Archives for posts with tag: listening deeply

I remember my father often saying to me “do something, even if it’s wrong”. The admonition was with regard to decision-making paralysis – those moments when one becomes so overwhelmed by some detail, moment, or selection of options as to become utterly immobilized, and unable to act. The Army also emphasizes the value of fast decision-making in a crisis, and “taking the initiative”. I’m not saying these are not useful life skills to have, I’m just wondering how often my own fear of failing to act promptly (or answer a question immediately) may have a less than desirable outcome, that could potentially have been avoided if I had allowed myself a moment to think? I mean… I get it, it sometimes matters a great deal to act quickly and appropriately to circumstances (step out from under a falling rock? Good decision), but… I can think of some circumstances when acting quickly, without thinking things through a minute, may be a poor choice (step out from under that falling rock into oncoming traffic may be less likely to end well, as an example).

I found myself, over the weekend, struggling to find the right “pace” in some conversations – jumping in too soon, and missing some relevant point or talking over my partner, or thinking over a question for so long that it begins to appear I am not listening – and the result is a distinct loss of conversational “flow” and merriment. It’s a small detail – but one that matters. Timing. I started making a point of noticing what, specifically, was driving my anxiety in those moments (since these were all friendly conversations with my Traveling Partner, there was nothing that would reasonably provoke anxiety in them), and I started to notice how often I reacted anxiously to the fear of “not being fast enough” – with an answer, a decision, an action – not even the actual timing or timeliness, just the fear of not being fast enough. I have since started really paying attention to how “the need for speed” may be driving my anxiety in circumstances where being quick has little or no practical value, and even in some where being quick with a reply is actually problematic.

My partner even mentioned, one day last week, that the pace at which I was doing some routine household task seemed “frenetic”. How odd. Really?

…Human primates are weird…

…Breathe… Exhale… Relax…

I consider that I may “miss the point” by being too quick to reply…

I consider that I may take a foolhardy action or jump to an erroneous conclusion by being too quick too act…

I consider how much less sweet one moment – any moment – may be if I “rush it along”…

…There seem to be a great many reasons to take my time, to really listen, to really consider my options before taking action, to think about the details, and yes, to take a moment to step back from the details to consider things in context, too…

I think about that chill, calm, experience of self (and life) that I enjoy most… there’s not a lot of rushing things through involved in that; it’s a more measured way, more considered – and considerate. One thing sure seems obvious…

I need to begin again.

Look, sometimes shit gets real. No kidding. Happy life, good times, great friends, deep love, wellness, safety, security, luxury – you (or I) can literally “have it all” and in spite of all of that, sooner or later, tears will fall. I’m just saying – suffering is part of the human experience.

Sometimes shit hurts.

Sometimes we fuck up.

Sometimes people are dicks.

Sometimes the cards are stacked against us.

Sometimes the homilies feel disrespectful.

Sometimes the feedback feels like an attack.

Sometimes the suffering feels like the one thing it really isn’t; ceaseless.

No kidding. We can choose to stop amplifying our misery. We can choose to let more shit go. We can choose to take a step back and regain perspective (or gain it for the first time, yes, even that is within reach). We can choose to treat ourselves a bit better. We can choose to treat those we love better than we ever thought to before. We can right our wrongs – or at least make an honest attempt at it. We can be heard – and we can choose to listen.

…I did not say any of it is easy…

Begin again.

There is no “happily ever after” – do not be bamboozled by the sweetest of sweet moments; those moments, too, will pass. Hard times will come (again). S’okay. Expect it, be ready for it, and still let that go, too. Live. Love. Choose – and learn from past choices.

It’s not easy at all. My results vary. This morning’s tears, I hope, become tomorrow’s wisdom. Struggling with it? Fuck, yeah. Every time. I suppose I will have new opportunities to be a better human being than I was yesterday… every day. It’s sure true today.

…This morning’s failures can be a stepping off point for tomorrow’s success. It’s time to begin again.

…Again.

I woke during the night, several times. I managed to get enough rest, I think, in spite of that. It took a bit longer than usual to fully wake up. Still… it’s a new day, and I’m awake now, and working through the interlude between the first and second coffees of my morning. Pretty routine stuff.

How about that election, eh? Nothing more really needs to be said about that, I think, at least not by me.

At one point, while I was up during the wee hours, I stood in the darkness at the door to the deck, standing in the chill of an autumn night, door open to the smell of forest and creek, listening to peeping frogs and insects, and a nearby owl. I gazed up at the stars for rather a while, before I returned to bed, and to sleep. It was quite a lovely moment, well-spent. It required nothing of me beyond my presence, and it was “enough”. I felt somehow nourished by the autumn-scented stillness, standing there in the dark.

Another time, I woke, and contentedly wandered the house. No purpose to my quiet footsteps, aside from enjoying being wrapped in this pleasant little dwelling, feeling safe and loved, there in the darkness.

Another time, I just woke up to pee was all, and having done so returned to sleep quite easily.

I didn’t give myself any grief over my wakefulness. There wasn’t any stress associated with it. I simply woke, now and then, for some minutes, and returned to sleep afterward. No harm. No injury. No particular inconvenience. I may not have mentioned it at all, if I hadn’t happened to take a look at my blog to answer a question about a date in the past, out of curiosity, and noticed I have not written in some days. lol Sleep (or lack thereof) seems the sort of thing I’d write about, as much as anything. So, I did. πŸ˜€

I look at the time. I notice, again, that my coffee is gone. Time to begin again, I think, and why not start with another cup of coffee?

It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Autumn. It wasn’t frosty this morning, but quite cold (not quite freezing). The morning has been lovely. Intimate. Romantic. Connected. I enjoyed the shared experience of coffee with my Traveling Partner, and this lovely Sunday morning, savoring each minute.

Eventually, his morning and mine diverged ever so slightly; he heads into his woodshop, I sit down with my listing of things to do. I favor Sundays for thorough housekeeping and mindful service to hearth and home. πŸ™‚ It’s become a practice, over time, and I find it a satisfying approach to ending one week and moving on to the next. It’s definitely more satisfying still, with this lingering smile on my face. I feel very loved. It’s a beautiful morning.

I take a minute for small things of value. Little things I enjoy and appreciate. I make room in my thinking for some moments of gratitude. What an interesting journey this “life” thing is, yeah? I think of faraway friends, and remind myself to send this one an email, that one a letter, maybe, just maybe, pick up the damned phone once in a while. πŸ™‚ These lasting friendships are an important part of my journey, my history, my story – and my success along the way. Totally worth taking the time to check in once in while, with people who are dear to me.

A small bird lands on a branch of the pear tree beyond the window, and sits there briefly as the branch bobs in the breeze, before flying away for some other branch, in some other tree. An ordinary bird. An ordinary moment. I make a point of savoring the simple delight I take in the sight, nonetheless. (Have you ever stopped to consider how very few things in life – good or bad – are truly “extraordinary” in any way? If we reserve our joy for only the outstandingly joyful moment, aren’t we short-changing ourselves on many many hours of heart felt smaller joys? How sad.)

My coffee is almost gone. What’s left is cold. The sunshine reflected off the side of my neighbor’s house reminds me that the day will not wait for me, and I’ve got quite a list of things I’d like to do today. πŸ™‚ It’s already time to begin again. πŸ˜€

The evening light trickles into the studio through small gaps in the semi-sheer fabric blinds, along the sides, and through small holes for the strings. I’m sipping water, thinking about making dinner, and considering the election – and Giftmas. The winter holiday season is so close at hand. So is the election. (Although, to be fair, I live in Oregon, and I voted last week. Done.)

My perspective on some elements of the winter holidays may have changed just a bit with the move into our own home… I find myself pleasantly disposed towards lawn ornaments, and outdoor lights. lol It’s been… literally never, that I could realistically consider anything fanciful or elaborate for outdoor holiday lights or decor. One downside of apartment living was that the lawn and exterior details simply aren’t part of the rental, in my limited experience. So… none of that, then. Or… if at all, quite likely very little.

I found myself stalled in a big box hardware store the other day, gazing wide-eyed at… lawn ornaments. Yep. Giftmas has already arrived in retail purgatory, and it is lit. LOL

…Or…I could wait for actual deer to stray onto the front lawn. It’s a thing they do. πŸ™‚

The point though, to my musings this afternoon, as the sun drops low, isn’t about the actual lawn ornaments, or their cost, or whether it is too soon for holiday dΓ©cor to dominate my thoughts… or even the upcoming election, which is already wholly irrelevant to me for now, having already voted; it’s about the change of perspective. The altered point of view. The fact of it – and also how little it really took to find myself experiencing a change in thinking.

In this particular instance, I did not seek or manufacture my change of thinking. My point of view has been altered quite literally because my point of view is altered; I moved. What I see outside my windows each day is different. The door I see as I walk up to the front door is a different door, opening onto a different way of experiencing my life. New context. New environment. New challenges. Change is. It hasn’t all been effortless joy, fun times, or relaxed – or relaxing. The light switches are not where I expect them to be. (Some of the challenges are frankly quite silly, and very individual.) There has been a lot of work. A lot of upheaval – which is difficult even when I welcome it. I’ve grown, and sometimes in ways I did not expect, and wasn’t looking for (and did not know I would be a better version of myself thereby).

Lawn ornaments.

…Weird way to take note of growth and change…

…You know, I very nearly don’t have a container garden now, too… Had I mentioned that? Yeah… the deck is lovely as it is, without the clutter of a lot of pots, and the spiders and dirt and work that go with them… I had to get super real with myself; I’m only up for a certain amount of work, generally, and I have often fallen way behind on caring for my container garden. With the move I had some decisions to make. I do love that forest view. …And… I’ve also got a nice bit of front yard that is pleading with me to put in the effort there, creating a lovely cottage garden suited to my taste. I probably don’t have the sustained strength and purposefulness to garden both in the front and on the deck. I decided to leave the lovely view of the forest beyond the deck uninterrupted by potted roses… the roses, at long last, can put down roots, too. That gives me so much joy… and a reason to think about lawn ornaments with the future in mind.

…I still don’t know where the roses will each go… it needs more thought.

I finish off my water, and the sun sinks a bit lower. It’s time to begin again.