Archives for posts with tag: what are you practicing?

It’s another lovely autumn day. A work day. I’m okay with that; the day is pleasant.

The view from the deck.

The physical pain that has been my companion for days (weeks? months?) is “not bothering me” for some values of “bother”; it’s nothing more, for now, than an uncomfortable nuisance. I ignore it as much as I can. Manage it otherwise, when I must, and try not to be a dick to people when it goes beyond what I can pretend is not there. Not much else to do for it. Certainly, bitching about it doesn’t help me feel any better. I let it go as often as I can.

…Like now…

I am sipping an afternoon cup of tea. I’m frankly enjoying it more now that it has gone cold, which amuses me. I originally made this pot of tea because I was feeling chilly. lol

I hear my Traveling Partner in the background. Sometimes in the shop. Sometimes at his computer. Sometimes in the living room. I smile every time I notice his continued presence. It’s less an interruption in what I’m doing than a simple reminder that there is life beyond work, and that love exists. It’s very pleasant. The sounds of “home”.

I take a moment for a break. A moment for comfort. A moment to be present, here at home, savoring what feels so good and right in this moment. Moments are fleeting – best to appreciate them while they’re fresh. 😉 Soon enough it will be time to begin again.

It’s been another few days. I’m not gone. I’m fine. Life is… good. Contentment seeps in along the edges. I’ve moved back into my studio. “Everything” is back in its place. This is enough.

…Hardly fantastic motivation for early morning writing, though, I will say…

I hear my Traveling Partner’s merry laughter in the other room, and the sound of comedy. Yeah. This is enough. 🙂

I’m finding new routines. New timing. Sorting out new ways to enjoy my experience in this new space, now freed of the stress and chaos of repair work in progress. Perhaps you are used to counting on me, each and every morning…? Are you feeling sorrowful or bereft, or perhaps just bored, or jostled from your own routine? I hope you will be patient while I figure a few more self-care details out in this new home… I promise you, there is a ton of amazing content on the internet! (It is vast, indeed.)

…So… Until the next time. 🙂

I am sitting with my thoughts, taking a moment for myself out of a busy day. I’m contemplating life, love, art – you know, the important things. 🙂 I smile when I recall the new book I’ve only just started reading, which promises to satisfy other creative impulses than those fulfilled by paint and canvas.

It brings back long-forgotten memories, too.

I contemplate a tiny art project I am undertaking.

The studio is not yet ready for larger work… I think I can make room for something very small.

I take time for brilliantly blue autumn skies.

…And passing clouds.

I let moments overtake me. Breathing. Relaxing. Letting my mind wander a bit. Soon enough, it is time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee, quietly reading some news. I give up on it quickly; most of the news is at best a bit of a downer, and at worst holds some amount of potential to be a significant mood-wrecker. I stifle a sneeze, and wonder why I haven’t put a box of tissues in my studio, yet? No, I’m not ill. It’s just a stray sneeze. Dust? Or allergens of some sort. I return to my coffee and my thoughts.

Where does this path lead?

I took my first walk in the countryside since the move, on Saturday. It was a lovely day for it. The entire weekend was sunny. Saturday was pleasantly warm and somewhat mild. Sunday was ferociously hot for the area. I enjoyed both days quite a lot. The walk was lovely, and I am glad I got out on the trail, although most of the walk was simply around and about the new neighborhood. 🙂 Plenty to see, all of it new, most of it entirely ordinary. 🙂 Small pleasures still count as pleasant.

There is the usual assortment of roadside flowers in bloom to be seen along the way.

I walked a bit more than a mile. Far enough to walk a new path, to see some new points of view, and to wave at new neighbors.

I crossed a small foot bridge passing over a small branch of the creek that flows past our house.

The walk was enough to make my ankle ache, by the time I had returned home. Still, I wasn’t in much pain this weekend, and as improvements in quality of life go, a reduction in pain is a good one to enjoy. So, I spent the weekend enjoying that. 🙂

I sip my coffee, now, enjoying my recollections of the weekend just past, and thinking about the day ahead. Later on, I’ll drive “into the city”, which I’m not looking forward to at all. It’s just a necessary errand. Portland is seriously “stirred up” right now, and I’ve no interest in becoming mixed up in that chaos. I looked over my route, yesterday evening, and verified it does not need to take me through the heart of things, down near the courthouse, before confirming my plans. Portland, Oregon, has a lively protest culture, and I have long respected and valued the willingness of Portland’s citizens to take a stand against injustice. That feeling does not diminish the experiences of profound inconvenience and considerable risk that go along with attempting to pass through an area filled with protesters, counter-protesters, and aggressive law enforcement. I make a point of keeping my distance, unless I am intending to be an active participant. Safer.

I notice that thoughts of protests, protesters, and conflict, have caused my heart to pound and my breathing to become shallow. I take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and relax. There is no threat here, just me and this cup of coffee, which I am enjoying very much. I think about my Saturday morning walk, instead, and feel my shoulders relax, and my heartbeat slow down. I sip my coffee and begin to plan my day.

…Pretty routine stuff, but I’ll point out that generally speaking, on the average, things tend to be pretty routine, day-to-day, most particularly if I allow them to be so. I could keep myself constantly in a state of tension, ready for a fight, poised on the edge of drama, constantly examining my experience for threat of danger, or revisiting past conversations looking for an enemy to confront… I know people who do. I once did, myself. It’s not actually a pleasant or comfortable way to live, and it didn’t seem to enhance my quality of life at all – and it didn’t reduce the danger or drama in my life, or do much to actually prepare me to deal with those sorts of things, in fact. It was just uncomfortable and emotionally messy. I’m glad I gave up those practices (and they are experiences that do require practice) in favor of practices that tend to tilt life more in the direction of contentment, joy, ease, and satisfaction in life. Turned out that life itself did not need to change much – it was more about my perspective on life needing a change (and how I treated myself in the context of the events of my life). 🙂

I finish this cup of coffee, on an ordinary enough Monday, beginning a routine sort of day. It’s enough. I begin again. 🙂

This morning starts gently. The promise of every new day is a new beginning. Even in the time of pandemic, every dawn begins a new day (so far…). I start the morning with meditation, yoga, coffee… and this peculiar beautiful strange celebration of what is human. I love this video version of The Real Folk Blues. I’m not certain I can be clear about quite why. It isn’t the “original version”. It’s one created by artists (during the pandemic) inspired by that original for reasons of their own. It reminds me that even our struggles – maybe especially our struggles – create moments of profound beauty, wonder, and power in our experience. Anchors created in our memory that tie us to events, places, people, experiences… good or bad, lost or found; our hearts beat to these rhythms. Pieces of “who we are”.

Poetic musings and a bit of music, a cup of coffee, a sunrise… there are worse ways to start a day. 🙂

My mind wanders through recollections of recent special moments. Like light and shadows, reflections on water, or catching sight of a finished painting with completely new eyes, the memories are meaningful to me, in a fleeting moment, the significance easily lost if I “overthink” them. There have been some lovely moments during the move, and yes, during this time of pandemic. I sit with those, sipping my coffee, insisting that my restless mind pause and focus on what is sweet, and merry, and good, and uplifting. Love and loving, and what matters most. The things I want to characterize my day-to-day experience. I pause not to celebrate those experiences so much as to savor them, and “lock them into” my implicit memory and experience of life “generally”. The wellspring of my positivity and fairly reliably good outlook on life, these days, is, I suspect, rooted in this one simple practice. It’s not “mine” – I learned it elsewhere. Here’s a great explanation of how to “take in the good”. Your results may vary. (We become what we practice.)

It’s a good morning for coffee and sentiment. Such a human thing. What’s so special about being human? I’m not even certain that it is special… there’s not much I can know about “the life of the mind” for a turtle, an ant, a hummingbird, or a house cat. I only know what I know – and that’s such a pitifully small amount of knowledge, even among human primates, that it can be a bit of a downer now and then. I queue up another favorite song, sentimental, encouraging, and very human. I smile while silly sentimental tears spill over for no obvious reason. Also very human. Also totally okay.

Perspective matters.
“Emotion and Reason” acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow 2012

Another day. Time to get on with another beginning. 🙂 What sweetness and wonder might today hold? Time to find out… If things go wrong, I know I can begin again.