Archives for posts with tag: mindful loving

This morning, my coffee “leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth” in a fairly literal way. I’m not sure what I did to ruin a perfectly adequate cup of coffee this morning… good coffee beans, the usual process… Regardless; this is one dreadful cup of coffee. I sip on it anyway, reluctant to wake my Traveling Partner, asleep in the other room. It was noisy enough making just one cup of coffee. Honestly, it’s not that bad – call it “drink-ably terrible”. lol

I woke from what seemed a sound sleep, smack in the middle of dreams of reality, sufficiently plausible that I was surprised to discover myself awaking to the alarm clock. (oh, blech, this coffee!! LOL) The morning has been thoroughly routine, and soon I’ll leave the house, begin the work day, work through that, return home in commuter traffic, relax with my partner for the evening, crash out seemingly too early (it always seems “too early”), sleep more or less through the night, then repeat that for what unexpectedly seems like … a lifetime. There have been years when I’ve felt the experience to be a brutal grind, and my life filled up with petty resentments, other years (like this one) in all practical respects, it simple feels necessary, entirely practical, and if a bit tedious at times, there’s nonetheless no resentment to it. It works – for me, for us, for living life, just generally.

Yesterday I added some work tools to my personal device in preparation for my trip to “the home office”, which will be next week. A plane flight away, to “a far away city”, and I admit I face it more eagerly than not. I enjoy this job, and feel appreciated, purposeful, and prepared. My Traveling Partner doesn’t do things to hold me back or discourage me; it is a healthy partnership. I feel supported. I sip my coffee, and ask myself an important question: am I providing adequate reciprocity with regard to work, to life, and to ensuring I encourage my partner, and nurture my partnership? It would be a poor choice to nurture my career, while leaving love to whither. I’m not that woman, as I understand myself… So, I take time to consider my words, my actions, and how I prepare for this couple of days away. It matters so much to ensure Love itself is treated with consideration and high regard. What could matter more? 🙂

Staying on the path is a choice, and there are verbs involved; the journey is the destination.

My brain attacks me briefly over a perceived “funny vibe” I thought perhaps I may have picked up on, briefly, last night. It’s not a very effective attack, and I grin at myself over my coffee. Questions work. 🙂 Like a beam of light shining into a shadowy corner, a non-confrontational question seeking clarification on an assumption, a subjective experience, something vague and unconfirmed becomes… just an answered question. lol Most of the uncomfortable weirdness in life and in love are “shit we made up” that only exists in our heads – until our own anxiety and stress causes us to make it real. 🙂

I continue to sip my dreadful coffee – really let myself down on this one – and allow myself to briefly consider uncomfortable moments and “funny vibes” that have occurred in various interactions with an assortment of other human beings, and then let each one go. I breathe, exhale, and relax. No need to make up imagined stressors – real life will make sure I get a fair share of real stress, no problem. LOL

Life is not about perfection – and imperfect things are often quite lovely.

I sip my coffee thinking about sky reflected in water. No reason, it just seems something lovely to contemplate. I consider small lovely moments, and recent achievements, and brief unexpectedly deep connections, and enduring love. Love matters so much, on this whole other level. It still feels unsettling and a bit strange that it had to begin with me – with the woman in the mirror. I struggled to find real security in relationships while I struggled to “love myself”, and once I sorted that bit out reasonably well, it seemed to strengthen other relationships, most particularly my relationship with my Traveling Partner.

…Funny… I’m the one traveling in the world, this time…

…Omg, this coffee is just the fucking worst. LOL

I finish off my coffee, grateful to have it, grateful to finish it, and still thinking about how to deepen and nurture love. Love matters most. 🙂

It’s time to begin again, right here, with the love I know. 😀

I came home tired last night, ankle aching (it’s mostly built of imagination and wreckage at this point, so… sometimes it aches ferociously), cross and irritable over the commute (I got stuck behind an exceedingly, obviously, impaired driver, who veered back and forth, randomly stopped while straddling lanes, drifted into the bike lane repeatedly, and drove very slowly) and just generally – I wasn’t at my best. I had stopped at the store for dinner, though, and I was happy to be home.

…What the…? I pull into the garage… the clean, tidy garage, which is… clean… and tidy. I know I didn’t leave it that way this morning… Huh. Wow. Yep. Both “huh” and “wow”. Nice. I walk into the house, and… oh damn. House looks great too, like, top to bottom. Clean. Tidy. Some small changes in the way things are arranged that really improve the comfort of the floor plan. I’m in mid-exclamation (and appreciative thanks), when my Traveling Partner becomes aware of my physical discomfort with my ankle… out comes a handy ice pack… he makes sure my foot is elevated… then goes to the kitchen, and makes dinner for us. It was a lovely evening. I definitely went to bed last night feeling well-loved. 😀

I’m sipping my coffee this morning, contentedly; coffee was one of the handful of items on my shopping list last night. (No tea? Nope – tea is generally for when it isn’t time for coffee. LOL Personal preference. Although I may yet, one day, switch permanently from coffee to tea, that day is not today.) It’s a lovely morning. I’m not taking anything personally, or struggle with the details, or fussy to myself over some small thing – it’s just me, this coffee right here, and a new day.

It’s enough. 🙂

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. 😀

This weekend I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee – the first since my crown fell out, weeks ago. The socket left from the tooth extraction is considerably healed, although still quite tender (and I still have to be suuuper careful about bits of food getting lodged in what is left of the hole). Oh, for sure, I did not drink hot coffee while still completely hot. I, rather wisely, I thought, let is cool off quite a bit, and it was lovely even to drink warm coffee. I’d been managing properly chilled cold coffees for a few days, but hot felt like a real milestone. 🙂

…This morning, I’m finishing off the last of the canned coffee, icy cold. Tomorrow? I’ll be back to making coffee in the morning. It is a moment of self-care, ritual, and reflection, that I have been missing. 🙂

It was a rather peculiar weekend, in some regards. My Traveling Partner prepares to travel. I enjoy his company while he does so. Simple stuff. Still also fairly peculiar, in spots, with more than typical (brief) moments of (unexpected) strife. We work it out – we always do. No yelling, no raised voices, just moments when it was very obvious that our perspectives on some particular event, circumstance, or simply how we view some experiences, differ so much that even discussing them in practical terms becomes difficult. It drove home the understanding that, as individuals, we are each having our own experience, and view the world through the lens of our own understanding, defining our terms using our own unique dictionary, colored by our experiences, our values, and our assumptions.

I took time to reread “How to Love“. Another great starting point in any moment of growth. I followed that with “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry” – both great for perspective, and for reflection. I smile, now, in happy consideration that I have the sort of home life, and partnership, that allows for time to read, and supports discussion, without yelling. It’s nice. It’s very much worth the shared effort.

I step away from my writing for a moment to add something to my backpack that I’ll need later today, and notice that most signs of packing for travel are now missing from the living room landscape. Realizing my partner likely packed the car last night (and that I slept through that), I feel a brief twinge of loneliness in advance, that seems to want my attention. I breathe, exhale, and relax, letting go of the momentary pain of deep attachment being disturbed; we benefit from the time away from each other, having other experiences. I’m even looking forward to having a few days of solo time. I smile softly in the darkness, heading back to my studio, to finish my writing; it feels good to be so well-loved, and to love so deeply in return.

…Strange week for this adventure to play out. I’ve got a team member out on vacation, but somehow also committed myself to completing a major piece of analysis by midweek, while training a new member of my team (who won’t be able to help much with a day-to-day routine he does not yet know), and oh, right – I’ve got an appointment today! I feel time suddenly contract, folding in on me, building a sense of urgency and pressure (that, admittedly, I neither need, nor find “motivating”, at all). I correct my posture. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I let all that go. The next couple days will be, perhaps, a bit longer than I’d ideally prefer. Sometimes that’s a thing. Reliably skillful boundary and expectation-setting, and general good self-care, means it isn’t a big thing – and will remain very temporary. I’m okay with that. The first couple days (and nights) without my partner will be the most emotionally difficult for me, and being quite busy during that time will serve me well. 🙂

…He leaves tomorrow. “Tomorrow?? That’s practically now!!” My brain sets off alarm bells in my head, and I feel somewhat breathless. Again, I breathe through that. Exhale. Relax. Let it go. I laugh at myself to both yearn for some solo time to catch my breath and really reflect upon the small changes that come with cohabitation, and also yearning to remain close to this human being I love so fondly. So human. There is literally no way to have both, in the same moment. 🙂 He has carefully planned his trip, and shared his itinerary, knowing that I find comfort in the planning, and the details, however poorly he may end up sticking to those due to, you know, all the real life and stuff, that so easily could occur along the way. I eye my clock warily, sensitive to how quickly tomorrow morning comes; I’ll go to work, and when I return home, tomorrow, it will be to solitude. Wild. So soon. 🙂

The weekend is over. The new week is ahead. One Monday of many, and it seems a good one so far. I finish my coffee, check the timing on the train for my early start to the day, and prepare to begin again.

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.