Archives for posts with tag: tbi and love

I’m sipping coffee and listening to videos in the background. Pleasant Sunday morning. Housekeeping on the agenda, not much else. I expect it’ll be a hot summer day. I’m okay with a couple hours of chores and a few moments for myself, and some pleasant hours with my Traveling Partner.

Our path may not always be level, the day may not always be sunny.

…Love isn’t “perfect”. Life either. Nothing really is. (Maybe this cup of coffee…) I make a lot of choices, and some of those are compromises, and some are just poor choices…on the other hand, I’ve got a lot of very cool opportunities to choose from, and fascinating people with whom I can choose to associate. Kinda neat, actually. Even our most intimate relationships are filled with choices.

We choose our path, and we choose what we consider our choices to be.

I chose my Traveling Partner a long time ago (11 years)… on a commute, I think. There was a hug involved. Hours of conversation, over time. A friendship developed. I adore this human being. He is “flawed” (inasmuch as he is quite human), as I am myself. There are days when one or the other of us seriously aggravates the other. (Just being real, and let’s be frank, one thing I know I can count on in life is that life will be, generally, quite “real”. lol) I enjoy him, as a friend, as a human being, as a partner… I smile when I think of him, and he is the person most easily able to unintentionally hurt me emotionally with a harsh word in a difficult moment. I still choose him, and yeah, even when I’m crying over a moment of hurt feelings, I still choose him.

He’s very dear to me. 😀 (bad pun intentional)

Why bring it up? It’s been a lovely weekend. This is all pretty obvious practical shit, right here, and hardly bears pointing out. Don’t we all go through it? Some moment that contrasts the wonderful qualities with the very human, sometimes much less wonderful qualities? Again – pretty real. Pretty ordinary. I dunno. I was thinking about it as I walked yesterday… “What matters most?”… “What builds a firm enduring foundation for love?”… “What does a healthy relationship look like, over time?”… “How does healthy boundary and expectation-setting look and feel in the context of a healthy adult relationship?”… “What part do I, myself, play in ensuring I am treated well based on my own understanding of “good treatment” – and how I do ensure I am skillfully, authentically, ensuring I treat my partner well based on their understanding of “good treatment” – and my own?” Big questions. (Long walk.)

Growth isn’t about what’s easy or comfortable. It’s often about hard questions, and answers that require rather a lot of real work. “Is the effort worth it?” is one question that is easy to answer, for me, in the context of this relationship: yes.

Sometimes choices seem so limited… or complicated… those perceptions are also choices.

I’ve had 3 other “long term relationships” of any notable duration. Two ran far longer than the quality of the relationship warranted. (Okay, well, all three of those, actually, were far longer than what was healthy, but I did manage to cut that last one short before my life or mental health were in complete chaos.) I’ve often been that person working at it longer/harder and loyally clinging to the carcass of a relationship that did not at all rate such a ferocious commitment in the first place. “I didn’t know better” doesn’t describe the goings on so much as “brain damage”, honestly. Yikes. That feels “too real”, right there. I sigh, finish my coffee, and let it go. 🙂 I’m rather happily in a very different place these days, different relationship altogether. “Learned my lesson”? Possibly not – more than I’ve been fortunate, and this particular relationship grew and developed largely in the context of ongoing therapy and other positive life choices (and changes) that took me down a healthier path.

Choices.

Don’t sit around miserable, is what I’m saying. You have choices. You don’t have to wait for decades of your life to slip by – you can choose change. Any time. You can begin again. Oh, I know, it’s a difficult sort of choice to make, but truly, it is yours.

Maybe what looks like a dead-end just isn’t your path at all?

The work day slipped by after a good night’s sleep, wedged carelessly between two lovely walks through the park, and followed quickly by an intimate evening spent in the company of my traveling partner. My experience of the day, summarized in a single sentence. The day was so much more than words can easily describe. I generally reach for more words to try to achieve the thing… Tonight isn’t about that.

Now is a good time for love.

Now is a good time for love.

I am listening to jazz, boiling water for tea, and smiling. I don’t need more than this moment, here, feeling connected, and buoyed by the shared experience of loving and being loved in return. I can’t say this is ‘enough’ – it’s ever so much more than that. “Enough” I can generally manage on my own – love is this whole other thing entirely, and shared it has a depth and sweetness I don’t have words for at all. Relaxing in the warm glow of evening light, and love, I’ll just enjoy some jazz, and some memories…brand new, as yet unsavored… and yeah, that’s enough. (More than enough.)

It’s a good evening to be love. The words aren’t what matter most.

I’m not bragging – I’m just saying, this is a lovely moment right here, and it’s authentic, and warm, and it is built on the choices I have made in life, and in the recent moments just concluded; it’s mine and I get to keep it. It is my experiences that are my measure of wealth – and self – and they can’t be faked or stolen. I am.

I am floating, uplifted, and for the moment utterly transcendent. I fucking love Love.  Just dinner out and a drive through the countryside with my traveling partner’s masterful hand at the wheel, laughing and talking and singing along with a favorite song together. It wasn’t an exotic or expensive night out; we don’t need it like that to feel loved and cared for in each other’s arms. Great conversation built this relationship we share, and great conversation – intimate, vulnerable, connected, open and real – is what sustains it. I have never loved like this, so deeply, so easily – and we’re not even talking about the sex. By comparison, the sex almost doesn’t matter – and if you knew me ‘in the flesh’ (lol) you would know how significant it is that these words come from me. We are just so right together. Even when we fail – we win. Tonight was all win and good.

This isn’t about good moods or bad moods – and I’m in a lot of pain this evening. I’m tired from the long fairly intense week at work. I’m feeling the ups and downs of acknowledging the pain and fatigue, mingling with the eagerness to see the dawn for a weekend trip to the coast, and this fully saturated feeling of love and connection. I’m not crazy and I’m not making excuses – I feel.  I feel a lot, and I feel pretty intensely, and I’m not always sure this fragile vessel can hold the contents of my heart in some moment or another – and I’m okay. This, right here, feels like an ‘everything is going to be okay’ moment on some other level…  Is it ‘just’ the love, ‘just’ the connection…or is it absolutely and entirely always about the love, always about the connection – on some level, with some soul (even if my own, with myself)?

My life could use more hugs and more eye contact, more cuddling, and more connection. That may easily be the most true thing I have ever put into words about life. Any life. Tonight I am smiling. I am grateful. I am loved. Love doesn’t need me to wait around for it, either; there is a wide world on the other side of my door, and it is filled with people who love, and yearn to be loved in return. Have you ever had that experience when the day is difficult, but some unexpected conversation with a stranger turns it around? I definitely want to have more of those. lol

I’m just saying – lonely is a thing, and there are practices for that, too. If I could just stand right here in life, feeling wrapped in love, secure, satisfied, content – motionless in this moment – I might not need to understand loneliness. I am so human… I am amused, for the moment, that some things about loneliness seem more obvious from this entirely different and not at all lonely perspective. Is that strange? When I feel loved, I am more able to love. There’s a lesson there. I will contemplate it tomorrow as I walk the beach, a solitary figure – alone, but not lonely, and very much loved.

Be love.

Be love.

I am rambling, and disrupted – but not in a bad way. I am moved. 🙂

I’ll admit it; I’m easy.

Elephants are a favorite metaphor here...

Elephants are a favorite metaphor here…

Seriously, I am actually committed to gentle harmony among peers that allows jovial good-natured fun, shared humor, and fosters shared pleasures and nurtures personal growth. I dislike hostility. I especially dislike the sort of hostility between lovers that immediately results in all parties feeling like they are confronted by an adversary.  I don’t at all concede that passion must be paired with contention and anger, or that good conflict management within relationships must involve frustration and grief.  I admit that my feelings on this topic may rise to the level of a ‘religious conviction’ in the sense that I am unwilling to be swayed to another point of view, and feel quite convinced I am ‘right’.  It sounds like an awesome environment to build between lovers, and consistent with my ‘Big 5’ relationship values: respect, reciprocity, consideration, compassion, and openness.  If those 5 characteristics define a romantic relationship, it seems unlikely that the participants would feel ‘adversarial’ or ‘hostile’ toward each other, even when they disagreed. Sounds like a good goal, if nothing else.

There’s another side to “I’m easy”… it has regularly stopped me from taking care of me.  I’ve often chosen to compromise beyond my values, my boundaries, or my limitations, to achieve harmony with a lover or partner. Or said “I’m fine” or “nothing’s wrong” or “I’d love to…” choosing to be ingenuine or evasive for the sake of keeping peace, rather than connecting more intimately by being who I am in a frank and compassionate way. Hell, I’ve even gone years without listening to even one piece of music I really loved, rather than fuss over it with a partner who found my taste in music unpleasant. lol.   That’s probably OK, now and then, but I’m beginning to recognize that as a pattern of behavior, as a methodology, or a routine practice, it results in resentment over time, because my own needs don’t get met, or because I perceive a lack of reciprocity in the relationship when others are unwilling to similarly compromise beyond their values, boundaries, or limitations. Seeing it in print underscores what I have begun to understand – that resentment directed outward toward partners or lovers when I over-compromise isn’t appropriate, however unhappy I may become.  The better result is to be had by understanding my own needs, boundaries, values, limitations and then communicating them explicitly, setting reasonable expectations, and being willing to ‘take care of me’ – honoring those values, and myself, rather than tossing myself onto a sacrificial fire. (Seems a pretty simple idea now…it didn’t until recently; if I am being overly obvious, I laud your wisdom!)

A vessel of great beauty and value  is best handled with care, cherished, and filled with great love.

A vessel of great beauty and value is best handled with care, cherished, and filled with great love.

I’m getting better at taking care of me. I’m getting better at stating boundaries, and recognizing my limitations. I’m still easy…I still want harmony in my relationships.  My Big 5 make sense to me, for my relationships, to meet my own needs in my living environment.  It is a little scary for me to understand that taken together, these understandings lead gently to acceptance that some of my relationships in life didn’t ‘make the cut’ …that some of them likely never could have… and that some of them, in the future, may not meet my needs over time.  As with a precious porcelain cup, I really can’t afford to be careless about what relationships I fill my life with.

I’m easy. I admit it. I am also living more mindfully, and embracing a genuine experience with who I am. Changes are scary… I would love my heart to float like dandelion fluff across the tops of life’s challenges, as if challenges were meadow flowers – my heart untouched by hurts, my challenges bending to my will like flowers in the breeze… but I don’t have that strength of will, or that certainty of what is and what is not… Aristotle lost my attention when I discovered S. I. Hayakawa and R.A. Wilson, and the world is too rich and wonderful to divide neatly into is/is not; there are some damned ‘maybes’.  🙂

For now, ‘easy’ is observing, accepting, experiencing, and waiting for events to unfold as they will. I can’t force the world, or love, to be what I want, I can only enjoy what it is, and be who I am… hopefully becoming, over time, the woman I most want to be, embraced in love by the lovers I cherish most beyond all other beings, with values I respect, who treat me well, and a lifetime ahead of us to share who we are.

Another sunny day in my garden…