Archives for posts with tag: love

Yesterday, along with my morning coffee and some hang out time with my Traveling Partner, I was relaxing and found myself appreciating how easy life feels, and how far I’ve come… Lovely feelings for what they are, but of course, these too are transitory parts of the experience of life. Later in the day, I got a healthy reminder; the damage has been done.

Sometimes it’s sunny in the garden of my heart, sometimes it rains. Roses can bloom, rain or shine.

No kidding. It’s possibly not about where I am in life now (rarely is, really), and when I find myself faced with a moment of struggle, a challenge, a bit of emotional bad weather, I sometime forget in that moment, that a lot of this chaos and damage was built so long ago that the “schematics have been lost”. I don’t easily understand why, sometimes, old hurts surface, or why shitty programming is still a thing, ever. It is what it is. I don’t lay down and die over it – that seems excessive. Still. I have moments when I feel hurt, or confused, or struggle with learned helplessness in a great relationship – over shit that damaged me decades ago, in shitty relationships. That’s just real.

…Some of the damage we sustain in the course of a lifetime is quite permanent. I know, I know, hardly the usual message of positivity, but hear me out here; that’s still okay. We become what we practice. It’s nearly always improvable. It’s not that I can’t heal – I know incremental improvement takes time. When I’m feeling really fine, and quite excellent, comfortable in my skin – and in my relationships – that is 100% when I am least watchful for life’s next lesson. There definitely is always a next lesson. lol

An otherwise lovely moment went sideways for me in a moment of learned helplessness colliding with my brain injury. I dithered. I stalled. I literally could not act upon an otherwise routine bit of circumstance. Embarrassing and a tad scary for me. Frustrating and probably hurtful for my Traveling Partner, taken by surprise by my absolute failure to “use my words” or affirmatively respond to this particular situation in any effective way. We let it go, with effort, both realizing it likely wasn’t something I could have done anything about, just then. It felt exceedingly awkward. The rest of the evening passed, for me, somewhat laboriously; I felt self-conscious, raw, insecure, and that I had failed to successfully adult in any legitimate way.

This morning, I let it go, again. It’s a new day. An entirely fresh start. A new beginning. That really matters this morning. I grab that opportunity with both hands, and hold on, then laugh at myself… because this, too, will pass. lol I sip my coffee, breathe deeply, and practice non-attachment, however unskillfully… lots of things take practice. 🙂

Sipping my coffee, scrolling through my feeds, reading the posts of friends dropped into this app or that one, during the night. There is content that troubles me, and I see a lot of it; people posting vague remarks that are self-critical, negative, and on a hopeless sort of downer that shrieks of depression, self-loathing, and… a regrettable lack of understanding that there are, still, and yes, even if they are deeply depressed, some choices involved. Harsh. Why the ever-loving-fuck would someone repeatedly post this sort of quagmire of terribly self-contempt-filled morsels on which to feed themselves? Horrifying.

I don’t have to look too far in the past to “get it”. I only “don’t get it”, now. It’s one major drawback, for me, of healing and forward momentum; it can be hard to understand, or identify with, those past challenges. I guess I’m grateful for that, generally, but when I want to offer comfort, or suggest there is another way, I wish I were more easily able to do so. How do I tell someone in such circumstances “that’s just your opinion of yourself, and only for right now, and holy crap – did you know you can change that??”… when it is their own heartfelt convictions, and deepest terror, about themselves, that I’d be seeking to challenge? I mean, I can say words. Words I’ve got – lots of them – but, generally, these friends are not listening to those words. They hear the words they say, themselves, about the self they so loathe. Anything I could (and often do) say is drowned out in the din.

…It can be heartbreaking to scroll past egregious thinking errors that recognizably mire dear ones in misery. We each can only do so much. If a feeding frenzy of corrections, positivity, love, and encouragement, in response to such posts does nothing to bandage a wounded heart… what can? Well… being present helps. Listening deeply helps. Constancy and steady patient friendship helps. Eventually, though, it’s down to that person and those feelings. …And the verbs…? Yep. No surprise; they’ve got to do the verbs, themselves. No one else can actually undertake to do the work to feel better, aside from the person having the shitty experience – particularly if that shitty experience is one they’ve willfully crafted for themselves and reinforced over time.

Well… shit. That sucks. I’d love to be able to reach out a hand to a friend and take their pain away. Generally, it does not work like that. If I cling to them, wrapping myself up in their pain, eventually some may even sap my strength for living my own life, and caring for my own heart – and not out of malice, just done in a way not so dissimilar to someone overboard grabbing for a life vest or flotation device and just holding on desperately. So, I focus on self-care, and listening deeply, and sharing the journey, and “being there” – but I also work to set skillful boundaries, to be there for my own self, reliably, and to avoid getting sucked into drama. I do what I can to encourage friends who are suffering to choose less suffering, if they are able to. I still feel sad when I watch them choose suffering again and again, in a way that appears crafted and willful. My heart aches for them; I’m pretty sure that if they were able to really understand how much suffering they specifically choose, foster, nurture, and feed, they would also understand they could choose differently.

…I couldn’t treat myself differently until I both understood that such a thing were possible, and – but? – also not until I was ready to see myself differently, and as worthy of better treatment from myself. Harsh – but the truth of it is that I can’t walk that mile for anyone else. I can only suggest that there is such a path available to be walked.

It was a lovely quiet weekend, spent in the gentle good company of my traveling partner. Some snow fell. Some rain fell. Movies were watched. Content was shared – as was contentment. It was warm and connected and close. It feels good to share the company of such good companions: my Traveling Partner… and the woman in the mirror. It feels good to be in a place in life where my own good company is precious to me. I finish my coffee, wondering what words it takes to suggest to the worn down, forlorn, depressed, or anxious, that they, too, have this amazing relationship near at hand…? That perhaps the answer to the question “when will I find someone?” could be found in their mirror, right now?

The coffee is finished. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Sipping my coffee on a Friday off. Enjoying the sound of my Traveling Partner in the other room, reflecting aloud on content that resonates with him, as he enjoys his morning coffee over some study material. We are individuals, sharing a journey (and an experience of life). It feels good to share this space with him. His appreciation of, and delight in, various details warms me and fills me with joy. I feel accepted, valued, and loved.

I sip my coffee and consider my calendar and budget, and wonder how I ever figured I could make my way in life without both of those things; I need a plan. Doesn’t mean that the plan is always executed precisely as laid out – in fact, that’s rare. Change is. Circumstances occur. Still, having a plan gives me a comfortable framework from which I can more easily adapt to change, and account for circumstances, still moving toward my destination. I take time to look ahead many weeks. I consider the date on which one paycheck ends, and the next begins. I consider the gap between them, and how that will affect my cash flow. I plot out the expenses against the income. I ask the hard questions, as each bill is considered in sequence; is it covered? Groceries too? What about some fun? Is there wiggle room for some discretionary funds? Am I still working toward getting ahead, and recovering from what has been, admittedly, a difficult year financially? What accounts can be – and should be – closed out, now that my Traveling Partner has moved in, here? When can that occur? How does that timing affect this plan?

Detail by detail I work down my list. It’s not easy to remind myself that this is still a fairly tightly planned budget, with little room for error. I breath. Relax. I feel my smile return; I’ve got this. I’ve grown decently good at it over the past couple years and feel safe in my own care. Wow. That’s actually huge. This used to be The Money Thing. Very scary. Literally one of the most significant drivers of day-to-day stress in my experience, chronically. Now? It’s a process. A set of tasks that are part of my everyday planning and attention – and part of my self-care. I still experience occasional anxiety about financial matters; this past year was peculiarly challenging, particularly the latter half. Still, here I am. I’m okay. It feels good. 🙂

I move on to considering more near-term plans, and wonder if I need to grocery shop today, versus later in the weekend. Perhaps a list? Making a list sounds very satisfying, and I decide to move on to that, feeling gently supported by my own endeavors. Very satisfying. 🙂

…Then I pause, realizing yet again that my Traveling Partner is actually here, right now. A wave of love and contented joy washes over me, still thinking about mundanities, like dishes, and groceries, and vacuuming, and cleaning things. Life being lived.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I am sipping my coffee, and taking a few moments for myself at the start of the day. Another work day. One of just 4 remaining at this job, which admittedly feels strange. At this point, it’s mostly meetings, and writing process documentation for things that simply must continue to get done, in spite of my departure, which has nothing at all to do with me. Right now, moments for me are rare. Purposefully winding things down at my job, while I am in the office, and, at home, committing most of my limited leisure time to listening to the tales of a traveler. 🙂

My Traveling Partner is moving in, and there is newness and adjustment to be had for us both. The first time we moved in together, I’m pretty sure I did most of the talking. I had a lot to say. I hadn’t been really listened to (and certainly did not “feel heard”) for what felt like years. I talked. He listened. I needed that consideration and moment of regard. I earnestly needed to feel heard. I’ll be real about it; the person who wasn’t listening with the most commitment to oppression and disregard was actually me. I didn’t understand that, and I would have no idea what to do about it, once I did. It’s been a journey.

We each have to walk our own hard mile. Along the way, I’ve learned how much listening deeply really matters. I’ve also learned that it is a skill that must be practiced, and takes time to develop. I’ve learned that I’m not “naturally good at it”, myself, and that means practice must be committed, and undertaken from a position of presence and self-awareness (otherwise, I just start talking again). At this point? I’m often pretty good at it. (Still takes practice, presence, and self-awareness, as well as consideration for another.)

This time, as my partner moves in, he talks. I listen. I’m learning a lot about this human being I hold in such high regard. My affection has deepened with the telling of the tales. I wrap my lover in listening. We all want to be heard – to feel heard. I do my best. The listening matters more than any observation or reply I could make. This is not the time for my words. I continue to listen, setting boundaries gently when I need stillness, or a distraction, or a break from an intense moment; listening deeply can be work (it’s a bit topic dependent). We set explicit ground rules together, as partners, about things like checking in and making sure it’s a good time before starting down the path of discussing childhood trauma, or very emotionally intense topics likely to evoke a visceral reaction. We check in with each other when we see a micro-expression suggesting emotional pain, discomfort, or something left urgently unspoken that perhaps could best be shared.

About listening deeply… deep listening, as a specific practice, is simple enough to describe, and I’ll spend a lifetime practicing, because practice is what is required to become skillful. Deep listening only requires that I set aside all else, and just listen. Only that. No “waiting for my turn to talk”. No impatiently fidgeting with a reply I just want to get out there. No interrupting to make “corrections”. No taking what I hear personally. Just listening, present, aware, and also non-judgmentally. Asking clarifying questions can be part of listening deeply, but I definitely have to be very aware, such that I am not interrupting in order to do so. Deep listening is not a passive process, and I have found myself unable to hold onto hostility or to be confrontational, while also listening deeply. There is compassion involved, gratitude, appreciation, awareness, and yes, even love, and certainly consideration.

So, yeah, in general, this change in my lifestyle is still feeling pretty… well, “effortless” is the wrong word here, because unpacking things, moving other things, doing housekeeping, fixing small broken things, moving stuff around, all that stuff that goes with moving, well it all amounts to effort, for sure. It’s just not “hard”, and feels pretty natural. Like having my best friend move in – which makes a lot of sense, since he’s been my bestie for close to a decade. 🙂

There will no doubt still be moments ahead of us when, perhaps, one or the other of us is taken over creatively by a moment of inspiration, with no bandwidth remaining, at least temporarily, to give over to our lover. There may be moments when tempers flare, or we’re cross with each other, purely as a product of being very much made entirely of human. It’s hard to worry about it; things are very excellent, deeply loving, and connected, right now. Right now is enough. 🙂 Still… it’s helpful to practice those practices (such as listening deeply) that nurture and connect us so deeply. It’s helpful to be mindful of my Big 5 (respect, reciprocity, consideration, compassion, and openness), which have stood so many tests, so well. I can always use more practice. 😀

It’s time to begin again.

Winter finally attempted to prove some point, yesterday, with a bit of snow, and a lot of cold. The furnace ran most of the day. The roads were icy. I worked from home.

It’s not a lot of snow, it is, however, more ice than it appears to be. I chose safety.

I have recollections that there was some past point at which an ex, with whom both my Traveling Partner and I had cohabited with (together), had chronically complained how difficult it was to work from home, when he was also at home. I do not find it so, and the day passed well and productively. It was pleasant to make conversation over a break, and to finish the day in the company of someone so dear to me. It was a quiet day. Have I grown? Has he? Are we different people than we were then?

An afternoon visitor on a snowy day.

Actually, those aren’t even hard questions. Sure, we’ve both grown. Both worked through some individual baggage and bullshit. We’re different people than we were, because we have grown. That growth, chosen or forced on us by circumstances, isn’t the whole of the matter, though; we’ve also made room in our hearts and our awareness to acknowledge both our own growth, and our partner’s growth, too. We didn’t just become different people than we each were, we also accept, appreciate, and acknowledge those changes. We enjoy each other now, every bit as much as we enjoyed each other when we met – in some cases for new reasons. Love evolves. Love deepens.

We take time with getting more deeply re-acquainted. Listening to each other talk. Connecting, sharing, and discussing the past and the future – and just loving each other. We spent happy minutes discussing a bird on the deck I didn’t recall seeing before. We cook for each other. Tidy up together. It feels good.

It’ll be days, even weeks of settling in together, sorting things out, moving things around, adding things, removing things, changing things that may suit one or the other of us, but that don’t suit us both, together, in a similarly pleasing way. It’ll be months of talking, planning, sharing, experiencing – and yeah, more growing. We are not nouns, to paraphrase R. Buckminster Fuller.

Here it is, already morning again, already a new day queued up, ready to be lived. So many choices to make, so many moments to experience. It’s hard to contemplate getting in the car to drive in to the office, but it looks pretty do-able, so… yeah. lol Another day. Another beginning. 🙂