Archives for posts with tag: finding my way home

With fall really here, and the new job feeling very real as life settles into new routines, I take a moment to remind myself that “this too shall pass”. That’s neither good nor bad, and it’s neither the journey, nor is it an impediment to my forward progress; change is.

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, rain-soaked lawn

The holiday season nears. Life is settling down into a different normal, a new routine of quiet week nights at home, generally solo, sometimes out on an evening doing a thing. Evenings are so short now, it’s rare that I actually want to do something enough to do it on a weeknight. There’s a certain minimum time commitment on the self-care side that is non-negotiable, and most of that sort of thing (for me) I handle at home. I see my traveling partner on weekends, generally, and the time is well-spent, merry, and intimate. This week has been spent mostly, and rather unusually, on sleeping. lol No kidding, I get home, have a quick bite, have a long shower, some meditation, and then crash out. So tired. No idea why, really, and not too worried about it, since I am actually sleeping and getting the rest I clearly need.

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, park bench

Everything seems to fit. No wonder I am occasionally quite cross with myself over having to move! It does feel like “have to”; the commute is not particularly sustainable long-term. I think about that…. This commute is more or less the same length as the commute I made daily for 13 years to a very different job, in the context of a different relationship (an ex) – both of which were much less comfortable or pleasant than those I enjoy now. I guess that’s part of it, though; my own quality of life at home is far better than it was back then, and part of this commute experience is the awareness of the time I am losing neither at work, nor at home, but spent out in the world, on mass transit (where, trust me, humanity is not at its finest day-to-day). Well, “mystery” solved. lol

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, rocks

I find myself thinking over ways to make the commute itself more pleasant, or more productive. The rain hasn’t helped. I can take my Kindle along on the light rail, but on days when it is pouring down rain, I probably won’t pull it out of my waterproof bag. I would contentedly meditate on the train, but the sounds of voices sometimes makes that “difficult” isn’t quite the right word… “not possible” fits better.

autumn leaf

autumn leaves

I smile, sip my ¬†coffee, and notice that I am… bitching to myself. It isn’t helpful or productive to do so, nor is it particularly interesting (to me, or anyone else), and it tends to reinforce negative thinking. I set all that aside, and take another sip of my coffee. I feel my shoulders relax. I let the quiet calm of this moment set in… and then notice I spelled “calm” as “clam”, so I re-read the sentence as letting the quiet clam set in. I have a good laugh over it. There is so much to enjoy in life, I remind myself. I’ll definitely make a point of doing that. ūüôā

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, stone

Today is a good day for simple pleasures, moments of great delight, and finding joy in small things. Today is a good day to appreciate what’s right, more than grieving what’s wrong – and to do so at least as often, generally.

I woke this morning with some effort, and even after a (long) hot shower, yoga, meditation, and the first sip or two of an excellent cup of coffee… I still feel rather sluggish and slowed down. I have no idea why my morning is starting in slow motion – I slept well and deeply through the night, and went to bed at quite a reasonable hour. ¬†My mood is… ‘quietly merry’ describes it best, I suppose, and I am not inclined to criticize my mood or the choice of words to describe it. Slow or not, the day is off to a lovely start. ¬†That’s enough.

My heart is a temple to the Goddess of Love.

My heart is a temple to the Goddess of Love.

My last thoughts as I faded into sleep last night were of my traveling partner. My first thoughts on waking were similarly of him, inasmuch as they were of love, generally, and I find it difficult to think about love without also thinking about my traveling partner. It is one truth of my heart that the love he and I share has tended to redefine love quite a lot for me. It’s nice to observe that while the time we spend together (as in ‘in shared space’) is quite limited these days – every precious moment is also completely wonderful. It’s lovely. When we met it was also this way, and it remained so through the first many months we lived together. Our beginning was so natural, and such a wonderful fit, that we two beings disinclined toward matrimony at all would find our way to each other – and marry. Life’s hard knocks taught us both to doubt the value of a romantic contract…and loving each other changed our minds about that, and given¬†us practical and emotional perspective that still colors our experience in a powerfully positive way. We rely on each other utterly – even when we don’t live together. What’s even better? We can.

"Cherry Blossoms" 12" x 16" acrylic on canvas 2011

“Cherry Blossoms” 12″ x 16″ acrylic on canvas 2011

I’m not bragging – we work at love, my traveling partner and I, and for a couple of years it wasn’t easy. Historically, our ‘others’ haven’t found the same profound value in the intense way my traveling partner and I love each other, that we experience ourselves. Real, significant, adoring, heartfelt love that works can be a tad threatening for those that don’t have it, that doubt it, or that didn’t understand that the work required¬†is not diminished by the profundity of the affection; there are verbs involved – a tremendous lot of them, and far more of them than I had understood, myself (thus those couple of challenging years – I am still building needed skills, myself, and I know for my traveling partner, my TBI presents unanticipated challenges for him, too). Conveniently, although the work is not diminished by the depth of the affection – neither is the affection itself diminished by the necessity of doing the work – Love is ever a worthy cause in which to ‘mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor’. Yeah…I’m pretty sure that if I am not inclined to feel that way about someone, it’s not ‘love’.

"Communion" 24" x 36" acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow. 2011

“Communion” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow. 2011

I woke in solitude this morning – I’m okay with that. I enjoy it. The morning is still and calm, and pleasant. There is no stress. I smile thinking about the time spent loving, lately, and how wonderful it is to feel a cherished relationship deepen and grow without struggling to also figure out my own shit, work on me, paint, write, and exist along this peculiar trajectory – having my own experience is rather effortless without the minute-to-minute sense that everything is tangled up with having¬†to be ever vigilant about what I am saying, doing, feeling… living with the TBI and my PTSD are difficult enough without having to constantly be on the look out for opportunities to ease the impact on someone else. The choice to move into my own place is continuously reinforced as being a good one through the day-to-day ease that has resulted. It matters a great deal that love feels renewed, restored, and once again the wellspring of my creative drive and the smile on my face.

"Contemplation" 11" x 14" acrylic on canvas 2012

“Contemplation” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas 2012

The unconventional choice to live alone – and apart from my spouse – ¬†is working out pretty well; love is enhanced rather than diminished. ¬†I knew when I was quite young (as early as 14) that living with others was problematic for me. I don’t crave continuous community, and my triggers are numerous and commonplace – but I enjoy being able to while away social hours with friends and lovers when it is comfortable, if I can easily disengage when the time comes (and be permitted full autonomy over determining when that time has come). I didn’t heed my own self-knowledge, and allowed myself to be persuaded (again and again, over many years and multiple relationships) that what I understood would be good for me wasn’t an acceptable choice. Decades later, I finally allow myself room to breathe, to grow, to be. I am realizing – and accepting – that it is okay to trust myself; who knows me better than I do? And in trusting myself, and taking care of me in the way that suits me most and meets my needs over time most effectively… I find my way ‘home’ to this place in my ¬†heart where love resides, and I feel free.

"Lovers" 10" x 14" watercolor on paper 1992

“Lovers” 10″ x 14″ watercolor on paper 1992

Today is a good day to look my demons in the face with a smile and say “you have no power over me!” It doesn’t matter that it may not be true tomorrow – it’s true today, and that’s enough.


This morning I woke gently, slightly before the alarm clock. I got up feeling nauseous, which is odd; I often feel ill after my morning medication, but I hadn’t had it yet. For the first time in decades unexpected nausea in the morning doesn’t cause me to wonder if I am pregnant. (Yay, menopause!) I lay down for another minute or two to let the nausea pass, if it might be due to getting up too quickly and making myself dizzy. It does pass; I exchange it for hiccups.

It will be a hot day according to the forecast, so I wear cool summer clothes; in the chill of morning I am chilly and feeling a bit underdressed. I know the feeling will pass when I begin the walk to work, and it has me thinking about the a/c in the office – perhaps I should take a light sweater to leave at work for these hotter summer months?

I have worked out the theme and selected the canvases for the long wall along my living room. Many of them have never previously been hung, they do not yet have hanging hardware on them, and some of them are unframed (and clearly meant to be framed). I have a vision, and I am not yet ready to proceed. The lovely sheers for the patio window, too, are ready to hang…only the bracket to support the curtain rod is not quite long enough to reach past the vertical blinds in the intended way.

It isn't always clear where my path will take me.

It isn’t always clear where my path will take me.

In other times in my life any one of these somewhat frustrating circumstances could have blown my day, my experience, or at a minimum my mood. Instead, and seemingly without effort, I feel more or less prepared for each circumstance facing me, and that’s enough. I have forward momentum. I am not stalled in my tracks by¬†other steps, small delays, or minor detours; these experiences are also part of the journey. I didn’t do significant work on this directly – although managing my frustration (rather, my lack of skill at dealing with it) has been on my ‘to do list’ for a very long time. It’s another bit of internal change that is going on as result of other practices, and day-to-day reductions in stress. I didn’t understand the degree to which managing day-to-day stress would improve things that didn’t seem directly stress related in my understanding of things. It’s very efficient, and I smile at the recognition that I am getting a lot of good results from a few simple changes, a handful of good practices, and a commitment to some verbs.

Well, sure, that makes sense...

Well, sure, that makes sense…

There is more to do. It feels a little awkward lately how often I sit down to write and find that few challenges speak up to be spoken about within the quiet of my thoughts. That’s no great tragedy, obviously, it just seems a bit unsettling to be so content – happy? – for so long. More than a month with so little drama that drama seems not to exist, and so little stress that I can count on one hand the number of times I have wept helplessly since I moved into my own place – and it doesn’t require all my fingers. I get more moved in every week, and the small details matter. Once I evicted my arachnid roommates (they were not paying rent, and biting me all the damned time), I settled into contentment, and life, on a new level. I don’t know that I have words for it – or that there is any way to share the experience in a comfortable rational way without sounding like I am bragging, or being smug. It is a humbling experience because I am both challenged to express it, and a little frightened by it – if I stare into the face of contentment, will it take its leave of my experience? It’s silly, but I have never been here before and I just don’t really ¬†know.

I have lived alone a couple of times previously (it never lasted long), and never found this level of contentment for more than hours or days. My first exploration of living alone was when I left my violent first husband. I moved into a tiny partially furnished apartment in low-income housing. I spent most of my time anxiously peering through the curtains to check if he was still parked outside, sleeping in his car, or looking over my shoulder to determine where he was, somewhere behind me (he often was). It was not ever an experience characterized by contentment. I was trying to survive. The next time I made an attempt to live alone I had left my first husband permanently, and although I loved my quiet beige and white apartment, I spent most of my time anxious that my ex was still stalking me, worried about money, and struggling with my libido. Living alone didn’t last long, and it was not an experience characterized by contentment; I was still looking for ‘happily ever after’, contentment was not an idea whose time had come for me. ¬†I don’t consider experiences with barracks life, or shared living, any sort of ‘living alone’ – there are just too¬†many people outside those doors to qualify in any way as ‘solo living’ in the same sense. I also can’t realistically count circumstances where I was alone for a time when¬†housemates, family, or partners were away for however long; not my house, not my rules, not my way.

I didn’t know what to expect when I moved into Number 27. I love this place. Oh, sure, it’s a rental and it’s an older one. The carpet is worn. The appliances (whether new or not) are modest, fairly sturdy and commonplace sorts. The kitchen and bathroom are small, on the edge of ‘cramped’. It is in a largish community, and my windows look out onto the lives of others. Generally speaking, it’s an ordinary enough sort of rental of (as it turns out) minimal square footage to be comfortable for me. I moved in prepared to struggle with sorrow, loneliness, frustration, privation, isolation… and I’ve had brief moments of sorrow, usually hormones or fatigue are involved, the loneliness turns out to be less about whether I am alone and much more about the quality and nature of interactions I have with lovers, however remote. Frustration? I don’t know, now and then I guess, in a very ordinary way, hardly attention-getting. Privation? Not a thing here. Isolation? Also not a thing here. This is my home. I love it here. I don’t mind that it is an older rental and a bit run down; I keep a tidy well-cared for home, and it is mine, and it is lovely and welcoming. The small ordinary details that fall short of ideal teach me what I am looking for in a ‘forever home’… which may turn out to be very like this wee place that is so very much home to me now (perhaps a bit larger in the kitchen, bath, and living room…) only situated somewhere a bit more private.

I once spent a lot of time daydreaming about ‘the perfect home’, and in my daydreams it kept getting grander, larger, fancier, more remote, more secure, with more interesting luxuries, more features, more gadgets…turns out, in real life, all I really want and need is… enough.

The path branches, forks, detours, and the way is not always clear - but the journey is what it is, I am my own cartographer, and enough is enough.

The path branches, forks, detours, and the way is not always clear – but the journey is what it is, I am my own cartographer, and enough is enough.

Today is a good day to let events unfold with an open mind. Today is a good day to coast through the small challenges on a smile. Today is good day for ‘enough’.

Yesterday was fantastic, end to end. There isn’t much more to say about it; it was that¬†rare and lovely day without one flaw or noteworthy challenge. Celebration-worthy, and certainly worth the pleasure of lingering on the recollection for a few quite moments this morning, before moving on.

There was something about yesterday that felt ‘filled with light’, and around midday I couldn’t continue to gaze at the sunshine out the window – I took my lunch break on the move, intending initially to ‘get lunch’, ¬†and quickly found that what I wanted most was simply to walk in the sunshine, unfettered by expectations, or purpose. Seemed harmless enough; I indulged myself, to my own great delight, and the entire resulting day unfolded like a lovely flower.

I took a path that was new to me, and found myself in a lovely place.

I took a path that was new to me, and found myself in a lovely place.

The sensation of remoteness and of stillness must have come along with me; this is no wilderness.

The sensation of remoteness and of stillness must have come along with me; this is no wilderness.

I didn't have to travel far to find delight in the day, I only needed to allow the feelings to make a home in my heart.

I didn’t have to travel far to find delight in the day, I only needed to allow the feelings to make a home in my heart.

Beauty doesn't have to be fancy, or rare, and doesn't require much in the way of 'work'; like change, beauty is.

Beauty doesn’t have to be fancy, or rare, and doesn’t require much in the way of ‘work’; like change, beauty is.

Each flower opens in its own season.

Each flower opens in its own season.

In the distance, the world - and the office.

In the distance, the world – and the office.

For the small price of an hour of my time, and less than two miles of walking distance, I return to the work of the day refreshed, recharged, renewed, and feeling wholly capable and competent, and wrapped in love. A bargain. Seeing so much loveliness so near to where I will soon be living fills me with enthusiasm to greet change as a friend and companion, and motivates me to stride with great purpose toward a future that nurtures me, heart and soul. There are choices involved, verbs to enact, planning to be done – and to enjoy (because I do enjoy the planning). There are sunny days to enjoy, and more long walks on paths I have not yet explored, still ahead of me.

Today is a good day to enjoy standing in the light. Today is a good day to walk away from the darkness. Today is a good day to change the world.

This morning I woke up with pain. Some sort of weirdness yesterday afternoon with a nasty cramp in my right calf, after a long Solstice walk in the forest, that lingers this morning as unexpected pain associated with some specific movements. It hurts in the background as a dull ache until I do something ‘just the wrong way’ and it reminds me with a moment of acute agony that it doesn’t plan to be so easily dismissed. ¬†Still, I woke in a good mood and I was pleased to find that walking on a flat surface is one of the more comfortable things I can be doing – which made making coffee this morning relatively easy and not particularly painful. So…good mood…good coffee… time for a good morning. Right? Oh. Wait – there’s more!

I had an irksome moment with technology this morning when I sat down with my laptop (note to self – please, PLEASE, do take time to meditate every day before anything else, it does make that much difference!). My mouse wasn’t working. I did the troubleshooting, rebooted the laptop, still no mouse. I replaced the mouse battery, no mouse. Rebooted again – finally, I have a living mouse. But… for some reason using it ‘feels weird’. Sluggish. Like the buttons are not as responsive. I become aggravated, I fight it. I struggle to set aside my frustration – and the background irritability that stems from a loving partner pointing out just last night that I’m due for a better mouse – one that doesn’t shine a laser in his eyes every time I thoughtlessly lift the mouse while pointed in his general direction. At that moment, I was really liking my mouse – it’s a pretty one. Right now I’m just frustrated with it and wanting to smash things… but the wanting to smash things is not solely the fault of the mouse. There’s more.

I use online services. Many people do, these days. Some services require strict authentication and identity verification – like banks – and while I value that they do, and appreciate the good security, I also find that during the holiday season, it can be a huge irritating bit of inconvenient bullshit. Yep. Total bullshit. I managed to ‘lock up’ an account on such a service by starting and then canceling a transaction. Yep. I just wanted to see if there would be a fee – and the fee structure is not easily available to view, making it easier to start the transaction, get to that point to see if there is a fee (and what it is) and then cancel the transaction if it is not worth paying that fee… generally not an issue. Today, it locked up my account and generated a dismally polite email advising me that ‘all’ I have to do is re-verify ‘a few’ ‘simple’ account details – by snail mail. ¬†I call this ‘a service I am unlikely to use again’. The amount of frustration generated, and the resulting emotional volatility and rage are actually just not worth dealing with at all. My immediate reaction is ‘I won’t use this service anymore’. My strategy for getting my morning back on track is ‘take a few deep breaths and meditate’.

I am easily frustrated by dealing with banking, with frustration, with technology failures, with deviations from simple routines – they hit me hard, and momentarily disable me with a sudden increase in emotional volatility and a sudden loss of cognitive skill (or a perception of it). I very much doubt that online businesses, or application developers, spend much time thinking about how changes to their products affect the small number of people who do have challenges with brain injuries or cognitive challenges. Something as simple as changing the authentication process can be frustrating for anyone, but for me that bit of frustration can set off an avalanche of anger, confusion, and emotion that turn the simplest task into something almost unachievable in seconds. It sucks.

I’ll take a pleasant moment for gratitude – it is surprisingly comforting to remember how much worse an experience like this used to feel when I didn’t know why I reacted the way I did, or why it seemed so much more challenging for me than it seemed for ‘other people’. I’m grateful that I found out about my brain injury.¬†¬†It’s easier now – at least, it is easier to ‘find my way home’ to a place of balance and calm, again. More like a storm, less like climate change. ūüôā

It’s actually a pretty good morning, now that the irksome bit is behind me. My coffee is cold, and my leg hurts, but… it’s only pain and cold coffee. Nothing to cry about. Certainly no need to smash things over it. Wow. What a difference mindfulness makes! Yep, still human – but I am human; I use tools.

This guy is mindful, and living in his moment.

This guy is mindful, and living in his moment.