Archives for posts with tag: winter is coming

It’s been a lovely relaxed weekend, filled with unexpected moments of delight and love. Pleasant. Restful. Even productive. I’ve enjoyed each lovely loving moment without reservations. I’ve found purpose and growth in the handful of moments that were less than ideally delightful. Hell, no hard feelings, either; it is probably an unreasonable fantasy (and an unsustainable reality, at best, and only occasionally, if ever) to contemplate a life of endless contentment and joy. Rain falls. Humans are human. ๐Ÿ™‚ I value the opportunities to grow and to be more the woman I most want to be, although, sometimes, in spite of how the information reaches me.

It was a rainy autumn weekend, and I’ve no reason to complain about that.

Several times this weekend I’ve taken a moment to reflect on where I am, and where I seem headed, relative to where I began, and who I have been. It’s been an interesting journey.

The wintry wood beyond the deck inspires me to paint scenes of winter. Shades of gray. Whites. Blacks. Winter days. Winter nights. I let my mind wander, thoughts of paintings to come. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s time to begin again.

I like a smooth, well-mapped, route when I travel from place to pace, it’s true. I don’t at all mind “a road less traveled” – I just prefer to use a map. lol The enormous emotional relief, for me, in beginning down the path of mindfulness, of improved self-awareness, of improved emotional self-sufficiency, has been largely due to the increased sensation that this journey can make some sense, can seem to follow some sort of map. Sort of. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a feeling of “safe travels” on life’s journey, for me.

…I’m less than ideally well-suited to unexpected drama, profound losses of perspective or resilience, or that emotional teeter-totter that gets slyly labeled “reactivity”. I falter. I panic. I want to run. Doesn’t matter if it’s my mess, or someone else’s. I really just don’t want to be part of it, and I begin to do a lot of emotional dog-paddling in life’s choppy waters, just trying to stay ahead of things, or smooth things over. I’d often rather just yield to whatever the chaos brings with it, accept and reject it, and fucking walk on. So often, it’s either my own mess to clean up and manage, or it belongs to someone dear to me, who has… for fuck’s sake… reached out to me (of all people) for help and support.

It was late last night before I’d self-soothed and medicated sufficiently to stop by brain spinning out of control on details that didn’t really belong directly to me, but touched my experience enough to be aggravating. I slept fitfully, once I was able to sleep at all, and my nightmares were not all that helpful toward sorting shit out. I was fairly grateful for the loud crashing noise on the roof over my bed, which woke me abruptly at 1:49 am. Heavy winds all day and into the night, really making a loud rushing and roaring noise, had been tossing the treetops back and forth for hours. Seconds after 1:48 am, I guess, a largish tree beyond the back fence couldn’t take it any longer and snapped just a couple feet up from the base. It hit the house and broke again, the top sliding down the roof into the neighbor’s yard, the mid-section crashing into the fence, and destroying a section of that, breaking again, and that piece falling sort of into my yard.

Well…shit. That’s not good…

Minutes later, we were all standing out there in the wind and rain, faces wearing looks of astonishment and relief. It could have been worse. In the darkness, the wind carried off any real sense of fear or anxiety, leaving behind only words of surprise, and cautious optimism. It would be hours before day light gave us a better look. Still, it was easy to tell it could have been much worse.

I went back to bed with that reminder in my mind; it could have been worse. So often in life this is true. lol

I woke to a lovely note from my Traveling Partner. I woke to no drama. I woke to peace and contentment. I woke to a large tree broken in pieces spread across the back yards, and a displaced squirrel looking up at me with a recognizable “wtf??” look. I smiled. I get it. I put out peanuts for the squirrels and made a cup of coffee for myself – and began again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m sipping my coffee and taking in the slow gray dawn. No sunrise this morning. No glints of gold or peach off the last clinging autumn leaves. Just a homogeneous gray sky slowly lightening from a deep charcoal gray to a steely gray, and just now reaching a soft dove gray. My coffee is cold, from a can I took out of the refrigerator.ย  It’s a hell of a luxury – convenience generally is, though I tend not to notice very often.

Funny how conveniences can become a loss of good character and will over time, though, isn’t it? I’ve noticed that when I yield to convenience such that a particular convenience becomes habitual, I lose interest in making the effort that a task or experience once required without the conveniences. Huh. I gotta work on that; I see some very problematic potential outcomes of losing the will to exert effort for what I want. ๐Ÿ™‚ If nothing else, it is autumn, heading towards winter, and I enjoy a hot cup of coffee. This will be the last can of cold brew for a while. There are fresh good quality coffee beans in the hopper of the burr grinder. Coffee mugs are clean. The kitchen itself, untidy after being sick, is at least ready for making coffee. lol I take another sip of this cold brew, and really take it in: the flavor, the coldness, the peculiar lack of depth or nuance to both the taste and fragrance – I mean, no surprise, it came out of a can, right? Fresh squeezed orange juice will always taste quite deliciously different from orange juice from a bottle or carton, right? Same here. Freshly ground, freshly and skillfully brewed coffee by its very nature tastes quite different from any can of cold brew – however convenient or tasty – ever could.

There’s a metaphor here, and I continue to sip this fairly nondescript, but wholly convenient, cup of coffee and consider the metaphor (and allegory) from many angles.

I look out the window. It has been some moments since the sky was a smooth wash of dove gray, and it is, now, taking on a hint of… something else. Not pink. Not peach. Not mauve. Not lavender. Some odd color I have no name for that sits somewhere in the junction of all of those. How strange. I sit quietly, just watching the sky, trying to name this color I see, but which is somehow unfamiliar and nameless. I take another sip of my coffee, which now seems entirely wrong for this moment. lol This is a summer coffee in an autumn moment, like a “wrong note” in a jazz solo; I wait for the next note to tie it all together. ๐Ÿ™‚

I take a moment to appreciate the physical details of this moment, too. The heat came on. The thermostat is set for a comfortable 68 degrees, which seems “just right” for first thing in the morning. The air feels a bit dry in the house. My head isn’t stuffy this morning, though, and for the moment my fairly persistent headache is gone. I’m in no particular amount of pain – pain-free? Dare I notice and make the observation? Huh. It’s a nice start to a day I hope to spend decorating for Giftmas. ๐Ÿ˜€

My mind wanders thinking about Giftmas future, and Giftmas past. Those thoughts are also about the things in life I’ve kept along the way, and the things I have lost or left behind. It’s not an especially poignant moment, and feels more practical, and observant. It’s a journey, and as with most of the journeys I have taken in life, there’s only so much baggage I can lug along the way. Sometimes, it’s necessary to let things go. Hell – sometimes that is the very best next step that can be taken; let it go. Let this go. Let that go. Let the big deal go. Let the petty bullshit go. Walk on. Keep what works best. Keep what supports my intention most. Keep what lifts me up. Keep what lifts up others. Learn what works, practice that, and share it. Let the rest go. Like the last can of summer’s cold brew, savor the experience, drink it in, enjoy what qualities of value it can offer, learn from what isn’t so pleasant – let the rest go, like an emptied can of cold brew, into the recycling. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I’ll sort through memories and life lessons while I sort through fragile glass ornaments, placing each one “just so” to consider and enjoy, to ponder, to learn from. This is a season of self-reflection, and a season of change.

I woke to the sense of being unusually aware of having a new day ahead. A complete, entire, wholly unused fresh new to-be-determined, as in not yet completed, used, spoiled, finalized, wrapped up, or altered in any way. New. An entire new day. Unbuilt. Un-crafted. Un-“hacked”. New and suitable for all manner of beginnings, choices, and verbs.

In this particular instance, it is also a Thursday, a workday, and I woke to the alarm clock. lol

Still a new day.

I smile and sip my coffee. I consider the day ahead. I have a hair appointment in the afternoon, so the work day itself is a bit shorter than usual. No guilt involved; next week I have a long (and very late-ending) Monday with a very early (and long) Tuesday following it. It’s not the usual thing. It’s to do with an implementation that is nearing its conclusion. That’s exciting. I’m tired and eager to get to a “steady state” of things, around which functional sustainable scalable processes can be written – then followed – and iterations of improvement in efficiency can be observed, and managed. lol Exciting stuff right there, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (For me? Yes.)

Today’s short work day gets me a bit of additional leisure that I can spend on the woman in the mirror, taking care of other needs than those listed with such care on a meeting agenda somewhere, because we both know that the major upheaval ahead in my day-to-day routine (sleeping and waking particularly) may result in more than usual fatigue by the end of next week.

No particular reason to look ahead and become fused with an experience that is not now, though, is there? (Nope.) No telling how all that actually goes “in real life”. I will say, I’m getting to see a number of close colleagues in other roles managing their stress, and their workloads, in a time of great change. I’m impressed by them. I am content to work where I do. It’s a good place to work. (That matters more to me than I understood 7 years ago.)

Another morning. Another day. Another opportunity to practice being in this moment, here, and open to the next, whatever it may bring. I’m ready with some verbs. I’m ready to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

This morning I have been gently plagued by a subtle sensation of having overlooked something, or that ‘something is missing’ or forgotten. After some moments, I realized I hadn’t made coffee. Later on, I notice I have forgotten to switch off the burner on the stove. Later still I notice that I was distracted while dressing – and have one fuzzy spa sock on, and one sturdy warm hiking sock. I know one thing with certainty; I have not been starting my day from a mindful place. Fortunately, the solution is both simple and low-cost.. there are, of course, verbs involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

Loving begins with the woman in the mirror.

Loving begins with the woman in the mirror.

I slow myself down, taking time to breathe – really breathe, without being distracted by things other than this moment, this breath. I notice the tension in my shoulders, and the eagerness in my approach to beginning the day – sloppy, inattentive, but enthusiastic. I let the tension fall away, breathing, and letting the sensation and experience of breathing be enough to fill this moment. I let my awareness extend and expand, embracing the coziness of my wee home, and the warmth and joy of the beats playing on the stereoย – K-Lab “Out the Door” starts the day with energy and movement. Movement becomes dance, and I stay engaged in this moment, allowing my sense of self and place to be fluid, feeling stiff joints begin to move more easily, pain begins to ease, the smile on my face settles into something soft, without edges, fearless and joyful. Dance is another sort of meditation altogether – and I smile, thinking of dancers other than I – ‘real ones’, professionals, committed amateurs of great skill, passionate performers of public art, I am awed by that kind of devotion to an art form – the sort whereby ones entire physical being is transformed almost into another sort of creature entirely. I am not that sort of dancer – I’m the 52-year-old version of a teenager dancing in front of her mirror; I enjoy the way dancing feelsย and any appearance of skill in any one moment is pure coincidence, and that’s totally okay.

I dance through all manner of small chores: dishes, making up the bed, tidying this and that, cleaning the bathroom. The morning no longer feels like something has been overlooked, and between meditation, and dancing, I find myself feeling ‘reconnected’ to myself, to my own experience, and no longer on auto-pilot. It is a cold morning (outside) and my bones seem to know it, they crack and pop as I move, but the aching isn’t bad today, and I am in less pain than on many other mornings. I consider the matter of ‘auto pilot’ for some minutes, wondering at the balance between needing/using it – and allowing life to slip by on programming that is reliably adequate to pass time but hardly counts as ‘living’. I very much prefer to live life, mistakes and all. It’s taken a while to be certain of that, and there have certainly been some moments when it has been frightening to let go of some long-standing habit I have relied on in order to embrace a truly unscripted authentic experience of living life. Totally worth it.

I sit back for a moment and consider how positive and… good…things have been lately. I find myself wondering a tad insecurely whether I am less interesting without the day-to-day struggling and suffering – followed by a moment of puzzlement afterward that such a worry could even be a thing. I sometimes worry that I may stray into bragging, or smugness, or complacency, or a feeling of superiority – or a sense of having finished this journey prematurely somehow. This quantity of good days is unfamiliar, new territory on this journey of mine – I am unlikely to take it for granted, but words are devilishly subtle, often giving away what seems hidden from the writer’s view. I know that I want to communicate that incremental change over time is a real thing, that we can improve our individual experience of our circumstances – and even our circumstances themselves – and that it is possible to wade through all the chaos and damage to reach another place entirely… but… I very much want to do so in a way that is inclusive, and reaches beyond my own limited mortal experience to some distant point out there, where you are – or someone else – reading these words, looking for something to hold on to, whatever that might be. I want to say ‘You can do this! See? I did… which surely means it is doable!”… I most specifically do not intend a message ofย ย ‘ha ha, look where I got and you aren’t here’ – a message which would be both very cruel, and also a serious indication I hadn’t gotten very far at all, really. I maintain a certain tender concern that I not cause harm through carelessly communicating effortlessness, or ease – there really are verbs involved – but I earnestly also want to shout from the roof tops “you can do this! we all can do this!” hopingย someone might feel just a little less alone or discouraged, out there on their own journey through the chaos and damage.

Every morning a new start, every horizon a new destination, and every moment a new experience.

Every morning a new start, every horizon a new destination, and every moment a new experience.

…And, let’s be real, I’m both pleased and grateful to be in this better place than I’ve ever been before. Celebrating that is a worthy thing. I am taking those steps that move life from surviving to thriving – one at a time, with plenty of practice, and pausing to return to mindfulness when I notice that feeling that something is missing. ๐Ÿ™‚