Archives for posts with tag: it’s not about the money

I woke feeling better this morning, after a rather dismal early night of feeling fairly ill. It’s behind me. I feel better. I’m grateful.

I made my coffee, and read messages from my Traveling Partner, while waiting for water to boil. I smile, reminded that today is payday. I didn’t quite scamper to my desk with my coffee; time to pay bills!! 😀

…Wait…

…I don’t even like paying bills or “dealing with the money shit“… What is this about?

I sit down and review my budget, look over the banking details and the pending and upcoming bills, even those set to auto-pay (which is most of them). The auto-payments are all set to minimums, though, and generally I like to do better than that, particularly on debt with finance charges or interest. So, I make a few changes, and hit send on some payments.

There’s less cash in the bank account very quickly, but this amazing feeling of contentment, achievement, satisfaction, and… safety. I feel emotionally safer when my bills are paid. This particular feeling “seems new” – it’s at least new-ish, in the sense that for many years I did not at all understand how much of my anxiety and day-to-day discomfort in my own skin was about debt, poverty, privation, not having basic goods and services, not having enough to enjoy small luxuries… “getting by” often did not feel very good at all. I didn’t really connect that experience with my shitty money management.  Back then, I “managed” my finances by way of fear, anxiety, desperation, and panic. It was a less than ideal approach.

Something has changed. My finances are decently well-managed. I’ve come a long way in my career, and my ability to manage my finances (with a lot of help and emotional support from my Traveling Partner). When I need something (like, say, a car), I can usually just go for it. I don’t have the resources to live a fully cash-based luxury life, far from it, I have to plan, and be mindful with my finances, and make it a commitment to look after my resources with care, aware of the future ahead of me, which still has a lot of fucking uncertainty. Still… I’m okay right now. It’s a nice feeling.

This morning, I’m also just… yeah, my mind is still completely blown that the high point of my morning has been paying my bills. lol Something has changed, over time, about the way I view money, and how my experience of dealing with it feels. Having a few weeks riding the ragged edge of dragging my cash accounts back in time to near-zero balances, however briefly (waiting a few more weeks to buy the Mazda would have been, perhaps, wiser) was some eye-opening perspective. Once I got past the initial anxiety, and became more explicitly aware that I was processing trauma associated with money, it stopped being so worrisome, and became nothing more than a few days of waiting, and an opportunity to share my experience with my Traveling Partner, and coordinate limited shared resources more skillfully, with great care, for a couple weeks. 🙂

What a nice place to be with myself. Oh, I no doubt still have some baggage about money, and about not having it. I can do better. There’s more to practice. More to learn. Still… these small celebrations of forward momentum, and positive changes that result in improved quality of life, are important; celebration means awareness, and holding these positive changes happily in my explicit awareness for a time, makes them “more real” in my implicit sense of self.

…And I just love feeling good.

I feel good. 🙂

It’s time to begin again. 😀

I’m “taking a media break” from news feeds, streaming contact, social media – pretty much most of the digital distractions available have been paused, logged off, or shut down for the weekend. I suck at this, so it is a constant effort to be vigilant about the potential time and bandwidth drains, and to choose wisely – and consistently. This? This right here is part of who I am. If I were not writing this blog post, I would be perched on a sofa, chair, or rock somewhere, with a hardbound blank book in my lap, still writing. Probably about the same number of words. This is a thing I do – and have done so since I was quite young (12?13?).  No point, really, in trying to halt the flow of words, entirely; it would be an endeavor with (historically) limited success. 😉 Gnothi seauton.

Today I’m spending the day (and likely the weekend) in my studio. Painting. Sorting through years of stacked canvases to select inventory for sale. Giving thought, too, to the installation at the gallery where I am presently showing my work. I could rotate something out, put up something different… or… not. 🙂 I could paint all day, instead.

In the studio, I’ve got a couple larger, time-consuming works that I am working on slowly, with care, but today “feels like” new work…

I sometimes find it tougher to get started on new work than I expect to. I have an idea in my head of where the work should finish, what I want to see, but the “point A to point B” of that journey rarely seems to straightforward. Do I begin with a finished background, already painted? Will I “ruin it”? (Which really only amounts to painting something different than I’d planned on – which happens a lot. 🙂 ) Truth is, like any beginning on any journey that seems to have a fixed destination, but an uncertain route, getting started sometimes feels… hard. So, I put a fresh canvas on my easel, much the same way I’d write an observational first sentence when I’m unsure what to write, and grab a big brush, a tube of glow in the dark, and a bunch of glitter. “My first sentence” on this weekend’s journey isn’t written in words – it’s done on canvas, in glow-in-the-dark and glitter. 🙂 Just a bit of fun, loosely inspired by summer mornings, and fireworks shows, and a chill, happy place within myself that is purely okay with who I am. It’s an excellent beginning, lacking in performance pressure, crafted of coffee, birdsong, and personal delight.

…a beginning has to start somewhere… (an unfinished work of glitter and glow, begins the day).

What makes your day – or your life – “sparkle” for you? What do you yearn to make, build, or do? What do you resent your job over, that you wish you “had more time for”? I get it… we’ve got to get out there in the world and hustle, make some motherfucking money, pay the bills, “get ahead”… but… what about what matters most? What about your passion? What about that spark in your soul? Write a novel? Poetry? Paint? Sketch? Sculpt? Craft? Build? Create? Restore? Grow? What excites you about life? Who are you when you are not at work? There’s time for that, too – there has to be, otherwise, what’s the point of living? The thing is – sometimes we have to set a firm boundary, snatch our time back from those who would have it in service of their agenda, instead of our own. Don’t forget that person in the mirror – you matter. Take care of you. Live some tiny fragment of even your boldest dreams!

“All that glitters” is most definitely not gold – some of it? Some of it is actually, literally, “just” glitter… but glitter has its place, too.  (My Traveling Partner calls it faerie scabies, and some days its “place” does seem to be… everywhere. lol) 🙂

Enjoy life’s sparkle!

Start somewhere. Begin again. 🙂

 

 

Crazy busy week last week lead into a vibrant and busy weekend that finished with a long trying drive and a quick and unexpected, thoroughly predictable, bout of stress, anxiety, and a few tears. I totally had a tantrum. Like an exhausted, overstimulated, toddler. My funk didn’t last, and by the end of the evening, last night, I was feeling relaxed and mostly merry, even though I rather carelessly (literally carelessly) left my badge to get into the office behind when I quietly crept out of my Traveling Partner’s residence to avoid waking sleeping party guests, as I prepared for the return trip to my place. I smile thinking about it; best party I’ve been to in a long time. 🙂 I’m not even irked that my morning (and departure) was anything but leisurely – and entirely coffee-free. Well. Not now. lol

Beautiful momentum.

I woke up this morning feeling busy already, the week ahead landed on my consciousness before I got out of bed. Unfortunate. I considered writing. It would have been a choice moment for writing, as a practice. I chose meditation, and housekeeping, instead, and felt decently mild-mannered and appropriately focused when I arrived at work. It didn’t really last… my head is filled buugeng patterns. lol I want to go home and practice more. 😀 Then, about half way through my morning, a quick blast of stress, and the resurrection of a personal demon. Even that didn’t last long. I got past it sufficiently to wrap up a productive workday in the usual fashion. The day began and ended rather well. The commute home was neither nauseating nor enraging (win!).

I got home still carrying some stress from earlier. Nothing weird or major (for me)(these days); money. Money damage. Money baggage. Money triggers. Money symptoms. I’d have done anything to numb those sensations and emotions, even 3-4 years ago, to ignore them, shut them out, to turn away. I don’t know exactly when my thinking changed on this, but really, it wasn’t worth fighting myself over it. I sat down and planned my 2018 budget, looked for (and found a couple) opportunities to be more efficient, more accurate, and therefore more realistic (and successful?). It felt good to finish that, to have a good plan… to be on my own side. 🙂

The stress that had lingered in the background is gone. So is most of the evening – and I don’t feel at all cheated by that. I may even feel… entertained? Satisfied, at least. That’s often the resulting emotion (for me) when I am skillful on some self-care task, satisfaction. Comfort? A certain settled safe feeling that seems to accompany being able to count on me to take care of myself. 🙂

I chuckle when I realize “plan 2018 budget” was never on my to do list… so… I add it, then I check it off. A nice finish to the day. Tomorrow, I can begin again.

In some moments I feel as if I am walking some invisible slack line high above sharp rocks or dangerous obstacles, no safety net, with an armload of squirming cats that don’t get along with each other, and haven’t eaten in days. The sensation is not improved by upheaval in my day-to-day routine, disarray in my environment, or the challenges of experiencing emotional intimacy and connection, while also developing emotional self-sufficiency. Sometimes it’s hard. Difficult. Complicated. Emotional.

Well, sure, you say that, but...

Well, sure, you say that, but…

My traveling partner does his courteous, considerate best to ease the strain, to minimize the challenges. He is, however, having his own experience. I practice deep listening, while also recognizing I have both a need and obligation to my own emotional wellness to set boundaries; this is by intent and respecting my ‘OPD free zone’; my partner is welcome here any time, but relationship drama is not. I continue to invest in my own emotional self-sufficiency, while also recognizing that the skills and tools required are not yet forged of unbreakable materials, and require continued practice, and more good boundary setting. I actually suck rather a lot at the setting of clear reasonable boundaries and maintaining them skillfully. An ongoing challenge requires ongoing attention, and the work involved is on me; there are verbs involved, choices, and mindful attention to the needs of the woman in the mirror, while also being compassionate, present, supportive, and aware – considerate – of the needs of the person so dear to me, now sharing this space.

partnership

Partnerships endure and overcome challenges with shared effort, support, consideration, and awareness.

It has been very tough to relax entirely this week, or to find a feeling of being grounded, centered, balanced, and hold on to it; the symptoms of OPD are present in many moments. I set all that aside and listen to the rain fall. I could contentedly spend the day listening to the rain fall; it’s not a comfortable fit for shared living. At least, for now, I don’t yet know how to say ‘I need more quiet time than I am getting’, without causing hurt feelings, or heaping more experiences of feeling rejected on someone who urgently needs very much to feel welcomed – somewhere. This is home. My home. His home whenever he is here. A safe place to be at home with oneself, and with love. I remind myself that healing takes time, and that hurt creatures need comfort and care, and that change is. Human beings don’t tend to remain ‘in crisis’ indefinitely (unless repeatedly subjected to an insane cycle of empty promises, baiting, and torment). Healing happens in a safe nurturing environment. It still takes the time it takes. I ask myself an important question or two about what matters most to me, and find myself feeling soothed, content, and comforted. At least for a while, it will be on me to provide much of the positivity and comfort here, and to be the builder of an emotionally healthy environment that meets needs for two, and to do rather a lot of ‘adulting’ – maybe more than I feel ready for. I remind myself I’ve been providing these things for myself successfully for a year, and that love is not an adversary, or a drain on resources, or an inconvenience, but may require some tweaks and changes to the way space is used, and the timing of various practices, tasks, and activities.

partnership

Partnerships don’t alleviate the requirement we each have to take care of ourselves, while we also care for each other.

I take some time this morning to meditate on boundaries, ground rules, The Big 5 on which I personally seek to build all my relationships (respect, consideration, compassion, reciprocity, and openness), and what I can do to deliver on those characteristics well, and not simply assume they are my due. A partnership requires equanimity, and shared effort. We can only each do our best, as we understand our best to be in the moment, and even at that, sometimes our best is literally not enough to cause change. I can choose not to take small hurts personally, and be a supportive presence in the midst of my partner’s emotional chaos and suffering; it will require me to learn to juggle my own needs and theirs with considerable efficiency, and to learn to set boundaries more firmly, but also with great tenderness and compassion. Fuck – I hope I am up to the challenge. A year ago – almost exactly – the best I could do was simply remove myself from the problematic environment, because the difficultly level far exceeded my competency, or ability to care for myself while enduring it.

Having both complex PTSD and  a TBI, trust me when I say I don’t find living with people easy; however lonely solitary living may sometimes feel, it is nearly effortless in comparison to cohabitation!

Today's sunrise wasn't this colorful. I am reminded that change is.

Today’s sunrise wasn’t this colorful. I am reminded that change is.

Every day is a new opportunity to begin again. I spend the time over my first coffee revisiting my budget. There is change to account for. I account for it. I accept how uncomfortable I feel having to do so, so soon after moving. I take a moment to recognize the simmering anger and resentment lurking beneath the discomfort, directed toward someone who is literally no part of my life in any direct way. I resent that there is even an implied presence, or any agency affecting my routine that I have not invited into my experience. I breathe and let it go. I’m okay with the anger, and the resentment too, they seem a reasonable emotional response to being shoved from the slow moving-in process I had embraced so deliberately, to being in circumstances that feel rushed by need and urgency. I dislike the unpleasant negative emotions that come with the lurking ‘OPD’ now a constant threat in the background.  It is part of my partner’s experience, and as unpleasant as I find it, it’s no doubt worse for him. I’d like most to ease his suffering. How do I set and reinforce boundaries about this OPD free zone I have created for myself without encroaching on the free will of a respected adult now in my household? (I mean, seriously? I entirely don’t care to deal with it, don’t see that it must be dealt with at all, and don’t want to encourage it; it has no place here.)

...and listen deeply.

…and listen deeply.

The day is barely begun, and holds so much promise. Perhaps a second coffee, and another chance to begin again? Perhaps a different selection of verbs with that? 🙂