Archives for posts with tag: walk on

It is the Sunday before a Monday – the Monday that I return to work, after taking time off to move, actually. I woke peculiarly early on a day I could have slept in. My Traveling Partner was also up early. We enjoyed our coffee together, listening to jazz, and discussing politics in a genial, civil way. We disagree about some things, small details mostly, and it’s rather pleasant to share, discuss, and acknowledge those differences without a shit-storm of drama or ire. Reasonable people, discussing things in a reasonable way. πŸ™‚ Nice start to a Sunday.

In most regards, today, specifically, is a day I’ll use to “get back on track” with various routine matters of home-care and quality of life management. I’ll do some basics that generally “feel like” Sunday to me, personally. I’ll take out the trash (making a point to empty all the little waste baskets that sit conveniently in every room), and the recycling (making a point to break down any recent boxes that have arrived in the past day or two, preventing those from piling up unattractively). I’ll double-check that the pantry is well-stocked, and make a list of things that are running low or gone; I may not go to the store on a Sunday, but I like to have a list ready. Today, on this particular Sunday, I’ll also log into all my work tools, here in my new studio/office, and make sure that I have reliable connectivity, and that my tools and equipment are wholly set up and ready-to-go for what will likely be a very busy week. I’ve made little notes for myself, too, and these I’ll add to my Sunday “to do list”, too, there are various small useful errands on little notes in my notebook (we did not have connectivity for nearly two weeks, so a lot got written down on paper). One of those notes reminds me “write a blog post”, and so, of course, I do… πŸ™‚

Most of my lists are simply practical reminders of what I’d like to get done. I carry a wee Rite in the Rain notebook, tucked in my purse, or a pocket, for convenience. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, eyeing the worn rather old etched slate coaster on my desk. It’s been thoroughly cleaned since the move, but looks perpetually dirty. The worn inelegant surface hints at many years of use. The thin crack that runs across the surface suggests it has been kept for some reason beyond function or aesthetics. I smile. It reminds me of my Granny. It came from her kitchen. “Can I have this one?” I’d asked, on a visit to her home on Frenchtown Rd, many years ago (1997?). “Sure, Sweetie.” She’d replied with an indulgent smile. I didn’t expect it to be my last visit. I’m sure she didn’t either. We are mortal creatures, and our lives are finite, each moment precious. I find myself tearing up a bit, wishing sentimentally she had lived to see my Traveling Partner and I moved into our home together. She would have been so pleased for us. There’s even room for her to have visited, quite comfortably…

A souvenir of “home” – or, at least, of the places I come from.

The open window beyond my desk doesn’t have much of a “view”, and I already love the view it does have. It functions a bit as a “blank page” for writing, and has few “distractions” or features to draw my eye inadvertently. The two rather poorly pruned pear trees dangle fruit-laden branches over the new fence. I smile, even at the less-than-ideally leveled fence boards. Our neighbors replaced the falling down fence between our yards the very week we moved in. It’s clear they had not built a fence before. Funny that the quirks of this new fence provide more kind humor than irritation, for me. The neighbors are pleasant kind people, and the community is very welcoming. This new place already feels like home. In short, I like it here, and I love this house. πŸ™‚ I expect I’ll spend many contented hours writing, and painting. (The closet in my studio is filled with stored art. I chuckle to myself at the possibility that what stops me painting, often, is more to do with having so many laying about than any lack of inspiration in the moment. LOL)

A closet full of paintings, neatly stacked by size. Some will hang, some will sell, some will linger waiting for their moment.

I finish the last sip of my now-cold coffee, and think over the day ahead. I hear my Traveling Partner call my name from somewhere else in the house; we’re still not used to having the extra bit of room that makes trying to talk to each other from different spaces sort of silly. I smile. It’s time to begin again.

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. πŸ™‚

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. πŸ™‚ I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. πŸ™‚

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. πŸ™‚

 

The sun is up. I slept in a bit. Sipping coffee, barefooted, on a weekend morning, late in the spring. It’s a lovely moment. I’ve got nothing to bitch about. Nothing nagging at my consciousness. No drama. No baggage (in this moment). No chaos. The morning is quiet. My mood is calm. My outlook on life is merry. I’m okay, right, in every sense of the word that matters. πŸ™‚ My coffee tastes good. My roses have begun to bloom. My aquariums are thriving. The computer my Traveling Partner built for me while we share Life in the Time of Pandemic, together, is working beautifully – and by that, I mean it is both a wonderful upgrade in performance, and also a beautiful technological piece, aesthetically. I smile every time I sit down at my desk, feeling very loved. I feel content.

“Baby Love” blooming in a pot on the deck. πŸ™‚

Let’s be super real on this notion of contentment and ease; I’ve worked years to get here, and there have been many verbs involved, and many tears shed, over time. My outlook matters more than material details. I could live this life, identical in all practical details, and be mired in misery. PTSD has that power. Healthy emotional wellness practices really matter that much.

No click bait here, no “secret practice your therapist doesn’t want you to know about” in an eye-catching thumbnail. I’m not about that. I’m just saying, perspective matters. How I treat myself matters. How I treat others, and how reciprocal those interactions are, matters. It’s been a long journey, and I’ve often felt I was stumbling haphazardly through the darkness, quite alone. I’ve known despair, and futility and frustration and sorrow and, yes, madness. I’m not alone in that – and that’s why I write. Reminders for me, and maybe, just maybe, a light in the seemingly endless darkness for someone else. Someone that I’ll likely never meet. There have been so many such souls on my journey… human beings on their own journey, helpful co-travelers, sometimes unrecognized until much later, because I simply wasn’t ready to hear what they were saying to me, then. We all walk our own hard mile. (You too.)

Life is pretty good these days, even in spite of the pandemic. It’s not about material success (I’m not wealthy), or finding one true love (I’m fortunate to enjoy a great relationship with someone I love very much, but in dark times love does not “cure” our sorrows, or ease the weight of our baggage). Life is pretty good these days because more of my choices take me in that direction, than choices which don’t. Verbs. Choices. Beginnings. Perspective. Sufficiency. These are only words, but the words represent concepts I’ve found key to making my way, a bit at a time, to a life that feels, generally, characterized by contentment, and joy.

I’ve put in many hours of therapy and study. Reading books isn’t enough; the ideas have to become changes in behavior and thinking. The epiphanies and “ah-ha moments” have to become new practices. Practices that work have to be sustained over time. There is a commitment to treating oneself well involved – this may be the biggest challenge (it has been for me).

Where this really started, back in 2010, and a moment of gratitude for the love of the man who shared it with me, then, and remains with me, still.

I think I’m just saying… “you’ve got this!”. Unhappy with life? Choose change. Rethink your most basic assumptions. Re-examine your expectations of life, of people, of yourself. Try a new combination of real kindness and firm boundary-setting. Ask the hard questions. Consider all the options. Take care of yourself – because you matter to you. No reason to expect it to be easy, or that you’ll never cry again, or that “the world” will ever be “fair”. Be your own best friend – and your own best self, because you can make that choice from moment to moment, and when you fail (and you will, I promise you that), begin again. Just begin again. Don’t beat yourself up over your fundamental humanity – examine your errors with some emotional distance, gain understanding of yourself (and others) from your mistakes, learn, grow, and move on with increased perspective. Accept that you are human – then also accept that everyone else is, too. Make room in your thinking for what you can’t know, or don’t understand; there’s nearly always something new to learn. Check your assumptions.

There’s a lot of baggage to put down. There’s a lot of bullshit to let go of. It’s easier to give yourself closure than to seek it elsewhere. Don’t drink the poison. Tame your own barking dog. Consider your outlook on life, generally. Yes, it’s a lot of work, I know. It probably seems so much easier to get a prescription for some boldly advertised new drug. I’ve tried that, myself. It didn’t work reliably well for me, which is how I found myself at 50, filled with despair, trying one more therapist, one more time, unconvinced that life was worth living. A huge stack of books and a few years later, life looks (and feels) very different to me. I’ve made a lot of changes – to practices, jobs, relationships; I rebuilt basically my entire life (and lifestyle) to better support becoming the woman I most wanted to be, living a life of contentment and joy. Worth it. So worth it. (Not infallibly perfect – that’s not on life’s menu, right?)

So… what do you say? Are you ready to begin again?

Every day I am trying to walk my path with my eyes open. I don’t always succeed, but then, few things manage to achieve “always”, or, for that matter, “never”. Those require an unrelentingly high standard of proof. lol I do okay, generally. One step at a time. One practice at a time. One beginning at a time. I just keep starting over, and keep walking. Somewhere along the way, I’ve managed some personal growth. I’ve managed to develop some interpersonal relationship skills. Hell, I have even managed to develop some tact, though I use it less often than would perhaps be welcomed. I am very much a “work in progress”, and my perspective on that, these days, is that there is no “final exam”, no “finish line”, no end in sight – it’s all about the journey. The walking of the path, itself, and the living of this life, is the point. No destination matters as much. I’ll get where I get. I’ll get there when I get there. I try to do my best every moment I can, along the way.

…Still totally human… My results vary.

Today, I write at the end of my day. I’d forgotten I hadn’t written, until the work day ended, and I went back to my blog to review what I wrote in the morning, from the often weary perspective of the other end of a busy day. How’d I do? That’s sort of the point of “checking back”. πŸ™‚ That – and catching spelling mistakes I missed. lol (For real – totallyΒ  human.)

My thinking is sometimes very different later in the day. Real life has had a chance to take the shine off my morning optimism, perhaps, or the day has frustrated or amazed me. Sometimes, I’m so groggy in the morning that my thinking is clouded, simple-minded, or my meandering musings fairly pointless, and my afternoon or evening perspective is sharpened by events that have been more fully considered since the morning. My perspective changes. My results of the day vary. I’ve wrestled with emotion, or found myself struggling with reason, or failed to find a balance between the two. Today, though? Just a day… room to grow.

My Traveling Partner sticks his head into the studio “Do you want to play a cool game and kill some time?”, he asks with a smile. “No,” I smile back, “I want to finish my writing.” He sticks a playful tongue out at me, and closes the door. I’m suddenly stricken by intense anxiety – baggage. Personal demons. Personal demons carrying my baggage. Seriously? This, again? Even knowing my partner has occasionally nagged me for not taking time to do the things that help me maintain balance – and sanity – and that he loves to see me invest some portion of my effort and energy in doing things I love doing, because they are part of who I am; I’m sitting here terrified that he may be hurt and angry, feeling rejected, because I did not drop everything immediately to rush to his side, this time, right now. I don’t berate myself over it. I go gently; there’s real damage here. This? This is scar tissue from decades of abuse in other relationships. This is what surviving sometimes looks like. There’s still “clean-up” to do. Still some healing self-work that needs to be completed. And that’s okay. It’s certainly very human.

I correct my posture. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I imagine myself gently-firmly taking heavy bags from the hands of the exhausted demon carrying them, and setting them down (really imagining it very clearly), on a curb perhaps, or next to a dumpster. I imagine walking away – away from this baggage. Away from that exhausted, defeated demon, standing alone, and a tad puzzled.

…We get to choose our path. We get to choose over and over again. We become what we practice.

I smile to myself. It’s clearly a good time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I am drinking my coffee this morning with that certain feeling of satisfaction and relief that comes from completing a task I wasn’t looking forward to, or may even feel a deeply anchored reluctance towards taking on the task at all. There are quite a few things that fit this category, some pretty ordinary things: vacuuming, filing my taxes, tackling a sink full of dirty dishes, raking or sweeping leaves, weeding the garden… sometimes it’s just pure resistance to the discomforts of manual labor, sometimes it is some sort of strange mental “block” that holds me back. So human. Tasks toward which I feel anyΒ  sort of resistance or reluctance can prevent me taking on the rest of a to-do list of needful things; hard to get past that one thing I just don’t “feel like” doing. Very human, indeed.

This morning, I’m smiling because I’ve finished off one such task, and entirely overlooked even feeling the weight of any reluctance, at all, during that process. Almost… pleasant. Definitely emotionally neutral, if nothing else. No baggage. I grin to myself, and have another swallow of almost-cold coffee, and considering planning a spring camping trip for myself. I wonder, contentedly, if my Traveling Partner will want to go? I keep my planning sufficiently open to permit it, without any concern or sorrow that he likely won’t go; our outdoor preferences are enough different that we truly don’t enjoy all the same things, done the same way. That doesn’t bother me at all. We need some time apart every bit as much as we enjoy (and need) time together. πŸ™‚ The bigger question is actually… April… or May? LOL

I let my mind wander to my walk, yesterday, instead of indulging my desire to plan an outing…

It was a lovely morning to walk along the riverbank.

Camping, hiking, walking… it’s about that moment of solitude and contentment, a moment of stillness, in the trees, on the seashore, along the riverbank… time spent walking, breathing, and contemplating. Time spent awake, aware, and present in the moment. It is about sufficiency, and perspective.

I woke to rain, today, and I am feeling restless, and eager to put a few more miles on my boots before the weekend ends. I had planned to work in the garden, but it was too early for it when I woke, and too rainy. Later, maybe. The rain dampens my plan to walk along the riverbank, again, too. I’ll still get a walk in… but when? Where?

I think about distant mountains, and waves lapping the shore. I think about Spring approaching.

I think over my short list of things I committed to doing this weekend and take a few minutes to sort it out in my head. It’s not that much to do, really, and mostly very routine sorts of things setting up the new work week that begins tomorrow, plus a creative task that gives me a measure of real joy, and a task I’d like to get done to make the house more comfortable. Putting my walking near the top of my list this morning makes sense; my Traveling Partner is still sleeping, and noisy housekeeping would be unkind.

I smile contentedly. I’ve got a good plan for a pleasant day, and it’s enough. It’s time to finish this coffee and begin again. πŸ™‚