Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness

Some mornings every step is painful. Others not so much. Either way, I generally enjoy my morning walk on a weekday before work, and on weekends whenever the fancy strikes me. I enjoy being out among the trees, most especially, or alone on a wind swept meadow, or at the edge of the changing tide listening to the call of sea birds. There’s a lot to enjoy in life. I wasn’t always able to enjoy that, and there was a time when every step on every walk was punctuation for unspoken thoughts, and unhealed heartbreak, and each pause to snap a picture of a flower was an attempt to do something, anything at all, just a little differently than I had before. Every step, and every mile, on this journey has mattered. Every step, and every mile, matters still – and I’m still walking. The difference now, most mornings, is that I am walking, and smiling. 🙂

…What I’m not doing nearly as much is writing

My morning walk is just as night becomes day. The world is quiet and filled with promise.

I started this blog back in 2013. Here it is, 2021. 8 years on, and I’m in a very different place as a human. Perfectly perfect? Nope. Happily ever after? Hardly. Content and well-cared-for? Generally speaking, yes, and it’s more than I could have imagined, honestly, and I’m fairly certain I don’t need more than this life, right here, as I am living it now. It’s enough. Which, if I’m honest about it, feels a little odd sometimes. What about all of the everything else? Don’t I want or need a piece of that, too? I don’t think I do, with regard to most of the “extras” life may tempt me with from afar. I’m blasted with advertising daily, but very little of any of it gets my interest, even for a moment. Occasionally, some practical something-or-other gets my attention but mostly I’m here at home, hanging out with my Traveling Partner listening to music or watching videos, or playing video games. I’m here at home, beginning the season’s gardening tasks and spending happy hours flipping through garden catalogs, eyes wide with wonder and delight at lovely flowers that have no business in this garden, but… damn, so pretty! My morning walk takes me past other houses, other gardens.

…We each walk our own mile. We each “tend our own garden”. We are each having our own experience. Sometimes it’s hard, and we need help, sometimes it’s a joy and the labor feels effortless. Where do you want to go? It matters for walking those miles, doesn’t it? And that garden? What are you planting in it? Can it thrive in your garden. Yes, obvious metaphors for growth, for self-care, for living life. I’m good with that; it gives me a way to understand myself, and my experience. 🙂

There are sunrises…

I take a minute this morning to think about how far this journey has taken me, and how much joy my partnership brings me, and how much I have to be grateful for.

…there are sunsets.

I’ve been every bit as lax about staying in touch with friends and family, lately, as I have been at sitting down to write each day. It’s Spring here – my first in this place. 🙂 I’m savoring each sunbeam and each raindrop and watching the season develop in the view beyond the deck.

Still taking pictures of flowers. 🙂

I think about this journey to “home”, too… by this time last year, we were house hunting with some seriousness. By the end of May, we’d seen this house and made an offer on it. It’s been nearly a year of finally being home. That first couple of summer months were busy, laborious, and somewhat chaotic as we got moved and settled in and dealt with our first homeownership challenges (a hot tub needing repair, a leak in an exterior wall, figuring out where everything ended up). I’m eager to see the summer all over again – I don’t recall what it looks like. LOL

Life isn’t perfect. Whose is? I’m fortunate, though, and I am grateful. I sip my coffee and wonder if it is time to “wrap this up” and move on to other things… or simply trust that a new cadence will develop that feels natural? I’m starting to spend more time thinking, reading, and looking over creative projects. The garden calls to me. The trees beyond the deck beckon me into the forest to wander hidden trails, and camp under the stars. This life, here at home, is beginning to feel… properly real. I feel more comfortable with my developing routine… a walk in the morning, coffee with my Traveling Partner, a break a little later… Working from home feels natural now, and fits comfortably into my idea of living life well. Now to sort out when I like to write, in this gentle new way of living my life. 🙂

…Incremental change over time… I remind myself to be patient…

It’s time to begin again.

Sipping my coffee and listening to the rain fall. Artificial rain…although… it is raining outside this morning. This particular video also has the sound of a crackling fire, a river flowing nearby…and honestly, sounds rather like a rainy day here, in my own living room, on a day when the creek is flooding. It’s a relaxing soundscape, and tends to push distractions out of my immediate awareness very well.

…The relaxing, soothing, comforting, background soundscape tends to be very helpful with managing my anxiety, which has been coming and going rather a lot the past week or so. I could have expected it, I suppose. When my values and my circumstances feel as though they are in opposition to each other, or somehow at odds, I don’t feel “comfortable”, and the longer it goes on, the more my anxiety increases in intensity, and the frequency with which it surges into the forefront of my consciousness also increases. It’s an “early warning system” that there may be a decision-making point coming up very quickly, or that the time to reflect on things and make other choices may be upon me. I could “fight it” with soothing sounds and do nothing more. I could meditate regularly, “accept my lot in life”, and struggle with the anxiety and discomfort – or attempt to medicate it away – and settle for quiet misery.

…Or I can acknowledge that I am unhappy, seek to determine what the primary cause of that discontent may be, and consider other options… this is particular effective if, after all that, I’m prepared to choose change. I mean… maybe the options aren’t really an improvement? That’s certainly a scenario that comes up now and again. I’ve often found that getting to that place where I can critically consider and factually determine that the present options don’t result in a clear likely improvement also serves to reduce my anxiety – it’s more about giving the matter real thought, and allowing myself the consideration and respect required to resolve my discontent with action, where action would do so.

I would use the example of working a job that isn’t ideal. Maybe it really is a poor fit, and making a change would be an improvement? Maybe the available options would not actually present a legitimate shot at the desired specific improvement at all, and would therefore be of no real use? Maybe the options are “more of the same” and “more of the same-r-er”, and time would be better spent in improving skills, and investing time in other endeavors during leisure hours? Maybe it really is time to move on to some other thing? I’m not a fan of reacting in the moment with drastic action built on an emotional moment. Personally? I like self-reflection. I value introspection. I seek self-awareness. I’d ideally prefer all of my decision-making be built on those qualities, and a hearty helping of perspective, self-respect, and non-attachment, besides! 🙂

“Having it all” comes in many forms. What do I really want? What matters most? Where does lifelong fulfillment lie on this path? Am I headed down a path that even leads me in the direction I hope to go? No map.

I’m sipping my coffee and listening to the rain fall. It’s not relevant that the sound of it “isn’t real”, particular when I’m seeing the rain fall beyond the window. What I see and what I hear are well-aligned. Isn’t there real value in also having my circumstances and professional values also aligned? I’m just saying; I have choices. There are verbs involved. My results may vary…

…And I also get to begin again. 🙂

Today is already more than a little “off”. I’m sitting in my studio with tears in my eyes, feeling super aggravated, and faced with a clear loss of perspective and sense of humor. I feel ragged, and angry, and potentially exceedingly easy to piss off. I did not sleep well.

…Yesterday, early in the afternoon, I allowed myself the luxury of a 3rd cup of coffee – a half a cup, really, but I did so knowing afternoon coffees have the potential to disrupt my sleep. That coffee did get me through the rest of the work day, which was helpful. I commented to my Traveling Partner with a laugh that if it disrupted my sleep he could say “I told you so”, because we both know it is a concern for me. This morning… he did, and I struggled to accept that probably good-natured teasing graciously… partly because I’m tired and stupid and cross this morning, and partly because, subjectively, I don’t think that’s what disrupted my sleep, actually, because the experience felt very much like a specific other thing (that is also a known concern) was responsible for my lack of restful sleep. I wasn’t ready for the humor in things, at all. Now I’m cross with myself, fatigued and frustrated by it, and also having the experience of managing to have “set my partner up for failure” by encouraging him to approach me in a way that was frankly amusing in the moment I said it, but the timing resulting in doing so when I am not so easily able to appreciate the moment. Fucking hell.

Today? Already sucking. My partner is definitely trying his best to get things back to a positive and merry place. I try to cooperate with that heartfelt intention. Yesterday was hard. Hard on both of us. This morning, my subjective experience of self is fraught with the funhouse mirror effects of being very tired. It makes the work day a fucking pestilence on my consciousness, and I’d honestly just like to go back to bed, and maybe not see or interact with any human beings at all for … a few days. I’m feeling sort of “over” people in this present moment. It’s an experience fraught with misleading illusions and distortions of reality, and I don’t trust myself to manage my emotions skillfully, or maintain a comfortable, rational, balanced perspective moment-to-moment. Why would I just straight up admit that? Because that’s how I get from here to somewhere better. 🙂

…This too shall pass. Generally, change is a constant I can count on, and this is just one moment. I mean… as moments go, it’s a fairly shit moment, for many values of “shit” and “moment”, but… considered through another lens… I’m employed, my wages cover our expenses, we’ve got indoor plumbing, potable drinking water, and a hot tub on the deck. My kitchen appliances match. The floors are comfortable under my feet. The house is a comfortable temperature, and the gas fireplace is a pleasant way to take off the chill on a cold morning. Small things matter. My desk is comfortable to work at. I’ve got a solid day of good work time ahead of me. Noodles for lunch are easy, tasty, and available. I’ve got another cup of coffee to look forward to. So… my “shit” day? Luxury for someone who doesn’t have such fortunate circumstances. It’s humbling.

I sip the cold last sips of my (fairly dreadful) cup of coffee feeling very aware of the juxtaposition of privilege and being in a crappy mood. I make a point to be real with myself. I remind myself (again) to be patient with the woman in the mirror – it may be that no one else will. I remind myself (again) to speak gently, to be kind, to be patient, and to “make room” for other experiences, and other people (well, at least one other person). My Traveling Partner steps into the room to share something with me. We converse pleasantly. He makes a cheerful joke that completely goes over my head. I am too fatigued for smart jokes or quick wit. lol It’s fine, though, and we both seem “calibrated” to the needs of the day, now…

…Still… this day is more than ideally challenging…

Do I need more coffee? Or do I just need to begin again?

I’m sipping my coffee, and starting my work day. It’s pretty ordinary in most respects. The rain continues to fall. By itself, the fact of rain falling is insignificant on a winter morning in the Pacific Northwest. Rain falls. It’s a thing people know about. 🙂 We are powerless to stop the rain falling. (I’m sure there’s a metaphor there, somewhere…)

It’s actually been raining, specifically here, where I am, for days. There are flood warnings. It’s a legitimate concern.

The “creek” beyond the retaining wall is generally just a trickle.

Rain. Floods. Storms. Weather exists. It comes and goes. I sip my coffee grateful that I’m not also dealing with a major power outage, as some colleagues just a few miles north happen to be, this morning.

…Few experiences define “feeling powerless” the way being without power can… I mean… for obvious reasons.

An anxious younger colleague reaches out for suggestions on coping with the lack of electricity. I share tips, practices, and perspective gained over years. Most of those are fairly practical, some of them are not helpful unless available in advance… still, it’s often helpful simply to “be there” for someone feeling anxious, so I did my best. 🙂 Then, I found myself reflecting on my own general “preparedness” for such emergencies in life…

  1. Big bag of tea lights for lighting the darkness? Yep. I’ve got those.
  2. A supply of safe drinking water? Yep. Just in case.
  3. Non-perishable snacks and camping food that can be prepared without cooking (or just boiling water)? Definitely; I try to stay “ready to camp”.
  4. Some way to boil water safely? Yep. Jet-Boil is handy. There are others. (And it won’t matter, anyway, if there’s no fuel for that stove…)
  5. Adequate canned fuel for the camping stove. (I’ve got that, too.)
  6. A lighter can be very handy. I have a couple around. (Matches, too.)
  7. Something to do besides doomscrolling and feed-checking? Books, board games, decks of cards… yep. On hand, always. 😀 (And it’s a good thing, too, since batteries have a finite charge!)
  8. Back up power? This one is tricky… an assortment of power bricks, charged, are available, so we’re good for sufficient power to check email, make phone calls, and provide limited connectivity for a short while. Better than nothing. Having a small generator would be cool… that’s a very different level of preparedness, and I’m not there yet. lol

Now… all that is well and good and super helpful… but only if I can find it in the dark. Can I? Hmmm… generally, yes. We moved recently, though, and I realize when I think it over as a potential crisis scenario; I can’t find the camping food/gear in my head with the specificity I’d need to go directly to it in the darkness. I know it is “in the garage” – which is my Traveling Partner’s wood shop, also (and which has an ever-changing purpose-driven arrangement of tools and work space, by design). Daylight means I would not need to stress over this detail; I can just open the garage door and see what I’m doing… but if I had to find my Jet-Boil stove in the darkness? I don’t think I could, right now. It’s a small detail, but one that reminds me that moving in, for me, is a fairly lasting process of many weeks – and I’m not “there” yet. I can’t find everything in the dark, yet.

I sip my coffee and think about power, powerlessness, and feeling prepared for life, generally. I could do better, I can see that. 🙂 I make some notes to myself.

It’s time to begin again. 😀

The last day of 2020. There’s no point arguing that, and unless we abruptly change calendars, there’s no turning back now; the year is ending. 🙂 I’m okay with that.

This is a season of change. There are choices and plans to make. There are past mistakes to contemplate, to learn from, to avoid in the future. There are future opportunities (and pitfalls) ahead, on which to build still further into the future. My results will surely vary. There will be verbs involved. Practices to practice. Choices with surprising outcomes, upon which to reflect further. It seems like there is almost always “further” to go.

This blog, this humble instrument of expression, these handfuls (fistfuls? bucketfuls?) of words have been incredibly helpful for me, along this strange journey of healing and growth, as I head toward being the woman – the human being – I most want to be. I sip my coffee, flavored with a bit of the buttered rum batter I made this morning, for later this evening, when my Traveling Partner and I toast the new year together. It turned out pretty good, and I’m pleased with the flavors. Pretty good in coffee, too. 😀

I started this blog on January 8th, 2013, as I teetered on the edge of life’s most final decision; whether to go on living. (Breathe. This is all about hope and promise and continuation – it’s not a sad tale.) Since then,

I’ve published 2232 posts here.

I’ve received 10,020 spam comments (blocked by Akismet).

I’ve received 1060 legitimate comments from readers. (Thank you for reading.)

2914 days have passed.

11,304 views of my page were recorded.

When I look closer, I see that some of my posts are hundreds of times more popular than all the others… by far the most popular (in the history of my blog) is “Be My Valentine? How About I Be My Own Valentine?“. It’s followed closely by my reading list. The Parable of the Barking Dog, and The Parable of Poison have also been very popular. When I re-read these, myself, I still find value in them, and room to grow as a person from reflecting on observations made long ago. (That’s sort of how writing works, I guess. lol)

This year, the most popular posts still include my reading list and The Parable of the Barking Dog. Beyond those, the favorites seem to reflect the times rather a lot. Reflections on this journey-of-self, musings about finding balance in challenging times. Thoughts on the passage of time, and shifting perspective, on a birthday.

I take a look at the recorded search terms that took people to my blog this year (it’s always worth a giggle):

…”Don’t be a dick light”? What does that mean?

I find myself mildly frustrated that I can’t see the “unknown search terms” – I bet they are interesting. lol I take another look – search terms over “all time” (I mean, since this blog started, right?)… It is an interesting look at what drives traffic to my blog, and maybe why.

I’m clearly not the only fan of Rick & Morty. I’m interested in what it is about “inspirational word” searches that bring people here… I hope they find something worthy to sustain them on their journey.

2020 has been a wild ride – one of the most peculiar seeming years of my adult life, as far as I can recall. Right up there with 1981 (joined the Army), 1989 (the fall of the Berlin Wall), and 2010 (it’s complicated). It’s not that other years don’t stand out as significant, it’s just that these were “big years” in some harder to pin down way (for me). 2020? Monster year. Plague (well, pandemic). Election year. Black Lives Matter. Australia on fire. California and Oregon on fire. Presidential impeachment. Climate change slowly stops being debated and starts being acknowledged. The “Me Too” movement. RBG died. My Traveling Partner and I bought a home. I mean… yeah. It’s been a big year. I’m glad it’s over.

What about you? Have you taken a moment to reflect on times past? What will you do with the year ahead? Will you fulfill a dream? Reach a goal? Will you persist? Will you let go of old baggage in favor of a new direction in life? Will you change the world?

…I guess we don’t know until we begin again. 🙂 See you in 2021. 😀