Archives for posts with tag: love me do

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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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  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  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. 😀

…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… 😀 (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. 🙂

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. 🙂

I fell asleep composing coherent sentences, assembled from thoughts and words, suitable for this morning’s writing. It was, as I recall, a good idea for a blog post. Unsurprisingly, it was lost among my dreams, during the night. I woke rested, clear-headed, content – and utterly without a thought that seemed worth writing about.

I hoped the blinds in the studio to let the sunrise illuminate the room. I watched the geese on the lawn, sipped my coffee, and listened to the peculiar suburban hum of existing humanity that seems so nearly inescapable, generally. I notice that my throat is a little sore, and shuffle my weekend plans around to reduce stress, labor, and exposing others to potential contagion, in case I am sick. If I’m  not actually ill, the sore throat remains a sign that I likely need more rest than I have been getting. I decide to take care of this fragile vessel this weekend. Life is more a thru-hike along a breath-taking wilderness trail than a paved loop through a state park; it’s important to take care, and pace myself. 🙂

I hear my Traveling Partner stirring in the other room, making coffee. I smile, content and wrapped in love. Last evening was weird, infused with drama. OPD. Not my drama. I am supportive throughout, although I struggle a bit with resenting that a human being I have made a point to cut out of my life completely can still push so much toxic waste into my experience. The resentment quickly fades to sorrow that my Traveling Partner has this bullshit to deal with in another (any other) relationship. I know a lot of people who do. Myself, I tend to fairly quickly find my way to “troll blocking” and “unfriending” these days, even in real life; I have no liking of, or time for, destructive games or drama, and very specifically define “love” and “affection” as exclusive of those sorts of things. Yep. I said it. If you treat someone badly on the regular, it is not understandable (to me) that you “love” them. From my own perspective, you do not. That’s not love. There’s no room for argument, it’s merely my opinion, and how my own map of the world looks.

No drama today, I hope. I sip my coffee and smile. My Traveling Partner puts his head in the studio to tell me that there is a new season of Samurai Jack. Finally! Season 5. We share a fondness for it. I can’t tell if my moment of delight has anything to do with Samurai Jack at all, it’s all mixed up with my delight that my Traveling Partner is here this morning. I have no idea what the day holds. It is unplanned. Unscripted. I wonder what moment will define it.

Today is a good day for patience, and a good day for contentment. Today is a good day to love, and to live gently. Today is a good day for laughter, kindness, and gratitude. Today is a good day to enjoy small things, and to build a drama free zone. Today is a good day to make the choices that change the world.

My appointment with my therapist was a weird rollercoaster ride of shared moments that began well enough talking over recent weeks in a frank and vulnerable way; the break-in had happened only days after our last visit. We started there.

Over 3 years, I’ve come so far… I have a pleasant moment reflecting on how well I bounced back from the violation of a home invasion… then… well… He has this way of sifting through the tons of words and asking some innocuous question about some seemingly nothing bit of a something, and unraveling some long-standing self-deception, or startling me out of my complacent acceptance of some damaging bit of chaos or damage. There’s more work to do about all this chaos and damage, but this morning my head isn’t aching from hours of crying, and actually – I had a lovely quiet evening of reflection. At one point, I hopped online and took at look at computers – strangely, both my Traveling Partner and my therapist said things that pull my focus back to the missing laptop. My Traveling Partner more than once simply observing rather matter-of-factly that “we need to replace your computer”, in one context or another in which it becomes obvious that it is missed. I felt something I was calling “indifference” and would push back that I was “getting by” and “there’s really no rush”. My therapist looking into my face earnestly and attentively commenting instead how he could see the loss was very hard for me, and… the questions. I got home feeling the weight of my missing laptop more than usual, and understanding that however odd it may seem – its absence is related to the emotional void keeping me out of my studio (also my study, where my laptop lived). I rarely go in “there” at all since the break-in, even now.

I shopped with an open mind, finding myself pulled in the direction of my own best computer experiences. I sipped chamomile tea and compared holiday deals. I compared them by price. I compared them by features. I compared them to the list in my head of the things that I need most and didn’t have before, and the things that turned out not to matter – and the things that mattered greatly. I sent a link to my traveling partner of a laptop that was rather-the-same-a-bit-more-what-I-need-a-bit-less-what-I-have-previously-thought-I-like-but-appeals-to-me-now, and then immediately retracted it in a moment of anxious tension over money. I struggle to spend money on myself – it makes me uncomfortable to do so. Baggage.

I kept thinking about that laptop, and found myself “smiling back” at the idea of it, not quite yearning for it, not quite letting it go. I repeat a narrative I’ve been telling myself a lot; no new one, however perfect, actually replaces the old one. It’s not about the laptop; the content is lost. I finally let it go and pick up a book and read awhile before deciding to head to bed. In our exchanging of tender well-wishes for a restful night, my Traveling Partner comments on the good value in the laptop I’d linked, and said “you should go for it”. My heart thumped hard in my chest. I should go for it? His loving support and confident assurance that I am worth my own time, my own attention, my own affection and support, has endured all through the years we’ve enjoyed each other. Even my own money? For me? Why the hell do I still carry around so damned much pain about my own worthiness? I get up from having crawled into bed and put my glasses back on. I it is time to replace this tool that I use so much and rely on so heavily for many things in life. That’s practical. I recognize it (from a distance). My partner recognizes it. My therapist recognizes it. The IT manager at work recognized it. Why on earth would I hold myself at arm’s length when I reach out so readily to embrace the ones I love – and even those I simply hold in high regard?? That’s… madness. Madness built on a lifetime of practice. It’s time to practice something different.

It was exciting and frightening to click “add to cart”. Heart racing and breathless, I checked out. My new laptop is on her way, and I feel like the bestie of a dear friend who is lost to me is about to turn up on my doorstep seeking welcome… I’m excited… a little wary… mostly excited… but it’s a bit of an unknown. I love being my Traveling Partner’s Santa Claus. Really, it seems only proper that he would similarly be mine, even if the trip down the chimney is the nudge of a mouse hand. 🙂 I adult a bit more, sending the receipt over to the insurance company to document replacement of the lost laptop, and taking time to meditate and calm myself to that the excitement and anxiety don’t ruin my sleep. Will I really be able to sleep, I wonder, as I pull the covers over me…?

I woke with difficulty to an insistent beeping that seemed both familiar and peculiarly difficult to understand. Why the hell was there beeping at this hour? I sit up and frown, reaching for the alarm clock, puzzled. Right. It’s a Thursday. I have work. Actually, I have rather a lot of work. I get up. Yoga. Meditation. A shower. It’s in the shower that I recall ordering the laptop. I smile at the recollection with eagerness and a noteworthy lack of buyers remorse. The morning actually seems a fairly ordinary one, only… there’s a sense that something has been put right that feels quite comforting. My Traveling Partner was right. We needed to replace the laptop. I needed to replace my laptop. I needed to take care of the woman in the mirror. I feel a moment of gratitude to have so much help with that. 🙂

The point of this handful of words isn’t the laptop at all, of course, it’s the self-care. It’s the self-knowledge, and the self-acceptance. It’s the willingness to provide for myself as I would for others. It’s understanding that to practice something new also sometimes means to stop practicing something that doesn’t work so well. I’ll head to the office today and work my ass off supporting my employer’s agenda, and in return I will be paid. It’s reasonable and appropriate that a measure of that effort will provide for me, quite directly, and  it does: rent, groceries, utilities… I would buy a bed if I were sleeping on the floor (although I felt guilty about it when I did). I bought chairs when I needed someplace to sit (but I felt uncomfortable about the “luxury”), and a dining table when I needed someplace to serve meals (more for the comfort of others). The purchases make sense. The baggage doesn’t make so much sense. My smile this morning is for me. When I needed someplace to write, archive images of my art, my photos, my manuscripts, my memory, I bought a laptop (because I need this for me, and that’s totally okay). I feel another bit of baggage hit the floor with a thump.

Today is a good day for gratitude and appreciation that so many dear to me care so much. Today is a good day to be merry, and a good day to let go of some baggage.

I’m sitting here just smiling. I’ve been smiling since before I went to bed last night. Life doesn’t feel like this every day, and I’m enjoying the moment. I feel “lit up from within”.

Moments that feel rich and warm and well-crafted of the stuff of daydreams aren’t an everyday thing. That used to be a problem for me; I was chasing the Happily Ever After of childhood fairy tales. No map. Happy not being the thing I think I thought it was. Slow going – and I wasn’t getting there. Sitting here this morning, smiling, sipping my coffee – I am happy. This is nice.

what

What makes you glow?

I got home after work, my Traveling Partner and a friend had arrived ahead of me, and they were next door enjoying the company of our friends there. Some visiting, then it was just the two of us, at my place, relaxing and talking and connecting – intimacy, contentment, that contented longing of lovers who want each other even after years together, and… Giftmas. 😀 I do love the holidays. “Your place is festive”, he had observed. It is. The conversation got around to holiday baking, at some point, and he made a funny face at me, when he notices the store-bought cookie dough in the fridge waiting its turn. He knows I bake. What the hell, right? 😀 No mixer. I am so not up to creaming endless pounds of butter and sugar together by hand! The conversation moves on. At some point I notice he is distracted on his phone, and he notices me noticing; the secret is revealed. He is holiday shopping. It’s Giftmas time!! He teases me with revealing the surprise, then admits he plans to have it to me right away; he is replacing my Kitchenaid mixer. It’s an unexpected delight, and an emotional moment for me; hundreds of times I have not chosen to replace it – and I can’t rationally explain why. The money? They’re not cheap… but it wasn’t that.  I make a puzzled face and let the wondering go for some other day. He saw my happy tears, he understands that as silly as it is, sometimes things also have meaning beyond what they are.

Saturday I’ll have a mixer… I can make my grandmothers’ cookie recipes, or my Traveling Partner’s mother’s, or my Dad’s, or my own. I can make fruitcake. I can make macarons – or at least learn how. It’s a mixer, just a kitchen appliance in most practical regards – a very useful tool. This morning, and last night, it also amounts to a moment of genuine happiness, not about a mixer (or I’d have replaced it myself), but more about a moment of healing, of love, and of being understood and cared for. This morning I feel wrapped in love. I think it is moments like this one that leave us so often feeling like materials things matter… because I could easily confuse these feelings for being to do with the mixer itself, rather than the circumstances of life, and loss, that were tangled up with the old one it replaces. It’s the moment that is the source of great joy, and the moment is less tangible, and less easily discussed, than the mixer itself… which isn’t even here yet. 🙂

…He chose one that matches my other appliances. I smile.

…He thought to make sure it reached me in time for some holiday baking. I smile.

…He recognized the lingering sense of conflict and loss over giving up the old one. I smile.

…I am well-loved, and am fortunate to be able to love in return, and this moment, here, is quite precious. I smile.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

This too shall pass. Still smiling I allow myself the awareness that such a powerful deep moment of joy not only won’t last, it isn’t meant to; without the ups and downs, and the complicated complexity of all of it, how would I experience this as a moment of joy? Also knowing suffering provides the comparison needed to recognize it. Without the hurting over the loss of the old mixer, and the complicated baggage around its meaning in my experience (a wedding gift from my violent troubled first marriage, that I carted around for decades of baking – a lifetime, really – the value of the tool out-weighing the painful memories that surfaced every time I used it), I would not experience this new one as a moment of joy at all… it would just be a mixer. 🙂

Today is a good day for a moment, awake, aware, and willing to embrace the whole of my experience to be also able to experience this particular moment, here. Now.

It’s a funny thing about the squishy bit of flesh so completely encased in the roundish object perched atop my neck – it is powerful. Magical. Vulnerable to deceits of all kinds, most particularly those that source within its own powerful magical self. It is so easy to cast a sort of spell on myself, with nothing more complicated than an assumption or two, a handful of expectations, and a moment taken out of context. I can completely alter my experience, and it seems fairly practical to call it “magic”, since doing so doesn’t actually require anything real at all, and has the potency to change my own experience, and the experience of others. (And actually, reality is sometimes an impediment to our internal narrative.)

I’ve mislead myself any number of times in life with a few assumptions and expectations. I’ve acted on those, or (over)reacted to them, without any clarification, without a complete picture of the circumstances, facts, or any awareness that everything is definitely not all about me, personally, particularly in someone else’s experience. Acting on the made-up shit in my head does not improve my experience, generally, and living alone has been a powerful lesson in the value of testing assumptions, getting clarification on shared plans, setting realistic expectations – and verifying that my understanding of those is shared – and then still just not taking so much day-to-day small shit so personally.

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

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

Most human primates are pretty thoroughly wrapped up in themselves moment-to-moment, and are not acting with any ill-intent. Our worst most hurtful, most damaging, most vile, actions are often merely cluelessly inconsiderate, or painfully ignorant. It’s harder to take such things personally, when I am aware that this is the case, but in the moment it is sometimes difficult not to react to hurtful bullshit, allowing the squishy bit of flesh wrapped in this shell of bone on top of my neck to work some magic, and find myself living some entirely different experience filled with enemies, confrontation, pain, distress, tension… It is easy to develop bad habits with this magical brain thing, and we become what we practice.

I woke early this morning. I returned to sleep with ease. I slept well and deeply and without any troubling dreams. When I woke, though, my first thought on waking was the peculiar last message from my traveling partner, it seemed distant, even terse, and I hadn’t heard from him during the day, although our original plan had been to spend the entire weekend together. Our plans changed with circumstances, it happens, and I had no heartache over it. Still… I woke very much wondering, at least initially, what was up with… “the chilly tone”…

So… here’s the magic in action…when did “peculiar” shift to “distant, even terse”? How did that morph into a “chilly tone” without having more information than I had when I went to bed last night? Isn’t that… odd? Nope. Not odd at all. It’s “a magic trick”, and my brain in the magician. I am the wide-eyed naive audience member – aware that it is a trick, and still bamboozled. I shrug it off, self-correct, and make coffee; I don’t have any data to support any of those emotional assumptions, and can’t determine that his last message was anything other than two words, sent after I had crashed, seen through bleary eyes when I got up to pee during the night. I had no context, and no reason to make assumptions about intent, content, or meaning, and every good reason to assume – based on prior confirmation, and tested assumptions – that indeed, I am loved, and that no ill will, terseness, distance, or chilly tone existed at all. Why would it?

Love means us know harm. There's value in treating it that way. :-)

Love means us no harm. There’s value in treating it that way. 🙂

I sat down to write after meditation, and my first interaction with human kind was a merry “good morning” from my traveling partner, and a lol about the auto-correct fail in his good night message. If I had allowed myself to take anything more from the exchange last night, my morning could have been blown on emotional bullshit, hysterics, anger, disappointment, hurt feelings, a sense of isolation, loneliness, feeling disconnected or disposable… on and on. My brain is fantastic at making shit up! My brain doesn’t seem to care much if the shit it makes up is hurtful, it’s just doing brain things. Practicing practices specific to becoming less reactive, over time, has been a big win, and taken with a firm refusal to yield my heart to untested assumptions, it reduces the frequency of emotional bullshit, tantrums, foolish arguments, confrontational dialogue, hurt feelings, and shitty mornings crying over coffee needlessly. Definitely worth the time practicing the practices.  Sure, my results vary, and I’m entirely made of human. Today the results have been quite pleasant. I checked myself before I allowed my initial assumptions to become my thinking, and I am enjoying quite a lovely morning as a result.

What will you choose to practice? Where does your journey lead? You decide.

What will you choose to practice? Where does your journey lead? You decide.

It is possible to build a life with very little chaos, in spite of the damage we sustain over a lifetime. There are verbs involved. There is practice required. There’s a third thing, and it is important, required, and sometimes difficult… call it “will”, or “commitment” or… it’s that thing with which one begins again. And again. And again and again – over again, and then again over there, in spite of uncertainty, in spite of failures, and even though results vary. I can’t offer any particular insight on that; when I don’t have it, my fails outnumber my successes and I make no particular headway on this journey – on any journey. Having it, I make great progress. I don’t know how I got from not having it, to having it, nor why that change occurred when it did. I do know that this very important change occurred, for me, in my darkest moment, on the razor-thin edge of a very final decision that would have ended all possible opportunity to begin again… the result of a promise I kept to myself, without knowing what the outcome would be. I also know that this particular characteristic of self seems to be spread a bit unevenly over my experience; I bring it more to some situations in life than to others.

I begin again a lot these days. I’m okay with that. Today is a good day to pause and consider how far I’ve come, and all the verbs involved, and all the steps, practices, books, conversations, and hours spent listening deeply to the woman in the mirror. We are each having our own experience. It is a journey – the destination is not the point, and the map is not the world. I am my own cartographer… and trust me, sometimes I’m just doodling over here. (I’m pretty sure that is why my results vary…) It’s helpful to remember that your journey, over there, is not about me. 😀