Archives for posts with tag: no map

Sometimes we choose change. Sometimes change is simply part of the flow of events around us and we see it coming. Sometimes change is dropped on us unexpectedly, rocking us off our center and creating chaos.

This week I got laid off from a job I really enjoyed. Good culture. Great colleagues. Good pay and benefits. I’ll miss all of that. Change is.

Getting the news in the moment was hard. It was unexpected, and it was an intensely emotional personal experience in a professional setting. Uncomfortable. I feel fortunate to have experience practicing non-attachment. I feel fortunate to have a romantic partnership built on shared values and mutual respect that supports and encourages me through change. I feel fortunate that we are relatively well-prepared for something like this, and that the job market looks very promising, in spite of so much news about companies doing lay-offs. (There are just as many articles about companies hiring, and no shortage of opportunities in my feeds.) So, it becomes a matter of practices (like meditation, like non-attachment, like good self-care) suddenly becoming relevant (…”this is not a drill!”), and supremely helpful.

I woke yesterday to the relative luxury of my time being wholly my own. I took time to get a sunrise walk in, camera in hand. Spent some hours in the co-work space I favor, focused on various job search tasks. Got my unemployment claim started. Kicked off a variety of queries of job postings of various sorts. Applied for a couple that look like a decent fit for my skills, mostly to get comfortable with the process again. In due time, the interviews will begin to dictate my time, and eventually it’ll be back to work. ๐Ÿ™‚

This morning, after my morning camera hike, I went back to the house for a leisurely morning coffee with my Traveling Partner. It was a relaxed morning of this-n-that, and then back to the co-work space. Later I’ll do some leg-work for my partner’s business. Life feels pretty good.

Change is. I don’t expect this will “always” feel easy, but I sure am enjoying that it feels easy right now.

I look at the clock and grin; it doesn’t dictate my experience right now. It’s still time to begin again.

I enjoyed my recent days of camping quite a lot. I went alone into the forest, and I spent my hours and days in solitude. It was lovely. I went out figuring that the primary activity would be, with fair certainty, a lot of hiking. I was so wrong about what I needed (and possibly, also about “who I am” in some sense). I spent by far the majority of my time simply sitting in quiet meditation – no real “activity”, at all – gazing into the leaves, and into the sky, and through the forest, into the trees.

The perspective I had been seeking turned out to be, generally, very near where I had pitched my tent.

I mean, sure, I put some miles on these boots, no question, more than 5 miles a day, on lovely trails, some shaded, some sunny, and enjoyed each step, and each new observation.

Each step along this path has been worthy in it’s own distinct way, although I don’t always see it at the time I take the step, and the way ahead is not always obvious.

I returned home aware that in any practical regard, what I was seeking turned out to be something I took into the forest with me. It’s built on my every day meditation practice. It was much more obvious, after a few days of any-time-at-all-no-timer-no-clock meditation practice that what I was feeling in the weeks leading up to my camping trip was, perhaps more than anything else, simply that my practice had become inconsistent day-to-day, and I had begun choosing to use my time quite differently, while allowing myself to feel I was “still practicing” (well, sure, in a hit or miss, “only most days, sort of, but not always” sort of way) – and the practical reality was, in fact, that I wasn’t practicing with the consistency that is very much a feature of practice, itself. Well, damn.

…I’d love to enthusiastically chime in, right about here, with something wholly encouraging about “beginning again”, and while, yes, sure, that’s a thing I have going for me, any time, the truth is also that I rather annoyingly allowed myself to be bamboozled by my monkey-mind, always so eager to embrace the next distraction. A “simple” course-correction on this path still requires a healthy dose of verbs, something beyond intention, real decision-making, commitment, and oh, right, following that? Action. Repetition. Practice. (You know, the doing kind of practice!) I smile with some patience and familiarity; I’ve been here before. I’m entirely made of human. ๐Ÿ™‚

I sip my coffee contentedly, this morning. Meditation wasn’t “easy”, this morning; getting up from the cushion was difficult with my right arm still partially impaired by my recent injury. It was a weird and irritating counterpoint to the pleasantness of meditation, itself, and a reminder of the value of self-awareness for practical purposes. Life lesson? Succinctly? “Slow down. Take the time you need. Approach each task mindfully, committed to, and present in, this moment.” Yep. This is me; learning as I go, repeating each lesson as needed. LOL

I take a moment for gratitude, and thoughts of blue skies, green forests, and summer sunrises – because the value in such moments goes beyond what I can capture in a photograph. ๐Ÿ™‚

I take a last swallow of my coffee, as I consider how best to make room for 10 minutes of meditation during my work day, too. I’m certain of the value in it, although I’ve been less than skilled about making the time materialize in my day. I return to the office with a measure of commitment to it that I’ve previously lacked, and thoughts of opening the idea up to my team; we’d likely all benefit from a moment to collect our thoughts, each day, if nothing else.

…And…oh, hey… already time to begin again. ๐Ÿ˜€

The text this morning was to the point, although not as abrupt as I imply in the title of this post. I feel grateful that my sister is right there, with our Mother. For a moment, I imagine this stern, strong, witty woman who raised me, pushing her chair back from a crowded card table, folding a less than ideal hand, and heading into the kitchen to refresh drinks. That memory is of a lifetime ago, in a far away place, disconnected from my experience of “here” and “now”. Do I want her to “hear my voice”? “Non-responsive” doesn’t sound like she’s likely to register voices… we’ve spoken recently, and regularly – is it enough?

…We don’t have a “Book of the Dead”, in our culture… It’s a strange random thought, a forerunner to intense grief.

There are tears in my eyes. I resent them; it’s too soon. Life stretches ahead of me, while I reach my thoughts – and my heart – across great distance. Imagining her as I remember her best; in her late 30s, in her early 40s. Strong. Determined. No bullshit. Rapier wit. Iron will. I observe the characteristics in myself that I most likely got from her; my tenacious loyalty. My intellect. My commitment to being a good provider. My reluctance to walk away from a bad decision. My willingness to hide my emotions for far too long. My laugh. That same laugh that her Mother had, too. I hear Granny’s laugh in my recollection. I feel, for a moment, my Mother’s warmth – like summertime in my heart. I sip my coffee and celebrate this woman who made me.

…Grieving comes soon enough. It’s important to examine those cherished moments as treasures, with great delight, and excessive merriment, and not allow the tears to wash those away. They matter so much more than the tears ever could.

Life didn’t have a map – you did okay with that, Mom. No reason to expect death to be more difficult to master; in a sense, we prepare for it all our lives, don’t we? Striving, clinging – and learning to let go. Good fold, Mom. Safe travels.

You are part of me. My journey began with you.

I sit quietly with my coffee, remembering life with my Mom. My “origin story”. Some details are fuzzy, others crystal clear. Some moments remain painful to this day, others bring me immediate joy when I recall them. One thing is certain; she will not be forgotten. Tears later. Coffee now. I wish she were sitting here, sharing that with me, right now; I have so much to ask, and now there is no time…ย 

So, training on a new tool ended yesterday, in the sense that the trainer has left the building to return to her regular day-to-day experience elsewhere. My work week ends in a handful of hours after one meeting. It would be so easy to give myself a moment of self-congratulatory joy, celebrate an achievement, and be done with that… but… that isn’t how new knowledge (or new practices) actually work. The learning is a beginning, only. Then come the verbs. The practice. The repetition. The iterations of improvement over time. The learning curve. Skill building. Improvements. Refinements. Enhancements. Efficiency building. It’s even a cycle. Each new thing learned, practiced, and “mastered” leads to yet another new thing learned, which must be practiced, and mastered, which leads… yeah. So.

Weekends are also a thing. I’ve got a lovely long one ahead of me. I’d planned to spend the Autumnal Equinox on the coast, but this training week was important (remains important, it is simply now in the past), enough to cut a couple hours out of my planned time, resulting in a change in plan. Truly, though, what canceled my trip to the coast was a splash of inspiration urging me into the studio, which… yeah. That comes first whenever I can make it so. ๐Ÿ˜€

Beginnings and endings, and an unfinished self-portrait waiting to be completed.

I sip my coffee content with this moment. Eager to return home to my weekend. Eager to linger at leisure at the edge of the rainy day deck garden with a coffee too late in the day, unconcerned because the day of leisure will be followed by another. I am even eager to throw routine out the window, to stay up late in defiance of healthy sleep practices, to sleep in on a “work day” (helloooo, Friday morning, I’m looking your way!), to play the stereo loud, to be – without looking at the clock. Just anticipating the delicious leisure moments ahead, I feel myself relax. I need this. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m pretty good at routines. I’m less skillful about breaking them. It’s not generally wise, but sometimes I do learn best from my challenges when I explore them, gently. Am I ready for some chaos? I’d better be…

…Anyway… I can always begin again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I took today off. I didn’t plan to be sick, I just planned to take the day off for my annual physical and some downtime. I scheduled a hair appointment (to have the wild lavender and pink and green that it is now refreshed before an upcoming concert). Later, I unscheduled the hair appointment, remembering to be frugal while I house hunt; the funds will be needed, more than likely. I re-planned the day to do some “go sees” of new listingsย in the afternoon. Yesterday, I canceled that too. I’m sick. I will just go get my physical, and come home and sip tea and read, I suppose…

…Nope. My plans are over-turned by the rental management here in the community. It is, apparently, “inspection time” again. (Please imagine me rolling my eyes irritably at this point right here.) I don’t have much to do to be ready, but I have canvases out in my studio, and I’ll just fret about the stupid inspection if I don’t spend an hour tidying up a bit, regardless. So. I guess I’m getting my physical and coming home to housework. The inspections are on Thursday. I won’t be home. I’ll have already taken today off from work, and can’t cut into my work hours further without putting time-sensitive work at risk of not being completed. It makes me uncomfortable to have anyone in my space when I’m not home, these days (other than my Traveling Partner), and the last time my landlady was in my apartment on a day I wasn’t at home? Yeah, I was burglarized. I’ve lost trust, and feel anxious about having her in my apartment in my absence. Work from home? I wish. The work I’ll specifically be doing is much more handily done with the vast acreage of widescreen dual monitors connected to the network directly than it can be at home on a laptop screen connected through VPN. I’m just going to have to adult this one. I’m annoyed by that, but not unprepared. I managed to avoid letting it keep me awake last night… mostly. I got 4 and a half hours of sleep. :-\

I woke mostly clear-headed, head still stuffy, lungs not yet congested (yay!), and still willing to embrace life as a goodness. That’s something. Today is ย not the day I planned. (It often isn’t.) It is, however, a day out of the office, with a little more than typical looseness to it. I remind myself that this irritant (the inspection) is just one of the many small things driving me so urgently to find my own place – really my own, as in “homeowner”. ย The inspection (for me) is a nothing event, anyway; I live a tidy, quiet, gentle life, and take good care of this space. The inspection never amounts to more than a casual walk-through, I just won’t be here, which really creeps me out. So. I’m inconvenienced and uncomfortable. I’ll get over it.

I am my own cartographer on life’s journey. There is no rule book, no map, no user’s guide for being human. We are each having our own experience. The map is not the world. The day… is not the plan. I’m still okay right now. ๐Ÿ™‚