Archives for posts with tag: Giftmas

You know that experience where disappointment, frustration, and anger, collide, and the result is a bit of a tantrum, a lashing out, maybe saying “too much”, with too much ferocity? You know the one; the burning of bridges, the severing of connections? That moment when disappointment hits so hard it feels necessary to hit back (metaphorically, I mean)? Yeah… don’t do that. (Also, don’t do violence. Just… yeah, don’t. Not okay.)

I know, it sound super easy to say. Emotions get to the party ahead of our rational minds, generally. Once we’ve lashed out, said a thing, made a messy bit of drama that will need clean up later, it can seem to have been necessary, “reasonable” (it’s definitely not that) – even “paybacks” may sound satisfying. “Fuck them!”

Here’s the thing, though. We’re all human. Most of us perceive ourselves to be “the good guy” in our own narrative, at least. If asked, people seem generally willing to stake a claim to being in a state of “doing their best”, moment-to-moment. It’s very subjective. If, though, everyone around us is as well-intentioned as we believe ourselves to be, is lashing out when disappointed actually an appropriate reaction to that person or circumstance? (If you are not “well-intentioned”, that’s a very different concern, for another day.)

I recognize that life “isn’t fair”, and that most of the time there’s no “save” at the last minute, no “we brought you back as our wild card performer!” moment to salvage our experience if we’ve been disappointed. (Sometimes there is, though, so… maybe don’t talk yourself out of that potential with a lot of cranky bullshit.) I’m thinking about it this morning, not because it’s properly relevant to this moment, but it may be to some other, in the future, so… sipping coffee, thinking thoughts. Certainly, after the fact, it’s usually pretty clear that throwing a fucking fit over some small disappointment is less than ideal for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that the most obvious result is that we look like a reactive, emotionally immature, jackass (at least until we’ve finished whatever rationalization we’re prone to working so hard at, at that point we’re likely to be blinded by our own fiction). lol Not a great look.

Giftmas is coming. Gifts under trees… dinners out with friends or family… holiday events… it’s easy to forget to cherish these rare moments, to make them the best moments of our lives (and yes, even in spite of conflict, and stress). It’s super easy to lose our shit in a moment of holiday stress. We’re making memories every moment, though; what do we want to remember of our life? To be remembered for? The stress? The conflict? We become what we practice. Being a petty jerk about an imperfect gift creates a memory, becomes a practice. How much better to give generously, and receive graciously? To be kind? To show compassion? To laugh with a joyous heart? There are verbs involved, and choices, and yes – your actual will. It is actually possible to choose – and build – joy. I recommend it as a practice. πŸ˜€

Let go of the stress. Lead with gratitude. Be merry by choice when you can. Appreciate each moment; the joyous ones are as lovely as butterflies, the ones that are less joyous are extraordinary opportunities to grow, to learn, and to become that person you most want to be. Sure, walk away from drama, definitely do that, and also connect with others more deeply, more authentically. It is a powerful season for change. It’s a real shot at life-changing forward momentum. Your call. Your choice. Your practices.

Give yourself an amazing gift this year; better practices. πŸ™‚ It’s not always “easy”, and “practice” certainly implies effort, and likely an occasional actual failure. The journey is so worth all that. Are you the person you most want to be, standing where you are, right now? What will you do about that, today, right now?

It’s already time to begin again. I finish my coffee, and smile. No headache this morning; it’s a good beginning. πŸ˜€

 

I smile when I notice I’ve given four posts this same title. I’m tempted to read the other three before I go further, and decide to do it afterward, instead. πŸ™‚ “What matters most?” is a question I often ask myself, particularly when there are choices or plans to make. It seems a worthy question, whether intended to get at the specifics, or to take a more general approach. Suitable for many moments.

What matters most?

Right now? Sure, why not – what matters most right now?

In general? Definitely helpful to know what, in general, matters most.

In the context of this moment, this circumstance, right here, now? Oh, most assuredly; knowing what matters most in the context of some current challenge is very beneficial for sorting things out.

Here’s the thing I sometimes find peculiar; I often expect to know, implicitly “what matters most”, and I am, fairly often, wrong about what I actually think it may be, and upon reflection, I find that I “disagree with my assumptions” in some notable way that makes having reflected on the question very worthwhile. So… I do. More than occasionally, somewhat less than frequently.

What matters most? About the world, and humanity? I definitely want to understand that, to be the human being I most want to be.

What matters most? About Giftmas, and holidays based on sharing and giving? Yeah, I’d like to understand what matters most about these holidays, too – I’m pretty sure it isn’t the dollar value of goods or services being shared and given to others. Knowing what I find most significant in these holidays ensures I am most able to make skillful choices when I consider others.

I’m just saying, making assumptions about my own values is just as silly as making assumptions about the values of others. “What matters most?” is a question worth reflecting on, worth fully considering, and worth making choices on the basis of the understanding I gain.

Perspective matters, here. Life experience also matters. The fundamentals of the values I hold dear, themselves, matters greatly. It matters that I am honest with myself about who I am. It matters that I am frank with myself about the limits of my resources, and that even in the face of excitement and great joy and wonder in the moment, that I am still considerate of my long-term needs.

So, I sip my coffee on a Saturday morning, just days away from Giftmas, and fewer days from the even nearer birthday of my Traveling Partner. Gifts don’t seem to be adequate to celebrate what I cherish so much in life… what to do about that? Again, I ask myself, “what matters most?”

Once I have an answer, I’ll know better how to begin, again. πŸ™‚

I’m sipping my coffee and taking in the slow gray dawn. No sunrise this morning. No glints of gold or peach off the last clinging autumn leaves. Just a homogeneous gray sky slowly lightening from a deep charcoal gray to a steely gray, and just now reaching a soft dove gray. My coffee is cold, from a can I took out of the refrigerator.Β  It’s a hell of a luxury – convenience generally is, though I tend not to notice very often.

Funny how conveniences can become a loss of good character and will over time, though, isn’t it? I’ve noticed that when I yield to convenience such that a particular convenience becomes habitual, I lose interest in making the effort that a task or experience once required without the conveniences. Huh. I gotta work on that; I see some very problematic potential outcomes of losing the will to exert effort for what I want. πŸ™‚ If nothing else, it is autumn, heading towards winter, and I enjoy a hot cup of coffee. This will be the last can of cold brew for a while. There are fresh good quality coffee beans in the hopper of the burr grinder. Coffee mugs are clean. The kitchen itself, untidy after being sick, is at least ready for making coffee. lol I take another sip of this cold brew, and really take it in: the flavor, the coldness, the peculiar lack of depth or nuance to both the taste and fragrance – I mean, no surprise, it came out of a can, right? Fresh squeezed orange juice will always taste quite deliciously different from orange juice from a bottle or carton, right? Same here. Freshly ground, freshly and skillfully brewed coffee by its very nature tastes quite different from any can of cold brew – however convenient or tasty – ever could.

There’s a metaphor here, and I continue to sip this fairly nondescript, but wholly convenient, cup of coffee and consider the metaphor (and allegory) from many angles.

I look out the window. It has been some moments since the sky was a smooth wash of dove gray, and it is, now, taking on a hint of… something else. Not pink. Not peach. Not mauve. Not lavender. Some odd color I have no name for that sits somewhere in the junction of all of those. How strange. I sit quietly, just watching the sky, trying to name this color I see, but which is somehow unfamiliar and nameless. I take another sip of my coffee, which now seems entirely wrong for this moment. lol This is a summer coffee in an autumn moment, like a “wrong note” in a jazz solo; I wait for the next note to tie it all together. πŸ™‚

I take a moment to appreciate the physical details of this moment, too. The heat came on. The thermostat is set for a comfortable 68 degrees, which seems “just right” for first thing in the morning. The air feels a bit dry in the house. My head isn’t stuffy this morning, though, and for the moment my fairly persistent headache is gone. I’m in no particular amount of pain – pain-free? Dare I notice and make the observation? Huh. It’s a nice start to a day I hope to spend decorating for Giftmas. πŸ˜€

My mind wanders thinking about Giftmas future, and Giftmas past. Those thoughts are also about the things in life I’ve kept along the way, and the things I have lost or left behind. It’s not an especially poignant moment, and feels more practical, and observant. It’s a journey, and as with most of the journeys I have taken in life, there’s only so much baggage I can lug along the way. Sometimes, it’s necessary to let things go. Hell – sometimes that is the very best next step that can be taken; let it go. Let this go. Let that go. Let the big deal go. Let the petty bullshit go. Walk on. Keep what works best. Keep what supports my intention most. Keep what lifts me up. Keep what lifts up others. Learn what works, practice that, and share it. Let the rest go. Like the last can of summer’s cold brew, savor the experience, drink it in, enjoy what qualities of value it can offer, learn from what isn’t so pleasant – let the rest go, like an emptied can of cold brew, into the recycling. πŸ™‚

Today I’ll sort through memories and life lessons while I sort through fragile glass ornaments, placing each one “just so” to consider and enjoy, to ponder, to learn from. This is a season of self-reflection, and a season of change.

I woke a few minutes ahead of the alarm, and lingered longer in the shower than is usual. Stepping back into the work routine feels less than joyful or desirable, so far, and I know to expect this after a long weekend away from it. I feel, if nothing else, purposeful.

Strange, lovely, solo holiday, celebrating an occasion generally celebrated in groups. Nonetheless, it was a lovely weekend. The house is dressed for the holidays ahead. The tree is up and decorated.Β  The first celebration after Thanksgiving is my Traveling Partner’s birthday. I made a point of getting some small tokens of my affection into the mail over the weekend. I marked the calendar for another trip down to visit, weather permitting. I am, for the moment, confused about his plans for the upcoming holiday weeks, and make a note to get clarification. There’s no urgency, neither to the confusion, nor to the clarifying questions.

Looks like a solo holiday season ahead, generally, and I find that I’m not at all averse to that. There are two wee packages under the tree for me (one’s a book!), from me, and of course the new grill on the deck – an early gift to myself. I enjoyed the day spent listening to music, yesterday, and decorating the tree. I wondered, often, if there were something particular I actually “want for Giftmas”, as I hung each ornament with great care. I didn’t have an easy time with that, since basically all of my material needs are pretty well met, generally. So… what then? lol Books. πŸ™‚ A lovely quiet holiday reading by the fire sounds pretty luxurious… and I’ve already a tidy little stack of new-ish books I’ve not yet read. πŸ˜€

Festive, and suitable for leisure. πŸ™‚

I wonder, though, from this vantage point, what will Giftmas morning utterly alone look and feel like? Will I find myself blue at some point? Lonely? Or will it simply be a lovely morning, lazing over coffee, enjoying a bite of brunch at some point, and reading books by the fire with a hint of a contented smile? I guess I’ll find out soon enough. lol

There is so much ahead. So much that is well-suited to new beginnings. It’s already Monday… again. πŸ™‚ It’s a good morning to embrace change, and re-commit to healthy practices, and reliable routines. It’s a lovely time to begin again. πŸ™‚

My appointment with my therapist was a weird rollercoaster ride of shared moments that began well enough talking over recent weeks in a frank and vulnerable way; the break-in had happened only days after our last visit. We started there.

Over 3 years, I’ve come so far… I have a pleasant moment reflecting on how well I bounced back from the violation of a home invasion… then… well… He has this way of sifting through the tons of words and asking some innocuous question about some seemingly nothing bit of a something, and unraveling some long-standing self-deception, or startling me out of my complacent acceptance of some damaging bit of chaos or damage. There’s more work to do about all this chaos and damage, but this morning my head isn’t aching from hours of crying, and actually – I had a lovely quiet evening of reflection. At one point, I hopped online and took at look at computers – strangely, both my Traveling Partner and my therapist said things that pull my focus back to the missing laptop. My Traveling Partner more than once simply observing rather matter-of-factly that “we need to replace your computer”, in one context or another in which it becomes obvious that it is missed. I felt something I was calling “indifference” and would push back that I was “getting by” and “there’s really no rush”. My therapist looking into my face earnestly and attentively commenting instead how he could see the loss was very hard for me, and… the questions. I got home feeling the weight of my missing laptop more than usual, and understanding that however odd it may seem – its absence is related to the emotional void keeping me out of my studio (also my study, where my laptop lived). I rarely go in “there” at all since the break-in, even now.

I shopped with an open mind, finding myself pulled in the direction of my own best computer experiences. I sipped chamomile tea and compared holiday deals. I compared them by price. I compared them by features. I compared them to the list in my head of the things that I need most and didn’t have before, and the things that turned out not to matter – and the things that mattered greatly. I sent a link to my traveling partner of a laptop that was rather-the-same-a-bit-more-what-I-need-a-bit-less-what-I-have-previously-thought-I-like-but-appeals-to-me-now, and then immediately retracted it in a moment of anxious tension over money. I struggle to spend money on myself – it makes me uncomfortable to do so. Baggage.

I kept thinking about that laptop, and found myself “smiling back” at the idea of it, not quite yearning for it, not quite letting it go. I repeat a narrative I’ve been telling myself a lot; no new one, however perfect, actually replaces the old one. It’s not about the laptop; the content is lost. I finally let it go and pick up a book and read awhile before deciding to head to bed. In our exchanging of tender well-wishes for a restful night, my Traveling Partner comments on the good value in the laptop I’d linked, and said “you should go for it”. My heart thumped hard in my chest. I should go for it? His loving support and confident assurance that I am worth my own time, my own attention, my own affection and support, has endured all through the years we’ve enjoyed each other. Even my own money? For me? Why the hell do I still carry around so damned much pain about my own worthiness? I get up from having crawled into bed and put my glasses back on. I it is time to replace this tool that I use so much and rely on so heavily for many things in life. That’s practical. I recognize it (from a distance). My partner recognizes it. My therapist recognizes it. The IT manager at work recognized it. Why on earth would I hold myself at arm’s length when I reach out so readily to embrace the ones I love – and even those I simply hold in high regard?? That’s… madness. Madness built on a lifetime of practice. It’s time to practice something different.

It was exciting and frightening to click “add to cart”. Heart racing and breathless, I checked out. My new laptop is on her way, and I feel like the bestie of a dear friend who is lost to me is about to turn up on my doorstep seeking welcome… I’m excited… a little wary… mostly excited… but it’s a bit of an unknown. I love being my Traveling Partner’s Santa Claus. Really, it seems only proper that he would similarly be mine, even if the trip down the chimney is the nudge of a mouse hand. πŸ™‚ I adult a bit more, sending the receipt over to the insurance company to document replacement of the lost laptop, and taking time to meditate and calm myself to that the excitement and anxiety don’t ruin my sleep. Will I really be able to sleep, I wonder, as I pull the covers over me…?

I woke with difficulty to anΒ insistent beeping that seemed both familiar and peculiarly difficult to understand. Why the hell was there beeping at this hour? I sit up and frown, reaching for the alarm clock, puzzled. Right. It’s a Thursday. I have work. Actually, I have rather a lot of work. I get up. Yoga. Meditation. A shower. It’s in the shower that I recall ordering the laptop. I smile at the recollection with eagerness and a noteworthy lack of buyers remorse. The morning actually seems a fairly ordinary one, only… there’s a sense that something has been put right that feels quite comforting. My Traveling Partner was right. We needed to replace the laptop. I needed to replace my laptop. I needed to take care of the woman in the mirror. I feel a moment of gratitude to have so much help with that. πŸ™‚

The point of this handful of words isn’t the laptop at all, of course, it’s the self-care. It’s the self-knowledge, and the self-acceptance. It’s the willingness to provide for myself as I would for others. It’s understanding that to practice something new also sometimes means to stop practicing something that doesn’t work so well. I’ll head to the office today and work my ass off supporting my employer’s agenda, and in return I will be paid. It’s reasonable and appropriate that a measure of that effort will provide for me, quite directly, and Β it does: rent, groceries, utilities… I would buy a bed if I were sleeping on the floor (although I felt guilty about it when I did). I bought chairs when I needed someplace to sit (but I felt uncomfortable about the “luxury”), and a dining table when I needed someplace to serve meals (more for the comfort of others). The purchasesΒ make sense. The baggage doesn’t make so much sense. My smile this morning is for me. When I needed someplace to write, archive images of my art, my photos, my manuscripts, my memory, I bought a laptop (because I need this for me, and that’s totally okay). I feel another bit of baggage hit the floor with a thump.

Today is a good day for gratitude and appreciation that so many dear to me care so much. Today is a good day to be merry, and a good day to let go of some baggage.