Archives for posts with tag: practicing the practices

I’m nearly at the end of an entire year here in this “home” place. My birthday passed gently, uneventfully, and infused with a certain chill bliss that I don’t think I can put into words – but it was everything I wanted for my birthday, and more (in a sense, by being less! lol). There are tomatoes growing in garden pots. Roses planted in the front landscaping, and nasturtiums sprouting in the flower bed under the kitchen window. The quieter environment that resulted from the acoustic treatments has eased so much tension day-to-day. The lighting changes my Traveling Partner made tend to ease my frequent headaches, and lighten my mood. Waking is easier without an alarm clock, and I’m pleased that I can rely on the changing light – a programmed sunrise – to wake me gently. I’m not cross with the world first thing in the mornings. It’s pleasant.

Time passes. Sometimes I notice. Mostly I don’t. It gets away from me. I don’t take that so personally lately. 🙂

Is there still a pandemic going on? Well…sure, there is; the world isn’t even 50% vaccinated yet. I’m okay with continuing to be cautious, personally, although I’m vaccinated myself. I admit; I really like not having a fucking head cold every other month. lol Still… things seem to be improving in our area, and more folks are out and about in the world, doing things, seeing people, shopping. I found myself “stuck in traffic” for the first time in this new community just yesterday.

…Is it still a “new community” if I’m nearly a year into living here? lol It still feels new; it’s been a year of staying home. Pandemics are weird.

I still have “ups and downs”. My Traveling Partner, too; he’s walking his own hard mile, as a human being. (Aren’t we all?) The pandemic was hard on us as lovers, we’re not alone in that experience – and frankly, I’m sure there were a lot of folks who had it much much worse. We’re fortunate that we really enjoy each other as human beings, and we’re friends. It gets us through some challenges, for sure. 🙂 I’m pretty fond of that human being living with me.

Here I am… 58. Doesn’t feel much different than, say, 47, or 35, or … yeah, even 27 doesn’t seem that different through the lens of remembered experiences. I feel like the same “self” – which is hilarious, considering how much I’ve changed. Would 27 year old me even like this woman I am now? Would she “get it”? Would she embrace the values I’ve embraced? Would she understand the changes I’ve chosen? The direction I’ve gone in life? Could we talk together as intimate friends about our journey, our choices, our changes? Would there be unresolved anger or “old business” that we’d need to work out? Would we even want to connect as individuals – or is there too much distance and time between us? Would she think me “old” or “out of touch”? Would I see her as young, ignorant, and foolish about taking risks? Are we really “the same person” at all? Probably not, in a great many very important ways, and still also entirely this one human being, living this one peculiarly complicated life, as the years roll by.

So, it’s time to turn the page on another year of living. I’m okay with that. It’s been a strangely eventful year, counting the days from one birthday to the next. Bought a house. Moved. Changed jobs. Discovered new places. Discovered new music. Discovered new depths to this love I share with my Traveling Partner. Healed some old wounds. Re-opened others. Walked new trails. Traveled roads I’d never traveled before. Found “my way” more often than I found myself lost.

I can say, comfortably and without hesitation these days, I like this woman I have become over time. That’s a pretty big deal… it has required quite a few beginnings to get to this place, and I’ve stumbled on my own baggage more times than I can count. It’s gotten to be pretty comfortable to pick myself back up, and simply begin again. It’s not personal; it’s my journey. 🙂 It could sure be worse.

My coffee is almost gone, and although my partner is no farther away that the other side of a closed door, I find myself missing him… it must be time to begin again. 🙂

I woke abruptly this morning, too early, ahead of my artificial sunrise that now wakes me gently each morning. Somewhere nearby, a neighbor’s dog was barking. Loudly. I might have dozed off once again, but the hint of daylight beginning to glow through the shade was enough. I got up. Dressed for work. Made coffee. I’m pleased with myself for remembering that today is Tuesday; my work day starts early due to a meeting with a London colleague. I stare groggily into my coffee mug – I should be full awake by the time that meeting starts. LOL In the meantime, I have a few moments for me, in this quiet space, with my coffee. 🙂

Yesterday was hot. Like, summer hot, actually. I’m glad my Traveling Partner did so much to set up my garden for success with the drip watering. My plants seem happy. Roses blooming. We mostly stayed indoors, preferring the comfort of air conditioning. It was a pleasant day, generally speaking, without much chaos and no drama. Nice. I spent quite bit of the day (and the weekend) in the studio, painting. I’m pleased with the resulting work.

I’m rambling. Not quite awake yet. If I laid back down right now, I’d probably crash hard and slumber deeply. I think about doing so with a certain yearning… but it isn’t time for that, right now. 🙂 It’s time to Monday the hell out of this Tuesday. lol

I look at the time. I hope my partner slumbers on for as long as he needs to, to wake refreshed. I smile, and get ready to begin again. 🙂

I’m not sure “where my head is at” this morning. I’m feeling a bit low. It’s a rainy morning, but also a pleasant one, mild, lush, and lovely. I slept well. It’s Spring. Roses are blooming. Birds play in the pear trees beyond the window of my studio. My work calendar is not overly loaded. It’s a fairly routine work day as things stand now. Nonetheless… I feel a bit disengaged, and… yeah. “Low” describes it well. I could as easily curl up in a blanket and weep for awhile as finish this cup of coffee, go to this next meeting, and tackle this work day.

I have another sip of my coffee, and stare out the window awhile. The chemistry of being human is sometimes complicated stuff… it’s not always about anything “real”… or, at least no more real than that. It’s certainly not “personal”, beyond being this one person’s experience.

I keep trying to shrug it off. I change the music I am listening to (“change your playlist; change your mind?”). Somehow, I manage to select more music that seems to underscore the mood, instead of changing it. I feel rather as if my actual physical body does not want to feel differently than I feel now; I resist the attempt to change how I feel, again and again.

Another sip of coffee. Another breath. Another moment to begin again…

…again.

I suppose I’ll just keep at it. I already know, in advance, that this too will pass. 🙂

I woke this morning, a bit earlier than planned. It’s fine. I’m not complaining, although I did not sleep well nor deeply last night – nor, perhaps, for enough hours. New “alarm clock”… and it isn’t even an actual “clock”, and there is no “beep-beep-beep” (omg, that infernal beeping that wakes me so irritatingly!). The new alarm wakes me gently with the changing of the lights, coming on quite dim, and slowing becoming brighter. It was lovely. It was so gentle. I woke so… awake. Very pleasant. 🙂 Thus, the titular “enlightenment”, which is mostly alongside some amusement that I never gave something like this a proper try sooner! This… works for me.

Here it is Monday, and I feel sufficiently sorted out, already, to write for a few minutes before work, to sip my coffee and wrap my head around the needs of the day (some chores that I did not get to yesterday are lingering on my to-do list, and I’ve got an errand to run later). Sure, it’s a work day, and busy enough to want to shrug off anything more, but aquarium maintenance is not particularly negotiable; there are living creatures depending on me, and the dahlia tubers remaining to be planted ought not wait much longer (or I risk not seeing them flower this year). Ordinary details, in an ordinary life. 🙂 It’s enough, and I feel contented, and even merry, this morning.

My Traveling Partner has done some lovely work to make our home even more comfortable. It’s all quite wonderful. I sip my coffee, as my smile competes with my headache for my attention. I yield the moment to the smile. 🙂

I meant to take pictures on my walk this morning; there are so many different roses blooming around the neighborhood! Some I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen before, except maybe in a photograph or in a catalog. I didn’t take those pictures – I just walked my mile in the misty almost-but-not-quite rain, smiling.

This isn’t the sort of morning I want to interrupt with sorrows or madness, or anger, or frustration, or, frankly, the news. The news, mostly, isn’t at all good. Some positive sorts of stories do turn up here or there, but the bulk of what is published each day documents the worst of society, the worst of humanity, and the worst of the ways that we do (or don’t do) things to govern ourselves (or, more commonly, other people). There seems to be escalating violence everywhere, some of it small petty aggravating bullshit, but far too much that involves unjustifiable loss of life. It sickens me no less when I consider that there is some small chance that “things aren’t that bad; it’s just what drives views/clicks/likes/shares…”. That’s honestly not a “good quality” to see in our media – or humanity. The more violence is reported in our day-to-day experiences, and shared elsewhere, the more it may tend to give some portion of our society the sense that this is “normal” – and acceptable – and still more violence may occur. Is it contagious? Yeesh. We could do so much better. All of us. Each of us.

I think about anger and sip my coffee. I could also do better. It’s time to begin again.

I can’t even string together enough swear words to adequately describe the pain I am in this morning. It’s just physical pain. It’s even mostly the “healthy pain” of spending a day working in the garden, stooping, bending, lifting, digging, kneeling, standing, reaching… all good stuff. Fuck I hurt though. That pain on top of my arthritis, on top of my [whatever the fuck is wrong with this bullshit] neck/headache pain – it’s a lot. I’m sipping a very good cup of coffee this morning, working on shrugging off the pain, to get started on the Sunday routine – housekeeping, chores, upkeep. The details of having good quality of life do not take care of themselves. (Note: if you think that the details of having good quality of life “just sort of happen”, then I suggest you look around for that person who is clearly caring for your clueless ass and say “thank you” once in a fucking while, and oh yeah – how about helping out?)

It was a lovely day in the garden, yesterday. There’s more to get done (I didn’t quite finish, even with my Traveling Partner’s help): there are yet a handful of dahlia tubers to plant, some final tidying up of beds (for this go ’round), and tools to put away. I enjoyed the work, and the effort. I am pleased with the results. I focus on those things, and turn my attention away from the pain I am in. That, and good self-care now, are the best I can do. Some yoga and pain management first thing when I woke, and hopefully once this coffee is done, I’ll be in fair shape for the chores ahead.

If you’re reading this as a healthy fit twenty-something, feeling immune to the aches and pains, and possibly just the tiniest bit dismissive or smug about your fitness, I have only this to say; your turn will come. 🙂 I don’t mean in a harsh way, I’m just saying that I understand that you “don’t get it” – we don’t know what we don’t know. I didn’t get it in my twenties, either. I couldn’t. It was outside my ability to truly understand. Enjoy ease and comfort and freedom of movement while they last you, my healthy fit friends of all ages. We’re all at risk of losing that fitness – whether through age or adversity – and once it is gone, it can be damnably difficult to get it back. (I keep working at that. Slow progress is still progress.)

Be kind to people. It’s unlikely that we know what someone else is really going through – even if they do try to tell us. Our own pain is typically the worst pain we know – and if it “isn’t that bad” we may not have a real reference with which to understand what someone else is going through. That’s as true for me as for anyone else. My partner tells me when he is in pain. I tell him. We hear each other. We earnestly seek to support each other with real care and consideration. We still can’t really know the pain the other one is experiencing. How bad is it, really? Well… I suspect it is always 100% “bad enough” that we do well to be kind to each other. I mean… that’s a small thing, isn’t it? So huge for the person we are being kind to, though. Oh, and when we’re in pain? When we’re suffering with it? Still, be kind. Sure, it’s an excuse one can offer for being a jerk to someone to say we are in pain. It’s even pretty real, right? Be kind, anyway. Pain hurts, for sure, and it can be a huge fucking challenge to muster one last shred of resilience to make that effort… but when we treat people poorly because we hurt, that person doesn’t feel our pain – only their own. From being hurt by being treated poorly. By us. Are you seeing how cyclical that can be? I’m just saying… it may be worth the effort all around, for all of us, every day, to be kind.

“I’m just being real.” I’m suggesting be kind instead. (Or, you know, in addition to being “real”… how about that?)

“I’m just giving helpful feedback.” I’m suggesting that if you must, that you do it in a kind way. Legitimately kind. If you can’t? Maybe don’t bother – especially if you weren’t asked for feedback.

“I’ve got my own shit to deal with.” Don’t we all? I’m just suggesting it may be less of a burden if you are also being kind to people you interact with.

“I’m all about ‘tough love’ and I’m only kind to people who deserve it.” It’s possible you’re missing the point of both “tough love” and kindness and I’m not sure what to say about that, at all. “Tough love” is about love. (It’s also about setting reasonable boundaries to avoid letting someone abuse your affection… seems like it would be possible to do so with kindness, too. I don’t know. I’m not walking your mile.)

Kindness may not save the world, but have you seen what the lack of it does to the world? It’s in the news a lot. Hate crimes. Road rage killings. Family violence. Kindness is a lot less news-worthy, generally… but the outcomes are far better.

I feel like I’m on a bit of a rant. 🙂 It’s just the pain I am in coloring my experience. That’s why I’m on about it; I expect to needs these words, myself, as soon as I interact with my partner, neighbors, or the community beyond. This is a blog post I’ll re-read a number of times, today, as pain wears me down and I fight back for one more shred of resolve to get one more task completed. 🙂

Take care of yourself today. Take care of those dear to you. Be kind. We all need more kindness, day-to-day. If we’re not willing to provide it, how will those around us understand to proceed, themselves? “Please be kind to me, I’m having a tough time today” are not easy words to say… maybe we would do well to practice, that, too? Anyway… practices need fewer words, and more practicing, and here it is, already time to begin again. 😉

Raindrops on a rose bud.