Archives for posts with tag: mindful love

This morning it takes me awhile to get where I’m going with this. Please forgive. Short night, early morning, sluggish thinking.

Sometimes patterns of light distract from illumination

Is it really notably different whether you are being obviously aggressive to someone, or acting out passive-aggressively? I personally don’t think there is, aside from the lack of forthrightness, and personal accountability. Micro-aggression fits in there, too; it’s in the intention, it’s in what the underlying feeling is, it’s how the person attacked feels the harm. I think most of us dislike feeling attacked, whether or not it is provoked by obvious ill-intention, or subtly camouflaged.

With overt aggression, I am at least certain I’ve been attacked. There’s an honesty to it. A certain… certainty. It’s not pleasant, but it’s clear. I may be taken aback, or wounded, but I also have unmistakable means to deal with it. Passive aggression is sneaky, sly, and dishonest. The attacker masquerades as well-intentioned, in some cases convincingly (to outside observers). The attack is no less damaging. The attacker no less intentional.

I try to avoid passive-aggressive attacks, and micro-aggressions (sometimes complicated by a lack of self-awareness), as well. I’m not a perfect human being, but a willful, considered, attempt, and a good-heart, go a long way. There’s less I understand to do about my own potential for overt aggression, beside stifle it, keep it in check by force if necessary, and continue to work on not having to deal with it, by making it less a part of my implicit thinking, and “natural” behavior – by practicing other ways with a firm commitment, and apologizing swiftly and without reservations when I recognize I’ve hurt someone.

…I’m my own human being. I find living with other human beings incredibly difficult. I’ve been badly damaged by violence, aggression, passive-aggression (and her evil twin, gaslighting), and the scars are, in some cases, still very raw, the wounds still easily re-opened. Healing from this kind of damage can take… a lifetime. I’m sitting here at 56, feeling rather as if I’ve used up most of the time available, without much improvement. Oh, I take the improvements I do get. I value those (they are the thing that makes life livable). I keep at it. There’s plenty to work on. It’s true, too, that the only thing I can truly effect change on – talking about human beings, human feelings, human experience, here – is this one. Mine. Me. What I do, what I think, how I behave, how I feel – all mine to work on, and perhaps improve. There is literally no realistic potential to change anyone else’s behavior, or how they interact with me. It’s hard, if I hold onto a perception that “they” are the cause of my experience.

Stare at something long enough it may appear to be more significant than it is

Sleep matters too much – even to love. I don’t get enough good sleep. It affects my cognition. It affects my emotional balance. It affects my ability to reason. I take some pretty profound steps to maintain good sleep hygiene – because it’s necessary to ensure I get the minimum amount of rest necessary to sustain human life. It’s been two weeks since I last got more than an hour of deep sleep, according to my sleep tracker, and that was interrupted and in smaller increments. Before that? Back in September, same thing; interrupted, 5 and 10 minute chunks of deep sleep, interspersed with light sleep and wakefulness. I have to go all the way back to July to find a night when I got more than an hour and a half of continuous deep sleep. I’m often short on REM sleep, too, mostly just getting “light sleep” that is neither deep or REM sleep. It’s no wonder I’m tired so much, and I guess no surprise that my resilience has been reduced, and my temperament more irritable, over time.

…During my first (very violent) marriage, I went nearly a decade without actually sleeping more than an hour or two a night, mostly just resting motionlessly, and sleep-walking through my “waking” life… My sleep issues are not about my current relationship, they have been with me a long long time, even into childhood.

I don’t have any idea, just now, what to do about it. “Stop being annoying” and “stop being irritable” are bullet points on a long list of things to change that don’t work that way. I know to start with improving my self-care. Meditation matters that much. I know to harness the power of gratitude when I am feeling resentful and hurt, and to let go of small things, understanding that we are each human, each having our own experience, and that taking things personally is what allows them to hurt so much in the first place – as well as giving others power over my experience. Even the most direct actual-no-bullshit-fully-intended-to-specifically-hurt-me attack isn’t all that personal; it’s usually an expression of that other person’s own pain, frustration, challenges, hurts, and baggage. Often, people don’t know another way to behave. They do what has worked for them in the past. Taking that shit personally just piles my baggage onto their baggage, and it all gets very heavy – for everyone.

It’s not as if people who favor aggression or passive-aggression are actually enjoying all that stress and agitation. (The sorts of human beings who enjoy that kind of thing are a wholly other sort of monster, and I do my very best to stay far far away from those.)

is there really a pattern, or is it a trick of the light?

Then, too, there are so many circumstances in which my own understanding of “what’s going on” is colored by my baggage, my perception altered by my own pain, and I see an attack – or an attacker – where there is really only another human being, being human, and it just happens to conflict with me, also so human, being human, myself. My own feelings of being hurt, or my own petty resentments, build up a foe in my thinking – an opponent, a challenger – against whom I struggle…

…I’m nearly always, in truth, struggling with myself. There’s a lot of bullshit to let go. There are a lot of great reasons to let go of my own bullshit. (No good reasons to hold on to it.)

I sit here this morning sipping my coffee, past feeling sorry for myself, around the corner from feeling aggrieved by the brief restless night. I am listening to my Traveling Partner working out his feelings his own way, tidying things, handling chores that nag at him visually, checking things off his “to-do list”. It was a brutally early morning for both of us. Neither of us slept well, I’m fairly certain. It wasn’t personal, or chosen, or intentional, or deliberately inflicted in any way. No bad guys. No real “good guys”, either. Just people. Human beings who choose love, but struggling in the moment to live that intention, gently. Too real? Too common, for sure. I listen with care, identifying the tasks by the sounds, mentally refreshing my own to-do list as I hear him move through the house.

I used to think love wasn’t a “real thing”, because it isn’t easy, and requires actual effort. lol I’m grateful for love, even when I am frustrated or confounded by what love asks of me, as a human being committed to love and loving – and doing so well.  That’s really where it gets complicated. Every-fucking-body is so damned human. I can love haplessly, without real skill, and it doesn’t take too much work… aaand.. doesn’t last too long, flaring up and flaming out, leaving chaos and sorrow in the aftermath… that’s the “easy” way (and most common outcome). Harder is working together, listening deeply, fostering a long-term sanctuary in our hearts, keeping a welcoming embrace always at the ready, and seeking to build, approach, support, and persist in our tenderness and gentleness, day after human day. Life is a long journey – I’m fortunate to have the Traveling Partner I do; we chose each other. Some days we have to reach across a very human moment, to choose each other all over again. (So worth it, rarely effortless.)

sometimes it is enough that there is sunshine streaming through a window; it doesn’t need to be more complicated than that

He puts his head in my studio, makes eye contact, asks a question, starts a conversation – builds a bridge. Love is worth a little bridge building, when our very human stormy weather floods our path. He gets it. (Usually before I do.)

I finish my coffee and begin again. 🙂

 

What a delightful homecoming! I enjoyed my Traveling Partner’s return, and we spent a delightful, and most peculiar, weekend together. Peculiar in the sense that it often felt like a time warp – back to that first year together. Exciting to spend time together, exciting to get to know each other more deeply, and occasionally challenging as expectations collide with reality, or miscommunication confounds a moment. It was very… real. 🙂

I spent a lot of time talking about potential futures, with my partner. Longer-range planning, and very long-range planning, a future that includes a comfortable retirement, and a home of our own. We shopped together – wow I have missed that so much! He takes suggestions, inspires new thinking, and accepts gifts with humble & practical delight. I overcome my surprise at his suggestions, and accept moments of change both large and small, with eyes open to the value of his perspective, and a heart full of love. The result? I definitely feel more future-focused, more aligned on key details of our shared planning, more certain of our mutual commitment, and so well-loved. 😀

It was, in brief, a lovely weekend spent in the company of someone who loves me, and who I love.

I’m sitting here sipping my morning coffee before dawn, nothing new there. Another work day ahead, also pretty routine. New boots on my feet, a new sweater wraps me in warmth – and love. I’m smiling. Hell, I don’t even hurt much, as I sort out my thinking to begin a new day. Even hearing him breath or sigh as he turns over in the other room is enough to deepen my smile. I’m definitely entirely in love with this particular human being. I’m okay with that. I’m even okay with how very much love asks of me, as a human being – all the growth is worth the time, consideration, and numerous additional verbs. We are both, each, better human beings for loving each other. 😀

…I could be more skillful at love, I know. Plenty to learn. Plenty of opportunity to practice. It’s a lovely morning for beginning again. 😀

A morning with some challenges. I sip my coffee, finding my center through music. Love Rollercoaster feels appropriate. I take another sip of coffee, clean up my subscriptions in YouTube… astonished that I ever subscribed to that. What was I thinking? For real? Life and love, as journeys go, aren’t a smooth, well-lit, comfortably paved, straight broad path from this moment to the next. Like a lot of journeys, sometimes it’s gravel, sometimes it’s grassy, sometimes it’s a steep climb, other times it is so effortless is passes nearly unnoticed, caught up in my own unrelated thinking about it in the abstract. Like a rollercoaster? Sure, near enough, I suppose.

I’m not cross or unhappy this morning, and eventually I settled into a comfortable groove, feeling good. This Love Rollercoaster has many twists and curves, and I’ve learned much about love. The morning just got off to a bumpy start. It happens, and it’s not always about love. 🙂 There are other things going on. Let’s start with aging – and pain. Aging sucks in one or two regards – pain being one of those. I’ve got mine, my Traveling Partner has his. I woke this morning, with him, we each had our reasons for wakefulness to do with physical pain. Feelings were briefly hurt over unintentionally harsh words, because… pain. We both let it go, quickly, because neither of us wants to add to the other’s hurting, and we both mean to treat each other well. Affectionate reassurances, and loving heartfelt apologies, and the moment is behind us.

I had made coffee for us both, but we weren’t really up for coffee together; the morning started too early, and with too much discomfort. I sat down in my studio to chill with some music videos. I’d have gone back to bed, but had awakened feeling “triggered” and on edge by my own pain, and sleep wasn’t going to come easily (or, possibly, at all) – and I was near enough to “well-rested” to let that go, I just needed to restore that sense of balance, and begin again. 🙂 Eventually, my partner pops in to admit that he’s not really ready for coffee, after all, and shares his intention of attempting to go back to bed. Makes sense to me. I would, if I could. 🙂 He offers me his coffee, apologetically, appreciatively, and lovingly. I’m warmed by the gesture every bit as much as I would be by the coffee… sometime later, after I finished mine, I go get his – still warm. I smile, pleased to have a second cup of coffee without running the grinder and potentially disturbing my partner’s rest; I know he needs the rest.

I sit in the warmth of what an amazing weekend this has been for love and loving, without trying to analyze it – just enjoying it.

I think about our lovely evening the night before – dinner out with friends, hanging out at our place, afterward. It was nice. My smile deepens. Brunch with a friend at noontime – also quite delightful. Good weekend. I sip my coffee feeling content and satisfied. Fulfilled? Definitely. Happy? I think maybe, yeah. Feels good.

The difficult moments this morning weren’t personal, weren’t any sort of attack, really weren’t a big deal – just difficult, and actually, very very momentary. I can deal with that. I can also remember a time when a moment like that one this morning would not only have blown my day – it would have blotted out my recollections of this delightful weekend of love, affection, romance, and shared experiences with friends. I’d have drowned my heart in emotional “weather” – unable to enjoy the lovely “climate” in this period of my life, generally. I’m glad I have undertaken so many small practices that prevent me from becoming mired in a painful moment and unable to connect with a joyful life.

Quite a lot has gone into getting from “there” to “here”. 🙂

I sit quietly sipping my coffee, appreciative of how far my journey has taken me, how wonderful love is, and how pleasant it is to be so easily able to let go of the small stuff, and bounce back quickly. Basic mindfulness practices. Real actual practice. Verbs. Incremental change over time. Lots of books (have you seen my Reading List??). Lots of practice. My results have varied, and I’ve avoided taking that as a personal failure, beginning again thousands of times. What works, works; we become what we practice. 😀

…Well… It’s a lovely Sunday. Time to finish this coffee, and start the day. 😀

I’m sipping my coffee, and smiling. Profound joy, and great delight, fill me up this morning. I’m content. Well-loved. My coffee tastes good. I got the rest I need. It is simply a lovely morning, and I’m in love. 🙂

…The love, and loving, do tend to “light up” the day, most splendidly. 😀 I hear love songs in my head.

It’s a bit peculiar… I was so cynical about love as a younger person. I’d been hurt too often, too deeply, to “believe the hype” or appreciate the promise offered by real intimacy. It was a painful journey from that place, to this one, and I struggled for a long time to balance my tendency toward inappropriately deep (often undeserved)loyalty, with my lack of ability to form healthy attachments, or bond closely with lovers.

… I’m not there, now. Love feels so much different, from my vantage point, now, it is quite tempting to take a satisfied approach and figure “damn, I’m awesome at this love stuff!!” I’d lose a great opportunity to continue to grow my skills, and deepen my relationships, if I did. 🙂 I breathe, exhale, relax, and let go of my expectations and assumptions, and sit present on a lovely morning, feeling loved.

Last night I came home to work to a magical wonderland of being loved, appreciated, valued, and cared for. It was an evening of connection, intimacy, warmth, and an experience of deep, lasting passion – with a human being who is also my best friend. Wow. I’m still smiling. My Traveling Partner blows my mind with his ability to love, to demonstrate that love, to share it, to deepen it, to connect with me.

This morning, I sip my coffee, smiling at the world, and myself. Love is “all that“. Love really does “matter most”.  🙂 I’m grateful to have the chance to experience, explore, deepen, and enjoy the love I know. It’s hard to embrace the next moment (or begin again), just now… I’m very much enjoying soaking up the love in this one. 😀 I think I’ll do just that, for now, sit here, contentedly, feeling the love.

p.s. I love you.

I’m drinking strawberry infused water. It is cold – so cold – and vaguely sweet without being sticky. I find myself wondering why this hasn’t been “a thing” for far longer in my life? It’s pleasant, without being heavy, and I am enjoying (rather a lot) that it does not include any cucumber. Don’t get me wrong, I like cucumber just fine. Big fan of pickles, too. It’s just that, subjectively, I find the flavor of cucumber in water to be rather remarkably like very refreshing garden soil. Not really a flavor I’m seeking out by preference. lol

Now and then, on a break, or between tasks, I peek at Google Maps to see how far along his planned route my Traveling Partner has gotten. I smile every time; it feels like a connection. I already miss him, even though, on any given ordinary week day, we are not sharing this time, any way. I just know he won’t be there at the house, when I return home. I ache with the weight of yearning for his company, at the same time I eagerly look forward to cherished stillness. The feelings compete for my attention. I don’t make any effort to dismiss either one, or to diminish them, or to attempt to rationalize how one is more “right” or “true” than the other; they both exist in my experience of self, quite comfortably side by side. They are both true of who I am; I miss my partner when he is away, and I enjoy the luxury of the solitude when he is gone. My emotions are not my enemy, and I am not in any way less mentally capable for having the feelings I do. 🙂

…Still… I’m distracted. I’m thinking of him. Thinking of love. Thinking of the practicalities of life, at home, and in the world. I am waiting – for his return, for the quiet of a few solitary evenings at home, for the fulfillment and joy that both can bring. I’m also distracted, now and then, hoping that he is safe, and that his trip goes well, and brings him satisfaction and delight.

I suppose I could write more, or differently. This moment captivates me, drinking strawberry water, and watching the clock. Working. Waiting. Wistfully looking forward to morning coffee, tomorrow, then taken by surprise by a pang of something a bit like sadness, remembering this morning’s lovely moments over coffee together…and that coffee, tomorrow, will be quite entirely alone. I laugh, noticing I’ve finished off this water – and remind myself that I nearly always have my coffee quite entirely alone, in my studio, in the wee hours, while the world sleeps.

…I think I’ll refill this water bottle, and begin again. 😀