Archives for posts with tag: listening deeply

I ended the evening, yesterday, in pain. A lot of pain. Stiff from driving, too. I had an unexpectedly delightful day doing nothing much that was actually productive, which for being a Saturday seems just fine to me.

Yesterday. Lush and beautiful and filled with the scent of flowers, trees, and meadows.

I had a car for the day, and took advantage of that to go hang out with my Traveling Partner and a friend around lunch time. Good food, good times. I spent the rest of the afternoon smiling, driving out in the countryside, through smaller, more rural, more distant (from work) communities admitting that I know damned well I don’t want to reside in suburbia full-time forever, and realizing I am looking for a house that is too compromised for location. (Simply put; it would be worth having to drive the commute, and have that commute still be an hour-long, to come home to a little house in the countryside.) It was delightful to be sufficiently rural to stop the car and hear only breezes and birdsong, rather than the continuous low hum, buzz, and rumble of humanity’s ongoing earthbound conquest of resources. I don’t think I’m ready to live in a bus, or an RV, or a yurt… but I’m probably less removed from that consideration than I think I am. lol

By the end of that delightful day, I was in more pain than I could easily manage, and had gone from “oh, I think I like this particular compact SUV quite enough to get one…” to “damn, I am hurt – I definitely don’t want to get one of these… I need something that doesn’t cause me to feel beaten by a professional boxer every time I spend half a day driving!” I’d rather have something that feels as comfortable to me as my Traveling Partner’s car…but about half its size. lol I find myself disliking the way life seems to dangle shiny things in front of my monkey mind to go wanting for. It irritates me to want more than I need.

Last night I crashed fairly early, being quite sleepy and tired. My sleep was restless, and interrupted by one of the more terrible nightmares I’ve had in a long while. I was trapped in it, too, and unable to “lucid dream” or alter the experience in any way. “Terrifying” doesn’t go far enough, and any detailed description I could provide from the remnants that linger would simply upset me, so let’s not do that. Β I found help, within my dream, from our friend’s huge white dog that I met just yesterday – unexpected to have him turn up in my dreams, but I woke this morning smiling at the recollection, with my hand dangling off the side of the bed thinking “who’s a good boy?” and wanting to pet the unseen presence that was not in any way actually there (or actually visible – it was just a moment of dream lingering as I woke). Β I woke from my nightmare with no residual terror or stress, aware of where I was, and feeling safe. This is something new. He’s a sweet, but quite colossal, white dog that I find just a bit scary, myself, in spite of his genuine niceness – he’s just that big, and I just have baggage. It doesn’t surprise me, as an afterthought, that my sleeping consciousness found him to be a suitable dream warrior to call upon for help. πŸ™‚

…So… The morning and the day start well, in spite of pain, in spite of nightmares, in spite of sleeping so restlessly. I am eager to face the day ahead, planning to give myself a manicure, do some housekeeping and laundry, and maybe spend some time in the studio, or in the garden. It’s a first-rate day to put my nightmares behind me promptly, and begin again. πŸ™‚


Yesterday quickly descended into further emotional distance, and definite anhedonia. I found myself asking “the” question, too: “Am I depressed?” It had crept over me fairly slowly, then finished with a slam – the house I was going to go see, out in the countryside, went pending right about when I got in to the office. I was bummed.

There are sunny mornings.

This particular source of frustration comes up pretty regularly, and house-hunting is becoming a big downer, mostly because frustration is my kryptonite, and also because the process itself brings me into regular contact with an industry built on corruption, with little in the way of healthy pro-consumer regulation. (Seriously, I’d be pretty appalled to walk into, say, Ross and pick out a pair of jeans, carry those to the register, and have some other customer take them out of my hand, step in front of me in line, and firmly tell the cashier “I’m willing to pay more than you are charging for these, so they’re mine.” That’s hard to deal with over and over again.) I just want to go home. No, I mean, seriously, for me the entire process of house-hunting is 100% only intended to let me “go home” – to a home that is mine, that I can count on, that I can make my own and improve or change, and make more secure and comfy and safe. Having to throw regular exposure to frustration into my day-to-day experience by choice (particularly over something so heartfelt) is … yeah. Hard. Icky. Discouraging.

There are mornings that seem strangely gray.

I reached out to my Traveling Partner and let him know my weekend was upended and as a result quite unplanned. I was mostly venting, and not reaching out to change his plans. He understood – and we miss each other regardless of our plans. He suggested coming to hang out, if that sounded good to me. I was still struggling with anhedonia; nothing sounded good at all. Β He helpfully prompted me to consider my experience through another perspective; my physical health. Recognizing my pain management challenges, my poor quality sleep, and the basic frustration of Β house-hunting and how that affects my mood, generally, put me in a better place for the day, and I even found my to making new plans that really suited where my heart is, combining some hang out time with scouting other areas for livability, that might be good choices for future house-hunting.

Each moment, however similar seeming in some detail or another is entirely its own experience.

I committed to sleeping in today, and I did – I woke at 6:30 am feeling fairly rested. A leisurely shower felt delightful. My coffee is hot, and I feel fairly chill and merry this morning. Sleep is a very big deal.

Yesterday’s sunshine has given way to today’s steady drizzle. Fuck I hate driving in the rain. LOL Still… lovely day to enjoy a drive in the countryside, in no hurry to get to the end of the day.

A different morning, a different place, another moment to begin again.

…I guess I’ll begin again. There are verbs involved. πŸ™‚

It’s that time of year; my Traveling Partner is gearing up for a season of journeys, adventures, trips, visits, away time, festivals, events, shows… he will be going (a lot) and doing (a lot) and it is not my lifestyle choice to be so… busy. πŸ™‚ Inconveniently enough, our wedding anniversary and my birthday both fall in this same rather busy, utterly over-booked, time period. It could be awkward if I were someone different than I am. lol

Most years we don’t do much about our anniversary. Last year, we spent a remarkable weekend away together on the coast, and it was magical, romantic, and delightful. Attempting to repeat that experience by merely repeating the experience manages to be not at all how that works, and I know better than to force it (experience is a great teacher). Other relationships, other needs, perhaps; I know that in this one, I don’t need an annual moment of recognition to feel loved, valued, or to celebrate the delights in this shared experience… and I cherish those moments most when they occur without being scheduled. Maybe next year? The year after? Some year when we both earnestly need a getaway and time alone with each other, and nothing more will do? This year, we’re both busy with other things, and that’s okay, too. πŸ™‚

My birthday is weird like that, and different, too. It’s “my day”, by choice. For many years, after I turned 18, I insisted that everyone else also honor my day with me. I like presents, but it wasn’t about that – it was about agency, free will, and being the one to get to call all the damned shots for a change. I fought the powerlessness I felt in life, generally, by being a petty dictator once a Β year. The fact that there would likely be cake, or dessert of some sort, and a great deal of (my idea of) fun doesn’t really change the fact that I was also pretty demanding about things going my way. Once I understood that being a mini-monster once a year doesn’t really “balance the scales” in a life of learned helplessness and frustration, I let all that go. It wasn’t that hard; my birthday is still “my day”… but that’s just me being me, on my own terms, on my day, doing my thing my way and enjoying myself in a life filled with many other such days. It not only doesn’t require a party, it doesn’t require any outside participation. lol Β I enjoy spending time with my Traveling Partner, but it doesn’t have to be on any particular day – including the one I was born on. No idea what I’ll do with my birthday this year… maybe go camping. πŸ˜€

…I do like presents, though, and find myself hoping my Traveling Partner doesn’t actually forget my birthday, and perhaps brings me something back from somewhere interesting… πŸ˜€ (Still very human!)

Looking at it another way…

I am taking a moment this morning to appreciate being loved – this person I am, as I actually am, quirks and weirdness and mad moments and all. I’m taking a moment to appreciate this strong partnership that allows me to be me – the me I actually am, without demands that I be otherwise. It’s a nice feeling to wake up with. It’s not a passive thing, there are verbs involved here too, and practices; my own affection for the woman in the mirror is a large part of what gets me here. It’s got to be okay with me to be who I am, before it is at all relevant whether it is okay with anyone else. πŸ™‚

You may be in a different place in life, or with yourself… that’s okay too; if you want to be somewhere different than you are, you can make that journey. There are verbs involved. You’ll be having your own experience. Your results may vary. It’s okay, though; you can begin again. πŸ™‚

A new week, a new day, a new moment… this “now” thing, with some practice, becomes firm and reliable. Here it is Monday. The weekend is quite clearly behind me. I woke ahead of the alarm, feeling sufficiently rested, and definitely awake. The morning is leisurely, and gentle on my consciousness. Facebook is a playground of birthdays, kittens, and throwback pictures. I don’t yet bother with the news; reading the news would be a poor way to treat myself on a pleasant morning.

I sip my coffee. Yep. I did make it up the hill yesterday, returning home with coffee. πŸ™‚ I spent the morning on laundry, tidying up, and looking forward to the planned visit with my Traveling Partner (that was later cancelled, when it was obvious he wasn’t up to the trip over). The rest of the day was restful, calm, and quiet. I meditated. I read. I watched Rick and Morty. I drank coffee. I gardened and planned the week ahead. By Sunday evening, the weekend was firmly fixed as a very pleasant memory – even the power outage of Friday lingers in my memory as a good time (having to replace most of the perishable groceries was a mild inconvenience on Saturday, spent pleasantly in the good company of a similarly inconvenienced friend). The weekend was sufficiently social and connected to meet those needs… and sufficiently solitary to meet those needs… Indeed, the weekend was in all regards quite sufficient, generally.

It was a lovely day for meditation, and chilly enough to light a fire. πŸ™‚

So… here it is Monday morning. Somewhere out in the community, a future new colleague will get an offer to join my team. Somewhere else, someone will make a choice that changes their life in some important way. Unrelated, elsewhere, someone will give up in frustration, and discover that letting go makes a difference, and that everything will be okay. There are so many human experiences to be had, and we are each having our own. That’s pretty awe-inspiring (for me)… the vastness of our available choices is so broad and varied that we generally reduce it to just two or three things, walled off by “can’t” (really, “won’t”) or “have to” (really, “choose too” or “insist on”). Like going to a diner with a huge accordion-folded menu, and having to order quickly, we narrow things down to simplify our problems, decision-making, and choices… for convenience? For cognitive ease? Because it’s faster? I don’t know. I’ve been trying not to short-change myself in that way, for a while now. I like to “read the whole menu”, and maybe try something new now and then. πŸ™‚

Today is a good day to live. Today is a good day to take my time with life’s menu, and consider it with great care, and eyes wide with wonder. Today is a good day to walk my own mile with a smile, even though there is no map on this journey… and if there were? The map is not the world. πŸ™‚ It’s time to begin again.

House-hunting is weird. I have generally stayed fairly detached, which seems wise and emotionally healthy. This last little house felt so right, it was harder to maintain emotional distance. Each time I acknowledged, internally, how much I wanted this one my inner voice only weakly replied “how does it feel to want?” in that safely bitter tone that is a steady, more affectionate than not, reminder that until the keys are in hand… it isn’t mine. Well. It isn’t mine. πŸ™‚ I woke to the news from my Realtor this morning, immediately followed by the search result with new listings. So. Okay. The search continues.

Funny thing, I learned more from this experience, because I really wanted this little house that very much. My anxiety while making the offer lingered while I waited to hear back. I was equally anxious about either outcome… but I learned the most from my anxiety specific to success; if I my offer had been accepted, there would suddenly be so many new details to attend to, and I didn’t feel wholly ready to face them. This is something anxiety is good for; teachable moments built on what-if scenarios that really “come to life”. There are things I hadn’t previously thought to specifically plan for, like… this little house lacked most basic appliances, and the result would be that immediately upon moving in, I’d be needing to buy a refrigerator, a washer and dryer, and certainly wishing I’d prepared sufficiently to also afford a dishwasher! Wow… That’s quite a bit of money to spend immediately after closing on a house, and also paying for a move. So… yeah… maybe plan for that? I mean, plan for it anyway, for the undetermined and indefinite future of many possible outcomes that exist until one actual outcome unfolds ahead of me. The more prepared I am for all the many possible outcomes, the less anxiety there will be in the moment, and the more easily that anxiety that does develop can be soothed by the easy assurances of good preparation.

So, this time, I’m not sitting around feeling disappointed (that consumed about a day and a half last time), instead I am making a list of the obvious details that would have required funds in the immediate aftermath of moving (I don’t own a lawnmower, either, or some of the homeowner gear one might expect to need…. like a step-ladder). Many of them are things I can plan ahead for, and certainly… I would do well to live much more frugally leading up to a home purchase; I’ll need every cent available in those first few weeks to be most easily able to just get up and go get whatever small solution to whatever common problem develops. That level of readiness would feel very secure. πŸ™‚ More cash in the bank then seems to have more value that some moment of frivolity now. I find myself resolved to be very strictly attentive to a very lean budget. It even feels comfortable to make the wiser choices.

This morning, yesterday evening’s anxiety isn’t leading my day, but the recollection refines my thinking and keeps me on track toward reaching my most important personal goals right now. It’s a nice change of pace from allowing anxiety to send me into a tailspin, wrecking my days, wrecking my sleep, tainting my thinking with doom-soaked scenarios that never teach me anything, or have any positive result. I smile and sip my coffee, and move on with the morning, having taken some notes.

A beautiful morning full of hope… that was yesterday. Today, too. Probably also tomorrow. πŸ™‚

Today is a good day for perspective. Today is a good day for contentment. Today is a good day to be re-inspired by the ordinary – and even by my own anxiety. Today is a good day for beginnings… and a good day to begin again. πŸ™‚