Archives for posts with tag: listening deeply

Well… Happy Valentine’s Day, at any rate. Try to avoid getting VD (venereal disease) – it would be sure to detract from any potential holiday joy. 😀

“Lovers” 8″ x 10″ watercolor on paper 1992

I have a lot of thoughts about Valentine’s Day, few of them are G-rated. My personal take on Valentine’s Day, as a holiday, is that it is the one holiday on the calendar specifically devoted to sexual love. Romance. Not “family life”, not little kids giving paper cards, not “hearts and flowers” in any casual sense (“I sent my Mom flowers for Valentine’s Day” is definitely not in the spirit of the holiday as I understand it, myself). Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate sensual pleasure, sexual pleasure, physical connections and bonds, the delights of romance of all sorts, and not some watered-down Hallmark holiday at all.

Is love a journey or a destination? Or… is love a verb?

Having said all that… I’m alone this Valentine’s Day, and lacking co-celebrants of any sort in any near-at-hand physical sense. LOL 😀 Somehow, I manage not to be bitter about Valentine’s Day. Some years I’ve been partnered. Some years I’ve been solo. Some years being partnered hasn’t resulted in sex on Valentine’s Day… which is like the worst way to celebrate this holiday. LOL At least have some smooches and snuggles, y’all. 😀

Be love. It’s a choice. Love is a verb.

Somewhere a long the way, people seem to have gotten the idea that “inclusion” and “inclusivity” means everyone can, and must always have access to be able to, celebrate and/or enjoy everything available to be celebrated and/or enjoyed by anyone at all. I don’t think life really works quite that way. This is a really good example. I see Valentine’s Day as a specifically quite carnal sexual celebration of love… I also don’t have a partner at hand with whom to celebrate this holiday, on this day, in this year. Those are all true things. Does this, then, mean I am entitled to celebrate nonetheless and all such celebrations must now be tailored to enable and accommodate my participation? And what if the pre-requisite for such requires that I be fundamentally other than I am? What must change? Just something I turn over in my head now and then. I’m a huge fan of inclusion – sorting out what precisely that actually means is tougher. I mean, I will nonetheless “celebrate” the holiday – by noting that it exists, and quite probably enjoying a lovely meal later, and maybe a very tasty glass of sherry or port – but it is a pale comparison to my preferred ways of celebrating sexual love. LOL 😀

Love matters most.

Valentine’s Day-wise, Love gets to lead a lot of the conversation. Love has a lot to say. I don’t know what it says about love – or folks who read my blog – but this post on Valentine’s Day, from 2013, is my most popular post ever of always to date. So, this year, remember – even if you can’t “get lucky” this Valentine’s Day, how lucky you are simply to be, and to be you; you matter. Celebrate with the person in the mirror (<groan> lol, sorry, I could not resist, but sure, if you’ve got the time and inclination, do you. LMAO). Enjoy you. Lavish yourself with your own affection this year – why not? You may begin the best relationship of your life, by beginning a better one with the person in the mirror.

Well, shit. Writing in the evening is a very hit or miss thing for me, isn’t it? How… disappointing? Inconvenient? Well, something – it definitely falls far short of being a routine. lol I am fortunate that it isn’t an obligation. 🙂

I consider the nature of routines, and the consequences of undermining routines that work in pursuit of some other ideal, or the satisfaction of some other need. In this instance, less than ideally successfully. There are so many small details that are not obvious – nor obviously related. Is there a relationship between the lack of writing, and the more frequent occurrence of dishes in my sink? Or that growing pile of earrings that hasn’t been getting put away? Or the fact that (although steady progress is being made) Giftmas is still not quite entirely put away? Did breaking a longstanding routine “cause” all this? Was the desire to break that routine and try something else part of what has also “caused” all these other strange eruptions of chaos around me? Are these questions that need answering at all?

I guess one way to learn more is to return to writing in the morning. Will the result be a sudden return to unyielding orderliness? I guess I’ll be finding out. 🙂

A rainy day, a squirrel, a new camera.

I love the new camera. I caught myself continuing to grab my camera phone, though, for “difficult” or out of reach shots. I found myself agreeing with my own observation that “the camera phone is by far superior [for me] for opportunities requiring speed or nimbleness” – getting from “no camera” to “camera in hand” very quickly, I mean. It was a thought that resulted in more camera phone, and less camera. I considered that with great care for a day or two, and realized that to achieve that kind of speed-to-image nimbleness with my new camera, I need to do one thing I’ve tend not to do; I’ve got to carry my camera everywhere I go. It’s what I do with my phone. lol Of course speed-to-image is faster with a camera phone – the fucking thing is always already in my damned hand. LOL  It is an observation that seems beyond obvious. I feel just a bit dim that I didn’t have that concept firmly in mind in the first place, but I am okay letting that go, and picking up my camera. 🙂

A new day begins. I begin again, myself. I’m bringing my camera. 🙂

 

The evening ends gently. I’m tired. I’m in pain. Every doctor’s appointment feels like a re-run of some previous appointment. My frustration continues.

I take a deep breath and relax as I exhale, taking a moment to recall the squirrel visitor I watched for some while. I didn’t pick up my camera, just watched. I was sitting quite close. The squirrel didn’t seem to mind my presence on the other side of the glass, even though it was clear that I was quite visible. The memory of it makes me smile.

It’s not late. It is, actually, rather early. The last couple evenings it has been no effort to go to bed early enough to get a complete night’s sleep, and I have done so. So. Of course, this means that I also woke quite a bit earlier than necessary, each of the mornings following an evening on which I went to bed earlier. LOL I feel most decently well-rested, more or less. I’ve only just started having nightmares a couple nights ago, and so far they aren’t terrifying me into sleep aversion. I silently mock myself quite tenderly, without ill intent. I’ve come a long way. I can recall a time in the not too distant past when just contemplating the possibility of sleeplessness becoming a cycle of nightmares would disrupt my sleep, and result in precisely that dreaded scenario. I can look that one in the face these days. Even when I start with the nightmares again, most recently it has been the case that I manage to hold onto a sense of order and manageability for many days and nights, only beginning to fall apart just at the end, when normal sleep returns, and some sort of life I call “normal” resumes.

I shake off the thought of nightmares; it doesn’t do me any good to start up days and nights of nightmares by investing precious limited lifetime in playing reruns of my nightmares in my waking thoughts. No good at all.

I observe that I still managed to nudge myself into a mild feeling of uneasiness, and decide to finish the evening on my meditation cushion. Tomorrow will be soon enough to begin again.

“Fuck Portland.” It came out as a snarl. I said it more than once. It was an unpleasant commute. I said much worse as I crept east on Division at less than 10 miles per hour. I waited at least twice at all but one intersection on my usual route. My GPS mocked me by pointing out it was “the usual traffic”. “Oh, Google,” I sneered, “I disagree.” Construction delays? Nope. A freight train halting traffic at important crossroads? Nope. Bus traffic? Nope, not this time. No, this time it was… Portland. Yep. The very culture itself combined with certain specific circumstances and… commuter hell.

One of the things I least appreciate about the area is the odd practice of extending courtesy to who or whatever is directly in one’s view, while utterly disregarding the existence of anything else at all. In this case, very polite drivers yielding the right of way of other drivers who have no interest in so doing, and haven’t consented to giving it up; a car waiting to turn, dense commuter traffic on a primary road that has the right of way, and lo! The oh-so-polite Portlander just fucking stops dead still in the middle of the road to allow someone whose turn it is not to go ahead and make their turn – sometimes, even if doing so requires just sitting there awhile as the perplexed driver who recognizes they do not have the right of way wonders what the hell is going on, until they finally also recognize that this polite clown is actually no kidding going to fucking sit there until eternity – unless that turn gets made. This is an experience over which I just seethe. I get very angry. Anger is hard on me. I’m not good at it. I have to practice the best possible anger-related skills and practices, or risk utter failure at adulting with skill. So. I practiced all the way home.

I did say “fuck Portland” a bunch of times, I won’t even minimize that – but I said it. I didn’t scream it while beating my fists on the dashboard, or throwing myself against the car door, or throwing shit. I just said it, and I totally meant it in the moment, too; fuck Portland. Fuck city convenience. Fuck traffic. Fuck the endless badly maintained pothole covered pavement. Fuck the multifamily housing being added to even the smallest available remaining city lots. Fuck the high rent. Fuck having to listen to neighbors through thin walls. Fuck being far away from family.

Oh.

Oh, hell. Is that what this is? Am I feeling lonely, and it is erupting as anger? Why the hell would I find anger a more comfortable emotion than loneliness?

I got home, and sat awhile in the parked car in the driveway, listening to the rain fall and the shhh shhh of passing traffic. I checked the mail, and tossed the pile of nothing into the recycling bin on my way to the front door. I let myself in, expecting to feel at ease, and when I didn’t… I sat down to write. My “safe space” isn’t always a meditation cushion next to a patio door, or a fireplace, sometimes it is pen and paper, or a keyboard and a text box.

My writing is interrupted by conversation with my Traveling Partner. It’s funny. I’m already totally over being angry. Definitely more invested in this conversation with this human being I love so much. So… I think I’ll do that, for awhile, and see where the evening takes me. It’s a nice way to begin again.

I had recently noticed that something’s been digging in my container garden. I know the squirrels, who are regular visitors, are likely suspects; I’ve seen them bury acorns in those same containers, so perhaps they’ve also been digging them up? Seems a safe enough assumption. It’s still just an assumption. If I hang on to that assumption long enough, it becomes a belief. As a belief, it sits in my head guiding my expectations of things to come. I expect, eventually, to see a squirrel digging up acorns from those pots, naturally.

A succulent garden in a large pot, thoroughly dug up, peanut shells littering the ground, carelessly left behind by a visitor.

Funny thing about “reality”; it isn’t at all what we imagine, or assume, or expect it to be. It is what it is. (What it’s made of is a lofty topic for other days, and fancy experts, I can’t do it justice, here.) I happened to be relaxing with a cup of decaf, considering the afternoon ahead, and spotted movement on the deck out of the corner of my eye. Squirrels? Not quite squirrel like. And tiny. I turn slowly and watch carefully, waiting… waiting… waiting… My eyes adjust to the “pattern” of the container garden on the deck – there it is. A new visitor, or at least one I haven’t spotted before – a chipmunk. An actual chipmunk has come up onto the deck (which exists on the same level as the single level residence in which I make my home, but from the back of the house, would be “the second floor”, because the property slopes considerably). I sit and watch the chipmunk. The chipmunk darts here and there, behind pots, over pots, between pots, watching me. There is no opportunity to get my new camera, but my phone is at hand. I don’t reach for it right away, I just watch.

My chipmunk visitor pauses perched on a pot.

That’s when I spotted it, a snapshot of a reality I don’t generally see; the chipmunk is my digging visitor. My little visitor hopped up to the lip of first one pot, then another, and just dug like crazy, leaving pock-marked soil, divots, and craters behind. The chipmunk was digging up the peanuts the squirrels had recently buried and eating them, one by one. There’s even a chance it’s been happening right in front of me – the little chipmunk’s camouflage is very good. I sat and watched a good while longer, until my little visitor left.

Some movement startles the chipmunk, which grabs one last peanut and darts away.

I end up sitting quietly for some minutes, contemplating the ease with which I assumed the squirrels to be responsible for the “bad acts” of the wee chipmunks, who I hadn’t considered at all – because I didn’t know they would come up onto the deck in the first place, having never seen that behavior. I was limited by my lack of knowledge, and my reasoning was impaired by my assumptions. It’s worth thinking about. It’s worth getting all “meta” with that experience and recognizing the damage I potentially do to myself and to my relationships to allow unverified assumptions to become beliefs which inform my expectations and guide my decision-making. There’s something greater to understand in that, something that matters. I sip my coffee and stare into the rain.

I sigh contentedly. I don’t need more from this moment. This is enough.