Archives for posts with tag: learning as I go

A new year begins today. The winter sun hits the glass of the patio door and fills the room with light and warmth. My feet are extended into the rays of sunshine spreading across the carpet. I wiggle my toes, feeling them warmed in the filtered winter sunlight. The remainder of my second cup of coffee has grown cold; I continue to sip it, content with the exceptional flavor which is undiminished by the cooling. I am smiling.

New beginnings are quite variable, every experience, each perspective, just a bit different from another. I am not the woman I was on the first day of 2015. That woman was stressed to a breaking point, yet again, mistreated in one relationship, insecure in another, restlessly contemplating where a third might take her, given the difficult circumstances generally.

The path ahead wasn't obvious sometimes.

The path ahead wasn’t obvious.

It was a complicated year. An abusive relationship was creating roadblocks to progress in therapy through behaviors that seemed willful or deliberate at times – it would prove irrelevant whether they were deliberate; the outcome was damaging. The future of my relationship with my traveling partner seemed insecure, and despair crept into my experience a number of times. I felt frustrated, held back, and uncertain where my path would lead me, but committed to continuing the journey. I continued to practice new practices that were definitely doing good things for my resilience, improving my ability to maintain a neutral, honest, and healthy perspective, and helping me manage stress. I wasn’t sure it would be enough to thrive on…and I wasn’t sure that the positive changes I could see developing would be enough, soon enough, to hold on to what I valued most in life – or love.

When 2015 began, I was struggling with attachment, afraid to let go and just be. I struggled with blaming myself for things going on that weren’t about me at all, and I struggled with feeling responsible for making a relationship work, in which it had become clear the other didn’t actually want things to work and was not invested in building a functional relationship with me. Accepting that was painful (rejection hurts) and it was hard to just breathe and let it go without ‘closure’, or honest communication, or even basic civility. The pain diminished in the instant I remembered that the character and behavior of that other human being is no reflection on me whatsoever; she is her own human being, and all the consequences of her choices are entirely her own (as mine belong entirely to me).  That was an important lesson and turning point.

It has been a year full of important lessons in taking care of myself, in emotional self-sufficiency, and in learning to love well, and without unhealthy attachment – with the result that my relationship with my traveling partner has grown and deepened wonderfully, and I am so much more able to love well, generally, and to listen deeply. I ended the other, abusive, relationship (keeping a promise I made to myself long ago), and I declined to pursue a relationship with characteristics suggesting high risk in a number of areas of life in which I’m not inclined to compromise. I’ve stopped trying to meet needs for connection and intimacy through sex, with result that sex is improved; I have sex only in relationships in which there is already intimacy and connection. 2015 taught me a lot about who I am, and what I really need to thrive. In 2015, I learned a lot about ‘enough’, and began investing in lasting contentment, instead of chasing more/better.

2016 begins well. I could stop there. I have, a number of times already. No map. I don’t really know where this new year will take me, what I may learn, gain, or lose. I don’t know what’s up ahead on this journey, and I am feeling tranquil and unconcerned about that – making it hard to write, honestly. 🙂

Today, though, is a good one for contemplation. I will take time to consider the year-to-come, to wonder, to dream, to plan, to question – it’s the questioning that is perhaps most relevant to where I may find myself a year from today. I’ll think it over, and  make some notes; I find it helpful to look back with some context. I’ll write in my private journal, and send myself an email ‘from the past’, as I did last year – it was a special moment this morning when I got that email from myself. Being able to read my own stern warning to end an abusive relationship with the comfortable knowledge that it was done months ago was validating; I am learning to take better care of myself, and my heart.

The view of 2015 is very different from this perspective. The path ahead seems a bit more clear, now.

The view of 2016; the path ahead seems a bit more clear, now.

Today is a good day to take care of me. Today is a good day to begin again. Today is a good day to be my own cartographer, on this journey of my own making. Happy New Year! Are you ready? Let’s change the world!

Yesterday I didn’t write. I woke seconds ahead of the alarm, and a bit disappointed it was morning. I enjoyed quiet, unmeasured stillness, meditating in the holiday glow of the decorated loft and found myself feeling incredible balanced and content as the day began…

Ornaments as metaphors; love is a lighthouse.

Ornaments as metaphors; love is a lighthouse.

…It all went wrong very quickly, in that way that mornings so easily can.  I spent the remainder of the day feeling stuck – and angry. I have challenges with anger, and I carry around a lot of baggage that is related to anger, and the strange double standard I perceive between what is permitted of the anger of men versus the anger of women. Gender bias issues of that sort generally function implicitly, and it has always been an area of my experience in which I have struggled to be heard, to be accepted, or to make progress with my challenges. I run from anger – mine, too – until I explode unable to contain it any longer. It’s unhealthy. Yesterday sucked quite a lot, and probably didn’t have to. I have work to do in the area of anger. I’m sure life will continue to provide curriculum for the needed learning experience. 🙂

I did not expect that when I woke this morning, I would feel insecure and reluctant to experience morning at all. Yesterday apparently managed to be a pretty big deal on that level, and I find myself feeling fretful about it, and I am unsurprised that tears fall, and then stop, only to start up again for no apparent reason. Tinkering with implicit memory has, over time, resulted in me being somewhat more sensitive to, and aware of, how intense experiences create change in ‘the way things feel’. This morning my anxiety is needless, and associated with the hurt-sad-angry moments of mornings that are not this one. How unreasonable!

I don’t generally write when I am angry. I struggle to communicate comfortably at all, and I’m often unsure quite what to say; I want to get words out that have meaning, are reasonable, and communicate well, and gently, what’s on my mind…only…anger. I didn’t write yesterday. I did go to my therapy appointment, and it ended up being by far the most important conversation of this lifetime about anger. I’m hopeful about the content and significance. I’m anxious about it; change can mean turmoil, and anything to do with anger is actually pretty terrifying for me.

This morning I went straight to writing after meditating, as if the deviation in my routine yesterday was the thing that was problematic. It isn’t likely that meditating in the loft yesterday, and not writing at all, was in any way associated with the blow up later…but “it felt wonderful and calm and delightful, and then things went wrong, therefore I can’t have that” is sort of how my brain broke it down to me this morning. I feel my anxiety increase just contemplating enjoying quiet chill time in that colorful holiday space that I love. What a mess. I am so very human, and sometimes the chaos and damage are more obvious than others.

Would I be easier to love if I never spoke?

Would I be easier to love if I never spoke?

This morning is a whole new day. I’ve got a great shot of espresso. It’s a birthday (Happy Birthday, Love!!). The work day ahead looks to be a good one, and I anticipate spending those hours engaged in tasks that excite me intellectually, in an area of work in which I feel very sure of myself and valued. My pain, today, is quite manageable. I woke without a headache. I find myself feeling hopeful and enthusiastic between stray moments of anxiety. I avoid setting expectations of the day as much as possible to limit my stress, and prevent setting myself or my love up for failure, this morning or later.

Today is a good day to take care of me. Today is a good day to love. Today is a good day to understand that anger isn’t an enemy, and that I have an opportunity to learn and grow from it, and make use of it as a tool, and an alert system. Today is a good day to step right over my fears and doubts and love without reservations. Today is a good day to see the best in each person I interact with, and reflect that back to them by being the best person I can be, myself. Today is a good day for consideration and kindness. Today is a good day to change the world.