Archives for posts with tag: we’re all in this together

Lots of stuff in the news recently about “getting back to normal” and “opening the country back up”. Are you eager to see that happen, or dreading it as potentially premature? Personally, I’m sort of just watching things unfold with a measure of interested curiosity.

I’m pretty sure there will be a “new normal”, and that we would not be wise to simply hit a reset button and go back to irresponsibly not washing our hands and carelessly coughing into open air, or shopping while we’re sick and contagious. One fairly notable thing about “going back to normal” – we can each choose to live a more healthful, safe, life. We can individually continue to commit to exceptional consideration with regard to contagion and personal space. We can continue to wash our hands regularly. We can continue to properly cover coughs and sneezes. We can continue to not go out into the world when we are sick. These all seem like good practices. Why would anyone choose to give them up? Seriously.

This seems a good time to really look into the mirror and acknowledge where my individual practices and habits do (or don’t) support good community health, generally, and make the corrections needed to see that I do practice behaviors that support good community health – and that I am actively promoting those within my relationships, and my community, generally. We’ve had the nudge we all needed, in the form of a pandemic for fuck’s sake, so now it’s time to build reliably healthy habitual long-term behavior for the good of our communities. It’s not that hard, it just needs practice. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee and let my thoughts move on.

I sit and wonder about our fantasy notions about “normal”, and what we think that means. Isn’t “normal” simply a matter of what we’re most used to, most of the time, rather than any reliably true perception or statement of what may actually be a healthy state of things? I mean, if I live somewhere where there is trash in the streets everywhere I go, that would probably seem to be pretty “normal”. It would not, however, be a healthy situation, or in any way perceivably good. I’m just saying; there’s an obvious difference in meaning between “normal” and “something worth seeking”. “Normal” is often used to limit and control people’s behavior – through shaming them using comparisons to that stated “normal”. I sip my coffee and think about how often I am, myself, out of step with some individual’s concept of “normal”. I think about how individual our perceptions of “normal” actually are. I wonder about where those perceptions actually come from, and how or why we may reinforce them – even when we disagree with them. It’s a weird system. 0_o

It’s a weird morning.

I sigh quietly and update my “to do list” with a couple additional tasks my Traveling Partner asked me to take care of. I think about the long weekend ahead, and the camping trip that I’m not taking because all the state parks are closed. I find myself missing the anticipated solitude more, simply because it is now the week that I would have been camping. In fact, I’d be headed for the forest right now, car packed, ready to hike in, set up camp, and while away some hours just listening to the wind in the trees. The plan was 5 days… come back, spend a day with my Traveling Partner before returning to the work routine. Hell, when I made my camping plans, it wasn’t even a given that my Traveling Partner would actually be in town to spend that 1 weekend day with me, after my camping trip. lol We’ve been together basically 24/7 for something like 60 days now – I was at home sick with a cold for several days leading up to my employer’s decision to have the company working from home “until the pandemic is over”. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the things to do with spending this time together. I miss solitude. The challenge is finding the balance between cherished solitude and joyful intimacy. It’s there, but there are some verbs involved.

My view shifts to include the computer at my desk. The keyboard under my fingers. The monitor in front of my face. My glance sweeps the room surrounding me, and all the things within it that comfort and nurture me, support my hobbies, my art work, my writing, my job. I pause for gratitude. This good quality of life is a team effort; my Traveling Partner and I add more to each other’s experiences than we subtract, by far. For now, solitude is an out of reach luxury, and it’s in very short supply. That serves to make it quite precious, worth savoring the experience when I get to enjoy it. I admit to myself that if I had a surplus of solitude right now, and no time with my Traveling Partner (an experience I have endured in the past), it would be just as hard, just as frustrating, just as unsatisfying as any moment right now ever is – and on top of all that, it would also be quite lonely. I shrug off my bitching with this bit of practical perspective, and move on with my morning, aware that he is having his own challenges with these circumstances. (It can not be easy to be with me 24/7… I’m a bit much, sometimes.)

I become aware of the clock. Aware of the time. I guess I’ll begin again. πŸ˜‰

 

 

By now, you’ve probably found yours, right? Productive distractions that pass the time during pandemic “stay at home” orders, or worse yet, during actual quarantine. A productive distraction staves off boredom, and prevents looming chaos from overtaking everything. Mine has been my aquarium, generally, and books. My Traveling Partner has been focused on games and gaming, and tweaking the pc that drives that experience. For us, it’s been helpful that we each have our own “thing” to focus on, the result being we generally have something fun to talk about, any time.

Consideration matters so much right now, for those who are “sheltering in place” with or among other people. Tempers can fray so easily. Letting small shit stay small helps a lot. Mostly it’s all small shit. It’s the letting go that requires the verbs. lol

…My experience this morning “feels different”… I am typing on a different keyboard. My steady regular keyboard is badly in need of cleaning, and I disconnected it to do that. My Traveling Partner said “here, try this one“, and it remains in place, even this morning, loyal favorite forgotten over there, by the stack of things-yet-to-do. This one feels similar-but-different, softer, somehow. Tolerant of my heavy key-stroke, but quiet. Tactile, without being very “click-y”. The strike of each key is vaguely muffled. The “click” is more a “tap” than a click. The keys respond to my touch so fast that I feel as if I am typing “as fast as I think”. It’s nice. Also… the numbers on each key light up. (lol Why does that delight me so?) I enjoy the sensation of typing on the new keyboard. (How many millions of key strokes have I dropped on my old keyboard in the past 6 years of heavy use?) I decided yesterday to stick with this one, and programmed the keys to be illuminated in a lovely dark-ish lavender hue, which changes to a bright greenΒ  with each keystroke, quickly fading to teal as I continue to type. So fun. πŸ˜€

I am distracted by the novelty of typing on a new keyboard. It’s a pleasant distraction.

We meant to watch a movie together yesterday… we spent the day on our projects, and in between (and later on) watched tech videos of various sorts. It was a delightfully productive and fun day together. I mention it because, seriously, this “life in the time of pandemic” gets pretty fucking “real” sometimes, and it has made a lot of difference to my experience to find moments of joy and delight, and to savor those, rather than sit around staring into the maw of media talking heads regurgitating COVID-19 content. I’ve no idea whether we’ll watch that movie tonight… I know we’ll find something fun to share, whether or not it is a movie isn’t very relevant to the shared experience of joy and love. It’s just one way to get there.

What if I were alone, though, how would I “find moments of joy” then? Probably still in the pleasure of caring for my aquarium(s), and reading still more books, honestly. πŸ™‚ I don’t find myself all that complicated, generally, I suppose. Small things delight me (a new fish, a new keyboard, a favorite book), and I entertain myself pretty easily (books, writing, painting, gardening, aquarium keeping… it’s a long list). I fret for a moment, trying to imagine being truly bored right now, and what it would take to lift myself from that boredom. What would I do? I think I would still read books; I can’t really imagine what it would be like to be someone who “doesn’t read”. Lots of libraries are making audio books available for free, too… it is a great time to catch up on reading. lol Online learning? Plenty of that to be had, too. Online travel? There are some very interesting documentaries and streams of a variety of exotic locations. Museums have streamed walk-throughs of their collections, and those are available online, too. Not so interested in someone else’s words, thoughts, or perspective? Pen & ink, my friend – say what you’ve got to say. Self-publish on Amazon. Become the author of the narrative someone else will read. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, taking a moment to appreciate the grocery delivery service that keeps me supplied, the farm workers who harvested the beans, the shipper who transported them, the roaster who roasted them, the distributor who supplied them to the grocery store… How can any one of us not recognize how interconnected we all are? We are all in this together (even though we are each having our own experience). Even our own individual experience is built upon more than the mere sum of our own individual decision-making; there is, too, the matrix of coincidences and circumstances that is the combined force of what happens, and what is chosen, out of reach of our own consideration, in every moment. It’s not all “about us”, regardless who we are. This is a great cup of coffee. In a very real sense, I did not “make it all by myself” – all I did was grind the beans, and pour water over them. A rather small contribution to the outcome, frankly. lol

I find myself appreciating how fortunate I am in these challenging times. I miss my friends, though. I miss brunch on Saturdays. I miss shopping together over a lunch break and laughing about something silly. I miss dinners out. I miss strolling a crowded farmer’s market. I miss “community”. Yep. Even me. I do miss the presence of other people. Part of feeling fortunate right now, is about simply not being alone in this. Again, I find myself feeling fortunate. I remind myself to write letters, emails, and send texts to friends. We really are all in this together, and distance is not always about miles. πŸ™‚

Another day of living in the time of pandemic. Another opportunity to begin again. πŸ™‚

There are other voices than mine. There are other lived truths than the truth I live myself. There are other perspectives, other viewpoints, other angles from which to consider each very human moment. There are other tales to tell, told by other travelers. Each existing alongside all the others, their existence, itself, does nothing to diminish the truth of the others; these are narratives. Subjective experiences of being human, in all its wonder, glory, pain, and joy. I tell mine here, my way. πŸ™‚

A friend posted on Facebook recently that she is undertaking her own healing journey, walking that hard mile, processing trauma, seeking healing, and that she had started a blog. She started a group, to post to, understanding that perhaps not everyone wants to share that journey with her. I appreciate the consideration. I respect the journey; I’ve been on my own such journey for a while now. I reflected back on that moment when I decided to start a journey, and a blog, and considered how that “went down”, and the reactions I’d gotten at that time, from friends and loved ones (a fairly discouraging mix of disinterest, distance, and patronizing comments, generally, and a couple folks sincerely interested in being supportive). I asked myself, explicitly, “how do I want to ‘be there’ for my friend, and her experience, right now?”

I provided a reply I hoped would be welcoming and supportive, and accepted the request to join her group. Why would I not? Reluctance to be triggered? I grant you; it’s a risk. (People in my life spend a lot of time opening up to me about trauma, as it is. I’ve survived it so far.) People need to feel heard. They need emotionally secure relationships in which to open up about what hurts them. Me, too. Can I “be there” to support that? Of course I can. It’s on me to set and manage my boundaries, if it gets to be too much, and even that is a way of being there for a friend or loved one, setting that powerful example that it is also okay to set boundaries, and showing what that looks like, in practice. Practice. Yeah – and also, because I, too, am entirely made of human, I need practice, myself. Practice at listening deeply. Practice at maintaining perspective on past trauma. Practice understanding that we each walk our own hard mile. Practice at “being there” for others. Practice, frankly, at being the woman I most want to be – in every interaction, every moment, on every day. Words are just words. It’s the verbs that make changes come to life. It’s what we practice that matters; we become what we practice.

This morning I read the first of her posts (that I’ve read). I savored her voice. The difference in her style of communication. I read from a place of non-judgmental acceptance, and non-attachment. Her tale is not my tale, however similar some details may seem; she is having her own experience. I listen with empathy, consideration, compassion. I listen deeply. I recognize her humanity, her unique experience. I acknowledge the human experience beyond the words. I nod quietly, more than once. “I know you,” I think to myself. Still, I also allow her her moment; we are individuals, with our own experiences, our own pain. We’re in very different places on our individual journeys. That doesn’t matter as much as “being there” – being present, aware, and compassionate – because although we are each having our own experiences, we’re also “all in this together”. I sip my coffee and contemplate the journey stretching ahead of her.

Ask the questions. Do the verbs. Begin again.

I woke gently after a restful night. I woke with a song still in my head, left behind by my dreams. A song, in fact, with so many covers and remakes, that I didn’t realize that the version that as for me the version, is, itself, a cover. lol I’d never heard the original, until this morning. It’s a very different song, with a different feel altogether. It got me wondering… what would it sound like in this decade? Like… a really recent version? Is there a trap remix…? lol Of course there is.

…Why do I do this?? lol

I sip my coffee and consider the day ahead, the drive down to see my Traveling Partner this weekend, the days and weeks to come, filled with change. I click “play” on my favorites playlist and change the moment, the mood, and the momentum of the day. As if I pressed a “restart” button on my consciousness. I’ve got shit to do today, damn. πŸ˜‰

I contemplate the timing of changes to come, the planning involved in making them weave gently together, the consideration involved in limiting any negative outcomes for others in changes they may not have expected or planned on, the celebration involved in savoring changes that are chosen, or fortuitous. Have I learned to step beyond accepting – even embracing – change? Have I somehow grown to enjoy it? To seek it? To craft it? Huh. Interesting… I think I may be okay with that. πŸ™‚

I take a moment for gratitude; I have worked at getting where I am in life, but, and this is just real for all of us, I didn’t get here alone. I’ve had some lucky breaks, some assists, some opportunities that were unexpected, others that were almost forced on me inconveniently, but which turned out rather well, and at every turn I have been on a shared journey; we are all in this together. Every moment of feedback that resulted in self-reflection and personal growth helped get me here. Every great suggestion that got me thinking differently about where I stand in life – and what I stand for – helped get me here. Every fumble, stumble, and moment of panic, taught me something that eventually brought me here. Every friend. Every colleague. Every conversation. Every moment of support, encouragement, and help. Every angry conversation that sparked growth. Every example set by another person doing their own thing, and making their own choices. Every bad choice, good choice, or other choice – all of it. I did not get here alone.

…That’s also been true when I’ve stood in shitty circumstances, wondering “what the fuck did I do to get here??”. Whether I have celebrated or suffered, I didn’t make my way to that place alone. Something to consider. Relationships matter. How we treat each other matters. What we accept in treatment by others matters. Boundaries and expectations matter. Our words, actions, and values – all of it matters. πŸ™‚

What are you going to do about it?

…This is a good cup of coffee, and a lovely moment. I sit with it awhile, before I begin again. πŸ™‚

 

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about the world, today. Wondering how I can help. What I can do to contribute to a sustainable success for humanity. You know, a long-term win, in which human life is sustained and sustainable, and not at the expense of everything else that lives, breathes, and uses space and resources on this wee mudball hurtling through space. A proper win for all of us, is what I’d like, ideally, see be our mutual outcome. What part can I play in making that happen?

It’s a worthy question; large or small, every action we take contributes to our global shared success… or it does not. Similarly, everything we do pushes us toward humanity’s destruction of itself and the planet… or it does not. These are big, fairly obvious buckets, and there is much that can be divided in this similar way. So…

…How do I help? One human. This one human, right here. What do I do, to ensure our survival as a species, and also prevent us destroying our world? If you could know there is an answer, and that the answer was entirely doable, realistic, feasibly within your control and abilities… would you immediately set to work doing it? Would you persist at it… indefinitely? Would you make it a part of your “life’s work”? Or would you… not?

What are you doing to help make the world a better place (for all of us, and every creature)?

Maybe just, at least, really think about this question… and do something.

We’re all in this together. Each of us, for now, is trapped on this rock in space, competing for resources with everyone (and everything) else. There’s enough to go around, but we’re not very good at sharing; humanity seems to enjoy zero sum games best of all. Winners and losers. It’s pretty weird. We could do better.

I’ll start. πŸ™‚ Today, I’ll make each choice with the additional consideration of whether my decision-making improves life on earth, itself (or at a minimum, legitimately does no perceivable harm). I’ll go forward learning more about the damage I may be doing, unaware of it, and attempt to correct that, too. Maybe I won’t save the world, but I bet I could be a better citizen of the earth, in general. Is it enough to do better?

What about you? Do you want to save the world? How will you begin? πŸ™‚