Archives for posts with tag: listening deeply

I woke abruptly from an unpleasant dream, this morning. It was much earlier than I needed to be awake, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. After a few minutes, ruminating over my dream, I got up. My Traveling Partner and I shared coffee. The day began.

Now I’m sitting contentedly in my studio once again (no, the repairs have not yet been done, and the wall and closet are still “torn out”, waiting on those repairs). I was inspired to get moved back in by my unpleasant dream. The details are not critical here, the fundamentals were what got my attention, and I woke motivated to act on what was “suddenly so clear”; I needed to have my studio back, like, immediately. Having my workstation (and conducting my day-to-day work) in the dining room was an acceptable short-term solution while the water damage in my studio was being addressed. (The big air movers that were shoved in to the smallish space were reason enough; it was way too loud for work.) That’s all over with, though. Right now, it’s just a room waiting for some dry wall to be replaced, and some finish work. I’d cluttered up the opposite side of the room, making haste to move paintings to safety, and bookcases out of harm’s way, and the big deal at this point was that I couldn’t get to my desk! I woke from my troubling dream with a clear plan how best to regain the lost space and move forward.

…And it’s not as if I have any expectation of the repair crew coming this week…

It feels particularly good to be seated at my desk. I smile, and gaze out the window, content with the small view of pear-laden trees on the other side the fence, and a wedge of sky beyond my neighbor’s house. My desk is clean, tidy, and looking around the room with some satisfaction, I note that things are as well-managed and neat as before we noticed the leak that caused me to be temporarily kicked out of my studio. In some ways, it is tidier, simply because most of the canvases were moved into another space in the house (permanent solution still tbd).

My Traveling Partner was also inspired to begin “putting things right once again”, and between coffees tidied up his workshop, and rehung the sun shade “sails” that make the deck so pleasant on sunny summer days. They had been taken down during a wind storm, and we didn’t bother putting them back up while the air outside was indexed at “hazardous” – we weren’t spending time outside!

We each (both) remarked how much difference it made to our general feeling of emotional wellness to have the dining room restored to it’s ideal function (as a dining room), and my workstation back on my desk where it belongs. Reclaiming that living space was a big deal for both of us. Reclaiming this space (my studio) was critical for me, and probably pretty fucking helpful for my partner, too. It was getting beyond annoying to have business calls going on all day, in the shared living space where one might expect to be able to just relax and watch a damned video, or read the news. I know it was messing with my partner’s morning routine. It was challenging for me to deal graciously with life and love being so intimately present in the midst of work – my attention was unavoidably divided, and however much I might prefer to turn my full attention to matters of home life and love and my lover every minute, every time, I also felt the tug of the paycheck; my time is not my own during those working hours. It was hard on us both. I had started to feel pretty trapped. My partner made it explicitly clear he was having some feelings about it, himself. It was not a sustainable arrangement.

…I’m almost eager to face Monday’s calendar, from this seat, in this room, looking across my monitors to this window, and those trees beyond. Once again, I feel “at home” – which is much nicer than feeling chronically uneasy and displaced, for sure.

The morning was fairly merry. I find myself ready to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday, rather unexpectedly (entirely unexpectedly), my Traveling Partner called gently to me from inside the house “…can you come into the house quickly?” So, of course, I made my way into the house with some haste. I stepped into the living room, and first saw him, standing in front of the aquarium, looking at it, perplexed and concerned. As he pointed, my eye followed… to water flowing from the aquarium… the water on the floor… back to the “leak” (which appeared to be coming from nowhere, just sort of “seeping, aggressively” from the lower rim. What the hell? (And, also… 29 gallons of water is a lot more water than it seems like it would be, when it is flowing down the front of furniture, pooling on the floor, and expanding in all directions. Just saying. “Astonished” just about describes my experience.)

A lot went on from that moment of recognition, until the completed resolution some hours later. My Traveling Partner stayed cool and calm. I did pretty well in that department, too. I obtained a new aquarium was quickly obtained from the local fish store (a genuine stroke of good fortune on that – it’s a strange size, and not commonly carried everywhere). While I was doing that, my partner siphoned the remaining water into buckets, rescued plants and livestock, and cleaned up literally every sign that there ever was a leak, anywhere. (Call me impressed – I got home seriously worried about “all of the things”, and committed to doing my part… which was, after all that, simply to set up the new aquarium. Wow. So much love.)

I spent a relatively relaxed evening setting up the new aquarium, and enjoyed having the help of my Traveling Partner. We worked together on it, and the outcome was a good one; not one fish fatality, a thorough water change (that was due), significant pruning and algae removal, and some tidying up and re-scaping the substrate and object placement. This morning, clear water and happy creatures were waiting for me.

The point of relating all of this is mostly to point out how fucking cursed I felt in that moment of discovery; yet another “aquarium-related” mishap. Another leak/water damage concern. Another moment of chaos. I could have just fucking lost it… and I didn’t. Not this time. Neither did my partner. Fish could have died. I knew that, then. I even contemplated, briefly, just … not. Meaning just give up on the aquarium (the eternal cry “this is too hard!” so readily within reach). I chose differently. Not because I felt obligated, or cornered, or expected to – I chose to “do the needful”, because I really enjoy my aquarium. It matters to me.

We each practiced good emotional health practices last night. We supported each other. We “played to our strengths”. We took immediate action, but without panic. Hell, my partner even made sure I specifically took breaks – we worked on this together for hours. With his help, we didn’t end up exhausted or cross with each other. It was simply the adventure we shared that evening.

Then we began again. 🙂

My coffee is a memory. By the time I got to actually drinking it, it was already rather tepid. It lingers, cold, and bitter, in my recollection. My day is off to a rather poor start for no good reason. At some point, the quality of my experience becomes up to me…

I reflect on things quietly, thinking perhaps I’ll gain perspective through writing, then find myself stalled, unwilling to tackle the “harder questions” this morning, in spite of knowing they would do well to be asked, and where possible, answered. Instead, I make an ambitious list of household chores and resolve to complete those. It’s easier.  Today is, in most respects, an ordinary enough Sunday.

…Order from chaos… sometimes I find it helps with other challenges troubling me in the background…It helps to have a list.

Same view, different day. Perspective matters, but we each have to walk our own hard mile.

I remind myself to make room for other perspectives, to listen deeply, to be open to change…

A slight change in point of view can make a difference in understanding our circumstances.

…I wander off to get started on my list. Another new beginning… the day may improve, if I can stay open to that potential. I can always begin again…

…Sometimes this shit is hard. Seems so, I mean. Subjectively. I remind myself “one practice at a time, one step at a time, one task at a time; it all adds up”… I feel unconvinced and blue. Some days suck. I make a mental note that change is – even the most miserable moment is just a moment, and it’ll pass. I have choices. I have practices that I know I can count on to be uplifting. Yeah, not super convincing that time, either. I’ll “get over it” and “move past this”. For now, this is the experience I seem to be having. I try not to take it personally, and stay with both this actual moment, and these feelings; the moment, which is frankly fine, is my anchor, my point of “safety” that gives me a firm foundation to consider the feelings without becoming mired in them (that’s the intention, anyway). I’m okay right now. That’s real. The emotions are emotions. I make a point to refrain from conflating the feelings with actual experiences.

…I make a point to consider the experience separately from the emotions I feel during or about the experience, itself…

…Uncomfortable or unpleasant experiences are something I can learn and grow from. Fighting that isn’t particularly helpful. Getting mired in unresolved emotions isn’t particularly helpful (or comfortable) either. I take a breath and turn towards my discomfort, seeking growth… and begin again, again. I eye my “baggage” and personal demons with some distaste and impatience, and snarl to myself “bitches, I can do this “begin again” shit all fucking day, just go ahead and fucking bring it“. That at least gets a laugh out of me.

I check my list, and yeah, I even check it twice. There’s more to do… and it all begins with a beginning.

This morning is a good one for reminders to the woman in the mirror.

Still, and again. The very best practices work that way.

I’m inclined to do some re-reading and additional study this week. There are a handful of “maps” in my reading list that seem to lead me along my path very skillfully, and “The Four Agreements” is definitely one of those. The basics are so… basic. Seriously. This morning, I’m resting my practices on #2 “Don’t take anything personally” and numbers 3 & 4 seem wise, as well. Handy. I mean seriously, life, love, and even moments of apparent conflict are not “about me”, probably mostly at all. This morning has felt very much like the sort of morning on which I could so easily take shit personally that isn’t personal, follow that up with a few incorrect assumptions, and end up having a shit day, end-to-end. Not interested.

My sleep was interrupted by restlessness and physical pain. I woke once and stood out on the deck looking at the moon for a few minutes before returning to bed, and to sleep. The nearly full moon shined down on the forest beyond the deck so brightly, I thought there was a flood light on somewhere. lol

Moonlight and solitude in the wee hours.

I spent some moments in the darkness, looking at the stars, and reflecting on my life. Nothing much came of it, other than eventual sleepiness, which was sort of the point in the first place.

I finish my now-cold coffee, and look over the work day ahead of me. I consider how I can be my best self, right now, and also steadily become that woman I want most to be… sometimes it feels like a tall ask. I remind myself to narrow my focus, and be mindful that what others want, need, or expect of me isn’t a firm foundation on which to build my best self. I take a breath, and exhale slowly, and again after that. I rather like (and appreciate) the woman I am, right now, in this moment, on this day. Could I “do more/better”? Quite likely, yes, sure. That’s part of the point, too. I remind myself to be kind in difficult moments – not because it is expected or demanded of me, but rather because it is a quality I value, myself. I remind myself to listen deeply, because I very much want people speaking with me to feel heard – as I want from others, when I am myself speaking. I remind myself to be compassionate, because I value compassion. I remind myself to live up to my word, and to speak gently; there are too many harsh words out there in the world, already. Who I am, myself, is one thing that really is “about me” – and belongs to me, entirely. There are a lot of choices, and verbs, and opportunities to embrace qualities I value, personally, myself – because that is how I see myself. I know my results will vary, and even that isn’t something to take personally. It’s a journey. There are steps, and forward momentum, and incremental change over time. I become what I practice – so clearly, practicing those qualities that matter most to me, is the way forward to becoming the woman (and human being) I most want to be. 🙂

…And, yeah, it’s time to begin again.

It was a lovely weekend. That’s definitely how I remember it… and I think that’s a pretty accurate summary. My Traveling Partner and I shared many connected, intimate moments, some productive moments, appreciative moments, encouraging moments… definitely a lovely weekend. We met neighbors from a couple houses down – a byproduct of community, in a community that “does community” pretty well, and where neighbors see each other, and interact. My partner, working on projects in the garage, door open to the breeze, attracted the attention and genial neighborly conversation of passing folk heading to or from the mailboxes on the corner. Conversations were had. Connections made. 🙂 Social distancing rules were observed without awkwardness. (Life in the time of pandemic has rules of its own.)

The weekend was so… ordinary. We cooked, cared for our home, spent time hanging out together, ran a couple errands, started and completed projects. I don’t need “more”; it was rich and fulfilling. It was enough. I took care and time on my self-care, making a point to meditate, to get enough exercise, to eat healthy meals, all of it matters. The day-to-day is more pleasant when I care for myself skillfully.

Every moment a potential new beginning – that’s a promising thought.

I start the week, and the day, with good practices. I shower, soak (meditate while soaking), and go for a comfortable pleasant walk of a bit more than a mile. I watch the sun begin to peak through the trees, from a seat on the deck, while sharing coffee with my Traveling Partner.

A chilly late summer morning, cold toes, warm fire, hot coffee. 🙂

No, there is no “perfect”, and I’m not always certain I’m “making progress” or “achieving success”, but there is this lovely “now”, and endless new beginnings. Right now, that’s enough.

Check this out… it’s already time to begin again. 😉