Archives for posts with tag: where does this path lead?

I enjoyed my recent days of camping quite a lot. I went alone into the forest, and I spent my hours and days in solitude. It was lovely. I went out figuring that the primary activity would be, with fair certainty, a lot of hiking. I was so wrong about what I needed (and possibly, also about “who I am” in some sense). I spent by far the majority of my time simply sitting in quiet meditation – no real “activity”, at all – gazing into the leaves, and into the sky, and through the forest, into the trees.

The perspective I had been seeking turned out to be, generally, very near where I had pitched my tent.

I mean, sure, I put some miles on these boots, no question, more than 5 miles a day, on lovely trails, some shaded, some sunny, and enjoyed each step, and each new observation.

Each step along this path has been worthy in it’s own distinct way, although I don’t always see it at the time I take the step, and the way ahead is not always obvious.

I returned home aware that in any practical regard, what I was seeking turned out to be something I took into the forest with me. It’s built on my every day meditation practice. It was much more obvious, after a few days of any-time-at-all-no-timer-no-clock meditation practice that what I was feeling in the weeks leading up to my camping trip was, perhaps more than anything else, simply that my practice had become inconsistent day-to-day, and I had begun choosing to use my time quite differently, while allowing myself to feel I was “still practicing” (well, sure, in a hit or miss, “only most days, sort of, but not always” sort of way) – and the practical reality was, in fact, that I wasn’t practicing with the consistency that is very much a feature of practice, itself. Well, damn.

…I’d love to enthusiastically chime in, right about here, with something wholly encouraging about “beginning again”, and while, yes, sure, that’s a thing I have going for me, any time, the truth is also that I rather annoyingly allowed myself to be bamboozled by my monkey-mind, always so eager to embrace the next distraction. A “simple” course-correction on this path still requires a healthy dose of verbs, something beyond intention, real decision-making, commitment, and oh, right, following that? Action. Repetition. Practice. (You know, the doing kind of practice!) I smile with some patience and familiarity; I’ve been here before. I’m entirely made of human. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee contentedly, this morning. Meditation wasn’t “easy”, this morning; getting up from the cushion was difficult with my right arm still partially impaired by my recent injury. It was a weird and irritating counterpoint to the pleasantness of meditation, itself, and a reminder of the value of self-awareness for practical purposes. Life lesson? Succinctly? “Slow down. Take the time you need. Approach each task mindfully, committed to, and present in, this moment.” Yep. This is me; learning as I go, repeating each lesson as needed. LOL

I take a moment for gratitude, and thoughts of blue skies, green forests, and summer sunrises – because the value in such moments goes beyond what I can capture in a photograph. πŸ™‚

I take a last swallow of my coffee, as I consider how best to make room for 10 minutes of meditation during my work day, too. I’m certain of the value in it, although I’ve been less than skilled about making the time materialize in my day. I return to the office with a measure of commitment to it that I’ve previously lacked, and thoughts of opening the idea up to my team; we’d likely all benefit from a moment to collect our thoughts, each day, if nothing else.

…And…oh, hey… already time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Sipping coffee, planning for camping, and feeling contented; it’s a pleasant start to the morning. πŸ™‚ I’m excited about my camping trip – and it’s almost here! Next week. Whether I write or not, I’ve no idea, I do know there’s no cell signal available through much of that large beautiful hike-able acreage. Just… none. If my recollection is correct, there’s a hint of a bit of a signal now and then, but only at this one particular spot, and it’s a trek of a couple miles (uphill) to reach it, and it’s not reliable…so… I most likely won’t be posting during that time, regardless whether or not I do write. πŸ™‚

Honestly… lots of past posts to explore, and it’s not as if I’m truly writing wholly original content, is it, since I generally write the same things, most days… drinking coffee… breathing… good self-care… choices, verbs, practicing practices, and beginning again… right? πŸ˜‰ Don’t let yourself down on my account; I’ll be right back. πŸ˜€

There are paths yet to be explored – where will yours take you?

I’m eager for the break in routine, and for the days and nights among the trees. I’m eager to hear bird song, and not traffic, and the loud peeps and chirps and calls of chipmunks and squirrels, instead of the conversation of commuters and random human beings out in the world. I’m eager to read the weather, the actual weather, instead of the news. πŸ™‚

I remind myself not to forget coffee!

I have a list of gear I need to either double-check that I do still have it, or pick it up before I go. I keep adding things to it, and crossing things off. I enjoy camping much more when I am prepared…and I also enjoy traveling light, and without excessive weight or baggage dragging me down. I’ve got a list that makes sense. It’s an observation that doesn’t last long when the next question hits me…

…What if it rains?

I laugh so hard I snort coffee, which is less than pleasant, but now I’m giggling; I literally haven’t made any specific effort to plan for any sort of significant rain. It’s August. Why would it rain? Only… it may, and it could, and it’s been known to happen, and… it’s in the forecast. lol So…?

Like a lot of life’s circumstances, preparedness makes an easier journey, for sure. Also like life, and circumstances, it’s not particularly easy to be prepared for all of everything that could be part of my experience than I might want to… while also traveling light, and keeping baggage to a minimum. The more I am inclined to carry, the more verbs (and effort) will be involved in the journey, itself, and the more there will be to manage, deal with, juggle, find space for, when I arrive at my destination. There are choices to be made. Some circumstances are best accepted, than prepared for in advance in any notable way. (I’m not actually saying rainfall is one of those, I mean… it’s possible to shove rain gear into my backpack without adding a ton of weight to my gear!)

Don’t let a little rain stop you. πŸ™‚

Anyway. Rain is a thing that happens, even in August. I’m giggling because I enjoy the rain… but… I also dislike being soaked to the skin, catching a chill, and miserable because all my gear is soaked. lol There are definitely choices to make, and planning is a useful tool for making them. I give some thought to the rain, and my list, and make some adjustments to also account for chilly nights, and dewy cold mornings. Will I be warm enough? Cool enough? Dry enough? Will I have coffee for the mornings? Will I want paper books, or digital books? Don’t forget to bring a towel! What about tea? Broth? It’s nice to have something hot to sip on that isn’t loaded with caffeine – or sugar. What about sleep…? Do I want my cot, or an inflatable something or other? (I already know I don’t much feel like sleeping directly on the ground, on a thin sleeping mat; I’ll be out there for 4 nights.)

Everything I take on this journey, I’ll have to carry, myself.Β That’s a hell of a metaphor, right there.

I look at the time. Yeah. Already. I smile, and finish my coffee, and put aside my list. Same path, different day. I smile, and grab my keys, and my backpack, and get ready to begin again. πŸ˜€

β€œLife should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~Hunter S. Thompson

…And all the new beginnings that that implies…and perhaps a few more.

I put quite a bit of time, enthusiastic daydreaming, and research, into the trip I planned to take this past weekend. I never did the one thing necessary to bring it to life; I did not begin the journey. I just thought about it. LOL There’s a lesson in there. An allegory. A metaphor. A parable, perhaps. The weekend did not lack of significant XP, however; it was an adventure, a brief journey, and an interesting progression of emotions and events, nonetheless. πŸ™‚

I needed wide open space, and big sky – and found it close to home. There’s a lesson, here, too.

My birthday has been well-celebrated. A new year of life has been kick-started, decisively. There has been feasting, entertainment, the company of friends, and so much love! Errands were run. Housekeeping got done. The garden was cared for. A humble adventure has commenced.

My first orchid. A wee adventure with which to start the year.

It’s been a fast, relaxed, and delightful handful of days, in spite of news of my Mother’s decline. There will be time to process that in full, and there is no need to rush, or to force it down into a dark quiet corner of my heart. It is what it is; we are mortal creatures, and of all the things that will inevitably pass, our brief mortal lives are one of the most challenging to let go of… and then that greater challenging of letting go of those we love. No user’s guide for this one, either. I sometimes feel I am fumbling around in the dark with my emotions. I know that my emotions haven’t killed me yet. πŸ™‚ I’ll get through this, too.

I think about the beautiful broad expanse of meadow, and the scent of wildflowers on the breeze.

I smile, letting the details of the weekend unfold in my recollection. What a lovely time to share with my Traveling Partner.

Life’s pleasures don’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Life’s beauty doesn’t have to be costly to be lovely.

I sip my coffee. It’s Monday. I shift gears to “now” and remind myself of the path ahead. The year will continue to unfold. What will July hold? What of September? And the holiday season with my Traveling Partner right here at home? What of the future? And the unanswered questions in life?

Where does this path lead?

It’s time to find out. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

This morning feels a bit like emotionally squinting into the full measure of mid-day sunshine, as I sip my coffee quietly, letting myself wake up to face the new day. The coffee is good. I’ve got butterflies in my tummy, like an excited kid. This morning, I choose to interpret these physical feelings as excitement. In other moments, perhaps I’d see it as anxiety; they feel too similar to me, and sometimes I just confuse them.

How many such firsts will I experience in life? First days. First dates. New jobs. New destinations. This very specific experience of excitement and quiet tension is one of firsts. Change. Not just that roller coaster of experiences of change that is, itself, the living of life; this is the experience of choosing change, choosing to “really go for it”, and staring directly into that process, and participating with my entire will, unified in a single purpose. Exciting barely describes it. I feel a tad breathless and wild-eyed around the edges.

Meditation helped.

I’ve checked my laptop backpack too many times, already. It has in it what it needs for the day; the laptop, a book, my kindle, an ink pen, a notepad. It matches the purse I’d purchased for the start of my last job, and the weekend bag I had purchased when I began traveling regularly to see my Traveling Partner. I feel so grown up. lol Delight fills my moment. I add it to the excitement. I try to also maintain some small amount of focus on a couple of errands I need to run after work. I sip my coffee and wonder when that will be?

New day. New beginning. New verbs. Old sweater. lol That’s fine; it’s a favorite, and it’s enough. Mustn’t lose sight of the exquisite value of sufficiency and perspective as I start down a new path; what has mattered so much, matters still. πŸ™‚

It’s just time to begin again. πŸ˜€

I am home for the day, preparing for the long holiday weekend ahead. Having a quiet cup of tea, vaping something pleasant tasting, and watching the vapor curl in wisps as the cloud breaks up as I exhale. “Vaping” is a verb now. I ponder the way language changes with the times. I wonder if things are still “on fleek” and if “fam” is still “lit”. I smile, breathe, relax; this is my time, my moment, and I am content with it just as it is, wedged between the shhh-shhh of commuter traffic at the edge of the driveway, and the chug-chug of the washing machine, down the hall. The noise doesn’t matter, this evening, and it is not disturbing this somehow-still-quiet moment.

I am thinking of “is” and of “isn’t”, and the year just finishing up, as I peer cautiously ahead to the year that is imminent. I am thinking rather carefully of “essence” and “essentials”, and hoping to stay on the path of sufficiency. Right now, at least, it is rather easy not being tempted by excess. I just don’t have the resources for that, and 2019 looks like a year that I will spend rebuilding reserves, planning with care, and being most particular to avoid wastefulness.

I catch my thoughts on a hook as they brush past a word – “essence”. Fancy. What is “essence”, really?

…I love the future. πŸ˜€

So… yeah… “the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character”. Essence. Got it. I ponder the word, and the idea of it for some minutes.

What “is” my “essence”? Is that a thing that I am? Have? Is it a state of being? A verb? An experience of self? A defining characteristic identified by others? Do I choose it? Chase it? Live it? Question it?

Is “what is my essence” simply a fancier, wordier, version of the lingering question “who am I”?

How would my “essence” influence my experience of life – or of self?

Are these questions that need asking, and answering, or is this a game?

Just questions tonight, I suspect, as I close in on the New Year. It’s a season of change, and of reflection. It is a season of choices, memories, and moments.

…the new year is a blank page…

I put questions aside, and make time for gratitude. The house is comfortable, tidy, and warm. The bills are paid. I have what I need, generally; I am fortunate. I reflect on good fortune, and the temptation to feel “deserving” or that this life is entirely “earned” on my own effort. Both the notion of being “deserving” and the notion of having gotten here “on my own” are illusions, nothing more, and I turn away from the thinking errors that bring me to those ideas. I’m fortunate. I’ve had a lot of lucky breaks. I’ve had help, encouragement, support – and all of that matters. I would not be “here”, had I been less fortunate, or if I had had to make this journey entirely without friend, or aid, all alone. I’d be somewhere quite different, and, perhaps, however grateful to be in that place, I might also be an entirely different human being, with a different understanding of myself, and different dreams, walking a different path, toward a different future.

That, too, I let go, as the twilight of winter evening slowly fades to the darkness of nightfall. No reason to become attached to notions in the darkness. Grateful and inquisitive – these seem worthy of being some part of my essence. Contentment, too. I smile, and make room to appreciate the journey, and the woman I have become over time.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. There is further to go. πŸ™‚