Archives for posts with tag: I am

Sipping my coffee and letting my thoughts drift this morning. There’s a lot of fucking drama swirling around me, and people dear to me seem mired in it. Upon a closer look, they’re often causing it, seeking it, stoking it, creating it, and wrapping themselves in it as if for warmth. Yeesh. If you don’t want drama in your life… choose something else. Just saying.

Yes, I mean that seriously. lol It’s feasible.

Yes. Yes it is entirely feasible.

No, I’m not kidding.

Let’s start somewhere obvious (to me). Let’s start with language. Defining things is a thing we do. We use “is” to take a thing, and firmly connect it to a characteristic, which will then define that thing. “This ball is blue.” Easy example. I haven’t shown you a photograph, or provided any evidence, but now, you can picture, for yourself, that “the ball E.H. has is blue” and even “see” that, in your mind.

By the way; I’ve got no ball, blue or otherwise. Whole thing is a made up example. Just saying; we do this sort of thing to ourselves, with our own “defining characteristics” – and the things we think about other people – all the fucking time. Instant drama, particularly when there’s no ball there at all.

Seriously. That shit isn’t real. Or true. It’s totally made up.

Yeah…but… what color is my imaginary ball? You know, the one I was talking about?

Oh. That ball. It’s blue. Obviously. I already said.

…You see where this could go? How easily we can be misled? By our own words?

Whatever characteristics you ascribe to yourself through “is” and “am” have real power to change how you think and talk about yourself, how you treat yourself, how you treat others, and how you behave. It changes who you see yourself to be. When you ascribe characteristics to others, through “is”, you create a clear picture of them in  your mind, of who they “are”, and in so doing, you change who you see them to be – without any actual connection to their actual self. Who you think they are will change how you treat them, but it does not change who they in fact are. lol

I’m just saying, be careful with your words. Be careful with defining things – or yourself. You can really lock yourself into a set of behaviors or characteristics that may not be the person you most want to be.

Do you see where this is leading? Toward the suggestion that you use great care and precision when defining yourself? A suggestion to maybe not define yourself so specifically at all? A suggestion that there is value in disconnecting your sense of self from your historical actions, to lift yourself out of less than ideally desirable patterns of behavior, and allow yourself freedom to move on from all that? Yes. That’s where this is going. Do that. 🙂

You’ll still be accountable (and responsible) for your actions. This is not about that. This is, though, about moving on, and becoming well, and making positive changes. This is about perception, language, and how language influences how we treat ourselves and others.

Show yourself some kindness, for fuck’s sake. You can do better, and you surely deserve some kindness, and encouragement, from the person in the mirror. 🙂

I take one last look at this blue ball, before I toss it away. It takes practice to refrain from defining ourselves by our mistakes, our worst decisions, our perceived flaws, the essence of how we are criticized in life, or the bullshit we hear (even from ourselves) every day. That ball may bounce, but trust me, it’s not real anyway. Let it go.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

…Is what I want to say. I hear the echo of the intent in my thoughts any time life or love go sideways, even for a moment. I’m not so good at getting the words out there… soon enough? Calmly enough? Sufficiently lacking in any expression of emotional intensity that might tend to cause skepticism about my intentions? Yeah. Probably all of that. More. Other stuff I don’t think to manage, to deal with, to minimize, limit, regulate, scale down… I’m right here, every bit of me. Ferociously human. You too?

It’s a very quiet solo evening. I do need this time, he’s right about that. I miss him anyway. I manage to miss his scent, his voice, his hugs, his laughter – everything about his presence that is easy I miss with a fierceness akin to physical pain, as though something I need has been taken from me. I sometimes miss the harder stuff too, the qualities that challenge me to be the very best human I can, the very best lover, the most well-intentioned, authentic, supportive, affectionate and gracious being I could ever craft from the raw materials I’ve got… He’s every bit as human as I am myself, so there’s plenty to challenge me to grow. We fail each other regularly in small ways, rarely in any big ones.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

The week together has been an interesting mix of easy and challenging. I find myself thinking over the things that worked so well, the things that didn’t work as easily, even taking time to tenderly consider the moment or two that went poorly; it’s nice to notice how few of those there really were. I know that in our human hearts those can sometimes weigh most heavily in our thoughts. I’m no expert, but I’m definitely done with treating myself badly when I fall short of my own expectations – and those are hard enough to keep up with – I am done, too, with beating myself up when I fall short of someone else’s expectations. I’ve a long journey ahead as a human being. One step at a time is fast enough, and slow progress is still progress. For him, too; love can afford to be patient, to be kind.

I still struggle with interrupting people, especially if I am especially passionate, engaged, or excited about the topic being discussed. Listening deeply doesn’t come naturally to me. I practice. I do my best. I let it go when I don’t get it right, and I begin again. It matters enough that practice is worth it, and incremental change over time is enough. ‘The interrupting thing’ is especially difficult for people to take. I get it. I get interrupted a lot, and even by people who ‘don’t do that’ – because I don’t limit my speech to short phrases, very simple language,  and don’t do brevity with any ease… or even staying entirely on topic, I suppose. I speak very much the way I write. Whatever this is. Wordy. Verbose? Too much sometimes. I know – I accept it because it’s who I am, and I don’t mind it. I like the poetry of language, and the connection of good communication. I have time to listen, the interest, the intent, the desire to be sufficiently considerate and dialed in to the person I am talking with to really make a great conversation… only… I also interrupt. I’ll keep working on that, World, if you’ll just keep showing up so I can practice.

Tonight is easy. At long last, at least being alone with the woman in the mirror is easy. It wasn’t always. Tonight, this is enough.


Today I’m 52. I woke up stiff as hell; I walked about 10 miles yesterday without really planning to (or preparing for it) – a little more than 6 of it all at once at the end of a hot day. No regrets and no bitching, I’m just a tad stiff and sore. At 52 that seems a reasonable price to pay for youthful shenanigans. Next time I will plan my route more attentively, and ensure my calories and fluid intake leading up to the excursion are more appropriately managed to support the demand, as a proper grown up might. 🙂

It was a lovely day for a journey.

A lovely day for a journey.

I’m sipping my morning coffee and smiling. I smile a lot lately. I feel content, generally, and comfortable with myself and the woman I have become over time…eager to celebrate the small successes with my traveling partner, and a little self-conscious that at least for now, he is my only partner, and my only lover. It’s not an entirely comfortable experience for me, but wonderful for learning to treat one person truly well – me – and leveraging the power of that knowledge to treat my partner(s), and lover(s) well in the future. I need this time exploring who I am, and what matters about that – and what does not. My highs and lows are entirely my own. I feel sexy, beautiful, and comfortable in my skin. I love, and I am loved in return.

"You Always Have My Heart" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas with glow.

“You Always Have My Heart” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas with glow.

Some past relationships have ended leaving me feeling damaged, cheated, betrayed, and robbed – less of goods than of emotional experiences I really enjoy, and invested in heavily, only to find that the circumstances, or actions taken within the relationship took from me some moment of pleasure or joy, in some cases things I miss even to this day. I am surprised to find that I have come to terms with something I didn’t understand when I was less experienced, or less worldly, or less wise, or less… old. 🙂 Life has a pretty firm non-compete clause. Oh, I don’t mean that people don’t try to out do each other through one-upmanship, childish game playing, or frank actual theft, but Life itself is having none of it. Consider this thing that seems [to me] to be unavoidably true: you can’t have who I am. You could cut your hair the way I cut mine, color it precisely the same shade, learn my turns of phrase exactly, repeat my anecdotes to others as if they were your own, and attempt to duplicate my aesthetic, my issues, my timing… you would not be me. If we were twins, we would be individuals nonetheless. If we love the same movies – or the same people, we remain distinctly limited to being who we are, ourselves, whatever lies are told and whatever truths are hidden. It does not matter at all what we say about who we are. We simply are the being we are, with our choices and actions standing front and center and shouting the truths of it. “The truth will out.” Oh, hell yes it will.  Put all the effort you may care to into some charade; all is revealed through choices, and actions.

"Contemplation" 12" x 16" acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

“Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

I am reminded of a jazz standard I love that is apropos. “They can’t take that away from me”  We don’t lose the things we love – they become part of who we are. I am this woman, this being of light and love, and I am unapologetically original – there just aren’t any copies that pass for the real thing.  Just like a jazz standard, each singer’s song is different. Life being what it is, which is to say filled with change, experiences do come and go – there will be points in my life when leisurely contented conversation over morning coffee between passionate lovers may not be an everyday thing. I may not always have the leisure time (or the lover) to share lazy hours naked in the arms of love. Will I miss the things I enjoy when I am not able to enjoy them? Well, sure. Can anyone truly rob me of them? Not so much, no. Even when someone takes actions that seem to tear apart the fabric of my experience for their own gain…at no point, and in no way, will they ever be able to experience what I experience. I belong to me. My joys are mine. My challenges are mine. My growth and my triumphs – all mine. There is no ‘competition’ actually possible – even with love. We’re all beings of free will – my lovers will choose me, because I am who I am, and I meet some need at that point in their life. We share some measure of our journey together, for a time, but each remains individual. Our shared experience – still our own. The Art of Being is an art, because unlike science it can’t be truly duplicated, repeated, or taken over one from another; we are each having our own experience. I like my coffee the way I like it, and it tastes the way it does – to me. Your results may vary. Will vary. You are undeniably you. I have no power to take that from you (and no desire to have your experience), and you can’t have mine.

"Communion" 24" x 36"  2011 acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details & glow

“Communion” 24″ x 36″ 2011 acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details & glow

I am smiling over my coffee because there is no ‘win’ or ‘lose’ – just love, and human beings – a handful of whom are probably the sort who would take what isn’t theirs rather than put in the work to be the person they so desperately want to be. In the taking, they gain little, destroy much, and in the end – touch nothing about me, myself, unless I allow myself to be down trodden by their malice or ignorance – and they can’t have what they attempt to take in the first place, because they can’t have my experience of self. I’m not at all sure when this realization solidified in my understanding – recently. Wednesday? Earlier? Weeks ago, perhaps, but I didn’t have words for the growing sense of peace and utter self-assurance it filled me up with. It’s a lovely birthday gift to myself to have the feeling, and find the words.

Somewhere across the distance of life's journey, I am connecting with myself.

Somewhere across the distance of life’s journey, I am connecting with myself.

I was on a journey elsewhere…and I found my way home. 🙂

This morning I woke comfortably, easily, and moved through the beginning of my morning quite gently and with contentment. I feel wrapped in pleasantness, and generally in good spirits. It’s a nice start to a busy Tuesday ahead.

I don’t spend time, today, dissecting pleasant experiences – rarely do I immerse myself in the autopsy of a negative experience, either, these days. I have found that ruminating over what didn’t work…doesn’t work. Well, doesn’t work for me. Your results may vary. Similarly, questioning good experiences, however well-intended, can so easily stray into criticizing them, or denying myself the moment of joy. That’s beyond counter-productive, it’s actually mean. I don’t do mean. (When I say “I don’t do mean” I am not intending to communicate that it is beyond my nature, rather I am firmly setting a boundary with myself that this is not behavior I favor, and I refrain from it willfully, because I do not value the qualities of ‘mean’.) There are so many times it feels as if the world is lining up to knock me down or treat me badly – why would I contribute to that? It feels very good to treat myself well, to be considerate of my own experience, and to savor lovely moments.

Where does inspiration come from? Why does it feel like being in love?

Where does inspiration come from? Why does it feel like being in love?

This morning I am simply enjoying a quiet moment, feeling incredibly inspired and wanting very much to paint. For now, there is room in the loft to do so, and I may take the weekend and invest it my inspiration and take care of me on a level that I lack words for. I have, at this point, some dozen or more pieces sketched out in my head, two dozen or so sketched out in my sketch book, and a small handful of prepared canvases to work with…and  lot of drive to see color on canvas, and enjoy the physical experience of painting. My playlist is ready. All of it may have to wait for me to move into my studio… I’m okay with that, too. Perspective. Sufficiency. Contentment.

Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life, and a living metaphor for inspiration.

Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life, and a living metaphor for inspiration.

I am enjoying feeling wrapped in the singular sensation of self, of autonomy, of integrity, and of ‘wholeness’ that I experience when I paint – and when I am inspired to do so, and contemplating work not yet started. The heart of my being, the kernel of love at the center of the chaos and damage, is this creative drive, this experience of wonder and unlimited, unfathomable… yeah. I run out of words and run to canvas. That’s sort of how it works for me. 🙂 It’s a bit of my experience over which no partner, no family member, no boss, no authority figure, no elected official, no clergyman, no doctor, no lover, and no friend has held power over – and this morning, I am enjoying a moment of contentment as I consider that. I find myself wondering if we each have some core something-or-other that is the ‘who I am’ piece of self that can’t be controlled by someone else. I find myself thinking of Viktor Frankl, and feeling that ‘oh! I think I get it…’ feeling that always feels so satisfying in the moment. Maybe it’s madness.

Maybe it’s just a lovely morning, thinking about paintings I’d like to paint, creative projects I’d enjoy undertaking to fine-tune a beautiful life, and the delights of being able to enjoy being me? That’s certainly enough.

Today is a good day to take the time to enjoy my experience of myself. Today is a good day to take myself very seriously – and not seriously at all – and both in the kindest possible way. Today is a good day to love.

Life in the Information Age is pretty amazing. There are so many sources of information, so many formats, so may ways to share, to process, to filter, to understand…and so much to know. Realistically, ‘being a student of life’ is a journey that concludes only at the point at which life itself ends. There is so much knowledge available that repetition isn’t really necessary, and following hyperlinks wherever they may lead is the drug of choice for many an intellectual dilettante. The wellspring of knowledge never seems to run dry.  There are still choices to be made, verbs to apply…your results, and mine, may vary. Keeping up with it all is pretty challenging…We’re not only drowning in information, and in facts, we are provided misinformation, lies, and advertising slogans in similar quantity, forcing us to sort out bullshit from information pretty much continuously if we expect to hold on to some understanding of the world that is at least somewhat consistent with reality as a shared experience… But… We’re each having our own experience. Hell, even ‘placebo effect’ is a real thing that has real effects on actual people, in spite of ‘it doesn’t work that way’.

So…yeah… ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ and ‘facts’… how’s that working out for you?

Some of the rules are outside our power to change them.

Some of the rules are outside our power to change them.


What about when someone disagrees with your position, your emotions, or your experience? What then? Is ‘being right’ more important than being content? Is ‘winning’ more valuable than enjoying your experience?

What matters most?

What matters most?

What about when your experience of events, and your sense of self, find you feeling invisible, misunderstood, or a stranger to your loved ones, because you are not recognized as the being you experience yourself to be? Is correcting the erroneous assumptions and misunderstandings worthwhile in the moment? We are each having our own experience – which means that even our assumptions, expectations, and understanding of others, in the moment, is also truly our own; like so many things, our understanding of others is mostly made up, and not based entirely on our direct experience. Is contentment found in a quiet smile, and self-acceptance – or in ‘righting the wrong’?

Just be.

Just be.


Is it enough to be, and to understand being, from the vantage point of this self, that I am – or is there some need to assert some moment of self more explicitly to feel the powerful connection that comes with recognition, acceptance, and understanding by others? Is the connection worth enough to compromise authenticity – knowing that such a choice results in a poor quality connection, indeed?

Self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-compassion... there is value in knowing who I am.

Self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-compassion… there is value in knowing who I am.

Are there ‘right answers’…or simply my answers, or your answers?  These are only questions; I have no answers for you, only answers for me. I do think the questions have value… I keep considering them.

What else matters this much?

What else matters this much?

One last question… It’s a tough one, but the test is an open book sort; the world-wide web is vast, I’m sure you can Google it. What do you actually know about people who are most dear to you…and how much are you simply assuming?

Change is. Choose wisely.

Change is. Choose wisely.

Today is a good day to test assumptions, to ask clarifying questions, and to recognize one another in the moment. Today is a good day to embrace love, because it has more value than ‘being right’. Today is a good day to check facts, cite sources, and know myself. Today is a good day to trust that no one else knows me like I do. 🙂