Archives for posts with tag: listening deeply

So much effort in keeping small things small, in being considerate day-to-day, moment-to-moment, in managing reasonable boundaries, in clear communication… all the things.

(It’s all worth the effort.)

Perspective – gaining it, maintaining it, and keeping it, is huge right now. I’m not any better at it, I think, than anyone else. More effort. A lot of deep listening. A lot of letting shit go. A lot of “taking a step back” and “trying to see things from another point of view”.

I don’t claim to have a lock-down on making things work. I often struggle with my timing, my phrasing, my “tone of voice”, my TBI, my bullshit & baggage – like anyone else.

Today is another fairly ordinary day of life in the time of pandemic. I’m at work, working. My Traveling Partner is also at home. So far it isn’t unpleasant. It does get “real” now and then. We manage it – probably as gently and skillfully as either of us understand how to do, or are able to.

Today, I don’t take much time for words. Seems like a day for actions. 😉

…It’s time to begin again. There are verbs involved.

There’s a certain “order” and “flow” to circumstances that sometimes requires a bit of waiting, of patience, of carefully and clearly resetting expectations, and occasionally, even that has to be revisited, reinvented, or repeated along the way. I sip my coffee and remind myself how effortlessly easy it truly is to wait for something – it is the impatience to reach the goal that is the hard part. lol Letting that go, and the waiting? Well, it’s just letting time pass while I do other things, right? 🙂

Big things and small things, life has a lot of “wait for it” built into it. lol It’s neither a good thing, nor a bad thing – it’s just a thing to account for, to accept, to shrug off as one of life’s unavoidable, inevitable experiences. Rich or poor, we’ve all waited for something.

…Yesterday, I was waiting for a delivery of live fish to arrive on my doorstep. Today, I am waiting for a future moment in time. It’s a chill Saturday, well-suited to waiting on moments, contentedly, patiently, considerately, and even gently. The moment will arrive, and when it does, perhaps the waiting will have become “preparing”, “planning”, or some sort of desirable state of readiness, or another?

Aren’t we all waiting, right now? Waiting for the return of what we each understand as “normalcy”? Waiting for the moment we can meet up with our friends over coffee, or that moment we can host a big neighborhood barbecue (or attend one), or that moment when, through a crowd of strangers, we spot that person we know we love… so many moments are on hold right now. Vacations, journeys, endeavors, projects, group gatherings of all sorts… we’re all waiting. In the meantime, we’re all also living our lives. How’s that going for you, right now? 🙂 I hope your wise choices are resulting in a measure of contentment and joy that makes it all quite bearable.

Oh, and yes, the fish did arrive. It was a peculiar afternoon of timely arrivals, actually. My Traveling Partner and I enjoyed an evening punctuated by timely arrivals, and moments of joy, and discussions of our future together – in a time beyond the pandemic. We enjoyed the evening we had in front of us, savored the depth of our conversation, the intimacy of our shared connection, and the commitment to a shared future. It was quite lovely. There is so much more to talk about and to share that pandemic-related content. lol

So… another cup of coffee, another new day. I don’t know what it holds, and I can’t see the future. Nevertheless, I’m waiting, patiently, and contentedly, for another moment, while I enjoy this one right here. 🙂

However much we love the people we love, however good the hearts of those around us, especially in such trying times, it’s not a reasonable expectation to think it will always be easy, or that we will always “get it right”, just because we want to (perhaps even more than we usually do). Sometimes an otherwise comfortable moment may skid sideways, and suddenly become a challenge, or moment of conflict, hurt, or sorrow. So human.

…I could say “deal with it” or “happens to everyone”, and try to shrug it off irritably. I’m not really that person, though, and more often, I simply retreat to “sort myself out” and cry for a few minutes. Generally just some handful of tears of frustration and disappointment, sometimes tears of hurt, or tears of anger. It’s true, though; I cry over shit. I used to be very strict with myself over crying, working furiously to shut it down, stuff it into a dark corner of my consciousness, wrap it up quickly, hide it, wiping those errant tears away as quickly as I could, before anyone could see them, splash some water on my face and move on with things. It was not a helpful approach. Now? Now I just go ahead with it, generally, and cry. (I often seek out some privacy for that purpose, because I also don’t find someone else’s intervention, disapproval, need to “fix” things, or whatever like that at all helpful in those moments, either; sometimes I just need to cry.)

I only bring it up because I often feel some better after having – and experiencing – my emotional moment. It matters to be present with those feelings. To feel and acknowledge them, without shame, without guilt, can be incredibly freeing, and a big step toward restoring balance.

Things in the world are pretty scary right now. The media isn’t doing much to help with that, with the ceaseless 24/7 COVID-19 coverage painting every news story as somehow “about” that, and presenting a picture of the world that somehow suggests there is nothing else newsworthy going on, at all. It’s a weird lens through which to view the world. Eventually, it may “get to you”. Go ahead. Have that moment. It’s okay to cry over it, too. Give yourself a break if you do; it’s a very human thing, and honestly, not at all harmful. 🙂 You may even feel a bit better for a while, having giving yourself a chance to feel it.

…Then, begin again. Move on from that moment. Let it go. Grief is a real emotion. Feel it when you feel it. It does not have to own you, or make you over in a new image. You can choose to let it go, when you’re ready.

I am sipping my coffee in the studio. Starting my day. It’s another work day. Another Tuesday. Another day in the time of pandemic. My Traveling Partner wakes early. We’re both struggling with physical pain, this morning. Rainy day ahead? Maybe. I don’t give myself the time to over think it; it is what it is. Another sip of coffee, and I do what I can to let even the mundanity of physical pain “just go”. (It’s not that effective, right now, and my results definitely vary on this point.) I breathe, exhale, and relax. Just another work day in the “new normal”.

I glance at the clock; already time to begin the day in earnest. (I’ve been making an effort to keep to my usual schedule for a sense of normalcy.) Time, in fact, to begin again. 😉

Another working day spent in the time of pandemic, another opportunity to connect with my Traveling Partner more deeply, with more openness, and greater… something, something, and etc. I mean, love still takes some work, and being my best self still takes real commitment to self-awareness, and practice (which feels pretty hit/miss sometimes, for results). We are each individuals. We’re in this together. Shared experience. Individual experience. All the overlap between. If we share nothing, we lose our connection, over time. If we share everything, we lose our sense of individual self and agency. There is a balance. In these days of isolation and confinement, it sometimes feels like dancing – the awkward, often self-conscious dancing of youthful uncertainty, which is a bit uncomfortable at times; we’re not kids anymore.

I worked a fairly routine day yesterday. Each time I took a break, I left my studio (which is also my “office”) and discovered some new thing had been done around the house. My Traveling Partner keeps busy with various quality-of-life-focused projects. It passes the time in a healthy way.

…He moved the furniture around…

You know, it could have been drama and bullshit, but honestly, it’s just furniture. If we don’t like where it is – and I mean either of us, over time, could decide it is a poor fit – we can move it around differently. We have that freedom. We have that power. Each of us. Both of us. I managed to find peace and balance with all of it super quickly, which was nice. No one needs my drama and bullshit right now, right? I’m unsettled by the quantity of small changes as the aesthetic of our home inches further and further from what I most ideally enjoy, myself, but there really are two people living here, and it is our home, not exclusively mine. It matters to be open to new arrangements of things. There’s so much joy in it when we both feel a comfortable sense of place. When we both feel at home.

The street is nearly silent outside this morning. These days there is very little commuter traffic through this neighborhood. People who can, really are working from home. People who don’t need to work are generally really staying home. A quick trip out for supplies revealed a world in which suburban men commonly work in the garage, or in their yards, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, building and making things to improve their quality of life, and that of their families. I saw a dad-aged man teaching a little girl to ride a bicycle… on a Wednesday. It was beautiful. It got me wondering, decades from now, how will we view this time of pandemic, looking back? Our perspectives are not universal.

Some people will remember store shelves stripped bare, and being unable to buy stable food items, and basic household items.

Some people will remember the profiteering, the incompetence and mismanagement, the heinous disregard for employee health and safety shown by some companies.

Some people will remember having to work from home, after years of begging for the privilege of being able to do so.

Some people will remember being sick, or supporting sick family members.

Some people will remember the anxiety, the chaos, the fear-mongering, and the uncertainty.

Some people will remember losing their jobs – others will remember being forced to work.

…And some people, who were children in the time of pandemic, will remember long happy weeks at home, with their parents and siblings, connecting over fun projects, entertained, loving, and they will, perhaps, look back on this time with real fondness, as a time when they enjoyed all the love and attention from their parents that they could ever possibly need. I like to think about that as a tiny pin-prick of an upside to all this COVID-19 stuff; some children will get loved more, by attentive parents who perhaps don’t realize that their efforts to stave off boredom, and keep their youngsters developmentally on track, is making some amazing memories.

Then, I frown over a news article pointing out how terrifying this time must be for people in abusive relationships, or households that experience domestic violence. 😦 Let’s don’t be that. We can each do so much better than that.

Be considerate and gentle with your words. It can really wear even your nearest and dearest down quite a lot, over time, to be in such close contact for so long. Social distancing can complicate that – you’re probably not hanging out with anyone else. The lack of variety may serve to highlight small things, which can make them appear to be The Next Big Deal Breaker. Doesn’t have to be that way. 🙂 Choose kindness. Choose authenticity – and positive intent. Be your best self, even though that definitely takes practice.

I’m saying it to you, because I’m saying it to me. There are verbs involved. Work. Effort. Commitment. Self-reflection. A lot of do-overs and new beginnings. A lot of practice.

I’m ready for another work day in the time of pandemic. I’m ready to begin again. 🙂

Time is finite and precious. I am sipping my coffee and feeling fortunate. The world seems fairly disordered lately, but my own life, day-to-day, moment-to-moment, is generally peaceful, orderly, and full of love. It’s nice. I am making a point to live these moments, to embrace and enjoy them, and to savor this experience. I am making time for the things that matter most to me. I am enjoying the good company of my Traveling Partners, and nearby friends. I am reaching out, one by one, to far away friends, making time for valued old friendships, the sort of deep, lasting friendship that endure long silences… they are overdue for my attention. 🙂

…Less time writing…

Last weekend, I sent time on my aquarium. The results simultaneously delight me, and fill me with further resolve. It is a tiny world of its own, and there is nearly always something more I can do to improve the lives of its citizens (right now, just a colony of blue velvet shrimp, an oto, and a clown pleco). This weekend, I’ll do another filter change, test the water quality, and add a school of neon tetras. It doesn’t end there. A beautiful planted tank requires some attention and care – as any garden would. I enjoy it. It is a calm tiny world, and a lovely focal point for meditation.

A weekend well-spent, and a lovely perspective on life.

I sip my coffee, preparing for the day ahead. Each time I think about my aquarium, I smile. It represents more than a project completed. Metaphors layer upon metaphors, when I sit quietly, gazing into the small, calm, watery world.

I finish my coffee, still smiling, and begin again.