Archives for posts with tag: my own best friend

Where am I headed? Easy enough to know where I began, I suppose, or where I begin, now. Here? Over there? Somewhere near at hand, if the journey is to be successful; it’s difficult to go from “here” to “there”, if my understanding of what “here” is, is at odds with the practical of matter of where here is, in fact. lol That’s one major detail that presents each of us with a unique-feeling challenge; if our understanding of reality is notably different than what reality actually seems to be, it’s hard to navigate reality in an effective way, right? Definitely harder to communicate with those around us who don’t share our view.

Unavoidably, while some of what we understand of the world around us is demonstrably “real”… some of it is bullshit we made up in our heads, without any kind of validation, fact-checking, or even a quick look at the world around us. Less than ideally useful, I think. We can do better. We probably ought to consider other options than storming the fucking capitol or hitting someone when we’re angry; there are better choices that map more accurately to the real world, and the needs of our communities, families, and selves. 😉

Near or far, we don’t see what is beyond our horizon.

Any way, I’m just saying… every morning we each get a new start, if we choose to accept it. We stand in some moment, on a new day (with or without coffee), and we take that next step along our path. Choose your path. Consider it with care. Where are you headed? Will this path even take you there? I sip my coffee thinking about the day and weekend ahead. Thinking about “my path”, and this strange journey through my chaos and damage, seeking a sense of well-being, seeking “wholeness”, seeking to more fully understand and more skillfully make use of agency, to embrace accountability and responsibility, to serve family, and community, and to be the woman (the human being) I most want to be. It’s January 8th. 8 Years ago, I started this blog, and started down this path…

The path isn’t straight, the destination isn’t obvious, but the journey must continue.

I reflect on this journey, thus far. I’ve come a long way from that despairing woman, exhausted by her personal demons, worn down by years of poor self-care and less-than-ideal mental health – and problematic relationships. I was not even certain I wanted to go on living. (Despair is ugly shit.) I had choices to make. I still expected clear answers to existential questions. I still wanted certainty about the outcome… or the point. The first steps on this peculiar new path didn’t take me very far. I wasn’t sure I was moving at all. No sense of “forward momentum” and some of the days felt “sticky” and gummed up with years and years of baggage and bullshit, that had festered for so long it seemed to much to process, at all. More than once, that first year, I just wanted to give up… or destroy something. Anything. I needed so desperately to feel that some kind of progress was being made. Incremental change over time is often an almost imperceptibly slow thing.

It may not be the shortest path – but this journey isn’t a race, or a contest – I’ll just keep walking.

These are such personal journeys, these human lives we lead. Each step our own… whether we choose it or are forced upon it, these are still our steps, our miles… our choices. Don’t like where you seem to be headed? Choose another path.

Change is a verb – and also an outcome. Where does the path lead?

So many steps, miles, verbs, choices, practices… and so much change over 8 years time. If I’d had to know, then, that it would be 8 years to “now” – this now – I’m not sure I could have endured the journey. It’s felt very “now” all this time, looking back on the path now and then, looking ahead on the path stretching before me, for as far as I could see… and walking on. Breathing. Exhaling. Reflecting. Finding those moments to be truly the woman I most want to be, and really enjoying those. Being.

Building the path as I walk it.

Sometimes the way ahead in life doesn’t appear to be an easy journey at all. We spend our lives becoming. Finding our way. Wandering. Questioning. What if – just hear me out on this – what if that’s really the point of it? To become. To discover. To learn. To ask. To wonder. It’s a question I find worth considering now and then.

Coffee’s finished. The day ahead unfolds gently. There’s an easy smile hovering at the corners of my mouth in spite of the pointlessly serious expression I feel on my face. There’s this day – and this journey – ahead of me, and it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

Where does this path lead? I guess that’s always a question. 🙂

Stay on the path. We become what we practice.

I intend to approach this one somewhat thoughtfully, and with great care, perhaps working on it through the day rather than dashing it off in-the-moment, over coffee.

Pausing to reflect on what is, what isn't, and what has changed.

Pausing to reflect on what is, what isn’t, and what has changed.

Yesterday was an interesting mix of personal achievement, small stressors, emotional moments, and OPD; it was short on connection, and long on opportunities to practice good emotional self-care, without being tragic, or overwhelming. The challenges of yesterday didn’t linger, or carry over to this morning. I am smiling, even though I slept poorly and too little, plagued by nightmares so vile and personal that more than once I sat quietly for many minutes, trembling, controlling my breathing and reassuring myself that it would be safe to return to sleep, while the denizens of The Nightmare City mocked me in the background. I woke this morning, free of any strain or lingering suffering, any hint of nightmares behind me; they were only dreams.

My Big 5 relationship values haven’t changed much since I recognized their importance and framed them up in simple words. The importance of Respect, Reciprocity, Consideration, Openness, and Compassion still seem obvious to me and still feel non-negotiable.  I’ve changed some, though, and grown as a person. I am more easily able to live up to my own values, even in relationships where those values are not shared, and in associations in which emphasis is placed on very different values than those I find comfortable, myself. I am more easily able to refrain from taking someone else’s values personally, too, a necessary skill in a world where free will offers so many options. My will to live my Big 5 is strong; I still need lots of practice. I am learning to treat myself with great kindness when I don’t live up to these profoundly powerful values in some moment; they are a lot to live up to, and I am quite human. There are more opportunities to grow, to improve on how I live my values, and most importantly – on how I communicate those values to others, set limits and boundaries relevant to my values, and express what I need from others to feel well-treated, appreciated, and heard.

There are going to be moments, and relationships, in which my Big 5 values are not shared, not honored, not valued – or just not reciprocated (as in those among us whose approach is ‘sure, I like it when you are considerate to me, but I have no intention of being considerate to you’ – a circumstance that plays out in the world with unfortunate frequency, in a variety of interactions). Commonplace, really, and an experience that tests my ability to be accepting and content, compassionate, and attentive to the actions that support my needs; being treated poorly can be very distracting from the things that matter most.  Why someone else has the values they do, why they take the actions they take, or make the choices they do aren’t really my concern. How I treat myself matters a great deal.

The path is mine to choose... or not.

The path is mine to choose… or not.

The journey from The Big 5 to The Art of Being is an exciting adventure. The path veered sort of suddenly, it seemed, and metaphorically I found myself at an unmarked trail-head, wondering whether the sudden feeling of panic and dread were just demons howling within; it’s not a journey my demons can make with me, and one by one as they fall, or take a more subdued tone, the load lightens enough for this more challenging – and more rewarding – change in direction. I am ready to enjoy me, myself, so much more than I knew I could, before now.

Opening the next door...

Opening the next door…facing the next mystery…taking the next step.

Let’s be clear; there are still practices to practice, self-care needs that require continuous awareness and management, choices to make, verbs to put into action… none of this is ‘over night’ or even ‘easy’; the most profound epiphany is simply a door left ajar, and it remains a matter of intent, will, and action to step over that threshold.  Progress often comes with new hurdles – moments of recognition that not only am I walking my own path (and must) but also that the direction I take is so exclusively my own I am also having to learn new skills to cope compassionately with relationships straining under the weight of change. Any increase in autonomy, in self-direction, and in improved boundary-setting hold the potential to be met with resistance, objections, a lack of understanding, or a lack of support; knowing this does not make those moments less challenging, and it does not direct my decision-making. So often it is tempting to yield, to give up, to say ‘okay, you win, I’ll just…’ – only… I won’t ‘just’, anymore. I have chosen to live my life, mindfully by preference and intention, practicing the practices that make that a reality – and like solar walkway lights in the garden, the small improvements in the quality of my experience over time, the improvements in emotional resilience, and those powerful ‘aha!’ moments when something works just as I had hoped it would, add up to something pretty wonderful, illuminating – and incredibly encouraging when I face the darkness that sometimes still catches me unaware.

Mistakes will be made.

Mistakes will be made.

The Art of Being is like an exotic destination vacation; I dream of reaching that place, I study, I explore the options for getting there, I investigate what it may be like before I get there… I practice the skills, thinking, and behavior that are most likely to take me there, with the fervor of saving up for a long-desired vacation; incremental change over time is a reliable mode of transportation on a journey of personal growth. I smile more, lately, as though sharing a precious secret with a very close friend. You know where this is going, right? That precious friend is the woman in the mirror; without her, not one step of this journey can be made.

Today is a good day to face the world with a smile, making my own way, on my own terms. Today is a good day to be able to count on myself to treat myself well. Today is a good day for change.