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

Hot coffee. Sunny summer morning and one day remaining in a long weekend. I don’t have much to say about the 4th of July holiday, really… I used to make jokes that the entire nation came together as one to celebrate the end of my first marriage with me. lol It was on the 4th of July that I finally walked away. It was an important moment, but… at this point? Just one of many in a long life rich in ups, downs, good fortune, poor choices, and a lot of opportunities to pause, rethink, and begin again.

My Traveling Partner and I enjoyed the day, and each other’s company. I went out into the world, into an actual retail space, and actually did a bit of shopping. I don’t mean that I went into a store masked and distanced, quickly identified what I came for, and quickly made my exit, not that at all; I shopped. I even – are you ready for this one? I tried on clothes! Wow. The freedom. 🙂 (The lingering “end” of the pandemic found me with a lot more “comfy clothes” and a bit short on suitable work casuals, and suddenly I’ve got a business trip on my calendar, and colleagues eager to meet me in person for the first time… so… seemed wise to do a bit of shopping rather than showing up in yoga pants or jammies. LOL)

Today? Just a day. Most of them are, aren’t they? Today it’ll be housekeeping; it is functionally “the sunday” of this particular long weekend, and that’s how I do; housekeeping on Sundays, get the place ready for the new week. It’s a practice that is all about beginning again, and meditation, and mindful service. Sometimes it’s also tedious and annoying. Sometimes it feels like a huge effort, and even a burden. I will straight up admit that I loathe most housekeeping chores, completely. I like to take things easy…but… I also enjoy, prefer, and thrive in conditions of “orderliness”. So, Sunday is my day to fight off the chaos with restored order, and a bit of tidying up. Has to be done, if I’m committed to the life I most want to be living. 🙂

I put on music that makes me want to dance. There are clean clothes to put on after my shower, and sunshine streaming through the blinds, filtered and soft, tempting me to step outside. Pleasant day. That’ll do nicely for all manner of new beginnings, I think. 🙂

I sip this coffee, smiling, and listening to tunes. Mostly rap, this morning, mostly women: Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Saweetie, Snow Tha Product, Nicki Minaj… there are quite a few really good ones, and my play list is filled with their power, their juice, and their joy. 🙂

…This coffee is almost gone, though… and that means it’s time to begin again. 🙂

Heat wave. Already hot this morning. Slept well, woke refreshed. Felt… content. Balanced. Merry…

…Whole.

Off to a good start on a hot day. Things slide sideways, slipping gently, somehow inevitably tilting toward irritation in spite of a great starting point. Best efforts. Humans being human.

I put aside my coffee and go for a walk before the heat of the day might stop me, or just make the experience miserable.

A favorite park has finally re-opened after all the damage during that last winter storm.

Muggy warm air filled with the sound of mowers, small aircraft taking off from the nearby municipal airport, and swarming insects seemed to cling to me as I walked across the parking lot to the start of the one open trail. It doesn’t really go far enough to satisfy the need, but it has been a long while and I have missed this place. I walk the trail twice. I take note of the wild roses in bloom – there look to be three distinct species growing in this wooded area. I spot ripe thimbleberries, but none within reach – too fragile for commercial agriculture, they are a rare special treat, tiny, soft, and mild. The birds will get most of them. Piles of cut up trees give some insight into how much damage the storm caused. Every few feet, there’s a pile of logs and branches on either side of the trail. The forest is full of huckleberry bushes, but I don’t see flowers or berries, yet. On my way back down, before my second walk of the trail, I realize I haven’t stopped at a favorite bench… I never saw it! Weird… I begin to really look for that thing, that expected thing, as I head back up the trail. My focus results in missing other details. Something more to think about.

Oh. Reality is what it is. Expectations are shit we made up, and cling to.

It was a lovely morning for walking, in spite of the heat. In spite of the changes all around me. In spite of a less than picture-perfect lovely summer morning. Expectations and assumptions can so quickly undermine a potentially lovely experience. I mean… I even know that. It still trips me up more often than I care to count.

I put on some music. Sip my rather delicious iced coffee – I’ve been planning this iced coffee on a hot summer morning for days. Really looking forward to this moment. I made coffee ice cubes to go in it. I sip it thoughtfully, savoring the moment that is, instead of yearning for another. It may not be what I expected, but it’s quite pleasant, and that’s enough. Maybe I’ll finish it on the deck…

My Traveling Partner and I both hurt today. Pain sucks. Aging is a mixed bag of qualities, and pain is just one of many experiences… We both try to avoid taking it personally, or lashing out at each other in a short-tempered moment of our frustration with the limitations of these very human forms. He says “maybe you should just avoid me today” – right about when I was thinking of saying gently that I’d give him some space because I’m hurting that much today. lol It’s generally an exceptional partnership, even when one or both of us is in pain, or just generally not being our best selves, together.

I sip my coffee and reflect. I think about the walk, the summer morning, recalling the sights and scents, and the feel of the air around me.

Just because there’s sunshine where I’m sitting doesn’t mean I’ll find illumination.

I walked, reflected, observed, and gave myself that time I need to spend with the woman in the mirror. It’s good to get perspective. I mean… I find it so, myself. 🙂 I don’t always do a good job of making time for me, and for what I need from and for myself. I could do better there. More practice? Obviously. I know where I’ll start, too; a familiar place.

I am rereading the Four Agreements; a worthy starting point on any journey of self.

Funny thing about The Four Agreements? It was my Traveling Partner who first recommended it to me. Good basic practices to practice that tend to heal a lot of hurts and limit a lot of negative self-talk. That seems so long ago now.

Treating each other well has reliably tended to start with treating myself well, and as it turns out that has nothing whatsoever to do with buying things, and everything to do with reflection, perspective, and practices that build resilience and emotional wellness. Boundary-setting. Testing assumptions. Confirming expectations. Being flexible and adaptable in the face of change. Being there for myself. Being kind, and treating the world as gently as I am able to. Good self-care. Getting enough rest. It’s a lot to juggle, and I suspect that I half-ass a lot of it, just trying to do all of it… but…getting things ‘half right’ or ‘half finished’ is still a more useful result than never making an attempt to be my best self at all. Incremental change over time. I get better at something each time I attempt it… eventually. Learning is a process. Change is often a verb. I keep at it. Incremental change over time requires both time, and increments.

Feeling frustrated and challenged can sometimes mislead me into thinking I haven’t improved – a lot – on a lot of little things that had been far more problematic before this journey began. That’s a shame; it robs me of my chance to celebrate small wins. I think on that while I sip my coffee, gazing into the sunshine beyond the window.

I hear the A/C come on. Then I feel it. I recall the heat of the morning as I walked the wooded trail, and think about the apartment in which my partner and I first began sharing our lives… and that roasting, horribly hot all-drama-all-the-time summer some 11 years ago; no A/C. I feel grateful for the A/C, definitely… but the love matters most. We brought that with us, to this place, across years of shared challenges, growth, change, loving moments, and petty arguments – it’s a very human experience, and it’s hard to imagine spending life differently and still enjoying it as much. I sip my coffee thinking about my partner (my lover, my best friend), and the pain he’s in today. Maybe I’ll bake oatmeal cookies? Would that help? (I don’t know why it would, it just occurred to me to wonder – sometimes I have a mind like a child. LOL)

There’s enough of this coffee left to enjoy a few moments of summer morning on the deck before it gets to hot to enjoy… seems like a good time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping coffee before work. Taking a few minutes to write. My fingers feel light on the keyboard, this morning. I feel comfortable in my skin. I feel safe here at home. I am reflecting on the weekend, and on life, and love – and taxes. I flip through the pictures I took over the weekend. The camera seems to have captured details that I missed with my eyes, in the moment. The pictures delight me.

Gray skies greeted me when I arrived.

The slow calm minutes alone with my thoughts for a couple days was a nice break. I needed the rest and the quiet time. I say “quiet time”, but this too is relative. It wasn’t that quiet at some points; Friday night there was a “hotel party” in the room next to mine that lasted until 1 am. It woke me a couple times before folks finally called it a night and settled down. Saturday night, on the other side of my room, a very intoxicated couple checked in, early in the evening. By 9 pm, they’d been removed by the local police for creating a disturbance, after several people complained about yelling, threats of violence, intimidation, and noise. Home is much quieter. lol The disturbances were an interesting opportunity to reflect on exactly what I need out of my solo time, and how best to get it. It’s not a need that is always easily met simply by being somewhere else. 🙂

I considered going home early, at one point. I know I’d have been welcomed home eagerly; my Traveling Partner was missing me quite a lot. Another quiet night, though, and another slow solitary morning, was a nice investment in my wellness and contentment, and I’m glad I stayed and enjoyed the time (the money was already spent).

One last shot of the ocean before I left… blue sky breaking through the clouds, reflected in the water.

It’s nice to be home again. We shared a quiet afternoon gardening, and a quiet evening watching short videos and nature shows. It was supremely pleasant. Now…? Now it is a Monday. Time to get back to work and life and life and work, and all the details that connect and surround those experiences. I’ve got 158 pictures to remind me of my weekend away, even a couple videos of waves and the sound of the sea. 🙂

I’d end with an observation that it’s time to begin again, perhaps, but… where does this journey lead? What’s next? Roses and gardening? Meditating and writing? Life and work? Love? What matters most? Who do I most want to be, when I see myself in the mirror? Is my path taking me there? Can I even know that? So many questions – and really, not one of them answered by a weekend walking on the shore. lol Just more questions. More moments upon which to reflect, later.

…It’s still a journey. My morning walk took me past each house in the neighborhood. At first, I counted off the roses I passed by, sometimes by name (when I recognized them). I lost track; there are so many roses, they quickly become uncountable. There are so many gardens, tended by so many hands, with so many different visions of “beautiful” in mind. I take note of the details I like the most, as I pass by. I smile and wave to other early risers when we spot each other. I keep walking.

What now? Where does this journey lead? What does the day hold? What of the future? My heartbeat feels like the tick of a clock. I glance at the time – it’s definitely time to begin again.

More specifically, I mean to say that I find it pointlessly disruptive and uncomfortable to deal with the time changes twice yearly, and most particularly the change in Spring. I’m groggy this morning. I have this splitting headache (not the usual one, just the one that comes of messing with time/timing and circadian rhythms that I experience each year for a handful of mornings following the Spring change to DST). I’m more than ordinarily grateful for a good cup of strong coffee, and the mellow companionship of my Traveling Partner. But, yeah… Fuck Daylight Savings Time. For real. Damn. We ought to consider not doing this, as it serves literally no one. (Seriously, no one. Google it.)

The weekend is behind me. New job starts today. This morning. In fact, in a sense, it has begun; it’s Monday morning. The laptop in its neat factory packaging sits on the desk to my left, waiting to be opened. I’ve read over the instructions provided by the IT department, and those seem pretty clear. First onboarding item on my calendar is at 10:00 am. Last meeting of the day is at 3:00 pm. Between those events, my calendar is full of other meetings with other colleagues, “meet & greets” and onboarding sessions of various sorts. I’d be more excited, perhaps, if this were not also the first Monday following DST, with its associated headache and brain fog. :-\ I’ll get there; I am actually excited, I’m just not completely awake yet.

I glance at the clock and notice it is “7:04 am” (my body says that’s a lie, and that it is “really” 6:04 am, and while a perfectly reasonable time to be awake… it feels “too early”, because I woke up “too early”). I think about expectations and assumptions, and look out the window into the pre-dawn darkness. I know I’ll feel more awake when the sun rises. I take a couple Ibuprofen for the headache. I make my second coffee much earlier than usual (and consider whether to indulge in a third once I finish the second one).

Every year I go through this. I’d prefer not to. I’ve seen some encouraging news articles this year that suggest I am not alone in my desire to be done with this bullshit fairly arbitrary twice-yearly time change. Maybe we’ll do something about it instead of just pissing and moaning about how unpleasant it is? 🙂

I think about the weekend. Sip my coffee. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Pull myself fully upright, again, and smile; my Traveling Partner has been helping me improve the ergonomics of my workstation at home (for which I’m very grateful, since I’m less able to see where things are off, and it really matters since I now work full time from home). I’m delighted with the most recent changes. I still have to make the effort to maintain good posture, but the placement of my gear now makes that quite comfortable, almost effortless aside from needing to be aware of my body in the first place.

It was lovely to return home, yesterday. We enjoyed a splendid day together, relaxing, playing video games. The house looks amazing. Tidy. Welcoming. It was definitely worth putting in the effort to tidy up my spaces before I went to the coast, because on top of the work my partner did (before and after), the homecoming ended up being sooooo relaxed and comfortable. No housekeeping pressure. 😀 Worth it. I’m fortunate to have a partner who is also very committed to our quality of life, day-to-day. I already know I don’t have the energy reliably available to do it all myself. 🙂

…Damn this is good coffee. Definitely better than the utterly dreadful hotel coffee of yesterday. 🙂 A good start on a new beginning. I see daylight developing beyond the window. Looks like time to begin again. 😀

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.