Archives for posts with tag: making a list

This morning I am grooving to the sound of new beats from an old friend. I’m sipping my coffee, feeling relaxed, loved, and even “merry”. It’s a pleasant, leisurely Sunday morning. My pleasant moment is interrupted by a commercial interruption on Soundcloud; an ad break between tracks. I roll my eyes, look for any chance to skip it (that doesn’t amount to paying for a subscription to a rarely used service), and settle on ignoring it for the required 31 seconds. It’s a distraction, and not a pleasant one; this is “where we are” culturally – our attention held in servitude to commercial endeavors, with or without our consent.

I sip my coffee and think about the media, my shorter attention span, the nature of likes, clicks, and views, and the monetization of human attention, and individual data. I think about our “global culture” – and how it sometimes seems “the fabric of society” is being torn apart…only… that’s just one perspective on a very complex, only somewhat shared experience. While there certainly seem to be “norms” and commonplace expectations of a dominant group in our social hierarchy being challenged, undermined, and perhaps also “misused”… There are also huge swaths of humanity who were never invited to that party, who don’t (and did not) have the advantages that are said to be being “undermined”, and for whom the system as it is has existed is punitive, hostile, prejudiced, and has long prevented them from thriving as groups. Labeled, cut-off from the benefits of “mainstream” society, and worse still often shamed for “doing it to themselves” instead of humble acknowledgement of inequities in our laws and institutions, so many people in so many places see patterns that amount to willful inhumanity. Fixing that mess… now that’s a global challenge for a global society. Will we fix our mess before the clock runs out on humanity’s presence on this planet?

I let the beats carry my thoughts onward… sipping my coffee and a glass of water, sort of in alternation.

I think about the day’s housekeeping tasks ahead of me. I think about getting a walk in on some nearby trail – if the day warms up just a little. I think about maybe baking brownies and trying a different recipe, seeking that exceptional brownie result. None of these thoughts, however delightful, have anything whatsoever to do with the actual outcome; that requires some verbs. Real action. Choices. Follow-through.

…Another fucking advertisement begins to play in the background. I do not give a shit about the advertiser or the product. I tune it out…

Patterns in my life; I do housekeeping on Sundays, generally. When I write, most of the time, I write in the morning. There is a cadence, a rhythm, to the day-to-day, and to each week. When I write, or think, or reflect, or daydream, there is often some kind of thread that connects my thoughts. When I struggle, there is often another sort of “thread” that, once tugged, begins to unravel some bit of baggage or bullshit. Noticing a pattern, pulling on that thread, following a path; all these things lead me onward. Even these beats in my ears right now, and so also in my head, guide me along my human experience, giving me a pace, a flow, a sort of carrier wave upon which the signal that is my own individual experience can be layered. My breathing shifts; slower and more even with the chill ambient beats. Glacial. Slow perspective. Ease.

Another advertisement? Really?? Fucking hell…

The beat shifts again, energizing me, lifting me, bring a smile to my face and an eagerness to my moment. My breathing is a bit faster. I feel an increasing readiness to move on with the day. There is a rhythm to the tasks and habits and routines I set for myself. It works for me, mostly. When it doesn’t, breaking down the missed moment, the lost beat, the unraveling thread into smaller parts gives me a chance to understand myself a bit better, and to creep ever closer to being the person I most want to be.

…It’s not “everything”, it’s only “something” – sometimes something is enough. 🙂 It is, at least, enough on which to begin again. 😀

Today, I’ll do my best. I’ve got a list. I’ve got all day. 🙂 It’s enough.

My coffee is a memory. By the time I got to actually drinking it, it was already rather tepid. It lingers, cold, and bitter, in my recollection. My day is off to a rather poor start for no good reason. At some point, the quality of my experience becomes up to me…

I reflect on things quietly, thinking perhaps I’ll gain perspective through writing, then find myself stalled, unwilling to tackle the “harder questions” this morning, in spite of knowing they would do well to be asked, and where possible, answered. Instead, I make an ambitious list of household chores and resolve to complete those. It’s easier.  Today is, in most respects, an ordinary enough Sunday.

…Order from chaos… sometimes I find it helps with other challenges troubling me in the background…It helps to have a list.

Same view, different day. Perspective matters, but we each have to walk our own hard mile.

I remind myself to make room for other perspectives, to listen deeply, to be open to change…

A slight change in point of view can make a difference in understanding our circumstances.

…I wander off to get started on my list. Another new beginning… the day may improve, if I can stay open to that potential. I can always begin again…

…Sometimes this shit is hard. Seems so, I mean. Subjectively. I remind myself “one practice at a time, one step at a time, one task at a time; it all adds up”… I feel unconvinced and blue. Some days suck. I make a mental note that change is – even the most miserable moment is just a moment, and it’ll pass. I have choices. I have practices that I know I can count on to be uplifting. Yeah, not super convincing that time, either. I’ll “get over it” and “move past this”. For now, this is the experience I seem to be having. I try not to take it personally, and stay with both this actual moment, and these feelings; the moment, which is frankly fine, is my anchor, my point of “safety” that gives me a firm foundation to consider the feelings without becoming mired in them (that’s the intention, anyway). I’m okay right now. That’s real. The emotions are emotions. I make a point to refrain from conflating the feelings with actual experiences.

…I make a point to consider the experience separately from the emotions I feel during or about the experience, itself…

…Uncomfortable or unpleasant experiences are something I can learn and grow from. Fighting that isn’t particularly helpful. Getting mired in unresolved emotions isn’t particularly helpful (or comfortable) either. I take a breath and turn towards my discomfort, seeking growth… and begin again, again. I eye my “baggage” and personal demons with some distaste and impatience, and snarl to myself “bitches, I can do this “begin again” shit all fucking day, just go ahead and fucking bring it“. That at least gets a laugh out of me.

I check my list, and yeah, I even check it twice. There’s more to do… and it all begins with a beginning.

Yesterday was sort of hard. Weirdly so. A bit as if I had sand in my consciousness; I felt sort of “rubbed raw”, cognitively. Uncomfortable. Unpleasant. Aggravating. Those words describe my experience, and also describe my sense of myself, pretty much all day. It wasn’t fun, and more than frustrating; there was not any clear reason to feel the way I did. My outlook for much of the day was “just don’t”. I felt a little aggressive, a little prone toward anger, and getting past, through, or around it was the entire day’s challenge.

…Eventually, it “worked itself out”. Sometime past the end of the work day, I “got my head right”, and enjoyed a pleasant, quiet evening with my Traveling Partner. I sip my coffee, this morning, and silently acknowledge the difficulties the day had presented. Then, I let all that go. It was yesterday. New day ahead of me. I woke early, but this coffee is good, and this room is more tidy than yesterday. Comfortable. A bit chilly, and I’m okay with that. It’s not an unpleasant feeling. Another day, another chance to begin again.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Time spent on meditation feels well-spent.

I look over my “to do list”, and also review the “done” list that sits below it on my desktop as a “sticky note”. “Celebrate the Achievements!”, it says at the top. I’ve gotten a lot of little stuff done, and a handful of bigger projects are completed or in progress. Productive. 🙂 I allow myself a moment to feel pleased about that. I catch myself yawning, and glance at the time. Time passes so quickly, sometimes. The work day ahead is already about to begin…

I finish my first cup of coffee, ready to begin again. 🙂 Tomorrow? Already behind me. Today? Still ahead. It’s a good moment for beginnings.

I’m currently playing Portal. It’s not a new game. I’m likely the wrong person to ask whether it is a “hard” game. It hasn’t been especially frustrating, which I had worried about before I started. I’m enjoying the experience of playing it, which feels good. I admit, I’m currently stuck on a level, but honestly, I’m okay with that. I’ll get it figured out. 🙂 I keep at it. Nothing screams “restart” like being stuck on a particular challenge in a video game. Good news; life works this way, too. Stuck? Start over. Begin again. Take another approach. Try again. Give it a rest and come back to it later. 🙂

The worrying about the challenge was a bigger challenge that the challenge itself. There’s a lesson in that. lol

Video games are another rich source of living metaphors, for me. I enjoy that, too.

Fish swim in the “big” aquarium (size being very relative; it’s only 30 gallons). Shrimp scuttle about in their smaller aquatic habitat. My betta slowly recovers from recently jumping out of the aquarium; it’ll be weeks before he’s “well”, I suspect, but he’s doing okay. I hand feed him each day. He seems to welcome that. The world beyond these walls continues to make its way around the sun. The world continues to figure itself out in this time of pandemic. People continue to both disappoint me mightily, and also to impress me beyond expectations with their humanity, compassion, and will to do more/better. Life at home is still a puzzling mix of “how is this any different at all?” and “wtf – why this? why now?” My partner and I enjoy the opportunity to share experiences, projects, conversation, and to explore topics of shared interest more deeply. We help each other. We’re both in acceptably good health, enduring little more than routine middle-age-y sorts of concerns. We’ve got a lot to be grateful for.

I slept in this morning. My coffee is good. Yoga in the morning as the sun began to rise. It felt good to move and to stretch. Later today, I have an errand to run out in the world. I no longer look forward to such things, I just prepare myself, and get them done, and quickly return home. Meditation felt joyful and effortless this morning; the world seemed to be sleeping, and all was quiet. The news is too bleak and weird, lately, to bother with on a pleasant Sunday morning. Instead I sit down to write, and end up sipping coffee and watching fish swim for some while, instead. I’m okay with that.

…In general, “in real life”, I’m okay, generally. 😉 I hope you are, too.

I look around my studio… there’s much to do, to achieve the state of order I feel most comfortable within. My eye falls on my “to do list”… I add a couple things. I sip my coffee. I think about the day ahead, and find my mind wandering. I breathe deeply. Exhale. Relax. I pull myself back to this moment – it’s a lovely one, worth enjoying. There is no need at all to complicate it beyond what it is, right now. I glance at the aquarium next to my computer tower. I know what I’m going for, with this day; “calm waters”. A “steady state” of contentment and ease. No “waves”. No “strong current”. Just this moment, right now, and a state of gentle, slow, flow. 🙂 Achievable. With practice.

I smile into my empty coffee mug. It’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and making a list of things I want to get done this week. Tasks large and small make it to the list. I leave off those tasks that I easily and reliably remember to do. The list is a smattering of things my Traveling Partner asked me to take care of, the bulk of this list is tasks I want to get done, myself. Some of the things on my list could be considered “self-care” of some kind, others are basic housekeeping tasks that I’m not fond of. Writing that last sentence reminds me of yet another of those; I add it to the list. The list is not in any particular order. The list is not some kind of free-will depleting dictator or petty time-management despot. It’s just a list. The needs, and the list, are mine.

…I could ignore all of it, if I chose to…

No urgency this morning, just a quiet Wednesday morning in the time of pandemic. Restless human primates grow more restless the longer they are asked to practice self-isolation and social distancing. Grown human beings start throwing loosely organized tantrums because saving humanity may require some effort or impose some inconvenience on them, personally. It’s fairly comical, if viewed with some emotional distance. I’m stunned by how many “working class” Americans “drink the poison” offered to them by the business community and leisure class, though; the cries to be permitted to get back to normal are profit driven, in the background, and not tied to the real concerns about controlling the spread of this deadly pandemic. No, the economy (and profits of major businesses, and shareholders) does not matter more than human life. It just doesn’t. We may not yet be “grown up enough” to understand the value of life; we’re busy chasing shiny things.

I’m in a cheerful mood this morning. I am “not ready” for the day ahead, though. I hurt. It’s just physical pain. Yoga helps. Not enough, but some. I think this cup of coffee helps as much. lol I sip my coffee contentedly. No shot at boredom today; once work is over, I’ve got this list. 🙂 Any moment of boredom, however brief, brings me to the list. I do a task, I check it off. I feel like I’ve gotten something needful done. It’s enough. It keeps me busy and organized.

I finish my coffee feeling fairly grateful for the situation in which I find myself. I’m in a good partnership, sharing the national lockdown with a human being I truly adore, and whose love for me is apparent, every day. Reading the news, I find myself wondering how significant the spike in divorces will be following the return to “business as usual”? How big will the baby boom in December and January be? How difficult will it be to get workers who appreciate and enjoy working from home to return to their offices? How will the business and retail landscape change? How will K-12 students fare next year, and later on, compared to kids whose educations were not interrupted by a pandemic? What about college and trade school students whose educations were “finished” early to get them into the workforce to help out do compared to colleagues who got the full measure of their planned education, as time goes on? What will the long-term impacts actually be?

I swallow the last of my now-cold coffee. It’s time to begin again. 🙂