Archives for posts with tag: you do you

I’m sipping coffee and listening to videos in the background. Pleasant Sunday morning. Housekeeping on the agenda, not much else. I expect it’ll be a hot summer day. I’m okay with a couple hours of chores and a few moments for myself, and some pleasant hours with my Traveling Partner.

Our path may not always be level, the day may not always be sunny.

…Love isn’t “perfect”. Life either. Nothing really is. (Maybe this cup of coffee…) I make a lot of choices, and some of those are compromises, and some are just poor choices…on the other hand, I’ve got a lot of very cool opportunities to choose from, and fascinating people with whom I can choose to associate. Kinda neat, actually. Even our most intimate relationships are filled with choices.

We choose our path, and we choose what we consider our choices to be.

I chose my Traveling Partner a long time ago (11 years)… on a commute, I think. There was a hug involved. Hours of conversation, over time. A friendship developed. I adore this human being. He is “flawed” (inasmuch as he is quite human), as I am myself. There are days when one or the other of us seriously aggravates the other. (Just being real, and let’s be frank, one thing I know I can count on in life is that life will be, generally, quite “real”. lol) I enjoy him, as a friend, as a human being, as a partner… I smile when I think of him, and he is the person most easily able to unintentionally hurt me emotionally with a harsh word in a difficult moment. I still choose him, and yeah, even when I’m crying over a moment of hurt feelings, I still choose him.

He’s very dear to me. 😀 (bad pun intentional)

Why bring it up? It’s been a lovely weekend. This is all pretty obvious practical shit, right here, and hardly bears pointing out. Don’t we all go through it? Some moment that contrasts the wonderful qualities with the very human, sometimes much less wonderful qualities? Again – pretty real. Pretty ordinary. I dunno. I was thinking about it as I walked yesterday… “What matters most?”… “What builds a firm enduring foundation for love?”… “What does a healthy relationship look like, over time?”… “How does healthy boundary and expectation-setting look and feel in the context of a healthy adult relationship?”… “What part do I, myself, play in ensuring I am treated well based on my own understanding of “good treatment” – and how I do ensure I am skillfully, authentically, ensuring I treat my partner well based on their understanding of “good treatment” – and my own?” Big questions. (Long walk.)

Growth isn’t about what’s easy or comfortable. It’s often about hard questions, and answers that require rather a lot of real work. “Is the effort worth it?” is one question that is easy to answer, for me, in the context of this relationship: yes.

Sometimes choices seem so limited… or complicated… those perceptions are also choices.

I’ve had 3 other “long term relationships” of any notable duration. Two ran far longer than the quality of the relationship warranted. (Okay, well, all three of those, actually, were far longer than what was healthy, but I did manage to cut that last one short before my life or mental health were in complete chaos.) I’ve often been that person working at it longer/harder and loyally clinging to the carcass of a relationship that did not at all rate such a ferocious commitment in the first place. “I didn’t know better” doesn’t describe the goings on so much as “brain damage”, honestly. Yikes. That feels “too real”, right there. I sigh, finish my coffee, and let it go. 🙂 I’m rather happily in a very different place these days, different relationship altogether. “Learned my lesson”? Possibly not – more than I’ve been fortunate, and this particular relationship grew and developed largely in the context of ongoing therapy and other positive life choices (and changes) that took me down a healthier path.

Choices.

Don’t sit around miserable, is what I’m saying. You have choices. You don’t have to wait for decades of your life to slip by – you can choose change. Any time. You can begin again. Oh, I know, it’s a difficult sort of choice to make, but truly, it is yours.

Maybe what looks like a dead-end just isn’t your path at all?

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. 🙂