Archives for posts with tag: my home my rules my way

Has it been since Tuesday since I’ve written? Like… at all? Conversations with friends…? Few. Posts on feeds? Rare. Emails to dear ones? Nope, none of those, either. Snail mail to aging relatives? Uh-uh. Nope. I’m off my letters and words, apparently. The combination of changes large and small, from daylight savings time (why are we still doing this??) to lifestyle changes associated with my Traveling Partner moving in, to commute and work changes that are part of changing jobs, even to the weather has it tries to shift toward spring… it’s too much, somehow, and I’ve been mostly unable to find myself sitting in this chair, writing. It’s “just not happening”, which is to say, I’m somehow not choosing to do it, nor feeling compelled to do anything about that, generally. How odd.

A view on the rainy Tuesday morning commute.

…I rarely have what could be called “dry spells”, with regard to writing. I do with painting, regularly, actually. I go months without painting, and think nothing of it, then suddenly exhaust myself in a creative frenzy, sometimes not eating, sleeping, or caring for myself at all properly – then wander the house a grinning caricature of an adult, admiring my handiwork for hours or days until returning to routines and self-care, and relative normalcy. Writing, though? That’s a day-to-day, part-of-who-I-am thing that typically drives other habits, and even my experience of time, itself. How strange to put an eye on this keyboard and find that I’m not especially interested… even though I am missing that moment with a peculiar yearning, also.

Wednesday, an efficient commute by car suddenly halted by a collision in the other lane, caused by less efficient commuting.

So… I’m sort of hit or miss right now. Inconvenient for that elusive concept of “regular readers” or any sort of reliably cadence to support a comfortable routine for others… but… this is me, and this is, right here, my actual life. 🙂 I’m figuring you may even understand, possibly better than I do myself. I’ve no real idea of what to expect of being “emotionally well” or “mentally healthy”, as a long-term state of being… is that what this is? Am I learning that it is safe to let go of habitual behavior, and safe to soften my routines? Is it? Is it, perhaps, simply a period of accommodation as I sort things out – so much has changed in such a short time. Maybe I am just working through those details, finding new ways?

Thursday, 7:00 a.m. looking a bit different after the time change. (Why are we still doing this??)

Anyway. I’m here. I’m well. I’m even, quite actually, fine. Life feels good. Love feels steady, reliably, and heated in this delicious way that defies description (without risking becoming pornographic, and this is not that blog).

It definitely feels like it is “all blue skies” right now. 🙂 I’m enjoying it while it lasts. 😀

Are you well? Are you on the path to becoming the person you most want to be? If you stay on that path, continue to treat yourself, and others, well, and continue to do the verbs it takes to get to the places in life you wish to go… you’ll surely arrive at a destination. What will you do when you get there?

Have you prepared for success?

What does your vision of success even look like?

Wait, don’t rush to answer – please avoid confusing this idea of success with anything to do with anyone else’s notion of success than your own, or confusing it with the very limited, basic, fairly bullshit, concept of financial success. I’m not here writing about fat bank accounts, and I’m pretty sure that’s not where human success lies. I mean, when you look into the mirror, and the person looking back at you is content, whole, emotionally intelligent, considerate, interested in a broader sense of well-being for more of the world than just themselves, and is, actually, the human being you most want to be, benevolently and merrily smiling back at you, relaxed, and capable… what will you do with that? Are you ready for that? Are you even aware it may be an outcome you could one day have to face?

And what if your dear ones don’t make that journey, themselves? What will you do then? Will you slide back into the muck in one callous moment of arrogance and disregard, unaware that could be a risk? Will you be there with and for them, regardless, because love matters more?

Who will you be, when you are the person you most want to be? Will you be aware of your arrival at that point, when you get there?

Questions over coffee on a quiet Saturday morning. My Traveling Partner sleeps. I write. Soon, I’ll head to brunch with a friend, and enjoy a lovely morning. Maybe head downtown afterward, and drop off some things at the office – while street parking is cheap and plentiful – or… maybe not. 🙂

I’m just living my life. It feels… good. 🙂

It’s time to begin again. 😀

We are each having our own experience. As true in this calm moment as in any moment of chaos. 🙂 I sip my morning coffee, already cold because I got caught up in listening to music, and chatting with a friend online. I don’t mind. The music – and the friendship – are very much worth my time.

I sit here contentedly musing over the conversations of the week behind me, and the evening, last night. It was an excellent first week at the new job. It resonates pleasantly in my memory. My Traveling Partner and I worked out plans to do with benefit selections, and changes to the budget for the year to come. No stress, anxiety, even though the topic was definitely to do with money. I smile and let myself recognize the growth that experience implies – and the healing. I’ve come along way with myself, and savoring that awareness is, itself, a form of growth and healing. 🙂

At one point, we decided to watch a couple of videos that intend to contrast “get ahead habits” with “fall behind habits”. Both had excellent content, in some regards. Both were also deeply flawed, depending on context, perspective, and framing. This presented a challenge for me; I was viewing them from an awareness of other experiences that made some of the points in these videos… problematic. For one thing, I’ve told you that these were videos about getting ahead versus falling behind, but the content creators don’t actually frame them up that way at all; they say the videos are about “poor people” versus “rich people”. I found that, frankly, highly objectionable, and it kept getting in my way of my ability to listen deeply to the actual points being made, which in several cases had real value. More than anything, the implicit definition of “rich” as de facto equivalent with “successful”, “deserving”, or “good”, and of “poor” in a litany of negative ways presented with a shaming tone was super aggravating. The videos were purposefully made with a very particular demographic in mind; people who want to get ahead in life, from where they are right now. Rich versus poor is a common enough false dichotomy in our culture, and it’s also not uncommon to blame poor people for poverty, or to treat rich people as though they are also ethical, and deserving. I just also think it’s fucking mean to take that approach.

Here’s the thing, though; the content has value. The points being made were not in error, generally. The points were merely drastically over-simplified, lacking in nuance, and stripped of context – in order to make those points more obvious to an audience that may not understand. The terms “rich” and “poor” weren’t being defined with any clarity to provide context – rich is rich, and in the videos no distinction is made between wealth gained through ill means (fraud, theft, exploitation), inheritance, or good fortune, and wealth gained through skillful endeavors. Actually, and I think it is what was annoying me most, the videos very carefully imply that all wealth gained is a goodness, and eschew any discussion of ethics. Same with poverty. The content providers allow an implication that enduring poverty rests on the decision-making of the poor, without even a hat tip to misfortune, institutional racism, or the very real limitations our culture has placed on people’s access to the tools and knowledge that might ease their scramble from poverty to… not being held back by poverty. The content only has two options: rich or poor. No discussion of middle-class success… or any discussion of success versus wealth – conflating cash hoarding with success in life tends to lock out viewers who might see success quite differently than a mountain of cash.

I watched them again this morning, and considered the points from many angles, allowing myself to “talk back” to the faceless narrator. I got more from them the second time through. I still think the content could have been more nuanced, deeper, more authentic, and more informed by explicit discussion of ethics, success, and happiness “metrics” that are more legitimate than a bank balance. I ask too much; the content provider knows their trade. I am not their audience – I am an eavesdropper gleaning something useful from a discussion that doesn’t have much to do with me, really. The target audience may not have the will or interest in also learning to live well, behave ethically, be their best selves, and treat others (and the world) well. They aren’t there yet. They just don’t want to be poor. An understandable position to take, and I hope they succeed at escaping poverty.

I hear my Traveling Partner stir in the other room. The weekend is here. I smile and finish my cold coffee. It’s time to begin again. 😀

I woke up to snowfall this morning. That wasn’t much of a surprise, honestly; weather forecasting has gotten pretty good over the years, as data sets build in size over generations of meteorological expertise also accumulated. Even in weather forecasting, incremental improvements over time are a thing. 🙂

My first look at winter storm “Maya”, before dawn. 

Rather a lot of snow for this area. Rather peculiarly late in the year, being, already, mid-February. I sip my coffee, which turned out rather poorly for some reason, and consider Winter. I think of my Traveling Partner, who headed out yesterday, late in the afternoon, to head south for a gig, and to pick up more of his stuff to continue the moving home process (almost completed). I missed him, some, within minutes of his departure, but also enjoyed the quiet, after a very busy week of moving things in, moving things around, and getting caught up and settled in together in shared living space long-term. It was a pleasant and deeply connected week. I sit for some minutes, reflecting on love, loving, and being loved.

This morning, the world quieted by a blanket of snow, alone with my coffee, I miss him much more.

I had made brunch plans with a friend, for this morning…lol.

…Doesn’t look like I’m going to brunch. Thanks, no, I’m good here at home. lol

Oh, I know, this “isn’t that much snow”. It’s only 4 inches or so, and lots of places in this country that wouldn’t even slow folks down. I get it. People here aren’t used to it, and they drive exactly as though they aren’t used to it; they don’t have the right skills (or gear) for these conditions, making driving doubly hazardous. The communities, by and large, at least in this metro area, also don’t do shit to clear the snow and ice from the roads, they just let it sit there until it is gone, mostly… which… yeah. Wtf? lol I don’t know. Not my circus, not my monkeys. What I do know is that it was a wise choice to do the grocery shopping yesterday, and to bring my laptop home with me from the office, Thursday after work. I’m well-prepared, even if I am stuck here for days.

I over think a detail, and step through the house turning faucets to drip very slowly, hoping to prevent any pipes from freezing. I don’t need that headache, for sure, and it is quite cold. 🙂

Daybreak unfolds, and the sky lightens. I notice small birds here and there, and get up to put out bird seed, peanuts, and dry corn, for my furred and feathered neighbors. Within a handful of minutes, it looks like a forest-creature version of Hometown Buffet on my deck. I sit with my coffee awhile, delighted with their presence, and pleased with my forethought while I was shopping yesterday.

Minutes later, visitors still coming and going, lots of kinds of tracks in the fresh snow.

Winter comes when it comes. It’s like a lot of things in life that may take us by surprise. We can be prepared for so much. Sometimes, we won’t be. Planning helps with that. Being aware of conditions is also a step toward wisdom, generally. Being willing to “take care of” a future we can’t see, with our choices in the moment, can definitely have the potential to turn disaster to mere circumstance, of little consequence. It’s not easy, though; there’s no map. No clear timeline of all the shit that could go wrong in life. Things change – and change again. All of this also applies to great good fortune, and circumstances that are wholly positive, and also characterized by change and upheaval. What are you going to do about it? Prepare skillfully, or just take that wild ride hoping for the best?

Last summer I bought de-icer for the driveway, even though I didn’t know if I would need it. On February 1st, I noticed it there, and found myself amused, because it really seemed, just then, a complete waste of money. 8 days later, snow everywhere, I’m pretty appreciative to have it; I’m likely going to need it. Same with the winter-strength washer fluid I put in the car. The upgraded all-weather tires, replaced in October, too – all part of preparing for a winter that seemed not to come, after all… until last night. I’m just saying; look ahead in life, as far as you are able. Go ahead and make room in your experience (and your budget) to take steps that will ease you into positive outcomes. Why not?

Winter comes when it comes. This is a metaphor.

Even when I haven’t had the financial resources to put a lot of money into such planning ahead, the reality is that there are not only helpful other things one can do, it’s also helpful simply to prepare my mind for those potential events. I don’t mean to suggest endlessly agonizing over shit that hasn’t happened, but could, getting all hung up and anxious over the future, which doesn’t exist yet outside our thoughts. Not at all. I’m suggesting simply allowing yourself to consider things, evaluate their likelihood, and be mentally (and where possible, logistically) prepared for the most likely of those.

The pay off in taking care of myself, both right here and now, and also looking ahead to support my needs over time, is that, this morning I am sipping hot coffee, warm, dry, and comfortable, with a well-stocked pantry, plenty of books to read, and a day ahead of me to enjoy at leisure. (I’m suddenly feeling, also, alarmingly privileged to be so well-supported by my planning – but also by my circumstances; I am fortunate, and yeah, that does matter, too. I take time to quietly contemplate what I can do, from right here, to help others who may not be so well situated on a cold winter day, instead of sitting on my ass contentedly enjoying gas heat, and a snow day. It’s a small world, and a smaller community, and we’re all in this together.)

My coffee is gone. The birdseed has been picked clean from the deck. It is daylight, and I hear an occasional car brave the steep hill of the road I live on. A new day starts here. 🙂

 

Well… I guess I slept 12 hours… sort of. I mean, I did call it a night quite early (shortly after 7pm), and I did go to bed and fall asleep early. I got up to face the day shortly after 7am this morning. That would appear to be… 12 hours of sleep. My fitness tracker observes that I didn’t actually get to sleep until somewhat later… 8:27pm, actually. I was up a couple times during the night, although not for very long, but the sleep I got is measured on my tracker as a bit less than 10 hours. Still… lovely restful night, right? Nope. Not even close.

…I was probably looking forward to it too much… maybe?

I sip my coffee and let it go; life has some disappointing moments. Some on a grand scale (we shut down the government, over a grown man having a fucking tantrum about a wall to solve a non-existent problem that can’t be solved with wall-building? for fucks’ sake, really??) and some on a scale so small as to be difficult to describe quite as disappointment – like sleeping somewhat restlessly for 10 hours, when I was so eager to sleep deeply for an undetermined period and simply wake without the alarm. lol It’s not worth being aggravated about, really, considering the scale of so many of life’s other disappointments (we elected what to the office of president? really??)

It’s a new day. My coffee is hot, delicious, and the mug comfortably warm in my hands.

Still getting used to the view; change is a constant in life.

I scrolled through my Facebook feed last night, while the evening wound down, and it was disappointing that it was filled with friends sharing a post that a friend shared, from another friend somewhere else, who also shared it because they were also struck by it in some way (amusing, annoying, familiar, cool, or somehow otherwise seeming shareworthy)… but I don’t know those people, and I don’t much care about their words in my feed… not as much as I want to actually hear from my friends about their own life and experiences, in their own words. Facebook made a big deal about connecting us. Doesn’t seem like it has actually worked out quite that way. We’ve simply become a product, and the application has become a drug. I continue to work at using it differently – and less.

Tl;dr on that one? Fuck “social media”. Let’s be social.

A side remark about Basic Income right here; it’s not a freebie if it is reasonable compensation for our data. I just have to call out that data has come to have significant intrinsic value to both business and government. Basic income, as I see it, could simply be the payment made by government, to individuals, on behalf of business, which (should) pays taxes – in part to cover the value of the data they harvest from individuals – resulting in reasonable compensation for our data (and perhaps making us more willing to share more of it contentedly), over our lifetimes, and basic income to support us in maintaining good quality of life. Why not? Right now… we’re being grossly exploited by both business and government, stealing our data, giving us nothing in return worth having (looking your way Facebook).

Returning to the moment, and the morning, and still enjoying my still hot coffee, I give some thought to the day ahead. I go looking, specifically, for implicit expectations, and lingering assumptions, that could wreck my day (or at least my mood), before I get out in the world where such things have more profound impact. This weekend is about rest. Housework. Painting. Mostly about rest. And housework, too, though. Well… I’d also like to paint… lol. I laugh at myself over the dithering.

Pause. Breathe. Take a moment. It can be simpler.

I feel more rested this morning than I did yesterday evening. No surprise there, in spite of the restless night, I slept enough hours to wake mostly fairly refreshed. Rested enough to really see the housekeeping that needs to be done (I bitch, because it doesn’t fit my own expectations of myself, but it’s not that bad, I literally need to vacuum and do laundry, not much else). The everyday upkeep and maintenance of good quality of life for one adult by one adult isn’t that much to handle, generally; I tidy up as I go, most of the time, and try to spend 1 hour each day doing the needful things around the house. By the time the weekend comes, it’s not all that much to finish off whatever I slacked on during the week – in this case, that appears to be the laundry, which I obviously attempted to pre-sort at some point, resulting in lingering piles of color or fabric-sorted clothes all over my fucking bedroom floor. lol When had I started the process of doing the damned laundry…? Right. I hadn’t quite finished it on Monday, which was a holiday. (I can be reliably counted on to slack on a holiday, I admit it.)

I look around the studio, I’d also left it ready to return to the easel (or tabletop, or drop-cloth on the floor), also on Monday. My brain snaps back a witty retort, “what the fuck did you actually do in the evenings all damned week?” I laughingly acknowledge I just don’t get much done on work nights; there’s little evening left, and I actually have been trying to stay on top of my self-care, first. The basics. Showers. Yoga. Exercise. A healthy meal cooked at home. Meditation. Well. Shit. There’s an entire evening of activity, right there. If I add to that “good sleep hygiene” – which includes a regular “bedtime” generally, I’ve quickly run out of time – there’s really only 4 hours or so of “evening” after work, less if I end up staying late in the office. Still… it’s pretty nice to have a head start on the laundry (I did manage to keep it well sorted lol) and the studio is delightfully ready for me to get back to it, any time I choose to. 😀

I grin at myself and finish my first cup of coffee on a misty Saturday morning. A friend I haven’t sat down with in a fair while invited me to brunch. A nice start to the day, really, even if life itself is not as advertised, and can’t really ever measure up to the fantastical daydreams I wove into my consciousness as a younger woman, this “now”, right here? Pretty fucking nice. (You like it? I built it myself… 😉 ) It’s enough. I’m enough. So are you. Sure, we can probably be more than we are, do a better job at living our lives, make our choices more skillfully – and there’s time to practice and do all those things. You can get started on that, any time. It’s okay to be okay with this, here, now, too. It’s a good place to start from, on a new journey.

“Life Sparkles (with the love we feel)” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas w/glow and glitter 2018 (sorry about my shadow; tough one to photograph)

I’m ready to begin again. 🙂

 

Sipping coffee and thinking about cautions and warnings and good advice at the last possible minute, and strong recommendations against very foolhardy actions. All of that? Don’t do those things! lol From the earliest “don’t put that in your mouth” observations from childhood to the latest-in-life reminders to “wrap it up”, “vaccinate”, “don’t drive drunk” or “don’t reheat reheated leftovers again, especially after they’ve been out on the counter for hours”… and the lingering, oft-repeated, equally often disregarded “what the fuck are you doing??” – Don’t do the thing!!

I’m just noticing, I guess, how frequently the cautionary advice in life is seriously fucking basic.

It makes sense to refrain from just picking shit up off the floor or the ground and sticking it your mouth. Just saying, we generally grow out of that impulse fairly young, but… I do actually know folks who are “bare backing” their casual sexual encounters and don’t seem to realize how stupid “aw, hell, I mean, they don’t look like they have vd…” actually sounds. Excuses about not getting the flu shot don’t sound more reasoned. People still choose – deliberately choose – to drive while intoxicated, or exhausted. People still disregard the basics of kitchen hygiene at home and make themselves or their loved ones sick with food borne illnesses, regularly (they’d never pay money to eat in that kitchen, though, and they’d raise hell if they got food poisoning from a restaurant).

Take care of yourself. Skillfully done, good self-care enhances a lifetime – potentially a longer one. I’m not sure it even takes more effort to heed wise cautions, and to care for ourselves with the same attention we bring to our jobs. Isn’t it mostly a matter of choices? Of listening? Of acting in our own best (long-term) interests?

What’s stopping you? What’s holding you back from a life well-lived, and from enjoying the results of good decision-making?

I reflect on my own failures to take my own best advice to heart. I reflect on how my emotional qualify of life can influence my practical decision-making. I consider where I can improve, and what choices I can make differently, every day. I find myself wondering if taking steps to practice the very best, most skillful, self-care has any positive outcome for the world… or just for me…

…Soon enough, I notice it is already time to begin again. 🙂