Archives for posts with tag: mindfulness

What a peculiar and volatile time we are living in. A pandemic. The struggles of power and the trials of the powerful. Technological advantages changes what it means to be human, and how we think, and perceive the world around us. Social media “access” to the world that gives us each a megaphone to shout our opinions to anyone/everyone, unaware that we are still just as “unheard” as we ever were, but changes the way we hear others nonetheless. Messy. Difficult.

Change is.

First this change, then that change. Another change to another thing. A new different day. Another election or transition of power. Changes of jobs and roles and tasks and circumstances. Breathe through it. Another change is coming. lol Put it all on pause for a moment, and just sit with yourself. Let your thoughts and worries go, for a moment or two at least, and just be. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Tears? Let them come. Laughter? Let it fill you up. Be present and fearlessly authentic in your own life – most especially when it’s just you, in a quiet moment, alone in some quiet place. Give yourself at least that one small opportunity to find calm, and to embrace contentment.

Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Begin again.

Autumn is a season of change.

Fighting off change doesn’t prevent or halt change from coming, but – and this is worth noting – very few of the shadows that fall over us signal impending doom. Most of them are just shadows. 😉

The morning began gently, with coffee shared with my Traveling Partner. It was a lovely quiet morning, followed by what is, so far, an utterly ordinary, rather relaxed work day rather typical of my Fridays. Good enough. The state is back on a strict “lockdown”, and more businesses are shuttered for the time being than were closed two weeks ago. Thanksgiving is coming… there’s still this pandemic going on. No big event for us, just a quiet joyful celebration-for-two at home. Still feels like something to celebrate. I’m certainly adequately thankful.

I eye my cold coffee mug after a last swallow of long-cold coffee. It’s a fine time for a second coffee… and that’s another chance to begin again. 😀

I’m sipping my coffee, quietly reading some news. I give up on it quickly; most of the news is at best a bit of a downer, and at worst holds some amount of potential to be a significant mood-wrecker. I stifle a sneeze, and wonder why I haven’t put a box of tissues in my studio, yet? No, I’m not ill. It’s just a stray sneeze. Dust? Or allergens of some sort. I return to my coffee and my thoughts.

Where does this path lead?

I took my first walk in the countryside since the move, on Saturday. It was a lovely day for it. The entire weekend was sunny. Saturday was pleasantly warm and somewhat mild. Sunday was ferociously hot for the area. I enjoyed both days quite a lot. The walk was lovely, and I am glad I got out on the trail, although most of the walk was simply around and about the new neighborhood. 🙂 Plenty to see, all of it new, most of it entirely ordinary. 🙂 Small pleasures still count as pleasant.

There is the usual assortment of roadside flowers in bloom to be seen along the way.

I walked a bit more than a mile. Far enough to walk a new path, to see some new points of view, and to wave at new neighbors.

I crossed a small foot bridge passing over a small branch of the creek that flows past our house.

The walk was enough to make my ankle ache, by the time I had returned home. Still, I wasn’t in much pain this weekend, and as improvements in quality of life go, a reduction in pain is a good one to enjoy. So, I spent the weekend enjoying that. 🙂

I sip my coffee, now, enjoying my recollections of the weekend just past, and thinking about the day ahead. Later on, I’ll drive “into the city”, which I’m not looking forward to at all. It’s just a necessary errand. Portland is seriously “stirred up” right now, and I’ve no interest in becoming mixed up in that chaos. I looked over my route, yesterday evening, and verified it does not need to take me through the heart of things, down near the courthouse, before confirming my plans. Portland, Oregon, has a lively protest culture, and I have long respected and valued the willingness of Portland’s citizens to take a stand against injustice. That feeling does not diminish the experiences of profound inconvenience and considerable risk that go along with attempting to pass through an area filled with protesters, counter-protesters, and aggressive law enforcement. I make a point of keeping my distance, unless I am intending to be an active participant. Safer.

I notice that thoughts of protests, protesters, and conflict, have caused my heart to pound and my breathing to become shallow. I take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and relax. There is no threat here, just me and this cup of coffee, which I am enjoying very much. I think about my Saturday morning walk, instead, and feel my shoulders relax, and my heartbeat slow down. I sip my coffee and begin to plan my day.

…Pretty routine stuff, but I’ll point out that generally speaking, on the average, things tend to be pretty routine, day-to-day, most particularly if I allow them to be so. I could keep myself constantly in a state of tension, ready for a fight, poised on the edge of drama, constantly examining my experience for threat of danger, or revisiting past conversations looking for an enemy to confront… I know people who do. I once did, myself. It’s not actually a pleasant or comfortable way to live, and it didn’t seem to enhance my quality of life at all – and it didn’t reduce the danger or drama in my life, or do much to actually prepare me to deal with those sorts of things, in fact. It was just uncomfortable and emotionally messy. I’m glad I gave up those practices (and they are experiences that do require practice) in favor of practices that tend to tilt life more in the direction of contentment, joy, ease, and satisfaction in life. Turned out that life itself did not need to change much – it was more about my perspective on life needing a change (and how I treated myself in the context of the events of my life). 🙂

I finish this cup of coffee, on an ordinary enough Monday, beginning a routine sort of day. It’s enough. I begin again. 🙂

It’s early on a Monday morning. The alarm clock was an unwelcome sound, when it went off for the first time in two weeks. I got myself up, did some yoga, made coffee… all very “normal” sorts of workday morning things. I still don’t feel properly awake. I definitely feel “weird” about work. lol This is my first bit of early morning writing in this new space… I fret a bit about whether the sound of my typing will disturb my sleeping partner in the adjacent bedroom, and attempt to “type quietly”, aware of the sound and cadence of my keystrokes. I drink my coffee. I read a bit of the news (before giving up on that quagmire of negativity and emotionally evocative word-smithing in favor of meditation). Seems a routine sort of Monday, thus far, although I’ve yet to dive into the work day ahead.

…I’m mostly just sipping coffee and “soaking in the vibe” of this new place…

Morning coffee; same routine, new location.

There’s the most gentle vague hint of daylight-to-come visible through the view-obscuring-but-not-wholly-opaque window shade. I consider opening that up and letting in the morning light. I don’t actually do anything about it; I just sit here sipping my coffee rather contentedly. It’s enough.

There’s ever so much more to write “about” this move that is, in most respects, now behind me (us), but today, this morning, does not feel like the time to do that. It’s easy enough to celebrate the successes, to share what worked, to acknowledge what has gone well…and I’m entirely made of human. It’s a given, is it not, that more than a few things likely didn’t go ideally well, and maybe a thing or two went so badly sideways that the emotional hurts still linger? I assure you, there is much to consider, with care and with love and with compassion, before I am really up for talking about painful moments, upsets, complications, or hurt feelings, mostly because that was the rare and the few and the limited of all the many moments I shared with my Traveling Partner during this move – and we’re still getting work done on the moving in piece, even though the moving out is completed. I’m still celebrating the wins and savoring the successes – and I’m definitely sure those matter most. There is time later for reflection. 🙂

This past weekend felt more like a “regular weekend” than it felt like part of moving. Win! We grilled on the deck. We watched favorite shows. (We continued to unpack! lol) We kept things tidy. My Traveling Partner did some important household repair tasks. We each did routine chores like laundry, dishes, and taking out the trash. Humans living life. Simple, wholesome, very “normal” stuff… the new normal, here, at home. It seems enough. 🙂

New day ahead, new view, and new perspective.

I glance at the time, and into my empty coffee mug. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

It is the Sunday before a Monday – the Monday that I return to work, after taking time off to move, actually. I woke peculiarly early on a day I could have slept in. My Traveling Partner was also up early. We enjoyed our coffee together, listening to jazz, and discussing politics in a genial, civil way. We disagree about some things, small details mostly, and it’s rather pleasant to share, discuss, and acknowledge those differences without a shit-storm of drama or ire. Reasonable people, discussing things in a reasonable way. 🙂 Nice start to a Sunday.

In most regards, today, specifically, is a day I’ll use to “get back on track” with various routine matters of home-care and quality of life management. I’ll do some basics that generally “feel like” Sunday to me, personally. I’ll take out the trash (making a point to empty all the little waste baskets that sit conveniently in every room), and the recycling (making a point to break down any recent boxes that have arrived in the past day or two, preventing those from piling up unattractively). I’ll double-check that the pantry is well-stocked, and make a list of things that are running low or gone; I may not go to the store on a Sunday, but I like to have a list ready. Today, on this particular Sunday, I’ll also log into all my work tools, here in my new studio/office, and make sure that I have reliable connectivity, and that my tools and equipment are wholly set up and ready-to-go for what will likely be a very busy week. I’ve made little notes for myself, too, and these I’ll add to my Sunday “to do list”, too, there are various small useful errands on little notes in my notebook (we did not have connectivity for nearly two weeks, so a lot got written down on paper). One of those notes reminds me “write a blog post”, and so, of course, I do… 🙂

Most of my lists are simply practical reminders of what I’d like to get done. I carry a wee Rite in the Rain notebook, tucked in my purse, or a pocket, for convenience. 🙂

I sip my coffee, eyeing the worn rather old etched slate coaster on my desk. It’s been thoroughly cleaned since the move, but looks perpetually dirty. The worn inelegant surface hints at many years of use. The thin crack that runs across the surface suggests it has been kept for some reason beyond function or aesthetics. I smile. It reminds me of my Granny. It came from her kitchen. “Can I have this one?” I’d asked, on a visit to her home on Frenchtown Rd, many years ago (1997?). “Sure, Sweetie.” She’d replied with an indulgent smile. I didn’t expect it to be my last visit. I’m sure she didn’t either. We are mortal creatures, and our lives are finite, each moment precious. I find myself tearing up a bit, wishing sentimentally she had lived to see my Traveling Partner and I moved into our home together. She would have been so pleased for us. There’s even room for her to have visited, quite comfortably…

A souvenir of “home” – or, at least, of the places I come from.

The open window beyond my desk doesn’t have much of a “view”, and I already love the view it does have. It functions a bit as a “blank page” for writing, and has few “distractions” or features to draw my eye inadvertently. The two rather poorly pruned pear trees dangle fruit-laden branches over the new fence. I smile, even at the less-than-ideally leveled fence boards. Our neighbors replaced the falling down fence between our yards the very week we moved in. It’s clear they had not built a fence before. Funny that the quirks of this new fence provide more kind humor than irritation, for me. The neighbors are pleasant kind people, and the community is very welcoming. This new place already feels like home. In short, I like it here, and I love this house. 🙂 I expect I’ll spend many contented hours writing, and painting. (The closet in my studio is filled with stored art. I chuckle to myself at the possibility that what stops me painting, often, is more to do with having so many laying about than any lack of inspiration in the moment. LOL)

A closet full of paintings, neatly stacked by size. Some will hang, some will sell, some will linger waiting for their moment.

I finish the last sip of my now-cold coffee, and think over the day ahead. I hear my Traveling Partner call my name from somewhere else in the house; we’re still not used to having the extra bit of room that makes trying to talk to each other from different spaces sort of silly. I smile. It’s time to begin again.

There have been a lot of rainy mornings, lately. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy. It’s rainy this year. It’s been raining, mostly, for what feels like weeks. I’m not even complaining; I like the rain. I sit here sipping my coffee contentedly, listening to the rain spilling over the clogged gutters on this rented duplex. It’s been pretty comfortable here, generally. The few things that are not as I’d like are, unfortunately, things the landlord takes care of, and that’s been complicated by the pandemic. I sip my coffee and think over which ones matter most, and wonder whether I will live up to my commitment to myself to take care of those things with greater skill, care, and timeliness as a homeowner? I like to think I will…

…The rain falls. I sip coffee. The morning shifts from “before work” to “work”. It’s an easy adjustment these days; it has become routine. I’ve grown comfortable with working from home. My Traveling Partner is considerate and supportive of the change in lifestyle. (I’m fairly certain he enjoys having me home more… I know I enjoy not having to commute through traffic.) Hell, I think I enjoy my job even more, working from home, which I did not expect at all. 🙂 Bonus.

We continue to prepare for the move, and I continue to count down the days. I’m often distracted with it, occasionally scrambling to pull my consciousness back to “now”, when I realize I’ve been considering, again, some small specific detail that honestly can’t be sorted out properly until the time comes. I smile to myself. Managing my excitement gives me lots of opportunities for practicing mindfulness – just as managing my anxiety would. I definitely prefer the excitement to the anxiety. I notice again how similar those states can feel, physically. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let it go.

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.

I think back to that painful move out of a shared living situation, into my wee solo domicile at #27. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s been 5 years, now. I put my will and my energy into “embracing change”, and finding my own way. In the five years since then, I’ve done a lot to heal and grow. I find myself embracing change again, moving again, and feeling content and prepared. It’s a lovely change from the heartsick uncertainty of that abrupt move 5 years ago.

“Stay on the path” was a regular reminder to myself then, and it served me well (then, and since). No map, though, and this path is not well illuminated. I’ve stumbled a time or two. I’ve taken some wrong turns, and made some “route changes” along the way. Life does not come equipped with “GPS” for our decision-making. 🙂 It’s a very human experience.

I smile, sip my coffee, and reflect on 5 years of progress. I remind myself, again, to “stay on the path”. My results may vary, but I can always begin again. It’s enough. 🙂