Archives for posts with tag: sound and vision

I definitely “feel 53” this morning. I’m okay with that; I am 53. 🙂 The show last night was amazing. It was not really “a concert” or.. well… it was a fantastical stage production centering around music, themed on Alice in Wonderland, attended by beings willing to suspend expectations of the ordinary for a night and just… go with it. A needed, and worthy, break from the routine. There were dancers, jugglers, performance artists of several sorts, and painters practicing their craft live, to massive fabulous bass-y beats. It was quite wonderful. I got home very late, and I had planned and prepared for this to be the case… but, there were verbs involved, choices made, and of course today I begin again.

Down the Rabbit Hole 2017 at the Crystal Ballroom

My ears are ringing like crazy. I took ear plugs with me, and when I wasn’t on the dance floor, had a comfortable vantage point from the balcony of the historic theater venue – my ears are still ringing. Experience suggests my tinnitus will be a mild impairment for at least today, then fading into the background to exist as a mild persistent distraction once again. I’m tired. I can look at the number of hours that I slept and figure I’ve “gotten enough sleep”, but I feel groggy, and inclined to return to bed – but I won’t sleep now that I’m awake and consciousness is filled with morning sunshine. I hurt all over. As I think about that, my pain worsens. That’s a practical detail worthy of consideration; if I make my pain my focus, it becomes the most important thing in my awareness, and thereby becomes more prominent. I take a deep breath and let it go; it doesn’t stop me hurting altogether, but seems to reduce the magnitude somewhat.

Why all the bitching? I smile and sip my coffee, because I know something about me and this peculiar singular journey that is my experience; when I know where I am, I am more easily able to move on from that place. The challenge is to make the observation without making the observed detail a theme, or the focus of my experience, when it is something painful, uncomfortable, or perceivably “negative”. It’s worth remembering, too, that this also opens the door to more willfully lingering over, and savoring, the nurturing, delightful, pleasant, and uplifting experiences – deliberating shifting gears to make those a focus of my experience, or a theme, results in useful changes in implicit biases. The bitching, in this case, is structured and part of a process with a clear point. (Thanks cognitive science!)

A welcome seat with a decent view; the lamp included in the shot because it’s pretty cool, also. lol

I think over the high points of the evening… dancing with my Traveling Partner (we attended with another friend)… the music… the wow factor of the varied costumes of both the performers and the attendees… soaking in the lights, the scene, the wonder… finding a good seat with an unobstructed view that remained mine more or less all evening (even though I left it and returned several times)… losing track of my partner and his friend in the crowd and dancing dancing dancing through and among and around thinking I would eventually find them, and losing myself in the music instead (I found them when I returned to my seat! lol).

Sold out show.

My tinnitus fades into the background as I linger over the recollections of the evening. My back aches less. I forget that I’m rather amusingly sitting here with noise cancelling headphones on… but not playing any sounds. Going back to bed still sounds pretty nice… My eye wanders to the list of household chores I had planned to do today, from the vantage point of yesterday morning… I chuckle rather merrily and give silent side eye to the woman who wrote that list yesterday; I’m seriously doubting I will do even one thing on that list today. I’m okay with that. Today, rest and take care of me. Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. 🙂

I woke to a noise this morning, after an exceptionally good night’s sleep. The peculiarly loud humming seemed to come from a great distance. The actual volume in decibels of the sound was probably not noteworthy, it only ‘seemed loud’ to me, upon waking – but it was enough to wake me. I woke in a good mood, and began my day with the noise in the background, persistent and strange. It was as I made my coffee that I identified the source of the sound, and in annoyed disbelief I began checking other things…opening doors, listening outside… how could this noise be the damned refrigerator? I check myself, and slow down. It is the refrigerator, and it isn’t that loud; I’m sound sensitive this morning.

Being sound sensitive is just ‘one of the things’ I associate with both my TBI and my PTSD. I’m not in a bad mood, or stressed out at all, but knowing that my level of sound sensitivity is high this morning is something to be mindful of later. For me, sound sensitivity works a bit like an aura might for someone with a seizure disorder; it’s a practical heads up that I may be more easily triggered than I expect, or that I may be easily pushed from order to disorder. I imagine a cartoon farmer, squinting at the sun, “Yep, could be a storm moving in…” I laugh it off and move on with my morning, awake and aware, and prepared to take care of me. Living alone, this is nothing to be alarmed about, or self-conscious over; it is enough to be aware that small moments of irritation may not truly be associated with the things I think I am irritated about in the moment.

It’s difficult to express how being sound sensitive can be a big deal. When I struggle with this particular facet of my experience, it’s as an irresistible force being applied to my consciousness, something with the power to reduce my humanity to a more animal level. Some sounds can aggravate me quickly to the point of weeping… or fury. It’s visceral, and seems inescapable. Ear plugs help – it’s a low tech solution, but actually quite effective. A dark quiet room, ear plugs, meditation…especially effective taken together, without interruption, for an extended period…but what if I am on the bus? Or at work? Or walking through the trees feeling fussy that other walkers are “talking so damned loud”? In public spaces I end up using sheer brute force self-control to get by on, sometimes arriving home with a headache from gritting my teeth to stop myself snarling at people, and melting into tears as soon as the door closes behind me. It’s a physical feeling sort of pain, actual pain, that doesn’t respond to anything at all besides quiet…and meditation. When it is severe, I sometimes find myself wanting to shout at even the people most dear to me, whose laughter is like music in my ears any other time, to please just fucking stop talking/laughing/breathing/moving things around. It hurts my [emotional] heart just to have those feelings about someone I love; on top of the pain of the sound sensitivity itself, the [emotional] pain of needing to distance myself from the sounds of life and love is indescribably unpleasant, and isolating.



This morning I am feeling fortunate – and grateful. Sure, I’m a little sound sensitive, but I slept well, I feel good, and I haven’t treated anyone badly as a result of my condition. I’m smiling. The day begins well, and my coffee is hot and tasty. My toes are cold in the chill of morning, and I see overcast skies that are clearly more of autumn than of summer. Life moves forward, and I enjoy each new opportunity to bring a little more order to my experience, and treat myself better than I understood how to do yesterday. The value of incremental change over time can’t be overstated.

Handing over the keys and putting the artist within in the driver's seat.

Handing over the keys and putting the artist within in the driver’s seat.

I’ve got love on my mind, this morning, and I am filled with inspiration. The long weekend ahead is no coincidence; I am painting this weekend. The first solidly creative weekend since I moved in has already begun, finishing the installation on my west wall (that sounds sort of ‘grand’ – honestly, I just hung some paintings). I love the creative work I do when I am filled with passion and joy (no rude jokes, I’m talking emotions, here!). Over my coffee, I allow my practical and creative sides to collide in a complex internal dialogue ‘about’ canvases, pigments, lighting, composition, theme, and technique…and not at all about any of those things, really.  I will shortly overcome my sound sensitivity…with sound. I rarely paint in silence; today will be filled with music, played loud enough to completely drown out my tinnitus, but not loud enough to piss off the neighbors. I will, however, choose my playlist with great care, today; some frequencies, beats, or vocal qualities will not be a good fit with the sound sensitivity.

Where will the journey take me?

Where will the journey take me?

Today will be filled with light, curtains open to the sky, and no concern about whether the neighbors see me painting –  and dancing; this is my experience, and it is one that is entirely out of reach of anyone else’s judgement, or opinion. Today is a good day to unleash the creative force within. Today is a good day to enjoy the woman in the mirror, doing her thing. Today is a very good day to live in my world. 🙂

…And turn to the lesson on page one.

This morning my eyes opened directly into the bright illuminating light of life’s powerful curriculum. Put another way; lacking sufficient attention to detail I failed to turn my aquarium from ‘day’ to ‘night’ lighting before I went to bed last night (a necessary action if I hope to sleep in). I don’t easily sleep through the ‘day’ lighting, and got a rather abrupt early wake up when the lights came on this morning. I am awake, and still somewhat groggy after some yoga, some meditation, and making coffee. I needed the sleep, and would have benefited from waking up naturally when sleeping had finished. I’m awake now. I also benefit from quiet mornings writing, and studying. It’s a lovely morning that lacks any risk whatsoever of irritating someone, hearing any raised voices, having any misunderstandings, feeling imposed upon, inconvenienced, resentful, or overwhelmed, interrupting, or being interrupted. Every one of those experiences requires interaction with other people, and in these pre-dawn hours on a weekend of solitude, there are no others here but me. On the other hand, in this quiet stillness there are no hugs, no laughter, no quiet sexy smiles, no opportunities to touch, to feel connected, to share intimate words or experiences, because these, too, require interaction with another.

This morning in the stillness, awake a bit too early, feeling a tad groggy, and maybe even just a little irritable…I am also a little bit lonely. I miss the visceral experience of loving. I miss hugs and kisses. I miss smiling into the eyes of someone dear and seeing them smile back. I miss hearing conversation in the background, or from another room. I miss the joy and the delight and the fun. I can tell I am actually experiencing the feeling called ‘loneliness’ separately from the subtleties of grieving, because I am also missing being annoyed that my traveling partner forgot to empty the porto filter from his last shot of espresso, or that my generally-at-home partner left egg white drying on the counter top after making eggs (both experiences I do not enjoy). It’s sort of a given, I suppose, that when we miss events, actions, or experiences we don’t actually care for, and miss them solely because of the people they are shared with, loneliness is involved somewhere. What is the answer to loneliness? (I smile at the sudden image of a teacher at the front of the room, and my own hand shooting skyward eagerly.) I know this one! (At least for me.) The answer to loneliness is interaction, connection, engagement – with another person, sure, that’s where I’m headed with that… I like to start with me, though. The level of intimacy I am capable of as a person has a direct correlation to how connected I am with myself, with my needs, with what I want most to share and experience.  “γνῶθι σεαυτόν”  (I don’t read Greek, but I find the words prettier to look at in that language. lol) Or “Gnothi seauton” – Know thyself. Yep. How can I share who I am if I don’t know myself? Loneliness is slippery that way. There are a lot of quotes about being lonely in a crowded room.

Know thyself...

Know thyself… a distant moment of reflection revealed in an old photograph.

I used to feel much lonelier with people than alone.  That’s not true of who I am now.  I don’t know with certainty that this change in my experience has a direct connection to feeling differently about myself, and taking care of my own emotional needs as a priority. I know that the more accepting and compassionate I have learned to become of myself, the less generally irritating “humanity” seems. (For a truly predictably generally shitty experience of life, few things beat finding the whole of humanity unpleasant in some way; the implied self-loathing never lets up for a moment.)

I don’t find this somewhat lonely moment of morning tragic in any way. I’m not yearning for a different experience. I don’t feel moved to change this moment even a little bit; I honor love and my loves to miss them in this moment, and recognizing their absence – even the absence of small human bits that aren’t their best qualities – simply reminds me how much they matter in my experience day-to-day. It’s loneliness, more than Loneliness. I am content with feeling the feeling, without intervening or acting on it.

unfinished canvas - where inspiration meets action.

unfinished canvas – where inspiration meets action.

This morning I will be in the studio, and because so much of the painting I do is driven by emotion, and enjoyed through movement, really any feelings at all are welcomed, if only for the opportunity to express them wordlessly. Grief. Loneliness. Heartfelt yearning for something just out of reach. Love. Devotion. Surrender.  (Yes, the linked track is on my playlist when I paint.) I got the art of it ‘right’ years ago, before I understood that I needed to bring that sense of compassionate inclusion and acceptance to my own heart, not just the canvas in front of me.

Today is a good day to feel the feelings, and to make the best possible choices regardless of those. Today is a good day to be kind to someone having a tough time, even if that someone is our own self. Today is a good day to share a favorite song, to celebrate love, and to enjoy each precious moment however insignificant. Today is a good day to take a deep breathe and let the small stuff go. Today is a good day to change the world.

This is a very different morning experience I am having today. I am the only one at home this weekend. I wake in the usual way – ahead of the alarm by a few minutes, after decent enough night’s sleep, with a moment of wakefulness in the night, but mostly uninterrupted. I am, however, as individual as any one other human being. My experience is changed by solitude. We are each having our own experience. My solitary morning experience is still leisurely, still what I myself consider ‘quiet’ and lovely…but my second choice upon rising was turning on the stereo, checking that the volume was not set on ‘stun’ and the bass level wasn’t going to annoy the neighbors, and I turned on Legion of Boom by The Crystal Method.  It’s almost like a secret identity; I make different choices when I am living alone, however briefly, than I do when I live with other people. The music is the big give away. I rarely begin my day in silence when I live in solitude. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the silence…I just like to start my morning with some rambunctious beats. lol.

Yoga feels different listening to house music, or nerdcore,  or punk, or industrial. Music is a mind-altering drug.

So. This morning the house is filled with…well…’house’. LOL My yoga sequence felt powerful, and strong. I ‘find myself’ differently, and experience different facets of who I am with the music playing in the morning. Sometimes when I enjoy the morning with my partner, we have some music quietly in the background, once ‘everyone is awake’. When it’s just me? Cranking the bass, and starting the morning with sound, and motion, is the way it’s done, and I almost dance through my morning.  I find myself wondering if we can ever really know each other; there is so much beyond the moments we share, and the choices we make when we do. The precious depths of the wellspring of who we truly are can be incredibly difficult to fathom in the company of others.

Getting close up and personal...with myself.

Getting close up and personal…with myself.

When my partners are home, starting the day with loud music, amazing beats, and a bit of volume on the bass isn’t appropriate; people are sleeping. Consideration dictates other choices. It’s not about repression, loss, fairness, or giving anything up; it’s not a martyrdom, it’s just one of love’s many choices to compromise to enhance the experience we share. Love itself makes these solitary mornings incredibly precious to me; they are a rare gift from my partners, to me, and it would be disrespectful and ungracious not to turn the stereo up first thing this morning and enjoy the moment. 🙂

" don't get open, you just are open...but open like what?...

“…you don’t get open, you just are open…but open like what?…

This morning? Definitely having my own experience. I am. This fragile vessel of flesh and heartache isn’t ‘me‘ anymore than my dreams and nightmares are ‘me’. I’d love to learn emotional intimacy so well, and become so skilled with my relationship building, and connecting with others, that I could easily share ‘who I am’ when I am alone, with everyone I love. This is a very cool part of me to know…

Like a flower on a sunny day, like a child's mind... totally wide open.

Like a flower on a sunny day, like a child’s mind… totally wide open.

Today is a good day to begin with music. Today is a good day to be who I am. Today is a good day for wide-eyed wonder, and all the hope and promise in new choices. Today is a good day to nurture the best within myself, and share that, too. Today is a good day to change the world.

Words or pictures? I have both. I have observations and thoughts. I have anecdotes and memories. I have moments of incredible heart, of epiphany, of transcendent serenity and wholeness, of unexpected tears. My day at the beach was an important day of self-care, characterized by free will, and pure experience of undefined identity; seeing those words in text I find myself doubting they can be ‘understood’. Sort of a ‘you had to be there’ thing, perhaps – but maybe you have been there?

Dawn came before I departed. I left my devices behind, except my smart-phone, which I shut down and put away.  I reached my downtown transfer point and realized that stopping for a coffee was suddenly a bit risky – how would I know the time??  I dispelled the moment of panic with laughter, remembering how many watches I used to own, and how incredibly tied to time I once was, long ago.  My recollection was that the ‘local drugstore’ would have cheap watches… up and down the aisles, no luck… the man at the counter, when asked, pointed a surly finger toward a lonely small carousel of reasonably priced time pieces.  I grabbed a simple one that did not offend my eye and went on my way, finding myself actually quite delighted with its simplicity, and my freedom.

The bus trip was quite pleasant, and at this time of year predictably uncrowded.  I spent the time in meditation, and found myself enveloped in the warmth of my own real regard and compassion for my experience, soothed and loved and feeling very safe.  I arrived at my destination and felt as if I stepped off the bus into a new world; I was at the beach, and on my own.

Like a whisper, a horizon more implied than visible.

Like a whisper, a horizon more implied than visible.

I found the misty, foggy morning quite appropriate to my mood and my mission; to take on the day fully mindfully, to spend it in meditation and consideration of ‘where I am and where I am going’, and to use the solo time to take care of me.  The gray sky blotted out the prominent local features on the coastline: the large rocks, the lighthouse, hotels and houses along the shore in the distance. There were a small handful of people along the beach, and plentiful footprints in the sand to remind me that no one of us is every truly alone.

...and I walked...

…and I walked…

As if every morning’s commute and every evening’s return home were in preparation for this, I walked along the beach in silent contemplation and soft awe. I walked the beach up and down from where Ecola Creek pours into the sea, to a place called Silver Point, a couple of times over the course of the day.  The map gives the impression the distance between those points is about 3 miles, when I look at it now, but at the time I had no sense of distance.

As seen on a map, 'my beach' on this day.

As seen on a map, ‘my beach’ on this day.

As the day unfolded, the mist began to lift (in the late afternoon it would even be sunny and clear).  The pictures reconnect me to my thoughts in-the-moment.  I have long counted on pictures to do that for me.

As the mist lifts...

As the mist lifts…

...and I continue to walk...

…and I continue to walk…

...the looming dark features of Haystack Rock are revealed.

…the looming dark features of Haystack Rock are revealed.

The day was more than the sum of my pictures, though, and as I walked, I observed the waves crashing in, on the shore, and the understandings evolving within as well.  I was open to my own heart, my own understanding, and feeling myself awaken as I walked on.

I took a seat on a big driftwood log for a time, to meditate, and breath deep of the sea breezes.

I took a seat on a big driftwood log for a time, to meditate, and breath deep of the sea breezes.

This guy joined me for a while, just standing there, next to me, gazing out to the sea with me.

This guy joined me for a while, just standing there, next to me, gazing out to the sea with me.

Watching the waves crash in, one by one. Hearing the sounds and feeling the grandeur of it.

Watching the waves crash in, one by one. Hearing the sounds and feeling the grandeur of it.

...Watching...observing my own thoughts as waves, themselves...

…Watching…observing my own thoughts as waves, themselves… after another...peace and contentment settling in.

…one after another…peace and contentment settling in.

The waves gave the appearance of surging forth directly from the sky, or the horizon.  Rested, I resumed my walking, and began to consider things; applying new understanding to old hurts, testing time-worn assumptions that have not served me well, nurturing my will and my intention – and my good heart.

The tide recedes, as tides do; forces of nature are difficult to deny.

The tide recedes, as tides do; forces of nature are difficult to deny.

I realize I am hungry. A bite of lunch becomes more than an intention, it becomes a plan. I walk up from the beach to the street above via a beautiful staircase, chuckling at the tsunami route warning sign. Realistically, if I had to run up those stairs to be safe from a tsunami, I would probably drop dead from the effort before reaching the goal; I am not yet quite that fit, and running up a long staircase doesn’t sound likely to ‘save my life’. lol

Sometimes getting from 'here' to 'there' requires a climb.

Sometimes getting from ‘here’ to ‘there’ requires a climb.

A bite of lunch and a cup of tea later, and I headed back to the beach.  The sun had broken through the morning fog, and the landscape had changed.

Changed by the afternoon sun.

Changed by the afternoon sun.

I found a staircase down to the beach; an unlikely surprise, itself, whimsically mysterious.

Strangely mysterious...

Strangely mysterious…

...I descend...

…I descend…

...the descent becomes a gentle meditation of its own...

…the descent becomes a gentle meditation of its own…

...a metaphor about journeys and transitions... and becoming.

…a metaphor about journeys and transitions… and becoming.

I look back from the beach, and as with so many mysteries, it seems to have disappeared.

I look back from the beach, and as with so many mysteries, it seems to have disappeared.

I repeated the journey of the morning, up and down the beach, returning to the joy and moments of unexpected emotional depth as I walked.

The day continued, and evolved. I met people, and spoke only honest heartfelt words. I shared myself freely. I met love, in person; she was grieving her loss with grace. I met terror and rage wearing some face other than my own, but contained within a heart that knows some of the pain I know, myself, and in our meeting there was calm and healing. I watched children play in tide pools, utterly without fear.  I spoke with artisans and artists who were also war veterans, and I met aged beatniks, who had lived, loved, and played with great heroes of intellect of another time. I heard words spoken that were worth hearing. I saw great beauty, both natural and crafted, and I felt healing happening within myself – because I allowed it, and accepted it.  It was a tremendous day. There are so many more pictures… so many more words. The thing is, though…

I can share a picture of an object of great beauty...

I can share a picture of an object of great beauty…

...or a photograph of a moment of inspiration...

…or a photograph of a moment of inspiration…

...I can share my experience in great detail...

…I can share my experience in great detail…

...or consider it in the context of much bigger things...

…or consider it in the context of much bigger things…

...but I am having my own experience, and walking my own path.

…but I am having my own experience, and walking my own path.

I can only share with you as much as you are open to, and not a word of it, not a single image, has more value than you take from it, yourself, by choice.  It isn’t about ‘being right’ or convincing, or persuading.

There’s still so much to feel, to experience, to choose or not choose. But…

A walk on the beach doesn't last 'forever', however timeless it feels.

A walk on the beach doesn’t last ‘forever’, however timeless it feels.

Evening did eventually call to me.

I take a last look at the beach.

I take a last look at the beach.

The wait for the bus heading home was interesting on its own. I shared the time and space with a woman, probably about my age, and it was a strange happenstance.  A sort of fun house mirror of selves staring back at each other across a strange gulf in values, and mismatched appearances. Me, the middle-class looking middle-aged woman in a beige trench coat over a practical black hoodie, emblazoned with the name of my corporate overlord, and she, more timeless, yet strangely stern of visage, wearing the uniform of hippies and flower-children, with just the most vague hint of affluence peeking round the edges and seams; we surprised each other. Our conversation lead here and there and ended with an understanding that we were not at all who we appeared to be. Me, the seeker, the student, a work in progress, a kitten in a strange house… She, convinced, certain, unyielding, and subtly disapproving.  That’s okay with me; I already knew how deceiving appearances can be.

The night bus ride was uneventful and quiet. I was tired, and eager to be home. I wanted more than anything at that moment to be welcomed home into the warmth and light of home and heart by my loves, imagining them to be eager to hang on my every excited word. After a day alone I yearned for intimacy and connection, feeling very much like I would somehow be so much better at it for having had the day at the beach…

I arrived home, tired. The house was quiet. One partner awake to greet me, another lost in sleep and dreams.  A pleasant enough homecoming, although truly I was too tired by that time for any real enthusiasm for it, and more emotional than I realized. My TBI occasionally fucks me over on those sorts of moments, happening as they often do at the end of an arduous or tiring experience, or simply a very long day. My fatigue results in more volatility, less understanding, more confusion, less resilience.  It was time to rest.  I’m grateful that I have partners who understand.  First one, then the other (who had wakened to greet me), slipped off to bed and I was again… alone.  I gave in to exhaustion, hormones, and emotion, and quietly wept for a while, not really understanding why, and not finding any real need to investigate or inquire. They were harmless tears, heartfelt tears, gentle tears, that told only of fatigue and tender humanity, and no great despair or pain. I felt clean and whole, and simply capable of feeling powerful emotions, beyond what I could contain, and so, they spilled out from my eyes, slipping down my cheeks, past the smile that sill lingered from the power of the day.

That’s really it… my day at the beach.  I’m still turning it over in my thoughts, finding my way to greater understanding, cherishing the moments.  I doubt my words or pictures have any hope of doing the experience real justice. I’m okay with that. You are having your own experience, too, and you will find meaning where you do, and take it as having value if you will, and if it serves you. I’m delighted with this morning, with the writing, with looking again and again at all the pictures; choosing just the right ones to share.

Today is quiet. The house is sleeping. I woke, unexpectedly, ahead of my alarm clock – which wasn’t turned on at all. lol.  The dawn unfolded unnoticed as I wrote, content within my own thoughts.  My latte grew cold. It is the weekend, and for me, the end of that – tomorrow is a work day, and today is committed in advance to making ready for another week.  Whatever the day holds, I hope to find contentment, and to treat myself and others well, with consideration, kindness, and compassion. They are also having their own experience.

Today I hope to choose wisely, to love well, and to build rather than to destroy.  😀