Archives for posts with tag: life and love

I admit I love the increasing cultural encouragement to embrace our authentic selves that I see popping up everywhere, often in the form of a response to some thing or other, phrased as “do you”. I like that. Definitely. Do you. Be you. Invest in you. Grow your brand – and your self. Explore who you are. All that sounds pretty awesome, and very supportive and encouraging… but…

…It also sounds “too easy”. I know, I know. Authenticity is actually pretty fucking daring, even now, and it requires self-awareness, self-compassion, openness, honesty on this whole other level a lot of people are not prepared for, and a willingness to let go of attachment to our own assumptions about who we in fact our, when those conflict with who we in fact are.¬†It’s not actually easy to be our authentic selves in a culture built on controlling people through their insecurities, fears, and doubts. It’s even… brave. There’s still another “but” to move beyond…

…It’s also not enough to just drift in a sea of our own filth and basic bullshit. It’s not really the ideal “do you” scenario, is it? To just… stall in life and make no attempt to become the person we most want to be? To just… rest, assume the most slack possible approach to the question “who am I?”, and just… not bother doing more or being better? I mean… aren’t we capable of more?

This morning I am thinking about what it means to “do me” and how I can become the woman I most want to be. I know there are choices to make. There are verbs involved. I know my results with vary. I know that being authentic – truly frank and real – with the human being in the mirror has to come first, and be reliably a thing I do for myself, without fail. I know I have more questions. More opportunities. More chances to begin again.

I guess I’ll get started on that now… ūüėČ

I’m just this one person. You, too, right? Sometimes that feels so limiting! How can it matter to make one change? To cast one vote? To make one decision? To change one habit? To observe one moment mindfully? How significant is one shared experience? One piece of criticism? A compliment? A favor? An unexpected act of kindness on a difficult day? How important are our differences in ideology, values, or favorite color – really? How noteworthy are our similarities, in fact?

One transgression against our will? What about that? How important is that? Where do we begin to set clear healthy boundaries, and enjoy the experience of having them respected in an emotionally healthy, respectful and compassionate way?

Is changing the world actually so hard, when one change – any one change – does indeed ‘change the world’ in some small way? It seems unnecessary to beat this dead horse any further;¬†we each and all continue to struggle and suffer and face off against each other over so many small things that go a bit sideways now and then, it’s hardly odd that when big stuff goes badly, it goes badly in a big way.

Today is an outstandingly good day to change the world; every day is. I’ll start with me – I have to; it’s all I have to work with. Today I’ll endeavor to be kind, to be compassionate, to respect boundaries and be mindful of the experiences of others in those moments when my own experience challenges me. Today I’ll take a moment for gratitude for the examples I have in life – good ones, and ones that are not-so-good, too; everyone has something to teach. Today I’ll smile and share the best I have to offer with the world, and maybe the world will be kind back.

Today is a good day for change. I will choose change – it may be the only vote that matters, and mine¬†is the only voice I¬†can lift up to the world to say ‘this is what I want in life, this is who I am’.

Every moment is a good one for making better choices.

Every moment is a good one for making better choices.

I slept in this morning, greedily immersing myself in more sleep after each moment of waking, until the morning light through the curtain, and the glow of the aquarium, had become too much to sleep through. ¬†I crashed early last night, fatigued with hormones, hot flashes, emotional volatility and promise threat promise likelihood inevitability of largely unpredictable change future happenings. It’s been that sort of week.

It's still a journey. There's still no map.

It’s still a journey. There’s still no map.

Again, I find myself quite human. Indecisive. Fearful. Bolting from circumstances toward the unknown without patient and thorough consideration; traveling through life as a victim (again) instead of… well, whatever better options there are, and there are many (any of them would indeed be an improvement over panic). ¬†Stress walks my PTSD down the aisle with my TBI and the resulting marriage, like¬†many, is definitely not ‘made in heaven’. ¬†In the middle of a terse conversation about entirely other matters, a partner observed in a frustrated tone that I could take a moment to show myself some compassion.

Well…yeah. Why wasn’t I?

This morning, over my coffee, contemplating recent events and conversations, thinking about needs, looking to understand ‘what matters most’ for me, looking to identify anything that could be tripping me up simply because it is unattended to… I read this in my newsfeed. ¬†Purportedly an article about patience, it spoke to me on a deeper level, and although each and every numbered point is a reminder, rather than new information, the reminders were timely, and utterly relevant. ¬†Meditation. Practice. Acceptance. Recognizing the¬†infinitesimal line between the stories I tell myself, and what is – or may be.

There aren’t many things that calm me the way meditation can. How do I ever miss on that one? Still human. ¬†I make choices, and in a brief moment on a sunny morning it can seem ‘no big deal’ to skip a few minutes of meditation… right? Free will… “I’m a grown up, after all”… “It’s such a beautiful day, and I’m in a great place…” “I just have to get this one thing done…” “It’s not like meditation is medication…” ¬†My TBI already causes me a great deal of difficulty with building habits; not staying firmly committed is careless risk taking (for me) of the highest order. ¬†My ability to show myself some kindness, some compassion, and to recognize my own needs and accept that meeting them is both critical and challenging, snuck off without my noticing¬†and I dived into self-directed anger, resentment, disappointment with myself, berating myself for any decision that could have been hasty or in error, each moment of clouded judgment or poor reasoning… Yep. Still quite human. Still battling my demons, fighting my hormones, fighting the chaos and damage, fighting to go being enduring to achieve thriving. I sure don’t make it¬†easy on me.

I do have ‘needs’, legitimate, non-negotiable, take-care-of-me, value-based, this-is-what-it-takes-to-thrive sorts of needs. Everyone does. ¬†I have not always made it important¬†to recognize and understand what those needs really are, beyond the survival basics, and it’s slow going learning what matters most to me. ¬†I sometimes stumble on an issue, boundary, limitation, or need as an unexpected byproduct of some other event or decision-making; the undiscovered need becomes an¬†unanticipated confound in reasoning that had seemed simple and clear, or becomes¬†the thing that throws a beautiful plan completely off track. It’s inconvenient and inefficient to learn things in this haphazard fashion, and I rather pointlessly resent the crap out of it, wasting valuable time that could be spent understanding more that could be understood.

Patience is hard sometimes. Taking a step back and saying ‘this may not make as much sense as I thought it did’ can be very humbling. Looking into the face of an unmet need that has evolved over decades, as much because I have treated myself callously, and without regard for my own emotional wellness, hurts a lot. However much any one human being has ever hurt me, their efforts do not measure up to the pain and suffering I have inflicted on my own heart. That’s a hard thing to accept first thing on a lovely Sunday morning… but there it is. ¬†How do I move on from the damage inflicted by others when I don’t allow myself to move on from the damage I inflict on myself?

For a few moments last night, I sat alone, still, bereft in my solitude, hurting, sad… frozen. I was immobilized by pain. The evening light began to fade… I sat quietly for uncounted long minutes, heart thumping evenly, breathing. Without planning it, I allowed my state of being to evolve from being emotionally paralyzed to a gentler place. Breathing. Aware. Letting the ‘weight of it all’ fall away. ¬†I made room for my pain, for my confusion, for the simple basic needs of being human: resting when fatigued, comfort when emotional, healing when injured, sustenance, compassion. ¬†I reached out to one partner, then another, open to healing, open to… being open. ¬†Trusting and vulnerable. ¬†They, too, are human. ¬†We all understand the feelings of urgency, fear, need. We all make mistakes. We all struggle to make sense of out of our confusion.

Another perspective.

Another perspective.

I am standing on the edge of something…feeling a little as if the hike I took yesterday could have resulted in more clarity of thought than it did…wondering why it didn’t… feeling open, aware, trusting events to unfold as they will, for things to turn out in some fashion that allows for each of us to grow, to feel calm and secure, to discover and nurture ‘what matters most’ for our own hearts, to gently nurture and support what matter most for the hearts of others.

Today is a good day for calm, and ¬†a good day for comfort. ¬†Today is a good day to meditate, and show myself ‘a softer side’. ¬†Today is a good day to be aware, content, and compassionate. ¬†Today is a good day to change the world.

Have a cookie…let’s talk.

coffee or milk?

coffee or milk?

Today I woke up to a world filled with haters and trolls, and people who think there are acceptable reasons for violence or that there are excuses that mitigate treating other people badly. I woke to a world where human beings employed in productive work for a business are treated as a commodity or a ‘necessary business expense’ to be minimized at any cost, and to a government that sees killing as a more worthy expense than feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and housing the homeless. I woke to a world that treats women and people of color as having less value than the rapidly dwindling pasty white ‘majority’. I woke to a world where rape victims are treated as having some blame in the crime committed against them, and people are taught to take with force what isn’t given freely. I woke to a world where objecting to what is objectionable and demanding change can get a person a prison sentence, and one where people in uniforms can lawfully commit murder. I woke to a world where the concept of a living wage is sneered at by a lot of people who don’t have to worry about covering their bills. I woke to a world where telling the truth is a criminal act, and kindness can get someone killed.

Funny, in a not-so-funny way, this is what we choose. Every day. It’s a big culture, a big world, and there are a lot of ideas about living life. Choices are made, and often more poor choices than great choices are made in the name of ideology, dogma, tradition, religion, precedent, futility, frustration…but they are choices, made by people, and in some cases made by people who actually have the potential to do more, better, and who choose not to.

I have sometimes been that person who could have done more, better, had I chosen differently.

We each have greatness within us, however humble our beginnings.

We each have greatness within us, however humble our beginnings.

The individual commitment to doing it differently changes a very small piece of our world – but it does change that very small piece. So…today I will change the world. A very small piece. Will you?

What will the world be like tomorrow, if we choose wisely today?

What will the world be like tomorrow, if we choose wisely today?

Sometimes a sunny day is enough.

Sometimes a sunny day is enough.

Days go by…saying so makes me think of the song by that name, but it isn’t relevant. ¬† Time spent with family, time spent on love, time…spent. ¬†I’m nearly there, myself. I’m tired. ¬†I very much want to take real time to write. Really write; to think, and muse, and contemplate, to reflect, analyze, wonder…to communicate and to understand. ¬†The time is not now, but just in case you are missing me… I’m not gone, I’m just doing ‘now‘ right now, and there is too ¬†much of that to write about it.

So, perhaps sooner than later, I will sit down at a new, faster laptop, in a quiet place, with a tranquil heart, and I will write about life, and love, and men of 20, and fathers and sons. ¬† Until then… living, loving… and hey, yeah, painting – I finally painted the first canvases in our home together. ¬†3 new pieces – one as yet unfinished. ¬†I am even spending time on painting – by far one of the most worthwhile ways to spend my time. ūüėÄ

"Summer Flowers" 16" x 20" acrylic on canvas with glow. 2013

“Summer Flowers” 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas with glow. 2013