Archives for posts with tag: what are you practicing?

I woke with a headache and a stuffy head. A cold? Allergies? I’m not certain. Already there is uncertainty creeping into the day. I’m dealing with arthritis pain today, too, but… I’m not sure whether it is because the weather is chilly, or for some other reason. More uncertainty. I’m working through the final week at this job, ready to step into a role in a new place – there’s certainly (lol) no certainty about what that future experience will hold. Perspective matters; my sense of “certainty” is quite often simply a choice to favor one way of viewing circumstances over another, not really anything to do with what I do or don’t actually know. What do I even actually “know” with legitimate certainty? What do you “know”? How did you test and verify that knowledge? Or… did you simply sip it up with a cognitive straw based on what someone else said they “know”, and you’ve chosen to be fine with that? I mean… I can’t judge harshly on that. We all do it. Might be good to do that less, though…

I sit in a rainy forest, along a wet dirt road, near a puddle, listening to the rain fall, thinking things over… Well, not really… it’s a video, and a moment of reflection over coffee, is all. It’s “not real”… I mean, in the sense that I am not actually there. It’s quite real, inasmuch as it is a video of a real place and time. So… Moving on with the uncertainties…

I’d planned to walk the trail, but the park is still closed after the recent storms.

There’s a work day ahead. I also need to run to the store. These things feel “certain”. I mean, they’ll definitely happen, right? There are still a ton of assumptions that go into that carefully crafted feeling of certainty. I turn it over in my head, admiring my handiwork; that’s some careful craftwork, there. I feel comfortable with it, as “reality” goes. I’ll likely make choices and take actions that lead to those things coming to pass, more or less as expected.

…Expectations… Assumptions…

I breathe with the timer on my desktop, listening to the rain fall. In spite of my stuffy head, and in spite of my pain, and in spite of “life’s uncertainties” – which is, like, everything to do with living life – I feel pretty okay right now. That is a reality I can definitely embrace.

…Of course, I’ve still got to begin again. My results will continue to vary. All of that is okay, too. I’m just practicing. 😉

Pandemic life… is still life. Appointments get made. Some get rescheduled. Most get attended. Projects get started, some even get finished. There are decisions to make, and decisions to delay. Change is. Change always is. I mean… for most values of “always”. 🙂

I’m taking a breathe, and a break, and contemplating changes, and choosing change. The details matter, but eventually it comes down to the choice to be made, and subsequent follow-through. Life, love, or work… we have opportunities, and choices. Am I where I most want to be? Can I choose differently and get closer to the goal? Does this path even go there? The questions are ways to reconsider the choices with care.

I find myself reflecting on times in my life when I felt as if I “had no choice”. Times when I felt trapped by my circumstances were far more often a matter of being trapped by my own decision-making (or lack of willingness to choose differently). I’m not living that life now. It’s very freeing to have choices – and to choose.

Some decisions are harder than others. The decision to walk carefully over dangerous terrain is probably pretty obvious. It may feel much more difficult to choose a flavor of ice cream from a case with many flavors, or to select “just the right earrings”. Importance matters too; a disappointing choice of ice cream flavor does not have much lasting impact on life – or the moment. There’s all that messy bit about how a choice is executed, and what the outcome may look like, when it is happening in the moment… a concern for another day. This morning I’m just thinking about choices. 🙂 I had a choice to make, and having it made it, I anticipate the requirement to make another. Once that’s made, and the outcome begins to unfold, only then will I have a real sense of the success or failure of my decision-making.

…Here’s a really cool thing about decisions; wisely made decisions lead to useful or favorable outcomes. Nice. Poorly made decisions? Here’s where it gets awesome; poorly made decisions lead to growth – and wisdom – that improves later decision-making. Incremental change over time is “about” choices and practices.

…And it’s time to begin again.

New day? Check! Hot cup of coffee? Delicious! Rested? Generally – good enough. 🙂 I’m feeling merry and eager to begin the day.

Even a familiar trail has new things to see, new potential obstacles, and new moments.

I’ve got my day sort of planned, very loosely, but it feels pretty satisfying. It’ll begin with this coffee, and these words, and proceed to a lovely trail walk. I don’t know where it will end. It’s for sure a promising beginning after a crushingly busy work week.

Sometimes good (needed) self-care takes real planning, and a commitment to the time and effort involved. I’m worth that. 🙂 (Aren’t you?)

I’ve made a commitment to myself for this weekend; take care of myself. Walk. Eat nutritious meals. Read. Paint. Hang out with my Traveling Partner between things, and enjoy our precious, limited, mortal time together. The basics. 😀 It’s more than “enough”.

It’s already time to begin again. 😉

Well… the news on January 6th was… newsworthy. I guess that’s something. (Just Google it, Future Reader, cuz I just can’t even begin to go down that path.) Honestly, I guess I was mired in whatever work challenge the day presented… I barely looked up when my astonished and appalled Traveling Partner stuck his head into my studio to tell me of the news, in an appropriately alarmed tone, and I’m sure he was purposeful and complete with his summary. I recall hearing something like, “…storming the capitol…”, I looked up, nodded vaguely, “…you already know about it?” I may have answered in the affirmative – I definitely was not aware of the specifics he was attempting to share, and what I thought he was talking about would certainly have been less… significant.

…Damn there’s been a lot of history in these 57+ years…

Funny (not funny, not really) how we “know a historical moment” when we see it… if it’s something going terribly wrong. I have the impression we tend, as creatures, to be less correct about the good stuff… like… a lot. It’s pretty inconvenient.

Here we all are, now. More than typically aware of how fragile a foundation our assumptions rest on, perhaps, and perhaps more aware of the alarming potential for violence each human being actually has. Strange that we ever lose sight of that… there’s so much violence in the world, and so much of it feels “unexpected”, however commonplace it may have been, or be, or seems to be becoming. We’re fairly dangerous primates, only partially domesticated, and our big brains allow us to build and make some amazing tools… with which to kill each other. Fucking hell. Will we ever discontinue this terrible terrible practice? Will we ever choose differently? 😦

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let that go. The sunshine breaks through the gray of a rainy winter afternoon, and I think about trails I’d like to hike…

Choose wisely. Stay on the path.

It’s already time to begin again.

The New Year is almost here. Time to turn the page on this plague-ridden year and begin anew*. I used to make a point of creating an event on my social media pages & apps, and inviting my contacts to join me in taking one hour out of the 24 available hours on 1/1 of the new year – for themselves. Time to be spent reflecting on the year past, considering the goals of the year ahead, and plotting what that path might look like – in a sense, crafting a map of sorts, of the way ahead. Some time spent on purposeful reflection. Some time spent on self, and self-care. I’ve found it a worthy moment to spend with myself, each year.

…I’m not on Facebook these days. I have, but don’t use, a Twitter account (the grotesque spectacle of how Twitter can be mis-used, provided to us over the past 4 years, has been a lesson – for me – in “fuck that dumb shit, who needs it?”). My Instagram account lingers on, primarily as a last “easy” means of staying in touch with some far away friends. I spend less than 15 minutes per day on it, and often go days without looking at it at all. (Lovely landscape pictures… chipmunks… kittens… the ads suck, and I don’t like the association with Facebook at all.) I’m not on Twitch, or Discord, or Parler, or Reddit, or… yeah, I learned an important lesson some time ago about the value of my time, and also? The likely real-world harms that result from “doom-scrolling” and obsessing over the funhouse picture of other lives that social media presents as “reality”. It wasn’t at all healthy for me, personally, so – like a lot of people – I cut way back. Waaaaaay back. I’m down to just the one (Instagram), and I’m constantly asking myself whether I get real value out of that one that justifies having any involvement whatsoever with social media, generally. lol

…Leaving social media complicates some things in the 21st Century, while it simplifies others. That’s just real. Still worth it.

You’re invited, too!

So… I invite you to take One Hour, this New Year’s holiday, and start the year off with a moment of your own time, wherever you are, wholly spent on giving thought to who you are today, who you most want to be, and how you can make that journey from here, now, to arrive at living life as the person you most want to be day-to-day. I’m not saying one hour gives you an easy path to that potentially quite distant goal – but surely most journeys are simplified by checking a map once in a while? One Hour is a bit like “taking down the directions” to a destination – potentially more like jotting those down on a cocktail napkin than like drafting a proper map, but you get my meaning, I’m sure. 🙂

Take One Hour. Go for a walk. Write in a journal (preferably your own… 😉 ). Are you a fan of “weighing the pros and cons”? Make a couple lists. Give real thought to real challenges. Ask yourself the hard questions that are on your mind – even if you don’t find immediate answers. If nothing else, take that One Hour, and be your own best friend for a little while.

…One Hour isn’t much, really, out of an entire day or week, month, or year, surely we each deserve that much and more from ourselves? It’s a start. Another beginning. A stepping stone to a future. A personal practice that has remained a favorite of mine for the many years I’ve done it. Here’s hoping you make time for you on New Year’s Day, and that the year ahead finds you on the path to that best version of yourself that you see ahead. 🙂 Realistically? It’ll probably be a journey that takes far more than one hour. There will be challenges. Changes. Choices. You’ll have to practice some things. Maybe do some things very differently than you had.

Your results will surely vary. Fortunately – however many times you feel you have failed, you can begin again.

New path, new perspective.

*I have to admit that although in a great many respects 2020 was quite terrible as years go, in other respects – many, actually – it was also (for me) quite a good year, too. I have mixed feelings about that, but it would be at odds with the woman I most want to be to fail to acknowledge that some events of 2020 have left a lasting positive mark on me. My relationship with my Traveling Partner has deepened considerably. We bought a home together. Improved our quality of life in a number of ways. I’ve got a good job. We live in a pleasant community. It’s hard to fuss about how shitty pandemic life is when we are so fortunate… just saying; linguistic shortcuts are sometimes at the expense of nuance and details that matter. 🙂