Archives for posts with tag: what matters most?

I’m sipping my coffee feeling fortunate, this morning. I feel fortunate most mornings, these days. I am lucky enough to be in love with my best friend. It’s lovely. At this age, I am sometimes less than ideally fit to indulge rapacious lust, and we’re not ducking off to a quiet spot for a quick romp as often as when we first got together (nor as often as we’d probably like). The aches and pains of aging and health-related matters sometimes get in the way of sex. You know what they don’t get in the way of? The love.

“Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

My Traveling Partner – and titular dream lover, and best friend – steps into the studio and plays with my hair for a moment while I write. It’s a sweet romantic moment. I feel loved. Soon enough, he’ll be in the shop with his son working on this-or-that, and I’ll be on with the day tackling an errand or some housekeeping. Eventually, we will connect again – on a break, or with a question, or simply seeking each other out for a moment of connection without an agenda aside from love and loving. It’s easy in these easy moments to think love itself is easy… there are still verbs involved. There is the ongoing need to practice deep listening, to respect and care for each other, to put in the effort when circumstances are difficult…

…Like this morning, actually. I woke with a ferocious headache that feels a bit as if my brain stem is just… on fire. Yeesh. The pain is an unnecessary complication, and I resent having to deal with it. I manage, however, not to drag that into every interaction (so far), and just deal with it quietly in the background without turning it into a thing all its own. Win! 😀

I woke this morning with this fucking headache, the awareness of which interrupted a lovely dream that I was in my partner’s embrace, entwined naked in bed, sleeping in each other’s arms… yep. I was sleeping, dreaming of sleeping. What the hell? LOL When I woke, though, there was – in spite of the headache – a lovely all-over sort of awareness that I am truly loved. I don’t have the words to describe the emotional context in which I woke – it was wonderful, and since that moment, headache and all, I smile every time I see or interact with my partner. I love that guy. lol 😀

Sweet moments matter. It’s so easy (too easy) to put all the focus on tragedy, drama, and pain, or to become swamped by life’s inevitable chaos. This morning, I let the moment be what it is, and sit with my coffee and this smile. Those matter far more than the headache I woke with. Soon enough, I’ll surely begin again – for now? This moment, this lovely late summer morning at home with my partner, is quite enough just as it is. 🙂

Queen Elizabeth passed away today. Good long run. An impressive legacy. She didn’t quite make it to 100 years. Seems like more people may be able to in the future, though, and perhaps longer if medical science continues to progress… how amazing would that be?

Juan and Marisa, in love on the beach in 2022… where will they be in 2083? Will their love last? What will they do with their lives? Will they be remembered?

I “went coastal” yesterday, to give my Traveling Partner (breathing)room to work on a complicated project without the unintended distractions of me just being around in the background. I don’t grudge him that time and space, and I genuinely enjoy getting away for a few solitary hours with camera in hand, walking new trails, seeing things from another perspective, and breathing the sea air. It reminds me of my Granny, and the many visits together to the seashore, or along the marshy estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay. I miss her greatly, and most of all when I am “at the shore”. Any shore. That was “us” – long car drives filled with conversation, and sunny hours “at the shore”. Fuck I do miss that woman. Often. I think maybe she would be proud of how far I have come.

I feel for the loved ones of Queen Elizabeth. They didn’t just lose a monarch – they lost their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother… they lost someone truly dear to them. That is painful stuff.

Traffic on the way home.

Yesterday afternoon I returned home, but my partner wasn’t finished with the work he was doing, and my excited-just-got-that-job-offer energy was definitely a distraction. After some testy unsatisfying exchanges that were well-intended and heartfelt, but painful, I suggested that I return to the coast today, and he was totally down for that. So… I did. Later, he indicated (text messaging for the win!) that he would need more time, really. So… I got a room on the coast for the night and went back to walking the beaches, stalking the birds with my camera, and feeling the sea breezes muss my hair. Frankly, I left the house this morning prepared for the potential usefulness in making a night of it, and I made a point to tuck the needed medications into my gear, and made a point of having alllll the batteries and devices charged up, and even took my laptop along with me (figuring that might be handy on an overnight). I even remembered spare socks and underwear. 😀 I didn’t go as far as packing an overnight bag, though now I wonder why. LOL

Oh… Yes, I got an excellent job offer from a company I’m eager to work for, on a team that looks like a great fit for me. I’m excited about it. It’s just not really the most important thing today. Honestly, neither is the death of a distant monarch (however badass she was, and omg she totally was a major badass). Today is breezy, relaxed, and sunny, and I am enjoying everything about that. Doing so while also being 100% certain I am not distracting my partner while he is working? Extra good. It’s enough. More than enough. It’s quite choice, and I am enjoying the day.

Where will I be in 2083? In my grave? Forgotten? Still alive, and so old that no one around me remembers that I was once a badass? My legacy forgotten? Alive and lively, loved and cared-for, with the kind of vast historical perspective that results in day-time news shows wanting to interview me about what I personally witnessed of history? Will my Traveling Partner and I continue to travel life’s journey together through all those decades ahead? Will we be little old people slowly walking the neighborhood holding hands and talking softly, laughing loudly? The future is not written, and this journey has no map…

The journey is the destination.

My thoughts come and go like the gulls beyond the balcony rail. They appear, they pass by, leaving only the recollection of a moment. I breathe, exhale, and relax. It’s a lovely moment for contemplation.

One of the things my partner and I were discussing last night was my anxiety. For sure my PTSD and my chronic anxiety issues are pretty well-managed compared to where I was 10 years ago…but… I still struggle more than I’d like to, and it affects my quality of life – and his. I guess it’s worth doing something about that. I feel a bit stalled and struggle with the learned helplessness that inevitably results from dealing with a chronic condition for a long time. I already know, though, that there are steps to take and things to do. It’s time to step through those, and try some things differently. It was one productive outcome of our conversation; a sense of focus and purpose, and an idea of direction. That’s not nothing – it’s a place to start.

It’s a good time to begin again.

It’s been a month since I was laid off. Shortly afterward and largely unrelated, I took time to go through a large storage tote of odds and ends I’ve been hanging on to. It was a mix of military memorabilia and war mementos (why do people hold on to this shit??), and various employment-related paperwork items from past employers (decades of old reviews and accolades, exit paperwork, offer letters…). My purpose was to pare things down to just those items I really did want to keep. (I’ll make a point of observing that having kept the contents of this bin since the last time I went through these items some 10 or so years ago, I haven’t gone through them or needed/wanted to access any one item in this bin. Ever.)

The tl;dr on the process itself? I cut that bin of stuff down to about 30% of its original contents, with the remaining kept items being limited to a small assortment of military mementos, including 1 complete uniform from my war time deployment. The project seems to live on in lingering intentions to contemplate what I found and learned along the way; I had saved a quick draft with some notes.

about letting go of the past, tossing out mementos, old work papers, moving on from trauma, learning to truly let things go, shit like that

impermanence & non-attachment

fresh perspective on the woman I once was contrasted with who I thought I was at the time, and what it can teach me about getting to be that woman I most want to be

the value in keepsakes, the value in not keeping them

the added challenge in growing/changing if also clinging to reminders of what was

draft notes from the blog post draft of 9/12/22

This morning, I sit with my now-cold coffee, thinking about time, thinking about change, and thinking about how peculiar it was to actually read those old reviews and coaching notes (and yes, reprimands). It had been so many years, my own recollection of that time and those events was pretty firmly skewed toward me-as-hero-of-my-narrative. Fucking hell I needed a bit of work. LOL For one thing – I was 100% wrong every bit as often as I was 100% correct, and I was neither as awesome as some reviews make me out to be, nor as problematic as some of the warnings suggest I was. I was sometimes a liability and a headache, just by being myself, and probably quite difficult to manage, having both cPTSD and a TBI creating noteworthy cognitive quirks and emotional volatility.

Please note, I’m thinking back on events of the early ’00s, and well-before any legitimate push in the direction of “authenticity” in the workplace! Wasn’t a thing, yet, and quite often people really were punished or held back for the sole “crime” of being themselves and being different than the approved corporate drone template – which still goes on, but now we’re more likely to be offended by that. Progress? I’m just saying; I wasn’t always the “good guy” I saw myself as being. Very human. Also? Sometimes quite angry and kind of a bitch. Impatient. Inconsiderate. Smug. Rude. “Basic.” Unsympathetic. Lacking in compassion. Not a good look.

Sounds like I’m being pretty hard on myself. I mean, giving myself some credit …in spite of all that, I managed to find love…so..? Not a “lost cause” among human beings, surely. 🙂

The “truth of who we are” is more complicated that one perspective, even when that one perspective is our own. I know myself pretty well. I’m deeply acquainted with the woman in the mirror, but… until I really sat with a calm heart and new eyes to read those old reviews, coaching notes, and warnings, and really heard the messages, I did not understand the perspectives those Others were sharing with me. It must have been frustrating for people that it could be so hard to get through to me. I’m not into “taking it personally”, particularly at this late date; I am not the woman I was then. Still… I was that woman then. I understand her better now, not because of these old papers, but because I’ve gained so much new knowledge and perspective since then, generally. These old papers filled in some gaps, made sense of some “errata” that crept into my recollections over time. It was a great opportunity to loosen my grip on my existing personal narrative to allow that to be deepened and to become more nuanced through the addition of some really complex outside perspective.

I made a point of being open to listening to those past voices with more vulnerability, and willingness to learn as I went through all those papers. Does it change who I am now? Possibly not. Helps me understand who I was then more deeply, and provides a better understanding of how/why my journey over the years has had some of the complexities and challenges that it has had. Useful. Forces on me some useful and necessary humility, and if I’m being wholly honest, I need that. It also served to give me a moment to really put down some baggage and let go of some pointless bullshit that had lingered far too long. Needful.

If you spend your life thinking that you are Superman masquerading as Clark Kent, your choices (and words, and actions) are likely to be quite different than if you understand that you are Clark Kent daydreaming of being Superman. This is something worth thinking about. 🙂 Is there something so wrong with being an ethical person with a good heart, who is kind and who cares – but totally lacks any super powers at all? Just saying it’s something I think about.

Strange how I worked so hard to hold on to those papers over the years. They served no purpose besides taking up space… until I sat down and reviewed them, read them, and gave them real thought without taking any of it personally at all. And now? Having done that, I don’t need to keep them. What did I do with all that waste paper? Shredded and recycled. Gone. And then? Time to begin again.

Where does this path lead?

What’s lighting your path? What are you using for a map? What processes and values guide your steps? Where are you going? Does this path even take you there… ever? If you make some very different decision, will you find yourself somewhere very different than you expected to be?

If you get to the donut shop late, you have less selection from which to choose. (It’s a metaphor.)

It is a pleasant Thursday morning. I slept in. Took my camera out on the trail and enjoyed the sunrise over the marsh out at the Tualatin River Nature Reserve. It was a lovely quiet morning, and not much going on. The day had already started to feel like it would be a hot one, by the time I headed home.

I am “not waiting” to hear back about a job interview that went (I think) very well. It’s hard to maintain my chill factor and stay focused on other things; the wait is what it is, and obsessing over it doesn’t help or speed things up.

The future is filled with unknowns. This moment, now, is filled with the potential for joy. I have choices.

I breathe, exhale, relax – and have another sip of this excellent cup of coffee. My Traveling Partner has some big shop projects going. I am helpful when I can be, otherwise I focus on not being in the way. LOL It’s a nice time to enjoy us, together. The days linger gently. We share moments, often, that might ordinarily be overcome by the demands of work and employment. I savor the time as it is. It’s likely to be all too brief. 🙂

My partner is merry and encouraging as I do the job search things. It’s nice. I feel loved and supported. I feel appreciated. I can’t say enough about how much it really does matter to have this kind of support while I look for a new job! I hope I am clear with him about how much I appreciate and value it, when we’re discussing the progress together. 🙂 I smile, feeling loved, and remind myself to also be one of the people loving me so well. That matters too.

It’s a good day to run some errands and get some things done around the house. It’s already time to start preparing the garden for winter crops and general cleaning up before the rains come again. It’s a good day to take a look around and improve my quality of life (and sanity) by tidying some things up… this studio is a bit of a mess (again) and could use my attention. I feel hopeful – and purposeful. The path ahead “feels paved” and illuminated, and it’s a good time to begin again.

Sometimes it feels deceptively easy to “see where I’m going” – it’s still a journey with no map. 🙂

Well, it’s been not quite two weeks since the lay-off. I’m pretty okay. There are things to do, steps to take, appointments to keep, and all of it needs the same sort of consistent focused attention as any other set of work-related tasks. It’s hardly any different, although my time is so entirely more “my own” than it otherwise would be. That’s worth thinking about. There’s something to learn here.

The week ahead seems pretty full. No slack in it. I’ve got a couple interviews. A couple errands to run. A meeting with a career counselor sort of person with the State as part of the unemployment process. A meeting with a “land softly” sort of professional provided by my former employer. Meetings are meetings. Feels like I’m still working. lol Routine. The lay-off itself already feels like a far more distant moment than the 12 days ago it actually was. I start to wonder if that perspective is “strange” and quickly lose interest and move on to studying a professional field of endeavor adjacent to my “regular” day-to-day sort of professional role. It sounds interesting, and I feel ready for a change. Maybe this is a good time?

I laugh at myself for thinking – even for a moment – that I’m organized about all of this. I just now managed to hold on to “today is Sunday” simultaneously with “don’t forget to submit your weekly unemployment claim”. LOL (It’s just a task, and quickly handled.) It feels good to be this relaxed. It’s been too rare. That’s on me, though, for sure – that’s not about “work” in any way. I tend to be wound a bit tight, is all. It’s likely not healthy. This moment to really breathe, to let it all go quite properly, to take leisurely morning hikes with my camera, to come home in the middle of the morning and make home made breakfast sandwiches for brunch with my partner, to take my time with a new book… all of it matters. This is life being lived. There’s room in that for work – there sort of has to be; life can be fucking expensive and having a bit of cash flow is handy.

Now, if I’m wise I’ll seek ways to hang on to some of this when I return to work. If I’m thoughtful and studious about the verbs involved, I may even succeed! I wonder what the future holds…