Archives for posts with tag: home for the holidays

It’s Giftmas Eve, and somewhere, someone is stressing over something. Too little time. Too little money. Too many bills. Too much drama. Too much heartache. Too little certainty. Too much pain. Too little opportunity. Something isn’t right, somewhere. I take a moment for silent well-wishes, and a moment of compassion and understanding; life can be hard, and good fortune can be fleeting.

If things are difficult right now, my best advice (you didn’t ask, but I’ve got it handy…) is beyond simple (in words): breathe, let go, begin again.

I know, I know. Your results will vary. There are verbs involved. It may take practice, and incremental change over time is painfully slow, and you’d like to feel better right now. Got it. It’s still going to be you making the choices, taking the actions, doing the work, enduring the slow improvements that come with changing behavior or thinking… And if you don’t make the choices, take the actions, do the work, and endure the slow improvements that come with changing your behavior or thinking, it’s pretty much certain that nothing actually changes, that you were hoping to see change. Waiting around for coincidental changes that just happen to meet your long-term needs is…um… less than effective. Not a best practice. You want change? Do the changing.

Taking time to relax in the holiday glow.

…Giftmas Eve… However you choose to celebrate your winter holidays, and whatever the quality of your experience, I wish you well this holiday season, and I wish you all the joy that could come of wise decision-making, authenticity in your relationships, and the willingness to be the person you most want to be. May the gifts under the tree amount to nothing at all in comparison to the love you experience in life, and the love you share.

I sit quietly, listening to my Traveling Partner breathing softly in the other room. Home for the holidays. ๐Ÿ™‚ His presence has been my most enjoyed “present” so far.

I’m grateful, in this moment, to be content, and aware that I’m okay. Life is pretty good, generally, and the drama fairly sparse, and, while uncomfortable or less than ideal, also has pretty clear solutions. So… there’s that, and it’s enough.

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.ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

So. Yeah. Wow. Good things happen. It’s nice to be part of that. It’s powerful to learn more about creating that. It’s mostly built on choices, perspective, and sufficiency. There are verbs involved, and practice – a lot of practice.

I’m sitting in this quiet room, at my desk, fingers dancing rhythmically across my mechanical keyboard (still giggling that the burglar(s) didn’t take it, too, and I’m grateful; it’s very specific to my needs). My replacement laptop arrived ahead of delivery commitment, and before Giftmas. (Thanks, Santa!!) My Traveling Partner arrived yesterday and was already settling in, and got to be here for the fun – and the occasional moment of frustration or confusion – as I begin “moving in” to the new machine. She and I have a way to got together before we’re really comfortable together. All in good time. Funny thing; sitting with her in the living room, or at the dining room table just wasn’t feeling… “right”. I felt somehow out-of-place, mismatched for activities or circumstances, or… something. I was stalled. I got up for a break and walked around the apartment, tidying up here and there; it’s one of my little ways of gathering my thoughts. I stepped into the studio to set something down rather willy-nilly, and noticed with new eyes how much it was beginning to look like a storage space.

Choices. Verbs. Perspective. A few minutes later, my studio looked rather tidy, even welcoming. My desk, which had slowly gathered small stacks of miscellany to cover the emptiness, was tidying up, wiped down, and… ready. Ready to begin again. Ready to welcome me… home. I giggled at the thought – do I “live in” my laptop, more than my apartment? I suppose it could be a truth about my experience; it’s my “back up brain”, if nothing else.

So here I am. Writing in the morning, next to the window, looking out on the meadow. Here I am, enjoying my partner’s voice from the other room “Do you have more of my coffee?” I smile, feeling welcome in my own space, feeling warmed by love, comfortably wrapped in enough. I’m okay right now. Sometimes the disordered bits get away with more than they ought, simply because I don’t see them with clarity; in comparison to ancient pain and heavier baggage, it hasn’t been a big deal… but my Traveling Partner noticed. My therapist noticed. My close neighbor friends noticed. I mostly ignored it, because it could have been so much worse. Over time, though, the small failures to take care of me more fully would have worsened, perhaps spread – it’s best to handle things promptly, when possible, I suppose.

I do love Giftmas. “Merry” feels good. “Merry” has more than fun to it, it’s deeper than that. There’s a quality of appreciation, and awareness to this merry moment. I didn’t get here alone.

I sit soaking in the moment of contentment and stillness. Merry Giftmas, World. Today is a good day to enjoy the moment, to share merriment, to be there for a friend, to save the day, to lend a hand – as with any other, today is a very good day to change the world. โค

My coffee is still too hot to drink. The alarm clock seemed very loud when it woke me. I feel a bit as if I am moving especially slowly this morning; the clock corrects my very subjective perception of time. It’s a Monday after a long weekend. As if on cue, my brain launches a salvo of small anxiety-provoking attacks about this or that detail at work; I quash them with a minute or two of mindfulness, breathing deeply, present in this moment here. Work can at least wait until I actually get to the office! ๐Ÿ™‚

Summer is definitely over. Autumn nearly over, too. Thanksgiving is done. The holiday season – my idea of holiday season, I mean – has begun. It is a beginning I wait for, plan for, and cherish each year. I have my own traditions, built on my values, refined over an adult lifetime, added to by one partnership, then another, over the years. The specifics are less meaningful or shareworthy, I think, than that I do have my own, chosen with care, selected from the celebratory traditions of my childhood, and then made my own, quite willfully. I like the way I do the holidays. It is rare for me to be overcome by ennui or despair during (or over, or about) the holidays, and I’ve tended to attribute that to doing them my own way… though, I don’t have any cite-able proof of that; it is my subject experience, only. For me, that’s enough, at least on the topic of holidays. ๐Ÿ™‚

As days go, today doesn’t stand out in any obvious way. The beginning of a new work week. The beginning of the holiday season. I like beginnings, although they usually follow endings, which I often tend to think I dislike (compared to beginnings), but again, I have no clear evidence of that impression, and find myself wondering if the words truly reflect my thinking, or only some moment in my thinking that will quickly dissipate when my attention turns to other things? Change is. Whether an ending, a beginning, or some transitional point on a spectrum between those moments, change is part of the scenery on life’s journey.

I think of my Traveling Partner and smile. We have different approaches to living life in the moment; I prefer to plan, and to maintain a high level of readiness for many likely outcomes, and to cultivate a benevolent tolerance of circumstances that fall outside my planning, with frequent “rest breaks” from the hectic pace of life when I can retreat to a quiet corner of the world to take it all in, before returning to the busy-ness of life’s default settings. He has the boldness required to freely take life utterly as it comes, seemingly fearlessly and without anxiety; embracing change with a spontaneity that awes me, and often leaves me feeling unsettled. ย We handle our emotional lives quite differently, too, both very human, both capable of great depths of emotion, both embracing intimacy and connection, and yet such different people day-to-day, in spite of shared values, shared experiences, and sharing (to this day) our journey in life over years. He finds too much planning constricting, and expresses feeling pressured. I find too little planning chaotic, and feel… pressured. lol We are more similar than we are different. This is likely true of each and all of us; more similar than different. Any human being’s most basic needs are likely to be pretty much the same from one person to the next. So many arguments between human beings are about meeting the same basic need in different ways, informed by prejudices, filtered through individual experience, limited by individual perspective, and individual understandings of definitions of terms. We’re still more similar than we are different – right down to not listening very well when another one of what we are is talking to us about their own experience. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Taking time for simple pleasures matters, too.

Taking time for simple pleasures matters.

My coffee is not so hot now. I drink it down and consider a second one… there is time for that. I look across the table, the holiday tablecloth, placemats, and centerpiece are happy reminders of the weekend spent immersed in a wonderland of holiday memories, colorful trinkets, and tiny lights. The entire room is transformed. The tree stands in the far corner, and canisters of freshly baked cookies beyond that, on the bookshelf in thatย corner. Everywhere some Yule detail catches my eye. I smile. The soft glow of the room feels like it sources from within me. Sure, I’ll have a second coffee. Today is a good day to take time to enjoy simple pleasures. I’ll go do that. ๐Ÿ™‚

With fall really here, and the new job feeling very real as life settles into new routines, I take a moment to remind myself that “this too shall pass”. That’s neither good nor bad, and it’s neither the journey, nor is it an impediment to my forward progress; change is.

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, rain-soaked lawn

The holiday season nears. Life is settling down into a different normal, a new routine of quiet week nights at home, generally solo, sometimes out on an evening doing a thing. Evenings are so short now, it’s rare that I actually want to do something enough to do it on a weeknight. There’s a certain minimum time commitment on the self-care side that is non-negotiable, and most of that sort of thing (for me) I handle at home. I see my traveling partner on weekends, generally, and the time is well-spent, merry, and intimate. This week has been spent mostly, and rather unusually, on sleeping. lol No kidding, I get home, have a quick bite, have a long shower, some meditation, and then crash out. So tired. No idea why, really, and not too worried about it, since I am actually sleeping and getting the rest I clearly need.

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, park bench

Everything seems to fit. No wonder I am occasionally quite cross with myself over having to move! It does feel like “have to”; the commute is not particularly sustainable long-term. I think about that…. This commute is more or less the same length as the commute I made daily for 13 years to a very different job, in the context of a different relationship (an ex) – both of which were much less comfortable or pleasant than those I enjoy now. I guess that’s part of it, though; my own quality of life at home is far better than it was back then, and part of this commute experience is the awareness of the time I am losing neither at work, nor at home, but spent out in the world, on mass transit (where, trust me, humanity is not at its finest day-to-day). Well, “mystery” solved. lol

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, rocks

I find myself thinking over ways to make the commute itself more pleasant, or more productive. The rain hasn’t helped. I can take my Kindle along on the light rail, but on days when it is pouring down rain, I probably won’t pull it out of my waterproof bag. I would contentedly meditate on the train, but the sounds of voices sometimes makes that “difficult” isn’t quite the right word… “not possible” fits better.

autumn leaf

autumn leaves

I smile, sip my ย coffee, and notice that I am… bitching to myself. It isn’t helpful or productive to do so, nor is it particularly interesting (to me, or anyone else), and it tends to reinforce negative thinking. I set all that aside, and take another sip of my coffee. I feel my shoulders relax. I let the quiet calm of this moment set in… and then notice I spelled “calm” as “clam”, so I re-read the sentence as letting the quiet clam set in. I have a good laugh over it. There is so much to enjoy in life, I remind myself. I’ll definitely make a point of doing that. ๐Ÿ™‚

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, stone

Today is a good day for simple pleasures, moments of great delight, and finding joy in small things. Today is a good day to appreciate what’s right, more than grieving what’s wrong – and to do so at least as often, generally.