Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness matters

Funny thing happened yesterday, while I was sorting out what paintings will hang where, here in the new house… an ex crossed my mind. Oh, very briefly, and not in a weird or upsetting or chilling way. I was simply hunting for a particular painting I thought would be exceptional in a specific location, and I could not find it. I could not find it in the stacks of paintings in my studio closet, or in the flat storage cabinets along the wall, or stacked among the unsorted stacks-by-size, or… anywhere. Weird, right? I mean… not so weird; paintings sell. I don’t put much energy into selling art (not the sort of energy I put into painting paintings, for sure), but some of them do still somehow wander off in exchange for money. lol

I solved the mystery with an email search. I almost always email my partner when a painting sells. The subject line is pretty nearly always the same:

“[name of painting] sold! $xxx.xx”.

No idea why, exactly, I do this, but I do, and I can count on two things: firstly, batches of new work get emailed to a friend and attached (giving me a date they were created, and some notes about the new work, often including size, media notes, technical details, and title, if not also providing some insights into my inspiration at that time), and secondly, I email my partner when work sells (giving me details about where it went, and for how much it sold, and when). It only took a few minutes to find the original email with the new work attached… then a few more to find the sale acknowledged. (I could do much better with my business record keeping. lol I even think I should.)

That’s it, really. End of the tale. I sold the painting I had in mind to an ex, almost a decade ago, for a not-insignificant sum. In that moment of acknowledgement (and relief that I hadn’t just lost the damned thing), my ex crossed my mind. Briefly. Impersonally. Healing really does happen. Sometimes it takes more time than feels reasonable or convenient, but it can happen.

“K5: Gently Now” 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, May, 2010

This morning I sip my coffee and enjoy the quiet morning, undisturbed by thoughts of exes. They aren’t part of my life, by choice, and generally with good reasons.

It’s a new day. The sky is still dark. The house is quiet. The coffee is hot and the mug warms my hands pleasantly. I sit with my thoughts awhile. New beginnings will be soon enough. There’s definitely room in my day for “now“.

I’m sipping my coffee slowly. It’s still quite hot, and I’m not quite awake, yet. The alarm jerked me from a deep sleep with its incessant beeping, and I’m very groggy, and the tiniest bit annoyed. I definitely could have slept longer. My Traveling Partner is already awake, himself. I assume he is excited about the arrival of a package he’s been waiting on, but I didn’t actually ask. (Those first minutes, before either of us is fully awake, are generally a poor choice for conversation.) I make him coffee, and return to my studio. I catch myself smiling as I sit down to my desk. Love matters. 🙂

Yesterday was a pleasant productive work day that finished with a headache. Self-care really matters. I’d fallen short of how much water I needed to be drinking on a hot day, and I think I only had 1 cup of coffee, instead of my reliable 2 cups. That’d do it. Pollen count was also super high yesterday, and apparently “allergies” are a thing I may have, after all. lol “Get out of the city, they said…” 😉

Trees and sky… and pollen?

It’s definitely summer now, in this time of pandemic. People move around the community more. There are small very selective gatherings of people who feel safe with each other occurring here and there in the community, and in my neighborhood. Stores are open, but not crowded, and mask-wearing is not stigmatized (or avoided) in this community (which I appreciate). Small changes are evident everywhere – and not just the masks. The historic downtown area is closed to cars, to allow restaurants to extend their dining space onto the sidewalks and into the street. Social distancing. The entrance to many retailers has a prominent mask and hand sanitizer station (“If you forgot yours – take one of ours!”). Some businesses mark the floor with a “shopping flow” pattern and ask that customers follow that (Ikea-style) from entrance through check-out. Take-out, delivery, and curbside pick-up are super popular options these days. The way I plan errands has changed; I count on those curbside pick-up options, often, and that means planning the time those can take. We still avoid going out, generally. It’s too easy not to go out. Super easy to stay home. 🙂

Small details here at home change, too, as we move in, and get settled. It’s less a disruption than it is a refinement of lifestyle, over time. Yesterday, my Traveling Partner put a shade over the hot tub to keep me from getting sun burned. Small details. I was prepared to find myself much less resilient than I’ve been. It’s a pleasant observation to be able to make. Growth over time. We become what we practice. 🙂 I think about that for a few minutes, in the context of less-than-ideal practices (and characteristics), and sip my coffee while I reflect on becoming the woman I most want to be.

…I remember the new sprinkler my Traveling Partner got for me (I ran over the last one, quite by mistake, backing out of the garage), and I recall the day is expected to be quite hot. It seems a good time to water the lawn… and begin again. 🙂

This morning starts gently. The promise of every new day is a new beginning. Even in the time of pandemic, every dawn begins a new day (so far…). I start the morning with meditation, yoga, coffee… and this peculiar beautiful strange celebration of what is human. I love this video version of The Real Folk Blues. I’m not certain I can be clear about quite why. It isn’t the “original version”. It’s one created by artists (during the pandemic) inspired by that original for reasons of their own. It reminds me that even our struggles – maybe especially our struggles – create moments of profound beauty, wonder, and power in our experience. Anchors created in our memory that tie us to events, places, people, experiences… good or bad, lost or found; our hearts beat to these rhythms. Pieces of “who we are”.

Poetic musings and a bit of music, a cup of coffee, a sunrise… there are worse ways to start a day. 🙂

My mind wanders through recollections of recent special moments. Like light and shadows, reflections on water, or catching sight of a finished painting with completely new eyes, the memories are meaningful to me, in a fleeting moment, the significance easily lost if I “overthink” them. There have been some lovely moments during the move, and yes, during this time of pandemic. I sit with those, sipping my coffee, insisting that my restless mind pause and focus on what is sweet, and merry, and good, and uplifting. Love and loving, and what matters most. The things I want to characterize my day-to-day experience. I pause not to celebrate those experiences so much as to savor them, and “lock them into” my implicit memory and experience of life “generally”. The wellspring of my positivity and fairly reliably good outlook on life, these days, is, I suspect, rooted in this one simple practice. It’s not “mine” – I learned it elsewhere. Here’s a great explanation of how to “take in the good”. Your results may vary. (We become what we practice.)

It’s a good morning for coffee and sentiment. Such a human thing. What’s so special about being human? I’m not even certain that it is special… there’s not much I can know about “the life of the mind” for a turtle, an ant, a hummingbird, or a house cat. I only know what I know – and that’s such a pitifully small amount of knowledge, even among human primates, that it can be a bit of a downer now and then. I queue up another favorite song, sentimental, encouraging, and very human. I smile while silly sentimental tears spill over for no obvious reason. Also very human. Also totally okay.

Perspective matters.
“Emotion and Reason” acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow 2012

Another day. Time to get on with another beginning. 🙂 What sweetness and wonder might today hold? Time to find out… If things go wrong, I know I can begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee, watching the dawn become day. I can’t honestly say the morning is “routine”; the move into this house is still quite recent, and a great many of my routines are altered, or broken. The “new normal” is still developing, and I don’t really know what that will look like, in days or weeks, or months, or two years from now. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let that go. The new normal does not need my help, it’ll be what it is once it becomes so. 🙂

…This coffee is fairly terrible…

There is a work day ahead of me. I’m struggling to fully embrace that. I’m tired, as a result of sleeping… poorly? That’s not wholly accurate. The sleep I got was deep and restful. It was just interrupted, a lot, and it takes a lot of 90 minute to 2 hour naps to achieve a restful night’s sleep. lol I feel distracted by tiredness. (I also feel acutely aware there is another, more appropriate word for “tiredness” that I can’t quite recall…) I’d very much like the day to be over, so I can go back to sleep. LOL It’s not quite 6:00 am. So unlike me.

This morning I am lost in thought, contemplating “fairness” and “unfairness”, and what it means to have a “level playing field” in life (or love). I am giving thought to how easily I take things personally – even knowing that generally speaking, “it isn’t personal” applies to most situations. Even those few that are direct, targeted, willful acts (or words) of aggression between human beings aren’t really “personal” – they have ever so much more to do with the person doing the thing than they are ever about the person against whom the words or acts are directed. I mull that over awhile, and drink my coffee.

recommended summer reading

I sit quietly with this moment, and this fairly terrible cup of coffee. I feel fortunate in life (and in love, if I’m being real). I feel grateful for what I have, how far I’ve come, and how much chaos has been transformed into order, and yes, even how much healing has occurred, over time. I sit quietly, and let the scales gently balance, metaphorically speaking. It’s so easy to become entangled with a partner’s experience, or to internalize world drama or conflict. It’s easy to take small things personally, or to make much of something small. It’s easy to wreck the experience of a singularly pleasant moment with a harsh word, a misunderstanding, an erroneous assumption, then place the blame on the circumstances, or some other human being… I sip my coffee aware of the quizzical look on my face. No answers, just questions, and a handful of useful practices. It is, at least, a starting point.

The minutes tick by. The blue morning sky hints at a hot summer day ahead. I wonder what I’ll do with it? Will I be my best self, from moment to moment, or create an emotional inferno of small shit to apologize for, instead? Something in between? (There’s very nearly always “something in between” any two extremes, just saying, “don’t succumb to false dichotomies” is very good advice.) I remind myself that life (and love, and emotion) are very nuanced, filled with subtleties and hidden information. I remind myself to slow down, to be present, to stay centered in my own experience, and in this moment, here. I’m tired… which puts me at risk of drama and bullshit and chaos, but none of that demands that I be a shitty human being – it’s a new opportunity to practice doing a bit more/better at being the woman I most want to be. So… there’s that. 🙂

I notice the time… time to begin again. Again. 😉

I’m fairly glad the weekend is over. I wasn’t at my best. Yesterday started beautifully, went sideways early, stayed fairly difficult for some time afterward, and was not especially satisfying. It was a cool summer morning, and a very hot summer day. It didn’t cool off enough during the night to get the house below 72 degrees, even with all the windows thrown wide open to the night air. I slept badly. I stubbed my toe as I was getting up this morning. I’ve got a stiff neck, and my coffee tastes like dirt. lol Wow. I could zoom in on what a “shitty morning” this “is”, too… only… It isn’t. It’s just a morning. A blank slate on a new day. A new beginning. There’s more to this new day than a small handful of sour moments, wrong notes, and grumpiness. So many good things are happening this week!

A good thing? A bad thing? Sometimes things are just things; we add the judgement.

I sip my fairly terrible dirt-tasting coffee with more contentment than I can describe with words. I’m okay with today, so far. The gray sky is not bringing me down. The reluctantly partially cooled house isn’t not a deterrent on my good mood. My stiff neck will likely ease as the morning wears on. It’s a work day, and my Traveling Partner is here to take care of meeting with contractors and delivery people; I’m free to focus on work. My desk is very tidy and ready for the day, the result of the work I did in the studio, yesterday; it was the last room to get completely unpacked.

I was overly-sensitive yesterday, prone to taking things personally, and mired in emotional moments – but I still got things done, and I didn’t seek to punish myself for my humanity. I let the tears fall. I got over them. I’m fortunate to have a nurturing, care-giving, partnership of equals built on love – but I also recognize how hard my bullshit is on my partner. I sip my coffee wondering if he is also glad yesterday is behind us? He still sleeps – will he wake eager for the new day? I hope he does.

I hear a car alarm somewhere in the distance, quickly silenced. The sky is lighter now, as day approaches. I make room in my morning for gratitude, for new beginnings, and for contentment and sufficiency. I remind myself of things I want to get done, calls I want to make, and plans for the day. I finish this coffee. It’s already time to begin again. 🙂