Archives for posts with tag: mindful awareness

I got home yesterday with a well-developed list of things I felt needed to get done, after a weekend of painting, mostly mundane things like vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom – housekeeping basics that got pushed to the side because I was painting. I got home feeling decently energetic, and somewhat enthusiastic about getting these few things done…

I didn’t touch my list of chores last night. Oh, I know what I like, and waking this morning to small reminders of what didn’t get done last night is mildly annoying, but not worthy of self-deprecatory internal dialogue, or beating myself up emotionally. I enjoy living beautifully, and each moment being its own opportunity to be a beautiful moment… last night I enjoyed the moments quite differently than I had planned to. I blame the figs. ­čÖé

A metaphor, a connection to a larger history, a tasty treat.

A metaphor, a connection to a larger history, a tasty treat.

I got home in the usual way, on foot. Having taken a comfortable seat long enough to take off my hiking boots, socks, and relax a moment, I quickly lost interest in doing housework. Rather than be evasive about my change of heart regarding the evening, I took a chance on me and a dove head first into ‘now’, just as it was then. “Softening my tone” toward myself is sometimes a challenge, and I paused to consider needs over time versus needs in the moment, and made a light snack to stave off low blood sugar later, in case I found myself meditating for a long while.

I spent quite a time┬ásimply enjoying the small green figs, actually. I took my time with them, enjoying the scent, the flavors, the look and feel of each one, individually. Each sweet bite reminding me of late summer figs, fully ripe, carefully selected of those that had fallen, enjoyed with my Granny as a young girl. I remembered that summer that we got rather drunk off those naturally fermented fruits, warmed in the sun, and found ourselves giddy with laughter, on the ground (she, being the adult, rather appalled to have gotten her young grand-daughter quite drunk on summer figs). My mind wandered.┬áI contemplated figs and humanity. Figs have been available for eating, substantially as they are, since before the dawn of human kind…that’s…wow. Historical. ­čÖé I nibbled at the lush sweet flesh, thinking about a paper a dear friend once shared with me, about the humble fig, and it’s symbolism, and it’s appearance, and as I recall also its place in biblical lore. I thought, too, about nature shows, and the many sorts of primates and mammals that eat figs. I recalled a friend recently saying she wasn’t sure what a fig is, and hadn’t eaten one… and how peculiar that seemed to me,┬áas though somehow I expected figs to be part of our genetic memory as primates┬á(if that’s a thing). Sweet, tempting, delicious figs…their flavor and the scent of their sweet flesh lingered in my memory long after I had eaten the last one. Twilight had come.

A small plate of delicious figs easily distracted me from planned chores, and I chose to care for myself differently.┬á I spent the evening meditating. What was left of the evening after┬áthat was spent on small pleasures, and self care – catching up with friends, doing yoga, having a shower. It matters greatly to treat myself well, and as much as I enjoy a tidy home, there is indeed a great deal more to life than housework, and I am a higher priority for me than the vacuuming is. Finding the balance is an ongoing process of questions, answers, and verbs being applied. Last night was well spent; after a weekend painting I needed to spend some quiet time simply being in my own company, and didn’t recognize it until the moment was in front of me.

Still, there’s the matter of home and hearth, and self-care isn’t at all the same as self-indulgence – and that list of chores isn’t going to do itself. Definitely some verbs involved, and tonight the music at home will be the sort to carry me, dancing, through the tidying up. All that will be later. It is morning, now, and I am sipping my coffee, and considering the day ahead. I have dinner out with my traveling partner, tonight, and I am eager to enjoy his company, and charming conversation. It matters little where we go; the point is to enjoy the time together. He is away this weekend, and any time our paths diverge for a few days I make a point to enjoy his company before he goes, even if only for a few brief minutes snatched from a busy work week.

lighthouse

However stormy life may be, love is a lighthouse guiding us safely home to calmer shores.

I have my own weekend plans, painting and meditating, and I’m eager to see where the weekend takes me.

Today is a good day to get things done. Today is a good day for loving embraces, and warm greetings. Today is a good day to celebrate small successes, and to value what works well and easily. Today is a good day for appreciation, and a good day for joy. Today is a good day to be fully present for my own experience; I, too, am part of the world.

Morning came sooner than I’d like. I slept poorly. I dozed off again and again, and the sleep I did get was of good quality. I was not able to sleep through the night, and woke regularly. It wasn’t a bad night in any distinct way, it was simply that my sleep was interrupted, incomplete, and insufficient to result in feeling rested this morning. The experience is not relevant to whether I have a good day today. So far, aside from being somewhat groggy, and writing with far more spelling errors than you will ever see, it manages to be a lovely morning in spite of the poor quality sleep.

Cloudy skies that threaten rain without delivering on their promise.

Cloudy skies that threaten rain without delivering on their promise.

I make my coffee with great care, more┬ábecause I am too groggy not to follow the process quite carefully, than any wonder of mindfulness. I notice, once completed, that the fragrant brew is quite dark. I think to myself “huh, that really is the color of an ‘espresso finish’ “, without noticing in the moment that I am not drinking espresso – just coffee. The coffee is very good this morning; I made a point to get more of that Brazilian roast I enjoyed so much. I am enjoying it every bit as much as I did the first time.

No raccoons on the lawn this morning, no┬ácats stopping by, no possums, no bunnies, and the birds are quiet. It is a quiet morning. It’s probably best that it be such a lovely quiet morning; I am not awake enough to provide any sort of crisis management, or quick decision-making. I’m okay with that. I’ve got my coffee, and plenty of time to wake up.

Sometimes changing my perspective doesn't change my understanding of things...sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes changing my perspective doesn’t change my understanding of things…sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I sip my coffee, listening to sounds of morning and thinking ahead to the evening, to the weekend… my traveling partner will be away for the weekend, which is not relevant to anything in this moment but the recollection reminds me of our plans tonight. I smile, anticipating the moment he arrives. I am awake enough to value the deep connection we share. For a brief moment I allow my consciousness to brush past the previously terrifying what-if scenario of ‘what if he didn’t come back from…’. It’s not a pleasant thought to linger on, so I don’t, but as I turn my thoughts to other things, I realize…once I got past the shock of it, the sorrow… I’d be okay. I’d go on with my life, treating myself well, investing in me. I don’t doubt there would be a huge hole in my heart, in my experience, perhaps for always, perhaps not…and there is no loss of affection in the knowledge that I’d be okay – only the loss of the crippling attachment that had built over time. It feels good to let that go. Strong. Safe. Emotionally secure.

It's a metaphor. :-)

It’s a metaphor. ­čÖé

This morning I have the sense of taking life one slippery rock at a time, crossing a fast-moving creek; there’s a sense of progress, recognition of the distance covered and the journey ahead, and a realization that a missed step, or a fall, needn’t be assumed to be doom. I’d simply begin again. That’s enough.

My name doesn’t say much about me – you can call me Lisa if you’d like. Or not. Shakespeare had it right with ‘what’s in a name?’. You could ask me questions, a lot of them, and find out many details of my experience in life, my thoughts on those experiences, the values that drove the choices on which those experiences were built…but what do you know about the being within the fragile vessel by doing so? Some details. Cobbled together with some assumptions based on your own experience, your own values, and the choices you make about your understanding of the world, you will build a picture of ‘who I am’ that you are┬ácontent to accept as ‘me’. Maybe you like that person, maybe you don’t – is it ‘who I am’ for anyone but you?

Do I define the journey, or does the journey define me?

Do I define the journey, or does the journey define me?

Am I any less constrained by those same limitations – even when I consider the question ‘who am I’, myself? Who is this woman in the mirror? Do I define myself by my experiences? Which ones? Are the traumas inflicted on me more important than the events I chose for myself? Is it my response or reaction to events that matters more? Is it my thoughts, or my creativity that define who I am? Does my injury define me? Is it my choices, my values, or how I treat others? How I wear my hair is not who I am, nor is what I choose to wear. The books I read are not who I am, neither is how I vote. My anger is not who I am, and my careless frankness isn’t either. Somehow all of it is – but even all of it seems some very small piece of who I am – like ‘dark matter’, it seems the ‘who I am’ puzzle is by far the vast, most important bit ‘about me’, making up most of ‘everything’…and also not easily described or defined. So…yeah. Who I am? Who are you? These are very good questions.

I woke this morning feeling content, comfortable in my skin, and subtly in conflict with myself, as if I had wandered off from an important discussion in progress by waking. I lingered in front of the mirror naked, looking over this fragile vessel and considering the being within. Mirrors made me uncomfortable for a long time; I could not bear to see the hurt, sadness, and astonished betrayal in my eyes, and I was uncomfortable with my aging flesh. This morning I stood calmly, enjoying the curves and lines of a body that has served me well over the years. I smiled at a scar I’d forgotten about, and recalled the event that put it there. I paused to appreciate that so much of the damage done by the violence of my youth seems to be sorting itself out; I can stand in front of a mirror and enjoy who I am.

There is a small shaving mirror mounted in my shower. I don’t use it for shaving, and it is not placed there for the convenience of lovers or guests. I put that small mirror there because I noticed that living alone cut me off from eye contact with my traveling partner and I really missed it, and felt the lack. My reading on the subject of emotional intimacy and connection suggested the lack could be more fundamental, and perhaps be addressed as a need that I could fill for myself and somehow┬á‘get by’ on that. I put the mirror in the shower so every day, every time I am in the shower, I have an opportunity to make eye contact with someone whose affection for me is singularly reliable, someone I want to know much better, be much closer to, and shower (lol) with Love. I felt a little silly even trying it out – it seemed like a ‘trick’ I was playing on myself. Turns out not to be a trick at all. I have lovely eyes. I enjoy my smile – even the small quiet smile that often gets missed or misunderstood. Eye contact with myself seems to have the good emotional benefits of eye contact in general. As practices go, pretty simple, and I feel more in touch with myself. It helps that I am unafraid of the woman in the mirror, and on good terms with the woman within.

The morning is pleasant, my coffee is tasty, and the music playing the background has me grooving in my chair while I write. This is an excellent moment. I pause the writing to enjoy it, and dance to a favorite track.┬áThe practicing of practices, and incremental progress over time have taught me that it is not necessary to be so fit that I can dance for 30 continuous minutes or more to benefit from movement. At my heaviest, I had stopped dancing. Heartache stalled my joy machine, my weight and arthritis were significant limitations, and I couldn’t move easily. Over time I just stopped dancing. When I started trying to turn things around in earnest, I rather awkwardly and uncomfortably also tried to begin dancing again. First it was just seconds. I was stiff. Self-conscious. Fearful. Reluctant. Awkward. Uncomfortable. Uncertain. But seconds eventually became a song. Song, singular, became songs plural. Songs became a playlist, and a playlist became my morning and I awakened to the powerful joy in movement – not just yoga. Not just walking. I love to dance. I probably ‘suck at it’ by all external standards – and that┬ádoesn’t matter a bit. It’s about the feeling of it, the sensuality, the freedom, the sensation of the beat and the pure primitive delight of movement to music. That’s all mine, and I am not living this life for anyone else. I’m not 20 any more, true. I’m not Ciara, never was. Damn, though, it feels good to hear the music I love and be moved by it in a literal way, and be able to dance. Meeting that need doesn’t require impressing anyone. ­čÖé

This morning I am contemplating ‘self’ and ‘other’ and considering what it means to be individual, and to connect with others. Asking myself what I expect of me, what I tolerate, what I enjoy – and asking myself if I am applying my values fairly to both myself, and my expectations of myself, and others dear to me, too. Am I too hard on myself? I know that I can be. Am I too hard on others? Do I attempt to hold them to a standard I can’t achieve, myself? Am I too willing to excuse behavior that isn’t okay with me, because I am hesitant to apply a standard I hold for myself? I know that I have that potential, for sure. What matters most? We are each mortal, each prone to mistakes and poor choices, each entirely predictably likely to behave consistent with our own values – not the ones we share willingly in words, or the values the society we live within recommends; we live our true values in our continued behavior over time. I suspect it is one thing we are powerless to do differently; we live the values we actually hold, changing our behavior may require us to change our values – or result in our values changing because┬áwe have changed our behavior. Being attentive to someone’s behavior is the only way to know their values with any certainty. Then what?

Like a mushroom, there is often more to a question than the obvious words.

Like a mushroom, there is often more to a question than the obvious words.

Questions on a Thursday morning. More questions than answers. Plenty of time to love the woman in the mirror, and dance. ­čÖé