Archives for posts with tag: mindful love

Well, the drive down was coffee all the way, and started in the wee hours before dawn. Easy drive. Fun. Effortless. After-the-fact it seems featureless and unremarkable, such that I don’t specifically remember any specific detail besides stopping for coffee. lol I left “on time” and arrived safely. I was greeted warmly with love, and friendship.

The drive back, this morning, definitely coffee-themed. I pro-actively picked up a can of cold brew so I’d have that effortless coffee moment first thing, and waited until I was in the car to pop the top on it, to avoid waking my Traveling Partner. I stopped twice for more coffee, and to stand in the dawn of a new day, feeling the chill breeze that hinted at autumn.

I got on the road this morning with a heart filled to overflowing with pure love and delight, feeling wrapped in My partner’s high regard, and nurtured by his enduring affection. He’s a good partner; loving, kind, considerate, helpful, experienced, competent, forward-thinking, and exciting to be with. I chose well… this time. lol This is my only actually good long-term relationship, honestly (although, to be fair, I only have 4, maybe 5, to reflect on). I don’t kick myself about it; choosing partners, lovers, and friends is a complicated matter, and most of us don’t develop real skills in that area until later in life. If we’re fortunate, we nonetheless happen upon friends, lovers, and partners in the context of our circumstances, and things work out. We are social creatures. I’m sure we could do better, and I wonder why we don’t teach emotional intimacy, relationship-building, and healthy communication practices, in elementary school, as I sip my coffee.

I know some things that don’t work. One of those is money. It just doesn’t work to attempt to buy someone’s affection, even if they accept payment. 🙂 That’s not how love works. It’s not how loyalty works. It’s not how any sort of affection or friendship works. I don’t actually understand how anyone might think it would. I’ve seen it attempted any number of times by people with more money than qualities on which to build love or friendship. Painful. Awkward. Unsatisfying. I can’t help wonder why it doesn’t seem, just on a practical basis, more cost-effective to be a better human being… you know… just likable, considerate, kind, funny, nurturing… some assortment of the sorts of things that draw people in, right? lol It’s not effortless, does take work and practice… and so many of us seem utterly disposed to avoiding any sort of self-work whatsoever. Yeah… there are verbs involved. Results will vary. It’s necessary to practice, to fail, to reflect on our missteps, to begin again… oh… ever so many times. Some people make other choices, and experience other outcomes. It is what it is.

My affection is not for sale. Neither is my respect. My consideration and basic kindness is free, and generously given – as much as I can spread it around, I try to, and there is no minimum qualification for it. The world needs more basic kindness, and a lot more consideration, and no amount of money eases the lack of it.

Tending the flowers in the garden of my heart.

I sip my coffee, and think about love. Being loved feels amazing! Being able to love well feels pretty fantastic, too. These things literally can not be purchased. If you know for certain that these are things you want to feel, and you also know that it will require a lot of work and self-awareness, self-reflection, and willingness to grow, change, and do some verbs – put in the work – would you do it? 

Are you ready to begin?

…What could possibly matter more than love and loving? 🙂

I can see, beyond my studio window, the thunderstorm I drove through earlier today. The same one that I lay awake listening to, smiling, as it rolled through a town further south, sometime around 3 a.m. … I hadn’t been sleeping, just laying quietly, resting in the darkness, smiling, and letting random memories live again, for just a moment. It was a busy, adventurous weekend, and wrapping up the whirlwind of activity, connection, and fun on a quiet restful sort of moment was a lovely way handle things. I certainly needed to rest. I’m still… so tired. 🙂

This weekend was not, in any reasonable fashion, as I’d planned it. I’m okay with that. I had to be quite spontaneous, for days and days, and while that presents me with some challenges, I also got the quiet time to reflect and process things, which I need in order to manage it. I’d still rather have executed to skillful plan… lol I’m still myself. I wouldn’t have swapped one moment of this adventurous weekend for any other; where it wasn’t entirely delightful, it was at least educational, and often humorous. I have grown. 🙂

A memory. A moment. A flower.

8 years with my Traveling Partner, now thoroughly celebrated, cherished, savored, and acknowledged with shared joy and love. That, at least, was wonderfully well done in every possible respect. I still feel wrapped in love, as I sit here sipping water, rehydrating, and contemplating next steps for the day, and how best to get the new week started. I’m so tired. lol I could quite happily just go right the fuck to bed, right now, at 2:54 in the afternoon, and figure as long as my alarm was set for tomorrow morning, all is well. I just don’t have to force myself to work harder, right now.

There is value – so much value – in lingering over pleasant experiences.

There is a dog barking. I only sort of notice it today, and it is less than typically annoying. The breeze picks up, and the leaves seem suddenly a stranger brighter green against the storm-cloud backdrop of imminent rain. The hallway is obstructed with partially unpacked weekend details. I stalled between inspecting, repacking and putting away all the actual camping gear, and unpacking and putting away everything else; I’d gone away this weekend prepared to paint, prepared for evenings out (one never knows what the occasion may require…), prepared to camp – or not camp, prepared to read awhile, prepared to take photographs… all of which have their own “gear” requirements. I really only put away the camping stuff. There’s… so much more. My aching feet, my bad ankle, my tired back… all say “just chill”. My headache says “drink more water”. My fatigue says “take a nap”. It’s not actually possible to do all of those things at the same time. lol The sweat that cooled me while I worked in the sun on a warm afternoon has now cooled to chill me, and I run my fingers through my hair, and realize a hot shower would feel… so nice. I breathe, relax, and finish this glass of water right here, with a promise to myself to refill it and have another, on my way to the shower.

This moment right here, so human, so entirely ordinary, and in every way unremarkable, fills my senses quite pleasantly. I feel content. I feel a soft surprise to realize how unremarkable it has become to feel contentment, and sit with the moment awhile, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves beyond the deck, and feeling the sweat cool on my skin. Is this happiness? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure it matters; it’s enough.

I smile when my mind responds “this too shall pass”. Yes, yes, of course, it likely will. It is the way of things. All things. That’s okay. I can begin again, any time.

Sometimes it’s not enough to reflect. Sometimes it helps to reach out and talk things over with a friend. That’s not always easy; our friends tend, as often as not, to support us as if we are reliably correct, and as if our choices, themselves, can’t be questioned. It feels good to be supported in a 100% accepting and encouraging way, even when we are indeed the person “in the wrong”, or in circumstances when our own explicit choices directed our path, but it may not be healthy. It’s complicated. Feeling supported still feels good, and has real value.

Sometimes, I find it helpful to merely have the words of a friend. Their thoughts, day-to-day, to present a counterpoint to my own, just… generally. My own words are plentiful, but sometimes not enough to gain perspective. I’ve got a couple other blogs bookmarked for that very purpose… I bet you do, too. 😉

I was recently introduced to a blog of far viewer words than mine. Sometimes I need that. Brief perspective. Like a mental coffee break. Strictly Minimal. No, no – I mean, that’s the name of the blog, “Strictly Minimal“. 🙂 Enjoy.

This morning I woke to the discovery that I’d allowed myself to run out of coffee. (What the hell??) It’s quite early, and I’m not yet at any particular risk of a headache later. Rather than panic (an old habit I’ve learned to let go of, generally), I more simply decide to get coffee on the way to work, and handle restocking as an errand on the way home. I’ll need to run a couple of errands anyway; it’s a camping weekend coming up. There are things to do in order to prepare. For me, it’s the first camping weekend of the year. 😀

It’s a lovely morning. Entirely suited to all manner of new beginnings. I’m smiling, rested, ready for the day, and feeling fairly prepared for life. Generally, in the past, this sensation and state of being have usually preceded some horrible turn for the worse. I shrug that off; each moment is its own moment, and the future is not written. I have a great many reasons to be smiling today – one of them is that it is my anniversary with my Traveling Partner, celebrating 7 years married, 8 as lovers, even longer as friends. It’s a wonderful journey, and fully worth celebrating. Celebrating more, together, will come later – for now, I sit smiling. It’s enough.

Day breaks gently, beyond the studio window. It’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and listening to the rain fall. The dawn is gray, and it’s hard to accept that day break is past, and this… is it. Morning. No “sunrise” in any obvious way. The sky is a drizzly homogeneous featureless gray. I woke planning to paint. I still feel peculiarly energized to paint, and likely will. I’ll probably “go off script” from there, though, and “just paint” instead of working with purpose, plan, and structure on pieces that I have already sketched out in my head. I know what works for me, artistically.

I contemplate conversations with friends from yesterday. The afternoon was spent wrapped in warmth and intimate affection, connected close friendships, easy hang out time. We shared a bite of late lunch-not-quite-dinner, sufficient to fuel the afternoon hours without the distraction of hunger to throw off the genial vibe. Both very good friends of mine, neither had met the other previously, and we all had a great time – it was a well-connected, deep, experience. The conversation was lively, fun in spots, serious in others, and quickly exceeded any sort of “getting to know each other” limitations to become fully invested, authentic, and yeah – deep. Really talking over life. Love. The world. It was soul-nourishing time.

Hanging out and talking, watching cartoons, listening to music – these are very much favorite activities of mine to share with friends. Yesterday was a day well-spent.

I miss my Traveling Partner. I smile, feeling the warmth of his love as a sort of carrier wave on which the details of my experience travel across my consciousness. He would have been so welcome, yesterday. He remains so welcome today. He’s just hundreds of miles away, is all. lol I wish him well, and wrap the thought of him in my love. I would enjoy sharing coffee with him, this morning, and talking over yesterday – and tomorrow. lol Soon enough.

Openness is one of my “Big 5” relationship values. It’s a tricky one – what does that even mean, “openness”? For me, it means both acceptance and non-attachment. It means listening deeply, not just waiting to talk. It means being willing to change my thinking with new information. It means being observant in the moment, and prepared to “go with it” when circumstances or people reveal something more about themselves. It means embracing authenticity, myself, and sharing who I actually am, with others who are sharing who they actually are, too. It means creating an emotionally safe environment for that authenticity to exist. It means learning to communicate without tools like criticism, discouragement, or ad hominem attacks. It means “yes, and…”, instead of “no, but…”. There you go. Go forth and be open! LOL – I know, I know, it isn’t that easy, it does take practice, and your results will definitely vary. 🙂

This morning I got schooled on being open in the most delightful way; I woke to a message asking me where my boundaries may be, on the subject of “getting closer”. Gently handled, clear, frank, and worded such that there just wasn’t any chance of being hurt by the inquiry, or any possible mistake about the intention – quite the contrary. I live pretty openly with this being I have grown to become over time, and I’m not surprised someone besides me would like to be closer. Going beyond the platonic relationship we share now is an exciting thought. No need to rush things along; that’s sort of new, mixed in with all this extra adulting I’ve learned to do. I offer reassurance that I’ve got no preset rules against growing closer, and no objection to it. I find myself wondering if I were sufficiently gracious about it – did I communicate my appreciation? For the desire? For the question? I smile. Everything’s fine. There’s no room for pointless anxiety here. There is always time enough for love. 🙂

The rain intensifies, and perversely I now want to be in the garden. lol Instead, I set a course for the kitchen, a second coffee, and my meditation cushion. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

…Or maybe even just care.

I’m sipping my coffee. Scrolling through social media. I’m stunned by the quantity of anger, of propaganda, of knee-jerk reactions to both of those – I’m stunned by how often and how easily I am, myself, baited.

I reach a repeat of a meme that is some version of the “I don’t know how to convince you to care about people” meme. It’s one that resonates with me. Why are we even still trying to convince each other? Well, obviously; because we do care. But.

(And it’s a big but)

We’re each having our own experience. Some people really don’t care about other people at all. That’s real. It’s who they are. It’s who they choose to be. They practice that whole not caring thing, daily. Other people care so much, so hard, so publicly, that they become an abstraction of caring, a caricature of caring, an advertisement for caring – so emotionally invested in the pain of the whole world that they become immobilized with grief and outrage, and all of that without actually acting on their caring, except, possibly, through some Facebook posts, Tweets, and charitable online donations, with just enough energy left over to shame others who appear to care less. Some people care less publicly. They care quietly. They care privately. They help when and where they can. They don’t talk much about it. Maybe they don’t think their effort is enough, or that it doesn’t really matter. (Of course, it matters if you are a person needing help, right?) Maybe they worry that if undefined mobs of people know they care, they won’t have enough resources to share that caring with all of them. Some people help those they love, and only those they love. Others help only strangers. (Fuck family and friends, don’t they have jobs??* Those losers…*) Some people care, and help, and support, and nurture, and really deliver on their commitment to care… except for themselves. There is, as with so many other human behaviors, a definitely spectrum, a range, an assortment, a real variety of choices and experiences.

I sit sipping my coffee and thinking about who I am in the context of caring about others. Where do I fit in? Is it “enough” – from my own perspective? Do I “wish I could do more”? Is that something I can manage more efficiently? Considering the matter of “caring” – do I communicate well and clearly, expressing my appreciate, my gratitude, my loving concern, my support? Could I do that better? Is there someone yearning for my time, my presence, my help, my companionship, that I’ve been overlooking? Someone I could reach out to, who needs me? Am I giving myself enough of my time, enough of my effort, enough of my good-natured regard and consideration?

We can care without spending a dime. We can be considerate of others without giving more than a moment to slow down and really be aware of the needs and experience of other people in the moment. We can be present. We can make a point to understand, and experience compassion for, circumstances we’ve never endured. We can listen deeply – what a priceless treasure to really be heard by another human being.

I smile and sip my coffee. Of all the things I am learning in life, the most cherished detail may be learning to love, to care, to consider, to listen, to share a human connection with another traveler on life’s journey for some little while. To experience and understand things that aren’t “about me”. Today is a good day to care and to love. Today is a good day to change the world – even just this tiny corner.

Today is a good day to begin again. 🙂

 

 

*that was sarcasm – seemed worth pointing that out in this instance to avoid confusion.