Archives for posts with tag: taking in the good

The cycle of holidays and seasons continues. I woke hoping to catch a glimpse of the Morning Star this morning (or, perhaps, this evening)… but no, it’s the Pacific Northwest, and the morning is cloudy, wet, and gray. No stars this morning. 🙂

Winter Solstice at home, 2020, the year of pandemic.

Yesterday’s flood waters have already receded. The morning is balmy and feels strangely mild after a day of chill winds and pounding rain. It’s the Winter Solstice (and, I hope, a merry one for you). I am smiling and eager, sipping my second coffee. I’ve planned a day’s painting, a way of celebrating, of meditating, of committing this day to memory. It’s special; I’m here, at home. 🙂

My Traveling Partner gave me some amazing gifts for Yule, and I opened them yesterday evening at his request; new paint, new brushes – and my lasting joy in this partnership reinforced, yet again, by his consideration. 🙂 I’m feeling very loved. I’m eager to get to work on new canvases, in this new studio.

I think a point I am making is that dates on calendars come and go. What lingers is the joy we take from the precious moments we share – when we allow those to be the details central to our thinking, and our recollections. (I mean… there are other choices.) What we commit to memory, and those details we regularly revisit, become the defining details of who we find ourselves to be, and how we see life, generally. Joy is not exclusive to any particular holiday – or any particular moment. I try to find my joy everywhere I can.

…This morning I am spectacularly joyful, on the order of an excited child…

I smile and sip my coffee. The euphoria of this one moment will fade. Perhaps even the rich cherished memory of it will also fade, with time. Hell, with the passage of time I may forget which particular gifting holiday resulted in my having these exquisite brushes. I have this moment, here, now, though, and I have this joy to cherish. It’s enough. 🙂

The morning sunshine breaks through the clouds. Perhaps a sunny day ahead? This studio has very good light on sunny days… I think it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

Merry Solstice, Humans. Here’s hoping we each find such joy as will sustain us through our darkest times, and my best and fondest wishes that we don’t need to use it that way, at all. 🙂

I’ve learned to find quiet moments almost anywhere that isn’t ridiculously noisy or busy. Handy. Sometimes I do find that I’ve got to search out that moment of quiet, or build it from unexpected circumstances, but now and then some perfectly lovely moment of quiet just happens to be where I am sitting.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I woke often. I returned to sleep with relative ease, mostly. I never felt wholly awake and alert (which might have made getting up make sense), and I didn’t feel particularly sleepy at the time (even immediately before falling asleep). “Wakeful” night. I seem to have managed to get enough rest, anyway. 🙂

There was this one quiet moment, during the night, that I sat contentedly, relaxing in the dim glow of the Giftmas tree lights, just enjoying that quiet moment. It was lovely. There was no pressure to do more, or do differently. No rush. No stress. Just quiet time, there in the holiday twilight alone, while my Traveling Partner slept on, in the bedroom. It was precious.

Today is lovely, too. Beautiful moments. A soak in the hot tub on a misty cold autumn morning. A quiet cup of coffee shared with my partner. A spontaneous exchange of yule gifts, because… why not? It was delightful. 🙂 The recollection of it still is.

I sit smiling in this quiet moment, retrieving joyful memories of other quiet moments. Enjoying joy through recalling joyful moments. Easy. (And yes, it’s a practice, and yes, there are verbs involved, and results may vary…but how pleasant to practice it? Why wouldn’t I? 😀 )

Here. Now. This is enough. I fill up on the joy and contentment, smiling. It’s the middle of a work day… time to begin again. 🙂

This morning was definitely an autumn morning. The deck rail was frosty. The air was crisp and cold. Afternoon is approaching. The day is still cool enough to be quite obviously autumn. The sunshine has a friendly welcoming appearance, but lacks real warmth. (I’m not even complaining, just noticing.)

One sunny morning.

I take a slow relaxed approach to my break. I spend some time thinking about far away friends, old friends, distant family, and letters I mean to write. I promise myself I’ll take time for that… I am doubtful of my commitment to it, although I love writing letters. Strange.

I take a deep, relaxing breath of autumn. I taste the fall leaves and hint of forest and creek on the breeze. I marvel at the blue sky overhead. For a moment, this is more than merely “enough” – it is “everything”. 🙂

I take time to soak in the moment. Then, I begin again.

It’s another lovely autumn day. A work day. I’m okay with that; the day is pleasant.

The view from the deck.

The physical pain that has been my companion for days (weeks? months?) is “not bothering me” for some values of “bother”; it’s nothing more, for now, than an uncomfortable nuisance. I ignore it as much as I can. Manage it otherwise, when I must, and try not to be a dick to people when it goes beyond what I can pretend is not there. Not much else to do for it. Certainly, bitching about it doesn’t help me feel any better. I let it go as often as I can.

…Like now…

I am sipping an afternoon cup of tea. I’m frankly enjoying it more now that it has gone cold, which amuses me. I originally made this pot of tea because I was feeling chilly. lol

I hear my Traveling Partner in the background. Sometimes in the shop. Sometimes at his computer. Sometimes in the living room. I smile every time I notice his continued presence. It’s less an interruption in what I’m doing than a simple reminder that there is life beyond work, and that love exists. It’s very pleasant. The sounds of “home”.

I take a moment for a break. A moment for comfort. A moment to be present, here at home, savoring what feels so good and right in this moment. Moments are fleeting – best to appreciate them while they’re fresh. 😉 Soon enough it will be time to begin again.

It’s a lovely Saturday. My Traveling Partner and his son are in the shop, doing things with tools and wood. I am in my studio, taking time for art, study, meditation, and writing. My second coffee is down to it’s last tepid sip, and sunshine filters through the leaves of the pear tree beyond the window. It’s a nice moment. I sit with it awhile. I don’t need more, or different. This, right here, is enough.

Nothing fancy, just a view.

I don’t know what the rest of the day holds, or the week ahead, or what next year will be like. Right now, none of that matters; I’ve got this moment, here. It’s not fancy or exciting or extraordinary. It’s actually quite simple, a bit unremarkable, and there is nothing much about it significant enough to be especially share-worthy. That’s actually why I am sharing it. We get so used to chasing “happiness”, seeking novelty, excitement, or diversion, we forget to enjoy the simple pleasant moments life offers up pretty generously, much of the time. We wonder when life feels constrained, frustrating, disappointing, or filled with futility and sorrow, why there’s nothing pleasant to rely on… but don’t often acknowledge what we did (or more to the point, didn’t) do to build that “reference library” of personal joy to reflect on, and savor in less satisfying times. I can’t honestly “help you” with that, though, aside from pointing out how much importance your presence in your own experience really has for you.

One moment, experienced thoroughly, savored in recollection. Still nothing fancy. Just a moment.

In the simplest terms, if you want an implicitly pleasant and positive sense about your experience of “life in general” – an “upbeat outlook on life” – you’ve got to cultivate that, and one sure path to that destination is to be truly present, conscious, and involved in living the small pleasant moments in life. There are verbs involved. Practice. Incremental change over time. It’s the sort of thing others will observe has changed about you, before you are wholly aware a change has occurred. Savoring the moments, however simple, of contentment, quiet joy, or everyday satisfaction, builds that database of positive feelings and experiences that become the foundation of our outlook on “life in general”. It’s not all about the extreme joys of great moments; those moments are beyond “every day”, and we know that.

One coffee, one moment – but the picture is not the beverage.

I don’t grudge myself the contented moments “just sitting” with a soft smile on my face, contemplating some little thing my partner said that warmed my heart or supported me. I don’t grudge myself the contented moments “just sitting” watching fish swim in my aquarium, or how the light streams into a particular window in a particular way. I don’t grudge myself contented moments flipping through the pictures and origin stories in favorite cookbooks. The time spent is meaningless out of context, and precious beyond measure enjoyed whole-heartedly on some small thing that satisfies. It’s not the time itself that matters, so much as what it is spent on. 🙂 Time spent content or joyful is definitely worthwhile, however simply spent. My opinion. Works for me. (Your results may vary.)

Still smiling, coffee finished, and having written a few words on a quiet Saturday… I think about the world beyond these walls, and wonder about taking a walk. Certainly, this feels like a good time to begin again. 🙂