Archives for posts with tag: this one’s mine

I slept in today, which was lovely, even though I woke with a stuffy head, a headache, and aching joints. I thought maybe I was coming down with a cold, but as I woke up, moved around a bit, showered, and got myself going for the day, I began feeling better. So… maybe not a cold.

I had a clear plan for the day, it unraveled almost immediately. If I were deeply emotionally invested to the details as planned, I’d be struggling with disappointment, frustration, and feeling aggravated. I’ve learned a lot about contentment over the last couple of years, and generally speaking, lasting sustainable contentment requires a couple of simple-but-harder-than-they-appear practices, in my own experience. Firstly, refraining from becoming emotionally invested in an outcome is super helpful. Then also, it’s a good practice to avoid holding implicit unstated expectations (of myself, events, or other people). Then, one more, sometimes super challenging, practice; letting go of attachment, just generally. Doesn’t mean “nothing matters”, that’s not it at all, it’s more that however much something I’ve planned may feel urgent, important, or necessary, circumstances can and do intervene, other people are human and also have freewill, and sometimes – no, seriously – sometimes I’m just mistaken, or lacking in complete information at some point that results in a plan breaking down.

So, today, when I woke very much not feeling like doing a lot of things, at all, I took a look down my list and noticed that grocery shopping properly, getting fresh produce into the house, and restocking the pantry of some exhausted supplies seemed to be overdue. So – I went to do that, figuring it would be a simple enough errand to run, in the early morning.

When I started the car, the “low tire pressure” warning light came on. Huh. Well – okay, there’s a tire place right up the road, quite nearby. Easily handled. Since I’m doing that, I’ll get the oil changed, and the tires rotated – on the way to the grocery store. Nice. I’m feeling super efficient and adulting with skill, now, yeah? 😀 I did the shopping. Got my nails done. Got home… and now that list doesn’t seem so daunting. I check off all the things I’d just done (all of which were on my list, anyway).

I continue to assemble a new updated weekend “bug out bag” for spontaneous road-trip-ery; having the car opens a lot of interesting doors. I check my calendar for upcoming weekends to spend with my Traveling Partner down south where he is working. I add some calendar events to my calendar, and find myself wondering about the holidays. Is it too soon to send him an invitation for the Yule holiday hear at home with me? (Not for me, it isn’t! lol)

Right about then is when I realized why the day was feeling so terrifically satisfying; I feel at home. I’m “home making”, today. I smile. Pause for a coffee break and a few minutes to write. I shrug off my utter failure to score tickets to see Macklemore in Portland in October (those tickets went fast) and send my Traveling Partner a calendar event to spend that weekend with him. Nothing to regret about the way that turned out. 🙂

I move down the list, and around the house, checking off tasks as I complete them. I water the garden. Feed the fish. Do the dishes. Start a new batch of sprouts. I’ll probably just keep at it until I hit the 6 hour mark or so, then call it a day well-spent, put my feet up, and relax. 🙂

…I still haven’t hooked up the TV or stereo. lol I guess I could do that too, at this point, with very little risk of over-indulging in “brain candy” (videos, anime, YouTube content…) or derailing my productivity. Taking a break from all that for a couple weeks now and then seems a healthy choice for me, particularly while I am rebuilding broken or bent routines affected by a change in circumstances – or address.

This is where I live. This is “home”. It’s not an instantaneous thing, and there are verbs involved here, too, and a commitment to “make it my own” in so many little ways. That continues, I suppose, until I can find my way in the dark, until I can step into the studio and immediately begin painting, until I can step on the deck and cut fresh herbs for cooking, until each and all of my friends and loves know just where I am on a solitary night, and whether I would welcome them… there is so much to do. I sometimes forget how much I enjoy doing it. 🙂

My coffee is done. I still have several things to do on my list. I guess I’ll begin again, then – it won’t change “the world”, but it certainly makes this wee corner of it more comfortable. 😉

My morning began quite gently with the rare treat of sleeping in. I emptied the dishwasher while water boiled for coffee. I made a wee celebration of turning the page on the notepad I use for my ‘to do’ list each day, flipping the page over boldly, fully disregarding anything remaining on yesterday’s page (at least for now), and then cheerily walking away from it without writing a single thing on the blank the page. Yesterday wasn’t a bad day at all – it’s still over. Entirely past. Done. Behind me. I’ve turned the page. 🙂

What's left of yesterday? Photographs, memories, and change.

What’s left of yesterday? Photographs, memories, and change.

Today my intention is to keep things simple and enjoy the day. I have committed to some general tidying up, studying, and sorting through my thoughts on a topic that inspires me both as an artist and as a writer. It may be days or weeks in the making, which feels… amazing. It is a topic that pushes me to think differently about connection, intimacy, individuality, identity, interdependence, image, authenticity, and where my value as a being truly lies.

What exactly is an 'individual', anyway?

What exactly is an ‘individual’, anyway?

This seems a nice morning for thinking thoughts, taking notes, making observations, and for balancing presence with insight gleaned from experience over time. (Caution: there are no fewer verbs involved when the work we do is within ourselves!) I enjoy intimacy, connection, communion with others; I am a social creature. I am also an emotionally injured human being. Emotional injuries are those that, whether they are also physical injuries or not, hit us in the deep down places where our being resides, seemingly safe. The result? Mental illness. Post traumatic stress. “Anger management issues.” Difficulties connecting, attaching, and being intimate. Difficulties being comfortable, trusting, being social, sharing, cohabiting. Hurt feelings. Drama. Weirdness. Strange negative assumptions and expectations. Fear. I mean…maybe not all of those, for everyone, every time, but… yeah.  The effort to clean up the chaos and damage, find a better way to live, maybe even find a way to actually thrive in life… it’s slow going, not easy, requires practice – a lot of it – and verbs – too many. (Totally worth it.) The point I think I’d like to make is that sometimes it feels as lonely and distancing to be working on cleaning up the chaos and damage, as it does to have it in the first place. That’s okay – it’s a bit of a solo hike, sometimes. It sort of has to be. 🙂

Look closer. How many individuals are in this picture?

Look closer. How many individuals are in this picture?

It’s reassuring to consider that I’m not really in this alone. I’ve felt so alone sometimes. But… Really? I’m not – it’s an illusion, one that is, itself, part of the chaos and damage, isolating me and suggesting I am too broken to be accepted as a human being, too broken even, perhaps, to be loved. My results vary, and there are verbs involved, and sometimes it seems damned slow going – but I’m learning to go beyond being warily, passively open to connection (hoping for the best, certain no good can come of it), to being willing to reach out, to actually being open. It’s a very different thing. To be open requires a measure of vulnerability and authenticity that can feel pretty scary… What if it isn’t reciprocated?? I find some solace and security in the awareness that individuality, however defined, isn’t sufficient to fully undermine how interconnected we also are as creatures; we are not alone. I’m okay with that. Sometimes it’s nice to share the journey – it’s a long one.

I am my own cartographer, keeper of the list, and adult-in-charge, in this life that is mine.

I am my own cartographer, keeper of the list, and adult-in-charge, in this life that is mine.

This morning, I am alone with my time and my chores. Later? So not alone. 🙂 It’s ‘date night’, and I’ll spend the evening in the charming company of my traveling partner, filling my moments with love and laughter. The time has come to set aside the morning in favor of the day… Today is a good day to pause and enjoy progress over time, and to appreciate and enjoy the woman in the mirror.

I woke with a nasty headache this morning. It rises from locked up muscles alongside my arthritic vertebrae, like parallel columns of pain, becoming one just at the base of my neck and feeling rather ‘braided’ with tension up my neck, cradling my skull with an embrace of even more pain that wraps the lower back portion of my head. It is not acute nor pulsating, it is a more dull steady presence with more than necessary intensity. I have this headache relatively often. Generally, expressed in words, it sounds like this “I have a headache”. Other headaches sound more like this “I have a headache”. It isn’t possible to tell from words how severe someone else’s pain is. Pain doesn’t show much; by the time pain can be easily seen on my face, I am in so much more pain than can be easily managed that it’s not likely sympathy can do much more than offer a few kind words. I cherish the kindness.

Much of the time, because pain is not easily visible, my experience is one of being haplessly mistreated by well-meaning people, even people who know me well, and profess deep affection for me; they don’t know I am in pain, moment to moment. Simple requests sometimes sound quite ludicrous to me… “Can you just go ahead and…”. I have not yet learned to say “No, actually, I can’t ‘just’… I’m in too much pain to do that.” The amount of pain I am in this morning is well beyond the day-to-day pain I know so well. It’s hard to consider other things and look past the pain…and when I succeed in turning my attention elsewhere, I quickly find that whatever I am thinking over becomes tainted by the pain; my negative bias increases, I feel discontent, angry, frustrated, emotional, resentful… and it so easily changes from an experience of physical pain, to an experience of emotional pain. The result is often that I find myself blaming some circumstance for my feelings. My subjective emotional experience becomes the focus of my attention, distracting me from the pain but leading me down a rabbit hole of mis-information, negativity, doubt, insecurity, and fearful speculation not tied to my actual experience of events. Pain is a mind-altering drug, and it’s always a bad trip.

I woke early today. I woke because of the pain. This headache is that bad. I meditated quietly until the alarm went off; two hours passed pretty quickly. I feel reasonably calm, content, and balanced; I know that the pain has the potential to mess with my mind, and destroy my fragile lovely moment. Mindfulness, self-compassion, kind treatment of this mortal vessel I inhabit, and patient attentiveness to self-care basics will be incredibly important while this headache lingers. I know what to expect when I speak up about the headache, too. “Well, have you…?” and “When I have a headache, I…” or “What have you done for it?” People tend to be pretty well-meaning about headaches. It’s frustrating to wade through the helpful suggestions; I’ve been doing this awhile, and at 52 there’s not much in the way of new stuff to try for this headache. I work on staying calm and focused, and not crying over small bullshit simply because I hurt too much to handle real life well. It’s the best favor I can do the world on a morning like this one.

Choose your adventure. Choose your perspective. Choose your experience.

Choose your adventure. Choose your perspective. Choose your experience.

Oddly, this isn’t really a post about pain; it’s about the very subjective nature of perspective. Pain is a metaphor, but I’m finding it challenging to move on from the pain itself, this morning. Tedious.

I recently read some writing an associate did regarding a shared experience. The subjective nature of perspective being what it is, I reacted to the words before I remember to take a few breaths and approach the words mindfully and aware that the unique perspective presented has nothing whatever to do with my experience of those same events. It took some time to move past my initial reaction of irritation at the ‘obvious’ dishonesty, the ‘irresponsible minimization’, and [to me] clear use of the opportunity for image management; my perspective is also subjective. I managed to set that baggage down pretty easily, and reconsider the words as nothing more than personal narrative, subjective and likely well-intended, without judging the words as ‘truthful’ or ‘honest’. Regardless of any of that, they are the words this associate chose to describe the experiences we shared. While it does say something about my associate’s experience – and my associate – those words have nothing to do with my experience, at all. If I react, buy in, become angry and express my anger with demands that my associate change their perspective of the shared experience we had, I give up my own experience to own theirs as the valid reflection of events. It was a pretty joyful moment when that hit me; all I have to do to enjoy my experience from my own perspective when someone else’s perspective causes me discomfort, alarm, distress, or anger, is to go ahead and continue to have my own experience, from my own perspective! I validate my own experience fully by simply having it. Wow. Simple and powerful.

Every one of us has our own perspective. Being able to comfortably listen and hear another person’s perspective improves my ability to be compassionate, to be kind, to be wise… and it also eases me into a lovely place with myself, too; more able to treat myself well, by honoring my own experience as real and true, and mine. It isn’t about who is ‘right’ – ‘right’ doesn’t enter into my subjective perspective of my own experience – nor does it feature heavily in yours. Arguing about a subjective perception of events isn’t helpful – because we choose our experience, and have no obligation to choose what someone else has chosen. Facts are facts – and I have learned caution, even there; very little of what we share with each other has anything at all to do with ‘facts’. Thoughts are not facts. Emotions are not facts. Values are not facts. Narratives of experiences are not facts. Memories are not facts. Each of those things are entirely subjective, and mostly pretty made up. We are attached to our own, sometimes to the point of being completely irrational about holding on to the ‘rightness’ of them without regard to the pain we cause others.

One beautiful moment, so many ways to enjoy it.

One beautiful moment, so many ways to enjoy it.

Today is a lovely morning, from my perspective, in spite of pain. Today is a good day to live my experience awake, aware, and mindfully. Today is a good day to show the world kindness – because I can, and it’s simply a better way to enjoy my experience. Today is a good day to brush off the things that distract me from love, with an understanding smile; we are each so very human. Today is a good day to be the change.

I woke gently this morning. I woke slowly. My consciousness unfolded in a lovely way, without anxiety or stress, or residual negative emotions left over from unremembered nightmares. I woke feeling very little pain, minimal stiffness, and feeling comfortable in my body. I woke feeling beautiful, well, and pleasantly sensuous, enjoying the sensations of skin against sheets, blankets, pillows, and the softness of the morning air. No headache. Heart soaring. Feeling inspired and eager to face the blank canvas on my easel – and metaphorically, the blank canvas of my day, and my future. I woke loving, and feeling loved, in the quiet solitude of comfortable surroundings, content and aware that love does not require proximity outside my own self-imposed attachments.

I woke to a quiet household. I contentedly made my coffee, contemplating what things I might get done today, and feeling artistically inspired – today is a good day to paint, and I’ve got a number of concepts sketched out that I am ready to make come alive, even some new notions this morning that I am eager to sketch and get started on. It is, in nearly every respect, an ideal day to paint. Currently, there is simply no room to do so. The space set aside for me to work has filled with another project, which has stalled temporarily due to real life happening, in spite of plans. On some other day, this could result in a lot of suppressed resentment festering in the background, and find me feeling unimportant, lacking in value, not well-cared for, and not understood.  Today is different. Sure, it’s frustrating, and I earnestly want to live in an environment that truly supports me creatively, one in which ensuring I can paint when I am moved to paint, write when I am moved to write, listen to the music I love, sing, dance, and simply be this specific human that I am, is among the highest priorities of the household day-to-day.  As with so many things, there are verbs involved, choices to make, and I am my own cartographer on this journey.

I am working on getting into a live/work space that really meets the needs I have at this point in my life; choices are made, verbs are verb-ing in an appropriate order, and at a reasonable rate of progress. In the meantime, rather than blow a lovely day feeling creatively frustrated, I am feeling strong, feeling creative, and feeling joyful now, with what is.  It’s a lovely morning. My coffee is hot and tasty. I feel inspired – and I am not limited to canvas and brush; I have all these lovely words, and ideas, and broad blue skies, endless paths to walk beneath them. It is a lovely Sunday to rise from the wreckage of my chaos and damage, and practice the beautiful Art of Being.

The humble dandelion stands out in a crowd; her strength unmistakable, her beauty her own.

The humble dandelion stands out in a crowd; her strength obvious, her beauty her own; it is no concern of hers that some see her as ‘a weed’.

Today is a good day to bring order to small corners of chaos. Today is a good day for good practices, and good self-care. Today is a good day to treat me well, and enjoy who I already am. Today is a good day for sketching, and laundry, and photographing the very first roses in my garden. Today is a good day to be, and to become, and to celebrate personal rebirth. Today is a good day to practice the Art of Being.