Archives for posts with tag: mindful living

It was a good weekend. Relaxed. Filled with reading, conversation, and quality time, well-spent. It was a bit peculiar, but only inasmuch as a 9-hour power outage changed the character of a Saturday, and ultimately of the weekend, but occurring pretty closely to the start of the earliest possible thought of preparing dinner on the grill, and watching UFC with my Traveling Partner… we did neither of those things. LOL The grill is electronically temperature controlled, and has an electrically powered fire-starter. Well, shit. The UFC fights? Yeah, we needed the power for that, too. :-\

Initially, we fussed, in turns, over whether one or the other of our phones would provide enough bandwidth to support streaming the fights… my internet isn’t quite that good. Well, shit.

It was a lovely day to catch up on my reading.

We let it go. We hung out, reading, playing small games on our phones, enjoying the sunny Spring day out on the deck. The day was pleasant. I went to bed a bit earlier than I often do, and missed the power coming back on. lol

The entire weekend ended up being a very pleasant, relaxed weekend, spent with each other. It was quite lovely. Yesterday, I happily ran an errand, then spent the day doing laundry, and tidying up. I dunno… it was a heavenly weekend. 🙂 I sip my coffee, very much aware that it was also entirely ordinary. I’m okay with that. 😀

56 in just two days. I’m okay with that, too. I grin at myself, thinking about all the things I am – and am not – sitting here today.

…My thoughts are interrupted most aggravatingly by my neighbor revving his car in the drive way, rattling the wall. I haven’t heard it quite like this before, and find myself hoping his cute lowered and modified car is “okay”. Then, the wall rattles again, and I frown, see-sawing between interested concern, and the raw nerves of noise sensitivity. Damn, dude, that car does not need to warm up for 10 fucking minutes… for fucks sake. I note the reaction, and take a slow, deep breath. He pulls away. I exhale and let it go. 🙂

It’s a morning to practice non-attachment, I suppose… 😉

I finish my coffee hurriedly, and realize my mistake when I begin coughing (I inhaled some of it. lol). I slow myself down with my whole will, and take another breath. There’s time. 56 doesn’t get here any sooner if I am rushing myself along, it only diminishes the quality of the journey getting there. lol

I consider a moment of contentment, captured in a photograph, and begin again.

I’m thinking about the way social media tends to give us each the impression we know all there is to know about what’s going on around us, and with the people we know, or observe from afar, as though eavesdropping a conversation in a restaurant booth behind us holds any potential to give us context and depth of understanding of the unseen faces having that conversation. It’s a misleading sense of the world, at best, and at worst… we participate in lying to ourselves, and dumbing down the world. Frustrating to attempt to have a deep conversation with a human being heavily invested in the world-via-tweet or yeah, even Instagram – my last remaining social media account. lol

…At this point, I’ve unfollowed every “influencer” (I hadn’t followed many, to begin with, because I don’t know them), and anyone who re-shares spammy bullshit, or advertising, or memes. I have limited my feed to direct relationships with people I actually know “irl”. No exceptions. It’s not about them. It’s about me; I don’t want to build shadows of relationships with distant entities who hold no potential to be “real” in my experience. I may not always like every one of the people around me… but I like them all 100% more than I hold any affection for a twitter account. LOL I mean, seriously? An ever-loving-fuck-ton of celebrities don’t even “manage” their own social media. They hire people to take care of that “workload” for them. They definitely don’t “care” about me – or you. They care about their brand. 😉

I can’t save anyone else from the impersonal science fiction abyss of dystopian disconnection. Sorry. You’ll need to crawl out on your own, if you can. It’s not actually hard, exactly, but it does require your will, and honest intent. So… verbs are involved. Choices. Practice. I kept Instagram, at least for now, simply because I enjoy sharing my photos with my actual friends, and enjoy seeing theirs. Innocent. Authentic. Rather unworldly, inasmuch as I guess I think that’s something I can have… Maybe it isn’t? I sip my coffee and wonder about that. Instagram remains a profit-generating social media platform on which I am not the consumer… I’m the product. Yick. I may need to rethink even this. lol

Snail mail, anyone?

I have been writing letters lately – a bit like the “elderly aunt” I seem to be becoming, slowly, over time. Hell, I’m okay with that. 🙂 I write a lot of email. I receive far less, but it’s not likely that a handful of emails and letters can provide a societal course correction in any detectable way. In my own experience, though, it’s quite a lovely relief from the fuss and bother, and anxiety, of a life in which every possible moment is “connected” via social media. That’s not really being connected at all, as it turns out. We’re all just shouting our opinions at each other, and sharing the ones that agree with our position, hoping to be rewarded with attention, with likes, with clicks, with a boost in personal status, or a large collection of “friends” or followers. How is that not toxic as fuck? lol

There is much less bullshit and drama in a life that is mostly pretty starved of social media. 🙂 Maybe take it for a test drive? If you were born in any year after about 1980, chances are good most of your life has been tangled up in the digital world. Take care of yourself if you do a really serious digital detox; you may be surprised to discover how actually dependent on it you are. Social media has some very drug-like qualities, and you may even be an addict. Be kind to yourself. Be patient.

I laugh for a minute. Quitting wasn’t anything like easy, and the world is just… yeah. My bank uses hashtags on their social media posts. Some of the merchants I do business with have specials that are only presented using digital coupons. Some of the artists and craftsman whose work I favor have contests that require “liking”, “subscribing” and sharing of social media items. It’s everywhere. I still walked away, because I’d rather live very authentically in the real world, such as it is, rather than become a (cognitively) fat shapeless media-fed caterpillar… without at least knowing what I will become, later on. (Pretty sure it won’t be a lovely butterfly of emotional wellness… just saying.) 😉

I finish my coffee. My thoughts continue to rattle around in my consciousness. I’ll spend time on my meditation cushion this morning, making a point to let all of this go, before I begin again, here, alive, awake, and aware, a solitary human being living in the world. ❤

A rose in my garden. You can’t smell it from a picture, or feel its silky petals – that’s only available in the world. 😉

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. Sometimes the expected fails us, and the unexpected takes over. I’m sipping coffee this morning and giving some thought to dealing with the many challenges life throws my way. Resistance is futile. Change is. Conflict occurs. Feelings are what they are. I have certainly “enjoyed” my share. lol

Yesterday I got home to an unexpected conversation. It could have been messy, fraught with contention, defensiveness, and emotional overload. Instead, different choices were made, and the result was productive, patient, clarified expectations and shored up shared knowledge. A partnership was strengthened, instead of undermined. The evening was relaxed and full of contentment.

So… what made the difference? Mostly listening. Yep. Listening made a huge difference. Just… listening. Actually halting my own urge to talk, to defend, to agree or disagree, to excuse, to scold, or to criticize, and listening first, and deeply. My next step? Affirming shared understanding, and affirming shared goals. Ensuring we both felt a sense of partnership. Planning next steps together, and explicitly clarifying expectations and desired results. It sounds more complicated that it was in the moment. It was a handful of choices to refrain from becoming needlessly defensive, and a handful of choices to remain open to another human beings words, and an assumption of positive intent. (Still takes practice. lol)

I nod my head, pleased, and sip my coffee. The clock on the computer suggests it is already time to begin again. 🙂 I remind myself that we become what we practice, finish my coffee, and head for whatever is next.

Sipping my coffee and thinking about the day and week ahead. Time to get my head out of the studio, and back in the office. Very different scenes. Very different language. It’s a bit of an adjustment. lol

I find myself thinking about “the future” just generally. I think about recent conversations with my Traveling Partner. I think about plans we’ve made to do things together in the year ahead. I think about choices already made, and choices yet to be considered. A substantial portion of “the future” is built on as-yet-unmade choices. The rest? Well, a hash of circumstances, and choices already made, and not yet seen to their conclusions, I suppose. It’s not a static image, like a picture, or a calendar page, though, “the future” – however modest or grand – continuously redevelops, as new choices are made against changes in circumstance. So… yeah.

What are you doing to build the future you want to live in? What are you choosing, in order to get to that place?

It can be frustrating having to accommodate, or adjust for, the circumstantial bits and pieces of a developing future. Same for choices made by other people that result in change for us, ourselves. Nonetheless, it’s part of the puzzle. The most complicated piece of the challenge of “planning for the future”, I think, is about the verbs in the present; our choices right now, our actions right now, our words right now, all become part of what our future is built on. What are you doing about it? I ask, because the literal only piece I directly affect, myself, is the piece built on my own actions, my choices, my words. I’d love to shout back “I’ve got this!”, but I’m not that certain, honestly. 🙂

It is sometimes difficult to hold onto awareness that my choices right now, here, in this moment, directly affect my future. It’s a pretty direct connection, too. I’ll give an example; yesterday I did laundry. I chose to defer the last load (white towels) to “maybe after work tomorrow”, when the hour grew later in the day than I cared to be doing laundry. No problem there. I can do it tonight after work. That was yesterday’s decision-making (made in the present, yesterday). This morning, I hopped out of the shower having forgotten about that decision-making, yesterday… no towel. That’s right. No clean, dry towel waiting for me when I finished my shower. lol Damn it. I was fortunate there was a clean dry towel in the hall bathroom. Still. My decision-making in the present, yesterday, directly affected my (near-term) future. That’s how it works. 😀

The awareness that my decision-making right now affects my experience of some future moment is also a potential anxiety-driver. “Over-thinking” can become indecision and dithering, and all of that just makes the anxiety worse. What the hell?? That hardly seems right… is this some sort of bug in the code, here? Huh. I chuckle and sip my coffee. “Not today, Demons.” I say to myself, contentedly. I breathe. Relax. Let go of my own bullshit – and begin again. New day. New choices. Each choice potentially inching me closer to being the woman I most want to be, living a future life that meets my needs over time. 🙂 Some choices, maybe not so much; my results will vary. lol

 

Getting ahead is easy! In just three easy steps, you too can get ahead!

  1. First, and this is key, be sure you are moving forward.
  2. Okay, once you are moving forward, keep doing that; keep moving forward. Maintain your momentum!
  3. Lastly, and this is critical; don’t fall behind.

Followed quite precisely, and this is true; you’ll get ahead. 😀

…It’d be nice if life were either that obvious, and that effortless, or even both. I mean, sure, at the most basic level, perhaps, this is what getting ahead could look like, only… it doesn’t. Not generally. Not spiritually. Not economically. Not with regard to wellness. It’s just a way of describing what our forward path could look like, absent all likely obstacles and challenges. lol Not helpful.

Are you down? You can choose to get back up. Doesn’t make it effortless, it’s just a starting point. Still, starting points are a positive. You can move forward from a starting point. That’s something.

Are you stalled in life, somehow, unsure of the path forward that will be best for you? Choose something. Do the thing. Note the outcome. Be present for the experience. Learn from it – whatever the lesson may be. Repeat. Regularly. At some point, you’ll either be in a very different place as a person, and no longer feeling stalled in life, or you’ll have done, and learned, some interesting things, and still be working all that out, over time. It’s not everything. It’s not a quick fix. Still. It’s something. It’s a place to continue from.

Do you feel as if you are literally falling behind in life? Failing? Experiencing setback after setback? (I’m there, now and then, lately – it’s not pleasant.) I’ll just say it; this is more commonly limited to our perception than being an actual part of our experience, and as experiences go, it can be so terrifying to deal with, that we find the mere perception that it might be our experience quite… terrifying? Humbling? Anxiety-provoking? All of that. Resolving this uncomfortable place to be is tricky, sometimes; if we’re really falling behind, our choices and actions would need to be different than if we only feel as if we are. So… sorting that out necessarily comes ahead of doing something about it, only… generally the things one might choose to do about the experience of falling behind are pretty powerfully positive choices and actions, regardless, and we may favor them all along life’s journey. 🙂 Things like… self-reflection, and understanding what matters most (to us), and practicing the qualities, behaviors, and skills, that support our vision of great quality of life. Things like… making good choices about our work, and recreation, that tend to be supported by our logistical and economic limitations, without undermining future goals. Things like… doing the humbling work of mindful service to our own needs, goals, and plans. Verbs. All verbs. Not effortless, but generally helpful in resolving that feeling of falling behind. That’s something.

More often than not, any of these experiences in life (being down, feeling stalled, or feeling as if I’m “falling behind”) have been supported by a combination of circumstances (which I’m always quite ready to blame, if I’m honest about it) and a lack of verbs (on my own part, actually, which I’d prefer to overlook, as doing the verbs is… work). I can’t always immediately change my circumstances for the better, but I can, almost always, change my choices – and the verbs. I can act. I can evoke change through living change, choosing change, and accepting change.

Sometimes changing things is as “easy” as the choices I make, and the verbs I put into action. “Easy” being understood, in this context, as… um… relative. Sorry. I wish “easy” were easier. 🙂 While some things may be, in fact, “easy”, this doesn’t imply “without effort”. There’s real work (and practice) involved in picking ourselves back up, in moving on from feeling stalled, and in stepping forward from feeling as if we are falling behind. Sometimes it’s only the work of realigning our very subjective perception of our experience with what reality offers us, but I don’t necessarily find that “easier” work than the work of learning a new skill, or the work of finishing that project I’ve been lazy about, or the work of saving money, or the work of day-to-day tedious task completion to maintain good quality of life. It’s all work.

Our effort matters to our success.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂