Archives for posts with tag: hello love

Yesterday turned out to be a strangely difficult day, and the difficulty of it confused me; I had all the ingredients of a very good day, and yet, the day unfolded so poorly. Amusingly, the title for yesterday’s post remained relevant throughout; it was all very subjective, and it was clearly a matter of my own unique perspective on matters. The color of the day wasn’t a factual matter at all, it was pure emotion. One very awesome thing about yesterday? It’s yesterday. It is not ‘now’. ūüôā I am okay right now. ¬†That’s enough.

Growth can't be forced; I unfold like a flower, opening my heart on my own timeline.

Growth can’t be forced; I am¬†a flower, opening my heart on my own timeline. My journey and my seasons are my own.

My traveling partner takes being supportive and makes it his own, showing me the depth of his love by¬†giving me space when I need it; that’s got to be hard for him sometimes, knowing how he adores me, and enjoys being with me. He misses me even when what separates us is not a matter of miles in distance, but more about my¬†chaos and damage piling up between his heart and mine. This morning I take time to smile gently, grateful, appreciative, and content to have the strength of his love, even when I haven’t got strength enough of my own to be easy to share it with.

Love is always 'there' for me, when I recognize it sources from within.

Love is always ‘there’ for me, when I recognize that it sources from within.

Love sounded like it would be ‘easy’ when I was young. Easier still because I really wasn’t sold on it as a notion; it didn’t seem likely, or real to me, and I had had no experience of it to show me otherwise. Love, then, was a fairy tale. When I did eventually meet love, I was as a child bringing home some wounded animal and attempting to keep it as a pet; I didn’t know what I needed to know to treat love well, to nurture it, to grow with it. It quickly diminished, and eventually died, leaving me wondering how real it ever was. I probably had other chances at love, and didn’t even recognize them, after filtering every experience through my chaos and damage, and taking life coaching advice from my demons. I spent some portion of my life snarling ‘fuck love’ and striding purposefully through my experience without regard to my heart, on a campaign to stamp out emotion entirely.

Love being what it is, I did not succeed in stamping out my emotional fire. We are creatures of both emotion and reason; crippling one, mocks the other. Love, being what it is, gave me another chance to open my eyes – and my heart. I’ve managed to muck it up now and then, pretty badly, nonetheless. I’ve been frustrated more than once to make such an important journey without a map…or a rule book. Love does have rules, it needs to be built, to be nurtured, to be invested in, to be taken seriously – and not taken seriously at all – in order to thrive. Where romantic love must be reciprocal to thrive, love itself – the fundament of love, the foundation of love, the essence of love – all that must come from within, and it’s hard to get to the best that romantic love has to offer without doing the important work of loving myself, preferably first…but certainly at some point. ‘Now’ serves nicely.

If we don‚Äôt know how to nourish our love, it withers. When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love.”

How to Love, by Thich Nhat Hahn

The journey ahead winds through the chaos and damage, and no mystery there; love touches everything within me, every hurt, every sorrow, every shard of broken dreams. Like a rope thrown into a well, it’s up to me to pull myself out of the darkness and it looks dreadfully difficult sometimes, but the opportunity is there, the choice is mine, and with patient practice, and the will to do the verbs…well… I can see the light, just ahead…

Love is a living, breathing thing. There is no need to force it to grow in a particular direction. If we start by being easy and gentle with ourselves, we will find it is just there inside of us, solid and healing.”

How to Love, by Thich Nhat Hahn

Easy? Gentle with myself? Why does that sound difficult? Is it only because my skill is limited, and I need more practice? Is it because I am still fighting off demons, and wading through chaos and damage? Is it because old programming and negative self-talk get in the way? Is it because I sometimes overlook that will, choice, and action are required, moment to moment? Is it because when I am hurting I still punish me first?

Why, yes. All of those things. There’s good news, though; I have choices. ūüôā

My path takes a turn I don't expect; the way ahead holds so much promise.

My path takes a turn I don’t expect; the way ahead holds so much promise.

Today is a good day for love. Today is a good day to change the world.

 

 

I slept last night. It’s worth it to take a moment to really appreciate that, and let the experience seep into my consciousness fully as I wake. I needed a good night of unbroken restful sleep. Although it doesn’t actually ‘matter’, I’m even pleased that my hair didn’t do some weird thing in the night that must be addressed, resolved, or improved upon this morning; it’s just hair, a lovely brunette shade sprinkled with some grey. I’m drinking my espresso neat this morning, but whether that was a momentary time-saver or a whim at that earlier moment, I no longer recall. It’s a detail that also doesn’t ‘matter’.

All the news seems bad…people killing, being killed…governments that once stood proudly on values admitting to war crimes and violations against humanity without any particular contrition or attempt to make it right… people going hungry…people without a safe place to rest through the night…violence and privation, and a handful of very privileged people making time to attempt to justify or excuse it all. I avoid reading the news even now, skimming the headlines and making a point of knowing the basics of important global events, but refusing to become mired in the pain and sorrow and cruelty. I make a point of showing people compassion, consideration, and respect, and hope that my modest effort makes some small difference for someone, somewhere.

Love is my lighthouse.

Love is my lighthouse.

Last night was a lovely quiet one, spent watching anime with my traveling partner, and calling it a night early enough to get adequate rest. This morning leads into a moderately busy day, and I’ve made a point of organizing my thoughts, and my time, to make it all work out – and then I’ve also granted myself the further courtesy of being prepared to roll with the changes life sometimes throws my way. It’s a Wednesday, and one that seems to begin well. I am content with that.

As scary as The World can be, and as frightening and unsettling as the events both near and far can seem, this moment right here, right now, is quite serene and quiet. I find satisfaction in enjoying this small moment, and its quiet beauty and stillness. I savor it, breathing deeply, feeling calm, and knowing that this ‘now’ moment is mine to keep for as long as moments last, and on into the future of memory, if I take the time to affix it there. “Taking in the good” is among the simplest practices I’ve taken on, and it is powerful. Once I understood how much time I spent lingering on negative experiences cognitively, it made so much sense that doing the same with good experiences would improve the emotional characteristics of my implicit memory; in practice, it works just that way. The more time I spend on negative experiences, and immersed in negative emotions, the more the implicit qualities of my human experience overall take on negative characteristics, and quite logically the same is true if I spend more time on positive emotions and experiences. I do like enjoying a more positive experience, more pleasant interactions, and a tendency to make positive assumptions, more than negative ones.

My traveling partner puts my writing on pause with a lovely greeting. Connection… isn’t that what matters most? I think I’ll go find out.

Today is a good day for love. Today is a good day to be the best of who I am, and to share that with the world. Today is a good day to be kind, and to be considerate. Today is a good day to change the world.

Here it is, another day. Another week. Another sequence of moments about to unfold, touched by choices, and circumstances, colored by coincidence and thinking. Today is an entirely new experience. It’s a lovely morning to contemplate that, it is a Monday.

I slept like hell last night. It hardly matters this morning; it has become routine during periods of prolonged wakefulness, to choose an appropriately comfortable supine pose, still in bed, and meditate. There’s no ‘goal’ and I’m not ‘trying to get back to sleep’, I’m simply taking advantage of the quiet night hours to meditate, because I’m awake, because it’s a quiet activity, because it feels good, because it creates a lovely state of relaxation. Sometimes the need is greater, and I sit up and take it quite seriously, meditating in that timeless time in the wee hours, before the alarm goes off. It’s a nice bonus that I am often able to return to sleep afterward. Meditation did nothing to help my sleep, when I tried meditation to help me sleep. Meditation has done a lot to help my sleep in general, now that I am not trying to make it improve my sleep. lol There is real insight¬†somewhere in there.

It is enough this morning that the headache I woke with dissipated while I was meditating, and that I feel rested in spite of having relatively little sleep. ‘Enough’ is good with me; I am not looking for more than that.

Enough.

Enough.

On the subject of new experiences, I spent the weekend focused on study, self-work, contemplation, and yoga. I don’t have a clever portmanteau for it (like ‘stay-cation’ or something of that sort), but it was time I definitely needed after an emotionally difficult week. I am still learning how to take care of me, and a big piece of that is boundary setting, communicating limits, and honoring those boundaries and limits myself enough to remind others to honor them as well. It doesn’t come nearly as naturally to me as undercutting my needs and fostering resentment over time – I’m super good at those, but find they don’t suit my long-term needs, or build healthy relationships.

One choice. One change. One moment.

One choice. One change. One moment.

So…it’s back to work, another week, practical details, calendars, meetings, ‘getting it done’… I have a busy week ahead. I observe that I have both the experience of eagerness to get back to a job I love, as well as mild impatience – because what could be more important than investing my time in me? (Every Monday I face that dilemma, and wonder why our culture is not more advanced by now; we have the technology to provide greater leisure to all…why haven’t we done so? I’m good at being employed, but it isn’t what I want to be doing with my time, in general.)

I am eager, too, to welcome my traveling partner home. I haven’t had¬†any particular stress over his absence, I guess because he doesn’t feel gone to me, aside from missing the experience of his touch. He needed some time away, and certainly I’ve benefited from that time myself. (He said something once about the value of an opportunity to miss each other, and I have observed the truth of it in my own experience.)¬†Still, I enjoy the tales of travelers, the opportunity to sample something different from the experiences I’ve had myself, the newness and intimacy of the restored connection, the subtle differences in language brought home from faraway, and stories. I just love stories, and my partner is a good story-teller. I hope to listen well.

Something changed for me last week. It requires further consideration, acceptance, and understanding. Fewer words, less thinking, and more awareness seem useful on this one, and it may be some time before I write much more about it. I find that I have a more clear idea of what I want in life, what I need from and in my relationships, and the choices it may take to get there. That’s a very big deal, I suppose, although it rather gets in the way of other things just at the moment. The timing is peculiar. Last week sucked in a most extraordinary way, but I managed a good amount of emotional resilience, balance, and self-compassion, and greater ease and a feeling of naturalness to making room for my emotions, and being kind to myself. I had feared learning emotional self-sufficiency might result in … greater loneliness. That isn’t seeming to be the case, so far, instead I feel more whole as I learn skills that allow me to rely on myself as a sort of emotional ‘first responder’. So far, pretty awesome. There’s more to learn, of course, and I suspect that like mindfulness itself, emotional self-sufficiency is more a practice than a goal. ūüôā

Finding love everywhere starts with how I feel about myself.

Finding love everywhere starts with how I feel about myself.

So, yeah. Here it is morning, again. Time to start a new day. Today is a good day to treat myself well, and to embrace my values – and my friends. Today is a good day to smile at small children. Today is a good day to remember most people are already doing their very best, much of the time. Today is a good day for kindness. Today is a good day to recognize that respecting my own boundaries and limits, and setting them clearly, and managing them well, is a very nice way to tell myself ‘I love you’. Today is a good day to change the world.

 

It’s a quiet morning, following gently on the heels of a pleasant and lovely yesterday. My mood isn’t as steady or reliable as I anticipate the day to come being; I am considering things. ¬†When I find myself stuck on some detail, forcing it into context, molding it into part of the narrative of the day, of the week, of my life, I remind myself of the recent readings on ‘narrative bias’ and cognitive errors, in general. ¬†I give myself a moment of understanding and compassion; it’s damned hard to let go of explaining everything, and to pursue questions instead. ¬†It’s so easy to be pulled ¬†into drama and bullshit – mine, someone else’s, the world’s.

The loveliness of the day is only a distraction from suffering if we choose to be aware of it.

The loveliness of the day is only a distraction from suffering if we choose to be aware of it.

I saw a meme in my Facebook feed recently, and it was the sort of catchy slogan, delivered at just the right moment for the words to easily slide into the context of my experience, that it has stuck with me. ¬†Of course, after the fact it turns out to be neither new nor recent. “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” ¬†Still… I find myself delighted by the simple way it conveys meaning. ¬†I like it. I’ll keep it. lol ¬†I’ve found it pretty easily delivers a powerful reminder of the suffering of attachment, of judgement, and of taking ownership of what isn’t my own. Handy.

I am feeling uneasy, this morning. Struggling to find real balance again after rocking my emotional boat in therapy this week, and after a powerful conversation – honest, real, open, and utterly frank – with a lover that changes…something. ¬†For the better? I don’t know. Is it a big deal? I don’t know. Does it really change any possible outcomes? I don’t know. What does it mean? I don’t know. Hell, I don’t even have great questions to consider, yet. ¬†The step forward in therapy is by far the bigger deal, I suspect, but the heart speaks its own language and sets its own priorities, and even there… my step forward in therapy still matters, and remains suggestive of change to come.

What was the big deal with therapy? Well, simply that I am finally able to express my experience as a trauma survivor fairly simply, in a sentence, using words, without collapsing in tears, or being reduced to an animal state of panic, or wordless terror. I used my words. It isn’t more than that, and it is every bit of that, and I’m proud of myself for taking another step forward. ¬†It isn’t time yet to share such a thing with the world. ¬†It’s not ‘for you’, not yet. Maybe we’ll get there, together, one day? Having never just said it, out loud, so simply, to another real human being, I didn’t know what that experience would be like. Hearing the words said, hearing them hang in the silence and safety of a pleasantly calm office, isn’t really describable, either. I cried – healthy tears, honest sadness, regret, hurt, suffering…and more confused and astonished than angry or terrified. Confused that human beings can be so cruel. Astonished that I said words aloud that I had once been assured would result in my immediate subjection to a long, painful, lingering consequence – and nothing happened to me, aside from feeling all those hot tears slide quietly down my cheeks. ¬†Well. Not ‘nothing’. Something did ‘happen to me’. I know – because I made the choice to make it happen. I don’t have words for the happening, and it is a very subjective thing. Worthy of my attention and consideration, and so, this morning, I consider it.

I’m not too interested in feeling sad this morning, which is a bit irksome since I clearly do, now and again. I find myself rather idly wondering how long this feeling of unease will last, and what it will take to drive it away…then notice with amusement that the idle wondering is much more low-key than the one-time state of panic and dread that would have saturated such a morning, as little as a¬†year ago. Progress. Small steps. Good choices. Good practices. ¬†Focused on what nourishes me, and keeps me headed down my own path, toward my own goals, and meets my own needs over time… Today is a good day to be.

I slept in this morning, greedily immersing myself in more sleep after each moment of waking, until the morning light through the curtain, and the glow of the aquarium, had become too much to sleep through. ¬†I crashed early last night, fatigued with hormones, hot flashes, emotional volatility and promise threat promise likelihood inevitability of largely unpredictable change future happenings. It’s been that sort of week.

It's still a journey. There's still no map.

It’s still a journey. There’s still no map.

Again, I find myself quite human. Indecisive. Fearful. Bolting from circumstances toward the unknown without patient and thorough consideration; traveling through life as a victim (again) instead of… well, whatever better options there are, and there are many (any of them would indeed be an improvement over panic). ¬†Stress walks my PTSD down the aisle with my TBI and the resulting marriage, like¬†many, is definitely not ‘made in heaven’. ¬†In the middle of a terse conversation about entirely other matters, a partner observed in a frustrated tone that I could take a moment to show myself some compassion.

Well…yeah. Why wasn’t I?

This morning, over my coffee, contemplating recent events and conversations, thinking about needs, looking to understand ‘what matters most’ for me, looking to identify anything that could be tripping me up simply because it is unattended to… I read this in my newsfeed. ¬†Purportedly an article about patience, it spoke to me on a deeper level, and although each and every numbered point is a reminder, rather than new information, the reminders were timely, and utterly relevant. ¬†Meditation. Practice. Acceptance. Recognizing the¬†infinitesimal line between the stories I tell myself, and what is – or may be.

There aren’t many things that calm me the way meditation can. How do I ever miss on that one? Still human. ¬†I make choices, and in a brief moment on a sunny morning it can seem ‘no big deal’ to skip a few minutes of meditation… right? Free will… “I’m a grown up, after all”… “It’s such a beautiful day, and I’m in a great place…” “I just have to get this one thing done…” “It’s not like meditation is medication…” ¬†My TBI already causes me a great deal of difficulty with building habits; not staying firmly committed is careless risk taking (for me) of the highest order. ¬†My ability to show myself some kindness, some compassion, and to recognize my own needs and accept that meeting them is both critical and challenging, snuck off without my noticing¬†and I dived into self-directed anger, resentment, disappointment with myself, berating myself for any decision that could have been hasty or in error, each moment of clouded judgment or poor reasoning… Yep. Still quite human. Still battling my demons, fighting my hormones, fighting the chaos and damage, fighting to go being enduring to achieve thriving. I sure don’t make it¬†easy on me.

I do have ‘needs’, legitimate, non-negotiable, take-care-of-me, value-based, this-is-what-it-takes-to-thrive sorts of needs. Everyone does. ¬†I have not always made it important¬†to recognize and understand what those needs really are, beyond the survival basics, and it’s slow going learning what matters most to me. ¬†I sometimes stumble on an issue, boundary, limitation, or need as an unexpected byproduct of some other event or decision-making; the undiscovered need becomes an¬†unanticipated confound in reasoning that had seemed simple and clear, or becomes¬†the thing that throws a beautiful plan completely off track. It’s inconvenient and inefficient to learn things in this haphazard fashion, and I rather pointlessly resent the crap out of it, wasting valuable time that could be spent understanding more that could be understood.

Patience is hard sometimes. Taking a step back and saying ‘this may not make as much sense as I thought it did’ can be very humbling. Looking into the face of an unmet need that has evolved over decades, as much because I have treated myself callously, and without regard for my own emotional wellness, hurts a lot. However much any one human being has ever hurt me, their efforts do not measure up to the pain and suffering I have inflicted on my own heart. That’s a hard thing to accept first thing on a lovely Sunday morning… but there it is. ¬†How do I move on from the damage inflicted by others when I don’t allow myself to move on from the damage I inflict on myself?

For a few moments last night, I sat alone, still, bereft in my solitude, hurting, sad… frozen. I was immobilized by pain. The evening light began to fade… I sat quietly for uncounted long minutes, heart thumping evenly, breathing. Without planning it, I allowed my state of being to evolve from being emotionally paralyzed to a gentler place. Breathing. Aware. Letting the ‘weight of it all’ fall away. ¬†I made room for my pain, for my confusion, for the simple basic needs of being human: resting when fatigued, comfort when emotional, healing when injured, sustenance, compassion. ¬†I reached out to one partner, then another, open to healing, open to… being open. ¬†Trusting and vulnerable. ¬†They, too, are human. ¬†We all understand the feelings of urgency, fear, need. We all make mistakes. We all struggle to make sense of out of our confusion.

Another perspective.

Another perspective.

I am standing on the edge of something…feeling a little as if the hike I took yesterday could have resulted in more clarity of thought than it did…wondering why it didn’t… feeling open, aware, trusting events to unfold as they will, for things to turn out in some fashion that allows for each of us to grow, to feel calm and secure, to discover and nurture ‘what matters most’ for our own hearts, to gently nurture and support what matter most for the hearts of others.

Today is a good day for calm, and ¬†a good day for comfort. ¬†Today is a good day to meditate, and show myself ‘a softer side’. ¬†Today is a good day to be aware, content, and compassionate. ¬†Today is a good day to change the world.