Archives for posts with tag: partnership

I queue up my favorite Portishead + Morphine playlist… reminders that “this too shall pass – or maybe not, but fuck, it’s life, right?” It’s enough to keep me engaged in the work in front of me, honey-smooth and mellow, low notes and minor chords, and the occasional poignant moment in the background. An Rx solution to “take the edge off” – not enough to put the pain to rest completely, but frankly, I wouldn’t be comfortable with coming so close to shutting down my ability to think and work and write in the middle of a work day.

Weird world. Chaos and pain and anger everywhere. Hate. Killings. More killings after that. Blood in the streets. What a strange and terrible time to be alive – but it’s not as if we get a choice; we’re born into the world as it is. Nothing more.

I take a breath, and exhale. I go looking for something more uplifting to listen to in the background. I don’t have anything in mind aside from being distracted from my personal experience of subjective pain, and the very ongoing need to manage that. It’s a good track for data entry, and I pull my shoulders up, straightening my spine. I don’t “feel any better”, but I know “good posture” results in “more up time”. I feel a certain subtle resentment over turns of phrase that conflate human beings with machinery… I am not a machine. Just this fleshy meat sack wrapped around a consciousness. Humbling. Limited.

It’s been an amazing (delightful) few days. I’m not sure what the “secret sauce” has been. My Traveling Partner has been in the shop (a lot) working on projects (several for me), and I’ve been enjoying sharing some of that time, and helping where I easily can. The quality of life lift that results his handiwork is more than pleasant or convenient; I feel very loved. Every time he finishes some project that is the result of some stray “I wish I had a…” or “it would be cool if this would…” kind of remark, I feel heard and understood. It’s special. I feel respected and cared for.

A new cutting board, made for me.

…Then, in some unexpected moment, he’ll snarl at me out of frustration or annoyance over something or another, and I am reminded how human we actually both are. lol Which is to say, “very”. Very human, indeed. Most of the time I let those moments go. Sometimes I laugh with him over it. Sometimes I cry. (Yeah, very human.) Those sorts of moments are more common when one of us is in pain. Pain shrinks our world, pulls our focus inward, and we lose perspective.

My Traveling Partner comes in to share with me his latest finished work; lovely earrings, laser cut from wood. They delight me. (Earrings are the only jewelry I commonly wear, and I do love a fun new pair of earrings!)

Partnership has highs and lows. Pain comes and goes. There’s this moment, now, and very little else has to grab my attention “right now”. It’s okay to take a breath, and begin again.

About that… it’s unavoidable. I’m human. You’re human (well, probably). Life is an extraordinary experience, but one which, for most of us, has quite a few ups and downs, and is a tad more rollercoaster-y than paved level walking path with convenient markers and a map. It’s just not always that easy. Sometimes shit goes very very wrong.

Do you panic? I’ve sure been known to. Life can be scary. I’m fortunate to have a better idea how to handle it than I once did, but… I’ll be honest; I still, now and then, stumble into a circumstance that leaves me feeling more than a little panicked and unprepared.

There are things to do. Steps. Practices. Start with one you know you can rely upon, and go from there. Breathe. First, generally, and most often of greatest value for me, personally; breathe, let it go for a moment, find that stable “observer” that exists within the emotional maelstrom. That’s you. Really you. The rest is window dressing and let’s pretend. Lead with your calm.

That sounds so easy. It’s not always easy. Yesterday I was reminded how not fucking easy that actually is. Having a supportive partner, I was fortunate to have someone to reach out to, to talk things over, to get my bearings. Things turn out fine, generally, and the panic is not helpful or necessary. Still. There was a bit of panic, and indeed, not helpful. lol Hours later, and even after a restful night’s sleep, I still feel the warmth of my partner’s love. I’m grateful to experience a love like this.

I spent the rest of the evening sorting myself out and ensuring my planning account for new circumstances and information. It ends up being a lovely quiet evening, and somehow a new start to a new year, already. Looks like it’ll be a year a new beginnings. I’m okay with that. I’m pretty familiar with beginning again. 😉

I finish my rather crappy cup of coffee with a sheepish smile; it’s enough, and I’m okay with that. It’s time to move on to changes, and practices, and beginnings. 🙂

Where does this path lead?

I’ve had some health concerns on my mind lately. Aging seems to have that effect on people. Last night my traveling partner and I really talked through the concerns I have, what’s to be done, and what else if, and etcetera. My simmering stress and anxiety about my health – and frankly, my mortality – spilled over as hot tears. We shared the moment, comforted each other, moved quickly to one really important super obvious detail; I’m okay right now. We both are.

Are you okay?

Are you okay?

There’s literally not actually anything wrong right now. Sure, maybe at some point in the future, in some doctor’s office or another, somewhen, I may be given some sort of medical diagnosis that presents real risk of shortening my lifespan, or degrading my quality of life. Sure could. Hasn’t. Has not happened yet. It’s (playfully) Schrödinger’s Health Concern, being neither a crisis now, of any certainty, nor clearly and most definitely nothing at all. 🙂 My partner’s great (and very reassuring) perspective calmed me way down – as did taking the time to speak together frankly, intimately, and openly about our individual fears (as well as we know how to), concerns, needs, and to share comforting words, and presence. We moved on comfortably to other things, though I’m sure we’re both still thinking about it more often than we’d like.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

The lovely day today has been a product of good fortune, and good self-care practices, I suppose. I’m dreadfully tired, in the middle of the day. It’s not that strange – I only slept a bit more than 4 hours last night, having stayed up quite late watching a movie. I woke a bit earlier than my usual time, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I spent the early hours on yoga, exercise, and meditation. I went for my walk in the park in the early morning sunshine. It was beautiful. Today has felt ‘easy’, in spite of being short on sleep. Is that due to all the practice, new resilience, good self-care, getting good sleep most of the time, some combination of those things, none of those things – just an unexpectedly effortless pleasant day? (Those exist. They’re lovely.) It doesn’t matter. I enjoy the day quietly. I enjoy it in my garden, and on my patio with coffee. I enjoy it over a few chapters of the book I am reading. I enjoy it while I go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, and at the store while I buy coffee. I enjoy the sunshine on my back and the breeze through my hair. I enjoy miles of walking. I enjoy returning home and the opportunity to stop walking, sit down and rest. I enjoy the breathing. I enjoy the thinking. I enjoy the daydreaming. I enjoy the Love. Yeah… just a generally very pleasant day. I sat for a while wondering if some people have a lot of these, and don’t realize that it’s not super common. Then… I wonder if it’s actually quite routine and mundane, and if perhaps I’m the one with the strange experience. Then… I wonder why the hell I am screwing with a lovely sunny summer day with all this strange wondering? So, I enjoy the day.

A summer day as beautiful as a postcard.

A summer day as beautiful as a postcard.

At some point I realized I hadn’t written this morning. I’d forgotten… and then… Well, then I did all that, up there ^^^^^, and here we are. 🙂

The long weekend coming is forecast to be quite beautiful. I’ve a Saturday adventure planned; I am taking the train to a distant farmer’s market, one that I have not been to before. No expectations, besides taking the journey and seeing the sights.

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It’s enough to be, to breathe, to see the sights.

I relax with the moment, and find myself suddenly sleepy. Too late in the day for coffee, far too early to call it a night. Perhaps another walk in the sunshine… Change being what it is, I’ll enjoy what I have now. Summer doesn’t stick around forever, here (at least not in 2016).

It’s true. This morning I woke well ahead of the alarm clock, but late enough that I initially figured I’d just go ahead and get up…I woke anxious. No obvious cause for the anxiety, at least in that waking moment that it was the thing owning my awareness. As I allowed myself to become conscious other things shifted into my awareness: my head was stuffy, and I had to pee. I got up to deal with those very practical matters, and as I did so I wondered if the source of my ‘anxiety’ was simply these biological experiences of being human – could I take a chance on returning to sleep? I might not sleep… I might sleep and wake up groggy… I could just cuddle up in the warm blankets awhile longer without worrying about sleep one way or the other – I felt ‘rested’, although I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be awake.

I pulled the covers around me, compromising on the sleep/no sleep dilemma by choosing meditation – in corpse pose, wrapped in blankets. lol I woke when the alarm went off, without any anxiety, and smiling. I noticed when I woke that the headache I had the night before was gone – suggesting perhaps it was not gone when I had awakened earlier. This would not be the first time I have beaten back anxiety by taking care of this fragile vessel in practical ways, and refraining from investing additional attention in the anxiety itself. I’m not sure it counts as a ‘practice’ and it’s not one of those ‘100% effective!’ things – there are definitely verbs involved, and a certain genial tolerance that it won’t always be so simple is definitely required.

How much of my anxiety used to be caused simply by treating myself poorly day-to-day, largely unaware of it, generally not paying any attention to my own needs until forced to by some emotional storm, or physical failure? How much anxiety was caused by simply not hearing myself, not giving myself the consideration and respect that I continued to seek in the world, and all the resentment that went along with not finding it anywhere?  I’m glad that things as simple (although not effortless) as meditation, good self-care, being considerate of my own needs and boundaries, and treating myself as well as I would ask others to treat me (and then some!) have so much power to reduce [my] anxiety. [Your results may vary.]

In spite of the headache and a trying day yesterday, I enjoyed hanging out with my traveling partner in the evening after work. It wasn’t a dinner date – we just hung out. It wasn’t a booty call. Seriously – we just hung out. We talked intimately, warmly, connecting on that heart & soul level so common to dear longtime friends – and often so rare in long-term romantic relationships of many years. We are not together ‘out of habit’, or ritual, or despair, or… He and I are together by choice. We enjoy each other greatly. We choose each other again and again. Literally ‘in sickness and in health’ – I am fortunate that my traveling partner on life’s journey is far more than a romantic partner – he’s a best friend, a partner in work and play, a cook in a shared kitchen, an adventurer with whom I can adventure, an adviser, a coach, a buddy, a wingman – and my dear love. I’m doubly fortunate that we are intellectual equals, have shared interests, and are similarly competent in very different areas of life – a hell of a partnership, honestly. 😀

Love.

Love.

This morning isn’t fancy or exciting, or extraordinary in any way. The anxiety is gone – no idea why it was there, or why it isn’t there now. Doesn’t matter, and I don’t plan to dig into it. It’s enough that the anxiety is gone, and a new day begins. I am sipping my coffee contentedly, listening to music. I’ll get some housework done before work, and when I get home I’ll have a quiet evening ahead of me – maybe a movie tonight? I lose interest almost immediately; I’m reading a book that really has my attention, and I’ll probably come home, make a cup of tea, put my feet up and read until evening fades to night.

When I was a kid still living at home, reading was my escape and my refuge from the drama of family life. When I became an adult, I lost that somehow – couldn’t read without some quiet, some stillness, fewer interruptions. Rather than find the quiet I needed, for many years I had mostly given up reading in favor of the condensed concentrated entertainment products available for video consumption. Easier. (Also a sharable experience – how many families endure their challenges by painting over them with a bland wash of media entertainment, rather than facing them and resolving them, talking together, using the verbs?) I began picking up books again at about the same time I begin writing this blog – the Reading List developed quickly as I gobbled up relevant books desperate to find my way out of The Nightmare City in which I seemed to be so trapped. I still read now, finding it intellectually nourishing, and a convenient way to continue to build on my understanding of life and the world, to keep my mind young, and the results are hard to argue with – learning does so much to keep life engaging and interesting!

My traveling partner asked me about the book in conversation. His gentle awareness of my injury is there in the background; he has learned to help out in so many little ways with my recovery, generally. He asks me about the book knowing I have trouble articulating material I am reading – answering the questions, as difficult as it can feel for me, is a way of solidifying new knowledge, and figuring out where I am not actually comprehending new material fully, for further review. I will come back to the book tonight eager to revisit ideas I tried – and failed – to share. The deeper understanding matters to continued growth. He listens patiently, and doesn’t press when I stumble – he knows I will come back to it with a deeper more complete understanding, having heard questions about the material that will help me build that deeper understanding, myself. There is so much power in partnership. The reciprocity is critical; I return the favor, listening deeply when he talks about his experience, too, asking questions, listening to the answers, feeling feelings, honoring experience – ‘being there’.

Be love.

Be love.

Maybe that’s really what makes a good partnership – the ‘being there’ in the moment, fully engaged in the interaction with that other person, no other agenda, not ‘waiting to talk’, no rush, no pressure – just together in a shared moment?

Today is a good day to share an experience with someone. Today is a good day to listen with my whole self, and give my undivided attention to someone’s words. Today is a good day to be, and to ‘be there’. Today is a good day to change the way I interact with the world. 🙂