Archives for posts with tag: life in the time of pandemic

Life in the time of pandemic is sometimes hard on love and lovers. Those among us who want, need, or enjoy a lot of solitude to support their wellness may be feeling “trapped” at home, in the inescapable company of others. Those among us who want, need, or enjoy a great deal of community and many shared experiences to feel supported and fulfilled in life may also be feeling “trapped” at home – alone. There is variety to human experience, even in the time of pandemic. It is, at this point, sometimes a matter of real will, and endurance, to accommodate the limitations we’re each (all) faced with, and sometimes it isn’t “easy”. Tempers flare. Conflict develops (sometimes where no conflict truly exists). This shit is hard sometimes, to the point that otherwise (probably) rational people protest in the streets over the restrictions they face due to the pandemic, without any regard for the reason those restrictions are actually place. 0_o I mean, I get it, I’m frustrated too.

Let it go. It’s not personal. We’re each having our own experience – and we’re all in this together.

This morning I sip my coffee and remind myself that love matters most. I make a point of letting my (recognized, known) bullshit go. The moments of strife and discord are, in many instances, as imagined as any other bit of narrative we’ve created out of the bits and pieces of cobbled together fears, insecurities, doubts, assumptions, and personal baggage. Add some stress to that and it’s quite a poisoned cup of noodles, is it not? I remind myself to let that shit go, and to refrain from taking some one moment personally (that most likely is not personal at all, it just feels that way). Assume positive intent. I mean, for real, though? I’m not talking about assuming positive intent with regard to a stranger approaching me in twilight with a weird look on their face. I’m talking about love, here. I’m talking about my Traveling Partner; why would I assume anything but positive intent?? I know he loves me. I know I love him. We’re on this incredible journey together, building this beautiful life together, sharing these precious moments… how is anything but an assumption of positive intent appropriate? 🙂

…Silly human primates, always making up drama…

I smile and sip my coffee, grateful for the human being asleep in the other room as I start my day. Sure, it takes practice to be the woman I most want to be. There are a ton of verbs involved. My results definitely vary. You may as well assume positive intent, though, with regard to me, my words and actions, and my intent, with regard to love and loving and this partnership right here; I’ve no other sort of intent in mind, moment to moment. 🙂 Doesn’t make things easier when some moment goes sideways unexpectedly, and that’s just real.

Sometimes I’ve got to rely on my own recollection that we love each other, and trust my partner to do the same. If we both set down some of our baggage, and both work towards being the of who we each are, we can trust each other’s positive intent, and go from there. 🙂 Isn’t that enough to begin again, as often as we need to?

Another sip of coffee, a journey without a map, some perspective, and a lot of love; definitely enough on which to begin again. 🙂

This morning I am reflecting on a moment I experienced while I was meditating, before my coffee. My perspective shifted abruptly while I was meditating, I’m not sure why, and I was suddenly very “self-focused”, while also seeming to be a distant, objective, potentially remote, observer of this self that I feel that I am. I’ve had this perspective shift before, and it wasn’t so unexpected or alien as to be frightening, I’m just thinking about it, after-the-fact, while I sip my coffee. It is the sort of experience that seems to want additional reflection, for some time afterward.

The perspective shift is the sort of thing that gives me a moment to really “consider myself” – not how I am experiencing my life, more how I am delivering the experience of myself experiencing life to others. A bit like looking at myself from an outsider’s perspective – if that “outsider” was also truly me. It’s an interesting moment to participate in. Am I the woman I most want to be? Am I living up to my human potential? How am I seen in the world, if the world looking back is also me, shares my values, shares my perspective on life, love, and humanity? I find myself really letting my guard down with myself; being human it is very easy to cast myself as the good guy in every tale of adventure. I’m not. I’m human. Just that. One human being, being human. This moment, on this morning, challenges those easy comfortable assumptions, and takes another, deeper, look.

…Nah. I’m not sharing more details. lol. Go find your own moment to reflect upon. 😉 It’s your journey, and you’ve got to walk your own mile. 😀 I say this with kindness, and with a bit a frustration; it would be very hard to put my experience this morning into useful words. “Worthy moment of perspective” is accurate, but not useful in any practical “how to do this” way… and I’m not sure how it’s done. It seems to be a cheat to say “meditate, and eventually all will be revealed”, and I don’t know that that is actually true… it’s just sort of how it went for me. I “get there” sometimes unexpectedly. Like this morning. Perhaps with enough practice it will become something I could just do by specific choice?

I sip my coffee and continue to reflect… on reflections. Perspective shifts offer new perspective, and that’s generally helpful, I’ve found. 🙂

The morning is, generally, a pleasant one. The sky lightens slowly, revealing a gray rainy morning. My arthritis reminds me how human I am; I am in pain. My coffee is warming and pleasant. There is a small amount of traffic going by. The rainy street alerts me of each passing car with a shhhhhh-shhhhhh as the car rolls by. The computer’s cpu fan spins up, then slows down, as I write, pause, and resume writing. I listen to the day begin. A robin nesting in the hedge out front begins to call and sing as soon as there is daylight. I think about moving to another place, and wonder briefly what mornings elsewhere would sound like, and I recall the sound of mornings in other places I have lived. My favorites? Probably the humid summer mornings of childhood visits to the Eastern Shore, or on my grandparents’ pier jutting out into Weems Creek… or maybe those early mornings on guard duty, deployed at Ft AP Hill for military exercises. Funny that I don’t actually think of myself as a “morning person”. I’m generally up very early, often before dawn, and it’s a choice I’ve made for a long while, so… how not a morning person? Well… I’m not generally cheerful, merry, or inclined to “deal with” people until much later, after I’ve been awake for quite a while. Just… leave me alone until after my coffee, okay? lol I’m more than “kind of a bitch” in the morning, and yeah, it’s generally best to give me some distance until my brain is completely back on line. I’m not proud of that limitation, just aware of it.

…I’ve come a long way as a human. I used to be so vile in the mornings I didn’t even like myself, let alone liking any other people, or being willing to tolerate a word being spoken. You can, actually, have a conversation with me in the morning, now. I often enjoy coffee with my Traveling Partner in the morning. It’s pleasant. We enjoy each other’s company. Here’s the thing, though; I’m quite content to be alone in the mornings, and generally prefer that. The progress I’ve made is that I no longer “punish the world for existing in my presence” first thing in the morning. I’m not hostile. I’m not angry. I’m not ferociously, aggressively, distant. I give myself some space when I need it, but I’m fairly approachable. 🙂 Progress.

I’m not “a morning person” though. Given time, and no schedule, I slowly return to my “natural” sleep/wake cycle, which generally finds me staying up until some time after 2 am, and waking after 9 am or 10 am, depending on the quality of my sleep, and also napping almost every day. I end up on these early schedules largely as a byproduct of the work I do (or have done, in other jobs). Easier to simply maintain that than to bounce back and forth. Discipline becomes habit. We become what we practice. So, I tend to be an early bird – who is not actually a morning person. lol Being human is weird.

Well, damn. Here I’ve been just talking about me all this time… how are you? Are you happy where you are? Are you happy who you are? Maybe it’s time we begin again? 🙂

The morning unfolds quietly. I sip coffee, watch a couple videos. There’s some amazing pandemic content, honestly. Like this. I mean, maybe you’ve got to be a fan of Cowboy Bebop… 🙂 Hard times produce great art. Great art is often about hard times. I feel fortunate to be an artist, myself.

Yesterday was a good day, busy with work, busy with life, and a relaxed leisurely evening of love and conversation to finish it off. I can’t bitch about any of that. I sit here with my coffee and a smile. It’s enough. I mull that over a bit. I didn’t understand “sufficiency” for a long time, and really had to work at that. It took practice to be content with “enough” – and to learn to recognize it. It can be hard not to be overwhelmed by acquisitiveness and yearning. It’s pretty easy to want “more”. And more after that. The pursuit of “more” keeps a lot of people enthralled. People wreck their lives in the here-and-now chasing something other than what they’ve got.

I’m not saying there is value in asceticism. (I’m not saying there isn’t…) I’m just saying finding balance between “nothing” and “everything” has the potential to be fairly easy; it’s a big spectrum. Lots to choose from. One major challenge is simply understanding what really is “enough” for me, as an individual. What do I truly need to live an acceptably good quality of life? How much farther than that must I truly go to live comfortably well? Once I’m there, how much more do I really need? What is enough?? What is excessive? When does desire for a thing or experience cross the threshold from interest to greed? Where does the painful character flaw of “a sense of entitlement” fit in to all of this?

(Note: I won’t be answering these questions for you. That’s on you to do, for yourself. We’re each having our own experience.)

I sip my coffee and think about what I have, and what more I may want in life, and wonder where the line is, that separates these things and experiences into categories like “need”, “want”, and “excessive”? What is “enough”… for me?

I still very much want a home of my own. “How much home, at what price?” is a seriously important question. How much square footage is enough? How many rooms meet my needs? How luxurious does it need to be to feel “comfortable”? I sit with my coffee and ask the questions. I consider the answers. It’s a familiar bit of internal discussion with myself. I’ve house-hunted before. I still don’t own a place of my own. More often than not, the cause of my lack of success moving forward from renting to owning has come down to not having enough to go further on the path of getting more. lol Renting, as it turns out, is generally, functionally, more or less “enough”. Mostly. I often experience moments of discomfort or aggravation that could easily be eased with some small change to my dwelling… that I can’t do, because I don’t own it. LOL Reason enough to want “more”, in this sense, but again… how much is “enough”?

This is just one example. Most people want something. We’re wired for it. Our desires drive our forward momentum, don’t they? So many questions to ask myself on a Tuesday morning. It’s not necessary to answer them all right now. Asking them is enough.

…Enough on which to begin again. 🙂

Another Monday in The Time of Pandemic. Sipping coffee. Waking up. I’m groggy this morning, a combination of spring allergies I regularly say I don’t have (and which generally don’t annoy me at all), and the antihistamine I took for those symptoms, yesterday, after returning home from a drive in the countryside in the spring. The cottonwood trees have released their fluff into the air, and it drifts along the edges of sidewalks. Definitely spring.

A work day ahead. A busy Monday. A long “to do list” waiting for my attention. A universe of distractions from all those things. The weekend was characterized by a handful of profoundly positive moments that fill me with encouragement and hope, and a single noteworthy disappointing setback, from which I’ve already “recovered”, and moved on. Balance in all things? lol The week begins fairly well, I suppose. My coffee is hot, made well, and satisfying. The can of fizzy water also on my desk is cold, refreshing, and tasty. The sound of my Traveling Partner in the living room, also awake quite early, fills me with comfort and contentment. Things “feel okay”. 🙂

A fit of sneezing. A sip of water. A sip of coffee. A routine morning, more or less, and time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee on a quiet Sunday morning. I slept in, some. I woke feeling rested, mostly. My day has a purposeful outing planned in it, one stop, out and back. My Traveling Partner and I will go together. This is still hours away. My partner is still sleeping. (My notion of “sleeping in” still finds me awake ahead of many people, on a Sunday. lol) Meditation. Yoga. Then, writing, right? That’s the routine, generally.

…This morning I sit sipping coffee, and for quite some time definitely not writing. Just sitting. Contemplating change. Contemplating the day ahead. Noodling around in my own head, lacking focus or intention – just here, being this moment. Reflecting on life. Sipping coffee. I’m not giving myself any shit about it; it’s enough for this moment to be what it is, right now. I don’t need more. There is no pressure on me in this moment to do more, or be anything different than this human being I have become over time. I feel fairly contented, through and through, and exist in this precious rare moment utterly without anxiety, without agenda, without worry. I’m just sitting here drinking coffee on a Sunday morning in the springtime, thinking thoughts. The sky hints at a sunny day ahead, after a rainy night.

I smile in anticipation of the pleasure in a shared drive in the countryside, later. “Enough”? More than enough. Delightful. I find myself greatly appreciating the errand that takes us out of the house today. It’s been far too rare, for what seems like a very long time (really, it’s only been about 8 weeks, I think…, but that is a long time to just “stay home”; we’re busier creatures than we knew, and it turns out staying home just indefinitely is really challenging). My mind runs down the list of “things to have when one leaves the house” these days: mask, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer – and a positive attitude is always handy, too. What a weird time the pandemic is.

I give myself yet another moment, just relaxing and drinking coffee. No pressure. I remind myself to clean the bathroom, dust and vacuum later. Regular weekend chores. A long soak in a hot bath sounds lovely, too (I frown a moment, at the simultaneous recollection of how small our bathtub is, in this rental, still – it is sufficient, and I make room to be grateful we have indoor plumbing, hot running water, and fragrant bath products).

Today is a day. This moment is one moment. There will be others. Soon it will be time to begin again. Right now? It’s enough to enjoy this cup of coffee, on this quiet Sunday morning.