Archives for posts with tag: RTFM

Be who you are. I say it. Other people say it. I think when it is said, it’s generally well-intended, and a sincere expression of an understanding of being that implies being all of the best of who we are, and hopefully still contains a kernel of awareness that reducing ourselves to our own worst qualities, as we understand those ourselves, is not at all the intention. But… just in case… I’ll go ahead and say that, too; being who you are implies being who you are wholly, with skill, and with your fundamental good-nature and humanity intact. Don’t just dissolve in a heated moment, becoming your inner most slime mold. lol That’s less… yeah. It’s less. Less well than you could choose to do. Less pleasant among all your character qualities. Less ideally you than even you would have you be. Yep. Still a shit load of verbs involved there, and some willful decision-making, and the needs to manage your chaos and damage with a modicum of adulting – and you will fail. Sometimes. Other times, you will rock the shit out of all that adulting, and friends and loved ones will be astonished by your general awesomeness and ability to love and treat others well. Mostly, I’ve found, I fall somewhere between those two extremes, day-to-day. Doing my best. Capable of improving on that. Working to improve over time, and become more the woman I most want to be.

Authenticity is a big deal. You really are you, and not someone else. Becoming the person you most want to be isn’t about faking something, or wearing a mask, or playing dress up. When I say I want to become the woman I most want to be, I mean in all the best ways I see myself, and then maybe improving on that – in a bunch of other ways I would like to see myself, but don’t yet, because I’m legitimately not that, yet. We become what we practice. If I want to be accepted as being gracious, calm, and loving, it is necessary for me to practice actions and behaviors that are gracious, calm and loving. Those qualities don’t become “who I am” until there has been so much practice, sufficiently skillfully, and entirely sincerely, that over time the behaviors themselves become my default behavior, and the thinking behind them has become, over time, my natural way of thinking. Am I “faking it” in the meantime? Nope. I’m practicing. Still has to be “the real deal” – I can’t grit my teeth, clench my jaw, and go through the motions (that’s not practicing a behavior, that’s enduring having to comply with a commitment, perhaps, but it’s not “practice” – which requires a certain amount of “buy in” and willingness to change). “Fake it to make it” isn’t a thing I do, myself, because I don’t think that works for me. The key is in the word “fake”. I prefer to rephrase that well-meaning sentiment as “we become what we practice”.

Don’t be fake. Get real.

Who do you most want to be? Behave as though you are already that person – because those behaviors align to your values. (If they don’t, is that really who you want to be, or are you just saying that because someone else wants that of you? Something to think about.) Sure, there is awareness and effort involved, and every day choices matter a lot. It helps, too, to have an understanding of who you already are. Ask the hard questions of yourself. Look yourself in the eye and call shenanigans on your own bullshit – leave all those other people out of it, they’ve got their own hard mile to walk.

Being authentically this person that I am doesn’t permit me to be nasty to people and just say “well that’s who I am, accept me” in any comfortable way (I’ve seen a lot of people take this strategy, though). I find, instead, that it forces a certain uncomfortable obligation to be authentically vulnerable about where I could improve, or change, based on my own understanding of myself and what I want of me. Yep. Being authentically me, accepting of myself, and non-judgmentally aware of “who I am right now” doesn’t alleviate the burden of self-reflection and personal growth, and it doesn’t allow me to break my social contract with the world (which is basically an agreement to treat others well, based on certain common standards). What it does do is place my growth and progress in life in my own hands, based on my own choices. I can choose to be the worst of what I am capable of – or the best – or I can fall somewhere between the extremes. I can choose to progress, to do nothing, or to fall behind. I can act using my own will and agency, or allow learned helplessness to stall me in the moment. All choices. I can choose authenticity – or I can choose to go through the motions, resenting my lot in life.

Thoughts on a Wednesday morning, as I prepare to begin again. Real-ly.

Something woke me during the night, around 1:45 am. I finally got back to sleep sometime after 3:30 am. The alarm clock seemed an unkind thing at 4:45 am. I feel… groggy? No, something subtly different… my perceptions and sensations are somewhat surreal spin-offs of the ordinary. Coffee helps. I struggle to sort out my thinking this morning. I go through the motions of tasks intended to help me re-engage the moment. I can’t claim any great success. I am thankful I have no plans after work; an early night seems likely.

I think about the day ahead, and the weekend just completed. It is a poor morning for complex thought. I let my thoughts drift through my awareness as sand through a sieve. I think about the nature of values, and how regardless what we say our values are, our actions demonstrate the truth of our values which can’t be denied. I think, too, about ground rules in relationships, how they are decided upon, and the purpose they serve. I muse a while about equanimity, reciprocity, and ‘fairness’. I contemplate the fallibility of memory, and the nature of revisionist history. I think  about cats, kittens, and just about the time I find myself wondering why I haven’t got one, I remember why I don’t. It’s that sort of morning; my consciousness is filled with thought-confetti, colorful, distracting, disorganized.

The weekend was mostly spent rather satisfyingly helping my traveling partner sort things out for his comfort here. Some of that was more emotional for me than I expected. Something to meditate on at some point when I am not so tired.

Today it will be challenge enough to get through the day’s workload efficiently, to get home still feeling merry and encouraged by life, to end the day more or less content with things, and without causing any stress or drama with fatigued clumsiness or confusion. It’s a sufficiently lofty goal for today, and I will do my best – that will be enough. 🙂

Or, for that matter, what it isn’t.  These are subjects for another day – soon.

Today I am focusing on openness and intimacy, fearlessly approaching and being approachable. Eye contact. Observation. Being in the moment, because the moment is what I have. Making room to feel, to be involved in my own experience. Breathing, and finding that still calm place.  Taking practices of mindful self-acceptance, compassion, and gratitude, and applying them to my relationships with others.

Today I find balance, because I choose balance, and compassion because I choose compassion. Today I will change the world.

Every moment holds all the potential that exists to choose well.

Every moment holds all the potential that exists to choose well.

I really wanted to come home and write. I have something bubbling up in  my consciousness, a new level of understanding of something that seems… worth the time and the words….

…but I feel angry. I feel annoyed. I feel… too close to the darkness that lurks within, poetically speaking. I’d rather not taint my tender epiphany with any of that. It’s worth more. So, I am taking some time to chill and contemplate how human we each are, how easily I can identify with many facets of a conflict, how difficult perspective and balance can be – so tenuous, so fragile – in the face of strong emotion.

Sometimes a change in perspective doesn't really answer any questions.

Sometimes a change in perspective doesn’t really answer any questions. It isn’t always about answers.

I continue to chill. To breath. To study. It could be that the most important changes for me of late have been moving away from a need to know, to a comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, letting go of the desire to ‘be right’ in favor of being calm, and letting go of mastery and answering questions to be a student, every day, asking more questions than I answer, and being open to what is… sometimes more than others; I am, after all, still human. 🙂

Today did bring a nice moment of surprise – I’d forgotten I had ordered a couple of books in pursuit of my studies, and they came today.  Siddhartha; a favorite novel that didn’t open my eyes when I read it in the 70s. I was young, and broken, and more than any of that, I was not ready, now I am, and I really want to read it with new understanding.  I also ordered a book I never read, but could have… but didn’t.  I want to read it now.  As if only I could read all the words, I would be able to… something.  Something more than I can, so far.  Buddha in Blue Jeans. Quite tiny and slim and unassuming (some of my most enduring favorites and influential tomes are tiny).  I opened it tenderly, randomly, in that vaguely reverent  way people who love books do. It’s a keeper. Pretty words. 🙂

Lest you think me more serious than I am, there was a third book. 101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mmm, even the title sounds tasty. 😀

Nightfall has over taken twilight. Time to consider things, and take care of me.