Archives for posts with tag: let’s stay together

I’m sipping my morning coffee later than usual, after sleeping in a bit, unexpectedly. It’s too hot to drink. I’m okay sipping it carefully, “testing it” for future, safer, drinking. There’s no rush. The sun is up, the morning is unfolding into a new day. I feel rested… and eager. It’s Thursday! (Date Night) Magical.

Just a cup of coffee and some lens flare; we bring the whimsy, the poetry, the music. Magic moments are created by our perception, and acceptance.

Just a cup of coffee and some lens flare; I bring the whimsy, the poetry, the music. the joie de vivre. 

When I first met my traveling partner, I already understood my role in making the magic of things like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and after many years, I still happily and enthusiastically throw myself into the whimsy and fun of making that magic happen. I didn’t recognize, strangely enough, how much went into the magic of love and loving, and still held onto expectations that somehow it just happens. I over-invested pretty heavily in peace-keeping endeavors any time there was any hint of conflict or difference, fearfully driven by old baggage, chaos, and damage. I was generous, hospitable, and kind (if rather cluelessly so), but those behaviors were interspersed with some frightful (sometimes symptomatic, sometimes just nastiness born of having been permitted to continue with bullshit) bad behavior. Chaos. Volatility. Tantrums. I’m a fucking adult. It had to be hard for people loving me. Hell, it was hard; I was there.

Today, I make magic. Small magic, but nonetheless, magic. I’ll tidy up, and make a point to do some things I know matter more to my partner than they do to me, just because they do matter to him. I’ll put extra time and care into how I feel, myself, and how I look – it is ‘date night’, after all. 🙂 I’ll make a quick trip to the store for a handful of things I just don’t keep in the house, generally, that I know he very much enjoys, so those things are here for him, and I’ll double-check for pantry and medicine cabinet items he might need, and ensure I haven’t run low. All very practical stuff. I’ve learned some excellent practices for nurturing love’s logistical needs.

I still have so much to learn about love! There’s magic in intimacy, in connection, in touch… those are trickier, and rely on verbs with real nuance, requiring greater awareness, more sensitivity… I am regularly challenged to the limits of my current understanding of love, and still eager to take another step, love more deeply, love more intently, love with more skill… and we’re not even talking about the sex piece, yet. LOL So much to learn to love truly well.  There’s patience, and perspective, and listening deeply, and speaking gently, and making room for strong emotion, and surrender, and honoring the sacred ‘other’ that is my partner’s tender heart… So much to learn. I stay it’s a lot to learn less as a statement of frustration, and more like an eager student, opening an enormous text-book for the first time, and looking at the table of contents in awe. Every lesson is worthy. Every lesson builds on the lessons already learned, in anticipation of lessons to come. It’s big, “the book of love“, and I don’t expect to finish it cover to cover even in a lifetime.

Tears slide down my face – the weird happy/sad tears of profound joy experienced fully and also in the context of how fleeting joy must be, just to be joy. (Tears that actually become tears, because my TBI can be a major impediment to the sort of emotional regulation most people take for granted.) Then I laugh at myself – tears in the sunshine. I have this powerful love for this singular human being, without any real understanding why I feel the way I do, or whether it will outlast this fragile vessel, or even if the feelings I feel are ‘real’ – I mean, as real as this table top, or this sunny morning. We’re both so very human, dragging our own customized baggage all about everywhere we go, and sometimes sharing the load. Are the things that fill me up from the inside as real as the struggles that impinge on my joy from external sources? Maybe? Probably? Does it even matter? Maybe love is a placebo… would I suddenly stop loving if it were? (No. No, I wouldn’t…I’d probably use the powers of the mind to intensify the experience. lol) The tears don’t last – they’re more a moment of appreciation that became too visceral. 🙂

I sit smiling, sunshine spilling over my hands on the keyboard. I sip my coffee contentedly. It’s a lovely day – and a good one for love and loving. A good one for sex, too, sure, but that’s not the point – and as much as I want all that, too, I want to be clear (even with myself) that it isn’t ‘about’ sex. I conflated sex and love for much of a lifetime, and it’s hard to sort out all the baggage from that mess, but it’s a worthy project; the love matters most. Real love. Adult love. Romantic love. Sexual love. It’s just that the intimacy leads – not the other way round, that much I’ve learned. Without a foundation in intimacy, and an emotional connection (of some kind), sex seems (to me, at this point in life) repetitive, physical, distant, and somewhat peculiarly unsatisfying, however good the sex is technically, and suitable only for breeding. A bit annoying, really – I used to be good at sex. lol In my twenties I wasn’t even emotionally capable of actual intimacy, embarrassingly, obviously so, when I recall key moments when one lover or another with a deeper understanding attempted to get more from my heart that I knew to offer; I was still too broken for any of that.

I listen to love songs in the sunshine. I let the smile on my face become a slow groove that sends love-chills up my spine and butterflies to my tummy. I love Love. 🙂 I have a near infinite capacity for it (you probably do, too) – I’d happily love everyone good and decent and loving with all the infinite moments of love my heart has to offer… if only I knew how to connect deeply with each one, on their own terms (and mine), in an authentic and intimate way. I’ll keep practicing – there’s too little love in the world as it is. Practicing love more often is a goodness. Every moment we practice to treat those we love just a bit better than we did before really matters; from there we can learn to love the world. 🙂

Today is a good day to practice loving. There are verbs involved. Today is a good day to be love. I think I’ll grab some verbs…

 

My traveling partner arrived, blowing in unexpectedly like a spring shower after a dry winter, and every bit as welcome. I’ve been enjoying his time, his company, his humor, his love, his delights and charms. All the best bits of people being together, it’s nice. There’s a lot more I could say, but I would likely encroach on his story, and that’s not my intent. Having no particularly firm expectations or certainty, I embrace the moments, enjoy them without reservation, and…

Love doesn't watch the clock.

Love doesn’t watch the clock.

…I quickly find that I haven’t been on my meditation cushion, or yoga mat, in days – and haven’t taken time to write. My ‘habits’, however helpful, positive, nurturing – or longstanding – break easily. I begin again. It’s practice. Practices are ongoing. I rarely think in terms of ‘habits’ so much any more, because they are so easily broken.

Love is reciprocal.

Love is reciprocal.

Last night I arrived home to his warm embrace and loving smile. I made a point to gently take the time I need for meditation; however much his wounded heart needs the comfort of home and companionship, I need this time for myself,  or I would quickly find I am unable to provide the listening ear, and loving arms he needs so much right now. I have plans to hike with a friend today. I haven’t canceled them, although love is on my doorstep. Love doesn’t benefit from me abandoning my friends. Before bed, I set expectations that I’d be up early, and would want to write in the morning. There is no drama or animus in it, or in his reaction. He is up early this morning, anyway; sleeping deeply in a strange place takes getting used to. I make us both coffees, and enjoy mine at my desk, fingers contentedly clicking away. “Hey, Baby… I’m going to close this door, okay?” He says it as he does it, and there is no interruption, only my reply as I write, “Okay.” I hear music in the background and smile. It’s a good day that begins with love.

I keep practicing. There are so many practices worth practicing, worth maintaining over time or renewing if they have grown stale or become disused. “Begin again.” So simple. Where did it come from? I read so much… In its simplest form, as an idea, it seems the sort of pairing of words to associate with ‘always’, but recognizing this has been rather a long journey, and that I have indeed ‘begun again’ so many times… I’m still not certain that the words held so much meaning for me before sometime after 2013. Life had reached this place where the chronic mistreatment by one partner, and the generally very good but sometimes surprisingly variable treatment of another, required me to begin again, in a lot of ways, on a lot of practices, and finally in some rather magical way ‘beginning again’ in my life, itself, by moving into my own space. Beginning again with my traveling partner as we healed both shared and individual hurts. Beginning again as an artist in a very confined space too small for large work. Beginning again in this lovely bigger space with room to work in abundance. Impermanence once sounded like a fairly ominous concept to become entangled with. Turns out it’s very much all tied up with beginning again. 🙂

My ‘hiking season’ begins again, today. I will walk a trail I’ve never walked. I will see a literal new point of view. I love living metaphors. I will head into the trees and metaphorically ‘walk on’. Solo hiking is another form of meditation, and a favorite one, and there will be time for that. Today, I go with a friend. Here, too, there are practices to practice, and beginnings aplenty. She makes good conversation, and has a good heart. (These are qualities most of my friends have, actually, as I give it some thought.) I will practice listening deeply, and speaking simply. When we’ve had our fill of the trees, birdsong, wildflower sightings, and laughter, we’ll return to the car, return to our routines, and all the details that fill the days and nights and leave me feeling so busy will have renewed luster, and fresh purpose. Well…that’s often the outcome of a good hike out in the trees. It’s been a long while since I arrived home from hiking to be greeted by love. I am eager to enjoy it, without expectations. (I mean, seriously? He might be out of the house in that precious limited moment I arrive home. lol It happens.)

Why yes, thank you, I shall.

Why yes, thank you, I shall.

Today is a good day to begin again. Today is a good day to love and be loved in return. Today is a good day to renew a sense of purpose where purpose is needed, but perhaps fallen flat. Today is a good day to walk on, and to practice – there are still verbs involved. With practice, I change my experience. With enough practice, we change the world.

I’m tired tonight. Brain-tired. I put a lot into the work day, today, and although the day ended with a considerable sense of achievement and positive perspective, getting there wasn’t a given, and there were definitely verbs involved…and something else.

Today I really put some will and effort into approaching stressful circumstances without expectations of the outcome. I allowed myself to be open to making different choices – in language, in approach, in point of view, in goal-setting, even time management. I made a point of giving myself a break when new things weren’t an immediate success; skill-building is incremental change over time, and requires actual time, and of course…practice. I recognized how allowing change is just about as important to changing, and to growth, as wanting change. I’d prefer to have a hand in my own transformation, rather than allowing events to mold me; becoming aware of the important of allowing change – whether my own, or someone else’s – is useful.

Small details, and incremental change over time.

Small details, and incremental change over time.

I’m tired tonight. It’s a lovely evening, though. I almost didn’t write at all, but realized that I am teetering on the edge of a bad bit (a few days have gone by), and I can sense the creeping disorder at the edges leftover from having the windows replaced. Why do these small disruptions screw with my head so much? I smile; why doesn’t matter. I know to take care of me. Tonight that means sticking with good self-care practices, getting the rest I need, and beginning again tomorrow.

I end the evening thinking of my traveling partner; he’s ‘there for me’ unexpectedly in the most reliable way. It’s a quality he has. I pause, thinking about all the ways he shows his love, and reflecting on how best to ‘return the favor’; I value reciprocity in my relationships, I value his partnership and his affection, and well…seriously? Loving is as wonderful as being loved.

 

I woke during the night, or rather more accurately I simply realized at about 1:00 am that I was awake. My state of wakefulness continued for some time, and I finally recognized that I wasn’t returning to sleep; something was keeping me awake. I wasn’t sure what was disturbing my sleep, but I got up for a little while, keeping the apartment dim, and figured some meditation and yoga might send me easily back to the land of dreams. I was incorrect. Once I got up, it was clearer that there was a physical source to my discomfort, and although I felt no hint of nausea, I knew I was going to be sick, at some point in the imminent future. I sat meditating comfortably, and waiting for that more acute moment of discomfort that would signal immediate illness to come. I didn’t have to wait long, and it was all over very quickly. I was easily able to return to sleep.

I woke with a headache, and arthritis pain on the ‘winter’ setting. I am physically uncomfortable, although the morning begins well enough in all other regards. I could make a big deal out of the pain and the headache and stomp around snarling, but there’s no point in doing so, and I would prefer to enjoy the morning, content, and quiet. The quiet morning was interrupted by my own laughter at one point; morning yoga with this headache and arthritis pain resulted in some ‘turtle on its back’ “fun” when I toppled over during a moment of vertigo, and couldn’t quite get up, because of pain and stiffness. I was still chuckling when I tried the same sequence again, successfully – which is a far better outcome than if I were helplessly weeping in frustration and anger, and storming around the apartment annoyed with myself. This ‘being human’ thing is rich with comedy – and with frustration, and I enjoy it when the former mitigates the latter.

Coffee time…oh, and goodness it is good this morning. Yes! I pause everything, move to the wee love seat, and make room in my morning for stillness, just chilling quietly, hands wrapped around the warm coffee mug, basking in the contentment of this moment right here.

Enough.

Enough.

My traveling partner arrived safely home last night, and I am eager to see him – I don’t actually know when that will be. Last week our attempts to plan time together were undermined by the needs of another relationship; I saw him only once, unplanned, for a short period of time when he urgently needed an emotional safe haven from stress and mistreatment. I don’t regret not living in that environment with him; however convenient it might have seemed, it was actually damaging the relationship I share with my traveling partner (far too valuable to sacrifice carelessly) to live around his other partner. It took some time to come to terms with that, and to recognize how much more easily we love each other, and how deeply, and to see our profound connection restored – through distance (about 12 mildly inconvenient miles). It is fulfilling to live in accordance with my own values, by my own rules, with my injury accounted for in my day-to-day environment, able to paint when I am inspired, unconcerned about inconveniencing anyone, and absent the stresses of OPD. It’s never been about winning, or losing, only about living, loving, and finding my way to being the woman I most want to be. I will see him when I see him; when we are together our time is well-spent on love. 🙂

What matters most?

What matters most?

Soon there will be sharing of tales of adventure, and cuddling, and romance, and plans for the future. There will be laughter, and an intimate connection that still strikes me as singularly deep, and profoundly insightful. There will be encouragement, and enthusiasm. There will be affection, a sense of fun, and shared humor. For now, there is a work day ahead of me, and plenty to do. I smile when I think of my traveling partner, wondering what his day will look like. I’ve traveled a long way, myself, on this journey that is loving, and in the brief time we’ve been together (only about 5 years) my traveling partner has been with me to see much of that growth. There is so much of the everyday routine of life that brings him to mind, I sometimes forget we don’t live together. lol Even simple things like cleaning the kitchen seem like acts of love; he taught me the food safety practices I still use in my kitchen, and encouraged me to get my food handlers card, not because I needed one, but because it was a great way to ensure I really did understand food safety basics – and do so without badgering me, frustrating me, or hurting my feelings. Love isn’t exclusively about smiles and kisses; love encourages us to grow, nurtures us while we do, and celebrates with us when we have.

Unfinished work?

Unfinished work? “Uplifted Hearts” I think a lot about love.

Another day thinking about love? Sure – I think about love and loving a lot. What better use of my time, and studies, than reflecting on love and loving, becoming a more skilled partner and lover, treating others well in every relationship (because that, too, is love) and savoring the successes, learning from the moments that go sideways unexpectedly, and continuing to invest moment-to-moment in what love offers? Seriously? It’s a major disappointment to me as an adult that we don’t teach love and loving more honestly (or at all), with more depth, and with more acknowledgement of the power love has in our lives to heal, and to enrich our experience. How many of us stumble through decades of our adulthood before we sort out the difference between lust and love? Sex and love? Being loved and loving? Before we understand that there are verbs involved? Before we even understand all the many sorts of love that exist (each having value all its own)? Instead, we argue over the value of sex education and don’t bring love into the conversation at all, which is pretty telling of what primitive creatures we really are, still trying to restrict and regulate a need (and a drive) that is fundamental to every breath we take, instead of coaching and educating and promoting the well-being of our entire society of humans from a loving place, regarding matters of love.

Be love.

Be love.

Today is a good day to love, to explore love, to reflect on what love asks of us, to consider what we have to offer. Today is a good day for loving, and for being loved – there are verbs involved. Today is a good day to invest our vast lifetime of emotional moments in the treasures that love has to offer. Today I will start with loving the woman in the mirror, and smile; loving her well changes my experience of the world – and the world’s experience of me.

It’s a lovely overcast Thursday, a chill morning of pleasantries and catching up – we have family visiting from afar. 😀  A quick trip to the local market for breakfast sorts of provisions of more variety than we usually keep on hand makes the morning feel special. I love fresh figs, English muffins, hot lattes, Greek yogurt…and the charming company of our visiting son and his girlfriend and the fun of seeing the world anew, through their eyes.  What a good day so far.

Even the garden seems particularly lovely, in passing, as I go to and from the store.

'Graham Thomas' on an overcast summer morning.

‘Graham Thomas’ on an overcast summer morning.

The ordinary joys of life and love, of family and business, of the world and of the home; today these are more than enough, they are substantial and precious.

Tomorrow is Friday; therapy, errands, and more visiting with family. It’s going to be an eventful weekend and I’m eager to live it. There may be very few opportunities to write with any attention…I expect I’ll likely find myself wondering where the days have gone by Monday morning, and whether I can manage a few minutes to write over my lunch, in the office, during the week. lol

Observing life with pleasure, and not feeling much chaos and damage…let’s see where the weekend takes me!