Archives for posts with tag: love matters most

I woke with a headache. No arguing with that; it’s a headache, it hurts, I feel it. Being a positive person isn’t about pretending there is no headache. That’s silly game playing that lacks consistent results. It’s more about… being aware that the headache is a temporary thing, that it will pass, and that it is only a headache. My choices still matter more than the headache itself.

We can do a lot to predict outcomes of events and choices, given a willingness to be self-aware, honest, and true to the data. Our choices still matter; our choices change the outcomes. Predictably enough, predictable outcomes change over time, as our choices are made, and our will brought to action. There’s no reason being angry about an outcome we’ve chosen, ourselves, with our actions; we could have seen it coming, generally, as human primates are fairly predictable. Even the unpredictable ones, if you’ve observed their specific ways long enough. Hell, the predictable nature of unpredictable people is so predictable, in fact, that fairly realistic scripts can be written of such things, for our amusement.

I sip my coffee and wish my Traveling Partner well. Day break soon. It’s been a rough couple weeks as his Other’s mental health declined, and her behavior spiraled out of control; that shit gets ugly fast. It was also fairly predictable, taken in the full context of my own experience of her. I take a deep breath and relax. He’s okay. Our friends are okay. Material losses are just things. Hopefully all that ugliness and stress is behind them, and everyone can move on with healing. Done with that.

Emotional resilience in times of turmoil is a big deal. If I don’t have it, I don’t bounce back from stress, and if I am not easily able to bounce back from stress, it begins to wear me down over time, becoming harder and harder to deal with, and as smaller things begin to loom larger in my daily experience, I become raw, emotional, off-balance… and I start to take shit very very personally (and almost nothing at all in life is actually all that damned personal). It all spirals downward from there. How is it that emotional resilience isn’t a common every day emotional wellness talking point? Why is there not elementary level course curriculum in emotional health in public schools? Why has it been such a struggle to get health insurers to cover mental health care fully and without limits? Who the fuck came up with the idea that emotions are the bad guy? Our ignorance about our emotions is far worse than any single emotional experience ever could be. Our personal demons are less likely to be our actual emotions than our lack of emotional intelligence, our lack of cultivated emotional resilience – and the ensuing chaos as our intellect attempts (and fails) time and again to “cut to the front of the line” in every experience. Reliably, our emotions get there first. Visceral. Raw. Real. Felt. Unavoidably we feel our emotions. (That’s why we call them “feelings”.) What we do about them is a wholly separate matter.

…Emotions are still only emotions, though. A reaction to stimulus. Sometimes that stimulus isn’t a high quality of “real” at all. We react emotionally with equal intensity to actual events as we do to imagined ones. Our internal narrative drives our emotional experience every bit as much as actual events and interactions do (for some people, less tied to reality, more so). This is problematic when our own lack of emotional intelligence, or a lack of developed emotional resilience, results in being unable to discern the relative value of whatever is the source material of our emotional experience.

If I am thinking about my Traveling Partner, and imagine losing him… forever… and I evoke an emotional reaction in myself with that thought, I may briefly feel a terrible grief. (No kidding – it won’t be anything like the real deal, but I won’t discern that difference in the moment I am feeling my momentary emotion.) Is the grief not real? Oh hell yes, the emotions are real! That’s what often undermines our ability to maintain resilience in the face of storms of hormones, as women; our emotions are entirely “real”. What is questionable is the quality of the source material driving that experience. Our emotions are bio-chemical. We’re literally on drugs when we’re enraged. On drugs when we are euphoric, in love, experiencing “new relationship energy”. On drugs when we are sad, feeling low, and overcome by ennui. Emotional intelligence is the quality that allows us to understand ourselves sufficiently well to say “omg this sucks, I’m not myself today, I need some space (or I need some hugs) and I’m sorry in advance – I’m feeling a little less able to find my center today”… without laying waste to the experience of our loved ones in a shitty moment by weaponizing our emotions and attacking the world. Over time, “I’m sorry” isn’t enough, if you regularly treat your loved ones poorly. Eventually, too much damage is done, and no apology eases the hurt feelings, or restores the lost trust.

“Emotion and Reason” 18″ x 24″ acrylic w/ceramic and glow details, 2012

We are creatures of emotion and reason. Understanding the complex interplay of intellect and feelings, of reaction and resilience, of emotional intelligence, cognitive skill, and intellect, goes a long way to making us seem more rational while we are also experiencing a rich and varied emotional life. Trying to tip the scales in favor of one or the other is an exercise in futility that weakens our ability to adapt to change and to overcome trauma. Avoid or shut down our emotions, and we become distant, tend toward callousness, prone to clueless insensitivity, unable to fully experience intimacy in relationships with others. Suppress our intellect, eschew a factual basis to life, and we find ourselves chaotic, reactive, and unable to gain perspective. Either of those results in our treating everyone around every bit as badly as we treat ourselves. (Well, yeah, because it’s a true thing that we do generally; we treat everyone as badly – or as well –Β  as we treat ourselves). Fuck all that – it is a more comfortable experience to walk my path mindfully as much as I am able, aware of my emotions, appreciative of my intellect and cognitive gifts, able to balance and use them both comfortably. I am able to bounce back from stress and trauma with greater ease. It does take practice. Yep. And, you guessed it, there are verbs involved. (And maybe a meditation cushion. lol)

Real is real. I still have choices. You do, too. πŸ™‚

It’s time to begin again.

Some things are worth the effort to experience them.

(I should just stop there, perhaps; it is 100% of what I am meaning to say this morning…)

I sip my coffee, and contemplate the weekend behind me. It was definitely worth the drive down. I went to a good party. Met some cool people. Reconnected with people I know and cherish. I felt that warm welcome I love so well. It was an intimate connected weekend filled with fun – and strangely enough, also with sleep. Well, sleep did occur, and it was luscious and restful and was, itself, worth the drive down. You see, after basically 36 hours awake (just due to the way timing and my sleep worked out), I crashed out in my Traveling Partner’s bed, and in his arms, and we slept harmoniously together, quite soundly, for something like 12 hours. lol No regrets there; I’m quite delighted to make the drive down to enjoy that experience.

That’s what I’m saying, this morning, some experiences are worth an investment in effort, in intention, in awareness – they linger in memory, holding on to some magical quality about life or love, preserving it and bringing it back to life every time I recall it. I smile again, and sip my coffee.

I think about a cup of coffee my gracious and charming host (of the party I went to Saturday night) made for me in the wee hours on Sunday. I know, I know, small thing, right? Not really… big party, lots going on, and my host is a new friend – I would not have imposed. I was, rather naturally I think, as it was a bit after 5 am, starting to lose enthusiasm for partying (and starting to feel the sensation of “going without coffee” around the edges of my consciousness). In the context of the conversation, I admitted being a junkie for the stuff (coffee, People, coffee), and he very sweetly offered to make me a cup, himself, personally. It was a damned good cup of coffee, too. The sort of strong cup in the morning after partying all night that reaches into my brain from my tummy and sort of just punches me right in the fatigue, refreshing me and restoring my merry wit. πŸ˜€ Fuck – I hope I remembered to say “thank you”! πŸ˜€

It was worth the drive down to meet this new friend, and to enjoy that cup of coffee. πŸ™‚

Now it is Tuesday. A work day. A different set of timing constraints, rules, limits, and obligations are in place for the week ahead. The coffee? Made it myself. The sleep? Solo. The morning? A new beginning.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I drove home through miles of choking smoke yesterday; Oregon is on fire. Scary. Not as scary as some of the alarmist images being shared on social media. So, I re-calibrate my understanding of what is real and true with something more reliable.

Fighting fake news with real data works nicely.

I arrived home to a very different homecoming than I might have experienced at the apartment, in a number of small but important ways. The house was comfortably cool in spite of the heat of the weekend, thanks to having A/C and a good thermostat. My new place also feels very safe – emotionally and physically, which is a win. Because I had closely followed a carefully managed “deployment plan” for the weekend, I also returned home to a nicely tidy apartment, suitable for really relaxing as I unpacked. It was a delightful homecoming with only one fairly obvious flaw. I already miss my Traveling Partner dreadfully. More than I generally do for having so recently been wrapped in his arms, and lit by his smiles. Manageable, fully human feelings of loneliness competed briefly with the all over ease of living in my own space. πŸ™‚

A lovely misty looking view from Sunday’s hike. The mist isn’t mist at all. It’s smoke from distant wild fires.

I drove home as quickly as I safely could, and it became clear it was a safer choice to eschew breaks along the drive in favor of getting to the other side of the worst of the smoke of the many Oregon wildfires currently burning; the air quality could easily be called “not safe to breathe”. My burning eyes, irritated sinuses, sore throat, and the cough I quickly developed in spite of having the a/c set to “recirculate”, were all the confirmation I needed that breathing more of that air more deeply at some “rest stop” along the way was just not a great idea. Visibility much of the way was down to only about a thousand feet. So I drove continuously, content to find relief from stiff joints on my yoga mat when I got home, with only one very brief stop to pee.

…And of course, there was traffic as I got closer to home. It was, after all, the end of Labor Day weekend.

None of the details of the drive are actually particularly relevant to my experience of the weekend, except to observe that the air down at my Traveling Partner’s current address was already pretty shitty from the smoke of the Chetco Bar fire. I got in one decent hike, over the weekend, but didn’t push myself because the air quality was so poor. I stayed on a well-maintained local trail, got some miles while he worked, and took some pictures of the local wild flowers. We stayed indoors and enjoyed each other.

A hike-able trail, a yoga mat and meditation-cushion waiting for me when I arrived; I felt so very welcome. I felt at home. Β πŸ™‚

My heart is still beating to love’s shared rhythm. It was a lovely intimate connected weekend with just enough hours in it that he had had to commit to work that I also got plenty of “me time” for meditation, yoga, and reading that I felt quite at home. I’m eager to find the perfect balance of proximity and distance and be close enough to spend a great deal more time together, more easily. I definitely want to spend more time together. πŸ™‚ I already miss him.

The details of the weekend itself aren’t really built of anecdotes to share, or life lessons of note. It was time spent on love and loving. That’s enough. It needn’t be anything else; love matters most. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee contentedly with a soft smile of satisfaction. It’s a good cup of coffee. It’s a pretty nice life. I return gently to weekday routines feeling wholly loved and appreciated, and ready to return to work for another week. Eager to begin all manner of things again, and follow threads and paths wherever they may lead me. There are verbs than want doing. Lessons to learn. Improvement to make. Calories to burn. Choices upon choices upon choices – all of which will likely result in changes. I still don’t know what the future holds, and I am unconcerned; I have now. πŸ™‚

I check the clock. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

I woke ahead of the alarm, feeling fairly rested. Within minutes of sitting down to the computer with my coffee, I was sucked into Facebook, and quickly found myself outraged. They got me. lol I put it aside and let it go. Even the most heinous political news is subject to this one caveat, and it can’t easily be argued with; what has been changed, can be changed. As little as that, such a small idea, and I am breathing more easily, I am more relaxed, and I am less agitated. I remind myself that however greedy, vile, callous, or stupid, powerful old rich white men die. (I know, I know, it often seems to take far too long.) Not my usual? Sorry, I’m less pleasant first thing in the morning when I have to face being a woman in Whitemanistan, just saying. The very soundtrack of my experience is altered.

What does “power” look like?Β 

Damn. Still mad. Sorry… I’ll just have to begin again. lol

Flowers. Raindrops. Moments.Β 

I take a sip of my exactly-the-right-temperature-to-enjoy coffee. I breathe. I relax. I turn my attention to the lovely evening I shared with my traveling partner and our friends last night. The smile on my face is immediate, and lingering. My posture changes. My breathing deepens and becomes more even. What we fill our attention and our consciousness with really matters. It’s a weird balancing act, too, because some of the vile bullshit in the world urgently needs our attention – all of us, collectively and individually, and turning away from it isn’t really an option… We all still need chill time, and a calm core of inner peace to thrive, as emotionally intelligent self-aware beings capable of sustaining healthy relationships. News media is selling a product, and our outrage is a powerful attention getting tool for generating clicks and views and likes and subscriptions. It’s about the revenue, not the “truth”. I sigh quietly, and sip my coffee.

What matters most?

I decide on a weekend without a lot of “digital clutter” in my consciousness. A hike sounds much better, frankly, or some time in the studio. I smile thinking back on the evenings with my beloved Traveling Partner this week; it’s been a rare joy to see so much of him. I feel secure in his affection, and wrapped in love. It’s a wonderful feeling. I smile, and ponder for a brief moment how such precious fleeting emotional experiences so easily become something we chase or yearn for, upending our lives in pursuit of what is not permanent – and can’t be. I’m glad I’m not doing that, now. I enjoy this powerful emotional moment, consumed for a time by its fragile saturating loveliness. It’s no surprise how easily such things become a perpetual “carrot on a string” dangling in front of my inner Bugs Bunny. lol Aren’t we each fools for love?

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (from Shakespeare, sonnet 18)

I sip my coffee, thinking about love. Well… and also the farmer’s market, and carnivals… and country fairs… and rope swings at the edge of local watering holes. Summer. LOL It’s a cooler morning this morning, leading to a day forecast to be more spring than summer. I’m okay with that too. Neither spring nor summer truly have my heart, though I enjoy them while they last. πŸ™‚ Love also has its spring, its summer…

Summer afternoons soon become autumn evenings…

I make a second coffee. The world is quiet, for now, but mostly because I don’t have my music blasting, nor am I cramming digital content into my face holes. There is a whole world of grief, of celebration, of noise, of drama, out there – more than enough to go around. I give up my share this morning in favor of stillness and quiet joy. It’s enough.

Love matters most.

 

It’s May Day. Maybe you are celebrating, too? Are you celebrating a festival of Spring? Perhaps you are marching for workers’ rights on International Workers Day? Personally, I am celebrating 6 years of marriage with my Traveling Partner. πŸ˜€ No idea if we’ll see each other today… likely not; it is also a work Monday for both of us, but our shared flexibility and comfort with living apart day-to-day prevents a lot of needless drama from erupting over those sorts of things, generally. I am okay if we get together over dinner or hang out awhile. I’m okay if we don’t; either way I am celebrating this delightful partnership of equals, today. πŸ˜€

Love.

Today I am listening to love songs, and smiling at memories of shared moments, flipping through photos of the past few years – those that we’ve shared as human beings, together on this bit of life’s journey. It’s enough to celebrate and Β honor the experience we share as lovers in my own heart this morning – there’s nothing about that which really requires us to throw money at each other, or deviate from our routines. What matters most is that we each feel it, and recognize this is worthy of celebration. Love is messy, tricky, and wonderful… and I am delighted to share it with this human being. Certainly, this is a partnership worth celebrating; I’m glad I have a day for it…Β  I tend to feel pretty celebratory about this love every day, the calendar observation is sort of extra. πŸ™‚

p.s. I love you.

Today, love is enough. πŸ™‚