Archives for posts with tag: who are you?

I’m sipping coffee and thinking about dear friends. Thinking about family. Thinking about people. We don’t know what we don’t know; we’re each having our own experience. However unique, individual, or different, we feel we are compared to “everyone else”, we just don’t really know what is going on in other lives in any really deep, detailed, or complete way. We see bits and pieces. We make a lot of assumptions. We ask too few questions, and sometimes don’t listen to the answers when we do ask. We tend to behave as though we are more similar than we really are, while also thinking we’re having a fundamentally different experience of being human. We’re not. And also – we are. LOL It’s complicated.

I think about how to be “more present”, how to listen more deeply, how to “be there” for others when needed, without undermining my ability to “be there” for myself.

I think about kindness, compassion, and consideration. I think about how long this journey to being the woman I most want to be sometimes feels, looking back. I think about how astonishingly short it sometimes seems, in any one moment. I think about change.

…Apparently it is a morning well-suited to thoughts. 🙂

I think about how much work love can take… and how rewarding doing that work can be. I think about how pleasant yesterday was.

Life in the time of pandemic is peculiar. I’ve connected with some friends more deeply – or at least more often – and my partnership with my Traveling Partner on life’s journey seems to have deepened, and become stronger in practical ways, and deeper, emotionally. (We snarl at each other now and then; pandemic living has some challenges. We take it less personally, and bounce back more readily.) We’re human. We love each other. We both find working at love worth our individual and shared effort. We’ve both said as much, in actual words, at some point in the past several weeks.

Preparing to move feels strange, but maybe this is the last time? Maybe it isn’t. I’d probably serve myself best by avoiding becoming attached to the idea of permanence. lol Non-attachment for the win? Again?

Always, and already, life presents an opportunity to begin again. 🙂

This morning I am reflecting on a moment I experienced while I was meditating, before my coffee. My perspective shifted abruptly while I was meditating, I’m not sure why, and I was suddenly very “self-focused”, while also seeming to be a distant, objective, potentially remote, observer of this self that I feel that I am. I’ve had this perspective shift before, and it wasn’t so unexpected or alien as to be frightening, I’m just thinking about it, after-the-fact, while I sip my coffee. It is the sort of experience that seems to want additional reflection, for some time afterward.

The perspective shift is the sort of thing that gives me a moment to really “consider myself” – not how I am experiencing my life, more how I am delivering the experience of myself experiencing life to others. A bit like looking at myself from an outsider’s perspective – if that “outsider” was also truly me. It’s an interesting moment to participate in. Am I the woman I most want to be? Am I living up to my human potential? How am I seen in the world, if the world looking back is also me, shares my values, shares my perspective on life, love, and humanity? I find myself really letting my guard down with myself; being human it is very easy to cast myself as the good guy in every tale of adventure. I’m not. I’m human. Just that. One human being, being human. This moment, on this morning, challenges those easy comfortable assumptions, and takes another, deeper, look.

…Nah. I’m not sharing more details. lol. Go find your own moment to reflect upon. 😉 It’s your journey, and you’ve got to walk your own mile. 😀 I say this with kindness, and with a bit a frustration; it would be very hard to put my experience this morning into useful words. “Worthy moment of perspective” is accurate, but not useful in any practical “how to do this” way… and I’m not sure how it’s done. It seems to be a cheat to say “meditate, and eventually all will be revealed”, and I don’t know that that is actually true… it’s just sort of how it went for me. I “get there” sometimes unexpectedly. Like this morning. Perhaps with enough practice it will become something I could just do by specific choice?

I sip my coffee and continue to reflect… on reflections. Perspective shifts offer new perspective, and that’s generally helpful, I’ve found. 🙂

The morning is, generally, a pleasant one. The sky lightens slowly, revealing a gray rainy morning. My arthritis reminds me how human I am; I am in pain. My coffee is warming and pleasant. There is a small amount of traffic going by. The rainy street alerts me of each passing car with a shhhhhh-shhhhhh as the car rolls by. The computer’s cpu fan spins up, then slows down, as I write, pause, and resume writing. I listen to the day begin. A robin nesting in the hedge out front begins to call and sing as soon as there is daylight. I think about moving to another place, and wonder briefly what mornings elsewhere would sound like, and I recall the sound of mornings in other places I have lived. My favorites? Probably the humid summer mornings of childhood visits to the Eastern Shore, or on my grandparents’ pier jutting out into Weems Creek… or maybe those early mornings on guard duty, deployed at Ft AP Hill for military exercises. Funny that I don’t actually think of myself as a “morning person”. I’m generally up very early, often before dawn, and it’s a choice I’ve made for a long while, so… how not a morning person? Well… I’m not generally cheerful, merry, or inclined to “deal with” people until much later, after I’ve been awake for quite a while. Just… leave me alone until after my coffee, okay? lol I’m more than “kind of a bitch” in the morning, and yeah, it’s generally best to give me some distance until my brain is completely back on line. I’m not proud of that limitation, just aware of it.

…I’ve come a long way as a human. I used to be so vile in the mornings I didn’t even like myself, let alone liking any other people, or being willing to tolerate a word being spoken. You can, actually, have a conversation with me in the morning, now. I often enjoy coffee with my Traveling Partner in the morning. It’s pleasant. We enjoy each other’s company. Here’s the thing, though; I’m quite content to be alone in the mornings, and generally prefer that. The progress I’ve made is that I no longer “punish the world for existing in my presence” first thing in the morning. I’m not hostile. I’m not angry. I’m not ferociously, aggressively, distant. I give myself some space when I need it, but I’m fairly approachable. 🙂 Progress.

I’m not “a morning person” though. Given time, and no schedule, I slowly return to my “natural” sleep/wake cycle, which generally finds me staying up until some time after 2 am, and waking after 9 am or 10 am, depending on the quality of my sleep, and also napping almost every day. I end up on these early schedules largely as a byproduct of the work I do (or have done, in other jobs). Easier to simply maintain that than to bounce back and forth. Discipline becomes habit. We become what we practice. So, I tend to be an early bird – who is not actually a morning person. lol Being human is weird.

Well, damn. Here I’ve been just talking about me all this time… how are you? Are you happy where you are? Are you happy who you are? Maybe it’s time we begin again? 🙂

What moves you? I mean, literally; what gets you off the couch, puts you in motion, and sees you down the path from what you imagine or dream, to what you get done? Worth thinking about, isn’t it? What’s holding you back from your individual idea of success? Are you feeling stuck? What are you sticking to? If your life is a single narrative, a story, what’s the ending you’d like? How do you get there? Are you even the protagonist of your own tale? All good questions to consider. I sit here with my coffee, quietly considering them.

I watch this video, again. My Traveling Partner had shared it with me. I shared it with my work team.

I watch this video, too. It may not be immediately obvious what connects them, but it is, for me, an important thread.

I watch this video, simple because it’s too fucking obvious – and somehow still needs an occasional reminder.

It’s a lovely start to the day, to be reminded of all the potential life holds – and how much of my personal success is within my hands, if not within my control. My decision-making doesn’t just “matter”; it is the framework on which I build my life. 🙂

…So… choose wisely, eh? 😀 For sure…but also remember that everything you want in life is probably “harder than it looks” and what motivates you may be entirely out of reach without a lot of work – and may even be completely unfathomable to someone else, entirely. A lot of what is appealing in life only looks easy to reach. Ideally, those harsh-seeming realities don’t stop us, as individuals, they serve to refine our craft, and create the strengths for which we will later stand out among others on the path we’ve chosen. 🙂

…Or something like that. I’m just saying; there are verbs involved.

…And hey… don’t let the internet, or the vast quantities of excess information, or brain candy, become the diet on which your mind subsists. As with the food we consume, it matters that the content we consume be “nutritious”, and that we “limit our intake” in a healthy way. I mean… otherwise, it’s just a huge time-consuming monster that reduces our human endeavors to a series of mouse clicks, and shares. 😉 Just saying… get out there and really live.

Seems like a good time to begin again. This coffee is finished. A new day is beginning. The time is mine, as is the dream. Where will this path take me?

The path isn’t always paved…

“Do you.”

“Be who you are.”

“Be yourself.”

“Be real.”

If we’re struggling to know ourselves, it follows that being ourselves comes with an obvious challenge; we may only be trying things on for size, exploring our options, or even (and often) terrified by the potential that we may be wrong about it. Uncomfortable – and in our discomfort, and insecurities about “who we think we are”, we lose our way, and potentially become a composite of other people’s values, notions, and assumptions of who we are – some tidied up caricature of who we most want to be, perhaps, or worse, in the struggle to resist, we remake ourselves as monsters. Yikes.

Is it enough to “be who we are”, if we’re not sure about who that is, exactly? Is there an alternative that doesn’t require fakery or bullshit? How do I “become my best self” – and who is that? 56 years old and still, sometimes, wondering who I want to be when I “grow up”. It’s not a process that has a clear conclusion, ideally; I will strive to be that woman I most want to be, until the day I stop being, having become, in that final moment, only a collective of deeds – and memories. No “finish line” – and it’s not a race, more a walk in the countryside. When we’re fortunate, our journey is well-lit, paved, and we’ve got company along the way, and maybe a sense of direction. Less fortunate travelers walk a harder path; it’s dark out there, the way is not paved, at all, there’s no map, and we wander, confused, alone, and feeling wholly fucked over. There’s a lot of options in between – variations in the human experience.

I’m sipping my morning coffee, and thinking about mortality. 🙂 Oh, I’m not feeling gloomy, or down, nor am I obsessing over the details, just very much aware that even this will pass. All of it. I’ll “move on”, not necessary to anything else, perhaps this truly is all there is? I can’t know that in advance – that’s part of the challenge – and I personally choose not to attempt to fill that uncertainty with any sort of conviction about the unknown. It will be what it is, when that time comes, right? Whether I face it with inquisitive openness and curiosity, or with an assumption built on faith and assumptions, it will, reliably, be only what it actually is, in fact. We’ll see when we get there. Or, um, not. lol Sorry – I’m not prone to existential angst, and if you are, this prosy nonsense about whatever the hell may or may not be on the other side of life could be stressful. My bad. Please forgive me – let’s move on. 😉

We’re mortal creatures, that’s my point.

Being my authentic self got tested yesterday. Work stuff. I had a moment, as an adult, to live my values, speak my truth to power, be as frankly and honestly the woman I am, without compromise, in a work scenario that would previously have provoked me to mold myself to the moment, and to try to be who I perceived myself as expected to be. Reasonable enough; people do that all the time. Compromise. Small compromises in values justified as “choosing our battles” or “not starting shit” can so easily lead to becoming a shell of a human being, feeling disconnected, closed off, “not heard” (because we’re not speaking our truth in the first place), and even ashamed – once the dust settles –  of whatever the outcome turns out to be. I don’t want that for myself. 🙂 I went home feeling… clean. Satisfied. “Legit.” I felt whole, empowered, and inspired; I was heard, accepted, and valued. Well… so, yeah, that made it easy, didn’t it?

It’s much harder not to cave to social pressures when we are not accepted, not valued, and dismissed or diminished, instead of heard. It’s not up to chance, though, and I made specific choices to refrain from making assumptions about the outcome of necessary conversations, and chose to simply prepare for the moment in an authentic away – relying heavily on experience, professional knowledge, and trust that my values – and the convictions I hold that are built on those – would be enough. No panic. No “presentation” building. No “controlling the narrative” – and frankly, I’m pretty good at conversation. 😀

…I even managed an entire 45 minutes of conversation without interrupting. lol

This morning, I sip my coffee, smiling, listening to music, looking forward to brunch, and feeling something I guess I can call “proud of myself”… or, maybe… “inspired”? I am even excited to return to work on Monday, which actually feels pretty strange, I gotta say; I’m not generally “about that”. lol It’s not that I don’t enjoy the work I do… it’s more that it definitely feels like a job that takes time away from my lifetime. Time I could – and would – so easily use differently for myself, were I a woman of means on that order of magnitude. I’m not. I work. That’s just real. 🙂

Being our most authentic self is challenging at work. Challenging in relationships that are precious to us – particularly if we feel insecure about the relationship… or who we are. A few years ago, I opted out of most relationships in my life that felt insecure, or which seemed to hold an element of investment in my worst self. Easier than trying to force some other human being to be a different person than they are, I learned to understand that (as with any work team) “fit” matters – and not all human beings are “a good fit” for friendship, romance, partnership, casual fun, lunch out… so many humans to choose from, why would I spend time struggling to force any one relationship to be something it isn’t? Those choices definitely served to make authenticity easier. That just leaves managing the work piece – and the “being out in the world” piece.

Random interactions with strangers. Right. Those, too. There are expectations of how we behave socially. Being my best self doesn’t require me to be inauthentic – but it may require me to change, to grow, or to choose differently than I might, if I were left utterly on my own, feral, undeveloped, un-socialized, and without context. lol There are choices to be made, every social moment. Kindness or cruelty? Compassion or callousness? Patient or angry? Polite or rude? Distant or intimate? Quiet or talkative? Chill or anxious? Rushed or relaxed? So many choices. Who am I?

Who are you?

“Your vibe attracts your tribe.” That’s real. When I am “my own person”, living my life in an authentic way, the people who enjoy my company are enjoying “the real me”, and my social circle, over time, fills with those people. Other people walk on. Letting them go is a natural fit – no need to fight it. Easier not to, too.

Today, this moment, feels easy and relaxed. My coffee is nearly gone. It’s a lovely morning that looks like a hot day to come. I sip my hot coffee grateful for air conditioning. My Traveling Partner went back east to see family – during a heat wave. I frown sympathetically, and ineffectively, at my monitor, when I think about that. I’m sure not going to bitch to him about 86 degrees, when we next speak. 😀 I finish my coffee, and jot down a quick list of things to do today; I like being prepared, when I begin again. 😀

 

I’m sipping my coffee, before dawn, on a Spring morning. Well-past Winter, and headed for Summer, the morning is mild, and the patio door is open to the cool morning air. I haven’t written a word in days… unless a letter to my Mother, for Mother’s Day, counts. I suppose it does… but…

…I’ve spent lovely hours in the garden…

…I seem to have broken my writing habit. lol Yep. It’s entirely possible to break a habit, however long-standing, however well-favored, and even when that habit is relied upon, enjoyed, and cultivated until it becomes a plot point in one’s life, and an element of character. Still breakable.

Just stop doing it.

Stop a habitual behavior one time, and it has little impact. Stop it again, and it becomes a repeated behavior. Continue stopping it ( as in, don’t do it) and, over time, it becomes part of who you are that you don’t do this thing. We become what we practice, it is that simple.

This is a technique, a practice, that works. It works very well; practice something long enough and changes occur. Practice a desirable behavior. Practice something tedious. Practice something useful. Practice something foolish. We become what we practice.

I broke my writing habit by taking a day from writing, now and then, which grew to amused tolerance of not writing, even for a couple days, which slowly became a small kernel of doubt; do I even want to write? I took a vacation for a few days, to focus on Love, and found myself just… not writing. At all. Good times. Challenges. Adventure. Drama. Practice? Well, one thing I was not practicing? Writing. It’s been interesting to live life without it.

The last day or two I have tended to be somewhat irritable, and easily hurt. At that same time, there’s been something “a bit off” every now and then, between my Traveling Partner and I, in spite of how delightfully well we get along, and how much love exists in this relationship. It struck me as I fell asleep last night that, in some small way, my writing is not only part of who I am… it is part of who we are. When I don’t write, not only do I lose “my mirror”, and regular moment taken for self-reflection, and reinforcement of those practices that tend to make me more the woman I most want to be… it also removes a handy window into who I am, and how I’m doing, that my Traveling Partner is quite used to having available. I wonder if that’s something he counts on? I remind myself to ask, some other time.

This is not to say I sense any obligation among all these words; my choices are my own. I miss writing every day. There is a longing that exists alongside the tempting freedom from this habit of sitting down each morning, over my coffee, reflecting on my thoughts, my actions, my experience… and frankly the longing won. 🙂 That’s okay, too.

I listen to a little bird outside my window, and my neighbor’s car warming up in the driveway. I sip my coffee, and feel the cool morning air fill the house. I think of the happy happenstance of running into a former coworker (current friend) yesterday, that I hadn’t seen in a while. I exist in this vaguely merry pre-dawn state, drinking coffee. I love this “place”, this particular moment and state of being. How is it that even this habit is so easily broken? How is it so easily resumed?

We get to choose. 

Imagine the insane power our freedom of choice actually implies – and what it says, really, about who we each are (and who we are choosing to be). Raw power.

…And…yeah… it means that it matters who we each choose to be, and that who we are is a product of a great many choices we willfully make, each day. We can choose differently, and better, than we often do – and once we notice that? We sort of have an obligation to ourselves – to that person we most want to be – to step up, and walk a path we choose with care, and make those choices that make us more fully who we do want to be, until, over time, that’s who we actually are.

…So… There’s that. I check the time, and begin again. 🙂