Archives for posts with tag: impermanence

Early morning. Still dark. Nothing surprising about that; autumn is approaching. There are hints of all among the leaves and along forested paths. The mornings are chilly now. The nights have cooled off. The rains are returning. November isn’t far off, and the end of daylight savings time will switch things up a bit, but for now, that’s not relevant. What is relevant is that early morning is dark now. I sip my coffee looking past the window into the pre-dawn darkness.

“Hints of Autumn” 10″ x14″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, 2021

My own heart, in this moment, is filled with light. 🙂 Nice place to start the day.

Impermanence is a real thing. Darkness comes and goes. For some folks, there often seems more “darkness” than light. I think on that as I watch the first faint hints of dawn revealing the gray cloudy morning sky. The light does return. I think about that homily “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, and while I wonder whether it is literally true, I sip my coffee and observe the sky as it continues to lighten, on the way to daybreak.

The wheel continues to turn. The pendulum swings, the clock ticks. Change is. We may be mired in darkness in one moment; the sun will rise on another.

The pale gray sky beyond the window hints at rain. The clock reminds me that the work day is ahead. My coffee is mostly gone. I think about garden chores. I think about a walk later. I think about my Traveling Partner in the other room, and fill my thoughts will love and well-wishes for his day.

Another moment slips by. It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my second coffee this morning, letting my mind take a break from work by looking over newly prepared canvases waiting for further attention, and a couple small half-finished pieces that I am working on a bit at a time. It’s a new approach. It reflects the feeling of permanence in this place. I sigh contentedly and sip my coffee, smiling.

…It’s not permanent. Very little, if anything, is. I sip my coffee staring into the colors on canvases, and lose myself in my thoughts…

Sometimes beginnings are untidy. It’s rare that an intention is effortlessly achieved. Things seem always to be “becoming”.

It’s a pleasant day to reflect on an unwalked path, an incomplete painting, or a dream as-yet-unfulfilled. I sip my coffee and try to do so in the context of impermanence, and a sort of accepting non-attachment… the future does not exist in my present. It’s up ahead, somewhere, waiting to become a moment all its own. I think about my notion that a cottage garden would be lovely out front… and the patience involved in seeing that become, first, a plan, then, over time, with some luck and persistence and any number of new beginnings… a garden worth lingering in. No certainty that it will be a “cottage garden”, really… That’s how things go; differently than planned. Often. 🙂 My results vary. lol

Still… I can begin again.

It could be that some of my challenges will be part of my experience for as long as I’m experiencing things. It sucks more than a little bit to dwell on that, so I move on with my thinking as quickly as I can, but without cruelty or dismissiveness. I am human, after all. This morning I woke, and quickly found myself reduced to tears…over… nothing. Nothing whatsoever that has any substance in this moment, I mean. Emotions. Dreams? Maybe.

"The Nightmare City" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas w/glow

“The Nightmare City” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow

I woke feeling angry with my traveling partner, which is odd; one of my challenges is feeling safe about, and comfortably expressing, anger in my closest relationships. (It’s baggage that isn’t about my traveling partner, but he’s had to endure me lugging it around all this time.) I woke feeling angry that in our first years married, illness held him back from doing a lot of cool things; we stayed home, a lot. Now he’s well, and feeling fully himself, and he lives a busy life of adventure, going, doing, experiencing new things… and we no longer live together, and these are not our shared experiences. The anger I woke with quickly threatened to become a tantrum, a storm of unrelenting strong emotion knocking me off-balance with hurt feelings, and regrets. The anger became grief and sadness as soon as I let myself feel my feelings with compassion, and recognized the simultaneous feelings of resentment, sadness, and insecurity. My heart cried out “what do we have that is ours?” and I couldn’t answer it – not because there is nothing with which to answer, but because I can’t easily find the answer (through tears, through heartache, through the fog of just waking up, before my coffee…) without considerable thought. I let the tears come; it would be a genuinely sad thing to share nothing with one’s lover, and were that the case, there would be no failure in these honest tears.

It's okay to put some of that down, for now.

It’s okay to put some of that down, for now.

Later, I sip my coffee aware of the authentic feelings at the root of my difficult waking moments. I’m deeply in love with this particular human being I call my traveling partner, and at least for now we live very separate lives. Sometimes that is a painful experience. Sometimes it holds some relief that this human being so dear to me doesn’t have to struggle under the weight of my chaos and damage full-time. Right now, in this moment, I just miss him and find myself wondering rather hormonally what value I have… (Fuck you, Menopause, I’m supposed to be past having to deal with hormonal bullshit!) It’s rather foolish. It’s very human.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

Seasons change. Over the long summer I’ve come to miss him greatly, after enjoying living with him through the winter. I’m eager to enjoy the autumn and winter months together, celebrating holidays, enjoying the company of friends… but… there is something real here that may want my attention, and getting past the tears I’m aware that most his “go” and “do” activities in the past 2 years have developed in other relationships than ours. We spend very little time together; he’s busy elsewhere. (It’s quite possible the time we do spend together fully meets his needs. I’m not sure I’m ready to ask that question…) I woke up hurting over it and wondering what value “we” have for him. It’s not something to stew over – that’s a fast track to misery. I’ll just ask when I see him again, and he will tell me, and then I’ll know. I’ll be back to work soon… there won’t be time for fussing about how little time we spend together, then; there won’t be time left in the days for it. The time we spend together will be limited to the time we have.

My calendar is very full for the next several days. Appointments. Brunch with a friend over the weekend. Friday night with the guys from my previous work team. My last week of leisure will probably be filled with “getting ready to go back to work” activities. It’s not likely that these will be days filled with sadness or passing emotional storms, there’s too much to do, and life to be lived. I feel some regret that my traveling partner wasn’t available to enjoy more of this time away from work with me… but it was time I took for me, as it was, and it has been well-spent on healing, growing, and practicing good self-care. Worthy endeavors, good outcomes. (So, hey, Brain, stop being such a bitch to me, please?)

A gray dawn greeted me so gently I barely noticed it had become day time while I wrote. I’m not crying now, or even sad really. I’m sipping my coffee, listening to music, and feeling a contented smile tug at the corners of my mouth. I think about other friends. Other loves. Other moments of great joy – or great sorrow. Impermanence is a very real thing, and change is, too. I smile thinking about my traveling partner’s good times to come, and his journey here and there. I’m already eager to hear about it – and he hasn’t even departed. lol He’ll take approximately no pictures at all, but my imagination will fill in all the details in the telling. 🙂

Today I don’t opt into loneliness, and once my tears have dried it’s another lovely morning, heading into another day of living a life built mostly on contentment (and bits and pieces of chaos and damage). Today is a good day to begin again. 🙂


It’s raining this morning. It’s been raining most of the night. I love the sound of it on the eaves, windows, and chimney cover. I woke fairly early and meditated for some while as the dawn turned to morning, and the rain fell.

A rainy morning from another perspective.

A rainy morning from another perspective.

I find myself thinking a lot about perspective this morning, and my metaphors have gotten all jumbled up. I think of the unique individual nature of each raindrop, each wet blade of grass in the meadow, each insect chased by each swallow…and as each metaphor begins to take shape in some more meaningful seeming way, it crumbles under the weight of how similar each of these things really is, from my own perspective. Can I tell at a glance once rain drop from another? Or one blade of grass, one insect, or one swallow? Hardly. Not as a general rule. Few could, except perhaps those who make a committed study of some particular – raindrops, or maybe a certain very particular butterfly, or the blades of grasses. I spend some moments considering that. If I were to spend a great deal of my time studying just one very narrowly defined object, creature, event, or notion, wouldn’t I become highly aware of the most granular subtleties of every characteristic, over time? Would this alter how I view all manner of other things as well – changing the focal point of my perspective in some fashion?

The rain continues to fall. The ducks and Canada geese appear to be enjoying it greatly, and feasting on something they dig out of the mud between dripping wet blades of grass. I think about perspective as I watch them; if I asked them ‘how are you doing’ and asked also that they place their experience on a scale of 1 – 10, what would they say? I think about my own answer to that question. I find it a difficult way to rate my experience, because it requires thoughtful consideration and then probably some math to find an average; I am in a lot of pain today, but feeling content, serene, and pleasantly disposed toward the world…not quite ‘merry’. So… 1 – 10? 6? 7? ‘Better than average’? What’s ‘average’? My average? Or would the questioner’s perspective be their own understanding of ‘average’? I want to rate it twice – climate and weather. Because my day-to-day background sense of things (climate) is more a… 9. Which is nice to make note of. My right-now-pain-and-all (weather) is something more like a 6 with suggestions that a playful 7 is within reach, if I continue to manage my pain as best I can, and also hold on to some perspective – weather changes. I look out across the rainy meadow. Numbers don’t matter to raindrops. The blades of grass are not concerned about my perspective.

A runner crosses my view of the meadow, running through the muddy grass to bypass the flooded trail. He runs in a t-shirt and shorts, and the rain continues to fall rather heavily. The weather is not yet warm. I wonder what his perspective is on the rain as he passes by beyond the window, across the grass? Does he find his experience bracing, refreshing, and delightful? Did he seek out the sensations he is experiencing? Or his is morning run a matter of rigid habit, of discipline, and a personal will to refuse to be overcome by some raindrops? He chose – but what was it he was choosing?

Today is a good day to listen to the rain fall, and a good day to consider something from a different perspective.

It’s a Thursday, poised gently between a week in progress and a week nearly over. I slept well and deeply, waking at some point before the alarm went off. I told myself, this morning, that if it were as little as 15 minutes before the alarm would go off, I’d just get up. Seemed quite likely I’d get up regardless… I checked the clock, and noticed it was a bit more than half an hour before the alarm would go off… generally, I’d get up… Peculiarly, this morning I contentedly rolled over, wrapped myself in warm covers, agreeably admitted to myself as sleep overcame me that I’d most likely feel groggy when I woke… only…

I woke to the insistent beeping of an alarm clock that I had trouble locating by feel; it was quite literally out of reach, which seemed oddly metaphorical in my waking moment. I struggled with twisting to reach the lamp switch as the alarm continued to beep. I woke stiff and aching, and had managed to place the alarm clock quite completely out of common reach, on the far side of the nightstand. Finally. Silence. I stood with some effort, and made my way to the bathroom rather sluggishly.

I dither through my morning routine…heat the water for coffee now… or after my shower? After. Music? No music? Music. Fuzzy spa socks until I leave for work…or put on my hiking socks? Spa socks. Dark roasted Java, or medium roasted Uganda? Java. Sweater or t-shirt? Sweater. Back and forth, options being considered, choices being made, and the day begins to take shape for this one singularly ‘me’ human being of middle age, soft sweater, modest means, and generally gentle habits… I see the words, and sense a much younger version of me somewhere in the distance of time with a scrunched up ‘WTF?’ look of quizzical wonder on her face. “How did we get here?” I smile to myself – feeling the warmth of my affection for this ‘stranger within’, this ‘me’ creature, and think of the miles we have walked, the internal demons of chaos we’ve battled together, the endless practice, the choices to change… There is no question, really, how I got from ‘there’ to ‘here’ – there have been verbs involved, and will, and choice, and change.

How beautiful that each new day I can choose to begin again!

How beautiful that each new day I can choose to begin again!

I am in some physical pain this morning; the weather is rainy again, and my bones ache with it. I’m not bitching, just saying it is an element of my experience that can tend to color my thinking if left unaddressed. I make a point of taking care of this fragile vessel. Today has all the ingredients of being a very pleasant one. (Still verbs involved.)

I can recall a time when being asked to change seemed more constant than being valued or appreciated as I was, which I recall as being very rare. I don’t doubt from my perspective now that this was a ‘true’ experience from my perspective then. I felt frustrated, and criticized. I felt inadequate. I felt angry – and the anger mostly came from how astonishingly rarely anyone else seemed willing to change at my request, as though I were uniquely flawed, and they were singularly perfectly beautifully human just as they were.  It hurt a lot to view the world that way. It grew and festered until it became a fairly constant internal fight that often ended resentfully with a simultaneous feeling of ‘fuck your change!’ and capitulation to pressure, to coercion, to fear of withdrawn affection, followed by all the brutal self-criticism as I attempted to force change on myself to meet someone else’s needs. My soul fairly continuously cried ‘what about me?’ within the context of relationships that were purportedly intimate. What a fucking mess.

It became a very big deal to live authentically – which definitely required that I start figuring myself out, fast. Turning my own attention toward the woman in the mirror in an honest way, unreservedly and unashamedly in my own corner, being genuinely supportive of my own needs in a strong and positive way was another very big deal – and the verbs were definitely piling up alongside new practices. Every change I chose for myself, because that change met my own needs and held potential to take me further down my own path, made change itself just a bit less terrifying, and a bit less alienating. Instead of changes imposed on me somehow making me less and less me over time, I began to choose change for myself, based on my own values, my own needs, my own aesthetic. Life changed with me. The changes I chose were for and about me, about being the woman I most want to be, myself, and about living my values quite openly and comfortably. A lot of things begin to change around me, and within my relationships – for one thing, it quickly became clear who enjoyed and valued me, for real. “Faking it” in life was not only no longer a choice with value – it was no longer an option. What a relief!

"How many more miles?" doesn't ask a question that needs an answer.

“How many more miles?”  is not a question I need to ask.

This is not an epitaph to a journey. The journey is not the destination. There is no ‘finish line’, no scorecard, no ‘pot of gold’ – because there is no end to the rainbow for this tale of wonder. Another day will dawn, and I will begin again. Each day is so powerful as an opportunity to choose to live life willfully, eyes wide with wonder, mind open to the possibilities, and aware of the world and my fellow travelers within feeling constrained or encroached upon by their values, or their freedom. In this moment, here, this morning, I feel ‘whole’ and ‘well’ and a whole bunch of other lovely words about the ‘me’ that is, versus the woman I wasn’t, for so very long. Strangely – this is what feels ‘ordinary’ today. 🙂

Change is like a doorway on a longer journey.

Change is like a doorway on a longer journey.

…Oh…hey… We’re still here? My mind wandered. A quick montage of recollections of other times, harder times, different times, some even fairly recent times, and I humbly observe that although this morning feels very good – and also very ordinary – I’m very human, and there will likely be other less pleasant times to come… somewhen. That, too, is very ordinary. I’d say something insightful about impermanence, but I’m not sure there’s more to say than ‘impermanence is a thing I can count on’. Weather changes. Job changes. Mood changes. Relationship changes. Health changes. Lifestyle changes. Change is. I think what I’ve really been saying this morning is that being the authority on change in my own experience, being the entity choosing the changes, and keeping that power of choice and action for myself – to use it as a tool, rather than as a weapon, and to make it one of the processes of order, rather than part of the chaos – has been a profoundly positive thing for me.

Yes. Of course there are verbs involved. Isn’t today a good day for some verbs? 🙂