Archives for posts with tag: the right tool for the job

This morning the work day seemed to start too early. To be fair, that’s partially a result of waking later than usual, and having an early morning soak before coffee. It’s just not my usual “order of operations” – but my back is pretty happy with me, and my pain feels well-managed. My coffee is just as satisfying as it would have been, had I chosen to have it first. :-)’

Coffee goes so well with an autumn morning!

Really first-rate self-care relies on me to select wisely from the available tools at hand – as is the case with most projects and work. lol 🙂

I sat down at my desk this morning and eyed my calendar suspiciously. Differences catching my attention without being obvious, and it takes me a moment to fully realize that a couple meetings I expected to slog through have simply disappeared from my day. Nice. I look over the other work planned for this week, and the weeks ahead as the year finishes. Good day for it. I consider my tools, and decide I’ll benefit from something that improves my focus. I put my headphones on, and begin again.

I was sipping my coffee on a morning after my Traveling Partner had returned home from some trip or another. It was quiet in the room, and in our home, and even out on the street beyond. I woke ahead of the alarm by quite a bit, and there was no hint of dawn-to-come in the sky. Not at that point. My coffee was too hot to easily drink. Based on a couple hesitant, testing, sips, it was also not very good. I pondered the variables in a cup of coffee, mystified and still groggy; how is one cup so crappy, and another so sublime? Don’t I make them all the same way? Do the tiniest subtle differences in timing or process make that much difference? (Are the differences, perhaps, not with the coffee, itself, at all?)

I sighed quietly, a measured, careful, observed exhalation, slowly released following a deep breath. I felt my chest expand as I inhaled, contracting as I exhaled. A cough interrupted the quiet. Another sip of coffee. That moment was okay, and I remained with it, centered and calm, for a while.

(This particular moment was almost a year ago – a blog post written, never published. It finishes thusly…)

It was an okay homecoming. I knew, when I arrived home, that my partner was wholly exhausted, having driven 1800 miles straight on home, then on arriving, unable to actually sleep (coffee is an excellent tool to keep one awake for a long drive, and the risk to our sleep, later, is often one we find acceptable at the time), until much later – shortly before I went to bed, myself. I made dinner. We ate it. Shared a couple of anecdotes. Managed to be contentious and at odds with each other for a moment, and got over that. We are, unavoidably, quite different people, and also quite similar. Neither of those things is an assurance of always being comfortable together, or always being in genial shared space, or even holding the same opinion about literally anything. We’re individuals.

The evening passed gently after dinner. We entertained ourselves with conversation and videos. Eventually, he called it a night, and later so did I.

I woke easily, and well-rested. I’ve already forgotten some useful habits for shared space. lol I think about the commonplace usefulness of any basic tool, whether it is a screwdriver or a habit; lacking the most appropriate tool for any given task is likely to result in greater than average difficulty, increased task complexity, frustration, and time lost to struggling with pieces that don’t fit. In the same way a screwdriver isn’t the correct tool to fit a pipe, good self-care practices are not likely to also be good communication practices (although good communication is a part of good self-care, when it comes to boundaries and expectations). It has been a common (and way too real) experience on this healing path that my own wellness does not change the general state of wellness for any one other person – and they still live their life, and see things through the lens of, their own perspective on life, on circumstances – and on the relationship we share. We are each having our own experience – and we’re not all using the same tools to get any given job done. It’s pretty complicated stuff, and a lot of human beings are barely managing their own bullshit; it’s a lot to ask that people also be kind, compassionate, patient with one another, assuming positive intent… it starts to feel more like juggling than living, at some points. It’s still worth making that attempt, in my own experience.

…It also takes practice. As with using any unfamiliar tool, it definitely takes practice, and some basic knowledge. Your results may vary – particularly where relationship skills go! (You’re not doing that job alone, and even such things as “getting along” and “communicating” and “sharing” require practice, and a commitment to learning and growing, and you can only do your own.) It can be seriously frustrating, however familiar and commonplace a task seems, to grab that screwdriver, and once already frustrated, realize that the damned thing is a Phillips-head screwdriver not a flat-head. Well, shit. That got complicated fast. True in life, love, and home repairs. LOL

So… I guess I keep practicing. 🙂 Honestly, in every practical way, I only need to practice my own practices, and handle my own self-care. The relationship stuff works out much more easily when I give other people room to be themselves, care for themselves, and we’re open to both the differences, and the things we share – while still understanding that however close we are, or may become, we are nonetheless quite individual. I smile and drink my coffee; nothing new here. I struggle, mostly, when I forget to let go. Attachment to assumptions, expectations, or internal narrative can quickly sabotage an otherwise good time.

…Strangely timely as we two individuals prepare to move. I found it “by mistake” (or at least not looking for it) moments ago, as I considered writing something that, oddly, feels pretty well-covered by the draft I opened with an errant mouse-click. Helpful circumstance. One that puts me gently “back on the path” feeling I’ve understood myself just a bit better in this moment right here, right now… I settle myself into work, and begin again. 🙂

I woke this morning with a headache, aching knees, aching ankles, aching back… funny, the thing that is on my mind is not the everyday pain of aging, or paying for youthful mistakes. I am thinking about love. Love is precious and peculiar, and for all the years I daydreamed about love, while dismissing it as fanciful bullshit for children, I had no understanding of what it might actually be, if I had it, practiced it, or experienced it. Love is a verb and a noun. Love demands much of us as beings, and the penalties for poor decision-making are very high. Totally  worth it, though, totally worth it.

Love is not what we think it is; love is what it is.

Love is not what we think it is; love is what it is.

So sure, I woke in a lot of pain this morning. That seems irrelevant every time I glance down at the orange knotted-cord bracelet one of my loves fashioned for me as we sat talking, while he packed his hiking kit.  Love isn’t a diamond tennis bracelet. Hell, love isn’t even this bright bracelet of sturdy nylon cord. Isn’t love the movement toward giving, the inspiration, the desire to take someone’s needs, interest, fancy, and delight and make them important to one’s own experience, and then taking action?

How is this orange knotted cord bracelet not the most precious of ornaments, simply because it is love?

This token of love doesn’t go with anything I wear regularly. It stands out boldly from my flesh. I don’t generally wear bracelets at all; I feel it as I move through my morning.  I am moved by, and aware of love with every small motion that brings the orange back into my view, or shifts the cord against my skin.  I feel a little silly, a little giddy, no different from feelings I might have were I 16… love excites me.

This morning, the pain vanishes from my awareness most of the time; because I am reminded so simply, so frequently, of how much I am loved. Love, and loving, are a pretty nice distraction to deal with on a Wednesday morning. I’m sure not complaining about it.

How often do we mess with the goodness in our experience at one moment or another because it isn’t what we expect, or what we dream of? How many tender joys are lost because they were one thing, and not another? Would you turn down orange knotted cord because it isn’t something fancier that you dreamt of longer? Are you truly open to love? To being loved?  I have to admit, to be fair to love itself, all those bitter years of certainty that love was a lie, a pretty illusion, a pointless treasure hunt – I wasn’t open to love, or being loved.  I had defined ‘what love is’ and because it wasn’t presenting itself to me in the form I demanded, I couldn’t see it when it did turn up. That is one of the saddest things about being lonely; it’s often a choice.

So, this morning I am aware of my pain, and in spite of that, I’m choosing love.  Taking a moment to feel the connection to a love nurtured, shared, grown over time; connected by a simple orange knotted cord, on a very early Wednesday morning.

Today is a good day to love.

Today got off to a difficult start, although it is limited to my own experience, very internal, entirely subjective.  I’m even ‘over it’, already. That’s something quite new. Like discovering anything new, the experience is edged with curiosity and uncertainty. New tools, new skills – a new experience.

How approachable I felt this morning. :-)

How approachable I felt this morning. 🙂

It’s nice to have choices. It’s wonderful to be able to use new tools, to really experience growth and the promise and potential in change. There’s not really a lot more to say about all that, just now. I’m relaxed and smiling, and readying myself for a day of work that has challenges of its own to share, lessons to offer, opportunities for further growth. There are only 7 working days left with this employer, counting today. A relaxed holiday ahead of me on the calendar after that, which still seems incredibly luxurious.

The communication piece is a big deal. I’m still learning to communicate in-the-moment in a simpler way.  I learned to use language and vocabulary, over time, to cope with the frustrations and everyday challenges of being misunderstood or just not heard (“If I just choose the right words…”).   It doesn’t actually help, and rather often complicates the matter needlessly.

So, onward to the new day! Today I am compassionate, and patient with myself and others. Today I am content to appreciate my experience and the lessons it teaches me about treating myself – and others – really well.  Today I will change the world.


This morning I woke feeling cross. I also woke with a nasty headache, and serious pain with my arthritis, too. I feel stiff. Hell, I’ll say it – I feel ‘old’. lol.  I’m not tired.  My morning coffee is just right. There is no element of the morning thus far that lacks harmony or a relaxed satisfying comfort.  I just hurt, and I’m cross.  Pain is enough to result in a less than pleasant mood, of course – so why does my brain go looking for more? lol  Yep. This morning’s feature attraction – The Brain Attack.

Once upon a time, and up to very recently, a morning like this one would have set me off on a path of frequent angry rants, tantrums about inconsequential or unimportant bits of circumstance, and on a hunt for insidious (and illusory) patterns of misconduct in other people’s everyday utterly innocent behavior.  It isn’t fun to participate in that sort of thing, and even when I suspected my Brain was misleading me, I struggled to put it to rest or ‘find my way out’.  Something has changed… or at least, something has potentially changed, somewhat.  This morning is different.

This morning, feeling how I felt, and being so cross, I made a point of focusing on me while I showered and dressed. Instead of just going through the motions and filing it away under ‘morning task completion’ and moving on, I slowed down and took my time with myself.  I practiced ‘staying engaged and connected’ with myself.  I hadn’t noticed before that I sometimes wander off in  my thinking to places unknown, leaving my emotions unattended.  (I’m sorry if that seems… hard to follow, or lacking clarity. I don’t understand what I did differently today fully, myself, and I’m trying to share before I have an understanding. lol)  Giving myself the respect of staying ‘in the moment’ with myself first thing actually felt really good.

Meditation, a delicious latte, and some time playing SuperBetter and I find myself in a very different place.  It seems too simple – is this all it takes? I’m not bitching.  Oh, I still hurt, but I’m not making myself miserable with self-deception in the form of brain attacks on my emotional balance, along with physical discomfort.  it’s nice.

This morning, I did things differently, and got a different outcome.

A lovely flower to start the morning. Clematis on a rainy day.

A lovely flower to start the morning. Clematis on a rainy day.