Archives for posts with tag: love

Tuesday it was Kate Spade. This morning, I read that Anthony Bourdain has also taken his own life. I pause for a moment to consider the engaging chef whose books and television shows entertained and educated me. I enjoyed his wit. The headline “Anthony Bourdain Has Died” didn’t prepare me for the further information regarding his suicide. There’s a certain different ache in my soul when I read of suicide…

…I know what despair feels like.

Well, shit. It’s a scary, seriously frightening and frustrating world these days. I get feeling overwhelmed by despair. Some days it is hard not to. We will see, for days to come, articles about suicide help lines, and some analyses of what drives people to take their own lives. There will be salacious gossip about the lives of the fallen. Someone will share a recent article about the high rate of senior or veteran suicides. Most of the people who read those will shake their heads, and turn away, unaware someone dear to them is on the brink of making that major “life” decision.

Connect with your loved ones, your friends, associates, and coworkers. Be sure to mention that they matter to you in an authentic way, and be real about it. It’s not about hyperbole and fake compliments, and it isn’t necessary to use superlatives. Easier to straight up give voice to that thing they do that you enjoy, or count on, or appreciate, or wish you did as well – or, fucking hell, just have lunch, or coffee – make time. Be present. Don’t rush those connected social moments; they are what matter most in our days. There’s no knowing when someone may choose to check out, and while you may not be able to change their mind about it, you can, at least, enjoy who they are while they are here.

On the other side of the equation, please consider sticking around awhile? If you’re considering a firm end to the chaos, and stress, and trauma, and struggle, and despair… please, just for a moment, consider that there may be other things you have yet to try. There may be practices that improve your experience, even if they don’t change the entire world, itself. Incremental change takes time – please give yourself some. Someone, I promise you, will miss you if you go.

I stayed. There are a lot of verbs involved, but it has been, very much, worth it to have stayed. I’ll go on with that, with staying around I mean, because things got better. Things continue to get better. I can’t promise that for you, but I can assure you that choosing change results in changes, so long as you do the verbs. πŸ™‚ Your results may (will) vary, and the changes you choose in life may be somewhat askew from the changes you subsequently find unfolding around you, but change is. Despair isn’t particularly sustainable, it’s just annoyingly difficult to see through when we’re feeling it.

There’s one irksome thing about suicide that never fails to leave me feeling bereft and discontent; I don’t know why. No, I mean… I don’t know why. That’s what leaves me feeling so bereft and discontent. I’m not sure there’s any solid “why” to suicide. Surely, people have their reasons. Many leave a note behind, but often those are not public, and even when they are public, they leave so much left unexplained – as if I think there is, or should be, a reasonable explanation when despair overtakes someone. Despair is shitty enough to be its own reason.

One more time, I let the “why?” go, and pause for a moment to say good-bye to a fallen soul. I pause for regret. I pause to appreciate, to mourn, to find personal solace after a time. I pause to be aware I am, myself, okay right now… as though it could creep up on me, and take me by surprise, myself…

…Then I begin again.

We can so easily do “society” and “social contract” and “social network” better than we do. We have the best possible raw materials for it; the greatness among us. Have you ever sat in the company of your smartest, wittiest, most competent friends, and wondered… “how did the world get hereΒ with these people in it?” I have. I did a bit of that yesterday, enjoying deep conversation, meaningful, topical, varied, insightful – with people of experience, heart, intellect, and will to drive change. How did we fucking get here??

The day was well-spent in the company of long-time friends of great intellect and consideration. We sat outdoors late into the evening, at a cafe, mostly drinking water and talking. Occasionally someone would order something (it’s the proper thing to do). We sat down around 3 pm, my good friend The Author and I. Later another friend joined us, and he and I continued our conversation for hours – The Author had an errand to run elsewhere, leaving us behind to catch up on old times and find out more about these people we had become over the years. The Author returned some time later, and we were all joined by still another old friend. We talked into the twilight and beyond the fall of darkness. We could have saved the world last night, if anyone else had cared to get on board. lol It’s the way of things; there really are people who know how, truly, to “save the world”, unfortunately for the world, the rest of humanity has no intention of following a wise plan. Ever. Too busy being greedy, self-serving, cruel, and destructive. Sad really – we’re a pretty cool species, otherwise.

I fell asleep still dressed, exhausted by a day in the blazing sunshine (no sun burn, yay!!), filled with visiting friends, and grand adventure. I woke with the earliest hint of dawn, and returned to sleep. I woke a bit later, and went back to sleep again. No reason to get up super early… I slept in.

I woke gently some time into the morning, but the highway beyond the motel was still quiet. Yoga on a rock. A cool refreshing shower. An icy coffee, creamy and rather too sweet, full of ice crystals like an unexpected frappe… the tiny fridge is set much too cold. LOL Refreshing.

The Author has to try to run his errand again this morning, early. I opted to stay behind (though I now wonder why). The morning is gentle and lazy, and easy on my spirit. I watch the sun continue to rise, feeling the cool morning breezes fill this odd place. I am barefooted. Relaxed. Contemplating a second coffee while I half-wait to hear from friends about breakfast, or brunch, or hanging out. There is a party, later, and it isn’t at all about me. More friends to connect with, to hang out with, more children to meet before they stop being children anymore.

It’s a beautiful morning. We didn’t save the world last night, maybe we’ll get to it today? It’s a good day to save the world. If we all worked together we could manage it – by relying on the greatness among us. There is so much of it. What about you? Are you the person you most want to be? Are you making the world a tiny bit better every day you live, simply by being who you are? If not – why not? These are important extra credit test questions on the final exam in life’s curriculum. Yeah, it’s a test. All of it. Are you going to get a passing score?

It’s an open book test. It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜‰

I can see, beyond my studio window, the thunderstorm I drove through earlier today. The same one that I lay awake listening to, smiling, as it rolled through a town further south, sometime around 3 a.m. … I hadn’t been sleeping, just laying quietly, resting in the darkness, smiling, and letting random memories live again, for just a moment. It was a busy, adventurous weekend, and wrapping up the whirlwind of activity, connection, and fun on a quiet restful sort of moment was a lovely way handle things. I certainly needed to rest. I’m still… so tired. πŸ™‚

This weekend was not, in any reasonable fashion, as I’d planned it. I’m okay with that. I had to be quite spontaneous, for days and days, and while that presents me with some challenges, I also got the quiet time to reflect and process things, which I need in order to manage it. I’d still rather have executed to skillful plan… lol I’m still myself. I wouldn’t have swapped one moment of this adventurous weekend for any other; where it wasn’t entirely delightful, it was at least educational, and often humorous. I have grown. πŸ™‚

A memory. A moment. A flower.

8 years with my Traveling Partner, now thoroughly celebrated, cherished, savored, and acknowledged with shared joy and love. That, at least, was wonderfully well done in every possible respect. I still feel wrapped in love, as I sit here sipping water, rehydrating, and contemplating next steps for the day, and how best to get the new week started. I’m so tired. lol I could quite happily just go right the fuck to bed, right now, at 2:54 in the afternoon, and figure as long as my alarm was set for tomorrow morning, all is well. I just don’t have to force myself to work harder, right now.

There is value – so much value – in lingering over pleasant experiences.

There is a dog barking. I only sort of notice it today, and it is less than typically annoying. The breeze picks up, and the leaves seem suddenly a stranger brighter green against the storm-cloud backdrop of imminent rain. The hallway is obstructed with partially unpacked weekend details. I stalled between inspecting, repacking and putting away all the actual camping gear, and unpacking and putting away everything else; I’d gone away this weekend prepared to paint, prepared for evenings out (one never knows what the occasion may require…), prepared to camp – or not camp, prepared to read awhile, prepared to take photographs… all of which have their own “gear” requirements. I really only put away the camping stuff. There’s… so much more. My aching feet, my bad ankle, my tired back… all say “just chill”. My headache says “drink more water”. My fatigue says “take a nap”. It’s not actually possible to do all of those things at the same time. lol The sweat that cooled me while I worked in the sun on a warm afternoon has now cooled to chill me, and I run my fingers through my hair, and realize a hot shower would feel… so nice. I breathe, relax, and finish this glass of water right here, with a promise to myself to refill it and have another, on my way to the shower.

This moment right here, so human, so entirely ordinary, and in every way unremarkable, fills my senses quite pleasantly. I feel content. I feel a soft surprise to realize how unremarkable it has become to feel contentment, and sit with the moment awhile, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves beyond the deck, and feeling the sweat cool on my skin. Is this happiness? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure it matters; it’s enough.

I smile when my mind responds “this too shall pass”. Yes, yes, of course, it likely will. It is the way of things. All things. That’s okay. I can begin again, any time.

Sometimes it’s not enough to reflect. Sometimes it helps to reach out and talk things over with a friend. That’s not always easy; our friends tend, as often as not, to support us as if we are reliably correct, and as if our choices, themselves, can’t be questioned. It feels good to be supported in a 100% accepting and encouraging way, even when we are indeed the person “in the wrong”, or in circumstances when our own explicit choices directed our path, but it may not be healthy. It’s complicated. Feeling supported still feels good, and has real value.

Sometimes, I find it helpful to merely have the words of a friend. Their thoughts, day-to-day, to present a counterpoint to my own, just… generally. My own words are plentiful, but sometimes not enough to gain perspective. I’ve got a couple other blogs bookmarked for that very purpose… I bet you do, too. πŸ˜‰

I was recently introduced to a blog of far viewer words than mine. Sometimes I need that. Brief perspective. Like a mental coffee break. Strictly Minimal. No, no – I mean, that’s the name of the blog, “Strictly Minimal“. πŸ™‚ Enjoy.

This morning I woke to the discovery that I’d allowed myself to run out of coffee. (What the hell??) It’s quite early, and I’m not yet at any particular risk of a headache later. Rather than panic (an old habit I’ve learned to let go of, generally), I more simply decide to get coffee on the way to work, and handle restocking as an errand on the way home. I’ll need to run a couple of errands anyway; it’s a camping weekend coming up. There are things to do in order to prepare. For me, it’s the first camping weekend of the year. πŸ˜€

It’s a lovely morning. Entirely suited to all manner of new beginnings. I’m smiling, rested, ready for the day, and feeling fairly prepared for life. Generally, in the past, this sensation and state of being have usually preceded some horrible turn for the worse. I shrug that off; each moment is its own moment, and the future is not written. I have a great many reasons to be smiling today – one of them is that it is my anniversary with my Traveling Partner, celebrating 7 years married, 8 as lovers, even longer as friends. It’s a wonderful journey, and fully worth celebrating. Celebrating more, together, will come later – for now, I sit smiling. It’s enough.

Day breaks gently, beyond the studio window. It’s time to begin again.

I spent Sunday in the studio. It was lovely. Music, paint, and chill creative time – an investment in self. New work drying, waiting to be seen in sunlight, and a beautiful recollection of time well-spent. “Being a creative” – probably true for any sort of artist, really – is quite possibly the most precious and “important” part of “who I am” that I could ever think to share; it’s how I tell the stories I don’t have words for. It can’t actually be taken from me – by anyone.

I’ve been in some shitty relationships, and gotten tangled up with some human beings who did not actually have my interests in mind at all, and did not mean me well – but only one of those, ever, has dared to lay an angry hand on my art work. Her existence as a human being colors the way I feel about new relationships, sadly, making me very cautious, indeed. Generally, human beings I have been emotionally involved with have been pretty uniformly respectful of both my creative process and the resulting work. Not that one; it is clear that the behavior is willful, deliberate, and intentionally chosen for maximum cruelty and manipulative power. While that sucks completely, and causes me real pain, I know something she has not yet learned; tit-for-tat nastiness does more emotional damage to the person doing it than to the person being treated poorly. The damage to me amounts to only as much as I permit. Non-attachment is huge here. Having learned that lesson a very long time ago, there’s no reason to interact with her at all. (In keeping with my own admonitions “don’t take the bait”, I am careful not to allow myself to be baited.) Certainly I’ve no interest in game-playing or “pay backs” – what a waste of precious limited life time that would be.

Work in progress, not yet completed, inspired by an X. “Toxicity”.

Walking on from something as dear to me as my art work, when I know it is in the hands of someone who will (or has) destroyed it – and who I have clear confirmation has that potential, because she’s already damaged some of it (and won’t return the rest) – is uncomfortable. It’s hard. No lie. Is all that beautiful work lost? Maybe. It may be that I will have to handle it with a civil stand by, at a later date, or criminal charges, or a civil lawsuit, certainly, it is not necessary for me to “take care of it” myself. For now? I have other things to do with my life, and no interest in being emotionally manipulated. I let it all go. I walk on. I spend delightful leisure hours in my studio, painting new work.

I hear from my Traveling Partner late in the day. We talk. I feel wrapped in his love. That’s a story I will tell on canvas, in colors and brush strokes, for the rest of my life, and it is one that brings me great joy.

So much love it regularly spills onto canvas. πŸ™‚

Pay backs are bullshit. Don’t be tempted into playing that game; you’ve already lost once you allow that toxic mess into your thinking. Stay on your path. Be the person you most want to be. Don’t become a thing you despise because you feel hurt or angry. (I know, I know, there are verbs involved, and your results may vary.) Transcending the willful hurts delivered by another can be incredibly difficult, but… every time you do? You demonstrate the beauty of your fundamental humanity. Taking that “high road”? You show the quality of your character – to everyone. What that person so invested in hurting you thinks about you (or says) is irrelevant, to you, and to the world; they have shown who they are. Let them have their skewed world view, and walk on. “Being right”? Not as important as your life. You don’t need to defend yourself to others, or “prove” a point. Life your life. Live it well. Treat others well. Be kind. Be true to your values. Let go of whatever you have to, in order to break the chains that bind you to another by anything but your own choice to be with them (ideally because you mutually meet each other’s emotional needs in a positive supportive way, that encourages personal growth and nurtures you all).Β Β Just my thoughts on that sort of thing. It works for me.

Another day and week begin. A satisfying weekend becomes a new work week. Clearly, it is time to begin again. πŸ™‚