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Actually, it’s not that bad, I just woke feeling cross. Most likely cause, based on the sort of out of sorts that I am, would be hormones. That seems unreasonable and frustrating from the perspective of being ‘post menopause’…but I just barely claimed that prize, and I know the machinery is still winding down. I made a point to handle things very frankly, as gently as I could, and in clear simple language and a mostly cheerful tone when my traveling partner inquired how I am doing this morning. It actually required considerable effort not to launch emotional weapons of mass distraction, and since the effort was successful, it was also entirely worthwhile. No hard feelings, everyone safe and cared for; I am taking the morning to care for me, quietly.

A quiet bit of writing often puts my head right on the nastiness day…when I have something I feel moved to say, or reflect on, or even simply when some interesting bit of word play is stuck in my recollection from my dreams, or from the prior day’s interactions with others. Today… I don’t feel very inspired, just very cranky. There’s really nothing amiss. I slept well. I woke on time and feeling reasonably comfortable physically. My coffee is hot and tasty. There’s nothing more than the usual things coming up in the work day ahead of me, as far as I know now. It’s a day. A Tuesday, actually. Dinner out, after work, and I’m looking forward to the outing. Still, for now I am rather cross with myself, and potentially inclined to blame the world. It doesn’t seem very fair, and it isn’t very pleasant.

Meditation does help. I still don’t relish company in this state, and I continue to pass the time quietly, keeping to myself without rancor; I enjoy solitude, more than a little, and it is ever so much harder to hurt people I love casually through my irritability when I give myself room to have that experience without forcing it on them, too. I take deep cleansing breaths, do some yoga, too, and flip through pleasant images – beautiful photographs of things, places, flowers… my own pictures. I have no idea why they delight me so, and I find myself wondering what power they hold that such is true, and could I ‘reinstall’ my memory from my photographs, if ever there were a need?

The colors of autumn.

The colors of autumn.

Although it is more challenging to go through the steps when I feel so raw and irritable, I find significant value in the practical exercises from Rick Hanson’sJust One Thing” and “Hardwiring Happiness” this morning. The difficulty is just going through the steps in an open and sincere way, without caving to cynicism, doubt, or letting the irritability that I feel undermine the simple goodness that exists in the world – it so often seems just out of reach when I am cross. There is value in making the effort. Each success, over time, results in improvements in my implicit memory – my default settings are becoming more positive, more content, and I am less prone to volatility. I sometimes find it emotionally painful to consider my prior perspective; the pain and discontent I endured as part of my everyday experience seems pretty horrific now. Noticing now, that I am noticing that, I take time to feel compassion for that hurt creature for a moment, and to accept that she is me, and understand that I’m not there now. No tears, just a moment of compassion, and recognition, even some gratitude for having the strength to go on long enough to find my way somewhere else in life.

Patterns exist. We have choices.

Patterns exist. We have choices.

The irritability begins to recede into the background, and slowly starts to dissipate. There was a time when that alone would seem so significant I’d rush into the world eager to restore contact, and find myself overwhelmed, unprepared, and not in the great shape I thought I was in. I would rush myself, mostly out of some sense of obligation to others. This morning, I take time to enjoy the improvement, without hurrying to the next thing, recognizing that I’m still dealing with the challenges, and being patient with myself. It’s a nice change to take care of me. It’s seems somewhat amusing that the irritability got my undivided attention so readily. As it recedes, I notice the headache and the nausea that seemed so unremarkable when I woke. This makes day 5 of something vaguely like morning sickness…and another reason I feel fairly certain the morning’s crankiness is likely due to hormones. The machinery is winding down. Sometimes that seems sad, this morning it simply is.

Today is a good day to take care of me with the same loving kindness and compassion I would show a partner, or lover, or friend – or human being. Today is a good day to accept my very best treatment from me – and from anyone else treating me well. Today is a good day to make a clear distinction between how I feel in the moment, and the actions I choose to take. Today is a good day to invest in a genuine smile, because smiling even feels good. Today is a good day to change the world.

Funny how much difference one moment can make in the way my experience feels. I’m still working on making the most of some pretty vast raw materials; the artistic masterwork of a lifetime is the journey I take to become the woman I most want to be, exploring my experience, and taking this amazing journey of discovery as a being. I am still taken by surprise, sometimes, at how little it takes to change the tone of that experience, to color it, to shift it on the emotional spectrum one direction or another.

So much potential.

A new day holds so much potential.

Yesterday the tone of a reply to a practical question held the potential to be a powerful destructive force in my day. I dislike being dismissed, or disregarded – I suppose most people likely do. I found great satisfaction that the day didn’t go awry, and took time to be grateful for new practices making a difference. I took that approach every step of the way yesterday, refraining from taking things¬†personally – even when they appeared to be very personal indeed – because I was able to understand that the behaviors of others reflect their will (not mine), their values (not mine), and their choices (I make my own); I’m a bystander in their experience. Their pain is their own, as are their great joys. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

This morning, I woke early, feeling a bit off, my mind inclined to wander into anger or irritation although the day was so very new there was no cause for it. New practices for the win, this morning, too; I gently nudged my mood back toward joy and contentment with meditation, and just as I felt relaxed and content again, I was treated to cuddles and love. Cuddles and love are simply one utterly wonderful way to start a morning. Any morning.

A lovely autumn morning.

Mornings hold so much potential.

Now I’m just chilling, sipping my first espresso, and listening to the world wake up around me. The sound track of human experience. I’m also listening to a terribly cheesy love song in my head; sometimes love does that to me. Sometimes I just sing holiday carols. LOL (No foolin’, I do.)

This human thing isn’t always easy, or orderly, or pleasant, and the weirdest shit seems to go wrong at the strangest times. People matter. I’m including myself in that set these days, which is a very nourishing experience emotionally. I’m setting my own priorities, based on what I need, and what matters to me. It makes some of the everyday drama pretty inconsequential. That’s really the reason I don’t drill down into the details of everyday drama that comes up in my relationships. It’s less about privacy than priorities. Some of it would be fun reading, exciting fiction, pretty gripping – stuff we can all easily identify with, perhaps even a bit titillating sometimes…but it’s not a high priority for me. Those every day stresses between human primates in close quarters are not the focus of this journey, and honestly, we all have our daily grind, and my advice wouldn’t likely be particularly useful – it’s always a sort of ‘you had to be there’ moment, isn’t it? Love each other. That’s the important thing. Listen attentively, with your whole awareness. Be engaged and present. Be willing to be vulnerable and speak your mind – and your heart. Do no harm. Be kind while you are being honest. Let the small stuff go. Did I mention Love? Sometimes I find re-envisioning some challenging moment with someone dear to me animated as The Simpsons, or Archer, or South Park. It’s not so much the colorful figures; I also rewrite the script, and the plot, and try to be true to the tone of the show and characters. It relieves a lot of that sense of loss and chaos that sometimes goes hand in hand with small drama.

Like mushrooms; under the right conditions, all sorts of things come up.

Like mushrooms; under the right conditions, all sorts of things come up.

So, here it is another day in this human experience. I wonder what will come of it? Today is a good day to make good choices and express the best of who I am in every interaction. Today is a good day to love and be loved in return. Today is a good day to respond instead of react. Today is a good day to feel autumn breezes, and see smiles on the faces of children. Today is a good day to be open to new ideas and to take chances on trying new practices. Today is a good day to change; that’s how I change the world.