Archives for posts with tag: read a book

In video games new levels sometimes look really different. Handy. It’s less obvious with birthdays. Sure, sure, I’m “a whole year older”, but that work is behind me now, and 55 is basically all but one day entirely ahead of me. Everything looks entirely the same. 🙂

Perspective on the day. A familiar view.

I had things planned that took me downtown in the morning. Those plans toppled like carefully arranged dominoes, but not soon enough to spare me the trip. lol My day was entirely spent indulging myself gently from there, gardening, reading, and generally delighted with the lovely day from moment-to-moment. I missed my Traveling Partner, and far more the person, himself, than the gift he’d sent (that he had alerted me would likely not arrive in time). (I do like presents, but missing him is not about material things.)

It was a lovely day in the garden.

My mail carrier surprised me by being early. Packages. 😀 A gift from a friend, and a wee package from my Traveling Partner; his gift arrived on the very day. I eagerly opened them both. Earrings and a book. The earrings are lovely heart-shaped peridot earrings that sparkle in the sunshine, and go very nicely with my mop of messy layers and waves of colorful hair. The book is how I ended up spending much of the delightful day reading, trying in part to puzzle out why this book? A birthday mystery. lol

I did not end up reading this book, but this is the book I was gifted. 😀

I spent the day gently, enjoying my own company. Time well-spent. Facebook filled with birthday well-wishes over the course of the day. Each “happy birthday” made me smile, and take note of the good wishes of my friends in a bigger way. My Mom phoned. We talked for about half an hour, really taking time to catch up. It was a great start to a new year, a new level. By the end of the day, plans that had gone awry were no longer part of the experience, at all. 🙂 I spent the day very present, in my own experience, with myself. It was quite lovely. I find myself wondering how best to incorporate that into every day, into every experience with myself…? I’m betting there are verbs involved. lol No doubt it will require practice. 🙂 I’ll probably need to begin again… a bunch of times. I could probably get started on that now…

…”Now” is an excellent time for beginnings. 🙂

Okay, so… it isn’t autumn anymore. The weather is still gray and rainy-freezy-misty. Not good for long drives through mountain passes (at least, it’s not my preference). A poor choice for my arthritis as well, though there’s little to be done about that long-term without relocating; I take short-term actions to ease my symptoms, almost as soon as I get up, today.

I begin the holiday with a lovely stack of books to read.

It’s the just the loveliest winter day. I’ve spent it…oh… on me. Relaxing. Meditating. Reading. Doing yoga. Watching the squirrels play. I forced myself out of the house once, when I noticed I’d run out of coffee and didn’t have even enough for a second cup. Of course, the one time I venture out, and silence my ringer while driving, I miss a call from my Traveling Partner. lol I check messages when I get home, see the missed call, and phone him back. It’s always lovely to talk, to hear his voice, even that bit when he gets frustrated with me talking over him is worth the phone call. 🙂 He gets back to his day, there, I get back to mine, here.

Today has been an exceptional day for meditation. It’s a good fit with all the reading, which somehow manages to surprise me. I find myself questioning the surprise; is it just an artifact of an injury that often misleads me about what is or is not new? I let that go and simply enjoy each precious chill moment of this pleasant holiday. I read awhile. Finish a chapter (or a book) and “take a break” by meditating for some unmeasured little while. I pause all that to have a bit of a chat with my partner, listen to some music, practice with the buugeng. At some point, I begin all that again, and return to reading. It’s been just about the perfect day off, in spite of missing my Traveling Partner, and even in spite of being in pain.

3 finished. Feminism, Love, and Dictatorship – a broad variety of topics, with still more enticing reading to come.

I put everything aside for a while. More meditation. Sitting quietly by the fire, taking a moment to simply be, and to be aware, and to really listen. To observe the moment without putting rules on it, or building a narrative around it, or making it any more or less significant than the moment itself provides without effort or guidance. Experiencing “being” as the verb it is, without the complication of all those other verbs, for just some little while. Some time later, the warmth of the room seemed to shift from cozy to stifling, and I got up, adjusted the thermostat, welcomed the twilight, and made my way here, right here, now. This? This is live – well, in the moment I am doing the typing, right now, it is. I’m often not “writing right now” in that way – it’s far more common that I am writing about some recently past moment (although rather rudely, I often do so in the present tense, having become emotionally entangled there in that past event).

So… here we each are, in our present moment. I giggle quietly to myself as I fully take in the meanings when I think to myself “I hope your present is not tense”… “present tense”. It should not be that god damned funny (it isn’t). I’m laughing out loud, and tears squeeze out of my eyes. A moment of subtly hysterical catharsis – no harm was done to this human in the writing of this blog post. 🙂 I smile with considerable kindness “at myself”, and experience a weird moment of recognition and gratitude – when did we actually become friends, the woman in the mirror and I? I don’t think it’s been that long ago… we’ve been mutually supportive for some time (a couple years) but “friends” would have been a stretch. Funny.

I smile to myself and consider how pleasant the evening is, and feel fortunate to enjoy my own company with such ease these days. What a lovely day, well spent, in good company, reading, meditating, listening to music, dancing, practicing buugeng and watching squirrels… I think I’m ready to begin again. 🙂

[Trigger warning: sexuality, sexual assault, female anger, vaginas]

Today is weird and wobbly. I’m just finally finishing up Vagina, by Naomi Wolf. Powerful material that really resonates with me. I feel heard. I feel understood. I feel… betrayed. Shit. That’s not what I expected… Wait… did I expect something? What was I looking for? Healing. That’s going to mean staring into the damage… Scary.

I can read a book. There are still verbs involved in changing anything.

I can read a book. There are still verbs involved in changing anything.

“Vagina” could be one of the most important books I’ve ever read. I finally added it to my Reading List, too, linked for convenience of course. I considered and reconsidered adding it, again and again, because… well.. hey, only half of us or so actually have vaginas in the first place… and… well… I’d have to use the word ‘vagina’… in public… Facing that I feel resistance to doing so pushed me in a whole other irritated direction, because why the hell should I be the slightest bit self-conscious about the word ‘vagina’ when half of us have one?? Seriously? I am so irritated with myself over that. I am sick to fucking death of cultural defaults intended to meet male needs or support male emotional comfort at the expense of my own. (If that came out with a snarl, you’re hearing me correctly, and I’m even sorry about feeling the way I do… because… brainwashing. So fucking over this bullshit! How do I end it without… ‘ending it’?) Sorry about the anger. Why? Um… I always apologize for my anger. I don’t know. Shouldn’t I? I’m a woman. (Yes, I heard it, too. It’s a journey.)

Every sexual relationship I’ve had has contributed to real-life challenges I now have as a sexual human being, including the relationship I have with myself. Maybe that one most of all… I have profound difficulties feeling comfortable sexually, and have for a while. I feel as if my sense of ‘agency’ is completely lost. Facing ‘having to’ ‘fix’ it seems a mammoth and overwhelming task, and I don’t even think I know what ‘fixed’ would look like, for the woman in the mirror. These are very ‘me-centric’ issues, far more than they are issues to do with partners, partnerships, lovers, techniques, frequency, orgasms, sexual satisfaction, or any of all of that; this is about being and becoming, and sorting out the chaos and damage, and healing the woman in the mirror. It’s about taking back my soul, and my personal authority over my own experience. My agency. Over my life. Trusting myself on this very dark bit of path is scary. One foot ahead of the other… one step at a time… It’s time to take a deep breath and get to work on the hard stuff, the scary stuff, the stuff that is so very painfully real it generally goes without mention. Fuck.

I think about my physical therapist saying something to me yesterday about having to be patient about restoring motion to joints that have been stiff or frozen up for a long while. I think about my feelings, my very hurt feelings about being female, and about the impossible standards, impossible odds for success, and very different demands, limitations, and expectations placed on female human beings. I think about my anger – because thinking about it is far less difficult than feeling it. It seems beyond cruel to have to exist in a world that doesn’t value me as a human being solely because of my gender. That sucks… most particularly considering how powerfully valuable females are to the survival of a species. It sucks that it’s almost impossible to discuss easily with trusted male friends; it isn’t part of their experience, and defensiveness often precedes actually hearing me… and it is hard to hear, harder still to accept how terrifyingly commonplace it is, for all the women they know.  I’m emotionally impaired in my relationships with women on this whole other level, and trusting enough to be vulnerable enough to talk about some of this is painfully awkward – and then I’m ‘preaching to the choir’ anyway. We can commiserate, but there is no satisfaction in it. No sense of being more understood, or nurtured, or healed… or changing anything. I don’t want to injure them further in the telling, either…  I guess that’s the hope in discussing feminist issues with male friends and lovers; I somehow hold on to the possibility that the world will change for having had the conversation. They can’t easily change something they aren’t guilty of themselves  – in some cases they can’t even see it happening around them. 😦

Hell yes, I’m an angry feminist. Get over it. I’ve been egregiously wounded, trauma specifically directed at my very femaleness (some literal physical trauma directed at my genitals and brain through violence; rape), repeatedly, over time (some of it legislated, by putting me permanently at a disadvantage on purpose, creating a culture of diminishment, dismissal, and disregard – yep. Traumatic.). Why would I not be angry? How could my anger not affect my relationships? How could my anger and pain over being sexually assaulted not affect my emotional life and my sexual wellness? Why would anyone reasonably expect women to ‘just get over it’? Does that even sound sane? Or supportive? Or healing? Go fuck yourself – I’m not over it. (Sorry, it hurts every time I recognize that some bit of me is still locked up, frozen in time, wounded and stalled over things that are so far in the past.) I can’t retrieve what was taken from me.

I want to be over it. Fuck I am so grateful for the strength of the women who have told their stories in so many public ways, lately; I have been silenced for so long. Silenced – and everywhere the silence touches my heart, my heart is frozen. When does summer come?

Today is a good day for meditation. Today is a good day to understand I’m not alone, however alone I feel right now. Today is a good day to walk on – anger and all – and keep practicing. Today is a good day to cry honest tears, and remember to begin again. I’m okay right now.  ❤

I am enjoying a quiet evening. It isn’t a spectacular evening in any noteworthy way, but it is quiet, and relaxed, and satisfying; I am content with… ‘now’? Something more than that, but I lack concise straightforward language to describe it. Maybe I will stumble upon just the right word that means “I’m okay, by my own will and effort, the nourishment of love, and a future lifetime of healthy practices, and this is a damned fine cup of decaf on a chilly autumn evening and everything is just fine”… that’s the word I am looking for. 🙂

I could just enjoy this lovely moment.

I could just enjoy this lovely moment.

I have been in pain all day. I walked home slowly, more of a stroll, phone put away in my handbag, enjoying the geese and squirrels at play, and the autumn leaves fluttering to the ground. I got home, and did some yoga, and had a light dinner. I enjoyed a long soak in a hot bath, after meditating for some while. It was lovely. I’m still in pain. Doesn’t really matter that much right now.

I don’t find myself moved to poke and prod at my consciousness, or over-explain life’s endlessly mystifying curriculum to myself. This feels like an evening to relax, and to ‘reap what I have sown’ – there has to be room to appreciate progress, to enjoy moments, to be grateful for growth, for beginnings, for love… It’s a nice evening for all of that, and pain seems somewhat irrelevant for the moment.

I am relaxing here, sipping my coffee and listening to jazz. I am in the middle of a number of books – I nearly always am – and this sweet gentle evening is progressing such that it seems very much inevitable that I’ll be reading one of them in some imminent future moment, legs folded beneath me, coffee cup carefully perched on my knee, or cradled in my lap, lost in someone else’s words.

This is quite lovely. Isn’t that enough? I very much think it is. (Your results may vary; there are verbs involved.)

This is an easy restful weekend so far. I slept in again this morning, and although I woke stiff and in a lot of pain, aside from that – which is annoyingly commonplace at this point in life – it’s a lovely weekend, relaxed, and still somewhat productive. I’m not ‘trying’ to get here. I didn’t head into the weekend with a firm plan to relax, or to rest, or to tackle a big list of stuff to do. The weekend began. I’ve continued to practice the practices that work best for me – I’ve meditated more than I often to (which already tends to be often), and probably done less yoga than I could have (and might be in less pain if I had chosen differently).

Yes, of course, coffee. :-)

Yes, of course, coffee. 🙂

I tend to associate the verb ‘trying’ with focused effort and a very specific outcome in mind. I also associate ‘trying’ with frustration; trying puts me on a more direct path to failing, by setting specific expectations of which actions must lead to what outcome. I’ve got challenges with frustration – it is my worst emotion, inasmuch as I just don’t deal with the experience of feeling frustrated well; it quickly becomes unreasoning anger, with risk of tantrums, tears, and actual quite dreadful headaches. As emotions go, I am least skilled with frustration. I find that when I let go of ‘trying’ to do something, or get somewhere, and simply get started on the task, or headed for the destination, building on good basic practices without becoming attached to a specific outcome, I not only enjoy my experience more, I definitely achieve my goals more easily – and more often – with less frustration.  It’s an experience to explore further.

Fancy

Sometimes the luxury self-care package includes a moment of self-indulgence – my salted caramel cafe au lait, Friday evening.

Friday night’s prolonged periods of reflection and meditation are still ‘seeping into my consciousness’. Yesterday was filled with “Oh!” moments of awakening, generally followed by abruptly stopping what I was doing at the time to pause, sit for a moment with the realization or new thinking, before moving on with the day. I ‘didn’t get anything done’ in the sense of practical matters being checked off a list of tasks, but I spent the day treating myself well, relaxing without guilt, and practicing practices that build emotional resilience for the work week to come, and ones that build the emotional self-sufficiency I will rely on for a lifetime ahead of me. With modern medicine in mind, there is every possibility that I will live beyond 100 years… making me more or less at the literal half way point in life, with a great deal more awareness than a newborn child has. These can be fantastic years ahead of me – handled appropriately. Certainly, there are more paintings to paint, more words to write, and more moments ahead of me.

...and more books to read. It's a good day for that, too.

…and more books to read, more poetry to write. It’s a good day for it.

I find myself asking a strange new question as I move through the hours of my days this weekend. “Is this the life you are choosing for yourself, for the next 50 years?” It’s not actually a yes/no limited question. The question is more intended to provoke reflection on who I am, how I live, and what my choices are – not only how I treat the world, and what I do with my time, generally – but also how I feel in the context of my own experience. Each time I ask myself the question, I take the opportunity to make some small change to improve on how I care for myself, how I treat others, and even how I think about my experience, and the world I live in. I am learning to value and appreciate my emotions without letting them take the driver’s seat; they communicate things about the nature of my experience that reason doesn’t notice right away [or at all, let’s face it; reason has a different mission].

…Now, if I can just figure out how to wring every last drop of delight, education, and value out of experiences that frustrate me, that would be quite spectacularly lovely! 🙂

It’s a good day for being, and for becoming. It’s a good day to try new things. It’s a good day to become more skilled at the things that work well. It’s a good day to honor progress, and appreciate all the small moments and interactions that delight me, educate me, and nourish my heart. Changing the world is a long process, relying on the incremental changes over time of a great many individuals – there are verbs involved. Changing the world within can happen over night; it’s a choice. [There are still verbs involved, and your results may vary. Practice. Begin again.]