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

I’m enjoying a moment. This one. It is a morning moment, served up with a side of pre-dawn quiet, and a cup of hot coffee. I woke just ahead of the alarm, uncertain, in the darkness, if it was worth trying to go back to sleep… wanting to… as I thought it over, though, the alarm caught up with me, and announced the beginning of a new day.

I sip my coffee and appreciate things. I mean, just generally. There’s no doubt life has some challenges to offer, and having experienced a fair few, I maintain awareness that there are likely more ahead; it’s not personal, it’s just living a life. My coffee is hot, well-made, tasty – and in this particular moment, right here, it is enough to enjoy it quietly. Sufficiency. Mindfulness. Gratitude. It is a pleasant start to the day.

I stay with the moment awhile longer. This coffee. This moment. Present. Here. Now. Nothing fancy or expensive to it, and “presence” is not an especially complicated or difficult practice. I let go of ruminations over past challenges. I refrain from launching my consciousness into explorations of potential future challenges. I exist in this present, right now moment, content with my hot coffee. (Maybe you prefer tea? The practice of being present and mindful does not have to change, whatever your preferred beverage! 😉 )

My thoughts drift to recent photographs; representations of recent moments. Lovely urban shots of spring. Pretty pictures of raindrops on rose leaves extended into the afternoon sunshine, sparkling as if edged with glitter. Traffic. Sunrises. Sunsets. My camera has failed me several times recently – great shots that didn’t save – but my memory does not.  It’s a fair exchange, I suppose. I smile, and continue to sip my coffee.

…Another day, another photograph, another moment… another memory. It’s already time to begin again.

Life is messy sometimes. Challenges I didn’t expect come up, and I’m not always prepared. I don’t think that’s out of the ordinary. Quite the contrary; I think it’s wholly commonplace. How I deal with bullshit, turmoil, change, and challenges, defines me. You, too.

…It’s back to the “who am I?” question. lol

So… who are you? How do you tackle challenges? How do you manage change? How do you handle bullshit? How do you cope with confrontation? I think these are all the same question – and that question is a difficult one to answer in a simple way. What are the defining characteristics that make you the person you are right now? I guess the follow-up is, “is that who you want most to be?”

…Well, is it?

Today I make a journey, more physical than metaphysical, and along the way I will be this person I have become over time. I reflect on that as I dress, and brush my hair. I reflect on that without my coffee, rather oddly, choosing instead to get coffee along the way. A treat. A convenience. A part of the journey. I’m not clear on whether I am “enjoying the moment” or “getting this out of the way”. Maybe it’s both. 🙂 I am eager to go – because I am eager to return home.

I’ve made this same drive so many times, to see my Traveling Partner, feeling as though the destination was “my true home”. Love is a luxurious home for my heart. Now, he’s here, sleeping in the other room… My trip this morning doesn’t feel like a journey to my home, unless I consider myself a boomerang… flung far, returning soon, to this same point. lol The relaxed evening we shared last night still warms me, and lifts my smile to my eyes.

Journeys being what they are, it’s very nearly time to get going. I consider the journey ahead, and wish myself well. See you back here tomorrow. 🙂

An excellent cup of coffee in the morning, and random thoughts chasing other random thoughts. I sat down with my coffee, and without a plan. Cars start up in other driveways, and there is a steady shhh-shhh on the road beyond the driveway as earlier commuters than I make their way toward whatever job they do. They’ve got theirs. I’ve got mine. Another day.

I’m not blue, or anxious, or fretting about some small thing of little actual consequence. I’ve still got this “headache” – let’s call it a headache. Convenient to have a word for it. lol Life is… life. Choices are made and acted upon. Promises are made, and kept – or broken. Trust is established, then breached. Humans are being human. Everywhere. All of them. There is no point in catastrophizing some one detail; it is fairly commonly the catastrophizing, itself, that is the stress and the drama. Still, we seem wired for it.

A flower, a morning, a beginning.

I yawn. Let all that go. Sip my coffee. Listen to the rain fall. Sit, present, in the morning stillness, waiting to begin again.

I’m drinking coffee and giving thought to the day ahead. Days ahead. The weekend, too. Building a mental map of what is likely to come, and also gently letting that go; the map is not the world. Hell, it’s not even properly a map; it’s just a sense of direction. 🙂

A local transit map gets me across town, but tells me nothing much about the places to which I travel.

Maps are funny things. They give me a sense of security about the direction I’m headed, and some hints and pointers about how to get where I’m going. I appreciate those things. I also recognize that there are some limitations. Maps have scale, and boundaries; anything too small disappears from view, anything outside the borders isn’t shown. Depending on the distance I want to travel, or the complexity of the journey, any one map may be unsuited to the purpose.

Other maps, other details; not all maps suit all purposes.

If I take the wrong map on the hiking trip, I could easily become very lost. 🙂 Too little detail, and I don’t see the trails to follow. Too much detail, I don’t see important details of the terrain. Get in too close, and I can’t see “a bigger picture”. Pull away too far, and I lose a sense of context, and place. Perspective matters, on the trail, on the commute, and in life. The accuracy of the map matters, too.

I fell yesterday. I was walking briskly across a busy street, after work, heading to the train platform, and slipped on a rain-slick manhole cover. I fell hard, into the street, onto the train tracks. I hit the ground hard enough to knock the air out of my lungs, and I struggled to pick myself up easily. I was shaken, and stood confused, on the sidewalk for some moments. Passers-by expressed concern. I wasn’t entirely coherent, for some seconds. My jeans were soaked on the side of my body that took the impact. I walk across that street almost every day. You’d think I’d have mastered it by now. My mental map did not have that manhole cover noted anywhere, and the risk escaped my notice as I hurried along.

I got home with minimal frustration, still aching all over from falling. I made a trip to the store, because I’d said I would, but my head was still reeling a bit from the fall, and I made the trip short and very efficient. I really just wanted to go home. I felt vulnerable, raw, and very very mortal. I felt betrayed by my awareness, and overly sensitive to the excessive real-world detail strewn about all around me. Overwhelmed by the sudden awareness that I just don’t notice everything, I was feeling a bit anxious, and still kind of dizzy from the fall.

I got home, and just as I was breathing a sigh of relief, hands full of shopping bags, and also juggling my keys, my cane, and my backpack… the door would not unlock. Fuck. I snarled at the door and tried again. Nope. Not unlocking. I snapped. I felt my consciousness winding up to prepare me to lash out against that wretched, cursed, unresponsive door, and just as the stream of invective began to leave my lips – my Traveling Partner opened the door with a sheepish, loving smile, and an apology; he’d locked the door knob (I lock the deadbolt). I started to cry, he immediately offered me comfort. We moved on from the moment very quickly. He made sure I was really okay, and helped me look after my health properly. No obvious lasting damage, honestly. I just fell. I got back up. I got home safely. We enjoyed a lovely evening. Well and good. 🙂

The mental map matters every bit as much as any physical map ever has. Expectations, unchecked, often result in disappointment, confusion, resentment, and frustration. Assumptions that are not verified against actual facts, can lead to some terrible decision-making, miscommunication, and poor quality relationships. Even simple lack of awareness can wreck a map and render it entirely useless due to lack of relevant details. I’m just saying – it’s not enough to take just any map, it also needs to be a map of the correct place, and drawn to the correct scale, using an accurate perspective.

If you’re struggling to get where you are going in life… maybe it’s time to redraw the map? 😀

 

Groggy and fussy, this morning, sipping my obviously too hot coffee with considerable care, and still burning my tongue, and letting my mind scroll through the recollection of the week, so far, and yesterday, specifically. I’m feeling irritable in those places where life or work shove me outside my “comfort zone”, forcing me to reconsider my expectations, assumptions, and knowledge. What works? What doesn’t work? Is this thing that once worked well no longer going to work at all? Is this new way of being or doing or thinking going to last? Does it fit? Does it work?

…I find non-attachment most difficult when it requires me to let go of a long-standing practice that once was the clear choice on my path to success.

…No, that isn’t some hint that I’m thinking about not writing. lol Stay with me. Here. In this moment. This is a safe space, here with the words, and the coffee. 😉 (Well, I mean… safe for me; I may occasionally be less than ideally comfortable for someone else.) I’m just saying – it’s hard to let go of things I think I know well.

Sometimes we have to let go of something we think we really know, something we accept as “fact”.  It’s to do with so much of our “knowledge” being built on internal narrative, bits of memories, things we think we heard, and our runaway need to be certain about things that are not easily defined with certainty, at all, perhaps. I do know that I occasionally notice I’m “knowing” something with a firmness of conviction that is, all by itself, a warning klaxon of belief. Gotta let that go. Sometimes it’s hard.

I’m chuckling because I have not made it clear that in this particular instance, I’ve gone all meta on a practical fucking bit from work, of all things, because it became very clear yesterday that I need to let some assumptions go, and either re-test their validity in my (forecasting) model, or allow myself to explore new ways of thinking about it, entirely. It managed to become a life lesson, over a night’s sleep, and my morning coffee, and here I sit, thinking about queuing theory and forecasting. Some other part of my less-than-ideally-awake consciousness mews pitifully about not having finished my coffee… lol

I take some time to continue the data entry of updated details from friends, from Facebook, into my Contacts. This process is tedious, and also heart-warming. I absolutely admit I expected maybe 5 or 6 people would actually act on my advisement that I’d be leaving the realm of Facebook… instead, I’m facing a couple hours of actual work. LOL S’ok. They are, and I am, quite worth the time. 🙂

So is this. So are you.

I smile into my coffee, and take a deep, cleansing breath. I hear the soft breathing of my Traveling Partner in the other room. I feel content. Wrapped in love. I sit with this lovely moment as I finish my coffee… as moments go, it is quite perfect precisely as it is. I’ll sit with it awhile longer, before I begin again. 🙂