Archives for posts with tag: we become what we practice

Progress is progress – even in small barely noticeable steps. Incremental change over time says nothing about the size of the increments, or the length of the timeframe. Your growth, change, and forward progress in life are yours to pursue, to limit, to choose, to determine, to embrace or resist… No one else really gets to tell you how, when, or why to take a particular step on your path. Doesn’t stop folks from trying, sometimes, or thinking themselves in some way the moderator of your experience.

(One note, before you jump ahead, I’m not presently considering experiences such as childhood, incarceration, or military life, all of which do indeed include a considerable amount of one’s time being “told what to do”, for reasons outside the parameters of this discussion; this is not about that.)

I woke early this morning, a sunny, somewhat chilly Sunday. I woke feeling rested and eager to embrace the day. Feels good. A hot shower, meditation, and my first coffee were enjoyed without waking my still-sleeping Traveling Partner. Instead of bustling about on housekeeping chores or gardening (that would require rattling some things on the deck to get at tools and such), I head out for a short walk and to pick up donuts, hoping to start my partner’s day well. I arrived home to find out that he woke with a severe headache, and a request to be very gentle with him this morning. My greeting is quiet and less boisterous than usual when I open the front door; headaches suck.

We enjoy coffee together and hang out for a few minutes. Pleasant and agreeable moments, shared, are a lovely way to begin a sunny Spring morning. 😀

The garden begins to take shape.

I sit down here with thoughts of gardening and a smile. I’m eager to face even tasks like weeding this year. My vision of our garden is slowly coming together, just as our life here in our own home takes shape a bit at a time. It’s lovely. I wrote myself a gardening “mission statement” for this year’s endeavors (a suggestion by Huw Richards that I found especially helpful for focus and a sense of purpose).

To connect the garden to the kitchen through beautiful edible landscape, and create an oasis of flowers for passing butterflies, hummingbirds, and artistic inspiration.

I reflect on this each morning (and weekend) when I consider what to do next, and how I want to see the garden develop – and what matters most about each plant and seed. The thoughts feel more connected with each other, and I have been less prone to just going nuts with new plants that won’t thrive, or vegetables with cool pictures that I won’t actually eat, or may not be well-suited to the growing conditions here. It’s also helped me refine my thoughts about questions regarding raised beds, additional trees, and placement of objects – all things I sometimes tend to be rather haphazard about, resulting in unsatisfying chaos, and unmanageable workload for the likely return on my time and effort.

I have seedlings coming up in grow bags outside. Seedlings coming up in seed trays on the windowsill in my studio. Seedlings coming up in the front flower beds. Recently planted herb plants establishing themselves in the front beds are thriving – all but the pineapple sage, which I can tell has not been happy about the unexpectedly frosty handful of recent mornings. Looks like it will bounce back, though. I purchased some additional seeds for later sowings, with the eventual return of winter in mind. Planning ahead will ideally mean I am never scrambling to complete the next seasonal task. Somehow having this small “seed bank” of open-pollinated, organic, (often heirloom) selection of seeds that don’t have patent-protecting limitations on reproduction has me feeling more prepared for potentially worsening supply chain issues that may make buying produce challenging. It may be an illusion, but… I like having a garden. I like feeling secure. Having seeds on hand feels good. The time and consideration of each choice – and each source – feels well-spent.

Seeds – the planting, the nurturing, the harvesting of the results – are a fond metaphor, for me. So much of life’s quality is in that “we reap what we sow” sort of place. The idea that “we get out of it what we put into it” appeals to me. I think it is likely a bit more accurate to observe that regardless of circumstances, how we deal with those circumstances is key to the outcome over time and our subjective experience of living our lives. Sometimes the circumstances are garbage. Sometimes “the hand we’re dealt” is pretty fucking crappy. We don’t always choose the shores on which we stand – but we get to choose the direction in which we proceed, do we not? 🙂 So… planting a seed is a small beginning on a new adventure – what we do once that seed is planted has a lot to do with how things turn out, once the fruits of our labor begin to ripen. I sip my coffee and follow the threads of this favorite metaphor as I look out the window to the pear tree beyond the fence, and the small bright yellow bird looking back at me. (I think it is a Yellow Warbler…)

I make a couple notes about things I want to do today, out in the sunshine… place a couple lovely large river rocks that were once part of my aquarium decor… tie the pea trellis more firmly… check in with my Traveling Partner regarding potentially adding a raised bed out front… weeding (and sketching & photographing weeds for later identification)… it’s a lovely morning to plant a seed – and begin again. ❤

I am awake in the wee hours. No stress, I am simply awake, for the moment. I crashed eary, hard, definitely expecting I might sleep through the night, though my Traveling Partner turns out to be correct; I woke up, a few hours later, and here I am. Awake in the quiet still hours before a new day begins.

Yesterday was strange. I think it was, good, though. That’s how I recall it. I spent the morning running errands. came home, settled down to relax… A spontaneous suggestion by my Traveling Partner put us headed up the highway to see something in person that disappointingly wasn’t there to see. I had suggested calling before we went… No harm done.

I got home honestly too tired to cook. We’d grabbed a snack on the road, anyway. I was also too tired to realize I was too tired. I completely set things up to make dinner…chopped things, mixed things, readied this-n-that for cooking. My partner noticed my efforts, and also my lack of real engagement; I was on autopilot, exhausted. He suggested having a fancier than usual lunch the following day, instead, if the preparations would keep…? I agreed, grateful for the help sorting things out, and unconcerned about things keeping or not.

…Lunch today will be yummy, and pretty easy; everything is ready, just needs to come out of the fridge beforehand. Convenient.

Sitting up, awake, for this little while, quietly, does not prepare me for the sneeze that catches me by surprise as a yawn overtakes me. Who knew sneezing and yawning are so thoroughly incompatible? lol The heat comes on, a soft whisper in the background that seems to encourage sleep… Yeah, I could go for more of that.

Another yawn. I wonder what tomorrow holds…

It’s definitely Spring. The earliest seeds are starting to pop – pea seedlings (bush peas) are making an appearance, and the pea plants (climbers) are looking around for something to climb. It’s an exciting season filled with growth and newness. It’s a good time to plant things… seeds… ideas…

Pea seedlings breaking through.

I’m having my second coffee with a friend this morning. Nice day for the drive. Serendipitous that I managed to overlook one wee otocinclus yesterday when I took the livestock from the aquarium and transported them to their new home. It gave me a specific reason to reach out to my friend and meet up for coffee; they have an aquarium and a suitable home for this one little oto, and are much closer than the distance I traveled yesterday.

I returned home from my errand yesterday feeling surprisingly light and free, and okay with my decision to empty the aquarium and sell the equipment. In fact, I felt so relaxed and contented with myself that I sat right down and did the taxes for the year. lol There’s no real connection between aquarium maintenance and annual tax filing activities, but I was willing to capitalize on the moment of additional motivation. 🙂

Yesterday was a good day. Today is shaping up to be similarly pleasant, so far. I make a few garden notes. My Traveling Partner checks in on my outing, and we talk about whether to make it a shared adventure, deciding to make the trip to a retailer of interest, together, on another day. My partner’s smile is warm, merry, and filled with love. It’s a good day for love.

It’s said that we reap what we sow. Makes sense. We become what we practice. What are you planting in the garden of your heart, this Spring? Maybe it’s time to consider a new crop?

It’s a rainy Monday. A new day – and an opportunity to begin again. What a strange experience this mortal existence is. My Traveling Partner and I spent the morning over coffee listening together to a lecture by Alan Watts (why not?). I made a simple breakfast that we enjoyed together afterward. Just eggs scrambled with mushrooms and onions, and a toasted English muffin.

My cooking has gotten so much better during the pandemic… weirdly, I don’t have the recollection that it was “bad“, before… although my partner will occasionally, and ever so gently, suggest that perhaps it was less good than I thought. lol I figure he’s likely quite correct, and certainly based on his own experience that he has shared with me, I know I count on the truth of it. I’m okay with getting better at things; we become what we practice. I’ve been spending rather a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking things, as an alternative to fast food (which is an impractical cost and nutritional disappointment). I definitely enjoy the food I make at home so much more than I used to. It’s not even a question anymore; I like to eat at home more than I want to go out. 😀

My vegetable garden.

I am distracted by the garden, in a pleasant way. My time outside yesterday was well spent, tidying up the large-ish fabric pots that sit along the back strip of the property, just beyond the deck. I’ve got 5 of them. I used them to plant tomatoes last year, and it was waaaaay too many tomatoes, and rather a lot of work, as they became progressively more ridiculously overgrown. We don’t eat a lot of tomatoes, generally. lol I just find them easy and tasty to grow, so… easy win? Silly to take that approach, it’s haphazard and wasteful.

This year, I thought about what I cook, what we eat, what grows where we are, and what kinds of produce would be potentially more cost effective to grow, myself. It’s a relatively short list, that seems heavy on alliums of various sorts, which didn’t really surprise me; I’ve been using a fucking ton of shallots, scallions, leeks, and garlic this winter, as I learn to cook in a wok. LOL They’ve crept into a lot of my other cooking, too. Handy and flavorful. I also planted some carrots, and an assortment of lettuces and greens (and I do mean assortment; it’s a blend of several blends!). I have sucked at growing greens, so that’ll be where most of the work and personal growth will be. lol I don’t think I can fuck up onions. Carrots have been a success for me before, and the difference in flavor between grown in the garden and purchased at the store is remarkable.

5 pots with somewhat depleted soil became 4 well-filled pots, planted each with their own thing: leeks in one, scallions in other, then the carrots, and the greens. I’d like to add garlic and scallions. Maybe some bush beans? Peas? I sat down with my garden plan and updated it with those details to save my sanity later (otherwise, and I promise you this is true, I won’t remember what I planted, or where it got planted).

I sip my second coffee, listening to the rain fall. Thinking about herbs and roses – those will be finding their home in the front garden, among the flowers and the shrubbery. I savor this feeling; the feeling of being home.

What next with the day? Dunno. Maybe more time in the garden when the rain lets up. There’s some weeding to do in the flower beds, and things to make ready for more planting as the soil warms up enough for less hardy flowers and things. I’ve got nasturtium seeds… I could plant those today… doesn’t seem likely we’ll get another hard freeze at this point… probably…

I sip my coffee thinking about Spring and seeds and beginnings. I think about love. We become what we practice.

This morning I am grooving to the sound of new beats from an old friend. I’m sipping my coffee, feeling relaxed, loved, and even “merry”. It’s a pleasant, leisurely Sunday morning. My pleasant moment is interrupted by a commercial interruption on Soundcloud; an ad break between tracks. I roll my eyes, look for any chance to skip it (that doesn’t amount to paying for a subscription to a rarely used service), and settle on ignoring it for the required 31 seconds. It’s a distraction, and not a pleasant one; this is “where we are” culturally – our attention held in servitude to commercial endeavors, with or without our consent.

I sip my coffee and think about the media, my shorter attention span, the nature of likes, clicks, and views, and the monetization of human attention, and individual data. I think about our “global culture” – and how it sometimes seems “the fabric of society” is being torn apart…only… that’s just one perspective on a very complex, only somewhat shared experience. While there certainly seem to be “norms” and commonplace expectations of a dominant group in our social hierarchy being challenged, undermined, and perhaps also “misused”… There are also huge swaths of humanity who were never invited to that party, who don’t (and did not) have the advantages that are said to be being “undermined”, and for whom the system as it is has existed is punitive, hostile, prejudiced, and has long prevented them from thriving as groups. Labeled, cut-off from the benefits of “mainstream” society, and worse still often shamed for “doing it to themselves” instead of humble acknowledgement of inequities in our laws and institutions, so many people in so many places see patterns that amount to willful inhumanity. Fixing that mess… now that’s a global challenge for a global society. Will we fix our mess before the clock runs out on humanity’s presence on this planet?

I let the beats carry my thoughts onward… sipping my coffee and a glass of water, sort of in alternation.

I think about the day’s housekeeping tasks ahead of me. I think about getting a walk in on some nearby trail – if the day warms up just a little. I think about maybe baking brownies and trying a different recipe, seeking that exceptional brownie result. None of these thoughts, however delightful, have anything whatsoever to do with the actual outcome; that requires some verbs. Real action. Choices. Follow-through.

…Another fucking advertisement begins to play in the background. I do not give a shit about the advertiser or the product. I tune it out…

Patterns in my life; I do housekeeping on Sundays, generally. When I write, most of the time, I write in the morning. There is a cadence, a rhythm, to the day-to-day, and to each week. When I write, or think, or reflect, or daydream, there is often some kind of thread that connects my thoughts. When I struggle, there is often another sort of “thread” that, once tugged, begins to unravel some bit of baggage or bullshit. Noticing a pattern, pulling on that thread, following a path; all these things lead me onward. Even these beats in my ears right now, and so also in my head, guide me along my human experience, giving me a pace, a flow, a sort of carrier wave upon which the signal that is my own individual experience can be layered. My breathing shifts; slower and more even with the chill ambient beats. Glacial. Slow perspective. Ease.

Another advertisement? Really?? Fucking hell…

The beat shifts again, energizing me, lifting me, bring a smile to my face and an eagerness to my moment. My breathing is a bit faster. I feel an increasing readiness to move on with the day. There is a rhythm to the tasks and habits and routines I set for myself. It works for me, mostly. When it doesn’t, breaking down the missed moment, the lost beat, the unraveling thread into smaller parts gives me a chance to understand myself a bit better, and to creep ever closer to being the person I most want to be.

…It’s not “everything”, it’s only “something” – sometimes something is enough. 🙂 It is, at least, enough on which to begin again. 😀

Today, I’ll do my best. I’ve got a list. I’ve got all day. 🙂 It’s enough.