Archives for posts with tag: you do you

I got stuck on a question yesterday evening. I recalled with some interest how my perspective on the question “what do you want?” had changed after I saw it presented as a philosophical point of difference in Babylon 5, years ago.

"What do you want?" he asks, seeking to gain power over individuals.

“What do you want?” he asks, seeking to gain power over individuals.

I struggled with understanding this question in the context of gaining power over an individual through their desires. I, being quite human, also desire things. I, too, have experienced moments in life when I could be controlled by my desires. (Probably will again.) I still think about the question. I mean, after all… what do I want? Is that even the question to ask?

I eventually found my way to the idea of sufficiency, as a route to mastering my own desires, and my own acquisitive nature, but… there’s that damned question, and sometimes I itch to answer it by way of things I lust after, things I crave, things I yearn for… and find myself wandering down that path of seeking to fulfill material desires at the expense of something more important (to me). Last night I had a moment, quiet and serene and understanding myself a little better (I think) (perhaps) (well, hopefully)… the question needed a bit of a tweak, as it turns out, and is now a better fit for who I am and where I am headed as a human being. Less about “what do I want?” in a material way and more – so much more – about “what do I want of myself?”, which seems to be a question I can answer every day, and find real satisfaction, without chasing material things. This is a question I can make real use of, every day. This is a question that can help me become the woman I most want to be.

Have I been here before? Have I considered these ideas before? Is this a  cognitive re-run? That happens for me, rather routinely, but I soothe my insecurity with the reminder that practices being what they are, a little repetition is likely more helpful than not. 🙂

Then there’s this, on the nature of thinking. A worthy start to another busy work week, and an opportunity to learn. I could say more, but it’s a lot of content for a Monday morning, and I’m still thinking it over. 🙂

Today is a good day to begin again, and a good day to understand more, differently. 🙂

I woke rested this morning. I slept in. I opened my eyes slowly, thinking about love. My dreams were precious and lovely, sweet, and emotional. Tears slid down my face, not bad tears, just memories and perspective. I woke smiling. I remind myself that my emotions are not madness, nor are they a mistake. I feel. I am human.

I make coffee, and put on the stereo. I shuffled my playlist with great care recently (I occasionally do) and the song I start my mornings with is pretty close to being… a hymn. There just doesn’t happen to be a church involved. It’s just a beautiful song, and a reminder to self to be the best person I know how to be, as I start the day. It’s Saturday. I start the day with music and a smile.

Life isn’t perfect, for me either. All the practicing, all the growth, every moment of contentment reached, every moment of joy, and each new “level” unlocked, it’s still a very human experience. I struggle with my weight. I struggle not to take things personally in life. I struggle to love the woman in the mirror and the people all around me. I endure pain. I also learn and grow and love. It’s a very mixed experience, and very human. I practice. I fail. I begin again. I find myself, sometime further down the road, changed – and generally for the better (with all  the practicing of practices that nurture and support growth and change). Clinging to expectations of this or that, or some very specific standard of beauty, success, intellect or achievement is a set up for heartbreak and failure on this whole other level, in comparison to letting go of attachment to the outcome, and simply doing and being the best of the human being I am able to be.

Anyway. I’m just saying… there’s some falling down. I follow it with getting back up. The journey is mine. The destination is mine. The goals are mine. It’s not about money for me. It’s about great art, great love, and being a genuine, kind, compassionate, reasoning human being capable of managing the intensity of deep emotion with wisdom and graciousness. It’s about healing ancient pain, and embracing love right now. The success, while also mine, gets results that benefit all of us. When we are our best selves, the entire world is transformed by it.

Emotion and reason. Practice. Begin again. Be the change you wish to see in yourself. You are enough. ❤

Frankly, the inauguration didn’t get my attention. I don’t give spoilt children, narcissists, or petulant adolescents my precious limited time on their terms. Call me a “whining liberal” if you need to do some name-calling, that’s on you, reflective of who you are and what your values are, not me or mine. 😉

I spent yesterday awed by the power and beauty of millions of women nationally and worldwide marching in protest of a president whose values do not represent them, and are actually a threat to women’s well-being and civil rights. It was… amazing. Yeah. Powerful. Peaceful. Wise. I was awestruck at the clarity of our shared voices. I was and am moved, empowered, and encouraged. Before I let it carry me away, I am also quite mindful that the tear-down begins today, in the many voices that oppose women every moment of every day, for no other reason than that we are women. Yes, well, we’re each having our own experience. There are always voices in opposition to change, regardless what good the change itself serves. At least for the moment, I am content and empowered and feeling strong in the face of future attempts to diminish me. It’s a nice feeling.

We share this world, this life, with so many other creatures...

We share this world, this life, with so many other creatures…

This morning, I’ve spent much of the morning bird-watching. I’ve had many visitors to the feeders today. Ducks. Canada geese. Squirrels. Jays. Even crows have stepped right up to the patio to enjoy the generous brunch laid out for their enjoyment. There are seed bells, and sunflower seeds, and assorted whole nutmeats strewn about, and peanuts in the shell aplenty, and a couple different suet blocks hanging here and there, one full of bugs and mealworms and such. A lavish brunch buffet on a Sunday morning. I share it with them over wilted greens, homemade applesauce, and hard-boiled eggs still warm from cooking, and a good cup of coffee.

It took awhile for them to trust me enough...

It took awhile for them to trust me enough…

I particularly enjoy watching the squirrels this morning. They have figured out the peanuts are on top of the bistro table, in the well of the soon-to-be-disassembled holiday wreath. The jays have known for a while, and regularly stop by to grab a peanut along their way. Today the squirrels also make their way to the table top, sorting through the peanuts quickly; peanuts with intact shells are carried off and buried. When they select a peanut with a shell that is broken, they finish the job, tearing it open and eating the peanuts within, while watching me curiously through the window. The jays are particular about the peanuts, too, although I don’t know what they are selecting for. They pick up several, before choosing and flying away with their chosen morsel.

A rare visitor returns this morning.

A rare visitor returns this morning, but I didn’t get a picture as good as this one from yesterday.

Today, littler birds favor the sunflower seeds strewn on the lawn with the bits and pieces of nut meats, and the fallen bits from the seed bells and suet feeders, rather than competing with the larger birds for a place at the feeders. The Northern Flickers zoom up to the suet feeder closest to the patio, striking it with enough force to send it spinning wildly. This seems their favored method, and since I’ve seen them do it quite differently now and then, and also repeat this interesting behavior seemingly willfully, I’ve come to accept that perhaps they just enjoy a good merry-go-round? lol They are fun to watch, and rather larger than my suet feeder was specifically intended to support. They don’t seem to mind that. 🙂

It's taken most of a year to get the crows to come close.

It’s taken most of a year to get the crows to come close.

Not one of these creatures has any idea what millions of human beings are doing with their time or why, aside from their daily observations of our coming and going… or so I have been taught to believe over a lifetime. I can’t say that I really know that for sure. I know that they come to my patio, accepting my generosity, and comfortable enough to linger and return regularly. I am content to be kind to my fellow creatures, whether they “understand” me or not; it’s part of who I am. When I began to understand that my fellow human beings are among “my fellow creatures” and began also extending my kindness and good nature to them, I was changed as a human being, in a wonderful way. I enjoy kindness extended to me. I appreciate it when people are compassionate. I am learning to deliver those experiences to others, by default, as a common byproduct of who I am, every day. I am transformed from the woman I was in my 20s – a fairly narrow-minded, right-leaning, callous-without-awareness, self-centered creature who was more cruel to herself even than to the world around her (and therefore thought she was treating others well, by comparison). It’s been a long, and fairly peculiar journey. I sometimes wonder if anyone who knows me – who knew me then – really knows me now at all?

A gentle phone call from my Traveling Partner reaches me as I finish my coffee. I finish the call feeling so very loved. The disturbing fun-house mirror of American politics seems very far away right now. I’m okay with that. I’m okay right now.

It’s a lovely morning. That’s enough.

I crashed out on time. I slept deeply through the night. I woke with the alarm clock, feeling alert, refreshed, and clear-headed, with my brain “firing on all cylinders”. Outstanding. I mean – it stands out, from recent mornings, generally. lol

My coffee is hot, sippably so, and tasty. My morning has flowed from yoga, meditation, showering, and dressing, to this point here, with my coffee and a few pleasant minutes to write a few pleasant observations about a generally pleasant morning. It’s Thursday, and I’m planned to be out of the office tomorrow, so I’ll be making today count. 🙂

I breathe, and smile quietly to myself. I sip my coffee. I feel content and prepared for the busy day ahead. My brain tries a relatively amateur sneak attack, whispering to me “this too shall pass” with a mocking tone. I chuckle aloud. It sure will. That’s just true. I’m even okay with that. Hell – today, itself, might end differently than it feels it is beginning. Even that feels okay in this moment of contentment. I’ll just enjoy this one, right here, thanks. 🙂

Getting started.

Getting started. Work requires verbs – the right verbs for the job.

Sometimes one or another practice will seem to require too much of me (meditation often falls into this category of practices), and I fail myself now and again, overlooking one or another practice that I actually rely on for physical or emotional wellness, and the result is usually quite exactly what I might expect had I actually planned to abandon that practice. I practice meditation because it benefits me over time. If I discontinue the practice, I lose ground fairly quickly in the area of emotional balance, becoming more volatile, more irritable, and less approachable. Same with yoga. I practice yoga because I benefit from it. If I discontinue the practice, I lose ground fairly quickly in the area of physical flexibility, mobility, and ease of movement, and that only takes a day or two. Each practice I’ve taken up and maintained has been maintained because that practice has specific value for me, day-to-day or over time – sometimes both.

Persistence is worthwhile – all that incremental change over time takes time, and beginning again is a thing that often needs to be done (in my own experience). No persistence means limited pay off.  It’s not rocket science. I mean, it’s literally not rocket science. Neuroscience. 😀 It’s true – there is supporting science for so many of the practices that work for me! I’m not a scientist myself, and I have built my reading list on the insightful work of minds far more educated in the science of the brain and of the mind than my own.

I expect to be spending a lot of time studying new things for a while, things outside myself, things related to work, to the world, to changes other than those I have fostered within myself and invested in so heavily over the recent months. New software, new processes, new teams, new projects, charting a new course in life with new peers and colleagues also working to make a difference. That feels pretty good… and a little strange. I find myself feeling I need to live up to my work – which feels both wildly exciting, and a little nerve-wracking. Delightful. A tad scary. I feel inspired – at work. How odd. Beautifully alien in my own experience. I am savoring the experience.

So. Today wraps up the first week on the new job. So far, so good – and that’s enough. 🙂

I woke during the night, at 2:35 am. Maybe something woke me. Maybe I just woke up. I got up and wandered through the apartment room by room, not for any particular reason. I think I could have rather easily gone back to sleep. I don’t have a clear idea why I actually got up upon waking. I wasn’t awake long, only long enough to wander through the darkened rooms, illuminated, enough for eyes that opened in the darkness, by the outdoor community lighting along walkways filtering through the closed blinds. I stood in the open patio doorway for some minutes, breathing the cool night air, and watching the clouds scoot past overhead. I went back to bed afterward.

With no alarm set, and no requirement to wake at some specific morning hour to hasten for a building elsewhere, to take a seat among working peers, to process tasks and complete workload for an employer, I slept until I woke, rested. I savored my waking moments with sensuous delight, aware how imminent the return of the alarm clock’s harsh no-nonsense beeping may be. It’s a lovely morning to enjoy what is. What is not, or is not yet, or is no more, is… without consequence in this moment. Well, maybe some of the “is no more” stuff has lingering consequences… our choices matter. Our choices now become our circumstances in our as-yet-unknown future. Sure, that’s pretty much how it works, generally. The future, however, remains firmly not “now”. Our past choices may have consequences we deal with presently, still… our past is also not “now”. I’m enjoying this “now” moment, and it is a lovely one. Quiet. Calm. Content. This is enough. Enough for “now”, and “now” is what I’ve got to work with. 🙂

This particular "now" is a lovely one.

This particular “now”; one moment among many.

The busy week still feels fairly well-managed, not quite “effortless”; there have been many verbs involved. Small breakthroughs, too, in areas of long-time struggle, confusion, or chaos. Something clicked for me, and my approach to food is healthier, and feels less conflicted. Something else clicked for me, and some verbs became easier, more natural parts of my experience. The specifics are less meaningful to share than that life continues to be a journey – with steps, without a map, with choices, without guarantees; we become what we practice. Incremental change over time is very real. Sometimes, change is as “easy” as flipping a switch. Sometimes change is more a matter of choosing. Choosing again. And yet again. And practicing more. Being frustrated now and then, and continuing nonetheless.

Choices, context, coincidence, circumstances, all adding up to this experience of “my life” and “who I am”… this morning over a simple coffee, black, in a plain porcelain cup, white, on a chilly morning somewhere between summer and autumn, it all seems rather simple and uncomplicated. I smile, reminded somehow of impermanence, inevitable and real. Change is. I’m okay with that, too, on this simple quiet morning of enough.

Later will be soon enough for busier moments. A night out with my traveling partner and a friend. “Breakfast” afterhours? An afternoon of doctor’s and tests and imaging, before the weekend can begin. A weekend outing to the farmer’s market with a new friend who’s never been. A lazy Sunday of rest, and study. Moments. Each an opportunity to connect more deeply, share more openly, and savor life. This life. My life. Now. Learning to enjoy and savor my experience has been one of the very best improvements I’ve made in how I live my life; most moments are quite delightful. It used to be that I didn’t notice that, or take the time for anything less than a catastrophe – or an obligation. All the things that hurt and troubled me, and the things that I “had to do”, took all the time I had. There were definitely choices and verbs involved. It required practice, and the change over time was rather slow. It started here. Or… was it here? Here? Here. Oh, maybe… here? What I’m saying is; there are verbs involved, and practice, and without the practice and the verbs, we leave change to chance. 😉

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

There is so much value in being present in this moment, now, as it is.

Today is a good day to be here, now. Today is a good day to practice being who we wish to become; we become what we practice. Today is a good day to choose change; being leads to becoming. 🙂