Archives for posts with tag: mindful loving

I went to bed feeling sort of moody and irritable, and in a lot of pain. I woke smiling. No particular reason, although I suppose sleeping well and waking rested is reason enough. I have learned, over time, the value in enjoying what is enjoyable – and making a point of it – even something as small as waking comfortably with a smile is worth pausing to appreciate the moment. 🙂

I spent a precious hour or so in the company of my Traveling Partner last night. By the time I returned home, I found myself wondering moodily why it didn’t occur to me to invite him to stay over? I miss him greatly. It feels like a long summer ahead of missing him greatly. lol I will surely appreciate his presence even more when autumn comes. 🙂

It’s definitely been “summer” this week, so far. The apartment was hot when I arrived home last night – hotter than it was outside. I remind myself to ask my neighbors to give me a hand fitting the A/C in the window… then I second-guess myself, recalling the burglary in November; the one window this A/C unit will fit in is the studio window facing the park. The window through which a burglary relatively easily gained access to my apartment one rainy November afternoon…so… Do I really want to remove one pane and replace it with a piece of acrylic secured by a tight fit and taped in place, on a window that faces a public park lacking any impediment to the approach of strangers? How much risk is comfort worth? What would stop someone stealing the damned A/C? How annoying that I am even having this mental conversation? lol More consideration seems required.

I sip my coffee and watch the sky lighten with the approaching day. I start my playlist with a track my Traveling Partner shared with me yesterday. As I often do, I find another version that I also like, and prolong the joy another couple minutes. Somehow I wander into live videos of favorite DJs at huge venues, filled with huge crowds, light shows, all of the everything. lol I lose about 20 minutes before I realize I’ve been pulled in; a favorite track follows, and I am crying. I don’t know why. Heartfelt tears without any particular cause, perhaps just celebrating the strange sometimes fragile beauty of love and missing the company of its manifestation in flesh, over my morning coffee. I have emotions. I ride the roller-coaster.

It’s cooler this morning. The breeze through the open window quickly dries my tears; I’m not actually sad, and the tears didn’t last long. The playlist, and the morning, move on. It’s a good moment to move on, and time to begin again. 😀

Admittedly, thoughts of love are not even at all the same thing as loving, live in real-time, flesh in the presence of flesh, hearts entwined, embraces, words, moments… Not the same at all, and yet… I love. Sitting here in the quiet before dawn, with a cup of hot coffee, and a delicate sliver of moon on the horizon, I love. My heart is just full of it, and it spills over into my thoughts, becoming a smile. There’s no particular cause or occasion, and I am amused and amazed at the strength of it. I love. I am capable of loving. I have enough to share, with plenty left for further sharing. It’s a nice place to be in life.

My smile falters a moment to recall other experiences, other times in my own life, other lives altogether – moments lacking in love. I breathe. I relax. This immense capacity to love is not so easily defeated. 🙂

I sip my coffee, contentedly, and still aware that there exists suffering elsewhere. Even aware that in some future moment, I too will suffer further. Perhaps even later tonight, when I return home to a swelteringly hot stuffy closed-up box of an apartment, unshaded, lacking in any feature specific to cooling, and an 87 degree day just beginning to cool down. lol It’s forecasted to be a hot summer day today. I am trying to cool the apartment down this morning, before I leave for work. The dawn begins to break, amber and orange hues, no hint of mauve, pink, or violet; even the sunrise looks just the sort one would expect on a hot day.

The wind shifts and a refreshing cool breeze blows in from the marsh. I am grateful for the brief chill that lifts the hairs on my arm for a moment.

The calendar suggested, yesterday, that I might hear from my Traveling Partner before the night ended. I didn’t though. I haven’t yet started to worry, and may not for some time. He did not prepare the calendar event, and my understanding of his calendar is not calibrated to other event hosts’ ways of planning. (Was the end time in the calendar the end of the event, the end of the journey, the end of the time away… some other ending… and why aren’t there any notes? lol) We had discussed, in March, what the season would look like, and how little time we’d share through the summer months. So. Nothing to worry about, really, unless I make shit up in my head over which to become overwrought. I think I’ll pass.

I sip my coffee and listen to birdsong, peeping frogs, and the distant sound of commuter traffic. My turn soon enough. I add a contented sigh to the symphony of the dawn.

The best moment to begin again? This one. Now.

I’d just barely hit “publish” on yesterday’s blog post when a severe OPD storm blew in. Other People’s Drama splashed all over my doorstep, and a tsunami of emotion blasted my morning, my afternoon, and my day generally.

In moments of gloom, there are often still flowers.

I am not the sort of person to turn someone fleeing domestic violence away from a moment of safety, though, and my OPD-free zone is certainly a safe space. I invited my friend in, and started working to help her calm herself; difficult decisions in life are most easily made from moments of calm, I find. I make a point of checking in with myself regularly, too, because this shit hits all of my buttons, and I am myself on the edge of panic being around domestic violence, at all.

When conditions are right, flowers bloom.

My friend and I took a walk through the park, “enjoying” the flowers. To be more precise, I was enjoying the flowers, my friend was moping along beside me, less than fully engaged in the moment. I didn’t really intend to give up on 100% of the beauty and fun of my weekend, just because someone else has drama to choose to invest in. 🙂 It was a lovely walk, and I’m sure the fresh air and sunshine did her some good too. She talked. I listened. Sometimes I talked. I hope she made a point of listening, but it’s not something I can confirm with any confidence. We walked in silence some, too. I did my best to respect her emotional experience and be present, welcoming, and comforting.

I’m not always sure what one flower or another actually is, and this does not stop me from enjoying them.

She figured out what to do with herself in the short-term, and where to go. Her things were already packed up and ready for all of that. I gave her a ride. I gave her hugs. I gave her my time. I came home. The evening from that point was very quiet. Her now-ex is a friend, too. I know he must be hurting, and I’m here, even for him, if he wants to talk. He hasn’t reached out. I don’t expect that he will. The situation saddens me. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. Not my drama.

Sometimes, a closer look.

I slept restlessly, waking often toward the end of the night. My restlessness got me out of bed more than once, to walk through and around the apartment before returning to bed, no particular purpose in mind. It was a weird night. I sip my coffee contemplating the weekend behind me, and the day ahead. Yesterday’s investment in drama was time-consuming; I didn’t get my laundry done, and I didn’t paint my nails. I didn’t read that book I started. I didn’t get much housework done. All of that will inconvenience or annoy me this week, at some point, more than likely…but… what I did do counts too, and comes up less often; I spent time with a friend who needed me.

It’s a journey.

Still, I’m looking around the place this morning and recognizing opportunities to take better care of the woman in the mirror. Today seems like a good day to begin again. 🙂

 

“You make it sound easy…” I probably sigh and frown any time I hear that from someone. I don’t mean to diminish the real effort involved…in… anything. Choices. Changes. Practices. Beginning again. Being. Becoming. Nope. Not “easy”. I just keep at it, is all, and hope to notice change when it begins, to savor it as it continues, and to appreciate how far I’ve come. I am enthusiastic about living life – because that, all by itself, is something that has changed about me; I embrace life. It’s sort of new. It’s something I fought myself for, fair and square, and no… it wasn’t easy.

Battling depression, anxiety or rage? Not easy.

Working to lose weight – and I don’t mean that 5lbs you don’t find aesthetically appealing, I mean the sort of excess weight that could be life-threatening – losing weight at all? Not easy.

Struggling to gain weight? Not easy.

Making a change of heart that results in not being sarcastic and mean all the time? Not easy.

Learning to take care of oneself, with real affection and love? Not easy.

Walking away from relationships that don’t work? Not easy.

Building relationships from a place of authenticity, vulnerability, and openness? Not easy.

Saying no? Not easy.

Saying yes? Not easy.

Embracing change? Not easy.

Facing the human being in the mirror, fully honestly each and every day? Not easy.

Going after what I really want from life? Not easy.

Accepting myself precisely as I am, while also seeking healthy growth and positive change? Not easy.

Gnothi seauton? Not easy.

Mindfulness? Not easy.

Practices take practice. I am not making light of things when I remind myself that “there are verbs involved” – it is a literal truth; choices are an active thing. Practice requires efforts be made, and repeated – repeatedly.

I don’t know what your personal goal on this journey is, or even whether you have one that seems specific and concrete. There are no promises that you will get there – but if you just keep at it, you’ll get somewhere. No scorecard. No progress report. No letter grade. No performance review. No fucking guarantees of any kind. Life is just you and your choices out there on the trail. The destination is the journey. Every step is an act of effort, and some experiences feel easier than others. 🙂

Begin again. ❤

I was already feeling sort of testy about weird man/woman shit when drama erupted in a relationship totally not my own, still somehow spilling over into my experience, by way of my Traveling Partner supporting a friend going through a bad bit as a failed partnership ends. I’d have been, perhaps, less enraged by how that friend is being treated by an ex… but emotions are what they are, including personal loyalty, and I found myself wondering what I could do to actually help – and offering up “anything” that could be to my Traveling Partner.

I’m still angry this morning. Maybe it was the Facebook post about the news article on “stealthing”, maybe that’s what got my ire up? That’s some unsavory wrong-headed bullshit, all by itself, and enough to make any woman angry – even the suggestion of it, and reading the article, was enough to anger me. Ancient rage. The sort that does not stifle easily. For some reason, in April of this year it seems a popular topic for news articles. That bothers me too.

A pleasantly distracting picture of the first spring goslings. 🙂

The scene on the bus ride home last night, though, irritates my consciousness in this whole other “see your therapist soon!” sort of way, like picking at a scab, or scratching a bug bite… I feel very much that I should not “pick at this”, unfortunately that’s often the rallying cry of “this is some root cause to a bit of your madness, but let’s not deal with all that now” that pushes things into dark corners of chaos for the later “amusement” of my personal demons. It wasn’t an uncommon scene, either… a young woman and a young man riding the bus together…

He was tickling her. She said “stop”, laughing. The way she said stop, and it came up repeatedly as the bus ride continued, caused more heads than mine to turn. Her laughter, to me, sounded uncomfortable. She said “no”. She said “stop”. She said “quit it”. She said these things firmly. She continued to laugh while she said them, mostly. He kept on. I was very uncomfortable, but in a confined space, like a bus, was an involuntary witness. When my stop approached, I stood at the door, which was immediately next to them, they were facing me. I turned to face her and made eye contact. “This bus ride was very uncomfortable for me.” I said. Heads turned. Conversations stopped. She held my gaze. People were listening.  “You keep telling him no”, I said to her, “but you are laughing. He keeps doing this thing that appears to be violating your boundaries, you keep telling him no – and you keep laughing. If you are enjoying this, why are you telling him no? If you are not enjoying this, why are you complicating your effort to set boundaries by laughing?” I waited. She looked uncomfortable and said nothing. He finally spoke up for her “she’s having a good time.” He said it firmly with conviction, he looked resentful of the intrusion. I turned to him as the bus pulled forward from the last signal light. I looked into his eyes for a long minute before saying slowly, with forced calm,  “I wasn’t talking to you, and it isn’t up to you to decide if she’s having a good time. It is up to you to decide if you will respect her boundaries and require clear communication of consent.” I turned my back on him deliberately, and turned back to her. The bus doors opened, and I felt my eyes fill with tears I didn’t intend to share, and only enough time to say “Your choice of behavior is teaching him that it is acceptable to violate your boundaries.” I can hope she heard me, but I’ll probably never know. I walked home sad and angry. Sad because this bullshit goes on all the time. Angry with the woman in the mirror because it’s my fault, too. Angry because it took men who understood consent to bring it to my awareness. Angry because I even had to be persuaded and cajoled into taking care of myself, into learning to set clear boundaries firmly, into learning that my agency actually matters, and that my consent is sacred and must remain inviolate – and is my own. I had to learn not to laugh uncomfortably any time I said “no”. I still struggle with these things, and that is one source of my anger.

I got home angry. The addition of needless break-up drama in other lives that matter (don’t they all?, isn’t that why it’s so hard to turn away?) didn’t help ease my simmering fury. It was an evening that touched on a lot of my chaos and damage. It all felt very personal. The pendulum swung from anger at a human experience of one sort, to a very different sort – that ugliness whereupon people behave as though they have some entitlement to what is not their own, in the midst of breaking up. Stealing things, tit for tat bullshit, and “getting even”. Ugly. I am so fucking sick to death of people behaving in these ways. We are not each other’s property. We are not chattel. We are not entitled to some particular outcome in life, which when deprived of it we are then entitled to steal, to break shit, or to commit assault or murder. Your relationship ended? Get the fuck over that shit, and walk on. Leave it all behind. Don’t chase after each other, poisoning the future. Treat each other well in celebration of love that once was. Vengeance? That’s bullshit. Walk away. Your life and your heart matter most, all the rest are just the material trappings of existence. It’s hard to stand idly by while a friend is robbed, and my anger at the pettiness and drama of his ex acting out surged again and again as the evening wore on… but not because of him (or even her, although her behavior has certainly cost her my respect, and any potential for friendship in the future; I’m just not okay with that behavior). I stayed angry because the events of the evening touched me – me personally, my own heart, and I am having my own experience.

More goslings, and a moment of perspective.

I’m fortunate to have a strong, reciprocal, boundary-respecting, loving relationship with my Traveling Partner. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it is my first relationship in which my boundaries are respect and my explicit consent is required, just generally and day-to-day. When we got together, I was almost 50. It’s more than a little uncomfortable to be aware of that, and of the years of internal struggling and suffering that preceded it. I stayed angry through much of the evening, because I am still so very angry with myself, with my circumstances, and with all those preceding relationships in which my agency was not valued, my boundaries were not respected, and my consent was violated regularly. I am angry now, because I spent so much time then laughing uncomfortably, and waiting for unpleasant moments to just… end. I am angry because I have been punished for taking care of myself, for setting boundaries, for walking away, and for speaking up for myself. I am angry because it took so long to choose to change – and to understand that indeed, I had to change before my circumstances could. Even then, there were verbs involved.

Evenings are short during the week. My temper simmered over dinner. I continued to fret and stew over drama in the shower, and as the evening began to reach its end. I didn’t really want to go to bed angry… I wished my Traveling Partner well, and logged off of devices, and sat down on my meditation cushion in front of the open patio door. I let the cool marsh breeze wrap me the scent of meadow flowers. I let everything else fall away, and just took time to breathe, and to be, and to listen to the rain fall. Over some unmeasured time, I found my way back to the present moment, content and calm. It wasn’t that my anger no longer existed, it simply found a welcome home within my own heart, and some understanding. Calm anger. Weird. I went to bed and found sleep while listening to rain tapping at the window.

Sure. I still feel angry about the things I am angry about. There are plenty of things worth feeling angry about. This morning I sip my coffee also feeling content that I am able to put things in context and gain understanding from them, over time. I can grow. I can choose change. I can be more removed from drama than I once was. I can offer support to people close to me, without being destroyed in their dumpster fire. I can heal. I can walk on.

I can begin again. So can you. 🙂