Archives for posts with tag: finding sufficiency

There have been a lot of rainy mornings, lately. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy. It’s rainy this year. It’s been raining, mostly, for what feels like weeks. I’m not even complaining; I like the rain. I sit here sipping my coffee contentedly, listening to the rain spilling over the clogged gutters on this rented duplex. It’s been pretty comfortable here, generally. The few things that are not as I’d like are, unfortunately, things the landlord takes care of, and that’s been complicated by the pandemic. I sip my coffee and think over which ones matter most, and wonder whether I will live up to my commitment to myself to take care of those things with greater skill, care, and timeliness as a homeowner? I like to think I will…

…The rain falls. I sip coffee. The morning shifts from “before work” to “work”. It’s an easy adjustment these days; it has become routine. I’ve grown comfortable with working from home. My Traveling Partner is considerate and supportive of the change in lifestyle. (I’m fairly certain he enjoys having me home more… I know I enjoy not having to commute through traffic.) Hell, I think I enjoy my job even more, working from home, which I did not expect at all. ūüôā Bonus.

We continue to prepare for the move, and I continue to count down the days. I’m often distracted with it, occasionally scrambling to pull my consciousness back to “now”, when I realize I’ve been considering, again, some small specific detail that honestly can’t be sorted out properly until the time comes. I smile to myself. Managing my excitement gives me lots of opportunities for practicing mindfulness – just as managing my anxiety would. I definitely prefer the excitement to the anxiety. I notice again how similar those states can feel, physically. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let it go.

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.

I think back to that painful move out of a shared living situation, into my wee solo domicile at #27. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s been 5 years, now. I put my will and my energy into “embracing change”, and finding my own way. In the five years since then, I’ve done a lot to heal and grow. I find myself embracing change again, moving again, and feeling content and prepared. It’s a lovely change from the heartsick uncertainty of that abrupt move 5 years ago.

“Stay on the path” was a regular reminder to myself then, and it served me well (then, and since). No map, though, and this path is not well illuminated. I’ve stumbled a time or two. I’ve taken some wrong turns, and made some “route changes” along the way. Life does not come equipped with “GPS” for our decision-making. ūüôā It’s a very human experience.

I smile, sip my coffee, and reflect on 5 years of progress. I remind myself, again, to “stay on the path”. My results may vary, but I can always begin again. It’s enough. ūüôā

 

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’.

I woke gently this morning. I woke slowly. My consciousness unfolded in a lovely way, without anxiety or stress, or residual negative emotions left over from unremembered nightmares. I woke feeling very little pain, minimal stiffness, and feeling comfortable in my body. I woke feeling beautiful, well, and pleasantly sensuous, enjoying the sensations of skin against sheets, blankets, pillows, and the softness of the morning air. No headache. Heart soaring. Feeling inspired and eager to face the blank canvas on my easel Рand metaphorically, the blank canvas of my day, and my future. I woke loving, and feeling loved, in the quiet solitude of comfortable surroundings, content and aware that love does not require proximity outside my own self-imposed attachments.

I woke to a quiet household. I contentedly made my coffee, contemplating what things I might get done today, and feeling artistically inspired – today is a good day to paint, and I’ve got a number of concepts sketched out that I am ready to make come alive, even some new notions this morning that I am eager to sketch and get started on. It is, in nearly every respect, an ideal day to paint. Currently, there is simply no room to do so. The space set aside for me to work has filled with another project, which has stalled temporarily due to real life happening, in spite of plans. On some other day, this could result in a lot of suppressed resentment festering in the background, and find me feeling unimportant, lacking in value, not well-cared for, and not understood. ¬†Today is different. Sure, it’s frustrating, and I earnestly want to live in an environment that truly supports me creatively, one in which ensuring I can paint when I am moved to paint, write when I am moved to write, listen to the music I love, sing, dance, and simply be this specific human that I am,¬†is among the¬†highest priorities of the household day-to-day. ¬†As with so many things, there are verbs involved, choices to make, and I am my own cartographer on this journey.

I am working on getting into a live/work space that really meets the needs I have at this point in my life; choices are made, verbs are verb-ing in an¬†appropriate order, and at a reasonable rate of progress. In the meantime, rather than blow a lovely day feeling creatively frustrated, I am feeling strong, feeling creative, and feeling joyful now, with what is. ¬†It’s a lovely morning. My coffee is hot and tasty. I feel inspired – and I am not limited to canvas and brush; I have all these lovely words, and ideas, and broad blue skies, endless paths to walk beneath them. It is a lovely Sunday to rise from the wreckage of my chaos and damage, and practice the beautiful Art of Being.

The humble dandelion stands out in a crowd; her strength unmistakable, her beauty her own.

The humble dandelion stands out in a crowd; her strength obvious, her beauty her own; it is no concern of hers that some see her as ‘a weed’.

Today is a good day to bring order to small corners of chaos. Today is a good day for good practices, and good self-care. Today is a good day to treat me well, and enjoy who I already am. Today is a good day for sketching, and laundry, and photographing the very first roses in my garden. Today is a good day to be, and to become, and to celebrate personal rebirth. Today is a good day to practice the Art of Being.

I’m almost over this cold. I’m grateful that although I’ve been sick it hasn’t been ‘that bad’. It’s been bad enough, however, to distance me from loved ones and fun, and that has sucked. My traveling partner will head out again later today, and the entire week he’s been home, I’ve been sick. Two years ago, or more, I’d probably have thrown some nasty tantrum over it, which wouldn’t have helped anyone enjoy their experience more, nor would it sooth my hurt over missing out on connected, intimate time. This time…it just didn’t occur to me to be temperamental about it. He’ll be away, then he’ll return. Seems a practical matter more easily supported by being easy and supportive.

So here I am. Contemplating farewells for another time, getting my shit together for work, and knowing that I’m facing a weekend opportunity to focus on self-work, meditation, and ¬†yoga with a lot more focus and patience with myself than is sometimes possible with a full house, and a full calendar.

Contentment through perspective; sometimes it is enough.

Contentment through perspective; sometimes it is enough.

Today is a good day for smiles, and a good day for generous well-wishes, and fond farewells. Today is a good day to invest everything in love; the return on investment is still the very best, anywhere. Today is a good day for kindness, and a good day to offer to help. Today is a good day to share laughs, and links to good news. Today is a good day to recognize what ‘enough’ is all about, and have some of that, too. Today is a good day to change the world.

(I began this post last night, on the train as I rode home…)

Today I hurt. I want to write meaningfully, thoughtfully, and there’s plenty going on in everyday life that is noteworthy, thought-provoking, or warrants further consideration, perspective, and critical thought…but I may not have what it takes, tonight.

I’m grateful for this broken brain. Well, less so for the damaged bits, but in general very grateful; it serves most brain sorts of purposes nicely, and although it lets me down on some basics most people take for granted, it wows me in some ways that few are fortunate to share. So… yeah. Grateful. ¬†This amazing brain keeps right on going, thinking, wondering, analyzing, imagining… long past the point of fatigue. ¬†The creative thing is awesome. Words are fun. Numbers, too. Emotions are also slowly becoming more of a playground than a trap, or betrayal.

Today I hurt. There are things to understand, and although they’ll wait if they must, it isn’t ideal. There are decisions, choices, opportunities, challenges… brain at the ready… but I hurt and I lose focus again and again with the pain. ¬†I worry about my knees… even to extremes, wondering if the end of walking is on the horizon. ¬†I take some deep breaths, I keep right on walking – slowly, with a cane – because if I wake up tomorrow unable to walk, I would surely regret not walking today.

Pain is such a personal thing. I don’t take many steps to ensure that people around me get it, really understand that I am hurting. I expect to be able to simple call it out once and have that be ‘enough’. That only works for strangers, though. People closer tend to forget in minutes or hours, because we’re having a good time, or because I’m in a good mood. ¬†I can’t see letting the pain make the rules all the time. ¬†I’ve learned something over the years, too; everyone hurts, and everyone’s pain is simply the worst they can imagine. ¬†Pain is not a friend of cognition, and while I may be able to salvage a good mood out of a day of hurting, between the pain itself and the medication for it, my senses and my intellect are blunted. I generally work on as little medication as possible… and because it is work, and I am a professional, I don’t say much about it. ¬†It seems weak to bitch (that’s my own baggage). I hurt, but I think better than if I were heavily medicated and didn’t hurt. lol. What a choice.

Choices. I know more about what I need over time, what I want – what I want, without regard to the desires of others, and in the context of my own values, my own needs, my own particular singular dream of a good life, based on sufficiency, contentment, and quiet joy. Getting there isn’t difficult because of the costliness of what I want and need, myself. Getting there is difficult because we human primates are as different one from another as we are similar, and I’m only just learning to set clear rational boundaries, and to observe and respect the boundaries of others. ¬†It’s a new-ish thing for me to both have an awareness of what I really want/need in life – and also have a clear awareness of what is in my way. ¬†(Which is predictably useful information to have, on both counts.) Newer still to be able to recognize, acknowledge, and even embrace what others want and need, and understand what I may be doing that could come across as ‘being in their way’.

I’m tired. I hurt. I want to write, and I urgently need to finish thinking some things through and make a clear choice and follow through on it. ¬†Have you ever observed how much more difficult that can be when the choice that seems most obvious carries with it some short-term negative experience? ¬†Choosing pain – even to experience profound positive changes – is difficult. I know pain hurts. ¬†Pain is quite a deterrent.

If I were offered many millions of dollars – and in return I would have my back and arm broken, a skull fracture, my ankle shattered, and oh… migraines, perhaps – would I take the deal? I’m betting if I had experienced those pains it would be much harder to go for those millions, while if I had never experienced those sorts of pain, I likely would opt in for the cash pretty quickly. ¬†I have not applied the scientific method to these musings, I’m just saying; it seems likely based on what I know of myself, and my human experience.

An uncompleted post. A night of uncomfortable sleep. The dawn of a new day.

An uncompleted post. A night of uncomfortable sleep. The dawn of a new day.

I finished the evening with yoga, meditation, and crafting a birthday gift for my mother, after dinner out with my partner, who is headed to NYC later this morning for a few days reconnecting with friends and family. ¬†The meal was excellent and the service exceptional. What made the meal was definitely the company and the conversation. The remaining hours were spent gently; my knee just¬†didn’t allow for more energetic recreation, and my evenings are usually chill time for study, writing, and quiet conversation, anyway. ¬†The pain didn’t change those things.

I woke this morning, after a strange night of dreamless, but brief sleep. I didn’t really ‘get sleepy’ until far into the wee hours, and woke ahead of the alarm by 44 minutes. I don’t feel especially fatigued by the short night, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be alert and still feeling sufficiently rested to enjoy my other partner’s homecoming from the his wilderness adventure. I’m eager to hear about it. Eager to share my own experience.

Right at the moment, life feels very good – and¬†it feels very genuine. It’s a feeling and a context in which I thrive.

Simple things matter so much.

Simple things matter so much.

Today is a good day to smile back, and a good day to be kind. Today is a good day to step boldly into the world, open to adventure. Today is a good day for love, compassion, and joy. Today is a good day to change the world.