Archives for posts with tag: finding my way

I’m annoyed. Not my best look. I don’t like how feeling aggravated feels. When these feelings, so personal, crop up in interactions with friends or colleagues or loved ones, it’s worse. I guess I kind of expect strangers to be occasionally unpredictable, occasionally unpleasant, or antagonistic, or irritable. I suspect I don’t leave enough room for people close to me to have those moments, too. I feel reliably hurt when someone “comes at me” unexpectedly over something that seems, to me, to be inconsequential – or at least not worth all that negative emotional energy suddenly coming my way. It’s too easy to center my experience as what matters most. Hard to find the right balance of agreeable, kind, compassionate, empathetic, approachable… and do that while also managing skillful boundary setting, deep listening, and non-attachment. It’s a very human experience. I get mixed results.

…I keep working at it…

I take a breath, have a glass of water, and walk away from the moment. “Let it go,” I remind myself, “it isn’t personal; we’re each having our own experience.” Words. For an instant I feel myself resist – embracing those hurt feelings, and my initial flare-up of my own anger and aggravation feels so… important. At least momentarily. I have that “what about me?” moment. Very angst-y, very cross. Another breath. I let it go. Again. I sit down at my computer to work it out in words. (Thanks for listening.) I put on a video – rain falling on a country road. It’s the background noise I’m looking for. It tends to help push the tinnitus into the background; it’s loud today.

…My Traveling Partner comes into the studio with an ice tea for me. He glances at the title, and back at me, as he hands me the tea. “That’s nice.” he says. I think I detect a hint of sarcasm. I’m not certain. I’m a bit tone deaf to some of those conversational nuances (and it’s why I have worked at not using those sorts of things myself, with mixed results). I worry that he thinks I am writing about him. I figure he’s probably been with me long enough not to read into one of my titles what my intent – or content – actually may be.

…The iced tea is very pleasant, but with a hint of something… bitterness, maybe? He had said he did not like this batch. I don’t taste bitter very well (at all?)… and many people dislike bitter flavors if they are strong. So… maybe that’s it? Maybe there’s a metaphor in there somewhere? Something about individual perspective, and subjective experiences…?

I feel like a jerk when I take some small moment of discord as a personal attack. I guess that’s appropriate; it’s not ideal, and hinders pleasant social interaction. I contemplate whether an apology is due (usually, if I’m wondering, then yeah, it’s due)… and what, precisely, I am considering apologizing for – because that matters. Sarcastic non-apologies, or defeatist passive-aggressive attacks phrased as apologies are neither helpful, nor are they any sincere reflection of regret. I reflect for a moment on what it is I regret, from that moment, right now…

There is a bee, in spite of the chilly day, nosing around in the pear blossoms beyond the fence. I only see the one, and I wonder if the bee feels like it has happened upon amazing abundance… or is just doing bee things, unaware of it’s solitary moment in the pear tree? You can spare me the word of caution against anthropomorphizing the life of a bee. I get it; bees are not people. Well… I mean… they are not what we understand ourselves to be as people…but I’m not sure we truly know all there is to know about the consciousness of other sorts of creatures than ourselves. We barely have any fucking idea how we work, or what our consciousness “is”. lol

Chilly day. Tasty iced tea. Pleasant bite of lunch with my partner. A moment of human failure worth a word of regret. All part of this very human experience… I breathe, and get ready to begin again.

It’s a mild Saturday morning. Not yet sunny. Also not raining. Just a morning. My coffee is hot, sitting mostly untouched in front of me. My Traveling Partner and I are “enjoying” our individual, somewhat overlapping, personal experiences of seasonal allergies. His, a lifetime struggle. Mine? Returning with a vengeance here in this new place, after decades mostly without allergies at all. I’ve minimized my allergies for years; they simply aren’t “anything” in comparison to what my Mom endured, or what my Traveling Partner goes through for so much of the calendar year that even suggesting those are “seasonal” could seem like a mockery. “I don’t have allergies” still seems mostly true for me… but this morning, my stuffy head and sneezes tell a story of Spring, and pollen (it’s the tree pollen that seems to be the issue; I can smell flowers all damned day without concern).

…And of course, my preferred walks each day? Forests. Trees. Shaded paths. Hilarious. 0_o (That’s a rare use of sarcasm; I’m not finding it all amusing really.)

It is a mild Saturday morning, suitable for gardening (I have a list of things to do), and relaxing. I’m eager to do a bit of gardening in this new place – gardening that won’t suddenly face the upheaval of moving away, gardening that can be planned for a future that exists. Maybe. I mean… the future is an uncertain thing, but at least here I can plan for some sort of permanence, as much as one ever can. No, I’m not feeling down or fatalistic, just disinclined to deceive myself with fanciful tales of “happily ever after” or “always”. Those are not helpful concepts, generally speaking. 🙂

“Baby Love”, an early bloomer, will go into the ground this weekend. 🙂

This cup of coffee is good. Not good enough to ease me past the morning frustration of dealing with allergies, perhaps, or to fix any of society’s ills, but it’s a nice moment on a pleasant morning, and that’s enough right now. I think of far away friends I’d like to take time to connect with, emails I’d like to write. Maybe pick up the damned phone now and then? (Does anyone actually answer the phone when it rings, any more? I rarely do… is that a “me thing”, or an “everyone thing”? Has the etiquette of a phone call changed since… before?)

At some point, after our anniversary was past, my Traveling Partner ever-so-gently brought up how much benefit I seem to get out of a weekend away, solo, and wondered aloud if I were, perhaps, due for one…? He admitted to having the thought on our anniversary, and shared that it seemed less than ideal to bring it up on that occasion. I appreciate his consideration… I’d had that thought, too, and felt like a complete jerk for it, considering the occasion. LOL He’s quite right, though; I’m definitely “feeling it”.

…And he definitely feels me feeling it…

I’m not sure why I’m feeling it so hard right now… the new job is intense (in good ways) and quite busy. I do spend nearly 100% of my waking time in the presence of at least one other human being, or on a call, or in a meeting (and yes, Zoom meetings are still every bit as “people-y” as in person, for me)… it gets fatiguing after a while. I enjoy solitude. I want to simply exist, free of social constraints or pressures to perform, conform, achieve, or relieve. I want to breathe my own breath. Think my own thoughts. Exist entirely in the context of my own experience. Make choices with little regard for other tastes, other needs, other timing. It’s complicated when people partner up who have very different needs in this area. I’m fairly certain that while I feel like I “never have a minute for my own thoughts”, my partner may feel that we “never get to spend any time together” – and both those experiences are legitimate perspectives on our individual experience as human primates. I’m fortunate to be in a partnership in which we recognize our differences and value them – and help each other find our best path forward.

Anyway. I’ve been vaccinated. I feel relatively comfortable making the short journey to the coast and taking a day for myself. Masked & distancing, yeah, that’s still a thing for sure. I’m okay with that, too. I got lucky on getting a pleasant ocean view room a few steps from the beach (131 actual stair steps, if reviews are to be believed) – next weekend. The weather is nice for painting. I’ll take my water colors and my camera along with me. My laptop. I’ll walk miles along the beach. Take some pictures. Meditate. Think. Write. Paint.

…I will miss my Traveling Partner so so much…

We benefit from a bit of time to miss each other. I sip my coffee and wonder what he’ll get up to while I’m away… besides missing me, I mean. 🙂 I already look forward to sharing pictures and conversing about time we did not spend together.

…I’m already looking forward to beginning again. 🙂

Snow is falling. I don’t mind that; it’s pretty, and I’m comfortable at home. What I do mind are these tears. Oh, and the headache. The tinnitus. The crossness and fatigue that come of sleeping poorly. I mind all those things. “I’m doing my best.” It’s not “enough”.

I’ve lost my sense of enthusiasm even for something as innocent and delightful as a snowy winter afternoon.

I’ve lost my balance, and my way, and I’m as a hapless motorist in a blinding snow storm – drifting, then… stuck.

I’ve lost my perspective.

I’ve lost my sense of humor about all the maddening bullshit that has to do with caring for this meat suit until it finally rots around me.

…I’m just tired…

My Traveling Partner is annoyed with me. I’m not communicating well. I’m terse without realizing it. Apparently. I’m making a completely fucked up mess of the day in all but one respect; work. I’ve got this work in front of me. For now it keeps me anchored and aware that in some future moment maybe things won’t feel so utterly completely shit… I mean… “this too shall pass”… ? Right? I just need to stay focused on this spreadsheet for another couple hours…

…It’s surprisingly difficult to hold on to non-attachment when I need it most…

I’m angry with myself and disappointed. I don’t tell myself I’ve set the bar too high; I’ll myself that I’m fraud and a failure and a clown because I am not right now 100% of every inch of the woman I most want to be… in spite of this headache, and this fatigue, and this absolutely entirely fallible mortal and very human experience. It’s a moment. It’s not a great moment. It’s not a delightful moment. It’s not a moment I’m going to want to carry with me for a life time of recollection… but it’s part of my experience of being this particular human being. It has to be enough – and it has to be just another moment, one more step, one mile on a much longer journey. If I let it swamp me and become “everything”… yeah, then I definitely lose my way. 😦 Been there, too.

I take a breath. I let the tears fall. I watch the snow flakes coming down. I let the minutes pass without requiring anything more of them – or me.

The snow continues to fall. It’s beautiful. It’s cold out there. I stare past my monitor to the window and into the sky. That sky isn’t so blue right now. Weather versus climate. The pain in my neck is distracting in an unpleasant way…but it reminds me to turn my attention back to the work in front of me. Whatever. It’s something.

…Sometimes “something” has to be enough to hold onto. That’s okay. There will be a chance to begin again.

I started the morning with meditation. Coffee came later. 🙂 Nice morning for it. Not much to say about it. Pleasant morning.

It’s a work day, in the time of the pandemic. I am grateful to be employed. I’m grateful to be housed. I’m grateful that so much is going to so well in my life right now. I sip my coffee and sit quietly with thoughts of what is going well, what feels good, what is working out smoothly. Thoughts of sufficiency, thoughts of contentment.

…The point is not that my life is perfect, the point is to spend more time “dwelling on” what is going well, rather than investing that time in ruminations of what “sucks”, what “isn’t working out”, what is “holding me back”, or things that are painful, problematic, or inconvenient. Seriously. It’s a key practice I can’t recommend strongly enough; spend more time contemplating what is working, what is pleasant, and what you enjoy in your life, than you do fussing or bitching about what isn’t going as well. It has the potential to change your implicit experience of life, to change your actual brain, and could result in a more pleasant experience of life, generally. It also just feels better.

We don’t just find our “happy place” – we also create (or destroy) it.

…Isn’t “feeling better” one of the things we’d all like to do? “Being” a “pessimist” (or someone who is very negative about life) is not a permanent affliction (doesn’t have to be, anyway) – you can choose. 🙂 Yes, I’m even suggesting that in the face of living a “terrible” set of circumstances, it is possible to have a better experience than you may be having… with some carefully chosen practices, practiced with care and consistency, over time. No guarantee, of course; I’m not an expert, nor a doctor. My results have varied, surely yours will, also. Still… over the past decade I’ve gone from being a very cynical, rather bitter, wholly negative human being to someone who is generally fairly positive, mostly pretty optimistic, comfortably content much of the time, who feels a secure sense that, generally, most things will (or could) turn out acceptably okay. 🙂 It’s enough (for me). Life feels pretty good, mostly.

…There are a lot of implied new beginnings in that last paragraph, not gonna lie. A lot of work has been involved in getting myself from “there” to “here”. I still have occasional down days and blue moments. I still sometimes struggle with my emotional wellness and mental health. I’m a human, being human.

I finish my coffee with a smile. Go for a walk? A soak in the spa? Do some yoga? Start work early? I think things over…

…It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Sometimes finding a happy place is surprisingly close to home.

I’m looking at this list of bullet points. It has become an outline of future work, mapped across future days. My morning coffee has become a can of cold fizzy water. The day is nearing the end, and I am smiling. I’m smiling, in part, because I love what I do. The other part of that smile is because I’m not being asked to yield what remains of my day, or my energy, beyond an utterly routine commitment to a shift. Comfortable. Sustainable.

There is no clock on the wall. My sense of aesthetic suggests there should be. There is no potted plant on my desk, or standing in the odd corner between a structural post, and the wall; a plant would look great right there. There is no bookcase with books, filled up notepads, coffee mugs, and tchotchkes, against the wall, where I expect to see one. The floor is bare concrete. The bare overhead light contributes to the very industrial look of this place. I’m not bitching; the temperature is comfortable, the break room is amply stocked with icy cold fizzy water, and very hot coffee, both in reliably good supply.

I arrived eager and confident a couple days ago, and the fit is natural; I belong here. I am still in that “assessing needs-gaining access-learning tools-looking ahead” sort of place, and that seems appropriate to the circumstances. I let myself fill my awareness with this moment, and these circumstances. No holding back. No trepidation. All in. I am comfortable here.

…The walls need art…

…I’ve got plenty of art…

Tomorrow is another day. Another beginning. Another step along this path. I’m ready for it – I’m also tired, at least, tired right now. Relaxed, contented, fatigued – the fatigue of a day’s work, done well, and fully appreciated. All of that. No more than that. It’s lovely.

The challenge, now, is shoring up healthy practices, and building new routines around these new circumstances. The commute is different. The location is different. Simple things like badging in, logging into tools… finding my way directly to my office, all new, and all such simple things, generally; it’ll still take me weeks to get comfortable and functioning on updated implicit memory. In the meantime, I laugh at myself each morning as I go down the hallway toward the office in which I spent my first day, by mistake. My office is the next corridor over. lol I’ll chuckle when I attempt to login using credentials from the last place I worked. I’ll grin with merriment when I find my way to the men’s room, instead of the ladies’ room, having to back track, then reverse through a seeming maze of hallways and glass boxes to the opposite side of the building, because, at least for now, it’s the only route by which I remember where the ladies’ room is. I’ll laugh out loud when I walk into my boss’s office, thinking it is mine (mine is on the opposite side of the hallway).

I’ll go home still smiling. Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. 🙂