Archives for posts with tag: stay on the path

I woke early. I laid awake awhile, content and not in any hurry to start the day. Maybe I could drift off again, I thought, several times. I didn’t. I got up a few minutes ahead of the alarm, made coffee, and got the day going.

I spent yesterday, Father’s Day, with my Traveling Partner, relaxing together – what else? I mean, seriously? The pandemic isn’t a hoax, and there is still a lot of risk out there in the world, although many places are beginning to open. I went out, briefly, for a walk. Getting to the unpopular trail I’d selected (because it is unpopular), I passed several local restaurants, now open for dine-in service. The parking lots were packed. Father’s Day. I get it. I also don’t get it. Do people think the virus will take a holiday? I found myself wondering how many days it would be, following Father’s Day, before the next spike in new cases?

I sip my coffee and let all that go, this morning. Just another morning living life in the time of pandemic. 🙂

I’m tired, but not groggy. I’m in pain, but it is manageable. I struggle with that juxtaposition of circumstances that is the collision of inspiration… and the lack of ability to act on it; the studio is packed for the move. I shrug it off; the feeling of inspiration, at least for now, is not unpleasant. Soon enough, there is a new studio to set up. New work to plan. I’m excited about the move, and my excitement stokes my inspiration. Plein air watercolors of roses painted from on the deck, perhaps? 🙂

I breathe, exhale, relax, and sit quietly sipping my coffee after taking time for meditation and a bit of exercise. I look over my “to do list” from the weekend. Most of the items are related to the upcoming move. I got quite a few things done, and I make sure each completed task is struck through. 🙂 Satisfying. Another week begins. The wheel continues to turn. The path ahead unfolds, ready to be walked. I let the morning unfold gently as I sip my coffee. So much to do…

…I guess I’ll go ahead and begin again. 🙂

There have been a lot of rainy mornings, lately. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy. It’s rainy this year. It’s been raining, mostly, for what feels like weeks. I’m not even complaining; I like the rain. I sit here sipping my coffee contentedly, listening to the rain spilling over the clogged gutters on this rented duplex. It’s been pretty comfortable here, generally. The few things that are not as I’d like are, unfortunately, things the landlord takes care of, and that’s been complicated by the pandemic. I sip my coffee and think over which ones matter most, and wonder whether I will live up to my commitment to myself to take care of those things with greater skill, care, and timeliness as a homeowner? I like to think I will…

…The rain falls. I sip coffee. The morning shifts from “before work” to “work”. It’s an easy adjustment these days; it has become routine. I’ve grown comfortable with working from home. My Traveling Partner is considerate and supportive of the change in lifestyle. (I’m fairly certain he enjoys having me home more… I know I enjoy not having to commute through traffic.) Hell, I think I enjoy my job even more, working from home, which I did not expect at all. 🙂 Bonus.

We continue to prepare for the move, and I continue to count down the days. I’m often distracted with it, occasionally scrambling to pull my consciousness back to “now”, when I realize I’ve been considering, again, some small specific detail that honestly can’t be sorted out properly until the time comes. I smile to myself. Managing my excitement gives me lots of opportunities for practicing mindfulness – just as managing my anxiety would. I definitely prefer the excitement to the anxiety. I notice again how similar those states can feel, physically. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let it go.

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.

I think back to that painful move out of a shared living situation, into my wee solo domicile at #27. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s been 5 years, now. I put my will and my energy into “embracing change”, and finding my own way. In the five years since then, I’ve done a lot to heal and grow. I find myself embracing change again, moving again, and feeling content and prepared. It’s a lovely change from the heartsick uncertainty of that abrupt move 5 years ago.

“Stay on the path” was a regular reminder to myself then, and it served me well (then, and since). No map, though, and this path is not well illuminated. I’ve stumbled a time or two. I’ve taken some wrong turns, and made some “route changes” along the way. Life does not come equipped with “GPS” for our decision-making. 🙂 It’s a very human experience.

I smile, sip my coffee, and reflect on 5 years of progress. I remind myself, again, to “stay on the path”. My results may vary, but I can always begin again. It’s enough. 🙂

 

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. 🙂

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. 🙂 I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. 🙂

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. 🙂

 

It wasn’t especially late when I went to bed last night. It’s just me, here, for now, so the temptations to stay awake past that point at which I am sleepy and it feels like “bed time” are very few. I sometimes read for a few minutes before sleep begins to overtake me; it wasn’t necessary last night. I slept 8 hours, almost uninterrupted, and waking only once. I woke rested, waking almost completely before I noticed I had made the transition from dreaming to… noticing that I was awake, with my eyes open, in the darkness. It’s not yet dawn, and that doesn’t distress me, at all. It’s a Saturday, and the day is mine. 🙂

My coffee tastes good. I still smell a hint of my Traveling Partner’s cologne from sleeping next to a t-shirt he’d worn before he left on business. It’s a shameless, guiltless, joyful admission; I miss him, and the scent of his cologne delights me, and keeps me mellow in his absence. lol

It’s an easy morning, so far. My knees ache from yesterday’s endeavors, although it isn’t about an injury or any sort of crazy activity; I’m breaking in new boots. The ache in my knees this morning hints that I may need to have my hiking books re-soled. Taking a look, I can see how much less straight my gait must be in my well-worn hiking boots, versus the new dress boots. Something to be aware of. I have two pairs of the same Vasque hiking boots – identical other than the color of the trim. They fit my feet incredibly well, and both pairs have had at least one re-soling, I like them that much. I sip my coffee and think about the day ahead… it seems likely that I’ll decide on what to wear from the footwear up… lol What will be least painful for the day? It’s not a bad decision-making framework, even in general, right? “What will be least painful?” is good for decision-making, right?

…Hmmm… I feel myself reject that thinking with unexpected firmness, less because “What will be least painful?” is a terrible way to make decisions (I think it’s probably a safe direction to go on life’s path, more often than not…), but more because making all of the decisions in the context of thresholds, matrices, frameworks, rules, and all sorts of other rigid “help me avoid being responsible for my decision”sorts of decision-making tools are a less than ideal way to be present, to be in the moment, or to really live my life. Those sorts of approaches are useful as tools, in a limited number of circumstances, but perhaps it’s generally better to be awake, alive, and accountable – wholly authentic about the questions, the choices, the uncertainties, and really truly “right there living it”?

I don’t know. I’m nothing like a “perfect person”. Not even close. I’m just one human being doing my best – and I have, myself, found as many failures in my decision-making on auto-pilot as I have embracing change and willful choices. Adulting is hard. Decision-making isn’t effortless, and formulas sometimes don’t work the way I would like them to. So. Hiking boots and jeans today, because my knee aches – even if it is worn boots that may have set me up for this painful experience? Or new boots and tired aching feet, because breaking in boots takes time, and isn’t always a comfortable experience, but hey, it corrects my gait because the soles are not worn down…?

…Fuck it. I’m barefooted. LOL 😀

What I’m pointing out, I guess, is that dichotomies are fairly rare… and false dichotomies are crazy common. There are often far more different choices available to our decision-making process than we consider. It’s a little weird, but  human primates seem to prefer to narrow things down to just two choices. It’s not even “easier” when we do, but there we are; two choices. Either/or. Yes/no. True/False. Democrat/Republican. Poor/Rich. It’s seriously weird when I pause to just look at those handful of apparent dichotomies; even “true/false” isn’t really “real”. There’s a lot of room between those, other options to consider – life is more nuanced than a  dichotomy suggests. Get used to it. Make room for depth. Take it as an opportunity, instead of fighting it. Be more than a yes or no. 🙂

…How often have I frustrated my partner(s) – or failed a test – out of discomfort with answering a “yes or no question” with a yes, or a no, because it all just seems vastly more nuanced than that to me? Is that a reflection of my injury…? I pause a moment to wonder, before letting my mind move on.

I sit sipping coffee, listening to the rain fall. It’s not actually raining. I just enjoy the sound of falling rain, and have a video on in the background, for the sound of it. It’s one of those sloppy, wintry, rain storms that sounds like icy puddles and unexpectedly slick sidewalks. Soothing – and a reminder of how grateful I am to be safe, warm, and dry. The comfort of the warm mug in my hand, and of this space that surrounds me, is more than pleasant – it’s “home”. I smile and think of my Traveling Partner, starting his day in a hotel room, in a strange city… I miss him. I miss coffee together on a Saturday morning. I’m also greatly enjoying the solo time. There’s a balance to it; I miss him deeply in the same breath that I am greatly appreciative to have this time for myself. No guilt or shame or awkwardness; this is part of who I am.

…I still miss him. I’m looking forward to his homecoming – and not just because we’ll enjoy watching Rick & Morty’s Season 4 opener, either. But… yeah… also for that. LOL I smile and have another sip of my coffee. I settle on a plan for the day that includes some housekeeping stuff on my to do list, and also a trip out to a bigger retail space to continue the hunt for a blazer that fits me sufficiently well to be worth buying. Yesterday, I found a lovely warm winter coat at a great price (just being real; I’m not made out of money, and I try my best to be wise with purchases), and it definitely feels like it will be a winter that requires a coat. I sigh out loud in this quiet room – loud enough to hear myself over the rain. Contented. Feeling loved from afar. Okay with the day. Comfortable in my skin.

…It feels like time to begin again. 🙂

What moves you? I mean, literally; what gets you off the couch, puts you in motion, and sees you down the path from what you imagine or dream, to what you get done? Worth thinking about, isn’t it? What’s holding you back from your individual idea of success? Are you feeling stuck? What are you sticking to? If your life is a single narrative, a story, what’s the ending you’d like? How do you get there? Are you even the protagonist of your own tale? All good questions to consider. I sit here with my coffee, quietly considering them.

I watch this video, again. My Traveling Partner had shared it with me. I shared it with my work team.

I watch this video, too. It may not be immediately obvious what connects them, but it is, for me, an important thread.

I watch this video, simple because it’s too fucking obvious – and somehow still needs an occasional reminder.

It’s a lovely start to the day, to be reminded of all the potential life holds – and how much of my personal success is within my hands, if not within my control. My decision-making doesn’t just “matter”; it is the framework on which I build my life. 🙂

…So… choose wisely, eh? 😀 For sure…but also remember that everything you want in life is probably “harder than it looks” and what motivates you may be entirely out of reach without a lot of work – and may even be completely unfathomable to someone else, entirely. A lot of what is appealing in life only looks easy to reach. Ideally, those harsh-seeming realities don’t stop us, as individuals, they serve to refine our craft, and create the strengths for which we will later stand out among others on the path we’ve chosen. 🙂

…Or something like that. I’m just saying; there are verbs involved.

…And hey… don’t let the internet, or the vast quantities of excess information, or brain candy, become the diet on which your mind subsists. As with the food we consume, it matters that the content we consume be “nutritious”, and that we “limit our intake” in a healthy way. I mean… otherwise, it’s just a huge time-consuming monster that reduces our human endeavors to a series of mouse clicks, and shares. 😉 Just saying… get out there and really live.

Seems like a good time to begin again. This coffee is finished. A new day is beginning. The time is mine, as is the dream. Where will this path take me?

The path isn’t always paved…