Archives for posts with tag: practicing the practices

The morning seems peculiarly physical as experiences go. My hair feels very soft. My coffee? This morning, the heat seems more noteworthy than the flavor of it, and I appreciate the warmth of the mug in my hands, in the chill of the morning. The headache, the arthritis pain, these too, are physical experiences. I notice the “taste of sleep” in my mouth, and remind myself to brush my teeth.

I don’t feel particularly emotional, at all. I am. I feel. This moment now, right here, is what it is. Is there more? Well, sure, but here, right now, this is enough. Later I will go to work. Do the things that provide the resources to continue on to do other things that make it easier to live a beautiful life of contentment, emotional safety, and modest comfort. I’ll go to a job. I’ll return home. I’ll do some chores. There are verbs involved (and just as many, regardless whether I am taking care of emotional needs, or physical ones).

This shit isn’t magic, People; there is will and decision-making involved, and even that won’t get many people to their goals. There is effort, commitment, and actual real work that has to back up our choices. Don’t like dishes in the sink? Do the fucking dishes. It’s that kind of basic stuff we so often get stuck on, isn’t it? Let something go in one moment, end up pissed off and fixated on it in some other moment. lol Stop letting shit just go. Build the life you most want to live – starting with your choices, and followed by your actions, and repeated in endless iterations until you stand contentedly in the midst of the life you have chosen to live.

Where you find yourself in life largely depends on the choices you make along the way.

It’s really that easy.

It’s also really really that hard.

It’s also your choice whether it is easy or hard; it won’t be without effort.

It gets way more challenging when it’s not just one person, living alone in a house, I get that. I hear you. When we share our space, explicit expectation-setting becomes critical, as well as quickly making it apparent how important shared goals, values, and willingness to work can be. I could not comfortably live in a house full of people and be the only person doing the fucking dishes, or cleaning the bathroom. There’d definitely be some fucking… “clear expectation-setting”, and it might get uncomfortably frank. (Easily summarized as “I’m not your fucking maid”.)

A lot of people enjoy a beautiful well-kept comfortably luxurious environment – it’s lovely to live that way – but the set of “all people who enjoy living beautifully” and the set of “all people willing to do the work to live beautifully” is not two identical sets of people, at all.Β That gets awkward fast if just one person willing to work for it is overwhelmed by the lack of consideration, or investment, or will, or ability, of several other people – who may only be willing to live that way, not put in the time, effort, or resources. Harsh.

Do your part. Whatever that is. Do it. Anything less makes a person just another “taker”, more often than people want to admit about themselves. Fucking hell, at least offer to help and really mean it. Be aware of the potential for resentment in your relationships, if you allow someone to carry more than their fair share of the work involved. Be willing to look in the mirror honestly; are you part of the solution, or are you holding things up, or worse – are you part of making extra work for everyone else?

I’m sitting here, comfortable at home, sipping an excellent coffee, prepared in a clean kitchen. Those things are what they are because I do the work involved. This morning, I am smiling, because my Traveling Partner, when he is here, also does the work involved, ensuring that I am not treated as a servant, or overloaded with housekeeping, or feeling resentful over “doing everything around here” when he is here at home. It’s quite a lovely partnership in that regard. There are no dishes on my counter. πŸ™‚ I’m not working any harder – and maybe, actually, a little less hard than I ordinarily would; I have help. Instead of gaining the stank and mess and workload involved in picking up after more people, I gain the extra time to enjoy life implied by having help with all the work, because I’m not alone here right now. It’s lovely. πŸ™‚

It’s also not perfect. I don’t have that kind of energy or time, and yeah; there are very human details and a touch of untidiness here and there. I’m comfortable, and content with my choices. πŸ™‚

I’m not meaning to be critical of your lifestyle – that’s not my point. Live as you wish. If you wish to live well, to live beautifully, though? There are verbs involved. There’s work to be done. If that beautiful life you seek is in the context of shared cohabitation in some form, it’ll be much easier if every-fucking-body does their part. No kidding. Everyone who uses the kitchen? Well, if they are all committed to cleaning as they go? The kitchen stays clean. Same with the bathroom – you use it? You help with cleaning it. Do you walk on the floors? I guess you’ll also be taking a turn vacuuming, and helping out by not dragging in mud and dirt from outside. Your dog, cat, other? You’re making sure, full-time, on the regular, that their waste is managed – promptly, and hygienically? It gets gross fast, if you’re not. Seriously – it’s a lot of work. All of it. It’s still got to be done, if the choice in life you want to make is to live well and beautifully. It’s one of life’s non-negotiables, actually.

This is not a dichotomy. It’s a not a single choice between live in filth and live beautifully. There’s a whole lot of choices here. Maybe you and your housemates really just don’t care about dishes at all, but the condition of the floors is a real quality of life headache? Maybe everyone really wants a sparkling clean bathroom, but the general tidiness around and about is less of a big deal? It’s something to discuss explicitly; what is the shared vision? And what is to be done if there’s just definitely that one person who wants to enjoy it all but has no interest in helping out? May I suggest that they be directed to relocate? No kidding, I don’t think I have another solution for that, unless pure resentful rage and constant very direct bitching until they move out counts. I’m sorry. I legitimately wish I knew how to get people to be more committed and helpful at home about quality of life matters that matter to other people.

Isn’t that a challenge that occurs in life, just… a lot? Lack of will. Lack of consideration. Lack of interest in doing the work. I mean, I go through it too. How many years did I waste in therapy because I kept looking for someone or something to blame for my pain, rather than allowing myself to simply accept that, being in pain, I needed to make some changes to ease it? The verbs were mine, all along. lol

How do you want to live your life? What does your vision of comfort and contentment look like? Are you doing the things it takes to have that experience?Β Maybe, just maybe, you could. Start small. Change one bad habit, because the outcome matters to you, every day. Keep at it. Fail and start over. Improve over time. Move on to another less than ideal habit or practice. Make a change. Repeat. We’re closing in on a whole new year – are you even well-informed about what you would do differently if it were entirely up to you? What would your life look like, if every detail were as you wish to see it? Is your vision truly your own? Is it practical and achievable? Can it be scaled back to get started in a more achievable way, if it is so exceedingly lavish as to be wholly impractical and unachievable right now? I’m just saying; more of this is within your control than you may realize.

…And it’s a wonderful time to begin again. How will you live your life? What is the change you wish to see in your world, right there at home? πŸ™‚

It’s basic troubleshooting, right? I mean, at least it seems to be with a lot of stuff. Not working? Restart it. Computer lagging? Have you restarted it? Vacuum cleaner stalled? Have you turned it off and turned it back on? Internet connection isn’t delivering on its promise of connectivity? Have you power cycled your router?

…Literal new beginnings just every where…

I sip my coffee and struggle to wake up. My coffee is good. Hot. Carefully brewed. Tasty for such values of flavor as are available for coffee in the first place (realistically, if it was about flavor, I could do better than coffee lol). I’m satisfied with the coffee, but less so with my state of relative alertness, this morning.

Yesterday evening was peculiar. I got mired, briefly, in the search for a carefully saved file I did not want to lose track of and could not find, and instead of finding it, went on a strange journey through saved photos and rediscovered all (I think) of the missing photos I thought I’d lost after my apartment was burglarized back in 2016. That discovery still has me smiling and a little astonished. It’s not the real point, though (wait – why isn’t it?) – the point is, I didn’t actually need the file I was looking for – I just got hung up on finding it, once I couldn’t. I had an alternate solution that was perfectly feasible and practical in every way. Once I finally gave up on insisting on finding that file, and actually just took care of the need (which amounted to taking a picture with my camera, seriously, it was nothing), I immediately found that fucking file.Β I’d ever so carefully saved it to my desktop so I wouldn’t lose it. LOL

Damn it. So human.

About those pictures. There are some wonderful shots that I’d thought I’d lost forever. There are a lot of memories saved in those photographs. I felt, as I scrolled through them, that I had regained something tangible that had been lost. More wonderful even than that? By the time I had scrolled long enough to satisfy my curiosity and emotional appetite, I was also very much aware that I had not really “lost anything” at all, in the sense that my memories of that time were intact – even without the pictures. Wow. I mean… wow. Really? πŸ˜€

I’m sipping my coffee, now, with a happy smile as I think about how good it feels to have memories of pleasant moments. πŸ™‚

I think about that a bit longer, sipping my coffee, almost losing track of time. It’s a work day. I think about my challenges in the evening, yesterday. I think about how easily a quick “restart” works out for me, so often. Another glance at the time…

…Already time to begin again. πŸ˜€ I’m still fairly groggy. Time to restart the morning… I’ll take my coffee to go. πŸ˜€

It’s funny, isn’t it, that things change so much in such a short time, and often in such unexpected ways. Sometimes subtle, sometimes quite obvious, sometimes in unimaginably pleasant ways, sometimes less so – change is.Β 

I smile and sip my coffee. This morning it is exceptionally good. I feel well-rested, content, and calm. The morning begins well. I enjoy this feeling, savoring it, lingering with it, not asking it to be anything more than what it is. Grateful for it, and appreciative.

Some lovely fun hours in the company of dear friends, and my Traveling Partner, were a nice addition to the weekend. I am still enjoying those recollections, too. I think about all the many small commitments to mutual support, and shared experience, that make up these relationships – as much about “family” and community, as they are about friendship. Our relationships are so much of who we are. Almost a “living mirror”, in a sense; we see reflected back what we are able to deliver, ourselves. It’s a lot of work to maintain a low-drama experience in the context of our relationships, sometimes, but it is possible. I smile and think about that for a few minutes more. How do we share the best of who we are with the people most dear to us? How do we encourage them to do the same?

I glance at the time. It’s an ordinary enough work day, and I’ve commitments aside from those to family, community, home, and hearth. There’s also the work thing, and it’s already time to begin again. lol

…Are you ready for a new day? What will you do with it? πŸ™‚

My work day is over. My Traveling Partner, and friends, have journeyed onward from this place, for places elsewhere, undetermined, and for me, unknown. I am tired. Figuring on writing a few words before (quite probably) napping… maybe… It was a short night. I sat down, fingers poised over the keyboard… Nothing.

I find myself wondering “why”, which so often leads to attempting to attribute a cause to this or that experience, which tends to lead me away from just having – and being present for – the experience, itself. More thinking about, than doing. “Because…” is sort of funny that way. We use it to excuse, to justify, to explain, to support – we squeeze a lot out of that one word. I’m not certain of the general usefulness of “because…”, considering how often I am just fucking incorrect in some momentary reaction to some circumstance or situation; I just don’t know enough to root-cause every detail of my life, and I’ve finally realized that it doesn’t actually help, most of the time. So… I mostly avoid “because…” these days. It’s a word that seems to immediately precede not continuing to live life, but instead toward pausing to re-evaluate it, often repeatedly. Tedious.

…Have you ever tried to go through a day without using the word “because”? Like, actually live life without making excuses, or trying to tie one event to another using causality? Instead, just accepting the moments, one by one, living them, observing the experience, and practicing both compassionate acceptance and non-attachment? I often try. I often fail. It’s more challenging than it appears.Β  I could use more practice…

…Right now, though? I mostly could use a nap. LOL

I like a smooth, well-mapped, route when I travel from place to pace, it’s true. I don’t at all mind “a road less traveled” – I just prefer to use a map. lol The enormous emotional relief, for me, in beginning down the path of mindfulness, of improved self-awareness, of improved emotional self-sufficiency, has been largely due to the increased sensation that this journey can make some sense, can seem to follow some sort of map. Sort of. πŸ™‚ It’s a feeling of “safe travels” on life’s journey, for me.

…I’m less than ideally well-suited to unexpected drama, profound losses of perspective or resilience, or that emotional teeter-totter that gets slyly labeled “reactivity”. I falter. I panic. I want to run. Doesn’t matter if it’s my mess, or someone else’s. I really just don’t want to be part of it, and I begin to do a lot of emotional dog-paddling in life’s choppy waters, just trying to stay ahead of things, or smooth things over. I’d often rather just yield to whatever the chaos brings with it, accept and reject it, and fucking walk on. So often, it’s either my own mess to clean up and manage, or it belongs to someone dear to me, who has… for fuck’s sake… reached out to me (of all people) for help and support.

It was late last night before I’d self-soothed and medicated sufficiently to stop by brain spinning out of control on details that didn’t really belong directly to me, but touched my experience enough to be aggravating. I slept fitfully, once I was able to sleep at all, and my nightmares were not all that helpful toward sorting shit out. I was fairly grateful for the loud crashing noise on the roof over my bed, which woke me abruptly at 1:49 am. Heavy winds all day and into the night, really making a loud rushing and roaring noise, had been tossing the treetops back and forth for hours. Seconds after 1:48 am, I guess, a largish tree beyond the back fence couldn’t take it any longer and snapped just a couple feet up from the base. It hit the house and broke again, the top sliding down the roof into the neighbor’s yard, the mid-section crashing into the fence, and destroying a section of that, breaking again, and that piece falling sort of into my yard.

Well…shit. That’s not good…

Minutes later, we were all standing out there in the wind and rain, faces wearing looks of astonishment and relief. It could have been worse. In the darkness, the wind carried off any real sense of fear or anxiety, leaving behind only words of surprise, and cautious optimism. It would be hours before day light gave us a better look. Still, it was easy to tell it could have been much worse.

I went back to bed with that reminder in my mind; it could have been worse. So often in life this is true. lol

I woke to a lovely note from my Traveling Partner. I woke to no drama. I woke to peace and contentment. I woke to a large tree broken in pieces spread across the back yards, and a displaced squirrel looking up at me with a recognizable “wtf??” look. I smiled. I get it. I put out peanuts for the squirrels and made a cup of coffee for myself – and began again. πŸ™‚