I woke to a gray morning, following a late night. I spent the evening hours meditating, studying, writing and reflecting. Today is the 21st anniversary of the end of a nightmare. Bits of chaos and shards of damage still linger, even 21 years later; my back will remind me every day of the high price of freedom. My scars are my receipt. 21 years ago I walked on, and I began again, ending my first marriage with some finality, and a great deal of relief. I survived it, and that’s enough, now.

Art therapy

Self-portrait in progress – I don’t have words for some experiences.

I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my very human mortality, too. Not in an angst-y “not me! why me?!” way – Death comes for us all, at some point. It’s more that… I’m only just starting to really live… it weighs me down just a bit; the not-quite-sad tears that perch on my eye lashes when I think about it weigh much more than they seem they should. I’m okay – I’ve known since I was a small child that Death is a thing. I’m not there, yet. I’m not having to face Death in person in any known immediate way. Last night found me gentle with myself, and accepting that this is something that I’m needing to think over a bit, letting it come, letting it go – accepting it. Hell, it wasn’t even the “most important” thing on my mind last night. 🙂 It is probably a decently adult idea to ensure all my end of life stuff is in good order, regardless… wills don’t write themselves, and mine is out-of-date.

I enjoyed the evening less quietly than I often do, pausing everything else at intervals to learn something more with my bass. My fingers are sore, and the muscles in my forearms. I took the necessary step of checking in with the guys next door and finding the sweet spot – amp loud enough to be ideally audible for me, but not filling their apartment next door with the sounds of me practicing – because there’s probably going to be a lot of that going on, for a long time. 🙂

It was an evening of meditation.

It was an evening of meditation, too.

I write several paragraphs, and delete them after re-reading them and realizing that I’m ‘just chattering away to myself’ in a rather… well… I’ll be honest, it sounded too much (to me) like an eager toddler tugging at my sleeve to share something, when I’m “trying to have an adult conversation here, honey.” I laugh at the visual image, which is of my mother on the phone rolling her eyes skyward as I earnestly try to shove some beetle or weed at her, eager for her attention. I sometimes feel I live on a plane tilted at an angle from everyone else in which very different things are fascinating and noteworthy. lol This has not changed about my experience of myself over the years, it is part of who I am. 🙂 I’m fortunate to have so many friends and loved ones who enjoy me as I am, and quite a few also living on ’tilted planes’. I take a moment to enjoy the warmth of the happy smile on my face as I linger on the awareness of the acceptance and affection I am so fortunate to receive. It feels very nice to consider acceptance. Just that – some small moment when another human being communicated that I am okay with them, no problem. However hated or diminished I’ve felt in some moment in life, if I’ve been able to lift my head from that pain to raise my eyes, the truth of it has been that I have also been well-loved, valued, respected, and found worthy by those dear to me! It took a long time to recognize that a lot of the hate I felt surrounding me sourced from within. I smile, and offer my gentle heart a moment of regret and apology; it never needed to be that way, it was a painful choice.

There is valuable perspective in taking time to look at things quite differently.

There is valuable perspective in taking time to look at things quite differently. “Chrysanthemums” 36″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas, 2004, shot in blue light.

I sip my coffee and smile. The gray morning is quiet, although a Monday; it’s a holiday. The sounds of traffic are muted, hushed, and minimal. The windows are thrown open to morning breezes. My coffee tastes good. My posture feels more upright than has been the case, sitting at my desk, in many years – I smile, recognizing early changes resulting from my renewed commitment to fitness. It’s a lovely morning. I feel whole and well and delightfully human – which is a pleasant experience. I breathe it in. As I exhale, I imagine letting go of past baggage, and inhale again, deeply, imagining welcoming Love home. My smile deepens. Contentment has proven to be such a wise choice for me, versus chasing the glamour of Happiness and her fickle ways. Happy comes and goes. I’m learning to accept that too. Contentment can be built, sustained, improved, deepened, practiced… No, it’s not ‘easy’. There is practice involved, self-awareness helps, acceptance is a nice value-add, and a willingness to embrace sufficiency doesn’t hurt, either. It’s not always clear which practices are ideal for me – I’ve taken a trial and error approach, and then also had to learn that practice is about incremental change over time, and follow through with learning to observe the small changes, not just the big change that is achieving a goal.

I didn't find freedom with a gun in my hand.

I didn’t find freedom with a gun in my hand.

I finish my coffee. The cat beyond the window finishes her patrol along the edge of the meadow. The morning remains quiet, so quiet. Coffee #2… or a walk in the park? It’s only a choice, either option is lovely, and I’m not attached to the outcome. Today is a good day to celebrate independence – how will you free yourself? 🙂