Archives for posts with tag: thank you love

My traveling partner updated my operating system for me yesterday. Change is. It has been, so far, the least stressful such change I’ve experienced. Building my first pc kept me up all night, two nights in a row, struggling with connectivity on an unfamiliar OS. Another iteration, years later in a lifetime long ago, resulted in a weekend of frustrated tears and arguments, emotionally tripping over the well-intended ‘help’ of another partner. In the more recent past, my traveling partner has endured my tension, fear, and anxiety over upgrades to my computer…what if something goes wrong? What happens to my data? My pictures? This is part of… me; I had grown to experience my computer, my hard drive(s), as an extension of self. My challenges with memory, with finding a sense of continuity and enduring self, resulted in an unhealthy emotional attachment to the machine – my computer. I could easily be pushed to panic by any perceived threat to my data. It made updates, upgrades, and changes pretty emotionally complicated.

Life does not stand still. We don't remain where we begin.

Life does not stand still. We don’t remain where we begin.

This is a strong partnership. My traveling partner ‘gets me’ more than most. He silenced the Windows 10 nagging for me, ages ago, and I forgot all about the imminent threat of change to ‘my back up brain’. He quietly went about his own business for a while, did his upgrade himself, used the new OS awhile, brought it around my place on his laptop and there were opportunities to say ‘”h hey, can you just do that while I…” . I expect someone else’s laptop or computer to be set up differently than mine; I approach that situation very openly, handling the machine and myself with care, and unconcerned about little things like ‘change’. A couple of weeks ago, he observed that support for my current OS would likely go away ‘eventually’ and it made sense to consider the new one. I agreed, in the abstract, and he suggested letting Windows have those files ‘ready when the time comes’, and turned the Windows 10 nagger back on. That didn’t sound like a big deal, and I comfortably agreed. Over the weekend, he suggested he may have the opportunity to do the upgrade for me, if I were willing. I waffled a bit, and settled on ‘yeah… okay, I guess, sure’ or something equally vague and half-hearted. He pointed out it would be easy enough to do myself – for some reason, that felt very reassuring, and I even considered doing so, more than once. The day came – yesterday – he mentioned in the morning that he’d probably go ahead and take care of it while I was at work. Years ago that by itself would have caused me huge anxiety – someone in my machine while I was away?? This is not that relationship. (Please note, throughout, his use of affirmative consent practices – win and good.)

I arrived home and it was done. New OS, new emotional experience of such; I felt eager to log on and check it out, but put it off to enjoy the evening together over dinner, and some quiet hang out time. I woke to the alarm, from a deep sound sleep, having entirely forgotten that my computer is on a new OS. My morning has been an explorer’s adventure, checking it out. Things are different. Not bad different. Hell, mostly not good different. Just different. I am rarely confronted by evidence of the quantity of small tweaks and changes to settings I actually do on my computer to be really comfortable… some of those are overwritten by this upgrade, and I am pleasantly surprised to observed that I am not stressed out by small things this morning; today they stay small.

The rain falls beyond the window. I hear traffic in the distance, and the sound of some sort of machinery humming, strange and far away – probably a train paused, idling, alongside the platform not too far from here, on the other side of the nature park, and just beyond the adjacent business park. My coffee is tasty. I wonder again how it is that my partner sleeps through the terribly loud burr grinder in the still of the wee hours each day. I disregard the work day ahead; it gets nothing from me until much later. I consider the small delights of home and hearth, and the joys of having my traveling partner staying with me awhile; I am unconcerned about small deviations from the routine – there’s always room for love here. We make the choices that welcome love home.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

Today is a good day to embrace change and be open to what is new and unexpected. Today is a good day to reduce negative bias by enjoying all manner of pleasant things, being present for each moment, and lingering contentedly over the recollection of them; they are more important [to me] than the stressors. Today is a good day to continue to change my experience – and my world.

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 enjoying the day. It’s winding down. There’s music I love on the stereo. The lighting is precisely the way I enjoy it best in the evening; lights down low, strategically selected to create a muted warm glow – too dim to comfortably read a bound book, or do fine needle work, but quite enough to relax, meditate, do yoga, write (at the computer), or just sit quietly with a coffee or a cup of tea. I’m wearing comfy clothes that I favor for time at home. My dinner will be food that appeals to me, without any regard for other people might prefer. I am unapologetically simply this woman who I am, nothing more, nothing less – and no stress about it.

It's a beautiful sunrise, I'd like it to be more meaningful, or significant...do the things that are precious need to be anything more than what they are?

It’s a beautiful sunrise, I’d like it to be more meaningful, or significant…do the things that are precious need to be anything more than what they are?

I miss my traveling partner. I am thinking about him while I cook, while I write, when I’m in the shower, when I’m walking from there to here…he’s on my mind a lot. Tonight I spent a considerable time appreciating a particular quality he brings to our relationship; his comfort with who I am, and his encouragement that I be the woman I most want to be – even when that means I am doing my own thing some evening when, perhaps, with planning we could have been enjoying each other. It’s not even that he is resigned to missing me because I’m doing something, or that he accepts it that I may be unavailable – it’s beyond that. He loves me being me. He loves me living my life. There’s real joy in conversations about things we do as  individuals – we have so much to say to each other when our lives are not consumed entirely by each other. I confess, when we live together, I tend to be… available. A lot. I adore my traveling partner, and there are qualities [for me] of love and loving that are damned near drug-like. It’s hard to say no to him in order to say yes to me. This is no more comfortable for him than it is for me. I am enjoying this evening when it’s not even an issue – because I am loved and valued as I am, not as property, a prop, a tool or a resource; freedom is a powerful quality to bring to a romantic relationship. We’re human people – partners, making life work together. It’s quite lovely to be so well-loved, and so valued.

Love.

Love.

…I still miss him. 🙂 I’m enjoying being in a truly supportive partnership that encourages growth…and I miss my traveling partner most of the time that we are apart. That’s okay, too. There’s a yearning to missing him, and anticipate in the yearning; seeing him again is a thing that will happen. These aren’t ‘bad’ feelings – they’re feelings, though, human feelings that tell me something about what I value (and who) and what I need (and want) and what hurts (or heals) – I’m pretty sure I’d miss out on a lot of life to give up on all these feelings. My heart will soar to new heights with wings – not forged in the fire of passion, but crafted tenderly of memories, and tears cried when I am lonely; there’s perspective to be had in feeling the feelings, and wisdom to be gained in experiencing life. I’m okay with that – it’s enough to love and be loved, it doesn’t also have to be effortless, or without discomfort.

Over-reaching for a good metaphor...content to watch fish swim.

Over-reaching for a good metaphor…content to watch fish swim.

Dinner is just about ready. I am eating dinner alone, watching new fish getting acquainted with their home, and enjoying a quiet solo evening. Tonight is not one of the lonely ones; I am enjoying the evening with the woman in the mirror. This, too, is enough. 🙂

Life here at Number 27 is generally a very gentle experience. I can usually expect serenity and quiet on a Saturday morning. Not so this morning; there is construction very nearby, and my music is re-mixed with sounds of hammering, and the coarse humor of the workers, calling to each other from above and below, some on the roof, some on the ground. I hear a drill, or a power saw a moment later, more hammering. This is not a quiet morning. I turn Lil Jon up louder.

Home.

Home.

I woke much earlier than the work began, and I am happy enough that I wasn’t awakened by construction noise on a morning I was trying to sleep in. I remind myself that many people I interact with in the community today were likely not so fortunate, and neighbors may be irritable because of the noise. It’s tempting to be aggravated that my peaceful weekend is being disturbed by construction noise – I mean, seriously? It’s got to be more expensive to pay this crew to keep working through the weekend! As I feel the irritation develop, I take a breath and smile, and acknowledge that the needs of displaced families inconvenience by the exposed wall, the missing windows, the unfinished roof, are a great deal more important than the inconvenience of the noise for the rest of us.

A great coffee in the morning is a practice, a ritual, a measure of time, and a way to take care of me.

A great coffee in the morning is a practice, a ritual, a measure of time, and a way to take care of me.

As I made my coffee, I observed that I had used up my original purchase of 100 #1 unbleached coffee filters… already? How was it I thought that would last my first three months? That was unrealistic – even counting on me to drink just one cup of coffee a day that’s just bad math – and assumes I am an ungenerous hostess with visitors. lol I’m up to two cups of coffee in the mornings, myself, and sometimes three on weekend days, but drinking only 8-10 ounce cups using pour-over brewing, instead of 16 ounce mugs with 4 shots of espresso. I entertain friends more than I have in many years. The math is clear; 100 coffee filters does not last 90 days.

I’m just 65 days into living solo. I am still ‘getting to know me’, and figuring out ‘my way’ of doing things. I’ve learned quite a lot about this woman I have grown to be over the years. I find that there are quirks and habits I have that – regardless of peculiarity – I really favor, and find value in, and they are a part of who I am that I am eager to nurture and build on.

  • I take the trash out every night before I got to bed. It’s not about whether that’s necessary; I just prefer not to sleep near garbage, or have it lingering near my kitchen.
  • I vacuum most days by preference. I’d do it every day, but sometimes I just don’t. It’s not that I’m throwing sand in the house, or have animals living indoors, or a lot of mess – but I really really like the way clean carpet feels on bare feet. I walk on the rug every day – why would I not also vacuum every day?
  • When I load the dishwasher, I put the flatware in the basket ‘handles up’ – so that when I unload the dishwasher I’m not touching the end I’ll be putting in my mouth later – and I always wash my hands before I unload the dishwasher. It’s my way.
  • I make my bed every day – but I’m not about ‘hospital corners’ or bouncing quarters off the comforter – I just like it to look tidy. I change the linens regularly – never less than every week, sometimes 2-3 times a week, certainly any time I sweat up the sheets. I like the way clean sheets and blankets feel.
  • I manage my lighting to maintain the ambiance that feels best to me personally for the time of day…soft intimate lighting in the evening, bright artificial light when I am cleaning or working, and as much natural light as I can get, supplemented with artificial light, when I am painting… I enjoy light, and the way light can play on emotions and aesthetic.
  • I lock my front door, more out of habit than concern…I’m often sitting here writing with the patio door open, soft breezes coming in through the screen – locking the front door is not about security (I’m pretty sure the spiders do not care that the door is locked, and I worry about those getting in more than ‘intruders’).
  • I foster an emotional environment that is calm, welcoming, and drama free – and manage a great deal of success there, making this the most singularly easy-on-the-heart living arrangement I’ve ever had.
  • I am learning over time to treat myself well without much rigorous habitual behavior, and benefiting greatly from letting habits and routine support me – but not control me. This is a work in progress, but so far so good.

I have learned that the woman in the mirror invests heavily in how things feel – most of my choices are about building a beautiful life from the perspective of feeling at ease with myself and my environment long-term. I don’t care much how other people choose to do things, or whether I ‘measure up’ to some other standard. It’s nice to make so many small choices entirely on my own, and really find out what ‘my way’ actually is. I smile a quiet thank you at my traveling partner, enjoying his own Saturday morning on the other side of town; he recognized how badly I needed this, and how much the lack of individual development in this area of my life skills was hurting us, together.

Every project requires tools, a plan, and verbs.

Every project requires tools, a plan, and verbs.

I find that I am also very human – and sometimes struggle to meet my own needs easily, or recognize them in a timely fashion – I learn as I go along. It’s enough to do my best, and to try again when I miss.

  • When I am feeling low, or terribly fatigued, or in a lot of pain, I struggle to find my ideal balance between letting stuff go, and investing in the effort to handle tasks I know I will be irked about if I don’t do them.
  • I still struggle to treat myself with the tender consideration I give others that I love, and I can be pretty hard on myself when I wake and notice that indeed I left that coffee cup in the sink over night, or get home from work to notice I forgot to make my bed when I left for work in haste after losing track of time watching a great Skrillex video.
  • Slowly loosening my grip on rigid habits intended to support good self-care and emotional self-sufficiency, to learn to take the very best care of myself, and build sustainable no-bullshit lasting emotional self-sufficiency is fucking scary as hell, and I sometimes struggle with the emotional outcome of ‘failing myself’ in small ways – instead of supporting myself compassionately, and trusting incremental change over time is the inevitable result of practicing good practices.

I smile, noticing that the ratio of ‘things I easily identify as being pleased with about the woman in the mirror’ to ‘things I struggle with rather a lot’ is very much in favor of things I am pleased with. That feels pretty amazing. Just noticing it seems like a very nice thing to do for myself this morning. I sip my coffee grinning without any self-consciousness, guilt, or discomfort.

Today is a good day to sit down with myself and appreciate my progress. 65 days living with the woman in the mirror – she’s a good sort, and not bad to live with. She does tend to be rather particular, but she loves me, and does her best to care for me with great kindness, consideration, respect, and tenderness. She’s learning.

Well, I suppose the aphorism is slightly different, for most. “Home is where the heart is”, is more likely to ring true. For me, it hasn’t been enough… Do I lack ‘heart’? That seems unlikely from the vantage point of being generally well-regarded, mostly valued, and living life embraced by love. But… living in a particular building, or at a specific address, has not been sufficient to define ‘home’ for me – even though I live with loved ones, in a generally comfortable, pretty contented day-to-day sort of way. It has seemed very odd for some time.

I’m not always sure what being an artist means, precisely. I’m not sure how being an artist defines me differently than being someone who paints an occasional painting, or creates something of great beauty once in a while; it’s the beauty created that matters more. I am uncomfortably aware in recent months that my own art speaks to me, myself, with an earnestness and import that has resulted in feeling pretty displaced and homeless not seeing it displayed all around me in my daily life; it hadn’t been hung. There’s a lot of it. One or two paintings made it to the walls over the past couple years… I have… dozens. Hundreds? I paint like a madwoman, I am not shy about admitting that. The bare expanses of wall started working on my mind, over time; the stacks and stacks of paintings at the ready, the cabinets of smaller ones, the carefully boxed (between layers of protective acid-free tissue) unframed watercolors… all waiting…all part of who I am…all disregarded in favor of day-to-day minutiae and drama, and seeming unimportant to anyone but me.

The pain of it diminished considerably when I realized in an honest and aware moment that the bare walls left me feeling quite ‘homeless’ – more ‘deployed’ than ‘moved in’; it wasn’t about anyone else’s choices or actions, and I hadn’t expressed how important seeing my working hanging really is for my day-to-day comfort and contentment. I could communicate the experience once I found words for it, and phrasing that didn’t sound like an attack on life and love. Communication is a pretty big deal, and best done in an explicit and clear way on practical matters, such as the hanging of art… or the care and feeding of artists. 🙂

Use your words. Seriously. (Also, use them gently!)

"Emotion and Reason" 2012 detail

“Emotion and Reason” 2012 detail

I arrived home last night to find that quite a number of paintings had been carefully hung… really, more ‘installed’ than hung; the care in hanging them, the considerate and meaningful placements done so skillfully that ‘hanging paintings’ hardly describes it. I sat, in the evening, feeling very much more ‘at home’ than I previously had for 2+ years. Does it make ‘everything right with the world’? Hardly. Even the delight of the artist herself, surrounded by her work, isn’t ‘everything’, is it? I do feel loved, and greatly cared for to see so many of my very best pieces hanging all around.

There are more to come, more space for art, walls as yet untouched by color or vision…and I certainly have enough work to take care of that! I expect there may be some movement, some changes, swapping this one for that one… My traveling partner has a keen eye for color, contrast, form – and a lovely aesthetic. If I have the choice between hanging my own work, and having him do my installations for me, I definitely prefer to step aside and give him room to work. I frankly just ‘hang paintings’, and not very well – they’re level, sure, and generally at an appropriate height for viewing… but I’m prone to just shoving as many pieces into a given area of blank wall as what I think will fit… resulting in a dizzying mosaic of color and glow that suits only me, and overwhelms anyone else.

I have no idea what today will hold…but I am already looking forward to returning at the end of the work day, to be surrounded by what matters so much…love, and art.