Archives for posts with tag: metaphors

I’m enjoying a moment. This one. It is a morning moment, served up with a side of pre-dawn quiet, and a cup of hot coffee. I woke just ahead of the alarm, uncertain, in the darkness, if it was worth trying to go back to sleep… wanting to… as I thought it over, though, the alarm caught up with me, and announced the beginning of a new day.

I sip my coffee and appreciate things. I mean, just generally. There’s no doubt life has some challenges to offer, and having experienced a fair few, I maintain awareness that there are likely more ahead; it’s not personal, it’s just living a life. My coffee is hot, well-made, tasty – and in this particular moment, right here, it is enough to enjoy it quietly. Sufficiency. Mindfulness. Gratitude. It is a pleasant start to the day.

I stay with the moment awhile longer. This coffee. This moment. Present. Here. Now. Nothing fancy or expensive to it, and “presence” is not an especially complicated or difficult practice. I let go of ruminations over past challenges. I refrain from launching my consciousness into explorations of potential future challenges. I exist in this present, right now moment, content with my hot coffee. (Maybe you prefer tea? The practice of being present and mindful does not have to change, whatever your preferred beverage! 😉 )

My thoughts drift to recent photographs; representations of recent moments. Lovely urban shots of spring. Pretty pictures of raindrops on rose leaves extended into the afternoon sunshine, sparkling as if edged with glitter. Traffic. Sunrises. Sunsets. My camera has failed me several times recently – great shots that didn’t save – but my memory does not.  It’s a fair exchange, I suppose. I smile, and continue to sip my coffee.

…Another day, another photograph, another moment… another memory. It’s already time to begin again.

This morning, my pain, my tinnitus, the white noise of the furnace blowing through the vents, and the subtle anxiety in the background (as I begin “waiting around” for time to leave for yet another doctor’s appointment), are competing for my attention. My cognitive space feels very busy, but the quality of the content is poor. I sip my very excellent cup of coffee and stare forward into the void, more groggy than calm. There is no action to take in this specific moment aside from sipping coffee, and waking up.

I don’t think I did anything much last night. I’m fairly certain of it, since my recollection seems largely without content. Am I forgetting, or was it that completely uneventful? I wonder for a moment, then my attention wanders to more practical matters. I remind myself to take out the garbage. I consider whether I remembered to take my medication this morning. I notice that I am thirsty. I don’t do anything about any of those, I just sit quietly, sipping my coffee. Later, I’ll head to my appointment, then to the office, and I hope to just sort of slide comfortably into a very routine day from there… and I’d like to wake up. 🙂

The mountain as a metaphor for love; always there in the background, even when I don’t see it. Endlessly beautiful when I am in its presence.

…As I wake, I write a love note to my Traveling Partner, reminiscing fondly about morning coffees together. Another time, perhaps. 🙂 My brain immediately sneak attacks me from behind the calendar reminder about my appointment, and I am forced to face my mortality as tears spill down. What if the news at this appointment is… bad? I let the tears come. It would be hard to say good-bye to a life I am finally starting to learn to live truly well, to value, to appreciate, to experience fully. I’ll have to eventually though, as will we all. We don’t yet have the technology to stop mortality in its tracks. I sip my coffee, eyes stinging with tears, and a weird smile on my face. It’s not a happy one. I feel it from inside. I don’t know this smile. Bitter. Resolved. Hurting. Still standing. Still walking on. Still beginning again.

It was neither sunny nor warm, yesterday evening, but Spring doesn’t seem to care much about that.

…I’ll say this, with great conviction; if I have the opportunity, ever, to know with certainty that the end is imminent? I won’t be spending my last days, weeks, months in a fucking office.

I make a point to breathe, relax, and let that painfully poignant moment go. Emotional weather. I let the small storm pass like a spring shower. Brief and drenching, relieving in some hard to describe way, and I move on somehow refreshed. I’m certainly awake. I sip my… oh, shit. My coffee’s gone.

I can choose to embrace the dawn, or dwell in the evening light.

…It’s a good morning for a second coffee, and a second chance. It’s a good morning to begin again. I may not be able, in this one moment, to save the world… but I can save this one moment in my experience. 🙂 I get up and head for my meditation cushion, on my way to a second coffee. 🙂

My view of the meadow, covered by morning mist rising from the marsh, is obscured by condensation on the window, left open during the night. My view is obscured by my perspective. Something to think about, generally.

Low mist on the meadow before sunrise.

Sometimes I have to change my perspective to enjoy the view…

Today my traveling partner [figuratively, metaphorically] becomes my literal traveling partner, headed to a favorite festival. I smile every time I think about him enjoying himself there. I come back to the thought frequently; I enjoy his joy. 🙂

I caught myself getting caught up in the news… the usual horror and tedium, frankly, and fairly dismal. Getting mired in it does no one any good, and doesn’t change things. I can change only those things that are precisely and specifically changeable by me. It’s entirely a worthwhile endeavor to be the best human being I can, without bothering with the day-to-day stress and drama of comparison, or competition. Yeah, life?  It’s so not a competition. What a lie I’d been sold there! When I allow myself to be distracted by how well you are doing, or how well that famous person over there is doing, or how well a motivational speaker suggests I could be doing, or any number of other frankly revenue-generating (for someone) bits of bamboozlement, I lose precious time on my own authentic journey. Sometimes the journey is difficult. It’s mine. Sometimes the journey is a disastrous maze of detours. It’s mine. Sometimes the journey is fraught with confusion, sorrow, or anger. It’s mine. Sometimes the journey is delightful, joyful, and fun. It’s mine. My journey to make on my own terms; I am my own cartographer, having my own experience. Sure – we’re all in this together, and that matters, too. Still my journey, on my terms, in my own time – and similarly, yours belongs to you. We don’t gain much when we try to use someone else’s map… and we lose a lot when we’re sold on someone else’s destination. Just saying. Do you.

The mist begins to lift, the sky to lighten. I hear crows discussing their plan for the morning. I see the earliest hints of autumn in the trees on the far side of the park; shades of yellow and orange beginning to show in the summer green foliage.

Today is a good day to wish the world well, and my traveling partner too; each of us having our own experience. Each of us on our own journey. Today is a good day to be authentic, genuine, and also the very best of who I am able to be. (Each of us doing so would change the world.) 🙂

Happy Easter! Well, or whatever you are celebrating this morning that may or may not be identified in that fashion. As a youngster, I loved Easter – the egg hunt, the hidden (and very fancy) basket of generally wonderful chocolates and confections, the decorated eggs (which were sometimes quite lavish and exotic at our house, as my Mother was willing to blow eggs, and decorate them as fictional characters, and such, and we would often enjoy coloring eggs the evening before hand – a celebration of its own). Many years as an adult, I continued to celebrate the splendor of spring with Easter baskets, Easter eggs, Easter chocolates. It didn’t matter one bit to me that the aspects of the Easter celebration commonly associated with Christian faiths was often so culturally prominent, leaving the heartfelt earthy practical symbols of spring and fertility to wonder if anyone remembered them; I remembered, and celebrated, and that was enough.

Many years into adulthood, sometime well past 40, I gave up celebrating Easter; the celebrations I love most are pretty calorie-rich, costly, and labor intensive, and I had gained a lot of weight over the years. It had become an insincere celebration, too, unshared, solitary, and unhealthy. I couldn’t afford the rich artisan-crafted exotic chocolates I wanted for fancy baskets I yearned for but had no room to store. The hand-crafted ceramic eggs I had made for myself years before remained wrapped up and put away for many years. My enthusiasm for life was muted by prescription drugs intended to dull only my symptoms, but in fact pretty much just shut me down in all but those moments when nothing could. Easter was lost to me, and the feeble stirrings of interest in some years, more than others, didn’t really bring it back.

Set aside but not forgotten.

Set aside and forgotten… for a time.

This morning I woke thinking about Easter. I woke thinking about spring, beginnings, verbs, ancient rites performed by superstitious primates, earnest rituals performed by true believers, and ceramic Easter eggs, carefully put away, that have no calories at all – only loveliness. I woke with a smile. There is no hurting here this morning, beyond the usual morning stiffness and aching of my arthritis. I feel a mild sensation of regret looking out over the park, beyond the tall grasses to the playground; I could have hidden Easter eggs for the children this year. So fun. I might have filled some with jelly beans, others with coins, some with comforting or thought-provoking aphorisms. I didn’t; Easter had been put away for so long I had forgotten it entirely, until this morning, even though sentences using the word had certainly fallen from my lips in recent weeks. How strange.

There is no moment of bitter disappointment or any particular sadness this morning. Actually, I feel rather hopeful, and eager to see Easter coming up on next year’s calendar. I find myself contemplating ‘being true’ to the woman in the mirror, all her facets, all her joys. I realize that ‘authenticity’ and ‘being true’ to oneself have a connection – noun and verb – and as is so often the case, the verbs involved really matter if that elusive noun is to be achieved, lived, and cherished.

A chilly bumble bee, tired and cold and waiting on the warmth of the day.

A chilly bumblebee, tired and cold and waiting for the sun.

Happy Easter. Today is a good day to be true to my vision of the best woman I can be. There are verbs involved, sure, and my results will vary. Every one of life’s Easter eggs is a moment of potential wonder and immense joy. Everyone of life’s moments is a potential Easter egg. 🙂

I woke comfortably this morning, the alarm did not annoy or startle me. My sleep was not dreamless, but my dreams were surreal and seemed almost tender, as if chosen with great care to nurture me in the night. The morning feels gentle and quiet. I feel content. The room has a chill to it, and my coffee cup feels warm in my hand in a very pleasant way. This is a lovely morning.

I let my thoughts drift among the delightful living metaphors of my experience: long walks, cups of coffee, home cooking, the pot of gold at the end of… wait…what? I find myself smiling, and thinking of ‘the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’, which for me has tended to be envisioned as both broken, and empty, as long as I can remember. A hidden metaphor for my injury, perhaps, that I didn’t realize I was carrying with me all this time. I used to have a bleak recurring dream of chasing rainbows looking for the pot of gold, and finding it shattered, empty, with just a note left in among the shards…a note I never could pick up to read, however hard I tried. Dreams of disappointment, frustration, and futility were once very common in my dreamscape. They are more rare now. What jolted me back to more awareness of my thoughts, this morning, is that the pot isn’t broken! Here I am just drifting among the thoughts, old and new, and something is changed; it’s a startling sensation. This morning, the pot at the end of the rainbow is neither broken, nor empty; it is duct-taped together with great care, and although I cannot see the contents, I am aware the pot is filled. Someone has written on the duct tape – in my own hand writing, in ball point pen – ‘contentment’. This makes sense; I used to think that ‘happily ever after’ was what I would find in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When did I rewrite this fanciful metaphor? How is it that I didn’t notice sooner? Why this morning? Do these questions matter at all? (Probably not – they don’t read like the significant questions do, in some hard to identify way.)

What a lovely small thing to notice changed in a positive way, within myself. How easily it could have gone unnoticed! It’s a gentle reminder that our programming exists in the background of our consciousness, weighing in on our experience, and our understanding of our experience moment-to-moment, regardless of our awareness. That programming can support all the heartfelt compassion and delight with which we can face our world, or it can resonate with our doubts, fears, and insecurity, lead us to madness or despair, or influence our thinking in ways we would not choose were we more aware. Gnothi seauton.  It isn’t a caution or a criticism; just a reminder how important it is to be who we are, aware, awake, and without judgment.

Another door opens.

Another door opens.

This morning I am adding a book to my reading list – and I haven’t even finished it yet. This wee volume seems every bit as colossal on my journey as the weightiest tome ever could be, and already, just pages into it, I feel… Yes. That’s really it. I feel. This books moves me, and stirs my thinking, raises my awareness – like unfolding the next relevant section of a map. I won’t ruin the ending… I don’t know the ending. 🙂 “How to Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh goes on the reading list today.

Today is a good day for rainbows, for colorful pots in tiny gardens, for small books with big ideas, and for love. Today is a good day to know myself, and to delight in time I spend with me. Today is a good day to learn to love.