Archives for posts with tag: love

I was sipping my coffee on a morning after my Traveling Partner had returned home from some trip or another. It was quiet in the room, and in our home, and even out on the street beyond. I woke ahead of the alarm by quite a bit, and there was no hint of dawn-to-come in the sky. Not at that point. My coffee was too hot to easily drink. Based on a couple hesitant, testing, sips, it was also not very good. I pondered the variables in a cup of coffee, mystified and still groggy; how is one cup so crappy, and another so sublime? Don’t I make them all the same way? Do the tiniest subtle differences in timing or process make that much difference? (Are the differences, perhaps, not with the coffee, itself, at all?)

I sighed quietly, a measured, careful, observed exhalation, slowly released following a deep breath. I felt my chest expand as I inhaled, contracting as I exhaled. A cough interrupted the quiet. Another sip of coffee. That moment was okay, and I remained with it, centered and calm, for a while.

(This particular moment was almost a year ago – a blog post written, never published. It finishes thusly…)

It was an okay homecoming. I knew, when I arrived home, that my partner was wholly exhausted, having driven 1800 miles straight on home, then on arriving, unable to actually sleep (coffee is an excellent tool to keep one awake for a long drive, and the risk to our sleep, later, is often one we find acceptable at the time), until much later – shortly before I went to bed, myself. I made dinner. We ate it. Shared a couple of anecdotes. Managed to be contentious and at odds with each other for a moment, and got over that. We are, unavoidably, quite different people, and also quite similar. Neither of those things is an assurance of always being comfortable together, or always being in genial shared space, or even holding the same opinion about literally anything. We’re individuals.

The evening passed gently after dinner. We entertained ourselves with conversation and videos. Eventually, he called it a night, and later so did I.

I woke easily, and well-rested. I’ve already forgotten some useful habits for shared space. lol I think about the commonplace usefulness of any basic tool, whether it is a screwdriver or a habit; lacking the most appropriate tool for any given task is likely to result in greater than average difficulty, increased task complexity, frustration, and time lost to struggling with pieces that don’t fit. In the same way a screwdriver isn’t the correct tool to fit a pipe, good self-care practices are not likely to also be good communication practices (although good communication is a part of good self-care, when it comes to boundaries and expectations). It has been a common (and way too real) experience on this healing path that my own wellness does not change the general state of wellness for any one other person – and they still live their life, and see things through the lens of, their own perspective on life, on circumstances – and on the relationship we share. We are each having our own experience – and we’re not all using the same tools to get any given job done. It’s pretty complicated stuff, and a lot of human beings are barely managing their own bullshit; it’s a lot to ask that people also be kind, compassionate, patient with one another, assuming positive intent… it starts to feel more like juggling than living, at some points. It’s still worth making that attempt, in my own experience.

…It also takes practice. As with using any unfamiliar tool, it definitely takes practice, and some basic knowledge. Your results may vary – particularly where relationship skills go! (You’re not doing that job alone, and even such things as “getting along” and “communicating” and “sharing” require practice, and a commitment to learning and growing, and you can only do your own.) It can be seriously frustrating, however familiar and commonplace a task seems, to grab that screwdriver, and once already frustrated, realize that the damned thing is a Phillips-head screwdriver not a flat-head. Well, shit. That got complicated fast. True in life, love, and home repairs. LOL

So… I guess I keep practicing. 🙂 Honestly, in every practical way, I only need to practice my own practices, and handle my own self-care. The relationship stuff works out much more easily when I give other people room to be themselves, care for themselves, and we’re open to both the differences, and the things we share – while still understanding that however close we are, or may become, we are nonetheless quite individual. I smile and drink my coffee; nothing new here. I struggle, mostly, when I forget to let go. Attachment to assumptions, expectations, or internal narrative can quickly sabotage an otherwise good time.

…Strangely timely as we two individuals prepare to move. I found it “by mistake” (or at least not looking for it) moments ago, as I considered writing something that, oddly, feels pretty well-covered by the draft I opened with an errant mouse-click. Helpful circumstance. One that puts me gently “back on the path” feeling I’ve understood myself just a bit better in this moment right here, right now… I settle myself into work, and begin again. 🙂

I am relaxing on a summery afternoon, sipping blackberry flavored fizzy water. I check the label. “Natural flavors”. Sure, okay, but… it doesn’t really taste like blackberries. I mean… it wants to. It fails. Real blackberries have a certain something to their flavor that must be very difficult to capture, preserve, or duplicate. I search my recollection for any commercial product at all that really tastes like blackberries. I don’t think of one. I let it go. Life has a few mysteries, perhaps this is one? Regardless of the lack of real blackberry flavor, the fizzy water is cool and refreshing, and not so much fizz as to feel sharp or unpleasant on my tongue. I sit with the experience a little while. It’s enough to enjoy the pleasant moment on a warm spring afternoon.

I listen to the traffic on the busy street at the end of the driveway of this rented duplex. The paperwork is done. The appointment to sign this and that is set for a day next week. The weekend ahead feel relaxed, and purposeful. I smile at the moving boxes, and look over my “to do list”. I won’t miss the traffic, the busy street, or the noisy neighborhood.

I don’t have to miss the roses; my container garden will move with us. 🙂

I take a moment for fond appreciation of the human being that is my Traveling Partner. He’s done much to make this move organized, and comfortable. He knows how much moving disrupts the routines that support my day-to-day emotional wellness and preserve the general appearance that I adult skillfully. It’s not that I don’t, I guess generally I do, these days. It’s nice to have some help with the busy-ness and clutter of life, though. He makes a point of reminding me that now is time to finish up the packing and organizing. For a couple week’s he’s been tenderly reminding me to take a breath, and slow things down. Timing matters. He gets that for me it matters a great deal, and doesn’t tease me over it. (Well, maybe a little…) He’s considerate and caring, and the moments when we frustrate each other have been few. This is certainly an easier, more emotionally comfortable, move for me, of all the moves I’ve made since… yeah. Since ever, I guess. I don’t have a recollection of a move that has been more organized, settled, or joyful. It’s pleasant. Like this blackberry fizzy water; it doesn’t need to be explained or solved. I remind myself to enjoy the experience, and sit quietly with my gratitude, for a bit longer.

The titular moment I’m waiting for is that moment ahead. The one with the signing? No. The one with the house keys. The one when I park my car in my driveway – our driveway – for the very first time. Home.

Home

…There’s a new garden to plan. Roses. Dahlias. Maybe jasmine and honeysuckle, too. Herbs in pots, and summer veggies in raised beds… I feel happy tears well up, and a smile so big it makes my face hurt.

My sigh fills the room. The sound of contentment. Another glance at my list of packing tasks I plan to tackle this weekend. Another sigh. Less contented, more resigned. I’m reminded briefly of the work involved, by the physical pain I am in. I shrug it off, unconcerned about that. The work involved is worth overcoming or enduring it. It’s a very human experience. Fucking hell, I’m so glad I’m not doing this move alone, or having to impose on friends, or hire strangers. This move feels intimate, connected, and shared, in a different way. I think back on other moves – was I adequately grateful, and did I say so, all those times I’ve imposed on friends for help, when I moved? Maybe not… I haven’t always been the woman I am… hell, even now, it’s often a solid real-time effort to be the woman I most want to be… a very human experience, indeed. I add “say thank yous for past moves” to my list of things to do. Dear friends have sometimes traveled great distances just to help me move. I am beyond fortunate.

…I remind myself to spend a day writing letters to friends and family from the new address, once we’re moved in. I took a handful of days off to do the move – more to give myself a chance to get used to the new space, new routines, new sounds and new shadows, than anything to do with unpacking boxes. I’ve learned a few things about caring for this fragile vessel over the past decade. There will certainly be time to write a few letters. 🙂

I listen to the birdsong and the breeze, and wonder what songs the birds will be singing (or, more accurately, what sorts of birds will be singing their songs) from the new deck, looking out into a different wood. I think about the walks I will take on new trails. I think about what the change in perspective may mean for my journey. I remind myself, as I have so often before, to “stay on the path”.

Seems to be very effective so far… probably doesn’t hurt that the path is mine, and that I choose it myself.

Maybe it’s not too late in the day, on a Friday, for another cup of coffee…? Certainly, it is not too soon to begin again. 🙂

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. 🙂

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. 🙂 I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. 🙂

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. 🙂

 

Life in the time of pandemic is sometimes hard on love and lovers. Those among us who want, need, or enjoy a lot of solitude to support their wellness may be feeling “trapped” at home, in the inescapable company of others. Those among us who want, need, or enjoy a great deal of community and many shared experiences to feel supported and fulfilled in life may also be feeling “trapped” at home – alone. There is variety to human experience, even in the time of pandemic. It is, at this point, sometimes a matter of real will, and endurance, to accommodate the limitations we’re each (all) faced with, and sometimes it isn’t “easy”. Tempers flare. Conflict develops (sometimes where no conflict truly exists). This shit is hard sometimes, to the point that otherwise (probably) rational people protest in the streets over the restrictions they face due to the pandemic, without any regard for the reason those restrictions are actually place. 0_o I mean, I get it, I’m frustrated too.

Let it go. It’s not personal. We’re each having our own experience – and we’re all in this together.

This morning I sip my coffee and remind myself that love matters most. I make a point of letting my (recognized, known) bullshit go. The moments of strife and discord are, in many instances, as imagined as any other bit of narrative we’ve created out of the bits and pieces of cobbled together fears, insecurities, doubts, assumptions, and personal baggage. Add some stress to that and it’s quite a poisoned cup of noodles, is it not? I remind myself to let that shit go, and to refrain from taking some one moment personally (that most likely is not personal at all, it just feels that way). Assume positive intent. I mean, for real, though? I’m not talking about assuming positive intent with regard to a stranger approaching me in twilight with a weird look on their face. I’m talking about love, here. I’m talking about my Traveling Partner; why would I assume anything but positive intent?? I know he loves me. I know I love him. We’re on this incredible journey together, building this beautiful life together, sharing these precious moments… how is anything but an assumption of positive intent appropriate? 🙂

…Silly human primates, always making up drama…

I smile and sip my coffee, grateful for the human being asleep in the other room as I start my day. Sure, it takes practice to be the woman I most want to be. There are a ton of verbs involved. My results definitely vary. You may as well assume positive intent, though, with regard to me, my words and actions, and my intent, with regard to love and loving and this partnership right here; I’ve no other sort of intent in mind, moment to moment. 🙂 Doesn’t make things easier when some moment goes sideways unexpectedly, and that’s just real.

Sometimes I’ve got to rely on my own recollection that we love each other, and trust my partner to do the same. If we both set down some of our baggage, and both work towards being the of who we each are, we can trust each other’s positive intent, and go from there. 🙂 Isn’t that enough to begin again, as often as we need to?

Another sip of coffee, a journey without a map, some perspective, and a lot of love; definitely enough on which to begin again. 🙂

Not quite a love letter. More like “a moment”. Thoughts about love over coffee.

Back in 2010, this human being (who became, over time, my Traveling Partner) and I began hanging out. Colleagues. Friends. Commute buddies. We became lovers. We became partners. Family. He moved in. We moved on – together. We married in 2011, for mostly fairly practical reasons. Other lovers came and went. Other relationships developed, and failed. We continued (and continue even now) to travel life’s journey together.

Today is our anniversary. I’ve got a lingering headache that has been with me a day or two, and although I took the day off I am awake quite early. He was up later into the evening than I was. He sleeps in. It’s a quiet, lovely spring day, during the time of pandemic. It’s also our anniversary, and I am smiling. 🙂

…I may not write more this weekend. I am more inclined to spend some time just existing, and pausing the routines for harmonious love, and a persistent feeling of joy – and gratitude. This is a pretty special love. If love ever faded, I doubt I’d walk on; this human being is also my best and closest friend. It’s hard to imagine a life that does not include the both of us, generally together.

We have sometimes lived apart, by choice, sometimes by circumstance, and we live together, now. Our choices for habitation have not marred our affection for each other. Actually, they’ve had nothing to do with love, or loving each other.  Love thrives when we thrive. It’s not about who lives where. We’re very human, each struggling with our own baggage. Each having our own experience. Each with our own taste, our own hobbies, our own hard moments, our own private joys. We have individual competencies and individual short-comings. We share the journey by choice. It isn’t always “easy”. I haven’t noticed either of us complaining about the effort that is sometimes involved in lasting love and a healthy partnership; it’s very worth it. (For me, for sure. Hopefully for him, as well.)

I pause and reflect on Love. “Love doesn’t pay the bills.” This is true. I’ve lived without love. Often. Hell, I’ve been in relationships in which “I love you’s” were frequent, but fairly meaningless, or filled with subtext and conditions – looking back, I recognize that those were not honest authentic love, as I understand it now. I’m okay with it; those experiences helped me become someone who is willing to work for what love offers. I learned a lot. I’m a better lover, a better partner, a better friend, having grown considerably through problematic relationships. Long honest looks in the mirror taught me much about the role I play in a partnership, as a human being, and the nature of reciprocity, openness, authenticity, and consideration, and how very necessary they each are to sustaining lasting love.

I’m a better woman – and human being – than I was when my Traveling Partner and I met. I feel less “broken”, and more capable. I am far more willing to “do my share” – and I recognize that an equal partnership does require that everyone involved do the work to create, maintain, and deepen that partnership. I sip my coffee contentedly. Are we perfect? lol Of course not. Is love perfect? Is life perfect? Ever? Hell, is perfect “perfect”? (Hint: there is no “perfection” to reach in life or love. There are processes, practices, experiences, and perspectives – we can choose contentment, and enjoy the journey, or… not. There is no “perfect” out there to achieve. The journey together is the destination, and the goal.)

Yeah. I’m smiling. I’m okay with “us”. I’m okay with this moment, together. I sit quietly awhile longer, before the day really begins. It’s enough. 🙂