Archives for posts with tag: for the win

It’s the last day of a long holiday weekend. I generally wrap up long weekends or vacations with chores, the sort of day-to-day housekeeping sorts of things that return life the a more practical experience consistent with ordinary days, and weeks, eventually putting a bit of distance between the experience of celebration, and the experience of ‘everyday life’. This morning I find myself engaged in many of those same practical endeavors, but somehow still celebrating, still wrapped in joy, still feeling grateful… I’m not bitching. I’m finding it quite wonderful, and making a point to invest generously in this morning of practical joy, and everyday gratitude.

This morning it feels very ‘natural’ to feel grateful while I sort laundry, to feel joy while I empty the dishwasher, to feel a sense of worthiness while I vacuum. I won’t dissect the feelings right now – it is worthwhile to embrace and enjoy them, to savor this moment and let it become more of who I am. Sure, there are verbs involved, and it’s taken a lot of practicing of a variety of practices – many of them incredible difficult to pursue at a time when I didn’t value or appreciate the woman in the mirror. Getting to this place where it feels natural to feel good, and feels natural to celebrate, and to enjoy my experience, has taken almost 3 years now (more, I could count way further back, but my path took a significant turn about 3 years ago) of practicing, of meditation, of study, of learning to treat myself well, of learning to love – and to allow myself to be loved in return – there have been (and are, and will be) verbs involved – and a personal commitment to action, to change, and to beginning again when things don’t work out well, and letting go of attachment to expectations, and outcomes.

The most delightful thing about being here, this morning, on this day, feeling the way I do right now is that there will be other days when I am having a different experience altogether – and I will know to treat myself well, I will know that challenging moments and experiences will pass, and I will know that however bad it is, I will be able to begin again. I’ll have this moment, right here, to remind me of the vast potential for joy and gratitude – and delight, and love – that is near at hand when I am ready and able to reach for it. It’s a pretty big deal to find an emotional anchor to a moment of profound contentment and delight within reach in other less pleasant moments, it’s an even bigger deal to build one with my own choices.

There is value in learning to allow joy to cast a bigger shadow than my sorrows do.

There is value in learning to allow joy to cast a bigger shadow than my sorrows do.

Today is a good day for practical celebrations and taking care of home and hearth with the eager commitment of preparing for an honored guest, to really welcome the woman in the mirror home. She is worthy of the best I have to offer the world.

I slept badly last night. My sleep was interrupted, restless, and featured bad dreams on old themes with new characters. I felt over-heated much of the night, which I noticed most often immediately before taking some action that subsequently found me feeling too cold. It was an uncomfortable sort of night. I could spend many hours and words looking for ‘why’; I don’t find that doing so is helpful, nor does it result in fewer such nights. I let it go and move on, feeling generally in good spirits this morning in spite of the difficult night.

I didn’t let the lack of good sleep frustrate me. It got me thinking, this morning, about frustration in general. Frustration is my kryptonite, emotionally. Something about my messed up wiring, and broken bits, allows even small moments of frustration to become a very big, very ugly, emotional mess in a small amount of time. Lately, I’ve been finding my way to using some common moments of frustration as simple practices for dealing more appropriately and comfortably with frustration itself. The value in these small practices has been almost immediate, but the value in any practice is the practicing, itself, and I still need quite a lot of it before I even approach a place in life where I may be able to say “I handle frustration well”. That’s the goal, though, ultimately.

The journey is not all blue skies and meadows...but there are some blue skies and meadows to enjoy along the way.

The journey is not all blue skies and meadows…but there are some blue skies and meadows to enjoy along the way.

It is no easy feat for me to choose to make use of some unpleasant moment or circumstance to willfully practice some better practice than my reactive impulse in the moment might direct me towards without any practice at all. Frustration is a free will killer. Frustration dissolves emotional resilience and mindfulness almost instantly, for me. Frustration is an emotion to which I reliably still react, rather than responding with mindfulness, will, consideration and good self-care.  Practicing useful practices has resulted in so many day-to-day improvements in my experience that it has been a source of some frustration that I hadn’t yet built a practice specific to mastering how I manage frustration, itself. Finding one or two in my everyday experience – built around the most common sources of frustration in my own life (like logging into apps using complicated passwords that easily fail, or the occasional odd screen-freeze on my device) – is allowing me to practice better behaviors in response to frustrating moments. The hope is that doing so with small things, harmless things, common things will insulate me from major freak outs and emotional disasters when bigger things frustrate me; practice may not make ‘perfect’, but it sure tends to solidify habits, and change specific reactions.

Taking time to appreciate pleasant moments gives them lasting impact on my day-to-day experience.

Taking time to appreciate pleasant moments gives them lasting impact on my day-to-day experience.

Celebrating progress, even small wins, has big value. Even something as small on the victory scale as a change in thinking, or a good idea, is worth a moment of my appreciation. This morning, I’m taking time to appreciate new practices that address a very old issue, for me, and feeling positive and supported. This, too, is a practice; the practice of celebrating small victories, and incremental progress over time, is a practice that builds more positive implicit memory, as well as providing myself with emotional support from within – which builds emotional self-sufficiency, and keeps me on the path of reaching that place where my close relationships with others are reliably chosen based on desire, and built on positive emotional values, rather than investing in habitual, self-defeating, or co-dependent behaviors, that over time become damaging.

Where does my path take me? How do I look beyond patterns to find change?

Where does my path take me? How do I look beyond patterns to find change?

 

Meeting most of my emotional needs, myself, isn’t an unreasonable goal, and getting there lifts the burden from loved ones to ‘make me happy’ – or ‘make me’ anything at all. I get to ‘make me’ in my own image. Powerful. I am eager to take that project to a new level by moving into creative live/work space and investing more of my time in me. The wait involved in ideal readiness – and an available unit – is another practice in managing frustration on a larger scale; my impatience lurks in the background, waiting for a moment to jump out and undermine my good time now. Mindfulness practices are one way to keep my Observer firmly in the driver’s seat for much of the journey. Another beneficial practice is to embrace the joy I find in planning the move; making a point of being very realistic, practical, and frugal builds useful skills for good self-care, and I feel engaged in imminent change in a positive way.  I’m still very much a beginner, practicing practices. I am still at risk of attacking myself, my will, my resolve, and my intention, from within on any point of vulnerability my demons can grab onto; it makes for some uncomfortable nights, but I am content to show myself some compassion, some acceptance, and some love, and move on from the difficult moments to continue the practicing of good practices. 🙂

It's worth it to take a look at my experience from another perspective...

It’s worth it to take a look at my experience from another perspective…

Today is a good day to practice good practices. Today is a good day to enjoy now, and celebrate small successes that matter to me, most. Today is a good day to enjoy each moment with a smile. Today is a good day to enjoy building my world.

It’s a lovely quiet morning in my corner of the world. I do mean ‘my corner’, too. I have no idea what is going on elsewhere at present, even within the confines of the house I live in. I am in this space, right here, right now, and no other. “Here” is okay. “Now” is actually quite pleasant, too. A couple of years ago, being here, now, quietly in this space unconcerned about what is outside this space, or this moment, for at least a little while might have been quite difficult. It would be inaccurate to say “I haven’t got a care in the world”…but I also no longer carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Life and love are much easier when I am living my own life, in my own space, and just that. It feels, for the moment, ‘easy’.

The November elections are nearing. I don’t spend much time on political matters here (or in general, from my own perspective, although it’s likely that people who end up inescapably cornered, having to listen to me discuss my perspective on this or that issue may disagree. lol)  There are legions of writers who write about the politics of the world, people whose command of language makes them real leaders, and properly audible voices in the din; I have no need to compete with them in that arena. Still, elections are coming, and I do vote. I vote what matters most to me. I am annoyed by the game playing and underhanded machinations of the process, though. I want so much to be able to believe everyone running for office truly believes they have something to offer the people as a legislator, and the will and intent to improve the state of things for every day folks; I know it isn’t true, I can read, and I see the later decision-making and the outcomes of those who have been elected before. It’s quite disappointing how little gets done, or done well, and how little thought for real consequences seems to go into law making, generally. Funny primates, being fancy and trying to force everyone in the tribe to follow their ways. lol Fairly pointless, really, since ultimately we each make our own decisions, regardless, and can’t be forced with any ease to make the choices someone else wishes to see made. We are each having our own experience. We each act upon our own will.

I’m not especially easily led, although that probably isn’t obvious under some circumstances. I don’t alert people when I am simply choosing to relax and ‘go with it’ – and whether I do is largely dependent on some quiet internal cost/benefit risk/reward analysis that I am sure we all do to some degree, on some level. Sometimes I find it quite transparent and obvious to me, as I consider whether it is easier to go to X location for dinner because everyone else wants to – on a night when I genuinely don’t have a preference. I’m sure it gives the appearance that I am easily led, or influenced. (I’m actually fairly alert to being manipulated; it only takes on relationship wherein one is being systematically manipulated, controlled, or subject to gas-lighting to be  a tad oversensitive to it coming up again.) lol I don’t see any reason to bring it up all the time, or to explain when I ‘go with the flow’ that I am doing it for X reason. Sometimes, sufficiency, contentment, and satisfaction with the state of things is reason enough to smile at the Universe and say “sure! let’s do that” at some point when I didn’t have something different/better in mind. I’m fairly willful, and definitely down with making a choice, taking action, or leading… I also like to reserve that effort for things that matter to me. I’m not particularly competitive; the stress and implied confrontation of competition doesn’t suit my easy nature. Frankly, aside from whatever biological needs that must be met for survival, which could potentially require some level of competition, I’m not interested – I like cooperation far more. I prefer life’s games to be ones where everyone wins. lol

There’s no particular reason I am considering these things this morning. It’s a Thursday, and a rather nice one. I am content and calm, and enjoying the morning. It seems a nice morning to appreciate qualities about me that I favor, myself.  How about you? How long has it been since you paused for a moment and gave thought to some characteristic about who you are that you really value? You certainly deserve that moment. We all do; there’s already a lot of people out there waiting to say something critical, negative, mean, or insensitive – I hope you take a moment to honor the qualities you value in yourself right now, and the work you have put in to get to this place, however far you may think you still have to go.

A favorite metaphor; a tree, and a path in the distance.

A favorite metaphor; a tree, and a path in the distance.