Archives for posts with tag: the map is not the world

I’m awake. I’m groggy. I’m drinking coffee. My calendar is full. My list of things to do seems as long as it has been for days. We’re definitely moving. In past moves, this is the part of moving when the self-care tasks fall by the wayside, and I typically find myself trapped in a cycle of “overdrive” and exhaustion, working unrelentingly until I collapse for minutes or hours, then back at it for every minute I can squeeze out of this fragile meat-based machinery, until fatigue finally nails me to a bed, a couch, or the floor, and I sleep for a few hours, and repeat the process day after day until the move is completed. Then, I spend days feeling disrupted, moody, bewildered, and overwhelmed, as I get used to a new place. Bleh. It’s not fun, but it’s “worked okay” for me, for many values of “okay”, generally. It’s often simply what I’ve had to work with, or perhaps I just didn’t understand it could be done very differently?

New day, new move, and a very different plan. My Traveling Partner keeps me self-care focused (“Hey, you’ve been out here working in the sun for awhile, are you drinking enough water? Have you taken a break?””Have you eaten something today?”). We each work on the things we’ve committed to with real purpose. We take time together to chill, to play, to laugh, to consume comfortable amounts of media content, and to enjoy each other. Hell, I even slept restfully last night, and woke at a fairly normal time this morning! He woke in a good mood, himself (we’re both fairly grumpy, many mornings, until we sort ourselves out and are properly awake). This move doesn’t just feel “different” – it feels good. 😀

I sip my coffee and look at my list. Nodding to myself, I double-check the details (“when does the donation drop-off open, today?”). My Traveling Partner comes into the studio, and says something pleasant, and rubs my neck for a few minutes, and reminds me about my posture without nagging. He puts on music in the other room, and I feel myself beginning to really wake up for the day ahead. There’s so much to do, and in a practical sense, with all the paperwork out of the way, the real work “begins” – building on the real work we’ve been doing for weeks, boxing and packing things. I smile to myself. There are certainly a lot of verbs involved, and this time? This time, those include self-care verbs, and verbs to do with love and loving, and shared verbs – so many shared verbs. It feels good to have my Traveling Partner’s help with this move. The last couple had some fairly poignant lonely moments (his, for him, too, I know). This feels very different.

My smile turns to a grin, and I feel filled with joy. It’s already time to begin again. 😀

My duplex neighbors were partying hard last night. I slept hard, but poorly. I woke, abruptly, at 6:30 am (on a Saturday), for no obvious reason. I got up and made coffee, waking my Traveling Partner, too. This morning I take a few minutes to wake up slowly, in the quiet of my studio. I can see the CPU fan on my computer spin; I don’t hear it over my tinnitus. I am in pain. My arthritis does not appreciate the higher humidity of recent days, and I ache. I’m stiff when I move. My head hurts. Rough morning, physically, and I’m a bit cross over it – thus the self-enforced moments of solitude, giving me a chance to be a better human being before I have a chance to snarl at my Traveling Partner over something pointless or petty. It’s a practice that works for me.

I get through the waking up portion of the day one practice at a time.

My “to do list” for the weekend is now sorted into “outside stuff” and “inside stuff”. I’m not certain why I bothered with doing that; it’s obvious from the listed tasks, and they were already grouped thusly. Simply proceeding down the list would like have been sufficient. Still, it seemed, in that moment, a distinction worth making. I was not yet entirely awake. lol

I sip my coffee, correct my posture, stand up, stretch, sit down, breathe, exhale, relax… and correct my posture again. It doesn’t do anything for the pain immediately. It’ll help later on if I’m not slumped over my keyboard like some sort of mythical writing monster.

I find my mind wandering to brunches out. I fucking miss brunch. lol Life in the time of pandemic… Brunch is the thing I think I miss most.

I gaze into my half empty coffee mug. I’m already thinking about a second cup. It’s already time to begin again. There’s an entire day ahead of me, and plenty to do. 🙂

I’m sipping coffee and thinking about dear friends. Thinking about family. Thinking about people. We don’t know what we don’t know; we’re each having our own experience. However unique, individual, or different, we feel we are compared to “everyone else”, we just don’t really know what is going on in other lives in any really deep, detailed, or complete way. We see bits and pieces. We make a lot of assumptions. We ask too few questions, and sometimes don’t listen to the answers when we do ask. We tend to behave as though we are more similar than we really are, while also thinking we’re having a fundamentally different experience of being human. We’re not. And also – we are. LOL It’s complicated.

I think about how to be “more present”, how to listen more deeply, how to “be there” for others when needed, without undermining my ability to “be there” for myself.

I think about kindness, compassion, and consideration. I think about how long this journey to being the woman I most want to be sometimes feels, looking back. I think about how astonishingly short it sometimes seems, in any one moment. I think about change.

…Apparently it is a morning well-suited to thoughts. 🙂

I think about how much work love can take… and how rewarding doing that work can be. I think about how pleasant yesterday was.

Life in the time of pandemic is peculiar. I’ve connected with some friends more deeply – or at least more often – and my partnership with my Traveling Partner on life’s journey seems to have deepened, and become stronger in practical ways, and deeper, emotionally. (We snarl at each other now and then; pandemic living has some challenges. We take it less personally, and bounce back more readily.) We’re human. We love each other. We both find working at love worth our individual and shared effort. We’ve both said as much, in actual words, at some point in the past several weeks.

Preparing to move feels strange, but maybe this is the last time? Maybe it isn’t. I’d probably serve myself best by avoiding becoming attached to the idea of permanence. lol Non-attachment for the win? Again?

Always, and already, life presents an opportunity to begin again. 🙂

The morning unfolds quietly. I sip coffee, watch a couple videos. There’s some amazing pandemic content, honestly. Like this. I mean, maybe you’ve got to be a fan of Cowboy Bebop… 🙂 Hard times produce great art. Great art is often about hard times. I feel fortunate to be an artist, myself.

Yesterday was a good day, busy with work, busy with life, and a relaxed leisurely evening of love and conversation to finish it off. I can’t bitch about any of that. I sit here with my coffee and a smile. It’s enough. I mull that over a bit. I didn’t understand “sufficiency” for a long time, and really had to work at that. It took practice to be content with “enough” – and to learn to recognize it. It can be hard not to be overwhelmed by acquisitiveness and yearning. It’s pretty easy to want “more”. And more after that. The pursuit of “more” keeps a lot of people enthralled. People wreck their lives in the here-and-now chasing something other than what they’ve got.

I’m not saying there is value in asceticism. (I’m not saying there isn’t…) I’m just saying finding balance between “nothing” and “everything” has the potential to be fairly easy; it’s a big spectrum. Lots to choose from. One major challenge is simply understanding what really is “enough” for me, as an individual. What do I truly need to live an acceptably good quality of life? How much farther than that must I truly go to live comfortably well? Once I’m there, how much more do I really need? What is enough?? What is excessive? When does desire for a thing or experience cross the threshold from interest to greed? Where does the painful character flaw of “a sense of entitlement” fit in to all of this?

(Note: I won’t be answering these questions for you. That’s on you to do, for yourself. We’re each having our own experience.)

I sip my coffee and think about what I have, and what more I may want in life, and wonder where the line is, that separates these things and experiences into categories like “need”, “want”, and “excessive”? What is “enough”… for me?

I still very much want a home of my own. “How much home, at what price?” is a seriously important question. How much square footage is enough? How many rooms meet my needs? How luxurious does it need to be to feel “comfortable”? I sit with my coffee and ask the questions. I consider the answers. It’s a familiar bit of internal discussion with myself. I’ve house-hunted before. I still don’t own a place of my own. More often than not, the cause of my lack of success moving forward from renting to owning has come down to not having enough to go further on the path of getting more. lol Renting, as it turns out, is generally, functionally, more or less “enough”. Mostly. I often experience moments of discomfort or aggravation that could easily be eased with some small change to my dwelling… that I can’t do, because I don’t own it. LOL Reason enough to want “more”, in this sense, but again… how much is “enough”?

This is just one example. Most people want something. We’re wired for it. Our desires drive our forward momentum, don’t they? So many questions to ask myself on a Tuesday morning. It’s not necessary to answer them all right now. Asking them is enough.

…Enough on which to begin again. 🙂

Another Monday in The Time of Pandemic. Sipping coffee. Waking up. I’m groggy this morning, a combination of spring allergies I regularly say I don’t have (and which generally don’t annoy me at all), and the antihistamine I took for those symptoms, yesterday, after returning home from a drive in the countryside in the spring. The cottonwood trees have released their fluff into the air, and it drifts along the edges of sidewalks. Definitely spring.

A work day ahead. A busy Monday. A long “to do list” waiting for my attention. A universe of distractions from all those things. The weekend was characterized by a handful of profoundly positive moments that fill me with encouragement and hope, and a single noteworthy disappointing setback, from which I’ve already “recovered”, and moved on. Balance in all things? lol The week begins fairly well, I suppose. My coffee is hot, made well, and satisfying. The can of fizzy water also on my desk is cold, refreshing, and tasty. The sound of my Traveling Partner in the living room, also awake quite early, fills me with comfort and contentment. Things “feel okay”. 🙂

A fit of sneezing. A sip of water. A sip of coffee. A routine morning, more or less, and time to begin again. 🙂