Archives for posts with tag: what will you do differently?

There are so many tea-related metaphors. I’m more of a coffee drinker, frankly, which you probably know if you’ve read more than one or two of my blog posts. I do occasionally drink tea, though…

Proof I do drink tea. Sometimes.

Here’s a thing, though; tea has been around a very long time. It has ancient origins. The idea of having a cup of tea to relax, or as a pick-me-up, or as a shared moment among friends, or a celebratory or thoughtful ritual, is not new. (This is going somewhere…)

…I mean…damn. Have some tea. Think about how that connects you to your ancestors – and the world!

Life has been “busy”. My anxiety has pushed me back into therapy, because although I worked a long time to manage my anxiety generally (in the face of trauma, stress, and emotional pain), I haven’t actually done much to deal with my anxiety in the face of … success and contentment and a pretty good life. Turns out, that also massively aggravates my anxiety! Fuck. Seriously? Well, shit.

Even a lovely colorful pleasant life rich in love and joy can be a source of stress.

One of the things I had talked over with my therapist is this idea that I feel unprepared for things to go well, and as if I am constantly vigilant, waiting for “the other shoe to drop”, which is a weird source of anxiety, seems to me. I also gave voice to my frustration that I’m struggling to stay on track with my meditation practice – in spite of my awareness and direct experience that it is profoundly helpful for managing my anxiety. How is that even fair? lol

All through the summer, I explored area parks and nature areas with my camera. Thinking, walking, taking pictures of flowers, trees, and birds.

I zoomed in close-up to examine small details.

I developed favorite spots as the weeks passed. I switched up my routine to put me out on the trail with my camera almost every morning for a hour or so before work. It did a lot to inspire, soothe, and entertain me. It met real creative needs that I’d been struggling to meet well for rather a long while. I still do it most days, even though the sun rise is (much) later. I start my work day later, too, and stay closer to home on work mornings (saving the further away spots for weekend mornings). I’m grateful that I can.

Just this morning, at dawn, I had a realization…

I think I’ve been “getting too close” to the issue at hand, and as a result failing to find a thread that connects some of it in a useful way, with other things that are also going on with or around me…

It’s easy to get too close to something, and miss the important details I’d easily see if I took a step back.

I drink a lot of coffee in the mornings. I often write in the mornings. I do camera walks in the mornings. I feel fresh and wide-open to possibilities in the morning. Once my two coffees for the day are over, I’m generally pretty well wrapped up in work, or moving on with a list of things that need doing, or errands that want running. By nightfall, I’m exhausted, irritable, in pain, and struggling to find emotional balance. There’s a lot of time between the end of that second coffee and the end of my typical day. I’m going to start stopping for a cup of tea in the afternoon. 🙂 An easy moment from which to begin again, to reset, to reconsider, to reconnect with myself… I plan to make a commonplace ritual of it, as so many people do, and I will seek to be very mindful, and deliberate, and take advantage of the break in my routine each day to really pause, reflect, and appreciate my circumstances.

…If nothing else, it will use up the tea in my cupboards, and give me a reason to use the tea cups in my porcelain collection. Delightful. Self-reflection, a break in the afternoon, and delight?? Sign me up. (Oh, wait, I already did…) A new practice. Sometimes it takes a bit of new along with the routine to find my way along the path. Something with which to begin again. 🙂

I enjoyed a lovely handful of days out in the trees. Relaxing? Sure. Good hikes? Definitely. Even challenging. Restful downtime? Yes. Time for deep reflection? Quite a lot. Did I write? No, not really. Read? Barely picked up a book. I mostly sat around watching the clouds drift by between naps and walks. It was time well-spent.

Here’s a question that crossed my mind rather unproductively, though… Who exactly are “the good guys”? Seriously. I don’t think a rational person can call our US government a governing body of “good guys”. The media? Doubtful. They have challenges with fundamental truthfulness, to varying degrees that seem dependent on how much profit is in the lies they may be inclined to tell, or the revenue generated by their clickbait articles. It’s frustrating to try to “read the news” these days. How about “every day Americans”? Are we “the good guys”? Considering how commonly people act a fool, or lash out violently against other “every day Americans”, it’s hard to call us, as a group, “the good guys”. Other governments? How different are they, really? People are people. Human primates are barely domesticated at all, and find endless rationalization for treating each other like crap, individually or in groups. It’s pretty horrific. We’ve done some terrible things as creatures.

…Before you go making excuses (“something, something, in the past things were different…”), keep in mind that every single day someone just straight up kills another person, often someone close to them, even a partner, a child, a lover… just… yeah. Every day. Domestic violence. Gang violence. Racially-motivated hate-driven violence. Institutional violence. “Criminal violence” isn’t even the largest portion of violent crime being reported. Shot at a gas station during a robbery? It happens. Not as often as an angry spouse lashes out at their partner. That domestic violence even exists at all still shocks and horrifies me, not just as a survivor, but also as a human being. I mean, for real? What the fuck?? Seriously? How is that even a thing, at all? How does any one human being reach a place where they can justify an act of violence against another human being – particularly one they say they love. Truly horrifying.

I’m grateful to have escaped with my life, to have survived, and to have found my way to a healthy authentic experience of love with a partner I know cares for me deeply, and truly loves me. I literally can’t imagine him ever raising a hand against me. Love feels comfortable and safe. How could it be any other way and still be “love”? 🙂

Seems strange to find it so needful, so often, to want to suggest people “stop hating”. Are we truly such barbaric vile creatures that it is necessary to point out the value of basic kindness? (That’s rhetorical; we’re obviously not drowning in kindness, consideration, compassion, and tolerance, and there just can’t be too many reminders to be better people, when being a better version of ourselves is so readily within reach for all of us.) Just… do better.

Begin again.

This is me, beginning again. Right here. Now. I take a breath. I change the playlist. I change the view. I change my perspective. I practice the practices that work best for me. I pick myself up when I fall, and get back on my path. Easy? Easy enough to do it as often as I need to (which is, I admit, often).

Sometimes just watching the clouds scoot by is enough.

My computer locks up. No, I don’t know why, I just deal with it and move on. Re-center myself after the briefest moment of frustration, and pull myself back into the pleasant moment I had been enjoying, flipping through pictures from my camping weekend…

Lovely moments spent meditating in lovely quiet places are worth savoring.

I recently read an article about the negative consequences of venting when we’re angry. I mean, sure, it feels sort of gratifying to “get it all out”, but, and this is real, it also tends to cement that negative experience in our implicit recollection and boosts our negative bias. The outcome is different when we look for opportunities to learn from challenging experiences, seek other perspectives, and “focus on the positive” (in an authentic way). That seems worth exploring…

We become what we practice. Are you practicing being angry? Are you practicing prolonged frustration? Reactivity? Shouting? Maybe practice other things… 😉 I’m just saying there are choices. We can each choose to be “the good guy” more often than we likely do.

…And we have the opportunity to choose differently, and begin again.

A couple hours from now I’ll be on the road, heading to the coast (again). Short trip. Small break. A bit of downtime. It’s so nice to have that luxury, at this time in my life. I find myself wondering why I did nothing like this for myself for so long, when I needed it so badly? I failed myself pretty horribly in the self-care department for many many years. I’m here, now, though, itinerary planned, room booked (I couldn’t find a reservable campsite anywhere within the same distance – I tried!), bag packed… I’m ready. It’s only left to finish this bit of the workday, load my modest weekend bag into the Mazda, and fill the gas tank on my way, and I’ll be seaside with my thoughts for a couple days.

…Last time I went, I spent most of my time walking on the beach, listening to the sounds of wind and waves, just thinking and meditating. Pretty “uneventful” by most definitions – and that’s okay with me. I need this time to recharge, to recenter, and to gain perspective on “all the things”. I feel fortunate to have a partnership with someone who “gets it”. 🙂 Who gets me.

…Shit. I already miss my Traveling Partner, and I haven’t even left yet. LOL

I’ve got my laptop packed. I might write. I might not. No pressure… just quiet and time. 🙂

What are you doing to take care of that person in the mirror? Seriously. You can begin again. You can try something new. You can set new expectations and new boundaries. You can claim what you need for yourself from your own limited lifetime. There are verbs involved, and the work will fall to you, if it is to get done at all. You can do this!

…But will you?

It’s too early in the morning. I woke up about an hour ago, at 2:30 am. I feel rested. It makes sense, I went to bed around 7:00 pm, too tired and sleepy to stay up any longer. Is it the consequence of wholly disrupting my routine(s) with a near-continuous-party weekend – or am I still getting over the last bit of contagion that smacked me down some weeks ago? The lingering dry cough suggests it might be that… or maybe seasonal allergies.

I smirk at myself for a moment to contemplate that I spend a great deal of time, these days, in the one part of the country I fully know causes me to have Spring allergy symptoms, of all the places I have ever lived or traveled – southern Oregon. LOL Hell, I’m contemplating retiring there. The thought has me straight up laughing literally out loud… and coughing… but I’m not there right now, so… it’s probably not allergies. Sick again? Still?

Does any of that matter beyond making sure I am able to skillfully care for myself?

This is poison oak. An important part of self-care is recognizing common hazards. Just saying; know poison oak when you see it.

Symptoms of OPD (Other People’s Drama) swirl around my experience without becoming directly part of it. I dislike drama enough to create a very nearly entirely drama-free lifestyle, somewhat at odds with the approach many people take, which is to bitch about drama without doing anything much to stop it, minimize it, or to set boundaries about it. I don’t really understand that. I’ll just be over here, doing my thing, my way.

I sip my coffee and contemplate the weekend to come. I’ll be here at my place, working on feeling more at home in my own space, and being committed more willfully to the path in front of me, myself, and this journey I am on. Does that sound “selfish”? I guess it could be called that; I am living my life. This one. The one I live myself. It is, unavoidably, my own. I’ll get some housework done. Spend some time in the studio, painting. Maybe get a nice hike in – the weather looks like it will be good for it.

I think about my Traveling Partner. I wonder how he is doing. I think about the upheaval in his day-to-day experience, and wonder at his ability to roll with so much change, so regularly. I doubt that I would be able to easily accommodate that amount of chaos in my own experience (these days), and chuckle to recall that I was once the most chaotic element of his experience. Tons of people in my social network live with far more chaos and turmoil than I choose for myself. I don’t really understand the choice to do so, but I’ve only understood it as a matter of choice, myself, for a relatively short while (a handful of years, during which I have been choosing differently, most of the time). It’s a challenging change of thinking to accept that we choose our experience. It is a change that requires practice. Much of the time, a great deal of what we endure, of what we suffer, of what we experience daily is entirely self-selected; we not only chose it for ourselves, we set that shit up with great care. We worked at it.

…Or… We did not specifically work at creating something different. There’s that. Either way; there are verbs involved.

We become what we practice. We live the life we choose (and build) for ourselves. There is so much power in that awareness, so much opportunity to change, and grow, and become the person we most want to be… but. We are each walking our own mile. It’s a very individual experience we’re all having, alone, together. Can you do a better job of it? I can’t answer that for you; I only know I can. It just takes practice(s).

Who do you most want to be? What are you doing to become that person, authentically? Where will your journey take you? I don’t have answers to those questions; I’m over here walking my own mile. 😉

It’s time to begin again.