Archives for posts with tag: mindful loving

It’s that time of year; my Traveling Partner is gearing up for a season of journeys, adventures, trips, visits, away time, festivals, events, shows… he will be going (a lot) and doing (a lot) and it is not my lifestyle choice to be so… busy. 🙂 Inconveniently enough, our wedding anniversary and my birthday both fall in this same rather busy, utterly over-booked, time period. It could be awkward if I were someone different than I am. lol

Most years we don’t do much about our anniversary. Last year, we spent a remarkable weekend away together on the coast, and it was magical, romantic, and delightful. Attempting to repeat that experience by merely repeating the experience manages to be not at all how that works, and I know better than to force it (experience is a great teacher). Other relationships, other needs, perhaps; I know that in this one, I don’t need an annual moment of recognition to feel loved, valued, or to celebrate the delights in this shared experience… and I cherish those moments most when they occur without being scheduled. Maybe next year? The year after? Some year when we both earnestly need a getaway and time alone with each other, and nothing more will do? This year, we’re both busy with other things, and that’s okay, too. 🙂

My birthday is weird like that, and different, too. It’s “my day”, by choice. For many years, after I turned 18, I insisted that everyone else also honor my day with me. I like presents, but it wasn’t about that – it was about agency, free will, and being the one to get to call all the damned shots for a change. I fought the powerlessness I felt in life, generally, by being a petty dictator once a  year. The fact that there would likely be cake, or dessert of some sort, and a great deal of (my idea of) fun doesn’t really change the fact that I was also pretty demanding about things going my way. Once I understood that being a mini-monster once a year doesn’t really “balance the scales” in a life of learned helplessness and frustration, I let all that go. It wasn’t that hard; my birthday is still “my day”… but that’s just me being me, on my own terms, on my day, doing my thing my way and enjoying myself in a life filled with many other such days. It not only doesn’t require a party, it doesn’t require any outside participation. lol  I enjoy spending time with my Traveling Partner, but it doesn’t have to be on any particular day – including the one I was born on. No idea what I’ll do with my birthday this year… maybe go camping. 😀

…I do like presents, though, and find myself hoping my Traveling Partner doesn’t actually forget my birthday, and perhaps brings me something back from somewhere interesting… 😀 (Still very human!)

Looking at it another way…

I am taking a moment this morning to appreciate being loved – this person I am, as I actually am, quirks and weirdness and mad moments and all. I’m taking a moment to appreciate this strong partnership that allows me to be me – the me I actually am, without demands that I be otherwise. It’s a nice feeling to wake up with. It’s not a passive thing, there are verbs involved here too, and practices; my own affection for the woman in the mirror is a large part of what gets me here. It’s got to be okay with me to be who I am, before it is at all relevant whether it is okay with anyone else. 🙂

You may be in a different place in life, or with yourself… that’s okay too; if you want to be somewhere different than you are, you can make that journey. There are verbs involved. You’ll be having your own experience. Your results may vary. It’s okay, though; you can begin again. 🙂

My morning is strangely… off. I slept badly. I got enough rest, anyway. I haven’t yet figured out my day. I’m sort of lazing around watching an occasional video, sipping coffee, and mostly just staring out the window rather unproductively. I find myself amused that I think I got enough rest; I am a zombie on my feet, shuffling through the morning vacantly, without purpose or direction… yet. The day is still ahead.  I notice my empty coffee cup; this I know I how to deal with.

Staring into the darkness during the night. Sleep did not come easily.

My second cup of coffee wakes me up a bit more. I put on a lively playlist. Chat a while with my Traveling Partner before he begins his own day in earnest. We miss each other, and look forward to hanging out, later today. Maybe we do hang out, maybe we don’t; it matters most that we want to. 🙂 Co-dependency and unhealthy attachment build some very unhealthy relationships between human beings. Learning some emotional self-sufficiency, and letting go of attachment (to outcomes, to emotional states of being, to romantic hyperbole, to expectations, to assumptions…) did some amazing things for this beautiful love. It’s a journey still in progress. “The journey is the destination.” “The way out is through.” Love matters most.

I don’t know what else I am doing today, even now, but I do know one thing that will fill my day; love. It’s enough. 🙂

The week finishes with the work day ahead, and then it’s the weekend. The clock seems to tick at a much faster rate working this particular job… Wasn’t it just Monday morning a couple days ago? There is so much in my subjective human experience of life that is so very relative.

Monday already seems so long ago...

Monday already seems so long ago…

I had a delightful lunch conversation with a departing colleague yesterday. I’ll miss her greatly though we’ve really only just begun to get to know each other; she has a “quality of mind” I find engaging and nurturing even to be around. She has a studious gentle wit I greatly enjoy.  Lunch was excellent.

The delights of lunching with a friend were followed by spending the evening with my Traveling Partner. He was waiting for me when I got home, and coming home to his warm smile and his embrace felt so… oh damn. Words fail me. I love coming home to his smile. I don’t know what made last night specifically so special… somehow it was. I’m still smiling. I have a weekend ahead of house-hunting, he has a trip away coming up early next week. Chances are, we won’t see each other again for some days… I’ll probably still be smiling, thinking about last night. lol

Life can be very simple, seemingly effortless, coasting on what is enough, enjoying what feels best, avoiding what is uncomfortable… I like those moments. I cherish them. There is, however, so much more to learn from the hurts, from what is uncomfortable: awkward moments, real talk, hard choices, tough times, books… and each other. I’m enjoying the morning and the week, and it truly seems filled with delights – I’m also aware that life has more to teach me, and that there is more to know. Have I finally grown enough to move beyond crashing on sharp rocky shores of disappointing moments? Will I no longer feel devastated and bereft to face losses? If I catch myself expecting that to be easy, I know I am not paying attention at all. Change is. Tough times occur. There will be losses to face. Disappointments to bear. Moments of struggle. Feelings. There will be all the feelings. All of them.

I smile for a moment, thinking about my 20-something self of long ago, and her unyielding rage and cynicism, wrapping herself in emptiness saying “I feel nothing.” I laugh gently to myself from a perspective of greater understanding, years of experience, and think kindly “Oh, baby girl, you only feel too much. You’re drowning in the feelings. Stop fighting them. Just let go.” Her tears well up in my eyes and spill down my face many years too late for her to heal. I feel the feelings now – and that’s okay, too. It’s even more than okay; it’s enough. What a powerful thing, to feel. Healing takes time. I didn’t understand then how very much time that might be… a lifetime. A life of time. All the minutes I spent on healing – and all the minutes I spent fighting the work involved in that process – and all of the other minutes, too.

I’m still not done growing and learning. There always seems some bit more, just out ahead…  How did I end up here, this morning? Thinking about Women’s History Month, actually. For Black History Month I read about black lives, in the words of black authors, about black life experiences I cannot fathom from my vantage point mired in white privilege.

To educate ourselves we have to step out of our comfort zone.

To educate ourselves we have to step out of our comfort zone.

I do my best to learn and to grow and to be kind and to be understanding – which means learning some things, and exposing myself to discomfort. I read James Baldwin. I read Martin Luther King Jr. I read Malcolm X, which I first read at the tender age of 9; I understand it all quite differently at 53. Now here it is Women’s History Month and I caught myself giving it the brush off “I’m a woman myself… I already read books about women, by women… Nothing to see here…”.  It isn’t the truth of my experience though, in a very important respect; I am only one women, living only one woman’s experience. (And by percentages, I don’t actually read that many books by women.) What about black women? What about Muslim women? What about immigrant women? What about women in science? What about incarcerated women? What about trans women? What about women living in dire poverty? What about women from countries and cultures I know nothing about at all? What about the meta and the metaphor of other women’s lives, experiences, and voices? How dare I look into the eyes of the woman in the mirror and assert a claim that I know enough – even about her?

However many books, however much experience; there is more to learn.

However many books, however much experience; there is more to learn.

There is more to learn. Always more to learn. At no point as it ever been demonstrated that there is an end point to learning. 🙂

This weekend I’ll make a short reading list for March reading. Women’s words. Women’s lives. Women’s greatness. I’m eager to get farther along in our stories – will we change the world?

It’s okay to love all year long. It’s okay to love with my whole heart. It’s okay to smile, even every day. It’s okay to be kind, any time at all.

Go ahead. Love.

Go ahead. Love.

Valentine’s Day is here. Love isn’t about that, although Valentine’s Day is about Love. No reason to love on an annual basis. I plan to love all year. There are verbs involved. Opportunities to choose. There are choices. Practices. Moments to reach across a divide with intent, and affection.

Each moment is another opportunity to love again.

Each moment is another opportunity to love again.

Rationing love hasn’t ever helped anyone love more deeply, or feel more loved.

Every day is another chance to walk a path paved with love.

Every day is another chance to walk a path paved with love.

Valentine’s Day or not… today is a good day to love. ❤

Giftmas is approaching quickly. I am feeling merry and cheerily invested in what is as likely to be a solitary holiday as not; there is no certainty in my planning these days, and I am learning to be okay with that. It is in the planning that my own comfort lies, and in clear communication and expectation-setting when plans begin to shift, or go sideways unexpectedly. Each of life’s disappointments, hardships, and changes open my eyes to some new perspective or opportunity, a little like a holiday advent calendar.

Let it snow? Sure, why not? Or don't - that's okay, too.

Let it snow? Sure, why not? Or don’t – that’s okay, too.

Last night was wonderfully merry, and definitely my idea of a festive holiday season. My early Giftmas present arrived on my doorstep, and when I got home one of my neighbors brought it over; he’d taken it in knowing I was not home. I had no time to open the box before a small posse of my former colleagues from another company (and dear friends) stopped by for some holiday cheer and catching up on things.  We enjoyed a (rare treat for me) glass of sherry together, and hung out sharing anecdotes, and generally enjoying a couple precious hours together. I miss those guys; seeing them every day was the best part of that particular job. It’s always been the people that matter most, though I didn’t always understand that. 🙂

Eventually, alone again in my quiet sanctuary on the edge of a marshy meadow, fire reduced to glowing embers, I opened the box. I cried happy tears that couldn’t be held back. I ran my fingers along the glossy black enameled lines of the new mixer. Some feminist, right? Standing in my kitchen in fuzzy spa socks, caressing a kitchen appliance, crying happy tears. I laughed out loud, still weeping with joy. Down to the tiniest detail, that man loves me. Fuck, I hope I am truly worthy of such profound emotion.

This mixer is black… it replaces a beige one, a color that was, at the time, a compromise; I had wanted a white one, then. My traveling partner ordered this new mixer, standing in my kitchen while we talked of other things. He chose one that matches my current appliances, understanding my aesthetic. He may even have understood that there is significance in how very “opposite” the glossy black is in my eyes – a gift given truly from a place of love, utterly the opposite in every way to the off-white mixer, which was given out of obligation and delivered into a relationship characterized by violence, violation, and destruction. (Although I loved the old mixer for its exquisite functionality and utility and purpose, every time I used it old damage and pain would surface to fill my consciousness again…over decades.) This morning, I stood in the kitchen making my coffee, smiling at the beautiful black mixer on the counter, alluring, promising good times in the kitchen, and reminding me only of love.

This morning the apartment is filled with music. There’s housekeeping to be done; my Traveling Partner is planning to be over tonight. The mixer stands ready for adventures in baking, and I have a stack of cookbooks next to me that I began flipping through last night. I look at them, and smile, and somewhere in a dark corner one of my demons lays down and dies, as happy tears slide past my smile. “I’m free!!” something inside me shouts with joy. I’m not sure quite what, or quite why.  I’m okay with feeling this good in this moment.

Today is a good day to be merry. Giftmas is almost here. Today is a good day for giving, and a good day for loving. Baking holiday treats may not change the world, but they’ll sure make the house smell wonderful!  😀