Archives for posts with tag: mindful living

I got home last night and stepped across the threshold still feeling a fairly firm commitment to work on my list of things to do. Moving in isn’t completed, really, until everything on the list is done. I sat and stared blankly at that list for a while. I had a shower. I came back to the list. I sat quietly awhile longer.

I mostly just sat quietly for rather a long while. I wasn’t even meditating, just… sitting. I found myself so disinclined to actually do anything that it was a major effort to figure out salad and a glass of water. It felt like real work to write an email to a dear friend. I did more sitting.

At some point it dawned on me (because even my thinking felt seriously slowed down) that I must actually just be that tired. As in, needing rest. Real rest. Not “failed action” or succumbing to exhaustion, but actual self-care-involving real legitimate uncompromised rest.

My evening became a lavish delight of the restful variety; I relaxed and looked out over the deck from my air conditioned vantage point. I watched fish swim in the aquarium. I read awhile – a favorite fiction novel that I can quite contentedly pick up or put down any time, at any point in the story, and enjoy myself quite thoroughly. Even meditation seemed like more effort than I could comfortably manage, yesterday evening, so I simply took gentle care of this fragile vessel and enjoyed a quiet evening of… quiet. I even went to bed a little early. It is telling of how much I did need some real rest that I fell asleep almost immediately, in spite of the earliness of the hour, and slept straight through to my alarm clock going off in the morning, quite dreamlessly.

At some point, much earlier in the day yesterday, I enjoyed a long phone call with my Traveling Partner. He’ll be heading home soon, and I will see him, and he will see the new place, and then –  far sooner than ideal, I’m sure – he’ll head out for the next thing out there on the future’s horizon. I’m eager to see him. Hell, I’m excited for him about the next adventure, too, although it will take him some distance away for a time. Neither the distance nor the time seem to undermine our connection. (There are verbs involved there, of course, and practices for maintaining emotional intimacy, managing self-care, and avoiding needless drama – and certainly, results vary from time to time, but… Love. My perspective is that loving is a verb, not a gift to be received, or expected, nor a resource to be mined, or wasted – everyone involved has to do the verbs, or Love withers, unsupported, un-nourished.) It will be a fun homecoming; I am excited to show him around the new place.

I sip my coffee, feeling the tug of a contented smile pulling on my face. Monday morning, the sky becoming light with a new day, just beyond the hedge. Today I’ll try the bus commute on for size. I haven’t yet switched over to a parking pass, still looking at my budget and making the necessary decisions about my commute – both the time and the money are factors to consider, and ease, and convenience, and reliability, and whether it will be miserable, comfortable, or fun. This is my life. Those details matter.  My Traveling Partner was right, though (as if he’s not right often enough!); I am pleased to have the choices in front of me, and it has been incredibly helpful to have the car – especially after I broke my foot! lol

I look around the studio at the managed chaos and disarray – it’s hardly a space I could paint in, as it is. There are paintings stacked everywhere, mostly by size. The hardest part of moving in is hanging art; every place is different, and wants different things on the walls. Each installation is new, and individual. The window looks out on the dawn, and reflects back at me those stacks of paintings, as if to suggest the future is just beyond those stacks of paintings that are waiting to be hung, stored, or sold. It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life for me… and I’m feeling good.

“Beauty is everywhere” quote and photo by Thomas Harwood, 2017

I woke around 3 am, and made a point of not getting up. I eventually fell asleep again, and slept in until almost 6 am! I woke slowly in the stillness and quiet of a pre-dawn Thursday. Another day of moving in, but planning to make a final visit to the old place, sweep up, vacuum, and hand over the keys.

I live here now. This new place. My aches and pains are here. My joyful moments will be here too. My peace and contentment are already here… I unpacked those yesterday, I suppose. 🙂 My coffee is definitely here. My restless rather disorganized approach to housekeeping is here, too. My baggage and limitations are here… pretty sure I just saw those a minute ago…but in the calm of a lovely morning, I’ve misplaced them.

Yesterday I finished moving into the kitchen, which really needed to happen quickly; frequent meals out, delivered, or taken home from elsewhere are not sustainable indefinitely. This morning I woke to a minimum balance reminder I’d previously set to protect myself from over-spending during the move. Well, shit. That snuck up on me. My inner dialogue this morning is all to do with money, and budgets, and being attentive to details… less chastising than reinforcing.

4 years ago, I’d have probably been in hysterics for hours, freaked completely out both by seeing that reminder, and also simply because I was having to think about money. Particularly first thing in the morning (or right before bed, or at any time that wasn’t planned in advance, or … ) This time? I rolled over, and before I was even quite awake, calmly moved some money into that account in quite a routine way, and moved on with my morning with a firm thought in mind that I’ve exhausted my moving budget, and life moves on with the regular day-to-day budgeting in mind. Things will be tight this week. I’m not particularly concerned, because I specifically prepared for this. 🙂 It’s a nice feeling.

…I manage to be mildly irked with myself, and realize I’d been betting I could “bring this project to a close on time and under budget”… and I missed. On time, sure, easily… if I only count the moving out bit. lol Under budget? Nope. My skills at anticipating costs and making a budget have grown over time, it wasn’t likely I was going to spend less on this move – I was accurate about what it would cost me. I’ve been pretty accurate about how much time it would all take me, too. lol I sip my coffee thoughtfully and decide to celebrate that I budgeted and planned so accurately, instead of celebrating how much less I was able to spend that I expected I might. 😀 Win!! 😉

I take time to care for the stressed out roses, and also to appreciate “Fireworks”, which arrived and immediately burst into bloom. What needs my attention no longer prevents me from appreciating what can be enjoyed.

On a more serious note, when I allow myself to become attached to an outcome, I may as well also plan to be quite frustrated, disappointed, and chronically unhappy, because those will likely be common experiences. Over time I have continued to practice letting go of being attached to outcomes, simply because my “crystal ball” tends to be sort of smudgy and vague, and I am often incorrect about the direction life may go, or the outcome of one choice or set of circumstances or another. Being willing to embrace change, and able to enjoy what is, even when it isn’t what I wanted, or what I was going for, results in a fairly frequent opportunity to simply enjoy myself, enjoy my life, enjoy my circumstances. It’s nice. Non-attachment is a pretty big deal for me. Effective.

I live here, now.

I guess I call this move done, at this point. I live here, rather than there. There’s more to do to move in, but it’s all right here. The “moving budget” is exhausted. Life moves on from moving to… whatever is next, I guess. Laundry probably. lol  Housekeeping. The moving in, itself, becomes part of… life. Hell, friends have already begun making plans to come around. I definitely live here, now. I slept in. I sleep deeply and wake gently, even in the night. I can find my way around the place, in the dark, mostly. I’ve done dishes here, and cooked a proper meal. The pantry is stocked. My clothes hang in the closet. The miscellaneous crap currently strewn on the bathroom counter is mine. This is home. My new “drama-free zone”.

There’s more to do. More time to do it. There will be verbs involved. My results may vary. I live here, though, and this is my place. I am content. This is enough. 🙂

I’m mostly moved out of my old apartment.  Hell, for that matter, I’m mostly moved in to the new house, thanks to the coordinated help of friends, and professional movers, and the bonus that is being able to afford to take time off to manage it. Nothing precious to me got broken, and the only box that got dropped was in my own hands when it fell, hit the sidewalk in front of the new house, and spilled its contents from the split-wide-open box into the driveway. It was a macht nichts moment; just this-n-that from the bathroom cupboards. No harm done. I did manage to startled the professional movers, though. lol I’m tired. Still tired. There’s more to do, of course, mostly of the moving in and getting settled variety. Exciting and fun and… I’m still tired. LOL My ankle gave me far more grief than my back ever did, and by Friday I was back on my cane, and had worn out my ankle brace beyond repair. More than once, I made a point to pause, rest, and give myself a moment to recover some little amount, before continuing. There is still more to do.

I’m eager to see my Traveling Partner again, and welcome him to this new, different, lovely space. My deck is big – huge in comparison to small apartment patios – and there is water right there, making caring for my garden easier than it has been for me since… 1995. There is so much excitement in this process now! I feel that release of tension as sleepiness, more often than I’d like. I smile and remind myself that fatigue is a shout out for rest and ease. I gotta remember to do that, too.

The view from my bed, feet up, taking it easy for a few minutes between tasks on moving day.

I double-check my list of things to do and tenderly add “take care of me”. Soon enough the work day will end, and I will head to the apartment to tidy up, and remove anything left behind from 4 days of moving. There are definitely more verbs involved…

 

I woke to the alarm after a restless night. 4th of July, of course, is a noisy holiday. I’d enjoy it more if more other Americans enjoyed it more often at public fireworks events, rather than in their driveways, streets, and the park beyond my patio. It was well past 11 pm before the bangs, crackles, and booms died away. I let it go, and got what sleep I could.

There is a peculiar low-hanging mist on the meadow this morning. The day is forecasted for a high of 88 degrees. I’m dressed for the hot weather, and appreciative how little time I will have to spend in the heat (it’s a work day, the office is well air-conditioned). I try to avoid fussing and fretting about how hot this apartment will be when I return to it, and instead work on cooling it down now. To be relatively comfortable at day’s end, on a such a hot day,  it needs to be below 70 degrees in here when I leave the house for work. I miss the tree that used to shade this place, keeping it comfortable even on very hot days. I feel my anger about the loss of the trees here surge, and begin to combine with other small irritants that have eroded my contentment here over time. I take a deep breath, and let that go, too.

I got to hang out with my Traveling Partner last night, and it was beautiful and connected and joyful…and…real. We really talked about a couple of things we’d been very careful about for some time. It was…needed. It was even tender. It was… worth having the conversation. I was able to say “I miss living with you…” and feel the tears start as my heart filled with the recollection of us two, living together, in our own place, for that one precious perfectly lovely year of deeply connected new relationship joy… and he didn’t resist, or become tense, or angry, or any of those things. He looked at me tenderly, with concern, and affection, and said something sane and wise… “You thrive living alone…” I don’t recall what else he said, or what came first, or what came after, just those words, and the somewhat puzzled look on his face, and the clear desire to “be there” for me, and to understand. I do thrive living alone, this is a true thing. He’s so right about that.  I do miss living with him… but… I don’t miss cohabitation generally. I actually do thrive – really thrive – living alone. I am disinclined to easily recognize that, when I think about living with my Traveling Partner, no fault of his; I’d never lived so well with another person, ever, than with him. It was… the very next best thing to living alone (which I hadn’t really done previously for any length of time)! I’d probably feel uncomfortable saying it so boldly and firmly this morning, if we hadn’t had the conversation we had last night.

For him, it is a beautiful thing to see me thrive. For me, living alone is the first time I truly have (thrived, I mean). The conversation at least got to the real point; I would enjoy spending more time with him. 🙂 We agree contentedly it has been a busy year for us both. He’s eager to see me in a more comfortable space, feeling safe again (I just haven’t since the burglary back in November). He steers my excitement about getting moved in such that I stay focused on what works for me, and don’t invest heavily in what might work for him in some abstract circumstance in which he lands on my doorstep for a long stay. He trusts my ability to create a beautiful home. I trust that he wants to spend time there with me. I let go of a little more baggage.

I got to reconnect briefly with another friend over the weekend. We exchanged birthday gifts. It was a fun moment. I smile and think of him every time I see the lovely pin he crafted, pinned on my hiking cap. My cap goes everywhere with me during the spring and summer, and often in autumn, and even sometimes in winter… a good all-purpose cap. It had been rather dull and unadorned. Now it seems to shout “you are loved” or “life has purpose” or… “damn I look good!” or something else positive and lovely, without undermining the practical nature of a good cap. I miss hanging out with him, too. A poignant moment of recognition of how much joy busy lives can rob us of… and I let that go, too. Busy, indeed, and legitimately so; there is no point grieving the positives in life. Are we each thriving? Is that not enough? 🙂

A simple cap, a fancy pin, a life now built on contentment and sufficiency.

It is a lovely summer morning for consideration; this morning that consideration is from me, for me, to me. I consider my feelings. I consider the context. I provide myself perspective. I embrace change and consider the needful things. I consider the planning. I consider the future. This morning I allow myself to be aware that indeed I do thrive living alone. I consider the chaos and damage that brought me here in life, without anger, without frustration, and without judgement. I am here. This is who I am. Thriving. Wow. Thriving… that’s a big deal. 🙂 It’s also very much “enough”.

One day in a life worth living…

The sun peeks over the horizon, tangerine and sparkling, turning the needle tips of the awkwardly place pine just beyond the window quite gold and glittery. There is a female duck at the edge of the meadow keeping a careful eye out for cats while having a look for tasty morsels in the grass. Day is beginning. Where will it take me?

 

I could go see fireworks tonight. I probably won’t. I’ll certainly have to listen to neighbors light firecrackers in the park until well-past midnight. Last night it only lasted until about 11 pm. I’m sure people just don’t think about the effect it has on others, or dogs, or cats, or wildlife. They’ve already rationalized away any specific risk of harm, so why would they be expected to consider their actions in the context of its impact on others? Well.. for starters, because that’s a thing. LOL Basic consideration – it’s one of my “Big 5” relationship values, personally. I don’t understand how people manage close relationships without it.

In most respects today is an ordinary day, aside from expecting a lot of bangs and booms later tonight. I’ll spend today boxing up more things, and staying cool. At some point I’ll return to the car to my Traveling Partner and enjoy his company for a little while.

Each day is a new opportunity to fill our hearts with light, and to live mindfully with purpose.

Will you be barbecuing? Heading to the local lake or swimming hole? Hosting some large gathering of family or friends? Visiting historical sites? Camping? Taking a road trip? Seeing fireworks is probably a given for most Americans… One thing, though – do you understand what you are celebrating, or is it just an excuse to party and blow shit up? I just thought I’d ask… Having a good time with your friends isn’t something that needs an excuse or justification. So… what makes this special to you? Is it just lighting sparklers and setting off firecrackers – because you don’t do that every day? Does the day have real conscious considered meaning to you? Maybe it should?

What are you celebrating?