Archives for posts with tag: Free Will

I don’t generally get so many opportunities to simply relax in the good company of my Traveling Partner. The opportunities we do get don’t always work out ideally well (both of us being quite human, and dealing both with our own “baggage” and our own issues with being in physical pain). It’s been an extraordinary holiday season, filled with connected hang out time, together, enjoying favored content from here and there, relaxing, playing games, making conversation about topics of mutual (or separate) interest, and because it isn’t reliably an everyday experience, I’ve embraced it without any guilt or reservations about how I am spending my time – even when doing so may subtly undermine long-standing practices that support emotional wellness (like meditating), or “press pause” on routines and practices that create the foundation of this life that has become commonly characterized by contentment. 🙂 So… without apology or excuse, I’m not writing as often, and I’m fully living in this moment much more, at least for the duration of the holiday season. It’s quite nice, and I am making a point to savor the opportunity, the experiences, and the moment-to-moment joy of being so well-loved, and having the chance to love so deeply, myself.

Today is a pleasant Saturday, in the middle of a long weekend (for me), planned well in advance as part of my holiday. My Traveling Partner and I are both in pain, today. It happens. No drama or bullshit associated with that; we’re both very much aware of each other’s physical limits and concerns, and we cherish each other’s efforts, and the shared will to explore joy in spite of pain. It is characteristic of this partnership that we do so, generally. Worth the effort (and yes, there is reliably effort involved).

Note to self: it’s worthwhile to make an effort at the things that you’ve determined matter most. Your results may vary, but the outcomes will prove to be reliably better than not making the effort. Sooner or later, effort goes into something – what better choice than to make that effort in support of the life you most want to live, the experiences you most want to have, or becoming the person you most want to be? Choices. (And verbs.)

I smile and think of cruise brochures, plans for our shared future, life right now, and all the things that have lead to this moment, here, which leads on to those moments as yet unexperienced. I think about potential life-style changes, wellness, and longevity. I pause a moment to celebrate this experience of being partnered with a human being I truly want to spend my life with.

The smallest tokens of lasting affection can feel huge.

Giftmas has come and gone. It was lovely. Warm. Joyful. Loving. A delightful holiday. Precious mementos will remind me for some time to come just how exceptional this holiday was. I hope never to forget any detail, but… “always” and “never” aren’t concepts I feel comfortable investing emotional energy in. lol I’m content to smile when I do remember, and let the warmth of being well-loved wash over me, in that moment of recollection. Good memories. 😀

I sit quietly for a moment. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I feel the pain… here. Over here. That one, there, too. This newer one. This one that has lingered far too long. This one that is so well-understood. That one, that I just don’t understand. I let each one go; recognized, accepted, and where possible, attended to as skillfully as I am able to do. Another breath. Another exhalation. A sip of water. A correction in seated posture. Moments tick by.

“This, too, shall pass.” Even pain is mostly fairly temporary, inasmuch as it is not truly unfailingly continuous. It matters to savor those moments in which pain is lessened, or isn’t there at all; doing so reduces the likelihood of becoming mired in an implicit experience of “always” hurting. “Always” isn’t very common. Neither is “never”. I smile and let them both go. They’re often  just words for a more nuanced experience that takes ever so many more words to describe accurately. “Often” is useful, but less than satisfying when describing the experience of pain; I want the emphasis that is associated with “always”. So human.

…Being in pain is human, too. Way more people spend a lot of time in pain than people around them seem to recognize. Don’t be a dick to people; maybe they’re in pain. Maybe it would be more helpful to be kind, to listen deeply, and to refrain from taking people’s crossness or irritability at all personally? We are each having our own experience. 🙂

The new year (2020, in this case) is approaching quickly. Just days away, now. I’m eager to embrace a quiet holiday, filled with meditation, and forward-looking thoughts. A refresh of the budget seems in order. A new “map” of the future, too, perhaps? An update to my “life in weeks” chart, also; it’s been an eventful year. Perspective on it is worthwhile. It’s time to contemplate what to keep – and what to cast aside. Time to consider what matters most, and commit to the effort to bring more of that into my life, and to the effort to stay focused and purposeful, over time.

What about you? What matters most? Where are you headed in life? What will you choose to do about any of that? (So many choices!!)

…It’s already time to begin again. 😉

 

I woke from a deep sleep, and strange dreams of exes still hung up on me, and years of random email pings from people who, over time, had become virtual strangers. I followed my dreams with an utterly routine morning, until I sat down to write. There was too much to process, really, and I so don’t feel like “dealing with exes” first thing in the morning… so… I didn’t. 😉

There are other things to do. Other things to consider. Other things to enjoy. I am my own cartographer on this interesting journey… and, at least for today, I don’t plan to make a detour for something – or someone – I’ve already left behind. There’s no time for that. 🙂

foggy

A foggy morning as a metaphor for our potential to begin again, and why not? It almost looks as if I could just remake everything beyond the fog… 🙂 It’s a good day for whimsy, and new beginnings.

Seems a routine day so far – except for the fog beyond the windows. It looks very much like I can begin all this again, and continue to remake my life in my own image. I’ve walked on from so much, and I am content to leave it behind. 😀

It’s a quiet dawn ahead of a hot day to come. The sun shines in my eyes and the light fills my studio; the day will get no cooler than this hour, now, and the windows are open to the cool morning air, the blinds raised to ensure ample freedom for uncertain breezes. The night didn’t cool off so much as it has been. Summer is here. I take my coffee iced this morning, and toast the rising summer sun with a smile – it’s well before 6:00 am, and full daylight.

I have “install the AC” on my calendar today… I still haven’t worked out which window I’ll put it in. The heat expected today is motivation to at least determine which window the AC will go in. lol

Iced coffee, birdsong, and a quiet summer day to enjoy without firm plans. It sounds nice. I’ll water the gardens before the heat of the day becomes unpleasant, and get my walk in before noon. There’s nothing exciting about any of this… except for the bit about how calm it is, how comfortable, how sustainably ordinary. I’m not meaning to brag, so I’ll make the point of saying it hasn’t ‘always’ been this way – there was a time when it was almost ‘never’ this way, and life seemed fairly pointless… or worse. I’m no longer merely enduring an unavoidable cycle of sleeping and waking, separated sometimes by nightmares, sometimes by despair. It’s a nice change.

Being here isn’t a given. Being content isn’t a passive thing. There are so many every day choices involved, and every day I take actions, and practice practices, to bring myself closer to being the woman I most want to be, living a beautiful life of sustainable contentment, comfortable with myself, and moving forward. Every day enjoyed is ended with a moment of delight and a bit of surprise that so much of it is in my hands, and of my own choosing – and much of it was, long before I understood that it could be.

Ready? Verbs!!

Ready? Verbs!!

Iced coffee goes down quickly…and summer days begin to warm up early. It’s already time to get to work watering the garden, and adjusting windows to continue the flow of cool air, and now to also limit the sun’s light reaching into the east-facing rooms. Time to put some verbs into action, and time to make some choices and begin the day. Today is a good day for verbs, for choices, and for a delightful summer day. I can’t change the weather, but I can change what I do about it. 🙂

Yesterday was awesome. Sure, I woke feeling cross – I shared those feelings, and made a point of really just saying what I had to say about it. I find that trying to just squash down my feelings and ‘get over it’ is a somewhat callous way to treat myself, and not especially effective. Once shared, the feelings passed. Once expressed, the anger diminished. Once revealed, the resentment subsided. Regardless how it may be received, openness about my experience and how it feels to me, keeps me on a path that is genuine, authentic, vulnerable – and more likely to connect me with people who understand me as I am, and enjoy me.

Headed for adventure, letting the day take me where it might is an opportunity to learn to distinguish more clearly between anxiety and excitement.

Letting the day take me where it might is an opportunity to learn to distinguish more clearly between anxiety and excitement.

I went on with my day with great enthusiasm, minimally planned. I embraced unexpected opportunities to do more, live well, and thrive by being present in my experience without struggling with baggage and leftover work bullshit. It was quite lovely. I went out, in spite of expected high temperatures, and enjoyed the morning downtown. I took 5 hours just to buy coffee beans, have a bite of brunch, and visit an antique gallery that specializes in some of the rarities of life that I adore – generally entirely out of reach of any reasonable hope I’ll own any of it, but I enjoy seeing the exotic rugs from far away, the pre-war European porcelains that I love so, and discussing those things with the devoted connoisseur who owns the gallery.

I value things crafted to last a lifetime and grew up around antiques of all sorts; my various break ups over the years have cost me most of the things I acquired during my life. But… my taste has changed in some cases, and I have discovered that the shopping is the better part of experiencing many goods. There’s something of much greater value than having things; talking about something with a person who has both knowledge and passion for the subject. It’s the learning process, and the connection, that I value. These days, I tend to defer to the ‘wealth of selection’ rather than ‘the wealth of quantity’. I choose with care, buy only what I can afford – and only what I have room to use, and to display beautifully. More than that is waste and greed – both in very poor taste, and not sustainable. (The hoarders I have met, whether of things or of money, don’t value what they have – they value the having of it, and in so many cases with no care at all for whether it lasts, is cared for, or used.)

I returned home happy, before the day got too hot, with coffee beans, photographs, memories, anecdotes, experiences – and a lovely rug in colors I favor, that sparks some vague recollection of childhood, as well as reminding me how wonderful it is to treat myself well, and to live my own values and aesthetic day-to-day. I made a point of giving myself a pedicure, so that my toenails would complement the new rug. (Yeah, I totally did. 🙂 )

Beautiful things, selected with care, cherished, and used with great joy are an element of living beautifully, and thriving.

For me, beautiful things, selected with care, cherished, and used with great joy are an element of living beautifully, and thriving.

This morning I relax over my coffee, made with the freshest ground beans, recently roasted, enjoying the chill morning air filling the apartment through the open patio door. A feline neighbor stops by to press her nose to the screen and ask ‘mrow?’, but doesn’t linger for my reply, or stay long enough to be photographed. Song birds share the details of their morning, and I eavesdrop smiling. This particular moment is well beyond ‘contentment’ and I am savoring it without anxiety about whether it might slip away unexpectedly  – of course it will, at some point, because even “this too shall pass”, but it is no cause for concern, right now.

Today is a good day to be. Today is a good day for ‘now’. Today is a good day for smiles, and self-acceptance, and contentment – and if some moment fails me, well, today is also a good day to begin again. 😀

This morning I woke with the alarm, and having shut it off, lay quietly a moment – and nearly fell asleep again, then couldn’t recall if the alarm had gone off… or perhaps I’d only dreamt that it had? I checked the clock somewhat reluctantly, not really wanting to find out what I already knew; it’s morning, and yes, the alarm went off. I rose without giving the matter further thought, and was already in the shower before I realized my arthritis pain is much less today – hot weather? It’s in the forecast, so, probably.

The a/c was off through the night, and the apartment felt a bit stuffy – another sign of a hot day to come – so I opened the patio door to let the pre-dawn chill fill the place. I looked out over the lawn, lit in places by the lights along the walkway between buildings and the pool; there are rarely any other windows with light showing at this hour. I spotted … a large long-haired cat? No – a raccoon. Quite the largest raccoon I’ve ever seen in my life. She sat very still, watching me watching her, then – rather strangely I thought – she started slowly moving toward me. How peculiar…or…oh. Not peculiar at all. Half a dozen or so guinea-pig sized youngsters were playing on my patio, quite near my feet, without a care in the world – they’d found some stray gladiolus bulbs in my garden gear – apparently those are quite the fun objects for play, for small raccoons at dawn. I went for my camera – I definitely wanted a picture of the racoon family visiting this morning… They were still there! I remembered the flash, too – I was as excited as a little girl, and it was hard not to bounce, giggle, exclaim, or otherwise inadvertently terrorize my wild neighbors. Camera ready….and…

...and I forgot to open the screen door. The flash warned off the racoons, who quickly departed.

…and I forgot to open the screen door. The flash warned off the racoons, who quickly departed.

My coffee still tastes good. I still got to watch what appeared to be a small herd of wee raccoons enjoying the morning on my patio, so near to me I could potentially scoop one up to cuddle it (which, I’m just saying, seems like a very poor choice of action in practice, and I did not attempt it; that mother raccoon was simply huge and entirely fearless). I still have a lot to learn about taking pictures. 🙂

Surprises and happenstance work like that, don’t they? Opportunity, chance, coincidence – the unlikely win, the happy accident, “good luck”? There are wonders to be seen, and great things to experience – but when I am not aware, observing, and present in the moment I miss out on a lot of loveliness, fun, and experience – and overlook so much of my good fortune. I’m learning to let spontaneity have its moment; I find it a bit scary to face life without some structure and planning…but raccoons don’t seem to mind, and the missed shot with my camera reminds me of something important; it’s the experience itself that really matters, that has substance and value in my recollection – the picture is a memory in a share-able format, nothing more really. The map is not the world. The documentation is not the circumstance. So many of life’s richest and most precious moments can’t easily be captured in a photograph.

There is a lot of wildlife nearby Number 27. I have a lot to learn about taking pictures of animals living their lives; they don’t take direction well, and do insist on simply going about their own affairs. Certainly, I am doing the same, and don’t ‘set up the shot’ when I am living my life. There’s probably a lesson in there some where.

I did get a rare picture of my very shy clown pleco, yesterday morning - catching a glimpse of him so unexpectedly delighted me.

I did get a rare picture of my very shy clown pleco, yesterday morning – catching a glimpse of him so unexpectedly delighted me.

Similarly, on the commute, I had a chance to enjoy the company of a fairly large squirrel, enjoying his morning stroll along the commute to work.

Similarly, on the commute, I had a chance to enjoy the company of a squirrel, enjoying his morning stroll along the commute to work.

From the commonplace to the fantastic, there is more to life than I have the ability to experience all at one moment, even when I’m “really watching”. Awareness – mindful presence in the moment – is the thing that brings so much of what I do experience into my field of view. Self-involved rumination, and obsessive mental gear-grinding definitely result in a much narrower world-view with fewer ‘points of interest’ to delight me. Frankly, if I’m chewing my nails and worrying grimly about this or that, I’m just not looking around me at the world. There are verbs involved – and now, raccoons!! 😀 (I still grin every time I recall seeing those tiny raccoon faces looking up at me, just at my feet – I almost missed them – and they were so tiny and adorably cute!)

One concern I had when I moved into Number 27 was that I might find myself living a life of such routine, and rigid habit, in order to be assured of taking good care of myself, that I might not easily distinguish one day from another, and that life would be wasted on the mundane without forward momentum… just… time… passing… until, inevitably, death. Grim. It hasn’t been that way at all – neither has life unraveled until chaos took over. It’s seeming to be quite well-lived, with sufficient structure to feel secure, safe, and comfortable, and sufficient looseness of habit, and prominence of spontaneous use of will to be an everyday adventure… every day. I’m quite enjoying it.

Most days I drink my coffee black; it is my habit.

Most days I drink my coffee black; it is my habit.

Sometimes I choose differently - whim, or choice? Are those different?

Sometimes I choose differently – whim, or choice? Are those different?

Now and then I do unspeakably delicious excessive things with coffee and ice cream... also a choice... and a very tasty reason to have good habits, generally. :-)

Now and then I do unspeakably delicious excessive things with coffee and ice cream… also a choice… and a very tasty reason to have good habits, generally.  (Kids, don’t try this at home…or…if you do, skip the rest of your meals; this one is ‘calorie rich’!) 🙂

 

I expected to be painting more, sooner – but there is no lack of creative inspiration, or the drive to follow through on it – I am simply more focused on my writing for the time being, and often combine those experiences to write little note cards to friends, family, and loves with sketches and fun doodles, bits of poetry and such. I remember quite fondly how much I enjoyed writing letters when I was much younger – before the world was digital. I remember, too, how meaningful such things were when received from far away (particularly during war-time). Here too, in the smaller routines and experiences of daily life, being comfortably free with my choices makes so much difference; I harm no one to choose writing over painting, or sketching over poetry, or yoga instead of dancing, or reading instead of meditating… there are so many ways to take care of me, and meet my needs over time. It matters most simply that I do – and there are verbs involved.

Sometimes it's less about the individual details than it is about the feel of things, generally.

Sometimes it’s less about the individual details than it is about the feel of things, generally…

...but the details do matter, and there are wonders within reach if I am willing to see them.

…but the details do matter, and there are wonders within reach if I am willing to see them.

It’s a lovely morning. I’m quite content. That’s enough. 🙂