Archives for posts with tag: grateful

One thing I like about new beginnings, from the simplicity of waking up to a new day to the intensity of “starting over in life” entirely, is that if I embrace the potential and “hold the door open” for change allowing my experience to be different – it definitely will be. Generally. Barring obvious limitations to that kind of outcome (like being trapped within the confines of an unhealthy dynamic – in those situations, change can and does still occur, but the timing often does not feel “timely”).

I think what I mean to say is – I’ve got to be open to allowing a bad experience to change, evolve, or end, before it easily can. If the circumstances are shared, then it isn’t always up to me alone to see wrongs put right, or to find my way to a more enjoyable experience. It’s more complicated, for sure. It is far more likely that I’ll become mired in some terrible mess or abysmal case of the blues if I am not actually willing to move on from it, or unwilling to allow change to occur. As weird as it is – it’s very human to cling to misery and suffering, even to create and nurture it. I definitely recommend not doing that.

It is the evening before Thanksgiving. For me, it is the kick-off of the winter holiday season. A season of giving and of gratitude, of sharing and of community, of feasting and celebrating. What am I celebrating? Everything I am grateful for. Part harvest festival, part holiday party, and as much of it spent in the kitchen as at the table – it’s one of my favorite American traditions. No pilgrims at my holiday table, and also no genocide; that’s not the foundation of this holiday in my home. There’s no reason to keep telling old lies about first Thanksgivings, or try to use a fond holiday meal to whitewash brutal colonial history. It’s not about that. It’s about setting a good table, preparing a good meal, and sharing thankfully.

…It’s pretty easy to avoid strife when it’s just my Traveling Partner and I sitting down to our holiday meal, and I’m thankful for that, too.

So the menu is decided, and the recipes are selected. The “who does what” has been determined. Now it’s a long weekend and a day in the kitchen, then a day to get the Giftmas tree up and decorated, and a day for mixing up the plum pudding and steaming it (to be set aside to age until Giftmas). This particular weekend almost always feels like an actual vacation for me… well… I say that, but memory is a funny thing; I don’t much remember the confrontations or arguments of past family holidays at all. All that remains is the recollection of excellent meals, holiday lights, and the delights of “the season”.

Here’s wishing you a lovely holiday, and much to be grateful for. I hope every recipe is wonderful, and all your timing is quite right getting the meal to the table this year. ❤

I made a cup of coffee shortly before a meeting. Minutes later, before I even felt the warmth of the mug soak into my hands, my Traveling Partner was finally getting it through to me that the electrician who had just arrived would be cutting the power while he worked. Well, shit. I mean… I knew he was coming. It was on the calendar. I chose to work from home anyway (really needed the bigger dual monitors for the project I was seeking to complete), because the last time the electrician came around, or so it seemed to me, the power was only very briefly disrupted. Maybe I wasn’t home for that? Something had gone wrong with my planning, for sure. My partner finally succeeded in communicating through my “focus fog” that I wasn’t going to be able to work much longer in my office at home… so, I packed my things “right quick” and headed to the nearby cowork space…

My anxiety flared up hard-core. Did I have everything? Would traffic be bad? Would I hit all red lights? Would I get to my meeting on time? Would there be a nearby parking spot? Would I get my equipment set up fast enough? Would there be an open workstation for me? I hammered my brain with what-if scenarios all the way to the office. It’s only a 2.5 mile drive… but it was also midday. Lunch time “downtown”. I fussed the whole way there, but…

A. I hit all the traffic lights green.

B. Traffic wasn’t bad.

C. There was an open parking spot right by the front door.

D. My usual workstation was available for me.

E. I got my equipment set up quite quickly – with minutes to spare.

Oh, but that streak of luck ended when I logged in and went to my calendar; I forgot my headset. Wtf?!? Damn it. I asked the receptionist if she had a spare laying about…but no. The facility manager overheard me, and offered me a pair of wired earbuds of unknown origin, that she quickly wiped down with a disinfecting wipe. Fine. That works. I was most appreciative – and I made it to my meeting precisely on time. 😀

I got the work done I needed to. The electrical work got done, too. My Traveling Partner let me know once all that was finished. I wrapped up the work in front of me, and the day seems to finish on a good note. I sit for a minute with a warm mug of herb tea – it’s a bit too late for coffee at this point.

What I’m saying, I guess, is that my anxiety may have flared up, but it wasn’t any more real than any other imaginings of whatever sort. It had no particular bearing on the actual outcomes. No relationship to real life at all. A lot more small bullshit could have gone wrong. I’d have handled it if it had. Anxiety is unpleasant to experience, sometimes difficult to manage, but it lacks substance. It’s “not real” – or, to be more clear, it’s no more real than I make it.

The day winds down. I’m tired. It’s time to begin again.

Funny thing about change… it changes things. Sometimes a lot of things. Just breathe through it; it’s only change.

I’m sitting here listening to the end of the work week. It sounds like this. Friday.

There is sunshine casting bold shadows over the deck. The afternoon is not quite warm, but it isn’t cold at all. I’m listening to music I love, sitting cross-legged, relaxed and smiling and feeling loved. My Traveling Partner had a lot to do with this lovely sunshine-y moment; he bought us a new amplifier for the stereo, and spent much of the past two days getting the sound just right. I feel a bit as if I am falling in love with a lot of great music, all over again.

I’m listening to music. Smiling. Relaxed. Feeling loved. Feeling fortunate.

…It’s a lot to take in, actually… it used to be pretty reliable that feeling this good would rock me off my center, and be followed by some colossally inappropriate, ludicrous temper tantrum or PTSD meltdown, at some especially inconvenient moment. As if everything good that I might experience needed some sort of emotional reckoning, or reminder that I was not worthy of good experiences. I’d end up filled with so much despair, and a sense of lasting futility. Mired in that mess, I’d exert real energy to make it all just that much worse, if such could be done – or so it often, inexplicably, seemed to be.

Today? Today I’m just relaxing on a Friday, listening to music, and feeling fortunate. I’m grateful to have come so far, but humbled enough by hard times to know that “this too shall pass” also applies to the best moments. Enjoy it. Savor it. Don’t take it personally. Don’t develop an expectation that the sun will always shine in this lovely spring moment. Be here, now. Breath. Exhale. Relax. And still, even now, also practice non-attachment. Enjoy. Breathe. Accept. Exhale. I’m still smiling. It’s enough.

Soon enough the album will end. The track will change. The sun will set. There will inevitably be a time to begin again. 🙂

Today is already more than a little “off”. I’m sitting in my studio with tears in my eyes, feeling super aggravated, and faced with a clear loss of perspective and sense of humor. I feel ragged, and angry, and potentially exceedingly easy to piss off. I did not sleep well.

…Yesterday, early in the afternoon, I allowed myself the luxury of a 3rd cup of coffee – a half a cup, really, but I did so knowing afternoon coffees have the potential to disrupt my sleep. That coffee did get me through the rest of the work day, which was helpful. I commented to my Traveling Partner with a laugh that if it disrupted my sleep he could say “I told you so”, because we both know it is a concern for me. This morning… he did, and I struggled to accept that probably good-natured teasing graciously… partly because I’m tired and stupid and cross this morning, and partly because, subjectively, I don’t think that’s what disrupted my sleep, actually, because the experience felt very much like a specific other thing (that is also a known concern) was responsible for my lack of restful sleep. I wasn’t ready for the humor in things, at all. Now I’m cross with myself, fatigued and frustrated by it, and also having the experience of managing to have “set my partner up for failure” by encouraging him to approach me in a way that was frankly amusing in the moment I said it, but the timing resulting in doing so when I am not so easily able to appreciate the moment. Fucking hell.

Today? Already sucking. My partner is definitely trying his best to get things back to a positive and merry place. I try to cooperate with that heartfelt intention. Yesterday was hard. Hard on both of us. This morning, my subjective experience of self is fraught with the funhouse mirror effects of being very tired. It makes the work day a fucking pestilence on my consciousness, and I’d honestly just like to go back to bed, and maybe not see or interact with any human beings at all for … a few days. I’m feeling sort of “over” people in this present moment. It’s an experience fraught with misleading illusions and distortions of reality, and I don’t trust myself to manage my emotions skillfully, or maintain a comfortable, rational, balanced perspective moment-to-moment. Why would I just straight up admit that? Because that’s how I get from here to somewhere better. 🙂

…This too shall pass. Generally, change is a constant I can count on, and this is just one moment. I mean… as moments go, it’s a fairly shit moment, for many values of “shit” and “moment”, but… considered through another lens… I’m employed, my wages cover our expenses, we’ve got indoor plumbing, potable drinking water, and a hot tub on the deck. My kitchen appliances match. The floors are comfortable under my feet. The house is a comfortable temperature, and the gas fireplace is a pleasant way to take off the chill on a cold morning. Small things matter. My desk is comfortable to work at. I’ve got a solid day of good work time ahead of me. Noodles for lunch are easy, tasty, and available. I’ve got another cup of coffee to look forward to. So… my “shit” day? Luxury for someone who doesn’t have such fortunate circumstances. It’s humbling.

I sip the cold last sips of my (fairly dreadful) cup of coffee feeling very aware of the juxtaposition of privilege and being in a crappy mood. I make a point to be real with myself. I remind myself (again) to be patient with the woman in the mirror – it may be that no one else will. I remind myself (again) to speak gently, to be kind, to be patient, and to “make room” for other experiences, and other people (well, at least one other person). My Traveling Partner steps into the room to share something with me. We converse pleasantly. He makes a cheerful joke that completely goes over my head. I am too fatigued for smart jokes or quick wit. lol It’s fine, though, and we both seem “calibrated” to the needs of the day, now…

…Still… this day is more than ideally challenging…

Do I need more coffee? Or do I just need to begin again?

It’s a lovely morning for gratitude. Yesterday, too. My Traveling Partner said something about it, yesterday, and it still resonates with me, this morning; we are fortunate. I can work from home, and still have my job. He’s here with me, and we’re sheltering in place and social distancing, together. We’ve got what we need, generally speaking, to get by, with reasonable comfort, day-to-day. The things we are going without, are endurable inconveniences. We’re very fortunate.

…This will be true even after the toilet paper runs out…

…Realistically speaking, a lot of that “good fortune” is a matter of literal “luck”, and timing as much as any specific planning or preparedness. I sip my coffee and fill up on feeling grateful; it could be so much worse. It is, for a lot of people (maybe you…). The economic impact is real. The impact to human wellness and quality of life is real. The convenient delivery services available to some, are not affordable for all. Some people don’t even have a roof over their heads, and are forced to “shelter in place” on parking lot surfaces marked out by tape. Some people are actually trapped on cruise ships waiting around for the virus to catch up with them. Scary times.

When I start feeling restless, cooped up here at home, I remind myself how much this matters, and how fortunate I actually am. I sip my coffee quietly, appreciating how much harder this would be, if the coffee ran out, if the water was shut off, if the power got cut, if my partnership was unhealthy or my relationship an abusive one… This is a morning for gratitude.

I’m also grateful for the artists, performers, entertainers of all sorts, who continue to do what they do, making it available on YouTube, or a variety of other streaming services and web sites. Grateful for the connectivity that puts those things within reach. I’m grateful for unread books, and favorites worth re-reading.

…I’m grateful for love.

It’s enough to be able to begin again.