Archives for posts with tag: Friday

I woke early for a Saturday. I woke early for a Saturday morning following a late Friday night.  I most particularly woke early for a Saturday morning following a late Friday night during which I danced, laughed, painted, studied, meditated, and did yoga – did I mention the dancing? I enjoyed an evening filled with movement, music and delight, and tumbled into bed quite exhausted and ready for sleep, just a bit past midnight. I woke at 4:00 am, awake, alert, and… awake. I took my morning medication, and managed to coax myself to sleep another hour or so, finally getting up on the internal promise that naps are a thing, if I need one later. 🙂

I broke out in a sweat, trembling, while I was making my coffee. A hot flash? Maybe… without warning I quickly went from sweating to nausea to being quite suddenly and very efficiently sick. The kitchen sink is not the ideally appropriate culturally typical receptacle for vomiting, and I was far more uncomfortable with having been in the kitchen at the time, than I was with being sick so suddenly. Any symptoms of illness were gone as soon as the vomiting ended, and that wasn’t an agonizing experience. As I said – efficient. I put making coffee aside, and cleaned the sink… then the kitchen… Yep. Uncomfortable with being sick in the kitchen puts it mildly. Well… the kitchen just sparkles this morning…now.   (I’m pretty sure it would take a forensic team to tell anyone ever got sick in that sink, or this kitchen, at this point. lol)

I had a ‘date night’ planned (with myself) for last night, and enjoyed myself most thoroughly, although it wasn’t entirely about pleasure or self-indulgence. I was a woman on a mission: get to know the woman in the mirror even better, understand her needs more thoroughly – and understand what holds her back from… whatever. Stuff. Or something like that. I have notes – it was all very organized. lol My honest intent was simply to reach a little deeper into the chaos and damage and tease loose a detail or two worth holding onto, and letting some of the baggage go. As evenings in general go, it was lovely, and I suppose successful. Sometimes the positive results of developing emotional self-sufficiency are pretty subtle, and don’t come in the form of grandiose visions of change, or profound epiphanies. Last night was rather like that, too. Deep, moving… but somehow also quite subtle. More affirming than radically changing anything, which is significant all on its own.

My weekend is entirely solo this week, and I need the space to work on me. I am spending the weekend writing, and painting, and meditating. I built a playlist for last night intended to stoke my creativity, and be thought-provoking…I ended up dancing more than thinking. I’m okay with that, too. Life is movement – there are verbs involved – sitting still is a very slow suicide (at least for this fragile meat vessel I reside within).

I started the weekend in the most delightful way, with three packages. I brought them into the house, but left them unopened until later in the evening, when I finally sat down to enjoy the night. One said ‘gift’ on it, and I opened it eagerly. A present from my traveling partner…

A token of affection. Love on a chain. The only heart-shaped locket I have ever owned.

A token of affection. Love on a chain. The only heart-shaped locket I have ever owned or worn.

I eagerly put a photo in the locket; the same photo that sits on the nightstand, where I see him smiling, relaxed, and enjoying my good company (I remember the day I took the picture very clearly). I touch the locket gently, where it rests on my collar-bone. I smile when I think of it, and of love. Because I generally don’t wear necklaces, I was very much aware of the sensation of it resting on my body through the evening, and the sensation was rather as if my traveling partner was with me. I feel loved.

Later I opened the other two packages – both from me, to me, both relevant to the experience of being me, of being a woman… both are books. Both are first editions (no idea why that matters at all, or why it delights me so – I’m still going to read them, and it’s all I would do with them, regardless; they’re books). One is an old book that I love dearly, written by a favorite author about a favorite strong female character: “Friday” by Robert Heinlein. I am eager to read it again.  The other is “Fear of Dying” newly released by Erica Jong, and I am eager to read it for the first time, and finding myself tempted to reread “Fear of Flying” now that I have some life experience of my own to understand it with (I first read it in 1973…I was 10, and didn’t identify with the characters or circumstances even a little bit). I find that reading adds to the intimacy of a quiet evening. I yearn to sit wrapped in comfort with my feet in my traveling partner’s lap, reading aloud for our enjoyment, and talking it over together.

I’ve been working on treating the woman in the mirror with more genuine affection, respect, and consideration – and one of the ways I ease her suffering and silent fury is to give more time to the voices of women, generally. Bringing Erica Jong to my library is one way of doing that. Certainly, she’s one of many strong female voices ‘of my generation’. Subtle signs of implicit gender bias in our culture exist literally everywhere, even in my own experience as a woman; I had no idea how many books Erica Jong has actually written over the years, or how many of those are non-fiction. It was an eye-opening moment reading the list of her work, and to understand how easy it is to dismiss female authors without realizing the error in the moment it occurs.

I didn’t paint much last night – I spent far more of the evening on meditation, writing, and dancing. I didn’t do any reading at all, although I had planned to. It was a night for love. If it had been a night out with another person, my feelings this morning would be as they are; I have a song in my heart, and a smile on my lips, and I feel valued and filled with joy. It’s nice to find that I can deliver that experience to myself now and then. It’s powerful to discover that these feelings are not specific to sexual love.  🙂

Taking care of me comes in many forms. I am pleased to learn how much I do have to offer myself, and what an array of choices there really are. The weekend continues… Today is a good day to enjoy the woman in the mirror.

This morning I woke hurting. The hot shower didn’t do much to ease my stiffness, nor did the yoga. Meditation felt natural and balancing and vaguely routine. My coffee is tasty, but lukewarm already. It’s Halloween, and I’m not in costume. (Not out of any meanness or because I’m taking a stand about this or that, I just didn’t because I generally just don’t.) No headache this morning; just the arthritis. I find myself feeling fairly hopeful about the day ahead, based on the beginning bit right here.

I’ll have the house to myself this weekend. I’m neither enthusiastic about it, nor am I concerned; it simply is. I will enjoy the solitude for meditation, painting, and listening to music that falls into the category of “no one else here actually likes this stuff”, and probably turning it up louder than usual. I’ll spend much of the time on household tasks; I dislike coming home to a house that hasn’t been cared for as well as it would have been if everyone was home, so I attempt to get the same workload done that would have been done anyway, to prevent my family having that experience. I’ve never asked anyone if they need that from me. I sometimes work beyond the point at which resentment begins, which seems a poor choice. I make a promise to myself to question that impulse if it arises this weekend…and to ask my family, sometime, what they actually want/need of a homecoming after a weekend away. Perhaps indentured servitude isn’t actually on their list? Silly human primate… mindful service to home and hearth – and love – is on my list.  Mindful service, however, doesn’t cause resentment. lol

The pain I’m in colors my experience, and my words. I feel less fun, less thrilled with life in general, but it isn’t really a big deal – it’s just pain, and I find myself dissatisfied with just allowing it to call the shots this way. I do more yoga, focusing on postures that I know are most likely to ease the pain, and reduce my stiffness. My Rx pain medication starts to kick in, too, which helps.

"Like dreams dying.." I said bleakly one day. "Like dreams drifting within reach" she replied with love and compassion.

“Like dreams dying…” I said bleakly one day. “Like dreams drifting within reach” she replied with love and compassion.

I’m in the middle of a grand adventure, with an exciting story arc, and amazing unpredictable plot twists… it’s my life. Learning to live it, eyes open, engaged, present, and in use of both intention and will, is an adventure like no other. I’m learning so much! Since I started this post without a specific clear inspiration, and in pain, I take a moment between each paragraph for another yoga posture, or a few minutes of meditation, or some moments contemplating a recent good experience or feeling in fullness in the hope of improving implicit memory and reducing negative bias. All of it ‘works’ – meaning to say it is all effective at driving those subtle internal changes of heart, of experience, of… default settings. It all requires practice.

That’s the thing, isn’t it? Practicing doesn’t stop, and there is no ‘perfect’ to reach. Mastery isn’t the goal. The practices themselves are both the experience and the goal. Life is the journey – and the destination. We are here. Now. I am. This is. It’s so easy to stray from what works… a catchy article on Facebook can so easily get my attention before I pause to meditate, and find me having used up all the time I planned in the morning for meditation… days later, I could easily find that I’ve stopped meditating in the morning, and begun reading the news. Again. Frankly, reading the news in the morning correlates directly to the very factual and real experience of my blood pressure going up, staying up, and requiring medication. Meditation, on the other hand, does not. Quite the contrary, once I gave up reading the news as a practice, my blood pressure has since tended to be quite normal, and I don’t take blood pressure medication any more. It’s easy to fall back on poor choices, not because they have more value than good choices, but because [and this is my own experience, only] they were practices I practiced for so long before practicing better practices that they easily become the practices I return to; neurons that fire together, wire together. Habits are habitual. We become what we practice most. What we practice is easiest to do.  Reading the news is just an example of one problematic practice I struggle to let go of; I read so chronically, that words in my visual field are incredibly difficult to refrain from reading. You probably have your own problem practices, or old habits that don’t support taking the best care of you, or foster your development to become the being you most want to be.

So, here it is Friday. The weekend is imminent for many of us. What will I do with it to become more the woman I most want to be? What will I choose to practice that will tend to result in being more kind, more compassionate, and treating myself and others truly well – no strings attached? What practices will I commit to each day that ease my suffering, and the suffering of others? What choices can I make that improve the world I live in? Today is a good day to commit to being the best of who I am. It’s Halloween. Today is a good day to take off the mask.