Archives for posts with tag: stop and smell the roses

I woke around 3 am, and made a point of not getting up. I eventually fell asleep again, and slept in until almost 6 am! I woke slowly in the stillness and quiet of a pre-dawn Thursday. Another day of moving in, but planning to make a final visit to the old place, sweep up, vacuum, and hand over the keys.

I live here now. This new place. My aches and pains are here. My joyful moments will be here too. My peace and contentment are already here… I unpacked those yesterday, I suppose. 🙂 My coffee is definitely here. My restless rather disorganized approach to housekeeping is here, too. My baggage and limitations are here… pretty sure I just saw those a minute ago…but in the calm of a lovely morning, I’ve misplaced them.

Yesterday I finished moving into the kitchen, which really needed to happen quickly; frequent meals out, delivered, or taken home from elsewhere are not sustainable indefinitely. This morning I woke to a minimum balance reminder I’d previously set to protect myself from over-spending during the move. Well, shit. That snuck up on me. My inner dialogue this morning is all to do with money, and budgets, and being attentive to details… less chastising than reinforcing.

4 years ago, I’d have probably been in hysterics for hours, freaked completely out both by seeing that reminder, and also simply because I was having to think about money. Particularly first thing in the morning (or right before bed, or at any time that wasn’t planned in advance, or … ) This time? I rolled over, and before I was even quite awake, calmly moved some money into that account in quite a routine way, and moved on with my morning with a firm thought in mind that I’ve exhausted my moving budget, and life moves on with the regular day-to-day budgeting in mind. Things will be tight this week. I’m not particularly concerned, because I specifically prepared for this. 🙂 It’s a nice feeling.

…I manage to be mildly irked with myself, and realize I’d been betting I could “bring this project to a close on time and under budget”… and I missed. On time, sure, easily… if I only count the moving out bit. lol Under budget? Nope. My skills at anticipating costs and making a budget have grown over time, it wasn’t likely I was going to spend less on this move – I was accurate about what it would cost me. I’ve been pretty accurate about how much time it would all take me, too. lol I sip my coffee thoughtfully and decide to celebrate that I budgeted and planned so accurately, instead of celebrating how much less I was able to spend that I expected I might. 😀 Win!! 😉

I take time to care for the stressed out roses, and also to appreciate “Fireworks”, which arrived and immediately burst into bloom. What needs my attention no longer prevents me from appreciating what can be enjoyed.

On a more serious note, when I allow myself to become attached to an outcome, I may as well also plan to be quite frustrated, disappointed, and chronically unhappy, because those will likely be common experiences. Over time I have continued to practice letting go of being attached to outcomes, simply because my “crystal ball” tends to be sort of smudgy and vague, and I am often incorrect about the direction life may go, or the outcome of one choice or set of circumstances or another. Being willing to embrace change, and able to enjoy what is, even when it isn’t what I wanted, or what I was going for, results in a fairly frequent opportunity to simply enjoy myself, enjoy my life, enjoy my circumstances. It’s nice. Non-attachment is a pretty big deal for me. Effective.

I live here, now.

I guess I call this move done, at this point. I live here, rather than there. There’s more to do to move in, but it’s all right here. The “moving budget” is exhausted. Life moves on from moving to… whatever is next, I guess. Laundry probably. lol  Housekeeping. The moving in, itself, becomes part of… life. Hell, friends have already begun making plans to come around. I definitely live here, now. I slept in. I sleep deeply and wake gently, even in the night. I can find my way around the place, in the dark, mostly. I’ve done dishes here, and cooked a proper meal. The pantry is stocked. My clothes hang in the closet. The miscellaneous crap currently strewn on the bathroom counter is mine. This is home. My new “drama-free zone”.

There’s more to do. More time to do it. There will be verbs involved. My results may vary. I live here, though, and this is my place. I am content. This is enough. 🙂

On a whim, yesterday, I put aside my doubts and concerns and hit the trail for a few hours. I definitely needed that. I arrived home tired, feet aching, and feeling renewed, and more “aware of myself” in some hard to describe way. It was a good day for it, and I found the deep feeling of peace and contentment I was yearning for. This too shall pass. 😉

Today has not yet begun, and there’s little to say about it at this point; my coffee is terrible. Yep. I wasn’t really awake, muddling around clumsily. This carelessly made cup of coffee is both bitter and insipid…but it’s hot, it’s got some caffeine in it, I made it for myself, and there’s no one here to impress. I sip it slowly (it’s still quite hot), unconcerned about those other details. I… just don’t actually care this morning that this particular cup of coffee is pretty awful; I made it for myself, and I’m appreciative that I have it now. 🙂

I am struck by a question; do I treat myself better when I hike regularly? I think over yesterday’s journey.

Bees enjoy roses also.

Bees enjoy roses.

I began at the rose garden, picnic lunch in my daypack. I got a later than usual start and the idea of having my lunch among the roses sounded lovely. It wasn’t really… it was crowded with tourists there, even on a weekday. I shared a shaded bench with an elder traveling from afar. We talked of roses, gardens, grandchildren, sunny days, and love.

Roses love sunshine.

Tourists also enjoy roses.

I wasn’t looking for company, and when I’d finished lunch I offered my well-wishes to the human being sharing the bench with me and continued on my way, seeking… something. At that point, I didn’t have something specific in mind.

I set off through the trees.

I set off through the trees.

My frustration followed me up the trail at first, in the form of inescapable children’s laughter from the playground area I’d passed by. As the trail became steeper, and wound away from the sounds of the road nearby and the playground now in the distance, the world grew quieter.

What am I seeking? Does it determine what I am able to find?

What am I seeking? Does it determine what I am able to find?

I kept walking, having fairly quickly reached a seeming ‘the way out is through’ location on the trail. I took fewer pictures than I often do; this one was for me, in that moment, and savoring it was urgently more needed than saving it for later. I listen to myself silently bitch awhile… about the weight I’d gained and haven’t lost, about my feet aching, about the distant sound of traffic (barely audible at that point), about feeling reluctant to return to the work force, about how much harder a steep hike is than I’d like – I was really working at this one!! Then, I really heard me. I stopped at a likely looking log suitable for sitting, and I took some time for that, too.

I’d reached a point in the journey well-suited for stillness. Quite a luxury – no sound of voices, no sound of traffic, and having stopped walking, even the sound of footsteps and self faded from memory. No clock, no timer, no agenda, just one quiet moment to embrace stillness under the trees. I had “arrived”.


Bathed in light, wrapped in stillness. Walking on.

Some time later I resume hiking the trail, considering myself more or less ‘half way’ – since I had “arrived” at a “destination”. It was a lovely day for it, neither too hot nor too cold, and no hint of rain to muddy the trail.

I walked on, contemplating emotions, thoughts, the nature of those things, how they work with or against each other, and in what context. I thought about how much effort so many of us put into forcing ourselves – or others – into tiny well-defined boxes of characteristics, almost insisting that if a being has any one of them, that being must therefore have all those that we have associated with it. We make ourselves crazy forcing our expectations and assumptions on one another. Silly monkeys, we’ve so much room to grow, to live more skillfully, with more heart… “I’ll get right on that” I assure myself, and smiling, I walk on.

That looks painful...

That looks painful…

I walk past a tall tree with a spectacular wound, its lifeblood flowing down to the ground, without visible motion, timeless, enduring. I wonder if that hurts? I can’t imagine having such a wound and not being in pain. I think about how we treat each other, as if our wounds don’t pain us, as if we are not suffering together. I stand in silent gratitude for the lesson, and feel that immense sense of age and wisdom, grand experience, mighty tolerance and perspective that I so often feel present, deep in some forest. Small stuff seems pretty small out here. “What are they thinking?” I wonder – I always wonder.

There's further to go.

There’s further to go.

I walk on. I walked a good while, actually, covering about 3.5 miles of decently steep well-maintained trails. Once I entered the Hoyt Arboretum, I enjoyed winding around from this trail to that one without much attention to my map, enjoying short bits of trail through distinctive groves. I was alone throughout, without even passing others on the trail, until I got quite near to the end point of my hike, at the light rail station.

I stood waiting for the train, content and still quite alone, enjoying the stillness that seemed to so completely ‘belong to me’, a sort of distillation of satisfaction, contentment, and ease that felt rather similar to post-coital bliss in some way that I found mildly unsettling, and therefore also somewhat amusing. More than “okay right now” – I even felt “happy”. 🙂

There were verbs involved... some that needed doing, some that needed to be discontinued.

There were verbs involved… some that needed doing, some that needed to be discontinued.

I wonder if I’ve learned anything? I wonder what today holds? I wonder if my second cup of coffee will be better – and I wonder if I’ll care if it isn’t? Today is a good day for wonder. 😉

…I woke this morning feeling especially appreciate of leisure time in the mornings, very aware that the future may be built on a different routine. My anxiety comes and goes, in general, and seems more or less well-managed, though I’d be more than happy to dispense with it entirely and simply be. I’m still working on that one.

I sat down at my desk with some thoughts in mind, and a very good cup of coffee, and was immediately thwarted by The Grand Distraction – no, not Facebook, but close; Google. Yep. Google politely advised me that I had exceeded my storage limit between going to bed and waking up… (wth??) and I was sternly warned by an alarming red font, bold, and highlighted, that I was at risk of not being able to send or receive email!

Now, realistically, that’s not much of a legitimate crisis, and could have been managed at some point other than ‘now’ – but I am not wired that way, and all the practice over many years has not yet changed my lack of impulse control in some areas much at all… I immediately went into overdrive, deleting redundant files, cached images, copies of copies, archives duplicated elsewhere, saved folders of unsorted zipped images… until…at last… Google grudgingly admitted I am once again under my limit. It was not all that mysterious; I had the benefit of “50 Gigs of free storage with the purchase of a…”, and recently relied upon that to copy precious files while my OS was updated – just in case – and entirely overlooked deleting those copies, and then… last night… my “50 Gigs of free storage [for one year]…” expired. Check the fine print. 🙂

Life is full of fine print. Be sure to read it. 🙂

Much of my leisurely morning is… gone. Filled. Used up. Completed. It is in the past, already. I’m pretty certain I didn’t put the time to the best possible use – or the most fulfilling. I’m irked with Google over it, although it is hardly their issue that I still react as often as I respond to life’s small challenges. There’s a lesson worth studying there.

Today is an ordinary enough work day. My last day at my current job will be Friday. Feels a bit strange to simply say so. Choosing to make this change is more than a little scary, too. I want to feel more certain that I am doing ‘the right thing’… but… there are more than a few ‘right things’ I could choose to do, each very dependent on how I view the circumstances, the options, the opportunities, and what matters most.  What does matter most? Is it healthcare – or cash flow? Is it contentment – or financial gain? Is it fulfillment – or being prepared for retirement? Is it meeting my own needs over time – or providing for my family now? Is it “always” a choice?  (Quick answer – no; most uses of ‘always’ or ‘never’ can be safely assumed to be hyperbole, resulting in logical fallacy, being immediately ‘not true’ because it takes just one exception to disprove them. Still…always a best practice to test your assumptions. There. Enjoy that.)

Life goes on about its business in a mostly very usual way, in spite of the fierce storm of change so imminent on my horizon. I find myself generally fairly calm, hopeful that ‘it all works out’… getting enough leisure to take care of me, finding out my health concerns may be more easily addressed than I feared perhaps, then conveniently falling into a dream job well before cash reserves run out… I know one thing – there are verbs involved.

Although it was a busy day, there was time for the garden. "Baby Love" blooms first this year.

Although it was a busy day, there was time for the garden. “Baby Love” blooms first this year.

Today is a good day to recognize that change is, and to enjoy ‘now’.