Archives for posts with tag: mindful loving

I am sipping my coffee, and taking a few moments for myself at the start of the day. Another work day. One of just 4 remaining at this job, which admittedly feels strange. At this point, it’s mostly meetings, and writing process documentation for things that simply must continue to get done, in spite of my departure, which has nothing at all to do with me. Right now, moments for me are rare. Purposefully winding things down at my job, while I am in the office, and, at home, committing most of my limited leisure time to listening to the tales of a traveler. 🙂

My Traveling Partner is moving in, and there is newness and adjustment to be had for us both. The first time we moved in together, I’m pretty sure I did most of the talking. I had a lot to say. I hadn’t been really listened to (and certainly did not “feel heard”) for what felt like years. I talked. He listened. I needed that consideration and moment of regard. I earnestly needed to feel heard. I’ll be real about it; the person who wasn’t listening with the most commitment to oppression and disregard was actually me. I didn’t understand that, and I would have no idea what to do about it, once I did. It’s been a journey.

We each have to walk our own hard mile. Along the way, I’ve learned how much listening deeply really matters. I’ve also learned that it is a skill that must be practiced, and takes time to develop. I’ve learned that I’m not “naturally good at it”, myself, and that means practice must be committed, and undertaken from a position of presence and self-awareness (otherwise, I just start talking again). At this point? I’m often pretty good at it. (Still takes practice, presence, and self-awareness, as well as consideration for another.)

This time, as my partner moves in, he talks. I listen. I’m learning a lot about this human being I hold in such high regard. My affection has deepened with the telling of the tales. I wrap my lover in listening. We all want to be heard – to feel heard. I do my best. The listening matters more than any observation or reply I could make. This is not the time for my words. I continue to listen, setting boundaries gently when I need stillness, or a distraction, or a break from an intense moment; listening deeply can be work (it’s a bit topic dependent). We set explicit ground rules together, as partners, about things like checking in and making sure it’s a good time before starting down the path of discussing childhood trauma, or very emotionally intense topics likely to evoke a visceral reaction. We check in with each other when we see a micro-expression suggesting emotional pain, discomfort, or something left urgently unspoken that perhaps could best be shared.

About listening deeply… deep listening, as a specific practice, is simple enough to describe, and I’ll spend a lifetime practicing, because practice is what is required to become skillful. Deep listening only requires that I set aside all else, and just listen. Only that. No “waiting for my turn to talk”. No impatiently fidgeting with a reply I just want to get out there. No interrupting to make “corrections”. No taking what I hear personally. Just listening, present, aware, and also non-judgmentally. Asking clarifying questions can be part of listening deeply, but I definitely have to be very aware, such that I am not interrupting in order to do so. Deep listening is not a passive process, and I have found myself unable to hold onto hostility or to be confrontational, while also listening deeply. There is compassion involved, gratitude, appreciation, awareness, and yes, even love, and certainly consideration.

So, yeah, in general, this change in my lifestyle is still feeling pretty… well, “effortless” is the wrong word here, because unpacking things, moving other things, doing housekeeping, fixing small broken things, moving stuff around, all that stuff that goes with moving, well it all amounts to effort, for sure. It’s just not “hard”, and feels pretty natural. Like having my best friend move in – which makes a lot of sense, since he’s been my bestie for close to a decade. 🙂

There will no doubt still be moments ahead of us when, perhaps, one or the other of us is taken over creatively by a moment of inspiration, with no bandwidth remaining, at least temporarily, to give over to our lover. There may be moments when tempers flare, or we’re cross with each other, purely as a product of being very much made entirely of human. It’s hard to worry about it; things are very excellent, deeply loving, and connected, right now. Right now is enough. 🙂 Still… it’s helpful to practice those practices (such as listening deeply) that nurture and connect us so deeply. It’s helpful to be mindful of my Big 5 (respect, reciprocity, consideration, compassion, and openness), which have stood so many tests, so well. I can always use more practice. 😀

It’s time to begin again.

Well… I’m home, again. The car is unloaded. There is a tidy stack of belongings to one side of the living room that are not mine. There are bright lime green sticky notes here and there, on walls, on bookcases, on drawers, marking spaces that could be pleasingly and functionally re-purposed for the needs of another. Oh sure, this is a comfortable space for two, has been, really, all along – I just choose to live a solitary life, these days. Or… I had been so doing. And, although it is a comfortable space for two, it’s not really outfitted for cohabitation in any long-term way.

Change is coming. Actually, according to the stack of boxes and things, and the handy list of stuff I would ideally like to get done ahead of time, it’s already here. He’s already here… well… on his way. Not a visit. Not a vacation. Not “coming and going”. Not wandering, or mostly traveling; my Traveling Partner is coming home for some while. 🙂 I’m excited, like a teenager, nesting, doing chores, moving things from here to there. I’m also… giving my inner teenager a lot of shit over it, in the background, and a hearty helping of side-eye, when the excitement becomes surreal. This is not a daydream of playing house. This is real life. Real people. Baggage, challenges, aspirations, changes, love, and all. All of it. Who we are now. Who we want to be. The journey between those destinations.

…No map.

I’m glad I got home ahead of him. There feels like so much to do to make him welcome, to make room for him to truly feel fully at home, and moved into this shared space. (Holy shit – I gotta share my space. lol) Then, too, I look at things I just haven’t gotten done, ever, because… reasons. (Some fairly lame reasons, some utterly understandable – some both. One reason, just being real, is all the back and forth travel to spend time with my Traveling Partner, elsewhere!) He knows me so well. His affection is deep, abiding – and accepting of who I am, while also supporting my growth. There is so much I won’t have to ask for help with, the help will be there. 🙂 It’s like another Giftmas, every time I come home to something nice he’s done to help out. He fixes things. He has an exceptional sense of placement that suits my aesthetic. He hangs paintings with skill and an eye for theme and beauty. He notices things that I don’t always spot, and takes care of what I can’t so easily do. It’s reciprocal; I help him with things that are “more in my area”, whether personally or professionally. That matters. We count on each other – and we comfortably can. I laugh when I realize that there are no surprises here, and that he is coming home to my familiar presence, because he wants to be here, with me, as I am. I relax. It feels warm and supportive and intimate, even from afar. Even before I hear his key in the lock on the front door, in some future moment, soon. There is a sense of eagerness, and belonging. I have missed him greatly, however much I enjoy living alone.

I hop up from my writing to add another sticky note for him to find, “this bookcase is entirely for your use”, it says. I sit down smiling. There is more to do, and I feel grateful to have time to get some of it done in advance, so that I’m not “underfoot” while he is trying to get settled in; a drawer in the dresser that I plan to relinquish, night stands to swap because he likes “the other side of the bed”. I frowned into the refrigerator earlier; I need to grocery shop, too. I’ve been living a bit like a bachelor, a bit more than I’d really like to. There is positive momentum in this change for both of us.

Sure, sure, eventually there will be some moment of miscommunication, hurt feelings, or anger, and we’ll deal with that the way we do – explicitly and affectionately, sometimes with clenched jaws, and terse, deliberate, careful communication, sometimes with tears – from a place of love, wanting only the best of, and for, each other, and always building this partnership. Fearless commitment to loving. Expectation-setting, clarifying questions, deep conversations, laughter – so much to add to my day-to-day experience, and I am so hungry for it, sitting here thinking it over.

I wasn’t in a good place for cohabitation 4 years ago. Am I now? Moving into my own place made so much sense, then… What about now?

I look out the window of my studio. It looks out onto the front stoop, and at the door into the garage. His space. Oh sure, still shared, but… shared like my studio is shared. It sort of has to be, small place, but, still my studio. Still his maker-space/workshop/whatever he makes of it, despite any wee bit of shared purpose in some fashion or another. (And yes, we do things like knock, check before we barge in, make sure we’re aware whether the other is in the throes of some creative endeavor that would suffer for being interrupted. Respect, reciprocity, consideration – they’re all part of my Big 5 relationship values, values that he both respects and shares. Boundaries set are boundaries respected, in this house.) I smile looking at that door. I earnestly want to put a sticky note on it, although it is not at all necessary… I do it anyway. My smile deepens with my feeling of contentment.

It seems a lovely way to begin again. 🙂

It’s a Wednesday morning after a Tuesday holiday, and a long weekend. Little more to say about this new beginning, than that. 😉

It’s been a lovely holiday with my Traveling Partner. Blissful? Yep. Contented? Entirely. Delighted? Oh, definitely. Hell, I’m already “missing him” and I haven’t left for work yet, and he’s still sleeping in the other room. lol What a wonderful holiday. How fortunate I am to be so well-loved, so valued, so highly regarded, so cherished! 🙂

Nonetheless, and all that loveliness aside, it remains time to begin again. A few days of work ahead of me, then another holiday… then a new year. 🙂 That’s a lot of beginnings just ahead. I’m ready. Are you ready? Shall we, then?

It’s a good time for a new beginning.

Merry Giftmas, Humans! (Or not; your choice.)

I am seriously hoping each of you, out there in the world, are finding moments, and experiences, worthy of real joy, today. In spite of personal heartbreak, in spite of logistical or financial challenges, in spite of whatever baggage and bullshit you are lugging around for whatever reason, in spite of the turmoil in the world, in spite of the chaos and damage you have endured over time, in spite of petty resentments, erroneous assumptions, and being fully and wholly made of pure human… in spite of all of that, I hope you are merry today. Hell, I hope you are generally merry, as well. I hope you choose what delights you, more often than you choose whatever pisses you off most, or makes you sad, or hurts your heart… being human is not without its challenges. I hope you find merriment within the chaos and the hardship. I hope you make merry regardless of the sometimes unreasonably high level of bullshit and douche-baggery so common to human experience.

Why not choose it? Why not choose to lift yourself up, as often, as skillfully, and to whatever dizzying heights of merriment you can achieve? Doesn’t being content, and filled with practical simple joy, feel ever so much better than misery? We choose that too… for some reason, it’s a much easier choice (seems a bit unfair, but there it is; joy takes rather more practice than heartache).

It’s a lovely moment for joy. This one. Right here. Right now. Take a breath, and find your joy, if you’ve misplaced it. 🙂 Trust that the decision to let some minor aggravation go feels a bit better than letting it fester. Setting clear boundaries, kindly, but without equivocating, feels so much better than letting yourself be walked on. Clarifying assumptions, and clear expectation-setting feel much better than disappointment. Our honest authentic selves enjoying the honest authentic selves of those dear to us feels so much better than anxious pretense.

I’m just saying… Merry Giftmas, Humans. Choose wisely. ❤

It’s funny, isn’t it, that things change so much in such a short time, and often in such unexpected ways. Sometimes subtle, sometimes quite obvious, sometimes in unimaginably pleasant ways, sometimes less so – change is

I smile and sip my coffee. This morning it is exceptionally good. I feel well-rested, content, and calm. The morning begins well. I enjoy this feeling, savoring it, lingering with it, not asking it to be anything more than what it is. Grateful for it, and appreciative.

Some lovely fun hours in the company of dear friends, and my Traveling Partner, were a nice addition to the weekend. I am still enjoying those recollections, too. I think about all the many small commitments to mutual support, and shared experience, that make up these relationships – as much about “family” and community, as they are about friendship. Our relationships are so much of who we are. Almost a “living mirror”, in a sense; we see reflected back what we are able to deliver, ourselves. It’s a lot of work to maintain a low-drama experience in the context of our relationships, sometimes, but it is possible. I smile and think about that for a few minutes more. How do we share the best of who we are with the people most dear to us? How do we encourage them to do the same?

I glance at the time. It’s an ordinary enough work day, and I’ve commitments aside from those to family, community, home, and hearth. There’s also the work thing, and it’s already time to begin again. lol

…Are you ready for a new day? What will you do with it? 🙂