Archives for posts with tag: thank you

Whatever it is, this, too, will also pass. Good or bad. Fortune, or misfortune. Enjoyable. Regrettable. Memorable. Forgettable. The clock ticks. The wheel turns. Time and moments pass.

It’s been a bit more than a year here in this duplex. A bit more than a year living quite a bit of distance from my Traveling Partner. A bit more than a year driving his car, because he observed I needed it a bit more than he did at that time, and didn’t yet have my own. It’s been helpful having it, for sure. It’s been evident, over the year, that I need a car, myself, more than I realized. I’ll shop around a bit and take care of that soon. No rush. I’m pretty self-sufficient on public transit, and the bit more walking and exercise that takes will be good for me right now. ūüôā It was an important eye-opener to recognize that the driving commute was robbing me of some much-needed exercise that a walking (or part riding, part walking) commute provided, and how important that really is.

Today I return to the part riding, part walking commute I had planned to make part of my daily routine when I first moved in here, before I had the car to rely on. Hell, I may stick with that even after I buy a car. I’m not expecting it to be a hardship, just time-consuming, and with music, books, and my camera along for the journey each day, it’s not even likely to be “wasted time”. ūüôā I’ve “been here” before. The wheel keeps turning.

I’m grimly amused that my back hurts so fiercely this morning. It’s not my arthritis. Feels like I “slept on it wrong” and now have the back equivalent of a kink in my neck, as though my ribs were weirdly cramped together on one side for too long, and now hurt peculiarly in one spot, on the opposite side from which I usually feel most of my pain. Fucking craptacular meat sack – always breaking down or going wrong in some fashion. Being human can be so messy, and uncomfortable. Of course it would be the case today, in advance of a change in routine that requires more exertion, that I’ll also be more uncomfortable. So human. No doubt it’ll ease over time. I breathe, relax, and get a second coffee.

…No coffee along my commute route, now… Well. Shit. That’s a change…

I check the weather with more care than usual; it’ll matter what the weather is later in the day, and will be too late to second guess what I will need to have along in my day back by then. Sunscreen gets added to my day pack. The forecast says sunny, and peak heat at 90 degrees. I add a bottle of water, too. I set my cane by the door; I’m jumping right into a bit more walking than I’ve grown used to, and it will serve me well to be prepared for that to fatigue my ankle. No sandals today; hiking boots instead. Sure, circumstances change, and the wheel keeps turning, there’s nothing about that which suggests I must also be taken by surprise, or wholly unprepared for what life may drop in my path. ūüôā Planning is a thing I can do. (You too, if you choose to.)

Well, there’s a new day about to unfold ahead of me. A new journey to take. A new path to follow. I wonder where this moment leads? To find out, I only have to take another step. I only need to begin again. ūüôā

Hey – good morning. ūüôā Thank you for reading my blog. Have I said as much recently? I actually really appreciate each of you who make time for me, however often that may happen to be. Thought I’d say so, and make this sort of about you, for a change of pace. ūüėÄ

I start the morning with music, this morning, beats breaking on the shores of my waking consciousness just about the same moment the sun breaks through the cloudy dawn sky for the first time. I’m smiling and feeling pleased that I remembered I really wanted to say “thanks”. I would write, trust me on this one, even if no one at all read these words; I know this because I’ve kept a private journal since I was quite young. My earliest recollections of asking to make some government-green fabric-covered blank book my own for that purpose suggest perhaps as early as 9 or 10 years old, although I only clearly recall doing so since I was about 13. ¬†So… the words in my head flow like spice on¬†Arrakis. I’d be writing, regardless.

I stopped writing privately, more or less completely, for a couple years…late in 2011, until early in 2014, because I had turned my words on myself as some sort of self-destructive weapon of peculiarly insidious self-harm, and it was so completely damaging that silencing myself was less painful. Without words, my painting erupted in a fierce period of production in acrylic – and emotion. I was a fucking wreck, and I was “coming undone“. I’d hit a wall by December 2013, and a period of bleak and despairing self-reflection suggested it was time to call it, to fold, to walk away from the game.

“Broken” 14″ x 18″ acrylic and mixed media with glow.

I started this blog in January, 2013. I wanted to write. I was rather afraid to just write my own words privately to myself, anymore. I was pretty sure that bitch in the mirror wasn’t looking after me, and I wasn’t sure I even cared… but I was scared of what I’d find in the privacy of my own thoughts, alone. My relationships were in tatters, one of them absolutely abusive on a level that was doing me acute immediate emotional damage daily, the other quite precious to me and promising things I could not reach or make real, because I didn’t even know how to try, or how to “hold up my end”, and I was pretty certain I was, myself, laying waste to the hearts of everyone who got close to me. Possibly on purpose, but I didn’t even know how to sort all that out. I was on the literal bleeding edge of finally going through menopause. I was at the tail end of detoxing and recovering from psych meds I may never have actually needed at all, and that had wrecked my health and¬†poisoned me. It all sucked very much.

“The Price We Pay” 14″ x 15″ acrylic on canvas with glow, mirror, and ceramic shard details, 2013

I went down my list of things to do before I checked out. It mattered to me to attempt to minimize any collateral damage. The first thing on my list was to update my will. The last thing on my list was to see a therapist… one more try, right? “Due diligence.” I don’t really know for sure why I started this blog. I don’t remember. Perhaps in part out of resentment¬†of a moment of cruel and annoying discouragement in a failing relationship (“Well, don’t expect to be able to keep up on something like this every day…” she’d said smugly, “I‘ve been keeping a blog for awhile, and you will probably¬†just lose interest in a few weeks, and don’t expect that anyone will read it…”). It was not, initially, intended in any way as a lifeline – not on purpose. It became one, because somehow it added people who matter to me to my experience of life¬†– and to whom I might matter, in return. That, itself, mattered. It mattered a lot, as it happens. ūüôā

If you’ve been reading since the beginning, you probably know about a lot of this, if not explicitly, then by inference. I’m still here. I have real joy in life these days. I live a life built on contentment, sufficiency, perspective, and mindfulness. This journey, this blog, these words, are all part of that – part of me being here, now. There have been days since that dark December full of madness when the thing that kept me tied to life itself has been this blog… and one person I could not bear to let down. So… thank you. Thank you for being here.

Most specifically, thank you for your occasional comments. I’m surprised how often they come on just the right day, observing something that is astute, insightful, meaningful, and cherished long after the day the words are typed into a text box, or shared as a private message via other means. Thank you for being authentically you. Thank you for sharing. I’m delighted when I discover that someone dear to me, that I know in real life, is also reader – I don’t assume anything specific about who reads my blog; I still write for me. I am incredibly moved each time I discover that among you are people I actually know, because I know that you know more than what is written. We have shared some very human experiences, and more than likely if you know me in real life, you have those odd opportunities to see me before/after writing some particular blog post, or understanding just a bit more about the context, the subtext may be far less subtle, the metaphors blunt and obvious – and still you’re here. Holy fuck, that’s… wow. And if you don’t know me in real life, that’s no less profound for me; you read past my spelling mistakes and are never cruel to me about them. You value my words for what they are, and lacking the hints of what is going on behind the curtain still find value in my words. I am moved. I appreciate you.

Anyway. Today – just this for you; thank you. I’m glad you are here. I think of you often. I wonder how your day is going, and whether there is some way I can speak more clearly to some moment we share, in the abstract. I consider you, every time I sit down to write; it’s part of what has saved me from myself, actually. It’s you I consider when I consider my words. I seek to be authentic and real, without being hurtful or unkind to you. You have helped me learn to be kind to myself. ūüôā

You matter to me. Namaste

Some of my most colossal fails are the result of choices that looked good in the moment. I bet we all have that experience, actually. It seems human enough to make a decision on what I know in the moment, with good intentions, and find that because I did not know enough, or lacked certain very specific information, in practice the choice was poor. (This is about one of those, sort of, but only to get to the part where I say ‘thank you’ to someone dear who chose to support and care for me through the resulting crisis, at great personal expense emotionally.)

"You Always Have My Heart" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas with glow.

“You Always Have My Heart” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas with glow.

We’d been expecting a house guest for some days, and I was more than ordinarily tense about the visit for a number of small reasons, most of which can be bucketed under ‘words – use them!’ Wednesday, I noticed that the office had stocked new varieties and brands of herb tea – I like a hot cup of something at my desk while I work, but can’t drink coffee for 8 hours continuously without serious consequences (obviously), herb tea is the answer for me – and usually after my morning coffee I switch over to chamomile. Gentle, calming, ancient and reliable chamomile tea is something I enjoy. I find the fragrance and taste both pleasant, it is mildly calming, and doesn’t seem to have other effects that I’ve ever noticed. On Wednesday the colorful sachets of new varieties from another manufacturer caught my eye, as did the word ‘calming’, although the tea was not chamomile… It smelled quite nice. It tasted good, too. Wednesday I had two cups of it.

Wednesday night I had very weird dreams, some unusual nightmares, difficult falling asleep in the first place…and woke Thursday with just about the worst headache I’ve had in months, in an unusual place in my head [for me]. I passed it off as ‘morning’ and went on with my day.

Thursday was weirdly challenging…I felt moody and ‘different’ in ways so subtle I could barely detect the differences; they were more of a change in emotional filter than a physical sensation. All day I struggled with feeling stressed, concerned, uneasy, insecure, suspicious – and my heart was pounding, which I noticed but passed it off as ‘stress’. After my morning coffee I switched to the tasty new tea. I was still having a decent day at that point, just feeling… strained. As the day went on, I drank more tea – about 5 cups – and wound up a seriously volatile, angry, defensive, trembling, on/off rage monster. I had enormous difficulty sleeping that night, and the nightmares were… well, I’d give up sleep forever if I had to count on those being a regular quality of sleep, they were that bad.

This pattern repeated on Friday – and my level of hysteria, expressed symptoms, emotionality and panic were finally so serious I had to reach out for professional support from my work environment, because I was pretty sure ‘everything’ was in ruin, and I was actually beginning to feel suicidal. ¬†When the tea change turned up in the conversation, the conversation changed, too. I’d poisoned myself with a common enough herbal tea that affects most people quite differently. This post is not really about that – I’m just setting the stage, but before I move on to my real point, I will call out the huge self-care fail – another rookie mistake [for me]; I didn’t do my homework on the new herbal tea, check all the ingredients with great care, research their characteristics and qualities and the science and drug interactions. I could have. I know to do that. I did not. That’s a fail. As a result, and in my best interests, I’m now on a very restricted list of what sorts of beverages I can have, and like a well-behaved child I will do as I’m told. No resentment here; I demonstrated conclusively that I am capable of putting my life at risk unknowingly over a tea bag and some carelessness. For now it’ll have to be rules instead of choices on this one.

And now we get to what this post is about; saying thank you. It’s not easy to be an adult with self-care limitations, post traumatic stress, a disinhibiting brain injury, and a lifetime of poorly chosen but overly-well-developed coping skills that don’t cope with now, or meet needs over time. It has some seriously suck moments, actually. I’ll take it further; it’s likely that without the help and support I’ve gotten over the years from friends, loved ones, family, partners, strangers, doctors, well-meaning passers-by – at some point, my limitations would have taken me out of the game, one way or another. This, in general, is a morning to be thankful how interconnected we all our, and to appreciate that in the darkest times, there is often something to hang on to, or to reach for. In the blackest moments, there are kind words from strangers, hugs from friends, the sympathy and care of family, to keep me going.

My traveling partner bears an unhealthy portion of the burden of ensuring I’d don’t walk off the edge of the map by mistake somehow. I don’t actually know how he manages it; he is a super hero to me. In spite of being hurt, angry, and inconvenienced by my drama and bullshit – which is what it looked like in the moment, I promise you – he kept stepping up his support, and dialing down his own stress, managing his own emotions, reminding himself that his brain-injured partner “isn’t always quite right” and staying mindful of the science of both TBI and PTSD symptoms and behaviors. He kept talking me down. He repeatedly walked me through breathing exercises – remotely, while I was at work, helping me hang on – neither of us knowing until Friday afternoon that I was having a medical crisis, more than an emotional one. Emotions are hard – they rock our world in a tremendously powerful way – and this man, this human being, this other person than me, just kept comforting and caring for me, while his own hurt and damage piled up. Fuck. That’s… intense. That’s the super hero stuff of love.

When I got home, he helped me sort myself out, and listened to the information the doctor has asked to have passed on. He made sure I took care of myself further; reminding me to drink water, to take routine medications, encouraging me to rest, and check my blood pressure regularly. By evening I was in a different place, and able to enjoy a quiet family dinner – my super hero traveling partner had so skillfully supported me that our guest was largely unaffected by the circumstances. I was even able to have a fairly healing moment with each member of the household, for heart-felt apologies, and moments of connection; none of that would have been likely without the support of my traveling partner, and his nurturing, healing presence.

So… yeah. I’m saying thank you. I’m sharing how important his support is to me. Living with me, and the issues I’ve currently got, and the process of healing and improving, is difficult on a level I can’t even imagine – I’m having a different experience. It is so easy for me to lose sight of something simple and real; however hard this is on me, it’s hard on people who love me, and likely on the same order of magnitude. Thank you is important. Reciprocal support is important – and valued. I will spend a lifetime practicing the practices that give me the tools to return the favor when he most needs it. How could I choose to do anything less?

Today is a good day to say thank you to the people who treat us well, support us most – and most often – and to appreciate the toll our pain takes on others. Today is a good day to practice good self-care – and to practice saying thank you, because I’m still here to keep practicing.

Thank you, Love "Contemplation" 12" x 16" acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

Thank you, Love
“Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

Good morning – or afternoon, or evening – I hope that the moment you find yourself in feels comfortable and that you are content, if not generally, then at least right now.

Yes, you.

This post is for you. Each of you, all of you, any of you. Because you are reading these words. Because you stopped by just this once to check out this blog, for some reason, today. Because you’ve bookmarked it and read it often. Because you clicked a link to my blog¬†from a comment on some adult blog, figuring on more of the same, and instead of being disappointed, you’ve come back a few times to read more. Because you don’t even know me, and find value in sharing some piece of my experience anyway. Because you do know me, you know me well, and you quietly read each post, rarely speaking up to make a comment or observe a detail, or offer a helpful suggestion, understanding perhaps that there is a fundamental loss of privacy happening, between you and me, when I write and you read – and knowing me, you understand how vulnerable and raw that may actually feel. Because you know me, not as well as you’d like, and you remain curious and fascinated, and enjoy the vicarious ‘insider information’ that occasionally feels like you know so much more about me now. ¬†Because you’re a troll or a spammer, out there doing your thing, and some¬†one time, some¬†one post, actually touched you – you’re still spamming me, but you made one pleasant, sincere, heartfelt comment that even had good spelling and grammar. ¬†Because you are you, and you are reading these words, long after some little joke of mine has begun to wear thin, or some metaphor has finally be over-worked to death.

This post is for you. Thank you. That’s really it, just a thank you. ¬†I kept a journal for years, you see, and although I write nearly compulsively, and often find I ‘don’t get it’ until I see something¬†in words, I found myself drowning myself in the very words I love so much, and writing endlessly the damaging ruminations and negative thoughts I was stuck on. I wrote volumes. This is the simplest truth, I know; they are stored in a bin or two in the attic, save for some small number that have more meaning, or capture an important time of change. Those sit unread on a bookshelf by my bed, in case I need to ‘check myself’ about who I was then, or what events seemed to be about at that time. ¬†As 2012 drew to a close, and I approached my 50th birthday, my whole experience sort of crashed in around me and I found myself mired in pain and doubt and regret, and frankly unsure that continuing to live had any value at all. ¬†I didn’t really discuss that detail of my¬†experience with anyone. I tried once or twice, and it was quickly apparent that I wasn’t getting anywhere, or making a connection.

Writing in my journal wasn’t helping me, anymore, and I was no longer sure my writing had value of any kind, or any purpose, or have¬†anything of interest to any person. I was quietly planning to ‘check out’. Then… life went from bad to worse. It was all pretty subjective – the factual details of my experience of everyday life just weren’t particularly ‘bad’, not even a little. It was my emotional experience, my personal, subjective, internal experience of ‘self’ that had finally just caved in. ¬†I started this blog then, aware at the time that these could be the last things I had to say, to share, and for me that meant that doing my best to make them ‘worthy’ and genuine and real was important to me. ¬†This blog ended up being a big piece of ‘saving my life’.

This is no longer a salvage operation. I’m building on the best of who I am learning to be, and taking those tools, and experiences, and each day working to be just a bit better at being me, at being the best of me, that I can. You’re part of that. Thank you.

Why am I saying ‘thank you’ today? Because you thanked me first. ¬†Yesterday was an interesting day for that. ¬†I got a flurry of emails about a particular post, and it happens now and then, and this particular flurry of grateful and appreciate words felt so warm and nurturing – not saying thank you would be rude. ¬†Thank you for caring how I am doing. Thank you for finding value in my observations on life, and my commentary on my challenges, my growth, my progress, and life’s curriculum. ¬†It’s an amazing journey, and it matters to me that we’re sharing it.

I hope your today is a success Рhowever you define it Рand that your choices are wise and support your needs over time. I hope today the challenges seem less challenging and more rewarding, and that you take a chance on you. You deserve the best you have to offer. You matter.  Thank you for reading my blog.

Like a potted rose slaking its thirst on a gentle rain; I'm grateful.

Like a potted rose slaking its thirst on a gentle rain; I’m grateful.

Pleasure, delight, warmth, connection, intimacy, affection, regard… love…sometimes I feel so moved to say something about¬†feelings. Do the joys and delights of human emotion ‘go without saying’? Well, sure, but… would they be more completely savored, relished with more thoroughness, or more powerful with a few words of review, commentary, or critique?

Pure and simple, without adornment, excuse, or context.

Pure and simple, without adornment, excuse, or context.

 

Yesterday I took a day to explore sufficiency in my emotional experience by not commenting about feelings, as much as I could find the will to resist doing so.  I worked on being present, feeling the feelings, enjoy my experience, being open to the moment, whatever it might be, and feeling the currents and shifts in my emotional experience without additional words Рnot just refraining from judging them, but also withholding stream-of-consciousness commentary moment-to-moment.

Like a cat in the sunshine; enjoy the moment that is.

Like a cat in the sunshine; enjoy the moment that is.

It was a hit and miss endeavor, and I’d be surprised if anyone noticed a changed outcome as much as I noticed the subtle change in will and effort, from within.

I did find that the effort to simply experience my experience without that added commentary (internal or verbalized) created a lot more awareness and presence for really listening with my whole attention, which seems very worthwhile, and had some lovely positive outcomes in improved intimacy, and engagement. ¬†Getting to that wasn’t as easy as ‘well, I’ll just stop talking now…’. It’s a practice that goes a bit beyond that; I am learning to find sufficiency in living my experience in the moment, absent commentary. For now, that means my commentary, but at some point, I am hoping that my comfort with being present and open to my whole emotional experience without having to download critical commentary and analysis on some unwitting being will become, over time, a level of comfort within that reduces my vulnerability to suffering in the face of perceived criticism, generally. ¬†I’m not just allowing myself to experience my emotional life without commentary, I’m doing so with acceptance and compassion.

This is an exercise that also highlights with extraordinary clarity how much of my day-to-day suffering is a product of my thinking, and nothing to do with my experience, at all. ¬†That’s good stuff to know.

It began simply enough; I wanted to focus on hearing positive feedback in a positive way, and able to accept without disagreement, mitigation, or minimization the pleasant things my partner says about me, about us, about love. ¬†My goal was to acknowledge compliments and positive feedback pleasantly, and appreciatively, without undercutting the moment with more words. It wasn’t any fancier than that. It wasn’t any more scientific or structured. ¬†The results were worth the exploration, and I am very much inclined to continue to make an everyday effort to hear nice words, enjoy the moment, be appreciative, and then … move on, returning promptly to being.

Sometimes ‘being the change’ I¬†wish to see in my¬†world begins with a step in a direction I¬†didn’t know to take…and sometimes taking a step is enough to illuminate the path ahead, at least a little bit. ūüôā

Perhaps it goes without saying...

Perhaps it goes without saying…

Today is a good day to listen more, and talk less. Today is a good day to be grateful for small pleasures. Today is a good day for sincere thanks. Today is a good day to change the world.