Archives for posts with tag: patience

My coffee is a memory. By the time I got to actually drinking it, it was already rather tepid. It lingers, cold, and bitter, in my recollection. My day is off to a rather poor start for no good reason. At some point, the quality of my experience becomes up to me…

I reflect on things quietly, thinking perhaps I’ll gain perspective through writing, then find myself stalled, unwilling to tackle the “harder questions” this morning, in spite of knowing they would do well to be asked, and where possible, answered. Instead, I make an ambitious list of household chores and resolve to complete those. It’s easier.  Today is, in most respects, an ordinary enough Sunday.

…Order from chaos… sometimes I find it helps with other challenges troubling me in the background…It helps to have a list.

Same view, different day. Perspective matters, but we each have to walk our own hard mile.

I remind myself to make room for other perspectives, to listen deeply, to be open to change…

A slight change in point of view can make a difference in understanding our circumstances.

…I wander off to get started on my list. Another new beginning… the day may improve, if I can stay open to that potential. I can always begin again…

…Sometimes this shit is hard. Seems so, I mean. Subjectively. I remind myself “one practice at a time, one step at a time, one task at a time; it all adds up”… I feel unconvinced and blue. Some days suck. I make a mental note that change is – even the most miserable moment is just a moment, and it’ll pass. I have choices. I have practices that I know I can count on to be uplifting. Yeah, not super convincing that time, either. I’ll “get over it” and “move past this”. For now, this is the experience I seem to be having. I try not to take it personally, and stay with both this actual moment, and these feelings; the moment, which is frankly fine, is my anchor, my point of “safety” that gives me a firm foundation to consider the feelings without becoming mired in them (that’s the intention, anyway). I’m okay right now. That’s real. The emotions are emotions. I make a point to refrain from conflating the feelings with actual experiences.

…I make a point to consider the experience separately from the emotions I feel during or about the experience, itself…

…Uncomfortable or unpleasant experiences are something I can learn and grow from. Fighting that isn’t particularly helpful. Getting mired in unresolved emotions isn’t particularly helpful (or comfortable) either. I take a breath and turn towards my discomfort, seeking growth… and begin again, again. I eye my “baggage” and personal demons with some distaste and impatience, and snarl to myself “bitches, I can do this “begin again” shit all fucking day, just go ahead and fucking bring it“. That at least gets a laugh out of me.

I check my list, and yeah, I even check it twice. There’s more to do… and it all begins with a beginning.

It’s an “eat a bag of dicks, Tuesday”, sort of morning, so far. My coffee is half-cold, somewhat bitter, and vaguely annoying. My interactions with my Traveling Partner have been unpleasant. The day begins poorly. (I mean, it could be worse, for sure, and for most values of “how are things?”, “things” are “fine”.) I’ve already had an assortment of “what the fuck?” moments, a handful of “for fucks’ sake, seriously??” moments, and one definite “I don’t want to be around you right now” moment. Shitty. Seriously unpleasant.

…Meditation did occur… it mostly sort of helped… some…

It’s not at all clear to me “why this morning?”, and I take another deep breath, exhale, and try again to let that shit go. Humans being human, there’s a reasonable likelihood that there is no clear resolvable root-cause to dissect, that would leave behind only heartfelt appreciation and simple actions to take (then we all live happily ever after). We’re each having our own experience – which works out just fine, generally, unless people get hung up on insisting their singular individual experience is The One True Truth and sole description of all observable phenomena. That’s not likely to be the case, regardless who you are and what your vast perspective may encompass. We only “know” what we know, and can’t even approach knowing what that other person “knows”. Even if we’re told, what we end up with is often only an approximate understanding of that other person’s perspective. Complicating things comically (for some values of “funny”), we’re often very certain of things we’re totally incorrect about, factually. Fuck. Humans are weird.

…At least no one was yelling. I find raised voices triggering (I’m pretty sure my partner does, too), and I definitely don’t need that today (no one does). Obviously.

…Is it “obvious”? What’s “obvious” about it at all? Pretty subjective shit there. Hell, what’s “obvious” about anything, where human beings are concerned? I pause to reflect on the subjective nature of reality, while I sip this shit-tastic cup of “coffee”. Fucking hell. I made this?? (…And now I’m forcing myself to actually drink it? Good grief.) I snarl quietly at myself for not managing to be a better human being when it’s such an easy thing to do. I could for sure do better. (Couldn’t you?)

Stare at something long enough it may appear to be more significant than it is

…Doing better is definitely on my agenda for today. And dusting. Dusting is also on my list of things to do today (I forgot to do it yesterday, although I’d planned to). (“Be a better human being/partner” is on my agenda every day, but it’s a big ask some days, more than others.) I remind myself to take time to dust. And be a better person.

Getting here was a journey – it is a journey to sustain love, too; there are verbs involved.

Some time later, my Traveling Partner approaches me with considerable care. We converse calmly for a few moments. He looks sad. I feel sad. The morning feels “broken”. It would be painfully easy to extrapolate that the relationship itself is also “broken”. Catastrophizing small moments is easy for human primates. Almost convenient. Another breath. Another exhalation. Another letting go of “it”. Another chance to begin again. (Fuck this is hard sometimes!) I remind myself that love matters most. I pause to reflect on how very loved I am, and to feel the love that fills my heart when I think of my partner. I “listen again” to the things he’s said that tell truths about how to love him well: needs, limitations, boundaries, common misunderstandings, fears, heartfelt yearnings, desires, obstacles, frustrations small and large… all the things. I’ve got plenty to work with, and a lot to think about.

I set a reminder for (more) meditation, for later. (Today clearly calls for as much time spent on that as I can spare.) I glare at my work calendar. The routine of work is calming, but feels like a “cheat”. Calm is good, though, and has lasting value that could improve the day.

I stare unenthusiastically at my calendars – work and personal – one full, the other empty (of planned activity). I look over my “to do list”. “Acts of service” are one of the ways I show love…but admittedly, I’m not feeling very knowledgeable in the ways of love and loving, this morning, and find myself fretful and concerned that I’m “on the wrong path”. My head aches with the effort involved in emotional control as I stare into work tools. There’s an entire day ahead of me. This morning an entire day of new beginnings ahead feels sort of bleak and repetitive.

…Fucking hell, I’ve got to get past this shit…

Sometimes it seems a lot of work, and I’m not sure I’m on the right path…

…This too will pass. I remind myself to be aware of the differences between emotional weather, and emotional climate.

My Traveling Partner approaches again with some observations about his computer monitor, a new simulation that he’s interested in, and what is frustrating him about those experiences. I listen carefully, empathize and commiserate. We connect. He returns to his planned day, I return to mine.

It’s time to begin again. It’s tough to end a difficult moment without beginning a new one. It’s helpful to stay open to the possibility of success, and let go of as much baggage as I can. My results are going to vary – it’s a very human experience. It’s going to require practice. 🙂

 

 

Well I’m sipping cold coffee this morning, and taking a short break from work. I’m thinking over the last 24 hours, and also the last 6 weeks. Giving consideration to the challenges of life in the time of pandemic, and finding some opportunities for wholesome perspective, and balance.

I think about the crazy shipping delays on some goods that have been ordered recently. I sit awhile with the recognition that it is a fortunate convenience to have shipping available at all.

I think about the lack of availability of some goods (hey, these are not the hotdogs I like!). I feel fortunate to have access to delivery services, even for groceries, and substitutions mean still being able to have meals, in spite of stock running low on specific items. I feel fortunate to be able to use such services.

I think of the “sanity projects” here at home, and the occasional frustrations when attempting to order this or that item for those, and getting stalled on depleted stock, shipping times, costs. I slow down and recognize how often my partner and I are able to “work around” those limitations, or how often waiting a few more days really isn’t anything more than a minor inconvenience, and a bit disappointing.

I think about small things that have big emotions attached, like a favorite fish deciding to jump free of an aquarium, and landing on the carpet. The stress of being worried over the little guy was (and is) real – but so far, he’s a survivor, not a fatality. Life gets pretty real sometimes, and where loss of life is concerned, a single fairly common fish is a much smaller concern than “COVID-19 vs. humanity”. Feelings are feelings; perspective makes the weight of most of those a much lighter burden to bear.

I think about the small aggravations that go along with working from home (so hard differentiating between work time and life time). I’m fairly fortunate to have this as “a concern”, at all. The fact that I am still working is part of what makes some of the other things so minor, so worthy of a moment of perspective.

I think about how fortunate my Traveling Partner and I are to enjoy each other the way we do, and how grateful I am to be staying at home with this particular human being, rather than some other. I’d be fine alone – but I’m glad I don’t have to be.

Sure, there are some inconveniences. There are moments of unique tension and stress. There is emotional fatigue (I mean, seriously? How much more pandemic news do I really need, right now?). There is also real joy, real intimacy, real connection, and real opportunities to continue to learn, grow, and to practice.

So… what now? Another beginning, I suppose. I’ll start with this perspective, and gratitude, and proceed from there to kindness, empathy, and patience; we are each having our own experience. Those are not all uniformly easy, or stress-free (most are neither easy, nor stress-free) – why would mine be?

Here’s hoping each new beginning you embark upon takes you closer to contentment and perspective, and that your days give you reasons for joy, even if you must search for those. ❤

Yesterday was delightful. My Traveling Partner and I spent the day together (how else, in this time of pandemic? lol). We played video games – not generally my “thing”, and I’m not very skilled. My partner was terrifically patient with me, giving me room to play, learn, and grow, while gently offering some useful tips, and coaching with great care to respect my autonomy, and consideration for the time it takes (me) to learn new skills. So much fun! It matters a lot for the quality of such experiences, when he is patient with me.

…Illustrating that point, I took 2 years of keyboard lessons, and never learned to play keyboard, at all, mostly due to my grandfather’s impatience with me just completely sucking the fun out of the entire experience and totally “putting me off” of it, permanently. Same thing when I sought to learn to play guitar, only that time the impatience was my Dad’s, and my instructor’s. It’s been a recurring theme affecting a number of experiences over the course of a lifetime.

…Sometimes my own impatience with my humble efforts, and frustrations with understandable failures during a period of learning, have resulted in dropping some hobby or eagerly sought experience, simply because it was not enjoyable, at all. Why would I put myself through that misery? Hasn’t been worth it. So… my skills and developed competencies are a strange hodge-podge of things that were sufficiently easy to learn that I learned them, or sufficiently engaging to learn that I overcame beginner’s frustrations with pure will. My aquarium(s) fit in that latter category. I love them and delight in them too much to abandon the work needed to “level up”, learn new skills, and take on the real work involved.

I sit here contemplating the new shrimp tank (formerly know as my “thug tank” due to being thrown together to house some aggressive skirt tetras who persisted in hassling my betta, and eating my shrimp). It’s… kind of a mess. lol Oh, not in any horrifying way, but less tidy than it will become over time, while also “too sparse”. I have to wait (patiently) for plants to take root and begin to grown in. I am also waiting for some varieties of plant to simply fail, being less suited to the water conditioned; trial and error on plants and livestock has been a small source of frustration. Everyone who writes or presents content on the topic of aquarium keeping has their own thoughts on the matter, based on their own experience in their own environment, with their own water sources, and their own research. My results vary, whether I follow them, or learn on my own. I do both. My results still vary. lol Patience is necessary.

This tank looks very different now, than it will in a couple weeks. Patience is necessary. Gaming with my Traveling Partner is very different right now, than it likely will become, over time. I am capable of learning. Sometimes it takes me a while, sometimes a ludicrous amount of repetition is needed – sometimes my “learning curve” is dependent on the kind of thing I am trying to learn, and how many “learning styles” it uses (or requires).

I learn best in an environment of positive encouragement and autonomy. I learn fastest when I do the work involved, myself. I learn most durably when there are a lot of opportunities for repetition, fairly consistent in frequency, over time. Few things shut down my learning process faster than impatient frequent criticism. I have only gained this understanding of myself with this much clarity fairly recently – a byproduct of self-reflection on this aquarium-keeping/game-playing path. Fewer distractions. More focus. No real opportunity to wander away in a moment of frustration.  Even learning these things about myself, which promises to improve future learning experiences, requires some patience – and a willingness to be vulnerable, and honest with myself about my specific challenges. Now I celebrate! Right?

…Um… No. There are still verbs involved. The map is not the world. The journey is the destination. We become what we practice. My results will still vary. lol This is a very human experience. I’ve simply added some depth of understanding, and a smidgen of personal awareness, to my approach to learning new skills – if I can hold on to that. Maybe I have already learned this before, and forgotten it, and now I am learning it all over again? That’s a real thing for me. This morning I laugh it off; it doesn’t change the joy I experience from watching the fish and shrimp in my aquariums, or the delight I feel when I score well on a game I am playing with my Traveling Partner, and hear his merry exclamation at how well I have done.

Being patient with myself (and therefore, also, being patient with other people) is so worth it!

…It’s time to begin again. 😀

I could so easily mess with today by getting myself invested in expectations of misery, frustration, and boredom… I caught myself on the first attempt, and gave myself a chance to reconsider. I’m going down to the VA today, to wait on a cancellation or other opportunity to get my imaging done sooner than the [only available] scheduled appointment more than three weeks away. I’m hopeful I’ll be fortunate, and that my patience will pay off today. If it doesn’t – there’s tomorrow, and I’d likely commit 2-3 days a week to this, to get the images done sooner than later.

It's a journey, there is no map. Sometimes, there is no trail.

It’s a journey, there is no map. Sometimes, there is no trail.

This is where things start getting trickier for me; my perspective, my experience, my emotions… those are just me. What about ‘everyone else’? It’s a matter of balance, and sure, perspective, too. It matters that “we are each having our own experience”, because “we’re all in it together”.  Today I will do my best to be approachable, to-the-point, and calm. I’ll listen deeply, and do my best to avoid interrupting. I’ll ask clarifying questions. I’ll be patient with others and respect their humanity. I will remind myself regularly that at the VA almost everyone hurts in some way, and be considerate and compassionate – with myself, too. It’s a lot to practice…

A deep breathe. A lovely flower.

A deep breathe. A lovely flower.

We become what we practice. I’ll have to face the woman in the mirror at the end of the day. I hope to choose my practices wisely.

Practices… perspective… mindfulness… balance… It’s a lot to keep up on, if I take them one by one. Thankfully, they’re sort of ‘bundled’ together in one practice-filled mindfulness package. 🙂

I balance my bee sting allergy with my fascination for bees by keeping my bee sting kit handy, and using great care.

I balance my bee sting allergy with my fascination for bees by keeping my bee sting kit handy, and using great care.

Balance is important enough to practice. I thought about it, metaphorically, while I worked on balancing literally during my workout, this morning. One portion of my workout is entirely about balance, and when I began it, some of it seemed pretty silly… “stand on one leg”. Huh. Okay, sure. Easy! Oh… not so easy these days. Hmm. I begin again. Again. And again. I wobble. I sway. I keep at it. I practice. Seems easy. I guess, in most practical regards, it actually is quite easy. It’s the doing it well reliably bit that complicates things… and then… well… I’ve been on this new workout routine for…a week? About a week. A bit more maybe. It’s feeling really good, in the sense that my muscles tell me each day that there is change. Then, yesterday, I was able to put some real miles on my boots with much more comfort. Bad posture and pain had begun really holding me back… By the time I got home, feeling refreshed, strong, and exhilarated, I was also feeling my left knee ache. (Damn it!) This morning, I got up and felt it as soon as I took a step. I reached for my hiking staff before I even made coffee – looks like I’ll be walking with support for a few days. Balance… definitely not ‘easy’. Definitely takes practice.

perspective

Perspective matters, too; it’s easy to focus on how much my knee aches… or how unpleasant I find dealing with the VA…

 

There's more to it than this moment.

There’s more to it than this moment! I consider my needs over time; how do I best take care of myself long-term?

We become what we practice. Incremental change takes time. Building new skills – or restoring old ones – requires both. A good measure of patience with myself, and some perspective on the challenges, will probably be useful, too. 🙂

Practicing patience, self-soothing, and learning balance has unexpected delights.

Practicing patience, self-soothing, and learning balance has unexpected delights.