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

I woke with a silent groan, about half an hour before my alarm would have gone off. Stiff neck. Headache. Aching back. Well… shit. I do some yoga. Shower. More yoga. Some stretches I learned in physical therapy. Coffee. Now I’m sitting here feeling completely fantastic managing to pull myself together sufficiently to go to work. This morning life feels very much the journey through the darkness without a map that it is; and this path is not paved. lol

…Well… It could be worse, right? I’ve got heat, power, and indoor plumbing. Potable drinking water (as far as I know). A secure home. This cup of coffee. A partner who loves me. It’s a good life, in spite of the aches and pains. I sit sipping my coffee, focused on my generally good quality of life, and take it in. I savor the feeling of being loved. I savor the feeling of warmth when the heat comes on. I savor the sense of safety. I take time to appreciate that I’m not out in the rain on a cold night. I consider the merry little Giftmas tree in the living room. I feel the sensation of the smile on my face. As practices go, I can’t beat gratitude, and presence, for an early morning boost. Maybe I even hurt less, although it’s tough to say for sure; it definitely is of less consequence that I am in pain. 🙂

Being 100% real, it’s not “effortless” to lift myself up. It’s not automatic to feel grateful or appreciative in some difficult moment. It’s not “easy” to take a step back from conflict or frustration, to be a better version of this woman I most want to be. It’s not “my nature” to be reliably gentle, tender, kind, and considerate. I work at all of it. I practice. I make changes. I reflect on the outcomes of my actions, and my words. I give a lot of wholehearted apologies; I make a lot of mistakes. No map. This journey through the darkness across an uneven, unpaved, metaphor, offers some major opportunities for growth. Nothing about that is comfortable, or easy.

Every morning, and a lot of other moments, too, I begin again. I start all over – new day, new opportunities. Failure isn’t terrifying, it’s merely part of a growth process. (Saying that doesn’t make it less difficult in the moment.)

I keep sipping my coffee, trying to wake up fully. Another short night. I woke up around 3:00 a.m., and went back to sleep for an hour (sort of). I haven’t managed even 6 hours in any given night, once again, in days. (It would no doubt be helpful to get to bed at an hour early enough for that to be possible, in the first place.) I set a reminder on my wearable, and hope to get to bed “on time” tonight. I rub the sleep out of my eyes, still trying to wake up.

…And already it’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and listening to some “deep house” music, and thinking about change. I’m smiling, and enjoying the steady low thump of the beat, and looking around my messier-than-usual studio; signs of change. My smile deepens to a grin, and I think about the lovely evening my Traveling Partner and I shared, and how strange it is that the joy of the evening was the shared experience of embracing change. 🙂

…It was sort of spontaneous. I’m not sure whose suggestion it was, really, a change of arrangements, furnishing, spaces, things could be moved… from here… to there… I’m not usually especially open to such things (no reason to resist the admission, I have real issues with my environment being “disrupted”, and have had some fairly childish tantrums over something being “in the wrong place”).  There we were… the idea out in the open, and it didn’t feel scary or unsettling or disruptive at all; it just made obvious sense. I’m pretty sure it was not my idea, but on hearing it, I was almost immediately taken with the common sense of it, the improvement in flow of daily life, the efficiency, and yes – order – to be gained. We went from idea to “let’s do this thing” in actual seconds. We were off our asses and actually making change happen within minutes. There’s more to do, but we’ve gotten well-started on the thing, and, yeah, I really like it.

…I slept better. Weird, because the rearrangement of objects and placement within the household did not have anything whatsoever to do with the bed, bedding, or nighttime qualities of the room in which we sleep (it was mostly about closets and bathrooms). lol I definitely did sleep very well last night. 😀 Related? Unrelated? Doesn’t matter. I enjoyed the positive experience of change, and the changes we made result in our shared space feeling even more like “us” and quite a bit less like “my place and my partner is moving in”. Feels really good, honestly, and more… coherent. More orderly.

I’m feeling pleased and comfortable and contented; a very positive reaction to change. I don’t always feel this way about such things. I take time to savor it. I’m honestly so tickled, I also try a different perfume today. lol I’m possibly less pleased with that outcome, but admittedly; change can be hard for me. It’s a small step forward to be open to novelty, even on a small detail like fragrance. It’s a small step that needs to be taken again and again, to preserve “neuroplasticity“. Good stuff there. A way forward. A way through. It’s one of the foundations of “beginning again” and practicing practices for making the long journey from trauma to being the person I most want to be. 🙂

I glance at the time. Finish my coffee. Today is my Traveling Partner’s birthday (certainly one human life I am eager to celebrate!) – and it’s time to begin again. 😀

The house is quiet. Cool jazz plays in the background, softly. I sip a small glass of sherry, sweet, smooth, and deliciously raisin-y; it tastes of luxury, and satisfying moments. I look back on a gentle, fulfilling day of celebration, utterly lacking in any hint of drama, stress, or conflict. The day was spent harmoniously, in the good company of my Traveling Partner. It’s been a memorable Thanksgiving Day, peaceful and connected. Intimate. Romantic. Fun.

Dinner for two was effortless; we went out. We went to dinner sharply dressed in our best “going out to dinner on a holiday” clothes, subtly coordinated with each other’s choices. There was no particular wait; we made reservations well in advance. There was no traffic, really, most people were already at home, in their kitchens, or with their families, making merry their own way. It was an easy evening out. The meal was quite pleasant: good food, great service, worth the price paid. The drive home? Similarly pleasant. It was, in the simplest terms, an easy, delightful, holiday spent wrapped in love. My Traveling Partner looked fantastic. My mirror suggested to me that I looked pretty wonderful, too. The mingled scents of his cologne and my perfume complimented each other well, and were applied with care so as not to overwhelm dinner.

…I don’t know what else to say… this was my experience, this year. I’ve had others. My results, over a lifetime, have varied. This was one exceptionally pleasant, relaxed, and satisfying- an intimate holiday.

…I’ve much to be thankful for. Not just this grand date out with my love; also, just generally. Here in the quiet, sipping my sherry, I consider my life in context. I consider all the many unspoken “thank you’s” due here, or there, or again, just generally. Not all of life’s lessons are “easy”, and sometimes, the cost to learn them is pretty fucking high. Still, close attention to the curriculum, and learning (and growing), and becoming more this woman I want to be is worth it, so far, and the payout seems to be lovely moments (or days) such as this. It’s enough.

…This too shall pass. lol Just being real; clinging to this moment wouldn’t serve me well. As with clinging to any other moment (or notion, or assumption, or expectation), clinging to this charming here-and-now experience would set me up for failure in some other moment. So, I sip my sherry in the quiet of evening, content with what is, and not much concerned with anything else. There is time for this, here, now. It’s certainly worth savoring.

For me, Thanksgiving kicks off “the winter holiday season”, which will last through New Year’s Day. There’s much to enjoy, to explore, to wonder upon… It is a “season of gratitude”, and also of contemplation, consideration, and change. It is a season to be most generous, and also a season to let go of ego, and share the journey for a little while, to reach across the strange chasms that separate “us” and “them” to become “we” for awhile. It is a season to receive gifts graciously, and to forgive with an open heart (and open mind), aware that we’re all in this together, although we are each having our own experience.

…This can be an amazing life. Slow down. Enjoy some of it. Stop yelling for a minute. Hug someone you love. Care about your loved ones more than you care about being right. Laugh – yes, and even at yourself. Is any moment of anger really worth sacrificing the beautiful lives we could have instead, so easily? I’m just saying… use your words, not your weapons. (It should go without saying that well-mannered, reasonable, people do not take up arms against their loved ones in a moment of anger, for fuck’s sake. …And killing them? Just… no. Do not do that. Ever. Just… no. That’s not love. Ever. At all. Shouldn’t have to say that… unfortunately, it’s clear from the news that some folks did not get that memo. 😦 )

…I sip my sherry and dispel the grim thought that one thing I am truly grateful for is that I survived my first marriage…

I’m definitely grateful I didn’t spend the day cleaning and cooking, and then find myself also having to clean up afterward. Been there (fuck that). Today was unreservedly joyful, and so emotionally rich and satisfying, I hesitate to mention it for fear it may burst like a soap bubble. I needn’t worry so. It’s already so quiet now…

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful warm Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe you didn’t, this year? In that case, there’s still some good news; you can let this one go, and simply begin again. 😉

No kidding. Damn little gets more “real” than actual reality colliding with the fictional version of reality we generally live with in our heads. :-\ It’s a bit like petting a beautifully fluffy strange cat on the basis of how cute and soft it appears; sometimes those’ll bite back unexpectedly – and it’s not even personal… “cute and soft” are simply not reliably the most important things to know about a strange cat.

I’m still getting over being sick, and my defenses are down. My ability to “get” humor is rendered somewhat unreliable. My will to accept as humor those “zingers with stingers” falls short of the need, sometimes. I end up taking something small quite personally, and end up with hurt feelings. My temper flares more easily, while I also need more tenderness and patience. It sucks more than a little when the result is conflict, particularly when what I wanted is affection. Sometimes reality can be more than a little vexing.

Yesterday at work was efficient. Purposeful. Challenging. Satisfying. Also – short. I went home a couple hour early, still committing to self-care. Still getting over being sick. Unfortunately, I’m not over being wholly made of human, and much of the evening in no way met my short-term, or long-term, self-care needs. My Traveling Partner and I did not make as much of the opportunity to spend that time together as we could have, and the result was some unpleasant back-and-forth that, looking back, doesn’t seem very productive. No epiphanies, no light bulb moments, no feeling of greater connection or shared relief on the other side… We sort of just picked ourselves up from each difficult moment and began again. It wasn’t satisfying. It wasn’t pleasant. It didn’t feel connected (just frustrating, and, well… hard). I should be more clear here; I’m only talking about my own experience, subjectively, and while I seriously doubt his was better than that, it may very well be that it was worse. It’s hard to know.

You know what I do know? I know that love requires effort, and care, and reinvestment… and I know that we (both) give it those things. Last night sort of seemed like neither of us saw how much the other does put into it. Like I said, it was less than pleasant, and rather unsatisfying. I’m not sure the specifics of the underlying circumstances really matter (or what they may or may not really have had to do with our difficult moments last night). It felt a little existential at points. I’m making a specific point not to cast blame, or attempt to triage in a more detailed way, primarily because doing so doesn’t hold value in this moment, right here; I’d rather focus on growth and healing, and where still needed, self-soothing. I can easily see points at which I could do a better job communicating my needs, my boundaries, my thoughts (likely, nearly always, so, yeah, definitely with regards to yesterday). I give those things the thought they deserve, and sip my coffee… thoughtfully. This human being I love so well, this partner who gives so much, certainly deserves that consideration. 🙂 I have a responsibility (and opportunity) to make time for it – and it is a worthy endeavor for a partnership so dear to me. Love takes some work. Love is worth the effort.

…So… sipping coffee, thinking thoughts. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The winter holiday season begins with gratitude. That’s a lovely beginning. I borrow that theme for my morning, and give myself over to considering all that I am grateful for in this relationship, in this life, in this moment. I feel it ease my very human (and in at least one case, fairly silly) hurts; it’s hard to be petty and grateful in the same breath. 😉

Damn I love that man. Doing our best isn’t always enough for any one circumstance, moment, or conversation, but I am most definitely confident that he is doing his best for me, and for us, pretty much 100% of his time. That’s a lot to ask of a person who also has to deal with their own bullshit and baggage in life. I don’t think I can claim to do more/better, at all. I make a mental note to be kinder… to keep practicing taking that breath before I react to some small thing in some larger-than-necessary way… to treat love well. To listen. Really listen. Like… a lot more.

…so human… and adulting is so… complicated…

I take another sip of my coffee, and prepare to begin again…

When I think over some of the repetitive things I say, (personal slogans, self-directed motivational battle-cries of various sorts, succinct aphorisms, that sort of thing) I’m aware that many have come and gone over the years – some healthy, some unhealthy, some… more than a bit misguided. One stands out for me, steadfast and true, like the sort of old and trusted friend that will tell hard truths; “begin again”. It’s not really about “do-overs”, you know; it’s about gathering the strength to just start something anew. It’s about first steps following hard falls, and taking an approach that skills require practice, and that there is value in an attempt, and yes, even in the failures. It’s about resolve. It’s about exerting a worthy effort, in the face of ennui, or a deep depression, or a lot of pain. It’s about insisting with myself that I live life, not just wait around to die.

…It’s definitely not about “easy”. There are so many verbs involved, so much will, and real (and repeated) effort. Isn’t that characteristic of living, generally?

It’s a Tuesday. An ordinary enough beginning to a new work day ahead. Meetings. Calls. Emails. Spreadsheets. Slide decks. Drafts of new processes. Improvements on old processes. The usual office-sorts of work things to do. I’ve done other jobs. Had other sorts of Tuesdays. I’ve been invested in a different quality of life than what I work for now, with varying degrees of success (this particular experience of life in these past handful of years has been by far most satisfying and emotionally healthy). I’ve been fortunate to explore other lives, other experiences of being human. New beginnings have long been required following the end of something else. 🙂

These days I don’t worry too much about failures; they are part of a learning and growth mindset. I embrace a new beginning and get after it. No, it’s not really that easy sometimes. I may get excited about shiny new boots, even eager to maintain that shine, and keep them lovely, but when the time comes, on a rainy Sunday evening, to set aside the next episode of some favored show, or put down my book, in order to shine those boots… that’s the hard bit. Taking the step. Doing the verbs. It’s not enough to “commit”, and – omg, I am so sorry to say these words – you can “manifest” shit 100% of all your days, and it’s still waaaay more likely that you will find yourself achieving whatever it is if you do the fucking verbs required for it. Yep. “Manifesting” your future is about as effective as daydreaming. 😉 Do the verbs. Make the effort. Or, an alternative, accept that your will isn’t up for the task at hand and let it go. Seriously. What do you really want, that you want enough to work for it?

I’m not saying it’s easy. Seriously not saying that at all. I sat around not shining those fucking boots all week, and then all day that Sunday, even in the face of my partner’s tender reminders that I said I wanted to shine my boots, and gently suggesting it as an activity when I may have seemed bored, and then again shortly before the evening ended; I wanted to wear them, shined, on Monday. lol Omg. I just… couldn’t didn’t. You know what else? Those fucking boots were not shining themselves. LOL My partner offered to do it for me… well, damn, that’s just kind of sad and a bit embarrassing for me. (He’s so sweet. He knew I wanted them to look great, and just cares that much.)

…So… I finally shined my boots. I was happy I did; they looked great. They even got noticed. Nice. 🙂 (Okay, okay, also a little vain. Small pleasure, though; I enjoyed the satisfaction of caring for something I like.)

There’s a lesson here somewhere. Not quite a parable, I guess… but maybe. No time for overthinking it, this morning, it’s already time to begin again. 😀