Archives for posts with tag: spring is coming

Oh sure, it’s a few days yet before the Vernal Equinox, so Spring is approaching, but not yet here. Still feels more like Spring than Winter, this morning, and the song birds seem to agree; the morning air is filled with the sound of them, even though the sun is not yet up. The air is soft and smells like forest, even though it’s a bit chilly… it’s more like the chill of Spring than the frosty mornings of Winter or Autumn. I say this in spite of my recollection that yesterday morning was quite frosty. lol I’m eager to welcome Spring.

Already there are signs of Spring among the trees.

…During this year-long (and then some) pandemic, time has seemed more easily measured in seasons, than in days, weeks, or months…

My first week at the new job is nearly over. It’s been a peculiar week, in one very specific way; I’ve had the subjective experience of “checking off a list” in my head of things that have been unsatisfying or “problematic” at various previous places I’ve been employed, not because “oh, it’s that here, too…”, but because delightfully to the contrary, these concerns are explicitly demonstrably confirmably not issues at this new place. Wow. Powerful. My cynical side whispers “okay, but what is wrong here… what about that?”. So far, I’m tickled to shrug her off with a laugh; I haven’t found anything to give me reservations or hold me back. It’s seems to be a pretty healthy well-supported environment. I make a note on a future calendar date to check in with myself about my overall job satisfaction in six months, a year, two years. Looking over past notes, I can see that it is often the case that concerns I am aware of within 6 months often become the thing driving my departure at the two or three year mark. Interesting. (I’m a slow learner, I guess.)

…Pretty good start on this particular new beginning…

Last night went well, after my Traveling Partner and I sorted things out in the evening. Apologies that had been made were eventually accepted, and normalcy allowed to return. We hung out a bit. Soon enough it was the end of the evening. I enjoyed my first night of deep restful sleep since the DST change, and even slept through the night. It was lovely. I’m not at all annoyed that it took 4 nights to “get my sleep back”, either; there have been years when it took weeks.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced with seeking change, and with working to “stay on my path”, and in the pursuit of emotional wellness, has been allowing and accepting success when it comes. That’s been more difficult than I expected. Non-attachment (to outcomes, to emotions, to people, to the past…) requires committed practice, and self-awareness (which also takes practice), and my results do vary. Incremental change over time can be so slow as to seem undetectable, leading to some unpleasant “this never changes” feelings and unhappy “why do I even try??” moments. Harsh. Moments pass, though, and over time change and progress are revealed – and experienced. It does go faster, though, when I let myself have those wins without reservations or self-doubt. It’s all too easy to doubt, to resist, to argue, to refute, to turn away… because the things I am working to change are often “coping skills” that have their source in real trauma, and it can be tough to persuade myself, on some deep remote still-damaged level, that I don’t need them anymore. What if I do?? (So what if it does feel that way, though; is it the healthy way to cope? Is that way of coping “who I most want to be”?)

So, a pleasant Thursday morning begins the day. Another beginning. Another opportunity to practice the practices that best support me (and my quality of life, and my relationships) – and to become the woman I most want to be. 😀

We don’t necessarily choose where we start our journey; our starting point is what it is. We can choose our direction. We can choose each step along the way (although we often trudge through our lives more haphazardly than that). We can choose (and embrace) change. We often don’t. I know I too frequently endure what could be changed… endurance has been sort of habitual for me, and often seems “easier” as a result.

Enduring misery seems kind of stupid when choices can be made. If a job or relationship feels miserable, why would we not choose to change it? This could mean walking away, it could be taking a new approach or setting new/different boundaries and expectations. So many choices. So many opportunities to use the power of choice and change…

Choosing can seem pretty difficult, itself. I’m not sure I have good insights on why that is. Change feels scary sometimes. Choosing it brings that fear into prominence, up close, intimately connected with how I see myself, and what I may think I “deserve” in life. Weird, right? I mean… how strange that one might choose to endure misery rather than face one’s fears about change, or reflect on what we can or should do to care for ourselves.

Some weeks ago, I admitted to my Traveling Partner that I am not happy with my current job. Commonplace enough. His response to that, looking back, seems pretty rational and practical, too. “Maybe it’s time to look for something different?” I replied “Maybe. Probably.” I reflected on that conversation, and my circumstances… new mortgage…a desire for stability…fearfulness of change…and a job that I was not finding satisfying because I’m not finding success in it (based on my own definition of success, which requires – for me – that my best work also be effective). Endure? Or… seek change? Could the needed change be achieved where I am? Do I even want that based on all the information at hand?

These sorts of questions work whether the struggle is to do with jobs, projects, relationships… pretty “all purpose” for contemplating purposeful change in life. 😀

One morning, I made a choice.

Anyway. The “tl;dr” of the thing is that I started looking at other opportunities, and found something that suits me better. Time to make that change happen. Time to walk on. Time to live with purpose and time to choose.

…And it’s time to begin again. 😀

Just one thing…”If I could change one thing…” “If I could just get this one thing done…” “I just have one issue…” “One comment…” “One book on a desert island…” “…only listen to one band…”

The power of one, the pedestal upon which we stand our fragile individuality, is a big deal.  Things that are singular, unique, or rare seem sometimes to thereby also be more desirable, more valuable, or more precious. It can also be a wedge that drives people apart, the fulcrum of an unbalanced argument, or representative to us in our own thinking of why we do not, or can not succeed at some one thing we have chosen to matter to us above all else.

Just one thing can also be a stepping stone to change, a way to ‘make it all seem more manageable’ somehow; I don’t have to wake up perfect if I can use will and action to change over time. 🙂  I find a lot of reassurance in that thought, but I’ll admit straight up that the associated challenge for me has been that I also have to choose what those one things, those small changes, will be. No handy ‘user’s guide’ for being human.

At the risk of seeing my blog become a book review blog over time… I may have found something on the order of ‘a handy user’s guide’ for the brain. Seriously? Yep. Just One Thing.

Is it that simple?

Is it that simple?

I’m still reading “Emotional Intimacy”, too, which is very science-y. They are a good pairing for me. I wake up each morning eager to read more of one, then the other, then to act on what I have read. Like going to the gym for my brain. 🙂

See? Spring.

See? Spring.

Spring is coming, and although I feel intellectually stimulated by good reading, life feels very busy to a point of nearly overwhelming me, and I feel rushed, crowded, and overloaded with details. Time for another day on the beach, walking, meditating, slowing things down…just planning it and acting on those plans results in feelings of being loved, supported, cared for, and nurtured – and I smile when I think “I did that, for me!”  It’s not really a credit/blame/fault thing at all, I’m simply pleased to have come far enough on my journey to do something positive to take care of me, before I hit critical mass and my head explodes, leaving me screaming at someone I love over nothing that matters. 🙂  I am delighted that when I mentioned to my partners that I need some downtime, I had their full support.

I’ll be headed to the coast to sketch, write, meditate, and slow way down in general – and celebrating the Vernal Equinox with a weekend of calm, and stillness. I’m so excited that like a kid waiting for Santa Claus, the days seem to stretch into an infinite far away future, although it’s really only two weeks away. lol

In my not-so-distant-future...

In my not-so-distant-future…

I was walking home last night, finishing my commute, looking at the evening sky and contemplating ‘how it is’ and what I see ahead on my path, and what I am looking for. Considering the ‘evening light’. I am changed. I am still ‘me’. Growth. Identity. (I thought I might be going somewhere with that, but no.) The sky was on fire with color as the sun dipped below the horizon. I snapped a couple of pictures, but capturing that certain special quality of light is a rare thing. I still love evening light…illumination. Gnosis. Awareness. My smile these days contains a certain quality I can feel, but not name. It feels, to me, like ‘evening light’.

Evening Light.

Evening Light.

My work in the garden continues. It’s mostly ‘winter work’; tasks that get the garden started in spring, like pruning, getting beds ready for bulbs, cleaning up this and that, making room for my hopes and dreams, and seeing my vision of the garden come alive as the weather warms and the days grow long. I spend so many gray winter hours leafing through garden catalogs, scribbling on graph paper, asking partners odd questions about colors, forms, scents, and placement. I garden all year long.

Gardening has a lot in common with self-growth. This year I explore so much more of this with my eyes wide open, aware, observing, learning. I’m not going after some illusive standard of perfection; I love having my hands in the soil, connecting with living things, and simply enjoying the timeless wonder and delight of the garden. I have roses, herbs, bulbs, vines, trees, things for sun, things for shade, things that bear fruit, things that fill the air with wonderful fragrance…and two little chairs and a small table. On pleasant days I love to sit with my morning latte as the day unfolds, listening to peeping little frogs, chattering squirrels, the strident cry of the neighborhood hawk, and the songs of assorted little birds. It’s all very ordinary, I suppose, certainly the words don’t tell the tale with any power to really connect to the experience.

There have been years of my life when my garden was the entirety of my fragile hold on sanity. It isn’t fair to make a small plot of earth and a few vegetables and flowers do the heavy lifting involved in keeping me connected to what is good in life, but my garden has been there for me when I needed it, and never failed me. The garden connects me to my Granny, a woman of incredible will, wisdom, and humanity. It connects me to my Dad, too. I have no idea how old I was the first time I pulled weeds in the garden, but the first summer I did so for my Dad was early in 1973, I think. I remember sitting on the recently tilled ground, fretfully crushing clumps of dirt, instead of weeding, when I thought no one was watching – and mumbling about indentured servitude. I wasn’t exactly a fan of manual labor, and preferred the quiet of my room, and the excitement of a good book.  When adulthood hit me with tsunami-force after I joined the Army, it was the gardening that I yearned for, it was the gardening that I sought out for solace, and time and again even my life overseas found me with my hands in soil – potted plants on apartment balconies, tiny window box gardens, or a tree in a pot on a patio.

Seeds, like ideas, begin so small. They sit quietly, without evidence of their future size or usefulness, and wait. They wait for their moment. They wait for conditions to be right. Timeless and impersonal, they are still and small, all potential.  I love planting by seed.

The front garden is nice. Trim and pretty tidy, with a bit of brick path, another bit of slate path curving around the side, some shade, a lot of sun, and the small patch of lawn that is the suburban hallmark of home ownership. I brought in more (and different) roses, colorful wildflowers, pots of herbs, more roses, and feeders for hummingbirds and songbirds.  I love taking a garden space, and seeing it change over time as plants, and ideas, are added.  This spring I started big. Along the brick walk has been a low evergreen hedge of heather, and I like it ‘well enough’ I guess… perhaps not in that location, or maybe not so much of it, or…

Heather. Lovely, evergreen, not what I want in that space.

Heather. Lovely, evergreen, not what I want in that space.

As pretty as it is, it’s rather taking over that space, and just isn’t what I’m looking for in that spot. So… it’s out. I had a plan, before I got going…

Change presents so many opportunities.

Change presents so many opportunities.

In the dim light of dawn, early yesterday, I looked at the bare earth where the heather had been, and I felt just a bit sad for a moment, thinking of the experience of choosing to cull some living thing from a less than ideal circumstance, for lack of aesthetic, usefulness, or quality of character. I thought, too, of the experience of being culled…laid off from a job, fired, divorced, or any number of similar unexpected changes of life that I’ve faced. How easy it can be to take it very personally.

I considered my plan for that garden bed, clearly no longer ‘a hedge’ of any sort at all. I selected flower seeds with care; a variety of colorful California poppies, hybrids and fancy ones, and I chose some dark leafed kale for dense green vegetation – pretty and useful – and planned groupings of gladiolus with their bold colors and ‘reach for the sky’ approach to life. I’m hoping the new plantings are light-hearted and fun, a playful foreground for my Graham Thomas rose in the background. This year he will begin to stretch out in the front bed, reaching for his full size. I enjoyed putting down the earliest seeds in the afternoon…and like a little kid, I’ll check every day for seedlings, even though I know it will be days. 🙂

There is always more to do in the garden. Each year I get started at the end of February, thinking for just a moment “am I starting too soon”? It seems to work out just fine, though, and surely the slugs are already busy… they know spring when they feel it. lol.

Slug life... there's probably a metaphor here.

Slug life… there’s probably a metaphor here.