Archives for posts with tag: listening deeply

It’s funny, isn’t it, that things change so much in such a short time, and often in such unexpected ways. Sometimes subtle, sometimes quite obvious, sometimes in unimaginably pleasant ways, sometimes less so – change is

I smile and sip my coffee. This morning it is exceptionally good. I feel well-rested, content, and calm. The morning begins well. I enjoy this feeling, savoring it, lingering with it, not asking it to be anything more than what it is. Grateful for it, and appreciative.

Some lovely fun hours in the company of dear friends, and my Traveling Partner, were a nice addition to the weekend. I am still enjoying those recollections, too. I think about all the many small commitments to mutual support, and shared experience, that make up these relationships – as much about “family” and community, as they are about friendship. Our relationships are so much of who we are. Almost a “living mirror”, in a sense; we see reflected back what we are able to deliver, ourselves. It’s a lot of work to maintain a low-drama experience in the context of our relationships, sometimes, but it is possible. I smile and think about that for a few minutes more. How do we share the best of who we are with the people most dear to us? How do we encourage them to do the same?

I glance at the time. It’s an ordinary enough work day, and I’ve commitments aside from those to family, community, home, and hearth. There’s also the work thing, and it’s already time to begin again. lol

…Are you ready for a new day? What will you do with it? 🙂

I smile when I notice I’ve given four posts this same title. I’m tempted to read the other three before I go further, and decide to do it afterward, instead. 🙂 “What matters most?” is a question I often ask myself, particularly when there are choices or plans to make. It seems a worthy question, whether intended to get at the specifics, or to take a more general approach. Suitable for many moments.

What matters most?

Right now? Sure, why not – what matters most right now?

In general? Definitely helpful to know what, in general, matters most.

In the context of this moment, this circumstance, right here, now? Oh, most assuredly; knowing what matters most in the context of some current challenge is very beneficial for sorting things out.

Here’s the thing I sometimes find peculiar; I often expect to know, implicitly “what matters most”, and I am, fairly often, wrong about what I actually think it may be, and upon reflection, I find that I “disagree with my assumptions” in some notable way that makes having reflected on the question very worthwhile. So… I do. More than occasionally, somewhat less than frequently.

What matters most? About the world, and humanity? I definitely want to understand that, to be the human being I most want to be.

What matters most? About Giftmas, and holidays based on sharing and giving? Yeah, I’d like to understand what matters most about these holidays, too – I’m pretty sure it isn’t the dollar value of goods or services being shared and given to others. Knowing what I find most significant in these holidays ensures I am most able to make skillful choices when I consider others.

I’m just saying, making assumptions about my own values is just as silly as making assumptions about the values of others. “What matters most?” is a question worth reflecting on, worth fully considering, and worth making choices on the basis of the understanding I gain.

Perspective matters, here. Life experience also matters. The fundamentals of the values I hold dear, themselves, matters greatly. It matters that I am honest with myself about who I am. It matters that I am frank with myself about the limits of my resources, and that even in the face of excitement and great joy and wonder in the moment, that I am still considerate of my long-term needs.

So, I sip my coffee on a Saturday morning, just days away from Giftmas, and fewer days from the even nearer birthday of my Traveling Partner. Gifts don’t seem to be adequate to celebrate what I cherish so much in life… what to do about that? Again, I ask myself, “what matters most?”

Once I have an answer, I’ll know better how to begin, again. 🙂

Home from work. Long, busy, fairly productive day. Unfinished tasks. Minor stressors. A society in decline – or at a minimum, exceedingly public and uncomfortable turmoil. Major stressors. Rainy. Chilly. Arthritis pain. I make a trip through the house adjusting things: thermostat, Giftmas tree lights, set the oven to pre-heat to make dinner, this light, that light, tidy this up, move a thing from one location to another, boots off, jacket hung up. Routine.

I sit down and find myself faced with the world, filtered through the Internet. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t count, in any way, as “down time” – or pleasant. So… maybe not, then? I close social media tabs. I close my email. I close the news. I sit quietly for a moment listening to the commuter traffic on the busy street beyond my window.

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly, feeling my shoulders slowly drop to a more natural posture. I pull myself more fully upright, and feel that lessen my arthritis pain, somewhat.

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly, feeling the chill of the room diminish as the heat runs. I make a point to acknowledge colder circumstances with fewer resources and less privilege, when I would not have had the luxury of just turning up the heat at the end of the work day. I enjoy the warmth of being aware how grateful I am to have heat at home. It’s very much worth a moment to appreciate these circumstances.

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly, content with the simple meal now prepared, and in the oven. I feel hopeful that the headache lingering since afternoon will diminish after a nutritious meal, and chide myself gently for overlooking lunch.

I take a deep breath and let it out – and just smile, sitting for a moment with the awareness of how fortunate I am, generally. I let the moment fill my thoughts with pleasant recollections: things that worked today, clear communications well-received, completed tasks, satisfied consumers, work well-done, a pleasant commute home, that ping during the day from my Traveling Partner just saying he loves and misses me, the beautiful view from the window nearest my desk at work. A feeling of contentment and relaxation slowly builds.

I take another breath.

I take another breath.

I pause to feel a moment of gratitude for breath itself, for the chance to go on breathing, to recognize and really enjoy having survived so much, to be here, now, to enjoy (versus endure) the life I live.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. 🙂

My legs ache. I am contentedly fatigued from the effort of the weekend. Joyous effort. Heartfelt effort. Connected effort. The effort we make in life really matters; it’s how we get results. Well… I mean, sure, there’s “luck” of course. Good fortune puts a lot of folks on the path to one win or another, or general success in life, but let’s not kid ourselves about that; there’s a lot of effort that often isn’t seen, or shared. People – lots of people – go about the doing of things, often unnoticed by passers-by.

Sooner or later, however longingly I dream of hiking a particular trail, there’s no progress on making that a reality until boots hit the ground.

Start somewhere.

What’s your dream? Are you working on it?

What’s on your horizon? You are your own cartographer on this journey.

If you’re not working on your dream, realistically, how do you expect to achieve it? Pure intention? Casual assumption that gritting your teeth and firmly “manifesting” it will get you there? “The Universe” looking out for you… why? Someone’s going to hand it to you? Because you’re a great person? Seriously? So, I’m here with a short cut for you – and almost surefire not quite guaranteed path to success (your results will vary); make an effort. No kidding. Sucks, I know, right? Effort?? Like… actual work?

Are the obstacles you face truly as immediate and non-negotiable as you imagine them to be?

Our results are often closely correlated to the effort we make to attain them.

Whose advice are you taking? Sometimes the commandments we perceive as written in stone aren’t so permanent at all.

To put it in more practical terms…how many NFL players just happened to be spotted casually throwing a football around at some point in their life, having never played the game, and just happen to be so fucking fantastic that they are offered a deal on the spot? How many drivers are stopped at an intersection during their commute and offered an opportunity to compete in Formula One racing? One-time karaoke singers invited to perform at The Met? Let’s count carefully now…

…0. Probably. (I didn’t actually look all those scenarios up – if you find an example, I’d love the link to the narrative.)

The point is, if you want to be a professional football player, you’ll probably want to learn to play the game (as a starting point), and hey – maybe get really good at it. Most things work this way. You have to begin somewhere. Practice the thing. Become skilled. Go on to mastering the thing, or becoming in some fashion accomplished. Verbs. Effort. Action. Daydreaming doesn’t put pen to paper, brush to canvas, or a ball into the air.

Wherever it leads, the path we choose in life isn’t going to walk itself.

Hell, we don’t even get to rest on past glories for future successes; it is necessary to keep at it. Whatever it is. Effort. Fuck – I gotta say, that sounds like work. (It is.)

It isn’t always clear where a path leads, or how to reach a desired goal or destination in life. Sometimes talking about it helps.

I spent the weekend with my Traveling Partner. It was intensely connected and intimate, and we had deep conversations about things that feel important – emotional conversations that were not always easy, and could have wrecked a weekend, were we not the sort of partnership that thrives in an environment of authenticity and depth. I got in the car this morning, before dawn, to head back up the highway feeling refreshed, renewed, and filled with something more nuanced than inspiration, more powerful than motivation. I feel push-pulled back into a more verb-packed groove. I hope it lasts. (There will be verbs involved, and no doubt my results may vary.)

One more moment, one more opportunity, one more new beginning.

It’s a good day for a beginning. 🙂

I’m thinking about a lovely compliment I received last night. A few years ago, I’d have walked in the glow of those words, maybe for days, without a hint of humility, or wisdom, or a moment to reflect and gain perspective. I like compliments. lol This time, I smiled, expressed appreciation for the lovely words, and reminded myself that words are plentiful, easily shared, and not something to become attached to, generally speaking.

I’m very human. No compliment can overwrite my humanity and make me something – or someone – other than this human being who I am. Here’s the thing about lovely compliments (and vile insults); they are words. Perspective shared by someone else. Their perspective. However much those words themselves may carry a valued message, they are not my words, not my perspective, and there is no easy way to narrow things down to be entirely certain they are wholly true, when it comes to a compliment. I’m not even sure that matters; the truth of a compliment doesn’t reduce its power to send me straying from my path. So. A smile. A moment. A lovely compliment.

Then I begin again, and move on with my day or evening or moment, on my own path.

Don’t let compliments (or insults) distract you from your forward momentum in life, if you can avoid it. I’m not saying don’t enjoy the moment, but I find that remaining connected with my sense of self can tend to insulate me from wandering off my path tempted by lovely words. 😉

You are getting that all of this also applies to negative words, criticism, insults, hurtful mis-statements, lies? It’s no more personal than a lovely compliment, inasmuch as even when entirely intentional on the part of the person delivering the words, those words are still more about that person than they are about you – a statement of their beliefs, perceptions, or understanding, at best, and no more a reflection of who you truly are than an astrology reading; not a reflection of you at all, unless you choose to adopt it.

Walking my own path, one step at a time.

I think a moment more about lovely compliments, and hurtful insults, then notice I forgot to make coffee. LOL I guess it’s time to begin again. 😉