Archives for posts with tag: just be

Peculiar morning. I woke from a sound sleep to the message from my Traveling Partner letting me know he is safely home. I felt okay when I woke… not “merry” or overly enthused, but calm and content, certainly. My emotions have shifted and boiled up since then, mixing, shifting, seeming detached from any specific circumstances. Moments of deep love, poignant moments of almost-grief, a lingering vague sadness, a certain tinge of disappointed bitterness with edges gilded in cynicism – variety, this morning, a sampler of feelings lacking in context. No point to be made. No knowledge to be gained. Random emotions in the hours after waking, only.

Last year a morning like this would drive me to my meditation cushion, seeking solace and self-soothing. Two years ago, maybe three, I’d have been feeling low over it, pensive and moody, wondering “what it all means”, but diligently avoiding becoming fused with the emotions, and putting a lot of effort into being present in the moment. 5 years ago, a morning like this one would have found me weeping quietly behind a closed door, frightened of shadows, certain there was no emotionally safe place to turn, filled with despair, and enraged that “it’s all happening again and I can’t make it stop!!” – and not sure what exactly I meant by any of that.

This morning I am a calm observer of my emotions as they ebb and flow, passing through me, sweeping over me, arriving, and then also departing. “This too shall pass” is pretty much approximately always a true statement, whatever the circumstances, if only I can allow it to be so. I open windows to let in the breezes. I enjoy my coffee as day begins to break. I watch dawn arrive from the deck, bare feet on wood, the hair on my arms raised in the pre-dawn chill. I meditate. I have my oatmeal for breakfast. I do my physical therapy stuff. I water the patio garden as the sky begins to lighten from pale to more obviously blue. This is my life, emotions and all. I am okay with that, and with them.

It’s a strangely emotional morning, though. No obvious cause and effect – that’s hard for me, because as human primates are often inclined to do, I really want my emotions to “make sense”, even though “making sense” and being “reasonable” are not their role. I am human, very, and both emotion and reason are part of that experience. I find that some of the power of emotional experiences is lost if I force some kind of rationalized context on them, instead of simply feeling my feelings. So this morning I am feeling things. I wasn’t expecting such a morning, or planning on it, and I don’t know where it may lead or what the day looks like if filled with such experiences.

“Emotion and Reason” 18″ x 24″ acrylic w/ceramic and glow details

I hear vehicles passing by. Some slow down near the cross-street nearest my driveway. My heart jumps each time – is it him? Each time, I feel that it could be my Traveling Partner. My emotions reach my consciousness first. Reason politely points out that although it is physically within the realm of possibilities that he could indeed have immediately gone from his RV to the SUV and headed this way, arriving here sometime around now-ish, it’s really not likely – he just finished driving hundreds of miles through the night, arrived home safely – and tired – and more probably is now soundly asleep. That’s “reasonable”. Reason gets to the party a little later than emotion does. How much fucking drama does that timing cause humanity day-to-day? I smile and sip my coffee. It’s nice to have the practical example in the moment.

Here. Now.

Pink clouds against a blue sky as the sun begins to edge over the unseen horizon. I know the sun is there, though I can’t see it. Peering at my life through my emotions is a little like that, this morning; I have reason, waiting in the background like that unseen sunrise, but for now what I see are those pink clouds of emotion, reflecting facets of what is, all colored up and altered, changing with the light as the sun does rise. Eventually, day light. Eventually, emotion and reason in balance, awake, and aware.

Strange morning. I have time for another cup of coffee. I have time to begin again.

The sun rises beyond the meadow. The dew on the tall grass between the community lawn beyond the patio and the park beyond, sparkles like glitter, catching my eye as it shifts with the morning breeze. It twinkles like a promise of friendly fun in the eyes of a new lover. A curious blue jay approaches the patio door, peering in from his own perspective on the morning, curious but too busy to linger. I sip my second cup of coffee with a contented smile. There’s nothing more this particular moment needs. It’s just one moment, between waking and doing, a moment to be. It is enough as it is, and I am content to enjoy it.

I bloom like a garden flower when conditions are right. This morning I understand I am also the gardener.

Later I will take action, or complete a task, or do a thing, or play a happy song… there’s time for that, then. For now, I embrace stillness. It’s enough.

Yesterday was hard. Small things frustrating me here, there, and oh right – over there, too. Work. Life. Health. Ping. Ping. Ping. I find myself struggling against tears more than once. Not sorrow. Not anger. My own personal kryptonite: frustration. It’s hard these days to anger me, and by far most of my anger has its roots in frustration. It’s hard to break me down – the most powerful lever remains my own reaction to my own frustration. I bounce back pretty easily these days – except for moments of frustration, those sometimes color an entire day, or experience.

Mornings sometimes promise me the world is made of opportunity.

Yesterday was filled with moments of frustration. The recollection raises my stress level in the here and now, not quite unexpectedly. I feel grateful to know myself better than I once did. My most powerful personal demon is, at least, at long last, named. I have given her a face and a voice and a name, and I am tired of her shit. Frustration can knock me down, but I’m still getting back up, again and again. Frustration may move me to tears more quickly than any moment of grief ever seems to, but I know I can cry a million tears and survive the moment. Frustration may end an event, and evening, a long day, but I can begin again.

By afternoon, I’m sometimes looking at things very differently.

Ideally, I would have gone to bed before 9 pm. I couldn’t rest or relax. Stress had severely pwnd me. I found myself sitting in a silent room, ruminating over frustrations. Worrying about this fragile mortal vessel. Sleep was not likely. My Traveling Partner being out of town also put him out of reach, although we’d spoken earlier, and I was still hanging on to his loving words for comfort. I was still to wound up for sleep. I reached out to a friend, a fellow veteran, living next door. “Hey, dude, you wanna hang out for a few minutes? I’m stuck. Hanging out with someone over a moment of conversation or… anyway. If you’re up for it, I’d feel better with some company, maybe.” “Oh, hey, I was thinking about you. I wasn’t sure… I didn’t want to break in on your quiet time… Yeah, I’ll be right there.” We set an alarm, to be sure he’d head back to his place in a timely way. He’d been in the kitchen, doing kitchen things. We hung out. Talked. My heart rate slowed, my stress eased. Sleep became a possibility. I wake up this morning grateful for good friends, grateful for love, grateful that generally however frustrating or crappy things feel… I can begin again.

Things look different from another perspective. Sometimes that helps.

So here’s me; beginning again. It’s all very human. Health? Well… yeah… the “nothing really” might be something, and that’s worrisome. Work? It’s just a lot, that’s all, and it’s a process, and there’s plenty of traction and forward momentum and meetings and buzzwords… and I’m valued, and appreciated, and it’s just adulting in an adult world. Sometimes frustrating. Life? You know… I’m going to embrace the good, give the side-eye to the shit that aggravates me, and be present, awake, and aware, for as much of this peculiar adventure as I possibly can. What if it ends tomorrow? Well… what if it does? I’m here now. Enjoying this moment, quietly sipping my coffee, and planning my house-hunting for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s uncertainties aren’t even real, yet… not really.

Be present. Begin again.

It has to be enough.

 

I woke during the night, at 2:35 am. Maybe something woke me. Maybe I just woke up. I got up and wandered through the apartment room by room, not for any particular reason. I think I could have rather easily gone back to sleep. I don’t have a clear idea why I actually got up upon waking. I wasn’t awake long, only long enough to wander through the darkened rooms, illuminated, enough for eyes that opened in the darkness, by the outdoor community lighting along walkways filtering through the closed blinds. I stood in the open patio doorway for some minutes, breathing the cool night air, and watching the clouds scoot past overhead. I went back to bed afterward.

With no alarm set, and no requirement to wake at some specific morning hour to hasten for a building elsewhere, to take a seat among working peers, to process tasks and complete workload for an employer, I slept until I woke, rested. I savored my waking moments with sensuous delight, aware how imminent the return of the alarm clock’s harsh no-nonsense beeping may be. It’s a lovely morning to enjoy what is. What is not, or is not yet, or is no more, is… without consequence in this moment. Well, maybe some of the “is no more” stuff has lingering consequences… our choices matter. Our choices now become our circumstances in our as-yet-unknown future. Sure, that’s pretty much how it works, generally. The future, however, remains firmly not “now”. Our past choices may have consequences we deal with presently, still… our past is also not “now”. I’m enjoying this “now” moment, and it is a lovely one. Quiet. Calm. Content. This is enough. Enough for “now”, and “now” is what I’ve got to work with. 🙂

This particular "now" is a lovely one.

This particular “now”; one moment among many.

The busy week still feels fairly well-managed, not quite “effortless”; there have been many verbs involved. Small breakthroughs, too, in areas of long-time struggle, confusion, or chaos. Something clicked for me, and my approach to food is healthier, and feels less conflicted. Something else clicked for me, and some verbs became easier, more natural parts of my experience. The specifics are less meaningful to share than that life continues to be a journey – with steps, without a map, with choices, without guarantees; we become what we practice. Incremental change over time is very real. Sometimes, change is as “easy” as flipping a switch. Sometimes change is more a matter of choosing. Choosing again. And yet again. And practicing more. Being frustrated now and then, and continuing nonetheless.

Choices, context, coincidence, circumstances, all adding up to this experience of “my life” and “who I am”… this morning over a simple coffee, black, in a plain porcelain cup, white, on a chilly morning somewhere between summer and autumn, it all seems rather simple and uncomplicated. I smile, reminded somehow of impermanence, inevitable and real. Change is. I’m okay with that, too, on this simple quiet morning of enough.

Later will be soon enough for busier moments. A night out with my traveling partner and a friend. “Breakfast” afterhours? An afternoon of doctor’s and tests and imaging, before the weekend can begin. A weekend outing to the farmer’s market with a new friend who’s never been. A lazy Sunday of rest, and study. Moments. Each an opportunity to connect more deeply, share more openly, and savor life. This life. My life. Now. Learning to enjoy and savor my experience has been one of the very best improvements I’ve made in how I live my life; most moments are quite delightful. It used to be that I didn’t notice that, or take the time for anything less than a catastrophe – or an obligation. All the things that hurt and troubled me, and the things that I “had to do”, took all the time I had. There were definitely choices and verbs involved. It required practice, and the change over time was rather slow. It started here. Or… was it here? Here? Here. Oh, maybe… here? What I’m saying is; there are verbs involved, and practice, and without the practice and the verbs, we leave change to chance. 😉

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

Today is a good day to be here, now. Today is a good day to practice being who we wish to become; we become what we practice. Today is a good day to choose change; being leads to becoming. 🙂

 

This morning I woke contented and relaxed at a very ordinary 5:00 am. An hour later, sipping my coffee, innocently enjoying a lovely quiet moment, I recall that my visiting friend leaves today, and feel the excitement of my traveling partner having returned…and realize I have a job interview this afternoon, too… oh, and the housekeeping needs some attention… and I need to do laundry… crap! I haven’t yet checked the weather! Is it going to be very hot today? It didn’t take long for my sweet moment of contentment to expire, and for anxiety and tension to wash over me.

One new day, approximately infinite possibilities.

One new day, approximately infinite possibilities.

Initially, I blamed my sudden tension on the irritating sound of a freight train idling on the track, not too far away (near enough to be annoying). It wasn’t honestly that at all. I had drifted from now into the future – a place where anything can happen – because nothing has happened there yet.

I breathe. Relax. I inhale deeply, feeling my chest tighten as it expands. I exhale fully, feeling my body relax, my shoulders ease themselves back down where they belong. I am okay right now. There is literally nothing wrong (right here, right now, in my own experience). It wasn’t even a bunch of scary details that got me, which frustrates me some; it was all utterly commonplace, and pleasant or neutral in emotional content.

My visit with my dear friend has been lovely. It’s time for him to return home, to his life, his family; he misses his love, and his children. There’s nothing about that which is either noteworthy or stressful for me. My traveling partner’s safe return home is a matter of pure joy and great delight; I’ll see him soon, before he departs again, for new adventures elsewhere. The job interview? Okay, there’s some small amount of natural (healthy?) stress to that; it’s time to get back to work, and it matters to me to do my best. Still, hardly the sort of thing that should be permitted to blow the morning.

I wonder if I could get through life without using the word “should”? I smile to myself, aware that as words go, “should” has far too much power over my experience. “Should” is a word that signals an assumption, or an expectation, potentially one that defies reality entirely – and still guides my thinking or behavior. Powerful – and generally not in positive way. “Should” holds me back, keeps me down, causes me to keep doing something that doesn’t work at all, prevents me from walking away from bad situations… I’m trying to think of a situation in which “should” has served me well, in some positive way… I struggle to do so. “Should” is often the word I turn to specifically when life is not cooperating with my thinking. (I wrote more about this, but it got twisty and confusing. Perhaps another time. I don’t like “should”.)

The cool morning has my attention once again. Birdsong, the sounds of traffic nearby; it’s a noisy morning. Tuesday? The community landscapers will be working, so I try to appreciate what quiet there is now; it’ll be noisier later on.

Strange morning. I feel a little sad to say good-bye to my dear friend – and eager to have my routine back.  I feel eager and joyful to welcome my traveling partner home – and a little “pressed for time” knowing he will leave again fairly soon. I feel hopeful and self-assured about the interview this afternoon – and a little anxious about the outcome, in spite of myself. The complex back and forth of my emotions will benefit from more time meditating, today, and taking especially good care of myself.

IMAG8161

One day of many. The plan is not the experience. The map is not the world. Today is a good day for moments, for kindness – and for changing how often I use the word “should”. 🙂