Archives for posts with tag: wide-eyed wonder

My Traveling Partner and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend. 11 years as lovers, 10 years married. We didn’t do much about it, aside from noting the moment together, enjoying each other’s cooking, hanging out, and spending precious moments together. It was a very human experience; we also took turns dealing with our own, and each other’s, physical pain, and occasional off notes in love’s symphony. lol So human. We enjoyed good conversation, a deep connection, abiding affecting for each other, and some great music. Again, nothing particularly fancy or extraordinary, and with the pandemic being what it is, we spent our time together at home. 🙂 It is enough.

On one of my walks, I noticed the wild roses preparing to bloom. So soon?

It was a lovely weekend, and that’s how I remember it when I look back, in spite of being also aware that there were some moments I could have handled better (and some that perhaps he could have handled better). Yesterday I was in so much pain, generally, that by day’s end I’d maxed out on OTC and Rx pain relief, and still hurt enough to just call it a day quite early, thinking I’d just read quietly until whenever I felt sleepy… I don’t think I ever even picked up a book (or my Kindle).

I woke ahead of the alarm, with that painful day quite behind me, and an entirely new day ahead of me. I got up. Dressed. Went for my walk. Returned. Showered. Made coffee. Greeted my partner as he started his day. Now… here I am. 🙂 Sipping my coffee. Writing. Simple verbs. An ordinary morning.

Which moments are worth celebrating? Milestones like anniversaries seem an obvious choice. Perhaps it is less obvious to celebrate a routine pleasant Monday morning and a good cup of coffee? There are so many moments of suffering in a human life… I find value in celebrating even the small successes, and easy wins. Doesn’t seem to do me any harm to do so, and it tends to fill my day-to-day experience with small celebrations, which, generally, is quite pleasant. So… I do. 🙂

“The Alchymist” finally has a proper home in my garden. 🙂 Worth a moment to celebrate a very long journey to “home”.

A neighbor gave me a hand digging the hole for my only full-size potted rose, yesterday. I didn’t expect it, and was astonished that it was done so quickly. It was splendid to successfully replant The Alchymist into the garden from the big nursery pot it has endured for so long. 6 years? 7? (Could be going on 10…) I smile thinking of the remaining 3 roses that will go into the ground this Spring. I’m delighted that I have, thus far, managed each replanting without killing new growth, tearing off or breaking new shoots, or knocking off buds. 🙂

I was surprised how many buds there were on the long graceful canes of The Alchymist, already. Last year it only had one flower. LOL

…Small celebrations…

I remind myself to take a moment for life’s goodness, however humble, and to celebrate successes, however small. These moments are worthy of taking note, of savoring, of really enjoying – however brief they may seem, however modest in scale. An amazing, beautiful life can be built on small moments. 🙂

…And already it is time to begin again. 🙂 What are you celebrating, today?

I am up early enough on a Saturday to get to the Farmer’s Market before it’s mobbed. I don’t enjoy crowds. I move easily enough through them, but doing so tends to push me into a very focused, navigation-oriented manner of thinking that pushes aesthetic to the side in favor of things that feel more about survival. I like to move more gently through my experience. I enjoy being aware, and at leisure. I like to take my time. Those are thing I enjoy. Chances are if you know me, or if you speak to someone who does, on the matter of how I move through my experience moment to moment, it is quite likely that ‘slowly’, ‘gently’, and ‘aware’ are not going to be the first words to come to mind. I practice. A lot.

I am thinking about my imminent departure for the Farmer’s Market, this morning. Camera in hand, I am entertaining myself with a wee scavenger hunt; I am looking at it as an exercise in improving my awareness, too. I giggle when I think of a favorite cartoon hero, Sterling Archer, and his ‘total situational awareness’; it is his stated sense of self, but from the viewer perspective, he haplessly bumbles through quite a lot of his experience, demonstrating extraordinary good fortune every bit as often as any detailed explicit awareness. His experience is very much his own; it differs greatly from the perspective on his experience held by others. I, too, often feel quite aware of my surroundings, my experience, the presence, behavior, and demeanor of others…I have substantial empirical evidence that I am far less so than I tend to feel. ‘Why?’ is not the relevant piece of the puzzle, generally. ‘Why’ only becomes relevant in any way if something about the why is problematic for achieving goals, making desired changes, or negatively impacts my quality of life, overall. So… let’s not worry so much about ‘why’ today? 🙂

Some moments only reveal their beauty when I slow down to notice it.

Some moments only reveal their beauty when I slow down to notice it.

One reason I began carrying my camera everywhere (some weeks or months after starting this blog, actually) is that my camera has become a tool for bringing me back to a mindful moment, and reconnecting with ‘now’ – by raising my awareness of some detail, in order to get a picture of it. I move through my experience so quickly, in spite of my joy in slowing things down; taking a picture requires a willful pause, and careful consideration of what I see. The pictures themselves have the additional wonder of holding the power to bring me back to that specific mindful moment, at a later point. In time of greatest stress, doubt, or despair, flipping through my photographs one by one puts other moments in front of me for consideration. They become keys to the locks in my chaos  and damage that sometimes cause so much suffering; when I am very distressed, agitated, or blue, I have trouble connecting with better moments and returning to a place of emotional equilibrium. The pictures tend to help me leverage the power of a disinhibiting injury – to be liberated by the very qualities that sometimes limit me. The pictures help me, over time, tweak my implicit bias in a more positive direction; I don’t photograph things that cause me pain, or further suffering, generally speaking. (There are artists whose creative strength takes them down those dark paths, and I am awed by their power to reveal, and to heal.)

I don’t assume that because I have the injury I do, that these practices are exclusively beneficial to me; your results may vary, and there are verbs involved, but actions do have consequences – surely you would experience results of your own. 🙂

I used to fight stress and panic by shutting myself off, by withdrawing into myself and cutting off the world.  It didn’t actually work out that way, and I suffered in spite of my withdrawal, sometimes more so by building a solitary emotional prison, invisible and alone. I tend to feel more angry and encroached upon than comforted, or safe, by trying so hard to be less open, less available, less outspoken. I end up resenting the lack of consideration, the lack of reciprocity from others, and the constant pinging on my consciousness of the world. On the other hand, it is not a better deal to launch emotional weapons of mass distraction into a crowd, or to impose my very intense emotional life on others, over their explicit objections or boundary setting. Quite a puzzle.

I am still a student. There are questions, and more to learn. For now, I am walking my own path, and today it leads to the Farmer’s Market, camera in hand, to see the world.

It’s been an interesting few days since my homecoming. Having returned home feeling focused, committed to specific goals, clear-headed and purposeful, serene and balanced, I was unsurprised to walk into an emotional hurricane at home; we are all having our own experience. We’re human, we have emotions, and life serves up hearty helpings of what drives them. They are no more unexpected than a hurricane, and nearly always visible on the horizon.  I’ve been in real hurricanes. Generally, savvy folks don’t stand around stunned letting everything around them go to hell, and they don’t seem unaware that there is gale force wind blowing them off course, or torrential rain on their parade.

So, I face the hurricane myself, moved by the experiences of others, aware of the destructive potential of the chaos, and not discouraged from my own goals or from seeing to my own needs. I am experienced with the weather we were having. lol.  I would find value in some sort of vast check list of experiences and circumstances that were once entirely outside my ability to endure, withstand, negotiate, enjoy, manage, cherish… and as each such occurs anew and I face it, experience it, with new tools, I could check it off the list. I like checking things off lists, actually. It gives me a sense of progress.

I’d still love to be able to share more about my beach experience and certain other bits and pieces; there is a lot of amazing stuff going on in my life as an individual, and I’m often frustrated that I lack the skills to really share them with my loves.  If I gave myself a chance at it, I could wallow in disappointment and discontent when I find that some wonderful bit of wonder ends up disregarded in favor of OPD.   Still, everyday life manages to keep my brain busy, my heart alive, and my calendar full.  Even what hurts or feels uncomfortable or seems inexplicable, is stuff to study, and to which I can bring mindfulness, and new practices very much worth practicing.  I am a student of life, not just visiting or passing through.

One view of the horizon.

One view of the horizon.

One very small thing I considered over the weekend at the beach was my health and fitness. What now seems a very long time ago I was much heavier than I wanted to be, and heavier than what feels comfortable on my frame. My weight was contributing to health problems, and even I could see that. It was also a significant driver of personal discontent and feelings of unworthiness.  I took matters in hand – and it’s an entirely other story than what I’m really on about this morning – and I dropped a lot of weight in a year.  It has stayed off. I’m much fitter, and healthier – but I haven’t reached my goal, and I’m still heavier than would be ideally healthy, and my fitness could still use improvement. I could moan about my weight loss progress being stalled for two years and launch a barrage of small contributing factors, but seriously? I wasn’t as committed as I needed to be to reach the goal I had set for myself.  I am accepted and loved by those who accept and love me, and mostly not very aware of haters moment-to-moment, and it was pretty easy to slow it down, relax, and lose focus. It doesn’t require more analysis than that. 🙂

I needed time to reflect.

I needed time to reflect.

So, I recommitted to my goal, with some study, and some celebration and waving good-bye to unhealthy favorite treats that had crept in over time to become pretty frequent. I took note that even a small glass of white wine with a meal didn’t treat me well emotionally or physically, and decided feeling good and being healthy is more important than wine with a meal – ever – and gave that up. I wasn’t exactly ‘a drinker’ at this point in my life, but I decided to give it up completely – although I’m not bragging or being smug about it, it’s just that it wasn’t hard to choose to give up empty calories (wine, gummy candies, sweets made primarily of butter, sugar, and flour) to keep my health.  It is, however, a choice. There’s a verb in there. Actions are involved and I am already taking them; strict about my caloric intake, the nutritive qualities of the food I eat, the amount and type of exercise I get each day.  I probably won’t say much about it day-to-day; this blog isn’t a diet, weight-loss, or fitness blog. For me the more important item is the goal>choice>action>outcome piece. There are always details, ups and downs, challenges to face, but generally it really is as simple has being sufficiently committed to a goal to enact the required verbs to reach it.  I’m wondering what will be different bringing mindfulness into the mix. Am I full of shit? I’ll check in, in September, and let you know. 😉

Planning to stay on course.

Planning to stay on course.

Other small things, well – small for the world, they loom large in my experience. Spring continues to unfold.  It’s lovely to see, and I enjoy the scents of spring without the agony of allergies; I make a point to be specifically mindfully grateful about it. Love, too, unfolds and grows and shows new facets of intimacy, connection, and delight. I still feel a moment of awkward discomfort when I’m aware of how dependent that has turned out to be on connecting with myself, treating my own heart well, and being intimate with my own emotional experience. The discomfort always passes, and the joy and contentment and deep meaningful connections that are within reach are certainly worth learning to accept how utterly necessary it is to nurture myself and treat myself well and with loving kindness.

Where the river meets the sea.

Where the river meets the sea.

I thought I had more to say. Since it isn’t about a word count… well, enjoy Thursday! It’s a good day to love and be loved. It’s a good day to be considerate and to be kind. It’s a good day to change the world.

So much horizon...

So much horizon…