, if we hadn’t had the conversation we had last night.

For him, it is a beautiful thing to see me thrive. For me, living alone is the first time I truly have (thrived, I mean). The conversation at least got to the real point; I would enjoy spending more time with him. 🙂 We agree contentedly it has been a busy year for us both. He’s eager to see me in a more comfortable space, feeling safe again (I just haven’t since the burglary back in November). He steers my excitement about getting moved in such that I stay focused on what works for me, and don’t invest heavily in what might work for him in some abstract circumstance in which he lands on my doorstep for a long stay. He trusts my ability to create a beautiful home. I trust that he wants to spend time there with me. I let go of a little more baggage.

I got to reconnect briefly with another friend over the weekend. We exchanged birthday gifts. It was a fun moment. I smile and think of him every time I see the lovely pin he crafted, pinned on my hiking cap. My cap goes everywhere with me during the spring and summer, and often in autumn, and even sometimes in winter… a good all-purpose cap. It had been rather dull and unadorned. Now it seems to shout “you are loved” or “life has purpose” or… “damn I look good!” or something else positive and lovely, without undermining the practical nature of a good cap. I miss hanging out with him, too. A poignant moment of recognition of how much joy busy lives can rob us of… and I let that go, too. Busy, indeed, and legitimately so; there is no point grieving the positives in life. Are we each thriving? Is that not enough? 🙂

A simple cap, a fancy pin, a life now built on contentment and sufficiency.

It is a lovely summer morning for consideration; this morning that consideration is from me, for me, to me. I consider my feelings. I consider the context. I provide myself perspective. I embrace change and consider the needful things. I consider the planning. I consider the future. This morning I allow myself to be aware that indeed I do thrive living alone. I consider the chaos and damage that brought me here in life, without anger, without frustration, and without judgement. I am here. This is who I am. Thriving. Wow. Thriving… that’s a big deal. 🙂 It’s also very much “enough”.

One day in a life worth living…

The sun peeks over the horizon, tangerine and sparkling, turning the needle tips of the awkwardly place pine just beyond the window quite gold and glittery. There is a female duck at the edge of the meadow keeping a careful eye out for cats while having a look for tasty morsels in the grass. Day is beginning. Where will it take me?

 

Yesterday started off in a difficult way, but the day was lovely. Even the fireworks were not so very distressing, being mostly at quite a distance, and frankly not really unexpected. I meditated through the worst of it, just at dusk, and slept soundly through the night. I woke early – earlier than my alarm would generally wake me, and it wasn’t quite 7 hours of sound sleep, nonetheless I feel rested and alert, and thus the day begins.

One new day among many.

One new day among many.

I have plans with my traveling partner for today, but there’s the chance that we may postpone; the weather continues to be very hot, and I frankly prefer he make the best choices to take care of himself than force himself to come around out of a sense of obligation. Obligation is a poor companion for Love. I am content to take the day alone, too; I am feeling fairly inspired and creative, and it could easily be a day spent painting, sketching, or writing, and I would not feel overlooked or disappointed.

Today, after yesterday, seems effortless. I am sure there is something to learn from that on the ‘this too shall pass’ theme. Last night and this morning, dear friends commented on yesterday’s post in ways that were healing, affirming, and supportive; I feel very loved, and held in high regard. I suspect a great many of us, whoever we are, whatever our challenges, are also held in very high regard by those that love us. Life without love is probably rather uncommon – however common life unable to recognize, connect with, or return love may seem to be. There’s no doubt something to learn from that as well.

This morning I raise my glass (cup of coffee, really) to my friends – people who cherish me enough to read my writing (and damn…so many words!), and who also understand what ‘the observer effect‘ implies about writers. It’s a lovely gift they give me, and it makes their comments so precious when offered. Thank you, each of you, all of you (you know who you are). I feel loved, and deeply moved that some of the greatest of the thinkers I personally know choose to read my words. ❤

On an unrelated topic, yesterday being “Independence Day” I decided to take my independence in hand this year and celebrate in a new way. I am taking my independence from the old thinking that still tends to trap me in a self-image of ‘too fat to…’. Sure, I was once really quite uncomfortably large, out of shape to the point that a walk up hill for a block was a hardship, and I was easily injured if I turned suddenly with too much momentum. That was actually quite a long while ago… 2009? Since then I have continued to make progress on health and fitness goals, and I’m quite an ordinary size (14) and weight (last official weigh in ~180 lbs fully clothed with hiking boots on). I’m decently fit, walking 5 miles a day – more on weekends – and doing yoga daily, and some light strength training with my dumb bells. I take my health seriously – being ‘overweight’ is not a method of dying that I care to select, honestly, and I’d like to be around a lot longer… 2083 sounds like a good  year to see. 120 sounds like a good age to reach; I will have seen so much!  With all this in mind, my 4th of July this year was a celebration of breaking free from old thinking, outdated self-image, and self-imposed limits that no longer reflect challenges I actually have, now.

Yesterday, I enjoyed all manner of activities that excite and encourage me to enjoy myself as I am. Yoga, dancing, a dip in the pool (without the shy towel-wrapped approach to the gate as if people would be offended to see me there)…healthy meals that nourish me, and encourage me further toward my goals; I’d like to see some of this loose skin from losing weight tighten up, and I’d like to take off a few more inches, and be stronger – more easily able to do some of the things I currently ask for help with. This weekend I moved the big bin with all my journals in it myself, lifting with my legs, and actually carrying it, versus scooting it across the floor. I did not know I could, and I am not hurt today for having done it. 😀 Incremental change over time. Celebrating small successes. It can be slow going, but it’s my journey – and there is no pace car, or speed limit. I’m on my own – which means that while the challenges are my  own, so are the victories. 😀 [Your results may vary – but if you are practicing practices, and using verbs, you will have results, of some kind.]

Today is a good day for beginnings, and for independence. Today is a good day to take the very best care of this fragile vessel. Today is a good day to change my view of myself in the mirror – and with it, my view of the world.

Today I’m 52. I woke up stiff as hell; I walked about 10 miles yesterday without really planning to (or preparing for it) – a little more than 6 of it all at once at the end of a hot day. No regrets and no bitching, I’m just a tad stiff and sore. At 52 that seems a reasonable price to pay for youthful shenanigans. Next time I will plan my route more attentively, and ensure my calories and fluid intake leading up to the excursion are more appropriately managed to support the demand, as a proper grown up might. 🙂

It was a lovely day for a journey.

A lovely day for a journey.

I’m sipping my morning coffee and smiling. I smile a lot lately. I feel content, generally, and comfortable with myself and the woman I have become over time…eager to celebrate the small successes with my traveling partner, and a little self-conscious that at least for now, he is my only partner, and my only lover. It’s not an entirely comfortable experience for me, but wonderful for learning to treat one person truly well – me – and leveraging the power of that knowledge to treat my partner(s), and lover(s) well in the future. I need this time exploring who I am, and what matters about that – and what does not. My highs and lows are entirely my own. I feel sexy, beautiful, and comfortable in my skin. I love, and I am loved in return.

"You Always Have My Heart" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas with glow.

“You Always Have My Heart” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas with glow.

Some past relationships have ended leaving me feeling damaged, cheated, betrayed, and robbed – less of goods than of emotional experiences I really enjoy, and invested in heavily, only to find that the circumstances, or actions taken within the relationship took from me some moment of pleasure or joy, in some cases things I miss even to this day. I am surprised to find that I have come to terms with something I didn’t understand when I was less experienced, or less worldly, or less wise, or less… old. 🙂 Life has a pretty firm non-compete clause. Oh, I don’t mean that people don’t try to out do each other through one-upmanship, childish game playing, or frank actual theft, but Life itself is having none of it. Consider this thing that seems [to me] to be unavoidably true: you can’t have who I am. You could cut your hair the way I cut mine, color it precisely the same shade, learn my turns of phrase exactly, repeat my anecdotes to others as if they were your own, and attempt to duplicate my aesthetic, my issues, my timing… you would not be me. If we were twins, we would be individuals nonetheless. If we love the same movies – or the same people, we remain distinctly limited to being who we are, ourselves, whatever lies are told and whatever truths are hidden. It does not matter at all what we say about who we are. We simply are the being we are, with our choices and actions standing front and center and shouting the truths of it. “The truth will out.” Oh, hell yes it will.  Put all the effort you may care to into some charade; all is revealed through choices, and actions.

"Contemplation" 12" x 16" acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

“Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

I am reminded of a jazz standard I love that is apropos. “They can’t take that away from me”  We don’t lose the things we love – they become part of who we are. I am this woman, this being of light and love, and I am unapologetically original – there just aren’t any copies that pass for the real thing.  Just like a jazz standard, each singer’s song is different. Life being what it is, which is to say filled with change, experiences do come and go – there will be points in my life when leisurely contented conversation over morning coffee between passionate lovers may not be an everyday thing. I may not always have the leisure time (or the lover) to share lazy hours naked in the arms of love. Will I miss the things I enjoy when I am not able to enjoy them? Well, sure. Can anyone truly rob me of them? Not so much, no. Even when someone takes actions that seem to tear apart the fabric of my experience for their own gain…at no point, and in no way, will they ever be able to experience what I experience. I belong to me. My joys are mine. My challenges are mine. My growth and my triumphs – all mine. There is no ‘competition’ actually possible – even with love. We’re all beings of free will – my lovers will choose me, because I am who I am, and I meet some need at that point in their life. We share some measure of our journey together, for a time, but each remains individual. Our shared experience – still our own. The Art of Being is an art, because unlike science it can’t be truly duplicated, repeated, or taken over one from another; we are each having our own experience. I like my coffee the way I like it, and it tastes the way it does – to me. Your results may vary. Will vary. You are undeniably you. I have no power to take that from you (and no desire to have your experience), and you can’t have mine.

"Communion" 24" x 36"  2011 acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details & glow

“Communion” 24″ x 36″ 2011 acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details & glow

I am smiling over my coffee because there is no ‘win’ or ‘lose’ – just love, and human beings – a handful of whom are probably the sort who would take what isn’t theirs rather than put in the work to be the person they so desperately want to be. In the taking, they gain little, destroy much, and in the end – touch nothing about me, myself, unless I allow myself to be down trodden by their malice or ignorance – and they can’t have what they attempt to take in the first place, because they can’t have my experience of self. I’m not at all sure when this realization solidified in my understanding – recently. Wednesday? Earlier? Weeks ago, perhaps, but I didn’t have words for the growing sense of peace and utter self-assurance it filled me up with. It’s a lovely birthday gift to myself to have the feeling, and find the words.

Somewhere across the distance of life's journey, I am connecting with myself.

Somewhere across the distance of life’s journey, I am connecting with myself.

I was on a journey elsewhere…and I found my way home. 🙂

Well, I suppose the aphorism is slightly different, for most. “Home is where the heart is”, is more likely to ring true. For me, it hasn’t been enough… Do I lack ‘heart’? That seems unlikely from the vantage point of being generally well-regarded, mostly valued, and living life embraced by love. But… living in a particular building, or at a specific address, has not been sufficient to define ‘home’ for me – even though I live with loved ones, in a generally comfortable, pretty contented day-to-day sort of way. It has seemed very odd for some time.

I’m not always sure what being an artist means, precisely. I’m not sure how being an artist defines me differently than being someone who paints an occasional painting, or creates something of great beauty once in a while; it’s the beauty created that matters more. I am uncomfortably aware in recent months that my own art speaks to me, myself, with an earnestness and import that has resulted in feeling pretty displaced and homeless not seeing it displayed all around me in my daily life; it hadn’t been hung. There’s a lot of it. One or two paintings made it to the walls over the past couple years… I have… dozens. Hundreds? I paint like a madwoman, I am not shy about admitting that. The bare expanses of wall started working on my mind, over time; the stacks and stacks of paintings at the ready, the cabinets of smaller ones, the carefully boxed (between layers of protective acid-free tissue) unframed watercolors… all waiting…all part of who I am…all disregarded in favor of day-to-day minutiae and drama, and seeming unimportant to anyone but me.

The pain of it diminished considerably when I realized in an honest and aware moment that the bare walls left me feeling quite ‘homeless’ – more ‘deployed’ than ‘moved in’; it wasn’t about anyone else’s choices or actions, and I hadn’t expressed how important seeing my working hanging really is for my day-to-day comfort and contentment. I could communicate the experience once I found words for it, and phrasing that didn’t sound like an attack on life and love. Communication is a pretty big deal, and best done in an explicit and clear way on practical matters, such as the hanging of art… or the care and feeding of artists. 🙂

Use your words. Seriously. (Also, use them gently!)

"Emotion and Reason" 2012 detail

“Emotion and Reason” 2012 detail

I arrived home last night to find that quite a number of paintings had been carefully hung… really, more ‘installed’ than hung; the care in hanging them, the considerate and meaningful placements done so skillfully that ‘hanging paintings’ hardly describes it. I sat, in the evening, feeling very much more ‘at home’ than I previously had for 2+ years. Does it make ‘everything right with the world’? Hardly. Even the delight of the artist herself, surrounded by her work, isn’t ‘everything’, is it? I do feel loved, and greatly cared for to see so many of my very best pieces hanging all around.

There are more to come, more space for art, walls as yet untouched by color or vision…and I certainly have enough work to take care of that! I expect there may be some movement, some changes, swapping this one for that one… My traveling partner has a keen eye for color, contrast, form – and a lovely aesthetic. If I have the choice between hanging my own work, and having him do my installations for me, I definitely prefer to step aside and give him room to work. I frankly just ‘hang paintings’, and not very well – they’re level, sure, and generally at an appropriate height for viewing… but I’m prone to just shoving as many pieces into a given area of blank wall as what I think will fit… resulting in a dizzying mosaic of color and glow that suits only me, and overwhelms anyone else.

I have no idea what today will hold…but I am already looking forward to returning at the end of the work day, to be surrounded by what matters so much…love, and art.