Archives for posts with tag: use your words

Heat wave. Already hot this morning. Slept well, woke refreshed. Felt… content. Balanced. Merry…

…Whole.

Off to a good start on a hot day. Things slide sideways, slipping gently, somehow inevitably tilting toward irritation in spite of a great starting point. Best efforts. Humans being human.

I put aside my coffee and go for a walk before the heat of the day might stop me, or just make the experience miserable.

A favorite park has finally re-opened after all the damage during that last winter storm.

Muggy warm air filled with the sound of mowers, small aircraft taking off from the nearby municipal airport, and swarming insects seemed to cling to me as I walked across the parking lot to the start of the one open trail. It doesn’t really go far enough to satisfy the need, but it has been a long while and I have missed this place. I walk the trail twice. I take note of the wild roses in bloom – there look to be three distinct species growing in this wooded area. I spot ripe thimbleberries, but none within reach – too fragile for commercial agriculture, they are a rare special treat, tiny, soft, and mild. The birds will get most of them. Piles of cut up trees give some insight into how much damage the storm caused. Every few feet, there’s a pile of logs and branches on either side of the trail. The forest is full of huckleberry bushes, but I don’t see flowers or berries, yet. On my way back down, before my second walk of the trail, I realize I haven’t stopped at a favorite bench… I never saw it! Weird… I begin to really look for that thing, that expected thing, as I head back up the trail. My focus results in missing other details. Something more to think about.

Oh. Reality is what it is. Expectations are shit we made up, and cling to.

It was a lovely morning for walking, in spite of the heat. In spite of the changes all around me. In spite of a less than picture-perfect lovely summer morning. Expectations and assumptions can so quickly undermine a potentially lovely experience. I mean… I even know that. It still trips me up more often than I care to count.

I put on some music. Sip my rather delicious iced coffee – I’ve been planning this iced coffee on a hot summer morning for days. Really looking forward to this moment. I made coffee ice cubes to go in it. I sip it thoughtfully, savoring the moment that is, instead of yearning for another. It may not be what I expected, but it’s quite pleasant, and that’s enough. Maybe I’ll finish it on the deck…

My Traveling Partner and I both hurt today. Pain sucks. Aging is a mixed bag of qualities, and pain is just one of many experiences… We both try to avoid taking it personally, or lashing out at each other in a short-tempered moment of our frustration with the limitations of these very human forms. He says “maybe you should just avoid me today” – right about when I was thinking of saying gently that I’d give him some space because I’m hurting that much today. lol It’s generally an exceptional partnership, even when one or both of us is in pain, or just generally not being our best selves, together.

I sip my coffee and reflect. I think about the walk, the summer morning, recalling the sights and scents, and the feel of the air around me.

Just because there’s sunshine where I’m sitting doesn’t mean I’ll find illumination.

I walked, reflected, observed, and gave myself that time I need to spend with the woman in the mirror. It’s good to get perspective. I mean… I find it so, myself. πŸ™‚ I don’t always do a good job of making time for me, and for what I need from and for myself. I could do better there. More practice? Obviously. I know where I’ll start, too; a familiar place.

I am rereading the Four Agreements; a worthy starting point on any journey of self.

Funny thing about The Four Agreements? It was my Traveling Partner who first recommended it to me. Good basic practices to practice that tend to heal a lot of hurts and limit a lot of negative self-talk. That seems so long ago now.

Treating each other well has reliably tended to start with treating myself well, and as it turns out that has nothing whatsoever to do with buying things, and everything to do with reflection, perspective, and practices that build resilience and emotional wellness. Boundary-setting. Testing assumptions. Confirming expectations. Being flexible and adaptable in the face of change. Being there for myself. Being kind, and treating the world as gently as I am able to. Good self-care. Getting enough rest. It’s a lot to juggle, and I suspect that I half-ass a lot of it, just trying to do all of it… but…getting things ‘half right’ or ‘half finished’ is still a more useful result than never making an attempt to be my best self at all. Incremental change over time. I get better at something each time I attempt it… eventually. Learning is a process. Change is often a verb. I keep at it. Incremental change over time requires both time, and increments.

Feeling frustrated and challenged can sometimes mislead me into thinking I haven’t improved – a lot – on a lot of little things that had been far more problematic before this journey began. That’s a shame; it robs me of my chance to celebrate small wins. I think on that while I sip my coffee, gazing into the sunshine beyond the window.

I hear the A/C come on. Then I feel it. I recall the heat of the morning as I walked the wooded trail, and think about the apartment in which my partner and I first began sharing our lives… and that roasting, horribly hot all-drama-all-the-time summer some 11 years ago; no A/C. I feel grateful for the A/C, definitely… but the love matters most. We brought that with us, to this place, across years of shared challenges, growth, change, loving moments, and petty arguments – it’s a very human experience, and it’s hard to imagine spending life differently and still enjoying it as much. I sip my coffee thinking about my partner (my lover, my best friend), and the pain he’s in today. Maybe I’ll bake oatmeal cookies? Would that help? (I don’t know why it would, it just occurred to me to wonder – sometimes I have a mind like a child. LOL)

There’s enough of this coffee left to enjoy a few moments of summer morning on the deck before it gets to hot to enjoy… seems like a good time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I’m sipping my coffee and frowning past my monitor, looking beyond the “view” outside the window. Nothing impressive, just the fence, the pear trees that rise above it, and the wall of the neighbor’s house beyond – I’m not really seeing it, right now, I am in my own head. I am ruminating over the bitch of an inconvenience that is the very real truth that however much someone loves us, however much someone cares, no matter the level of consideration, empathy, or understanding – we are each walking our own mile, having our own experience, and there will inevitably be some detail that is simply not visible, or not recognized for what it is, or not understood with any clarity, or seems wholly miscommunicated to the detriment of a pleasant moment. Have a brain injury? Ratchet that up a notch. Grieving? This one too; it’s progressively more invisible over time, and people eventually reach their “you’re not over this yet?” point – sooner than you will, yourself. It’s just real. We feel our own pain most intensely. We understand our own circumstances more than we can understand someone else’s, generally. We filter every interaction through who we are ourselves, and how we personally understand the world, with little regard for the demonstrable reality that it legitimately is not the same for someone else. Sometimes I feel completely fucked over by that whole entire messy business.

I’m not pissing and moaning about this while mired in self-pity. I’m actually more… a tad angry about it. I earnestly want to do better by my friends, family, and loved ones than that, myself. I still struggle with it, too. Maybe it just feels easier to bitch about what someone else is doing than it is to attend to what is within my personal control? I could stop doing that, and redirect that time and effort into personal growth and change… that sounds pretty positive.

I take a breath, and a sip of my coffee. When I got out of the shower, my Traveling Partner had already made his coffee. I generally make coffee for the both of us. It’s one way I say “I love you” and start the morning off pleasantly. I enjoy the routine. This morning, he did not wait on that, he took ownership of needs and made his coffee. I can’t fault him for that. Good self-care. He did not make my coffee. (I could take that personally – it could even be possible that it was intended to silently signal his irritation with me, more likely he just wasn’t sure I’d be out of the shower before it got cold.) I don’t give it much thought beyond observation, and let go of any concern about “sending me a message”, because, frankly, he uses his words. He’s not the sort who goes around being under-handed or passive-aggressive with communicating his needs or feelings; it’s a pretty unhealthy approach. I try to avoid that sort of thing, myself; it’s very imprecise, and not reliably clear. I’m not even certain I’d “get the message” – I tend (more often than not) to be very “face value” about those sorts of things, in my interactions, and it’s likely that that kind of thing would “go over my head” anyway. πŸ™‚

I’m working on taking better care of myself, generally, which I also generally suck at. It’s a lot of work. I enjoy spending time with my partner to the point that I overlook taking time with myself. It doesn’t take long before my background stress is evident, and becoming unmanageable. So… I reset, begin again, and work on building better habits, and practicing the practices that I know support my emotional wellness, best. It is, however, still an ongoing, challenging, messy, aggravating, frustrating, endlessly fiddly bit of bullshit and effort that will no doubt plague me to the end of my days.

…It could be worse…

I sip my coffee. I’m writing on a pleasant summer morning. I’ve got a partner who loves me and does his best, reliably, to love me well. I could say “that’s enough”, but I’m aware how much more than “enough” that really is; I haven’t always had it like this. My good circumstances just don’t happen to alleviate me of my burdens in life. (Why did I expect that they might?) The work day peaks at me from the clock… it’s time to begin again.

Some mornings every step is painful. Others not so much. Either way, I generally enjoy my morning walk on a weekday before work, and on weekends whenever the fancy strikes me. I enjoy being out among the trees, most especially, or alone on a wind swept meadow, or at the edge of the changing tide listening to the call of sea birds. There’s a lot to enjoy in life. I wasn’t always able to enjoy that, and there was a time when every step on every walk was punctuation for unspoken thoughts, and unhealed heartbreak, and each pause to snap a picture of a flower was an attempt to do something, anything at all, just a little differently than I had before. Every step, and every mile, on this journey has mattered. Every step, and every mile, matters still – and I’m still walking. The difference now, most mornings, is that I am walking, and smiling. πŸ™‚

…What I’m not doing nearly as much is writing

My morning walk is just as night becomes day. The world is quiet and filled with promise.

I started this blog back in 2013. Here it is, 2021. 8 years on, and I’m in a very different place as a human. Perfectly perfect? Nope. Happily ever after? Hardly. Content and well-cared-for? Generally speaking, yes, and it’s more than I could have imagined, honestly, and I’m fairly certain I don’t need more than this life, right here, as I am living it now. It’s enough. Which, if I’m honest about it, feels a little odd sometimes. What about all of the everything else? Don’t I want or need a piece of that, too? I don’t think I do, with regard to most of the “extras” life may tempt me with from afar. I’m blasted with advertising daily, but very little of any of it gets my interest, even for a moment. Occasionally, some practical something-or-other gets my attention but mostly I’m here at home, hanging out with my Traveling Partner listening to music or watching videos, or playing video games. I’m here at home, beginning the season’s gardening tasks and spending happy hours flipping through garden catalogs, eyes wide with wonder and delight at lovely flowers that have no business in this garden, but… damn, so pretty! My morning walk takes me past other houses, other gardens.

…We each walk our own mile. We each “tend our own garden”. We are each having our own experience. Sometimes it’s hard, and we need help, sometimes it’s a joy and the labor feels effortless. Where do you want to go? It matters for walking those miles, doesn’t it? And that garden? What are you planting in it? Can it thrive in your garden. Yes, obvious metaphors for growth, for self-care, for living life. I’m good with that; it gives me a way to understand myself, and my experience. πŸ™‚

There are sunrises…

I take a minute this morning to think about how far this journey has taken me, and how much joy my partnership brings me, and how much I have to be grateful for.

…there are sunsets.

I’ve been every bit as lax about staying in touch with friends and family, lately, as I have been at sitting down to write each day. It’s Spring here – my first in this place. πŸ™‚ I’m savoring each sunbeam and each raindrop and watching the season develop in the view beyond the deck.

Still taking pictures of flowers. πŸ™‚

I think about this journey to “home”, too… by this time last year, we were house hunting with some seriousness. By the end of May, we’d seen this house and made an offer on it. It’s been nearly a year of finally being home. That first couple of summer months were busy, laborious, and somewhat chaotic as we got moved and settled in and dealt with our first homeownership challenges (a hot tub needing repair, a leak in an exterior wall, figuring out where everything ended up). I’m eager to see the summer all over again – I don’t recall what it looks like. LOL

Life isn’t perfect. Whose is? I’m fortunate, though, and I am grateful. I sip my coffee and wonder if it is time to “wrap this up” and move on to other things… or simply trust that a new cadence will develop that feels natural? I’m starting to spend more time thinking, reading, and looking over creative projects. The garden calls to me. The trees beyond the deck beckon me into the forest to wander hidden trails, and camp under the stars. This life, here at home, is beginning to feel… properly real. I feel more comfortable with my developing routine… a walk in the morning, coffee with my Traveling Partner, a break a little later… Working from home feels natural now, and fits comfortably into my idea of living life well. Now to sort out when I like to write, in this gentle new way of living my life. πŸ™‚

…Incremental change over time… I remind myself to be patient…

It’s time to begin again.

I woke to a misty Spring morning. I even slept in. I woke feeling rested, content, and calm. My Traveling Partner woke, expressing similar feelings of rested-ness, and a similar sense of having slept deeply through the night. A pleasant start to a misty Spring morning. The scents of imminent summer mornings are already being carried along on the Spring breezes. Birds are nesting in the trees beyond the deck; it may have been their morning chatter that woke me so gently.

Lovely Spring morning.

My writing cadence is somewhat diminished lately. I’m adjusting to new routines; Spring in this new place, the progressively less restrictive-seeming restrictions of the pandemic, the new job – new work hours, new workload, new expectations in a new work culture – the end result of it all is that there is so much to process, and so little time for living, that I’m just not crowding my writing into that space very often. lol

…Am I “here”? Finally “arrived” at that legendary mythical destination called “happily ever after”?… Um…No.

No. No, I am not “there yet” – because “happily ever after” is more fairytale than possibility. I’m okay with contentment, and joy, and occasional moments of happiness that linger in my recollection. That’s enough to demand of a good life. Certainly, it’s more than I would commonly expect for myself. πŸ™‚

My Traveling Partner and I are both made of pure human. In most my fragile vulnerable emotional moments, my partner can sometimes seem a bit of an insensitive dick. Sometimes (often?) (whether I want it or not) I need his practical refusal to succumb to my emotional weather, although I’d prefer to see his more tender, kinder, more encouraging side (obviously). Realistically, neither of us reliably 100% has our best nature facing our partner when our partner needs it most; we’re each very human. I can be a bit much. I know this about me. I can be emotionally intense. I can be a ceaseless chatterbox. I can be excessively, cryptically, whimsical to a point that I become… hard to understand. It’s a bit as if we share our sense of humor, but occasionally just don’t get a particular joke… Oh, hey, that’s a real thing too, isn’t it? What matters, what works (for us), is that there is bountiful enduring love here; we “get” each other, and we both want to be here (as far as I know… I mean, that’s one of life’s scariest questions, is it not? “Do you really want to be here, with me, as I am, sharing this lifetime, loving me?”).

I’m smiling on a sunny Spring morning, sipping my coffee, writing a few words before I hop in the shower, before a second coffee, before running a couple errands. I think of faraway friends, overdue for an email from me… I’d been writing last weekend, but a sour moment, a wrong note in love’s symphony, put me off writing. I entirely lost interest. I’d been sharing joy, and didn’t care to share sorrows or aggravation. lol Instead, I dove headlong back into sorting things out and loving my partner with my whole being until our momentary sorrows began to ease. Why not? What matters more than love? (Ok, ok, to the practical out there, yes, breathable air, drinkable water, nutrition food, adequate rest… chances are good these things all “matter more” in the most practical way. LOL)

…My Traveling Partner pops into the studio to share a thought, another practical idea to solve a practical concern, and I feel my spirit lift in the way it does when I see him. Good idea, too. πŸ™‚ It makes me eager to begin again. πŸ˜€

It’s definitely Spring, now. Tiny green leaves are unfolding from swellings that became small buds on so many of the trees and shrubs! There is a green “mist” of unfolding forming in the view beyond the deck. Green things sprouting from the damp of the forest floor. Swampy ground becoming more firm. Little birds everywhere. My flower beds still reflect the sales-appeal-focused (simple, but hardy and low maintenance) plantings that were in place when we bought the house. (I’ve added very little, so far, planting only some dahlia tubers and a bare root rose that arrived a bit ahead of my expectations.) The primroses reflect a lack of care in color choices. They are still lovely, and blooming like they’ll only get one shot at it, ever.

Simple, lovely, enduring – and so beautiful in the Spring sunshine!

There are other wonders to come; flowers that have sent up leaves, blades, stalks, some with buds… I wait to see what flowers open next.

Next weekend seems the likely one for planting the rest of the container roses into the garden beds. It would be nice to tell them so, and know whether they are eager to stretch their roots, or have any thoughts on placement… fanciful musings over coffee on a Sunday morning.

My Traveling Partner has spent much of this new Spring cleaning things, tidying, bringing order to chaos – even “tuning the sound stage” in our living room, and finishing some dΓ©cor and design plans we’d made when we moved in (all delayed by the unexpected water damage and resulting fuss and bother after the AC was installed). He’s added acoustic treatments that removed the notable echo in the living room, and refined the placement of various objects to even further improve our listening (and viewing) experiences. It’s gorgeous and sounds wonderful.

…Every time I step into the living room, now, I grin so hard my face hurts. I feel very loved. I’m enjoying our considerable collection of music all over again, as if it were new. It definitely feels like Spring…

Pain? Pain is pain. That’s still a thing I live with. I shrug it off when I can. I attempt to be patient with myself and people around me when I can’t. I try to be consistent with my self-care and pain management. Work? Work is still work. I still work – it’s a necessary part of my life, for now. I like the new job – honestly? I like it enough that my enthusiasm for the work collides with my desire to hang out with my partner, and sort of drains away any time I may have planned for writing, for painting, for most endeavors that are not work, or time with my partner, or necessary housekeeping to keep those parts of life running most smoothly. lol Self-care fail? Yeah, admittedly. Small now… but it is the sort of thing that can fester over time and become chronic resentment, utterly without ever intending it. I keep an eye on it, and this morning, in a small inconsequential moment of disharmony, I acknowledged the opportunity and stepped away to write a bit.

…French toast later…

There’s often a new beginning just ahead. A choice. An opportunity. A whim. A change – desired, chosen, or inflicted. A moment of inspiration. A moment just being.

…This coffee is good, itself a new beginning of sorts…

…What about this moment? This blog post? These words? More beginnings…? I think maybe, yes…

I think about photos, songs, moments… and I think about love.

Thank you, Love “Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

A new beginning can be a bit scary, sometimes. Too often I have found myself hesitant to walk away from something that just doesn’t work for me. You too? I admit, it’s also often true that once I’ve taken that first step, life unfolds with less effort when I choose well – based on my values, and the real truths of my heart (and reality), and take those steps in the direction I actually want to go. Worth the moment of anxiety, doubt, insecurity, or fearfulness? Very much so; that’s just a moment, and it doesn’t last. Life, when we’re most fortunate, continues on beyond that moment. πŸ™‚

…This coffee is just about gone… French toast is sounding pretty good… it may be time to begin again. πŸ˜€