Archives for posts with tag: loving well

I don’t generally get so many opportunities to simply relax in the good company of my Traveling Partner. The opportunities we do get don’t always work out ideally well (both of us being quite human, and dealing both with our own “baggage” and our own issues with being in physical pain). It’s been an extraordinary holiday season, filled with connected hang out time, together, enjoying favored content from here and there, relaxing, playing games, making conversation about topics of mutual (or separate) interest, and because it isn’t reliably an everyday experience, I’ve embraced it without any guilt or reservations about how I am spending my time – even when doing so may subtly undermine long-standing practices that support emotional wellness (like meditating), or “press pause” on routines and practices that create the foundation of this life that has become commonly characterized by contentment. 🙂 So… without apology or excuse, I’m not writing as often, and I’m fully living in this moment much more, at least for the duration of the holiday season. It’s quite nice, and I am making a point to savor the opportunity, the experiences, and the moment-to-moment joy of being so well-loved, and having the chance to love so deeply, myself.

Today is a pleasant Saturday, in the middle of a long weekend (for me), planned well in advance as part of my holiday. My Traveling Partner and I are both in pain, today. It happens. No drama or bullshit associated with that; we’re both very much aware of each other’s physical limits and concerns, and we cherish each other’s efforts, and the shared will to explore joy in spite of pain. It is characteristic of this partnership that we do so, generally. Worth the effort (and yes, there is reliably effort involved).

Note to self: it’s worthwhile to make an effort at the things that you’ve determined matter most. Your results may vary, but the outcomes will prove to be reliably better than not making the effort. Sooner or later, effort goes into something – what better choice than to make that effort in support of the life you most want to live, the experiences you most want to have, or becoming the person you most want to be? Choices. (And verbs.)

I smile and think of cruise brochures, plans for our shared future, life right now, and all the things that have lead to this moment, here, which leads on to those moments as yet unexperienced. I think about potential life-style changes, wellness, and longevity. I pause a moment to celebrate this experience of being partnered with a human being I truly want to spend my life with.

The smallest tokens of lasting affection can feel huge.

Giftmas has come and gone. It was lovely. Warm. Joyful. Loving. A delightful holiday. Precious mementos will remind me for some time to come just how exceptional this holiday was. I hope never to forget any detail, but… “always” and “never” aren’t concepts I feel comfortable investing emotional energy in. lol I’m content to smile when I do remember, and let the warmth of being well-loved wash over me, in that moment of recollection. Good memories. 😀

I sit quietly for a moment. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I feel the pain… here. Over here. That one, there, too. This newer one. This one that has lingered far too long. This one that is so well-understood. That one, that I just don’t understand. I let each one go; recognized, accepted, and where possible, attended to as skillfully as I am able to do. Another breath. Another exhalation. A sip of water. A correction in seated posture. Moments tick by.

“This, too, shall pass.” Even pain is mostly fairly temporary, inasmuch as it is not truly unfailingly continuous. It matters to savor those moments in which pain is lessened, or isn’t there at all; doing so reduces the likelihood of becoming mired in an implicit experience of “always” hurting. “Always” isn’t very common. Neither is “never”. I smile and let them both go. They’re often  just words for a more nuanced experience that takes ever so many more words to describe accurately. “Often” is useful, but less than satisfying when describing the experience of pain; I want the emphasis that is associated with “always”. So human.

…Being in pain is human, too. Way more people spend a lot of time in pain than people around them seem to recognize. Don’t be a dick to people; maybe they’re in pain. Maybe it would be more helpful to be kind, to listen deeply, and to refrain from taking people’s crossness or irritability at all personally? We are each having our own experience. 🙂

The new year (2020, in this case) is approaching quickly. Just days away, now. I’m eager to embrace a quiet holiday, filled with meditation, and forward-looking thoughts. A refresh of the budget seems in order. A new “map” of the future, too, perhaps? An update to my “life in weeks” chart, also; it’s been an eventful year. Perspective on it is worthwhile. It’s time to contemplate what to keep – and what to cast aside. Time to consider what matters most, and commit to the effort to bring more of that into my life, and to the effort to stay focused and purposeful, over time.

What about you? What matters most? Where are you headed in life? What will you choose to do about any of that? (So many choices!!)

…It’s already time to begin again. 😉

 

One of the sweetest outcomes of the choice to live alone is how much more obviously precious time with my traveling partner is. There’s little to share about last night. It was an intimate connected evening spent having dinner, hanging out, and enjoying conversation…about life, about love, about the future of our shared and individual endeavors, about recent appointments with doctors…words, shared between lovers. It was a lovely evening, and ended gently with time left over to spend in the studio inking details on a landscape, still thinking about love.

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

One of the things I most value about a strong partnership is the mutual support for individual endeavors. So many conversations amount to “Can you…?” “Yes.”, and “Will you…?” “Sure.” – and we know that other person so dear to us isn’t just throwing empty words into the space between us; they’ll really be there, as indicated. We offer ourselves, our time, our thoughts, to each other. We nurture the best within ourselves – and the best within that person we so adore. It’s a rare and beautiful thing, and it involves a lot of choices, and a lot of verbs. Totally worth it. It also turned out to be less about finding some ideal human with whom to have such an experience, and a whole lot more about being a human with whom someone can have such an experience. (Thank you, Love. It’s a journey very worth sharing.)

Getting here was a journey - it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

Getting here was a journey – it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

I sip my coffee and continue to linger on the recollection of last evening. I consider where life is taking me, and what choices ahead could most benefit me while also supporting my partner’s long-term needs. I think about these things in the context of community, of enjoyment, of sustainability, and of lasting-value. Mostly, I think about love and loving. I think about retirement; timing that carefully might result in being able to step away from the corporate grind into a handful of years supporting my traveling partner’s business directly, before retiring in earnest to paint and write full time. Suddenly, the idea of buying a little place of my own – our own – takes on a new dimension for me; how best to also serve my partner’s long-term needs becomes an important question. It’s a lovely morning to think about love, to ponder a shared future with someone so dear, and to enjoy my coffee with no agenda but my own. My choices matter, and it feels very good indeed to be so well loved, so thoroughly considered, so completely respected and valued, so heard, to be dealt with so openly and with such compassion. I enjoy the reciprocity in our partnership; my needs are as important, and as thoroughly discussed and supported together, as my partner’s are.

I smile when I realize my writing this morning reads a bit like a love note to love… Seems reasonable, really. Isn’t love worth a few words? 🙂

As I near the end of my coffee, my thoughts turn towards more practical matters. I get no criticism about that from myself; there are tasks to handle, things on a to do list, and stuff to get done. I find all the fuss and bother of adulthood a bit more manageable if I organize my thoughts – and my activities. I consider my limited time, and the priorities of things needing to be done. What matters most? How important is it? Is there a matter of time or timing? I find myself less fearful and overloaded if there is more than one thing that just must get done in any one day than I used to be. (Many thanks, Google Calendar, Mint, and SuperBetter!) I even feel as if there is just a bit more time in each and every day… although… to be fair… I did move so close to work that I can walk there in less than half an hour, through a beautiful park, which cut my daily commute from a 3 hour+ round trip each day to less than a hour – I do have ‘more time in each and every day’. 🙂

Taking care of me has been a journey about choices and practices. As it turns out, taking care of love has been a similar sort of journey – fraught with choices and practices, growth and change – and enduring affection. It was the affection that was missing from my journey with the woman in the mirror, for far too long. How powerful it was to make that connection, to revitalize my experience of life with and for myself – and how delightful that the result has been how much more I am able to love, and enjoy being loved in return. 🙂

A thread in my tapestry, a color in my palette, so much of life is fueled by love.

A thread in my tapestry, a color in my palette, so much of life is fueled by love.

Today is a good day to love, to be loved, to share love – to choose love.

It’s true. I’m sipping my morning coffee, half-wondering if I need to adjust my process, or choose different beans…and gently discouraging myself from eagerly planning to move. I consider the move, I’ve organized my thoughts on it, and made some decisions about how it can best be handled – all in the abstract, aside from some exterior photos of the new unit, and a carefully examination of the floor plan. What I haven’t done is get a lot of boxes, and start filling those with books, small items, etc – I could be pre-packing, and I’m not. Not yet.

I’ve no doubt that I will make this move… except for just one small but important detail; price. The unit will be repriced after the remodel is entirely completed. If I can’t afford the price, I won’t be moving – at least not as soon. I’ve come so far with my traveling partner’s guidance, support, and skilled coaching, I will likely be buying a little place of my own within the next two years regardless; the comfortable near-certainty and lack of insecurity about the possibility feels very good. Stable. I have choices and, since choices to be made in the future are not ideally acted upon today, I chill and smile about the possible new apartment without taking further action in this moment. I continue to sip my coffee and let the morning unfold around my thoughts.

52 is late in the game to be buying a first home…and this won’t be my first. It will be my first unencumbered by domestic violence though, which is pretty huge… and it’s going to be the first that I’ll be wise to consider with retirement specifically in mind – I’d like to retire before I am 65, and the home I buy may be the last home I buy, when the time comes.  I want a place that is mine – that I can redecorate or rebuild, as suits me. A home in which replacing the carpets or flooring is entirely up to me, and in which I can freely replace all the light fixtures with whatever I choose without asking anyone at all, would be very nice. Comfort doesn’t have to be expensive, neither does luxury, but too often I find that I can’t ‘get permission’ for small changes that would be so wonderful while living in a rental, or as a housemate. Besides all that, I earnestly want to be able to leave this world knowing, when the time comes, that the choices I have made in life benefit my loves after my departure! I would feel considerable joy knowing that my traveling partner, although grieving, would be grieving his loss from a secure home, his home – unconcerned about going without and able to focus on healing his heart. “Feeling homeless” or displaced is something both he and I have endured far too often in life, already.

Be love.

Be love.

That gets me thinking about feeling secure in life – and in love – and how often people allow anger to cause them to say things to each other that specifically and directly undercut the emotional security of those they claim they love most. “I hate you!” “Get out!” “Why don’t you just go?!” “I don’t want you here!” I hope I live the entire remainder of my life not ever saying something so horrible and distancing to someone I love. How brutally unkind, how lacking in any compassion, how… mean, simply and frankly mean, to say such things to a loved one. How do you justify it (if you have said or done such things)? Isn’t the better choice to make note of our own suffering, and take care of ourselves before we lash out with pure uncensored nastiness toward someone we’ve claimed we love? Seriously? When I see that kind of thing unfolding, I nearly always find myself also wondering “How is it anyone sees this as being ‘love’ at all?”

One great relationship best practice I follow these days is; I don’t threaten the emotional security of my loved ones by withholding affecting, or being mean, when I am angry. I make the effort to replace emotional attacks with authenticity, vulnerability, and listening deeply. Just that. Surely if I love the person I am angry with, the better choice (versus attacking them) is to take care of my own emotional needs (put my own oxygen mask on first) – which really doesn’t leave time for attacking people – and then reaching out to my hurting loved one, connecting, talking, and reaching a comfortable mutual understanding – ideally with all hurts soothed, and the wreckage tidied up with hugs, kisses, and real affection, and because we started with love, why would we end anywhere else? 🙂 There are, of course, verbs involved, and The Big 5 (Respect, Reciprocity, Consideration, Compassion, and Openness) make an important appearance, too.

Treating our loves truly well requires awareness, the choice moment to moment to do so, and practice.  It also requires the basic assumption that our loves mean us no harm, hold us in high esteem, want the best for us in life, and are most specifically and earnestly not “trying to start shit”*. That by itself is pretty huge; if you go around all the time assuming your loved ones have it in for you, aren’t playing fair, don’t look out for your needs, don’t have you in mind at all… well… I gotta wonder first why you think that person loves you if those things are true – and if they aren’t true (or you haven’t made any effort to verify your suspicions clear-headedly in a fact-based way in the first place)… um… wtf is your problem? How do you call those feelings love, yourself? What is it, exactly, that you think love offers you? It definitely took me a while to sort that one out for myself. 🙂

Love.

Love.

My thoughts wind around slowly to values and value statements, generally. I find myself chuckling about the ‘company values’ at work; some of them are two or three sentences and include contradictory statements. I generally find that a ‘value’ can be stated quite simply, and most commonly with a single word. If it takes a sentence – or more – to state a value, it tends to communicate [to me] that the value being expressed is not well understood by the individual making the statement. Sometimes value statements are deliberately unclear, in some cases because the value is being hidden rather than expressed directly. The nature of values – and value statements – became much more important to me when I began, rather late in life, to re-explore my own values explicitly. My ‘Big 5‘ developed out of those conversations with myself.

The power of mindfulness practices to spark honest self-reflection and support self-awareness, as well as awareness generally, has been an important source of personal growth, and necessary for developing a sustainable condition of day-to-day contentment and joy (without needing to aspire to be anything other than entirely human). I don’t really need to count down the days until I move – I will or I won’t, and in time I’ll know which, and that will be plenty soon enough to start a countdown. I don’t really need to count down the days since the last time I hung out with my traveling partner – I’ll see him again, soon enough, and each visit is a lifetime of its own to be cherished, savored, and enjoyed, no counting or score-keeping required. There is so much less sensation of rushing, being rushed, urgency or panic these days. It is enough to enjoy the journey as it is. 🙂

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

 

 

*It should go without saying that if you mean someone ill, willfully treat them poorly, want them to suffer, and are regularly actually trying to provoke them into anger, fear, jealously or sorrow, you really seriously honestly just do not get to say you “love” that person – because love doesn’t behave that way. I can at least hope anyone treated thusly will have or gain the wisdom to understand they are not being loved!