Archives for posts with tag: words

Another Monday finished off, in due time. Hardly a routine work day, and I could have easily arrived home in a completely shitty mood, after spending the last half of my work day struggling not to snarl at people (it was that sort of day).

I didn’t. I made other choices, although, honestly, I’m sort of tired now, and… just a tad uncertain which choices had what result. lol Choices were made, however, and some were made differently. New perspective? Different perspective. Close enough.

I got home tired. I’m not even bitching; it wasn’t a particularly long day, and I still have some evening ahead of me to relax, read, write, and do some things to support my own wellness and quality of life. It feels good. It’s a small thing, but keeping some of my focus on my own needs really does make a huge difference, and when I don’t – however worthy the reason, I eventually pay a price for it in a reduction in quality of life, health, emotional resilience, or some moment of aggravation blown out of proportion.

I sat down to write and found this:

…Has it been 6 years?

Funny thing, though… I mean… I write like I breathe (which is to say, reliably, most of the time, and without any particular effort or need to think about it, and fairly unavoidably; it’s part of my existence). How is 6 more years of writing actually an achievement? I nibble at my fairly nutritious dinner, and give that some thought.

6 years ago, I was walking a very different path.

6 years. 6 years of living life. Now that’s an achievement. 6 years of learning to love truly well. 6 years of sharing my heart and my moments with my Traveling Partner. Hell of an achievement right there; love takes some major verbs, done well. 6 years of forgiving myself. 6 years of forgiving others. 6 years of laughing at my own dumb jokes. 6 years spent doing more than crying. 6 years of hiking, camping, and pouring over maps of trails yet to be walked. Those are pretty cool achievements. 6 years of work I can be proud of. 6 years of lasting friendships, and new friends. Definitely some achievements in there. 6 years of more daydreams than nightmares – that’s a big achievement, most particularly because it has continued to improve over time. 🙂 6 years of practicing practices, sharing tales from a journey through a wilderness of chaos and damage, traveling in the twilight of evening light… and somehow, it seems a stroll through a sunny meadow much of the time, in year 6. That’s an achievement I don’t even know how to measure. Feels good.

So… yeah… I guess the tl;dr is “I registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago”. This may not be “happily ever after”… but it is pretty nice, generally. 🙂 I chose to make a change. That was an achievement. I’ve just kept making changes, and when I falter, I begin again. That’s an achievement. Thanks, WordPress.com, you’ve been a hell of a platform for change. 🙂

Still walking my path, paved with verbs and new beginnings, illuminated with love.

It’s a funny thing about the squishy bit of flesh so completely encased in the roundish object perched atop my neck – it is powerful. Magical. Vulnerable to deceits of all kinds, most particularly those that source within its own powerful magical self. It is so easy to cast a sort of spell on myself, with nothing more complicated than an assumption or two, a handful of expectations, and a moment taken out of context. I can completely alter my experience, and it seems fairly practical to call it “magic”, since doing so doesn’t actually require anything real at all, and has the potency to change my own experience, and the experience of others. (And actually, reality is sometimes an impediment to our internal narrative.)

I’ve mislead myself any number of times in life with a few assumptions and expectations. I’ve acted on those, or (over)reacted to them, without any clarification, without a complete picture of the circumstances, facts, or any awareness that everything is definitely not all about me, personally, particularly in someone else’s experience. Acting on the made-up shit in my head does not improve my experience, generally, and living alone has been a powerful lesson in the value of testing assumptions, getting clarification on shared plans, setting realistic expectations – and verifying that my understanding of those is shared – and then still just not taking so much day-to-day small shit so personally.

Still, and again. The very best practices work that way.

Still, and again. The very best practices work that way.

Most human primates are pretty thoroughly wrapped up in themselves moment-to-moment, and are not acting with any ill-intent. Our worst most hurtful, most damaging, most vile, actions are often merely cluelessly inconsiderate, or painfully ignorant. It’s harder to take such things personally, when I am aware that this is the case, but in the moment it is sometimes difficult not to react to hurtful bullshit, allowing the squishy bit of flesh wrapped in this shell of bone on top of my neck to work some magic, and find myself living some entirely different experience filled with enemies, confrontation, pain, distress, tension… It is easy to develop bad habits with this magical brain thing, and we become what we practice.

I woke early this morning. I returned to sleep with ease. I slept well and deeply and without any troubling dreams. When I woke, though, my first thought on waking was the peculiar last message from my traveling partner, it seemed distant, even terse, and I hadn’t heard from him during the day, although our original plan had been to spend the entire weekend together. Our plans changed with circumstances, it happens, and I had no heartache over it. Still… I woke very much wondering, at least initially, what was up with… “the chilly tone”…

So… here’s the magic in action…when did “peculiar” shift to “distant, even terse”? How did that morph into a “chilly tone” without having more information than I had when I went to bed last night? Isn’t that… odd? Nope. Not odd at all. It’s “a magic trick”, and my brain in the magician. I am the wide-eyed naive audience member – aware that it is a trick, and still bamboozled. I shrug it off, self-correct, and make coffee; I don’t have any data to support any of those emotional assumptions, and can’t determine that his last message was anything other than two words, sent after I had crashed, seen through bleary eyes when I got up to pee during the night. I had no context, and no reason to make assumptions about intent, content, or meaning, and every good reason to assume – based on prior confirmation, and tested assumptions – that indeed, I am loved, and that no ill will, terseness, distance, or chilly tone existed at all. Why would it?

Love means us know harm. There's value in treating it that way. :-)

Love means us no harm. There’s value in treating it that way. 🙂

I sat down to write after meditation, and my first interaction with human kind was a merry “good morning” from my traveling partner, and a lol about the auto-correct fail in his good night message. If I had allowed myself to take anything more from the exchange last night, my morning could have been blown on emotional bullshit, hysterics, anger, disappointment, hurt feelings, a sense of isolation, loneliness, feeling disconnected or disposable… on and on. My brain is fantastic at making shit up! My brain doesn’t seem to care much if the shit it makes up is hurtful, it’s just doing brain things. Practicing practices specific to becoming less reactive, over time, has been a big win, and taken with a firm refusal to yield my heart to untested assumptions, it reduces the frequency of emotional bullshit, tantrums, foolish arguments, confrontational dialogue, hurt feelings, and shitty mornings crying over coffee needlessly. Definitely worth the time practicing the practices.  Sure, my results vary, and I’m entirely made of human. Today the results have been quite pleasant. I checked myself before I allowed my initial assumptions to become my thinking, and I am enjoying quite a lovely morning as a result.

What will you choose to practice? Where does your journey lead? You decide.

What will you choose to practice? Where does your journey lead? You decide.

It is possible to build a life with very little chaos, in spite of the damage we sustain over a lifetime. There are verbs involved. There is practice required. There’s a third thing, and it is important, required, and sometimes difficult… call it “will”, or “commitment” or… it’s that thing with which one begins again. And again. And again and again – over again, and then again over there, in spite of uncertainty, in spite of failures, and even though results vary. I can’t offer any particular insight on that; when I don’t have it, my fails outnumber my successes and I make no particular headway on this journey – on any journey. Having it, I make great progress. I don’t know how I got from not having it, to having it, nor why that change occurred when it did. I do know that this very important change occurred, for me, in my darkest moment, on the razor-thin edge of a very final decision that would have ended all possible opportunity to begin again… the result of a promise I kept to myself, without knowing what the outcome would be. I also know that this particular characteristic of self seems to be spread a bit unevenly over my experience; I bring it more to some situations in life than to others.

I begin again a lot these days. I’m okay with that. Today is a good day to pause and consider how far I’ve come, and all the verbs involved, and all the steps, practices, books, conversations, and hours spent listening deeply to the woman in the mirror. We are each having our own experience. It is a journey – the destination is not the point, and the map is not the world. I am my own cartographer… and trust me, sometimes I’m just doodling over here. (I’m pretty sure that is why my results vary…) It’s helpful to remember that your journey, over there, is not about me. 😀

 

This morning was lovely. It’s enough to enjoy the moments, and linger on them in my recollection, later. The day begins well, and that is also enough for the moment I find myself in. Later will be here soon enough to matter when it gets here. Days old irritation with work is, for the moment, eased. It’s a comfortable moment, this one, characterized by contentment, and a certain comfort with the routine of the work day, modified by an early finish for a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and by having completed a significant task with a few minutes in the day for writing a handful of words before moving on to the next significant task.  There’s not much more I would ask of this moment, it is quite enough.

This lovely morning, every moment enough.

This lovely morning, every moment enough.

I read an article this morning that tells readers somewhat alarmingly that ‘CBT is a scam!’. I move past the irritation with some humor, but I am irked by the tone of the article, which suggests that unscrupulous unnamed individuals have put one over on governments, care-providers, and patients with the suggestion that CBT (specifically) and other 3rd wave cognitive therapies (implied) are bullshit scams that don’t help anyone, leaving vulnerable people to continue to struggle with symptoms a couple of years down the road, no differently than similarly disordered peers who didn’t get any treatment at all. I’m annoyed because what is not being discussed is a fairly transparent thing, left unaddressed by the article; there are verbs involved. As with ‘dieting’ to lose weight; mental health treatment, however promising, requires practicing some practices. There are verbs involved. Stop doing the things that help, discontinue the practices that resulted in treatment efficacy, halt the growth and change initially being pursued when treatment began, and sure – the human being seeking wellness loses ground, potentially resulting in a return of all symptoms (and then some). That sucks. It sucks even more that a professional in the mental health care industry would overlook one potential root cause for treatment failure after two years; failure to continue practicing the practices that the patient found effective, initially. We do, however ill we may be, have some accountability for our growth and progress (unless we are so disordered that our impairments put choice and action out of our reach)! The suggestion that CBT itself is a wholesale failure without examining the effects of compliance/non-compliance is a little silly – as with switching from diet to diet to diet, without actually sticking with what worked long enough to see and hold onto the desired changes, it completely ignores the free agency of the person receiving treatment. There are verbs involved. There are choices to be made. Period. Do the verbs. (Reminder: the excuses we choose also communicate our choices –  to do, or not do, the necessary verbs involved in what we say we want from life.)

Better to pause for flowers than be immersed in borrowed stress.

Better to pause for flowers than be immersed in borrowed stress.

I finally shrug off my irritation; we each walk our own path, make our own choices, live our own experience, write our own narrative – my words are filtered through my own experiences, breaking like waves on distant conscious shores, sometimes soaking into the sand, sometimes splashing against the rocks. 😉

Isn't it enough to find balance?

Isn’t it enough to find balance?

Love, too, needs an investment in doing the verbs. Love isn’t a passive thing. This morning, I chose love over words, and a shared experience over solitary time writing. It was a worthy choice, and my mood is enhanced by the love I feel. I am carried through the morning on soft wings of enduring affection. There’s nothing much more to say about it for the moment; the experience is still very much ‘now’.  There will be time to contemplate it with broader perspective much later. Today, ‘now’ is more a doing than a thinking. This, too, is enough.

 

It’s Friday, early;

writing must wait for later.

I smile and walk on.

I'd rather be sleeping...

I’d rather be sleeping…

I purchased “Remembrance of Things Past” (an alternate title in some editions is “In Search of Lost Time“) by Marcel Proust. I suspect most people are familiar with Proust’s writing indirectly, and possibly often only through the fairly well-known “Proust Questionnaire“. Maybe in college a few people read “Swan’s Way“, or flipped through a condensed version, guide, or graphic novel of the author’s great work. I say ‘great’ because… wow. Yeah.

I don’t know why I’ve put off reading Proust. “Remembrance of Things Past” has clung to the edges of my personal ‘must read’ list since I was much younger (at a time when books were my escape from the unbearable). I read Milton. I read Plutarch. I read Rand. I read Tolstoy. I read de Beauvoir; I am not fearful of weighty tomes, nor voices other than my own. So…what’s been the hold up? Perhaps I have been waiting for a moment; I’ve only just begun it, and even a mere handful of pages into Swan’s Way (vol 1), I am completely blow away by the beauty of it. There’s the thing of it right there; it is singularly beautiful writing. Powerful. Complete. Authentic. I am not putting it off even another day, having tasted it and found it beyond worthy.

So… 2016. The year I read Proust. 🙂

How many ways exist to view the world?

How many ways exist to view the world?

I slept well and deeply last night, setting aside my reading some time before bed; these beautiful words are worthy of the respect and consideration of not falling asleep over them, and potentially missing even one shred of meaning over drowsiness. I woke this morning, smiling, with a heart filled with lightness, and empty of weight. My coffee is good. My yoga sequence felt helpfully pleasant, and comfortably eased the stiffness in my joints. I am not missing the opiate painkillers, and I suspect that more often than not any queasiness in the early mornings was due to the opiates, based on how I feel in the mornings since giving them up. Strangely, on the thought of painkillers, my consciousness both tries very hard to veer away from the thought of them, and also delivers a powerful moment of peculiar disconnected yearning. Craving in action. I breathe deeply, and let my thoughts move on.

This morning, the new place feels much larger than the modest increase in space measurably involved. Life is beginning to fit into the new space more fully. Morning is beginning to evolve to fit the space, routines adjusting to the changes in object placement, and room arrangement – for one thing, I have an actual dining room now, and I find myself now inclined to eat at the table, away from other things, rather than perched on the couch, which was the way of it for many of my adult years. Similarly, my studio is both real, and quite separate from the remainder of the household – and my desk is here in my studio, but the majority of my morning is not. It’s interesting how this one change actually changes so much; I do not spend time sitting for hours, fussing at the keyboard, scrolling through feeds, articles, tinkering with pictures aimlessly wondering if another email will come. Unproductive time is kept to a minimum here; I am in the studio only when I am in the studio, and at my desk only when I am actually writing. I seem to ‘have more time’ when truly, I’ve only stopped wasting so much of it … (wait for it…) mindlessly. 😉

Having moved from somewhat less than 650 sq ft, to somewhat less than 1000 sq ft, I sort of expected the feel of things would be mostly pretty similar… How incorrect was I?? lol Very. Vacuuming in the apartment I moved from took me about 15-20 minutes to do a nicely thorough job of it.  Yesterday, after 45 minutes of vacuuming, and the sense that it would never end, I still find myself wondering how an increase in square footage of less than 400 sq ft still results in more than twice as much time needed to vacuum?! Realizing, as I sip my coffee, that being quizzical about housekeeping matters signals how very moved in I really am, I relax and smile and enjoy the moment; I’m okay with a few extra minutes of vacuuming, floors, windows, and tidying. This is a really cute place, it suits me well, and I am taking care of the woman in the mirror by investing my resources in very good quality of life day-to-day. Sure, there are choices, but it is in these choices that I find my way to being the woman I most want to be, living a life of contentment and sufficiency. Isn’t that enough? 😉

Today is a good day for taking care of me – even if that means vacuuming. Today is a good day to read Proust – because I earnestly want to experience his words. Today is a good day to live authentically, and to face the woman in the mirror with honest acceptance, and real enthusiasm – simply because it is time well-spent. Isn’t that also enough?