Archives for posts with tag: I want to sing you a love song

“We are each having our own experience.”

...Stormy weather.

…Stormy weather.

I don’t actually remember, now, where it was I first heard that specific sentence, carrying the significance it now does. A book I read? My therapist? My traveling partner? I hang on to it on mornings like this one. Maybe you have them, too? Those mornings that begin well… I mean, really really well…then unexpectedly slide sideways on some icy emotional sidewalk? Yeah. Those suck. At least…they suck in the moment that I feel the good morning slip out from under me, stranding me in some very real, very challenging emotional moment of some entirely other variety.

Afterwards, sometimes days, sometimes hours, I often find that I’ve learned something important about someone who matters to me a great deal. It’s worth noting that I only seem to have these experiences with the people in my life who do matter most to me. That’s meaningful…but for now it generates only questions, and most of those are not of the useful sort.

Growth can be a lonely process.

Growth can be a lonely process.

I am continuing to re-read The Four Agreements. More studying, really. I find immense value in some of the simple concepts within this small, humble book. It’s on my kindle, but I am reading it from a bound book, to feel the weight of it in my hands, and connect with the experience in some more physical way, somehow. This morning, “Be impeccable with your word” rang out in my consciousness in conversation, and supported me; I was able to be more simply honest about my experience than I am often able to do without seriously escalating emotionally. Learning to let go of the sensation of ‘not being heard’ in order to speak freely, regardless, has challenging moments. There is balance and perspective to learn here, too. There are opportunities to learn to soften my tone, and choose words with care – still respecting my experience, and sharing it frankly, and simply. That isn’t always well-received – and it isn’t ever going to be ‘always well-received’, because we are each having our own experience; there may be things about what I have to say about mine, that are not a comfortable fit for someone else’s understanding of their own.

Those complicated mismatches between individual experiences, perspective, emic realities, maps – hell, even vocabularies and context – push another of The Four Agreements to the forefront this morning, “Don’t take anything personally.” It’s hard to be simpler than that. I am having my own experience, understood solely with my own understanding, filtered entirely through my own filters, limits, beliefs, and assumptions. I find myself wondering if all conflict, everywhere, comes down to one attempting to convince another to adopt an experience that is not shared… ‘just because’. Does the reason matter? Life and love are not a race to be won, or a competition in which someone ‘comes out on top’, or a battle… I guess, unless you’re in battle. At this point in life, my lack of interest in ‘being right’ sometimes sets me up to cave to pressure, rather than simply being.  That’s complicated. If I defy who I am to yield to someone else’s idea of who I am, or what I have said, I will neither be heard, nor will I be who I am. Strange puzzle.

This moment. Just this one, right here.

What about this moment? Just this one, right here.

You are not the person I think you are. You are who you are. I am not the person you think I am. I am who I am. Suddenly, this morning’s sturm und drang pulls the nature of attachment, and the gift of acceptance into focus. My irritation passes, and I feel more able to treat myself kindly; being poorly understood sucks. Being dismissed or rejected sucks, too. Feeling hurt over those things is still more suckage… but here’s something that doesn’t suck; being poorly understood isn’t about me, and there may be occasions when however clearly I express myself, the message is not wanted, and will not be heard. So not about me. Being dismissed or rejected? I guess I could take that personally – I’m pretty cool to hang out with – but why put myself through that? Choice is what it is, and there is no obligation for someone to choose me, in any moment, of any day, in any relationship. Free will being what it is, it makes sense to feel quite wonderful to be chosen – but probably healthiest to utterly disregard rejections, beyond moving on to other things with my time; there is no requirement that I be chosen, ever. Suddenly, feeling hurt dissipates, and I am free, myself, to choose.

Still, it’s not the morning I faced with such eagerness. That’s more than a little disappointing. I can choose, too, to invest in that disappointment, nourish it, grow it, and let it take over my day, filling my heart with resentment, and hurt feelings… or not. I think this morning I choose ‘not’. There’s a whole day ahead of me, with unknown delights that could so easily be missed if I am weeping in my coffee over someone else’s experience.

Each moment has its own beauty, its own significance, and its own worth.

Each moment has its own beauty, its own significance, and its own worth.

Today is a good day to enjoy my experience, and create compassionate space for others to similarly enjoy theirs, without taking personally the choices they make. Today is a good day to breathe deeply, to smile, and to notice that I am okay right now.

It’s the end of the day, and the household is still and quiet. The click of the keys, the distant hums, and hushed background noises are hardly interrupted by the trickle of the aquarium filter. Even in the stillness, I am reminded that some aquatic gardening is a tad overdue. It’s a long weekend, and there will be time to take care of it before the new work week begins. I feel…content.

Contentment has become just about my favorite emotion. Oh, sure, there’s Love…love…passion…romance, and yes those are all high on my list of favorite emotions. Happiness, too, sure. Joy. Delight. Those are all excellent emotions to savor in any moment. Memories of those emotions are wonderful to recall, and re-imagine in great detail. Contentment, though, has this saturating, drenching, wholly fulfilling sense of completeness and comfort that just can’t be beat. Contentment doesn’t ask for more. Contentment doesn’t feel short-changed, disadvantaged, or cheated. Contentment doesn’t know resentment, jealousy, or envy. The best part? Contentment is easy.

Here it is, night. The house is quiet, possibly sleeping, but no matter; I am content in the stillness of this lovely moment, after a delightful day of love…contented love, good-natured love, committed love, soulful love… and it’s not anything to do with Valentine’s Day. Love isn’t a holiday on a calendar to be celebrated as a token moment…It’s more of a lifestyle.

Love was once challenging for me to recognize, to find, or to hold on to…I needed to make quite a few love-related lifestyle changes, some of them even the same basic fundamentals of good health and self-care as diet and exercise; how do we love well, if we don’t begin with ourselves? At least, it has seemed to work out that way for me…your results may vary. I still work at love. I expect that even a committed lifetime of the study of love and loving doesn’t halt the need to practice good practices: kindness, compassion, listening with awareness, laughing together, being present, being considerate, sharing experiences, tenderness…all of it matters. Every compliment, every criticism, every moment to connect or to disconnect is relevant to the state of love. How we treat ourselves, how we treat each other, are what love is built on.

If practice makes perfect…what are you perfecting?

Love was good to me today. It’s definitely enough, and I am content.

One quiet moment, thinking about love.

One quiet moment, thinking about love.

The family arrived home yesterday much earlier than I expected. It was a happy homecoming of tired travelers, making the pot roast dinner in the slower cooker a welcome touch for later. It was a relaxed afternoon, and a pleasant end to the weekend.

Late in the evening I felt a touch restless, and my pain was aggravating me; I went for an evening walk. It was well-timed…for a duck, or a goose, perhaps, or some other sort of waterfowl; I got as far from the house as I intended to go, and the skies opened and it just poured down rain. I returned home utterly soaked – and laughing. It didn’t do my arthritis a bit of good, but I felt revived and refreshed, and delighted – like a child – with the sensations of it.

I crashed fairly early, slept fairly poorly, and woke in pain this morning. Somehow, I am still merry and content. Love is amazing stuff. My coffee is delicious, and as a treat I bought some almond milk creamer for my morning coffee, making this Monday morning seem just a little unusual. I’m still groggy and waking is coming slowly. I woke quite easily at 11:11 pm, after crashing early. I woke again, quite easily, at 2:52 am. Pain? Some other member of the household moving about in the night? There was no anxiety or distress, no need to fight off some stray attack by my own brain; it was simply night, and something woke me. In both cases, I returned to sleep with relative ease using meditation and breathing. As I opened my eyes in response to the aquarium light coming on with a quiet ‘click’, the alarm started to beep. I shut it off. I’m still trying to wake up completely.

What a lovely weekend. I enjoyed me. I enjoyed life. I enjoyed fellowship. I enjoyed love. I also enjoyed pot roast; my best one so far, I think.

It could be that I’m figuring out some of the changes with sex, love, sensuous connection, and intimacy that have come with menopause… I don’t actually know. I know the weekend felt natural and lovely, and that from a physical perspective it also felt nurturing, satisfying, and complete. This morning, that’s very much ‘enough’, and I don’t find myself making emotional demands on love’s future performance-to-goal; neither love nor Love take kindly to direct supervision, and are unlikely to accede to mortal demands. It’s pretty pointless to make a To Do List for Love and start insisting on things. (Inventing systems of thought and rules for loving hasn’t done much to improve humankind’s ability to love, or success with finding and keeping it, just saying.)

A few words on a pleasant Monday. I’m glad love has returned home. Today is a very good day for love.

Mmmm...Love, love, and loving.

Mmmm…Love, love, and loving.

I started the morning with a headache. I’m sure it will pass. My brain feels a little sluggish and foggy today; it was very late when I actually fell asleep, and I woke earnestly wanting the alarm to go off later…much later. I’m not bitching. I’m hopeful that at some point I will have that quality of deep sleep on a weekend morning that carries me on wings of pure restfulness until I wake, and finding myself so groggy right now manages to be a reminder that I am capable of deep sleep. My fingertips feel cold. This morning it reminds me that the temperature in my room is once again balanced for better sleep, and fairly chilly first thing when I get up as a result. I’m okay with that, too.

Headache and all, actually, today feels okay so far. I feel okay. The gray cloud of uneased loneliness seems to have lifted – and no surprise, I suppose, considering I spent a good many minutes after I retired last night crying; unreservedly and wholeheartedly grieving what may be lost along the way. Just that. To have some moment, some experience, of such sweetness and love – any such – and feel it slip away over time, or simply be…done…those are some very challenging experiences for me. I am still learning to accept some very basic truths about life – that lovely ‘this too shall pass’ aphorism cuts a very different way when considered in the context of some profoundly wonderful thing…and it’s no less true. Change is. I didn’t pass judgment on my sorrow, and I didn’t make excuses, or criticize my need to grieve life’s losses over time. I accepted in that moment that I was feeling profound sadness, and let that experience unfold. I cared for myself, and tended my injured heart, and I didn’t stuff my big emotions into a tiny box.

Just about the time my tears had dried, and I was meditating calmly and feeling accepting and content, my traveling partner checked in on me; it’s been a difficult bit of time, together, and he is more sensitive than most to the ebb and flow of my emotions, it can be hard to endure the intensity up close. We cuddled for a time, and I felt safe and secure nestled in his arms. I felt loved. It’s a powerful love that we share… It may not ‘be the same’ right now as it ‘once was’, but won’t that always be true, regardless? I live ‘now’…and ‘once was’ is not now, ever. It’s really that simple. This morning I woke feeling centered, and understanding more that there is so much to be enjoyed about right now… there are so many nuances to love and to loving… if things stayed the same, however good that might be, how much of what love has to offer would I miss out on?

I made some different choices to take care of me over the past few days, and they’ve been good choices, based on the outcome over time. Initial results don’t always seem so promising…but there again, maybe that’s because although change is, change is not always comfortable. I feel good today. I feel balanced. I feel the results of taking care of me….even grieving what isn’t can have some value, after all, it helped me get on through to what is.  In my own experience, being nearly always feels more fulfilling than yearning. I wasn’t helping myself out, being stuck and waiting for someone to help me out of the muck; I had my hands on a rope ladder of my own making, and all I needed to do was climb. There are verbs involved.

Today is a good day to take another step on this amazing journey. Today is a good day to remember that kindness begins with how I treat myself – and so do respect, consideration, compassion, and love. Today is a good day to remember the effect of incremental change over time, and to understand that however small one single step may seem to be as a singular experience, taken as a whole the journey goes many many miles, and every individual step is utterly necessary to complete it. Today is a good day to continue the journey.

One step at a time...

One step at a time…

Love is wonderful. Life is fairly amazing as experiences go. We are, however, imperfect mortal human primates, made as much of flaws and bad decision-making as we are of ‘star stuff’. This human experience is complicated. In every moment of misery, I try to hold on to something I find to be true about suffering, which is that the intensity of suffering tends to be a fair indicator of the magnitude of joy I am also capable of feeling. Some days that’s not much in the ‘something to hold on to’ department, but paired with ‘this too shall pass’ it’s generally enough to get by on, in a bad moment.

This morning I raise my mug in wry appreciation for the misery that woke me. I’m grateful that my traveling partner was awake, and there with a warm hug, and a hot latte. I woke feeling bereft, cut off, lonely…’lonely’ doesn’t really do the emotion that woke me justice. It was the loneliness of the friend standing by as the person they yearn for talks about ‘finding someone just like you’. It was the loneliness of the ‘tween who wants with so much hunger…and hasn’t yet become woman enough to be interesting romantically. It was the loneliness of sleeping alone, of waking alone, of being alone…and wanting intimacy and connection and companionship so much more than solitude. It was the loneliness of love lost, and the loneliness of the realization that what had been found wasn’t love at all. It was the loneliness of being ignored, or being forgotten. It was the loneliness of being unpopular. It was the loneliness of walking away. I woke feeling every lonely moment I have ever known, simultaneously delivered as a single waking moment, a sort of distilled essence of loneliness. The power of it was horrific. I woke stunned and emotionally immobilized long enough to take my morning medication, and try to go back to bed, uncertain what else to do. I felt ‘coated in distance’.  I pulled the covers over me, made my body comfortable, took a breath and relaxed to return to sleep and… and then I cried. I cried for every lonely moment I’d ever felt that I didn’t have tears for at the time. My heart melted, and it broke, and I cried until no more tears would come. I am clearly not going to be going back to sleep.

Thoughts of coffee differ from actual coffee.

Thoughts of coffee differ from actual coffee. It’s strange how intensely real thoughts can seem.

I finally woke up enough, some minutes beyond the crying, to realize that just laying there was pretty pointless, and, well… coffee. I got up and went first to my traveling partner, rather reassuringly relaxing in the living room and reading his email, sipping his morning coffee, looking for all the world like a man having a nice morning, in a world that is…just fine. He asked me how I’m doing, and I said it simply enough, without baggage or drama, “I woke feeling lonely and weird.” I accepted the offered hug, and he held me for the rest of our lives – well, no, actually just for some moments of lovely warmth and comfort, but it felt good – reassuring, safe, and comforting. By the time I sat down at my keyboard, with my latte, my heart was already feeling calmer, and the loneliness I woke to was receding. I have to wonder…how deeply can I connect to someone, how intimately close can I be with another human being, how vast is my capacity to love – if the loneliness that woke me is something I am able to feel, at all – and not only to feel, but to endure, and survive? Wow. I am eager to find my way to that connected intimate place.

Loneliness is a painful emotion to experience, and one that I find difficult to discuss, or to ease. I don’t often feel it so intensely; I enjoy my own company, greatly. For so many years my ability to connect with someone on a deeply intimate level, and my interest in doing so, was very limited. Lonely didn’t come up much, because I hadn’t the capacity to recognize I was missing something when I was alone, and when I did feel lonely it was generally a fairly biological thing driven by hormones and sexual needs, not at all on the order of the powerful loneliness experienced by someone yearning for a cherished deeply felt intimate connection that has been lost, or the loneliness of heartbreak. Perhaps learning to love truly well must include the experience of loneliness, to be valued in full? That seems a positive way to consider it, and I’m content with that for now.

I don’t know what today has to offer, or the weekend ahead, or the work week that follows. I am adaptable, life is unscripted, and reality brings spontaneity and change every moment of every day. Today I am a fearless explorer on a journey into an unknown future, with only ‘then’ and ‘now’ as compass and map. I hope to discover great things. Today is a good day to discover love.