Archives for posts with tag: words of love

I am home from work, the week is over, and it’s been raining for a couple of days now. I’m okay with that; I like rain. The house is quiet, and for now the only music are the background sounds: of rain on the roof, on the pavement outside, and on the flue and vent covers overhead, and of the tickety-tickety of my fingers on the keyboard. Dinner is heating up in the oven, nothing fancy – leftover casserole. I am tired. Relaxed. Content. Happy enough just to listen to the rain fall. In fact… happy.

I enjoyed a few minutes on the phone with my traveling partner. My dear love knows me well, and the laughs, inside jokes, and tender words were a lovely way to draw a clear line between the work day, and the weekend on an evening we won’t see each other. Tonight, in some way I don’t really know how to describe, I feel very much at home. It doesn’t much matter why, does it? This moment is simply a way station on some much longer journey, and I won’t count on this soft sensation of contentment and joy to linger indefinitely. I am here, now. I love, and I am loved in return.

Tonight, that’s enough.

The sound of rain, the feeling of home.

The sound of rain, the feeling of home.

I am sipping my coffee – this morning it seems very ordinary, and at some earlier point in life I might have spent some measure of time inclined to troubleshoot the coffee-making, or perhaps poured it out in frustration and made a new cup of coffee. This morning, I am sipping my coffee and recognizing that it is adequate, not bad, just not worth raving about…but some coffees are like that, right? Good enough to drink…not quite good enough to write a favorable review.

I slept well this morning, with few interruptions and no nightmares. I woke slowly, and took my time with my yoga, meditation, and shower. It doesn’t seem the sort of morning that requires rushing through things – it’s rare than any morning actually requires rushing through things, but some of them seem to want it. Rushing is not my preference. I take my time. I sip my coffee and grin at my awareness that taking my time is not, by itself, what makes a great cup of coffee.

A moment of reflection over coffee

A moment of reflection over coffee

There’s something on the edge of my consciousness, and understanding of something that I haven’t quite managed, perhaps, waiting to be recognized more fully, and embraced, or perhaps shared…like the way my nose tickles before I sneeze, I sense the understanding on the edge of my awareness. The morning is chilly, and autumn approaches. There are other things crowding into my experience, begging to be noticed: the sweater I am wearing to work wraps me in softness, paintings I hung last night tug at my senses yearning to be viewed again, the stiffness in my spine that characterizes nearly every morning at this stage in my life, the soft ping of incoming email… The rich immediacy of the moment has so much to offer that I find it quite difficult to try to focus on something on the extreme edge of my awareness, teasing me that there is more to understand about myself, or the world. I’m okay with that; understanding comes with time, and waiting on it doesn’t wear it down, or make it less worthy.

Autumn approaches.

Autumn approaches.

I love the poetry of language, and the nuances available in a rich vocabulary. It is possible to say so much, so clearly… Sometimes I fail my intention, and lose the meaning in the words. It’s actually quite common. I am practicing simpler ways of communicating in direct conversations in my relationships, and not because the poetry of language has no value on its own, but rather because I actually enjoy it when my needs are met in my relationships. Sometimes that requires fewer or simpler words. I find myself wondering if my traveling partner has noticed any change? Simple, practical, direct – and not in an unkind or terse way – is useful in day-to-day communication between friends, lovers, family, co-workers. I guess that seems obvious… I find it a challenge, more often than I would like to. I sometimes come across as terse or abrasive when I am being direct. Sometimes simple and practical language, coming from me, sounds…child like, or over-simplified. There’s balance to find, and I have not yet found it. I like colorful language and clear descriptions and don’t necessarily get why there is an improvement in describing someone as having ‘curly hair’ versus ‘she is surrounded by vast clouds of soft brown bouncing when she talks’. If two curly haired women were standing side by side, you would know immediately which of the two was the one I meant if I use the poetry language has to offer. I have much to learn about language, and communication. I could just point and grunt, I suppose…but I do like words.

Simple words are beautiful, too. They require greater skill to be poetic. Coming to that understanding finds me exploring shorter formats poetically, and in prose; can I say it with fewer words? Can I communicate accurately – and simply? More of life’s curriculum. I absolutely detest “tl:dr” finding it an extreme discourtesy.  I also like being heard – and there is great value in being able to easily communicate in the broadest possible circumstances with the greatest number of people. I am still a student, even of words, even of language – even of poetry. This amazing journey offers much to learn.

Even the flowers know autumn approaches.

Even the flowers know autumn approaches.

I have a long weekend ahead. I plan to paint this weekend, after I run a couple errands on Friday. I will likely spend much of the weekend alone, which means far fewer words. Where will inspiration take me? I am eager to invest the time in me, no timers, no alarm clocks, no calendar…just an artist at work. Simple enough.

"Monochromatic Flower" 18" x 20" acrylic on canvas 2010

“Monochromatic Flower” 18″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas 2010 . A single color on canvas seems simple enough…very challenging to photograph. (It’s a metaphor. 🙂 )

Today is a good day for simple words, and simple things. Today is a good day to savor simple pleasures. Today is a good day to communicate big ideas with fewer syllables. Today is new and fresh and exciting – and wide open with possibilities…what will I do to change the world?

I am okay right now. Easy or hard doesn’t matter in this moment.

It's a journey.

It’s a journey.

I’ve spent the day on my own. It’s not what I needed for myself, but my needs are not the only needs worthy of consideration. It’s not as if I don’t want more time for my own agenda, and I took the day as an opportunity, convenient to enjoying some things that aren’t always so easy to fit into the day-to-day routine. I traveled across town to a favorite shop, and contemplated other fish, other aquariums, and made pleasant conversation with the people there.

A quiet place to sit, in the back, becomes another moment of stillness and contemplation.

A quiet place to sit, in the back, becomes another moment of stillness and contemplation.

I walked the 4 miles from the shop, across the river, across the downtown area, and enjoyed the sites along the way. “Walking it off” is another good practice for me; the longer and farther I walk, the calmer and more regular my breathing becomes, and I gain perspective, and my thinking shifts toward increased compassion, empathy, even – sometimes – real wisdom. That’s a lovely feeling.

Open eyes, open mind, and engaged in simple presence in the moment, a worthy choice any day.

Open eyes, open mind, and engaged in simple presence in the moment, a worthy choice any day.

Sitting quietly, just breathing, I spent much of the afternoon and evening meditating. I have a lovely view for the purpose; my aquarium sits in front of my favorite place to sit while I meditate. Is it the aquarium itself that makes the location so pleasant? It could be that, it could be that this is the place I associate with calm, and safety, and stillness just generally, in my every day life. It’s been a good day for stillness. In truth, in every practical respect it has simply been a good day. Emotions foul the waters of calm perspective and loving joy, now and then, a harsh reality of shared living among other humans. We are each having our own experience, and quite rightly the experience we are each having, ourselves, is the one upon which we are most focused, and the one of which we are most aware. Our own pain hurts worse than any other. That can really mess with a good connection.

Emotion and reason; it's a complicated balance.

Emotion and reason; it’s a complicated balance.

There’s always love, though, and words about love, and the inspiration that words about love can provide…and the soul-healing reminder that love is.

I meditate, and meditate more. I don’t worry that it isn’t ‘fancy’ or that it isn’t following some specific guided meditation of some sort; I am awake, aware, and breathing. I am here. Now. I am okay.

They live, each moment what it is, safe in their private world.

They live, each moment what it is, safe in their private world.

I breathe, and become still and calm. Fish swim.

I often wonder at the content of their consciousness; they are aware of me.

I often wonder at the content of their consciousness; they are aware of me.

I breathe, and let the stillness fill me, and wrap me in contentment. Life doesn’t have any requirement to be more perfect than it is. There is value in ‘learning to swim’ the powerful tides of heartfelt emotion, and to float on the currents of change, buoyant even in stormy weather.

What I see has so much to do with what I look for.

What I see has so much to do with what I look for.

It’s a still and quiet evening, and rather different than I had expected it might be, from the vantage point of days before; hanging on to expectations creates discontent and struggle, where none need be. I breathe. I let it go. If ‘enough’ truly is enough, then this moment is complete, just as it is. I am safe. It is a quiet still moment. I live. I love. I am loved in return.

I need space, too, and time for stillness.

I need space, too, and time for stillness.

I am okay right now. It’s enough.

I had an amazing evening with my traveling partner, last night. It didn’t end as well as it started, and I went to bed feeling off-balance and a little sad. I wrapped myself in my blankets and wept for a few minutes, even tolerantly allowing myself a few ‘it’s not fair!’ and ‘it isn’t me!’ moments. I didn’t notice, but at some point I realized I had moved on; my tears had dried, my breathing was deep, relaxed, and even, and my heart felt calm. 72 minutes. Tears became meditation pretty quickly, and very naturally, and I don’t know quite when, but it was 72 minutes from when they began to fall, to when I began to fall asleep, and realized that I was actually entirely okay in that moment – and that moments being what they are, the earlier one that caused the heartache was long over.

Moments are not a big deal; they are moments.

Any one moment, utterly unique, and filled with potential.

Any one moment, utterly unique, and filled with potential.

Moments do not define me. I define me.

We really, truly, are each having our own experience, moment to moment, day-to-day, and it any one such moment we may each – or all – be at odds with one another, because those individual subjective experiences are our world, and we view the rest through those filters, on the backs of our assumptions, and doing our best to find our way through our very own chaos and damage. “Being right” doesn’t really enter into it, for me at least, because “being right” is just as subjective as our experiences, themselves. The challenge for me, last night, was in figuring out how to stay aware and engaged with my hurting partner, and make room – compassionate, tender, understanding, supportive emotional space – for him to have his own experience right along side me having my own.

I have room for improvement. This is a very general statement I believe to be universally true of my experience.

So often things seem more complicated than 'this versus that'. Perspective matters. Relevance matters. Compassion matters.

So often things seem more complicated than ‘this versus that’. Perspective matters. Relevance matters. Compassion matters.

I found my way last night with the awareness that the moment didn’t define me. The challenge we were having communicating and loving wasn’t a characteristic of ‘who I am’ – it was a moment. A challenge. Sure, it’s pretty easy to take that challenge and turn it on myself as a weapon, but where is the value in that? Growing as a person is more easily fostered in gentle conversation, shared insights, connecting and discussing needs, limits, boundaries with compassion for each other, and present with each other even when/if we are hurting. (It sounds easier than it seems in the moment, at my current skill/awareness level.) Remembering that I define me, and that my experience of myself is 100% reliably true to the self that I am when I allow it to be was powerful.  However hurt a lovers feelings may be, those are their feelings, about a moment (their moment); their feelings do not define me, (and considering how little tie to objective reality emotions may truly have, it seems a very poor practice to internalize someone else’s feelings, or taking them on as characteristics that define me, for myself).

xxx

We each make our way using the perspective we have, and the tools we develop. 

I woke feeling pretty awesome this morning, and very centered. It’s a lovely way to start a day. Today is a good day to be reminded we are each having our own experience, and that they co-exist with equal validity. It’s a good day to reread The Four Agreements. It’s a good day for love.

Well, I suppose the aphorism is slightly different, for most. “Home is where the heart is”, is more likely to ring true. For me, it hasn’t been enough… Do I lack ‘heart’? That seems unlikely from the vantage point of being generally well-regarded, mostly valued, and living life embraced by love. But… living in a particular building, or at a specific address, has not been sufficient to define ‘home’ for me – even though I live with loved ones, in a generally comfortable, pretty contented day-to-day sort of way. It has seemed very odd for some time.

I’m not always sure what being an artist means, precisely. I’m not sure how being an artist defines me differently than being someone who paints an occasional painting, or creates something of great beauty once in a while; it’s the beauty created that matters more. I am uncomfortably aware in recent months that my own art speaks to me, myself, with an earnestness and import that has resulted in feeling pretty displaced and homeless not seeing it displayed all around me in my daily life; it hadn’t been hung. There’s a lot of it. One or two paintings made it to the walls over the past couple years… I have… dozens. Hundreds? I paint like a madwoman, I am not shy about admitting that. The bare expanses of wall started working on my mind, over time; the stacks and stacks of paintings at the ready, the cabinets of smaller ones, the carefully boxed (between layers of protective acid-free tissue) unframed watercolors… all waiting…all part of who I am…all disregarded in favor of day-to-day minutiae and drama, and seeming unimportant to anyone but me.

The pain of it diminished considerably when I realized in an honest and aware moment that the bare walls left me feeling quite ‘homeless’ – more ‘deployed’ than ‘moved in’; it wasn’t about anyone else’s choices or actions, and I hadn’t expressed how important seeing my working hanging really is for my day-to-day comfort and contentment. I could communicate the experience once I found words for it, and phrasing that didn’t sound like an attack on life and love. Communication is a pretty big deal, and best done in an explicit and clear way on practical matters, such as the hanging of art… or the care and feeding of artists. 🙂

Use your words. Seriously. (Also, use them gently!)

"Emotion and Reason" 2012 detail

“Emotion and Reason” 2012 detail

I arrived home last night to find that quite a number of paintings had been carefully hung… really, more ‘installed’ than hung; the care in hanging them, the considerate and meaningful placements done so skillfully that ‘hanging paintings’ hardly describes it. I sat, in the evening, feeling very much more ‘at home’ than I previously had for 2+ years. Does it make ‘everything right with the world’? Hardly. Even the delight of the artist herself, surrounded by her work, isn’t ‘everything’, is it? I do feel loved, and greatly cared for to see so many of my very best pieces hanging all around.

There are more to come, more space for art, walls as yet untouched by color or vision…and I certainly have enough work to take care of that! I expect there may be some movement, some changes, swapping this one for that one… My traveling partner has a keen eye for color, contrast, form – and a lovely aesthetic. If I have the choice between hanging my own work, and having him do my installations for me, I definitely prefer to step aside and give him room to work. I frankly just ‘hang paintings’, and not very well – they’re level, sure, and generally at an appropriate height for viewing… but I’m prone to just shoving as many pieces into a given area of blank wall as what I think will fit… resulting in a dizzying mosaic of color and glow that suits only me, and overwhelms anyone else.

I have no idea what today will hold…but I am already looking forward to returning at the end of the work day, to be surrounded by what matters so much…love, and art.