Archives for posts with tag: let small things stay small

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about love. I’m listening to jazz in the background – nice change from the insipid pop tracks that are often playing in the co-work space. I am reminded of a quote attributed to Miles Davis, “It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.” Sometimes love is like that. Some moment of miscommunication, or a misstep in the way we treat each other, feels “off”, like a “wrong note” in an otherwise beautiful piece of music… and it does very much seem to matter greatly what comes next, maybe even more so than that “wrong note” itself.

I sat down to write this morning grateful for the quiet time to reflect and write before this morning’s unusually busy Friday meeting calendar; back to back for about 4 and half hours. Ouch. My phone rang – before 0600, which was entirely unexpected, but… it was my Traveling Partner. I hadn’t replied to his text messages, of which there were… several. My “do not disturb” settings go to 0600, though, so I didn’t get notifications on those, and didn’t expect to hear from him either. He was alarmed that I didn’t respond, so he called. Fair enough. He expressed surprise that I was already at my desk, and concerned that I wasn’t out walking. I felt surprised that he didn’t remember me bitching about my meeting calendar and that I planned to go into the co-work space since my meetings would begin quite early compared to most days. Somehow, the interaction was less affectionate than it was… something quite different than that. lol Shit.

The morning is a chilly one, and I ache. After the “off moment” with my Traveling Partner this morning (which managed to feel rather “parental” in tone), I’m sort of cross. I know I can move past it. I’m just annoyed to have started the day thinking I’d have this quiet time “entirely to myself”, only to become mired in ruminations, anxiety, and finding myself juggling my baggage. Human, I suppose. Pretty annoying though.

…It’s bizarrely difficult (for me) to get even an hour of completely uninterrupted quiet time for reflection and writing, sometimes, which is it’s own self-care issue worthy of consideration… some other time, perhaps.

Here’s the thing – back to that quote I started on – it matters more what follows that “off moment”, than the moment itself. Whether I react. How I respond. What I say in reply to what has been said. How I choose to take the circumstances as they come. I can do/say/think about it in ways that aggravate things further – or I can “let small things stay small” and practice compassion, openness, empathy, and non-attachment, and move on to enjoy the day as it unfolds. No, I’m not saying it’s “easy” – there are definitely verbs involved, and the effort is “all mine”, at least inasmuch as I only control my own actions, words, and thoughts. My results vary. A lot. I’ve got room to grow and improve. I can do better. So…

…Looks like time to begin again. 🙂

Change is. I could stop there – I’ve even said it before, in those words, on a cold, slushy winter morning, before I started out on my commute to work on that day. I’ve written so many posts about change, specifically, that I lost interest in counting just the ones with “change” in the title long before I reviewed even the past two years (more than 7 with some scrolling). LOL

A recent “change” – a tree came down during a recent storm. Sometimes we expect change, sometimes it catches us by surprise.

Today I woke in a good mood from a pretty unsatisfying night’s sleep. It’s not that the sleep I got wasn’t good quality – it was lovely, just not enough of it – it was more about failing to actually fall asleep until well-past midnight, and waking up quite early. The night before, a passing storm kept me awake – it was windy and noisy. I had plans though, sort of, and I got up, showered, dressed, and headed out as quietly as I could hoping to avoid waking my Traveling Partner. His sleep was interrupted too, and I knew he needed more; he’d asked me to start my day early (and elsewhere) so he could sleep in. I planned ahead; I put my camera and handbag together near the door, and had my coat ready for the likely chilling morning departure. I had a list of possible stops – fun and adventure, mostly, nothing serious or properly an “errand”, I was just heading up the road for a lark, with my camera and a list of places to stop, including some holiday reconnaissance.

I grabbed a coffee on the way and enjoyed the drive. Early on a Sunday morning there’s very little traffic. The morning was chilly – but also delightfully misty, without being really foggy or icy. It was a fun drive. I went… to the grocery store. LOL No kidding. That was my first stop; a bigger, fancier, more specialty-goods-oriented grocery store a couple towns up the road. I rarely go out of my way for the grocery shopping if I can avoid doing so, and it’s usually not at all necessary. This, though, this was just a fun outing. I walked up and down the aisles feasting my eyes on the vastness and selection, and ooh-ing and ah-ing over the holiday items. I bought a small quantity of real Prosciutto di Parma to use in holiday cooking. I picked up some excellent imported die-cut pasta that I know is really great in recipes. This wasn’t a day to buy “all the groceries”. This was an adventure! 😀

I went up the road further along, and visited another favorite-but-distant grocery. (Let’s be real; there’s very little open at 7 or 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning.) There, I walked the aisles wide-eyed by the selection, again. This time I had a couple items I had an eye out for, specifically, although my expectations were low. Still, I did okay. I picked up a big container of the household (domestic) favorite soy sauce I use in day-to-day cooking most of the time (hard to find closer to home). I even found…


…I was going somewhere with this. Something to do with change, and adjusting to my new meds well and how nicely that’s working out so far… or something… my Traveling Partner comes in to check-in with me about my breathing. I check my oxygen. A few minutes later, he comes in again, same question. Then a third time. I feel myself start to get frustrated with the interruptions breaking my chain of thought. I breathe, exhale, and let that go. I turn my attention back to my writing… I “find the thread” and feel myself pulled into the flow of my thoughts…then… I feel his tender touch on my shoulder, and smile; I feel so loved. My brain is working out the end to the sentence in progress, just as my partner’s frustration with my lack of response boils over as harsh frustrated words. Fucking hell. I pull off my headset and turn to him; I’d gotten “stuck in my head” pretty quickly – it happens – and I hadn’t quite grasped that he was explicitly seeking to get my attention – to tell me communicating with me is easier on the new meds. God damn it. That is frustrating. (For me, too.)

He goes away frustrated and mad. I try to turn my attention back to what I was thinking about before I found myself thinking about this mess… I fail, so I write about that. Don’t know what else to do, besides begin again. We are such human creatures, full of failings and missteps. I imagine for a moment tripping over my own feet just trying to walk down the sidewalk – then I imagine picking myself back up again, and getting on with the walk. This is not the sort of thing worth becoming mired in or catastrophizing – and in that thought, I realize I’ve come back around to my point; change is.

Making even a subtle change (in medication, in behavior, in circumstances, in environment) can kick off a chain reaction of… changes, not all of those anticipated. Even in something so basic as how I communicate with my partner, or he with me. We’re both getting used to things. Most of it is quite good. Some of it is a bit strange or a tad awkward. So far, I haven’t noticed any “down sides”. Oh – one; I need to change the timing on one of my medications from before bed to first thing in the morning (which is the more common approach in for this one); I think that’s what may have been making it hard to fall asleep. It’s a small detail. Another change.

So, I breathe, and I pay attention, and I am patient with myself (and my Traveling Partner), and I let change be what it is. And I begin again. 🙂

Yesterday turned out to be a tad… complicated. Emotional. Busy? All of those things and stressful, too. I’m honestly a bit surprised it went so… well. “Just homeowner stuff”, I guess. (What?! Already??) I ended my work day early to deal with it. My Traveling Partner met with the hot tub repair person who was scheduled to be out, and showed up 2 hours early (I don’t think I’m going to complain about that – it was a relief just being able to get that work done, at all), and I focused on the other thing. A leak. In a wall. That caused mold. On paintings. Omfg. I actually don’t have adequate words for the stress in that first moment of catastrophic realization. :-\

…It also is not a catastrophe in any literal sense. Not at all. Small thing, caught very quickly, being handled.

The rest of the day was spent between managing my mental and emotional wellness, and actually handling the circumstances in a way that would successfully (and completely) resolve them. It went fairly well, once the initial heart-breaking emotional blast to my consciousness had passed. It seems a little silly and “overdone” after-the-fact, but in the moment the hurt was very real, the panic very profound. From the vantage point of now, it’s serious, but rather ordinary, and nothing to trouble myself over emotionally. Humans are weird.

The morning starts peculiarly. I’d just gotten up moments ahead of my partner, and was sipping my coffee and beginning my writing after a few minutes of meditation (okay, I was up long enough to meditate, make coffee, and settle in to write…so more than a handful of minutes had gone by since I woke). He got up. I made coffee. Seemed ordinary enough, and the day began pleasantly with talk of a soak…

Obviously, I’m writing, not soaking. (Well, obvious to me, I’m the one sitting here, now, in a moment that is long over by the time you read these words.) He’s behind one closed door, I’m behind another. Communication breakdown. Hurt feelings. Routine human shit. I can’t even take it personally, although I am disappointed to have to deal with it on a pretty Saturday morning, when I could be contentedly soaking in the hot tub with my Traveling Partner. We’ve both got baggage. We’re both quite human. We love each other dearly and still manage, now and then, to hurt each other’s feelings, frustrate each other, or treat each other less well than we’d ideally like to. There it is. Humans being human. There’s a lot of work that goes into doing that well. Results vary.

I breathe. Exhale. Let it go. Well…sort of. So I begin again, with a deep deep breathe, correcting my posture and sitting fully upright. I exhale slowly, patiently. I inhale, making a point to feel the compassion I feel for my very human self – and his. I exhale, feeling acceptance and love, and really releasing that frustrating tendency to take shit personally. I let it go. No attachment to the outcome. No requirement to “be” “right”. Open to enjoying the day. I inhale again, feeling my shoulders relax, aware of the minor headache at the back of my skull. I exhale, content and aware, hearing the sound of the A/C coming on, and taking in the sunshine through the window as it lights the neighbors house. I hold myself here, in this present moment, exactly as it is. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Repeat. This is my favorite meditation – breathing. Still. Awake. Aware. Quiet. Just sitting. Just breathing. Letting go of everything that is not this moment, here, now.

Search within; it’s closest.

Some moments pass. I don’t know how many. I feel some better. I feel vulnerable to being easily hurt (maybe just a problematic byproduct of yesterday’s stress). I think about my best options for good self-care. I think about how to make things right with my partner. I’d like us both to enjoy the day, whether he chooses to spend it in my company or not. I remind myself of an errand I had planned to run, and one he may still want me to handle (asking would be the thing to do in this instance).

…Anyway. It’s time to begin again. I don’t know what the day ahead holds. No expectations. No assumptions. Open to succeeding.

Today I baked banana bread. It’s only just finished a few moments ago, and it sits cooling on the counter. It smells wonderful, and seems an excellent solution to excess bananas. Humorously, we had extra bananas on hand – meaning more than the two of us could eat before the rest go bad – because my injury works the way  it does. At least this was more funny than aggravating. I simply ordered too many, thinking the order was ‘4 bananas’ when it wasn’t ‘price each’, it was ‘price per bunch’. So… I’ve been enjoying a few more bananas than usual, and this morning I made banana bread. It smells wonderful. It smells like love.

Tasty tasty love

Tasty tasty love

Here’s the thing about the banana bread; my traveling partner hung out, helped some, and talked about this and that, and the bread got made, turned out well, and isn’t missing any ingredients. This is significant because I literally can’t hold a coherent conversation with someone while I cook – at least not during the measuring of ingredients, and the following of steps in a cookbook. It’s ‘a recipe for disaster’ if I do; I make a lot more mistakes if I am distracted, and don’t ‘multi-task’ easily. He noticed, showed consideration, and gave me cognitive ‘room to work’ when I needed it, re-engaging me during less critical tasks. It was fun and connected and light-hearted. It was a comfortably productive experience, and yeah… wow… skillful considerate loving partnership makes everything ‘taste’ better.

Love isn't fancy, or by nature expensive, and it does need our attention, and our consideration.

Love isn’t fancy, or by nature expensive, and it does need our attention, and our consideration.

I’ve got the afternoon at home alone, and I will spend it in the studio. There is a slow cooker full of chili from scratch cooking for later in the week. The smell of banana bread fills the place, reminding me I am loved.