Archives for posts with tag: watching fish swim

I’m currently playing Portal. It’s not a new game. I’m likely the wrong person to ask whether it is a “hard” game. It hasn’t been especially frustrating, which I had worried about before I started. I’m enjoying the experience of playing it, which feels good. I admit, I’m currently stuck on a level, but honestly, I’m okay with that. I’ll get it figured out. πŸ™‚ I keep at it. Nothing screams “restart” like being stuck on a particular challenge in a video game. Good news; life works this way, too. Stuck? Start over. Begin again. Take another approach. Try again. Give it a rest and come back to it later. πŸ™‚

The worrying about the challenge was a bigger challenge that the challenge itself. There’s a lesson in that. lol

Video games are another rich source of living metaphors, for me. I enjoy that, too.

Fish swim in the “big” aquarium (size being very relative; it’s only 30 gallons). Shrimp scuttle about in their smaller aquatic habitat. My betta slowly recovers from recently jumping out of the aquarium; it’ll be weeks before he’s “well”, I suspect, but he’s doing okay. I hand feed him each day. He seems to welcome that. The world beyond these walls continues to make its way around the sun. The world continues to figure itself out in this time of pandemic. People continue to both disappoint me mightily, and also to impress me beyond expectations with their humanity, compassion, and will to do more/better. Life at home is still a puzzling mix of “how is this any different at all?” and “wtf – why this? why now?” My partner and I enjoy the opportunity to share experiences, projects, conversation, and to explore topics of shared interest more deeply. We help each other. We’re both in acceptably good health, enduring little more than routine middle-age-y sorts of concerns. We’ve got a lot to be grateful for.

I slept in this morning. My coffee is good. Yoga in the morning as the sun began to rise. It felt good to move and to stretch. Later today, I have an errand to run out in the world. I no longer look forward to such things, I just prepare myself, and get them done, and quickly return home. Meditation felt joyful and effortless this morning; the world seemed to be sleeping, and all was quiet. The news is too bleak and weird, lately, to bother with on a pleasant Sunday morning. Instead I sit down to write, and end up sipping coffee and watching fish swim for some while, instead. I’m okay with that.

…In general, “in real life”, I’m okay, generally. πŸ˜‰ I hope you are, too.

I look around my studio… there’s much to do, to achieve the state of order I feel most comfortable within. My eye falls on my “to do list”… I add a couple things. I sip my coffee. I think about the day ahead, and find my mind wandering. I breathe deeply. Exhale. Relax. I pull myself back to this moment – it’s a lovely one, worth enjoying. There is no need at all to complicate it beyond what it is, right now. I glance at the aquarium next to my computer tower. I know what I’m going for, with this day; “calm waters”. A “steady state” of contentment and ease. No “waves”. No “strong current”. Just this moment, right now, and a state of gentle, slow, flow. πŸ™‚ Achievable. With practice.

I smile into my empty coffee mug. It’s time to begin again.

Yesterday was delightful. My Traveling Partner and I spent the day together (how else, in this time of pandemic? lol). We played video games – not generally my “thing”, and I’m not very skilled. My partner was terrifically patient with me, giving me room to play, learn, and grow, while gently offering some useful tips, and coaching with great care to respect my autonomy, and consideration for the time it takes (me) to learn new skills. So much fun! It matters a lot for the quality of such experiences, when he is patient with me.

…Illustrating that point, I took 2 years of keyboard lessons, and never learned to play keyboard, at all, mostly due to my grandfather’s impatience with me just completely sucking the fun out of the entire experience and totally “putting me off” of it, permanently. Same thing when I sought to learn to play guitar, only that time the impatience was my Dad’s, and my instructor’s. It’s been a recurring theme affecting a number of experiences over the course of a lifetime.

…Sometimes my own impatience with my humble efforts, and frustrations with understandable failures during a period of learning, have resulted in dropping some hobby or eagerly sought experience, simply because it was not enjoyable, at all. Why would I put myself through that misery? Hasn’t been worth it. So… my skills and developed competencies are a strange hodge-podge of things that were sufficiently easy to learn that I learned them, or sufficiently engaging to learn that I overcame beginner’s frustrations with pure will. My aquarium(s) fit in that latter category. I love them and delight in them too much to abandon the work needed to “level up”, learn new skills, and take on the real work involved.

I sit here contemplating the new shrimp tank (formerly know as my “thug tank” due to being thrown together to house some aggressive skirt tetras who persisted in hassling my betta, and eating my shrimp). It’s… kind of a mess. lol Oh, not in any horrifying way, but less tidy than it will become over time, while also “too sparse”. I have to wait (patiently) for plants to take root and begin to grown in. I am also waiting for some varieties of plant to simply fail, being less suited to the water conditioned; trial and error on plants and livestock has been a small source of frustration. Everyone who writes or presents content on the topic of aquarium keeping has their own thoughts on the matter, based on their own experience in their own environment, with their own water sources, and their own research. My results vary, whether I follow them, or learn on my own. I do both. My results still vary. lol Patience is necessary.

This tank looks very different now, than it will in a couple weeks. Patience is necessary. Gaming with my Traveling Partner is very different right now, than it likely will become, over time. I am capable of learning. Sometimes it takes me a while, sometimes a ludicrous amount of repetition is needed – sometimes my “learning curve” is dependent on the kind of thing I am trying to learn, and how many “learning styles” it uses (or requires).

I learn best in an environment of positive encouragement and autonomy. I learn fastest when I do the work involved, myself. I learn most durably when there are a lot of opportunities for repetition, fairly consistent in frequency, over time. Few things shut down my learning process faster than impatient frequent criticism. I have only gained this understanding of myself with this much clarity fairly recently – a byproduct of self-reflection on this aquarium-keeping/game-playing path. Fewer distractions. More focus. No real opportunity to wander away in a moment of frustration.Β  Even learning these things about myself, which promises to improve future learning experiences, requires some patience – and a willingness to be vulnerable, and honest with myself about my specific challenges. Now I celebrate! Right?

…Um… No. There are still verbs involved. The map is not the world. The journey is the destination. We become what we practice. My results will still vary. lol This is a very human experience. I’ve simply added some depth of understanding, and a smidgen of personal awareness, to my approach to learning new skills – if I can hold on to that. Maybe I have already learned this before, and forgotten it, and now I am learning it all over again? That’s a real thing for me. This morning I laugh it off; it doesn’t change the joy I experience from watching the fish and shrimp in my aquariums, or the delight I feel when I score well on a game I am playing with my Traveling Partner, and hear his merry exclamation at how well I have done.

Being patient with myself (and therefore, also, being patient with other people) is so worth it!

…It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Another Monday morning, and yes, a Monday morning during the time of pandemic. There will be about 1 in 7 such days, for now until whenever life returns to some semblance of normalcy. Where are you finding your joy in the spaces between news articles about COVID-19? You’ll definitely want to find a bit of joy, the weight of this health crisis is pretty significant, and in spite of that, there is still purpose in life, still small delights to experience, and still a vast expanse of human experience to explore. πŸ™‚

If the circumstances are getting to you, and you have not already tried this next practice, maybe give it a go: breathe. Meditate. (You’ve got time at home to practice!) Take a step back from the 24/7 news cycle. Start a “sanity project” that takes up a great deal of your cognitive bandwidth, and engages your creative side in a positive way. Improve your quality of life – with what you have on hand. It’s challenging, for sure. It’s something, though, and I’m pretty sure we all need something. πŸ˜‰

None of us are immune to the pandemic facing us all. Be well. Be safe. Wash your hands regularly. Practice social distancing. Stay home. If you’re thinking you’re doing “well enough”, please reconsider; approach the circumstances with a beginner’s mind, trust that there is more you don’t yet know, and do better than your best. I remind myself, too. I could do better.

The weekend was a lovely one, in spite of the pandemic. In spite of the rainy spring weather. In spite of feeling confined at home. There’s not much to say about it. I’m certainly getting better at fitting meditation time into my day-to-day routine. πŸ™‚ I enjoy spending time watching fish swim in the aquarium, and the time I’ve been spending on maintaining it, and improving it, has been worthwhile, and satisfying. No easy distractions from the things I could be doing at home that need to be done. The results are pretty good. πŸ™‚ The stress level at home surprisingly well-managed.

…Another Monday… another opportunity to begin again. πŸ˜€

My news feeds have blown up with pandemic stories of the shock and outrage variety. Apparently, quite a lot of people do not actually “get” that social distancing means… wait for it… maintaining social distance. You know. From other people. I would have thought that was so basic as to be unavoidably understandable, but no… there are apparently a notable number of people who think that if the group of people is smaller than 5… and they stay away from other groups of people that size, you know, by about 6 feet, that’s “good enough”. It just isn’t. Seriously. Stay home. Try solitude. It’s not that scary.

If you’re “going for a walk”, but bringing along 4 or 5 family members (or worse yet, strangers off the internet from nearby communities), you’re really not helping.

Stay home.

Seriously. Mostly just stay home. It’s not that complicated. (Seriously – how can you be bored already??)

I’ve been finding a variety of mindfulness practices helpful, myself, and, admittedly, I’m fortunate to be in a relationship with someone I actually enjoy spending time with. No kids to distract or entertain. A fondness for reading has been helpful, too. I don’t think we ever turned on the TV yesterday, at all, choosing to spend our day, instead, working on various individual projects, and reading quietly. I spent more than one delightful hour just watching the fish swim.

Every bit as entertaining as broadcast media.

I get that with various hits to the way our economy works, it’s getting complicated to order things for delivery (already), and maybe you don’t have all the things on hand to easily do some particular task or hobby. It may be hard to get parts, tools, supplies – but the nearly-infinite inventiveness of human primates has kept the species going for quite awhile. I bet you’ll think of something, if you give yourself a chance, and stay open to the possibilities. πŸ™‚

Just stay home, though.

I’m not saying that “life in the time of pandemic” is easy. Clearly not. I’m just saying some small details aren’t that damned hard, and we can all choose more wisely, and show greater care and consideration for our fellow human beings, with improvements in our decision-making. I’m not pointing a judgmental finger, either; I could do better, myself. The once or twice I’ve gone out for things could likely have been wrapped up in a single trip out and back, with some foresight. Less interaction face-to-face with other human beings in the community is the literal goal, here.

I finish off my morning coffee with a sigh. Another day at home, and I’m over the head cold I had last week. It’s a routine workday, and lacking the morning commute, time easily gets away from me…but… there’s also very little pressure (for me) to comply rigidly with a specific start or end time (in my role, currently). This first cup of coffee was delicious… and, it’s already time for work, a new day ahead of me, and time to begin again. My lovely “stay-cation” that turned into “staying home sick” morphs into “working from home”… and all of it feels fairly similar, right now.

…That’s even okay. I’m content with it, working, living, loving, within the confines of social distancing is okay, too. It just takes practice. πŸ˜‰

 

I’m enjoying the day. It’s winding down. There’s music I love on the stereo. The lighting is precisely the way I enjoy it best in the evening; lights down low, strategically selected to create a muted warm glow – too dim to comfortably read a bound book, or do fine needle work, but quite enough to relax, meditate, do yoga, write (at the computer), or just sit quietly with a coffee or a cup of tea. I’m wearing comfy clothes that I favor for time at home. My dinner will be food that appeals to me, without any regard for other people might prefer. I am unapologetically simply this woman who I am, nothing more, nothing less – and no stress about it.

It's a beautiful sunrise, I'd like it to be more meaningful, or significant...do the things that are precious need to be anything more than what they are?

It’s a beautiful sunrise, I’d like it to be more meaningful, or significant…do the things that are precious need to be anything more than what they are?

I miss my traveling partner. I am thinking about him while I cook, while I write, when I’m in the shower, when I’m walking from there to here…he’s on my mind a lot. Tonight I spent a considerable time appreciating a particular quality he brings to our relationship; his comfort with who I am, and his encouragement that I be the woman I most want to be – even when that means I am doing my own thing some evening when, perhaps, with planning we could have been enjoying each other. It’s not even that he is resigned to missing me because I’m doing something, or that he accepts it that I may be unavailable – it’s beyond that. He loves me being me. He loves me living my life. There’s real joy in conversations about things we do as Β individuals – we have so much to say to each other when our lives are not consumed entirely by each other. I confess, when we live together, I tend to be… available. A lot. I adore my traveling partner, and there are qualities [for me] of love and loving that are damned near drug-like. It’s hard to say no to him in order to say yes to me. This is no more comfortable for him than it is for me. I am enjoying this evening when it’s not even an issue – because I am loved and valued as I am, not as property, a prop, a tool or a resource; freedom isΒ a powerful quality to bring to a romantic relationship. We’re human people – partners, making life work together. It’s quite lovely to be so well-loved, and so valued.

Love.

Love.

…I still miss him. πŸ™‚ I’m enjoying being in a truly supportive partnership that encourages growth…and I miss my traveling partner mostΒ of the time that we are apart. That’s okay, too. There’s a yearning to missing him, and anticipate in the yearning; seeing him again is a thing that will happen. These aren’t ‘bad’ feelings – they’re feelings, though, human feelings that tell me something about what I value (and who) and what I need (and want) and what hurts (or heals) – I’m pretty sure I’d miss out on a lot of life to give up on all these feelings. My heart will soar to new heights with wings – not forged in the fire of passion, but crafted tenderly of memories, and tears cried when I am lonely; there’s perspective to be had in feeling the feelings, and wisdom to be gained in experiencing life. I’m okay with that – it’s enough to love and be loved, it doesn’t also have to be effortless, or without discomfort.

Over-reaching for a good metaphor...content to watch fish swim.

Over-reaching for a good metaphor…content to watch fish swim.

Dinner is just about ready. I am eating dinner alone, watching new fish getting acquainted with their home, and enjoying a quiet solo evening. Tonight is not one of the lonely ones; I am enjoying the evening with the woman in the mirror. This, too, is enough. πŸ™‚