Archives for posts with tag: mindful loving

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.

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. ❤