Archives for posts with tag: The Big 5

Tough day at the office.

I put on a new playlist, one with beats and edges and emotions – all of the emotions. I let it carry me from here to there. It covers a lot of emotional ground, highs and lows and inbetweens. I dance. I manage some housekeeping along the way. I medicate. I cry a few tears that weren’t at all about me.

I dislike endings, even though they are no more permanent than the beginnings are, and with few exceptions, generally precede beginnings. I take time to feel the weight of the truth of it. This too shall pass – a helpful thought. Change is. We don’t always choose it, sometimes it just shows up to the party uninvited.

I don’t mean to be vague-book-y at all here, truly I don’t. There were some organizational changes made at work. I lost a team member. Funny thing about that, though; I’ve grown. Some of my colleagues are my friends. He’s one such, and so – my heart loses nothing. I dig working alongside this guy. He’s sharp. Get’s it. He’s got a good heart, and a lot of commitment and skill. It will suck not seeing him already working when I get in each Tuesday. I will have to go digging each Monday for the information he always provided me in his hand-off each week. But, and this is real and so important, we’re friends. There’s nothing lost there. I’m still here. He’s still here. We’ve got each other’s numbers. lol There’s nothing to see  here, besides change, and change is always with us.

I still cried. I did. Yep. (I’m grateful I didn’t have to break it to him. I had it easy.) Change is a thing, but fucking hell – we’re a fantastic team at this. I miss him already. I worry whether he’s okay. We are friends; I want to help. I smirk at myself in a moment of honesty; now I have to do verbs to maintain this friendship. I can’t just show up to the office.

Tomorrow will be different. It also won’t be the end of my work week. So much change for one week… I gotta get some rest, though. Soon I’ll have to begin again.

Yeah, our individual lives and experiences continue alongside the culture-storm of change going on around us. Well… mine does. Doesn’t yours?

I sip my coffee. Breathe, relax. I don’t avoid the awareness that cried myself to sleep last night. I keep my heart open to the awareness that I don’t fully “know why”. Sadness crept in. Tears spilled out. I’m no saint; I’m pretty sure my tears were “all about me“.

My Traveling Partner got into town sometime yesterday, busy with plans and no time for me. It’s an honest truth. My heart aches with it. This morning as I wake he is already far away. His route took him the closest he has been to my new place, since I moved; approximately just 1 mile away, passing by in the night, sometime after I had gone to bed. No drama. No storm of “if you loved me, you would…”. No conditional affection. This event has been planned on his calendar a long while. This makes only twice he’s been in town since he started his new job. Both times he was in town briefly. Both times for other purposes than seeing me. Neither time did we see each other. I’ve lived here now for one month; he has yet to see the place, though he has keys. I get through those thoughts, this time, without tears.

I sip my coffee, and move on with my own experience.

I keep an eye on the clock. There is an early morning meeting at the office, and I will make a point of being there, without resentment for the disruption in my schedule; it is a welcome distraction.

I let my thoughts coast through memories of other lovers, feeling grateful for this partnership I’ve got. It allows me to live (and thrive) on my own terms – even when those terms became “I need a place of my own”. Our choices reliably have consequences. Some of the consequences of our choices are not easily predictable for us, as individuals in the moment, sometimes because they can’t be predicted with ease, sometimes because we refrain from looking ahead with cool-headed clarity.

I find myself “listening for the rain”, thinking perhaps I heard drops on the windows or rooftop, but no rain is falling. No tears, either. I’m okay right now. I sip my coffee, and let contentment wash over me. Running from my feelings doesn’t get me here so quickly. Neither does wallowing in them, allowing myself to spiral downward into the darkness. It’s a peculiar thing to sit with my emotions. Make room for them as if for a fellow traveling on public transportation; sometimes quite reluctantly, but not wanting to be rude. Giving myself a comfortable moment to feel my feelings without taking action, to listen to my moment gently, and to allow myself to feel heard from within can make such a difference in emotional moments. Yeah… as always… verbs. Practice. Varying results. (See that subject line? Results vary!) I’m grateful for mornings; each one utterly new. A restart. A do over. A beginning.

Where does this path lead?

I miss my Traveling Partner. I feel the feeling of it. I allow myself to be wrapped in the love that makes missing him matter so much, and soak in that for some minutes, recalling things we have enjoyed together this year. I allow the mixed emotions to be what they are. There has been little of this so-precious time shared this year. Tears and a smile. I’m okay with that. I think ahead to the week to come. It feels a little empty knowing there won’t be a last-minute urgent message from him late on a Thursday suggesting I drive down to see him, followed by a message noting that he’d checked my calendar and sees I have plans… or a reply from me that I’m on my way, or… soon. We’ll see each other in September. We saw each other once in August. And in June we spent a weekend together for my birthday. Soon, autumn, the holiday season… more weekends together than not, perhaps. Perhaps not. I smile and let go of my expectations like airborne fluff from a cottonwood tree. It’s a journey, and what’s up ahead isn’t very clear. I’ll take it a day at a time. Each rung on the ladder individually climbed. Each step in the staircase individually tread. Each moment individually lived. Well… as much as possible. I’m quite human. lol

It’s time to begin again.

 

 

 

All of the pain this morning, and a hearty helping of “aggravated with America” besides. Fuck this bullshit. I snarl as I open the windows to the breezes. I hobble around making coffee on my aching ankle, the broken foot experience is largely behind me now, this is just routine, everyday, ceaseless “holy-fuck-is-there-anything-at-all-left-down-there-that-properly-functions-as-an-ankle??” pain. The rain yesterday was a relief. Today my arthritis is acting up. This headache seems worse than usual. I am on the edge of tears and my anger just simmers, waiting for a moment to call its own.

It’s just pain.

The splinter in my finger adds to the experience in an extra frustrating way; every time I hit a key with that index finger, I either feel the stabby irritated inflamed pain of the splinter in my finger, or somehow manage a sloppy assortment of unnecessary letters (mostly “g”) that must then be removed. It’s extremely aggravating. My quirky sense of humor is such that at this point, I wish I’d left all the “g’s” in place for amusement. (You’re welcome.)

It’s just pain.

It’s just physical pain. There are literally more important things going on right now than my individual physical pain.

Again I let it go. Start over. Begin again. I do what I can to support my physical needs along the way. There is work to be done “out there”. The difficult work of seeing past my privilege. The work of using my privilege as an umbrella, rather than as a shield. The work of being considerate. The work of being helpful. The work of being kind. The work of setting a good example by being the change I wish to see in the world. The work of listening past my own biases. The work of recognizing we are each having our own experience. The work of compassion. The work of being the village it takes to raise our children to become the future caretakers of the only world we currently call home. The work of seeking a true truth stripped of provocative buzzwords and catchy slogans, laid bare of ideological bias. The work of being a better human being today than I was yesterday – every day.

Fuck… that’s a lot to do. I could say “I hurt too much, today, I’ll get on it tomorrow…”, only… they seem the sort of tasks that would quickly pile up, get out of hand and… oh. That’s right where we are. Now. Shit.

Well. I guess I’ll begin again. Will you?

The time is now.

 

So human.

This morning, I wrote, as I do, but to a dear friend, only. It met my own needs, and I considered no others this morning. Huh. Still human.

The other day, I got poked by a rose thorn, but thought nothing of it; roses have thorns, it’s a thing people know about. Today I am fussy and irritated by the discomfort of the thorn still lodged in the pad of my index finger, rather inconveniently precisely where my finger strikes the keys of my keyboard. I don’t actually do anything about the thorn, I just bitch about the discomfort. Still human.

I read the news, get caught up, feel annoyed with myself for wasting precious limited lifetime on media bullshit, again, knowing it messes with my head for hours, sometimes days. I sometimes do it anyway, even to the point of reading and rereading the same news, covered the same way, by nearly identical media outlets, multiple times…until I finally notice I’m learning nothing new, and don’t even actually care. Still human.

I make a cup of chamomile tea to enjoy as the evening winds down, and can’t quite enjoy it, either because it is still too hot to drink, or perhaps because now I don’t understand why I didn’t make coffee, which I’ve already had more than enough of today…but I don’t know which, and don’t move to change anything. Still human.

I distract myself from all of these things with thoughts of love, and loving, and feeling grateful to be so well-loved, and so thoroughly accepted – and then distract myself again with my disappointed recollection that my Traveling Partner still has not made it over to see my new place once… Which… well, he’s hundreds of miles away, and has only been within an hour’s driving time of this address for about 24 hours in the past 5 (6?) weeks, so it’s not really a realistic expectation. Still disappointed. Still human.

It’s a life. My life. It’s not the life I had 7 years ago. Hell, it’s not the life I had 3 years ago. It’s a pretty good life. I’m content – and this is true nearly all of my time, even moment-to-moment, generally. That’s… yeah, so much beyond what I could have hoped for a decade ago. Sure, it’s taken awhile, and I’m still so very human. Still have ups that are too far up. Still have downs that are scary far down. Still have many moments and emotions in between the extremes. It’s a life. My life. I’m very human.

Just one moment of many

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again.

A very long time ago, my Traveling Partner said something to me which I found very peculiar. He suggested I “be less negative”. It struck me as peculiar because I didn’t define myself in those terms, and perceived myself as “being” quite positive. (I wasn’t. At all.) He pointed to the frequent use of negative phrasing in my speech, and sarcasm in my humor (which, by the way, I used heavily – but am fairly tone-deaf to, myself). I could not argue his point, and I really tried. I found myself having to agree that I was indeed fairly negative. Negative phrasing, negative outlook on life, awash in unsupported certainty, argumentative, and admittedly, on occasion (too many occasions) deeply in despair… yep. Negative. Negativity. Just all the nope to life’s questions.

It’s been a long weird path to here. This place in life where I find myself now is very different. “Being a positive person” isn’t something easily faked, or forced, and repeating wholesome affirmations in the mirror isn’t going to do it, either. It’s more subtle than that. Making that change from negative to positive requires some adjustments in implicit memory, implicit biases, and habitual behaviors, and takes practice. I found that it began most easily with accepting that I wasn’t positive in the first place, which was exceedingly difficult, initially.

By the beginning of this year, I was already in a very different place, and would have said that I am a fairly positive person. Kind. Compassionate. Polite. Helpful. …And still there was a tiny core of rot at the heart of all that, with the potential to color my thinking heavily, and not in any particularly helpful ways. A coworker, in the office, in conversation about work-related matters, calmly noted one way by way of feedback “you’re not assuming positive intent”.

I had come a long way toward becoming a positive person, but she was correct; I had not yet come far enough to allow myself to understand others as being similarly positive, similarly well-intended, similarly worthy and sufficient, each of us having our own experience. I still tended to assume the other human beings populating my experience may be acting on ill-intent. Her observation clung to me, and polluted my consciousness for days. Over weeks it actually began on change my thinking, as I considered it in the context of real life interactions, in the moment.  This, too, has been an interesting journey.

Assume positive intent.

Seriously. I’m not saying that there are no hazards in life, or that there are no “bad people” out there, but how many folks are actually scary dangerous killers with murder in their hearts? How many of those do you actually know, or may run into, ever? So… all those other people, the not scary dangerous killers with murder in their hearts people? Yeah, those other people who are neither you, nor a danger to you – what value is there in assuming they wish you harm, or may do you harm through ineptitude? And your loved ones? Surely they mean you literally and entirely no harm? (If any other thing is true about their state of mind, maybe choose your loves differently?) When we approach other human beings holding onto a state of consciousness that suggests they “may be up to no good” or that they constitute some as-yet-unidentified threat to us, our defenses go up, and we are not our own authentic selves. Sometimes we even behave or use language that can seem to provoke the very circumstances we seek to avoid. We send mixed messages, and our non-verbal communication doesn’t agree with our verbal communication. It’s all very confusing, and I noticed something wonderful when I began to live life differently by assuming positive intent; my social anxiety diminished.

Assume positive intent.

Seems simple enough (is). Just stop feeding the internal narrative that details how some other person means me harm, right? That and more. It’s a subtle thing. A colleague took a really really long break? Instead of being annoyed by that, assuming positive intent opens the door for concern – are they okay? Is there a reason they needed a long break? Is it an opportunity to be supportive, or to connect? That was the sort of thing I started with. I moved on to things like … that driver ahead of me slammed on their breaks suddenly – are they just a giant jerk who drives badly? Assuming positive intent reminds me to consider their circumstances from their perspective. Perhaps something startled them, or they had a foot cramp, or maybe I was following very closely behind them and their discomfort with that situation resulted in choosing to break suddenly to send a message (however dangerous and in poor judgment that seems, it is also simply a bit of communication, right)?

Assume positive intent.

I just kept at it. Looking for the situation in which my assumptions of anything besides positive intent were more useful and appropriate than if I would assume positive intent. More and more often, I found myself fully embracing that assumption of positive intent. Funny thing; my relationships improved. All of them. Work relationships. Romantic relationships. Friendships. I’m still thoroughly human. I still make mistakes. I still hurt people’s feelings without realizing it, and make assumptions that are in error. It’s a journey, and there is no map. 🙂 Assuming positive intent does seem to make most experiences, particularly shared experiences, so much more pleasant, generally. I have come to no harm through an assumption of positive intent. So… I think I’ll keep doing that. Assuming positive intent, I mean. 🙂

Hey… haven’t I written about this before? Yep. It’s still working. 😀 This one? This is a practice that could change the world…

Shall we begin again? 🙂