Archives for posts with tag: your results may vary

The path ahead in life often isn’t all that clear. From one day to the next, it can very much feel like forward momentum is unpredictable, chaotic, and fraught with unexpected trail hazards, literal pitfalls, and lacking a map, shit gets… complicated. Practicing healthy practices, particularly those associated with mindfulness, and good self-care, definitely help keep me on the path, but it’s still a journey without a map.

…How do I get from wandering (with purpose) to… orienteering?

I found myself thinking over what kinds of small things motivate me most – those little personal celebrations of milestones and goals achieved that serve to bolster my resolve – and support my resilience. I think about diet and exercise. I think about staying on track to meet various personal and professional goals. I consider meaning, purpose, intention, and will.

The path ahead isn’t always obvious.

Two nights in a row of relatively poor sleep. Brain grinding away on whatever it can’t let go of until the next day. Nightmares (war… pandemic… civil unrest… it’s all a bit much, and it’s finally hit my sleep). Funny thing is, somehow, I’m managing to make use of the chaos and anxiety to prompt some needed self-reflection, and re-assess some values, some goals, some ways of getting from points A to points B, and beyond.

It’s gotten me more serious about healthy exercise, again. I’ve resumed daily walks with more enthusiasm and real joy, and found some fun in my dumb bell workout and step exercises. Honestly? I’d like to be around, and healthy, a long time – and spend that with my Traveling Partner in good health and good cheer. 🙂 I found an exercise challenge app I like, and that’s helpful for a bit of “gamification” to motivate me further. (I’m not linking it, because I haven’t used it long enough to endorse it.) This is something that works for me, at least during an initial “habit building/rebuilding” process. 🙂

…Also… why would I not choose an opportunity to have some fun, at all? Fun is good, right? Joy? Also good, yeah? I’m not feeling like dragging around more misery, or punishing myself for not being good enough to clear some high hurdle I stupidly set for myself. lol I just want to enjoy a sunny day, some fresh air, and the flowers along the way. 🙂 Isn’t that enough to be something worth doing? 😀

Apps come and go. Fitness trackers, too, wax and wane in popularity nearly as often as the moon phases change. I find it rather obviously okay to change with the changing times, and with the changing tools. Change is a thing. People know about it. 😉

Anyway… it’s a lovely day to begin again, to make a choose, to course correct, to choose a new path… to turn the page.

Ask the questions. Do the verbs.

You are your own cartographer. You get to write your own map. Your results may vary – but they’re yours. ❤ Maybe it’s time to begin again?

Choosing change can bring such tremendous calm. Choices made become contemplation of next steps, a plan develops, new choices, other actions, and with care and consideration, momentum toward a chosen change begins to build. Plans begin to become outcomes. Through all of it, chaos is managed through practices chosen for their proven success at managing chaos. Meditation. Good self-care. Self-compassion. Non-attachment.

I’m walking my own path. I am my own cartographer.

Sure, I already know my results will vary. I understand that the map is not the world. I embrace the new beginnings life offers. I continue to practice, and work toward becoming the woman I most want to be. So far, it’s enough; incremental change over time seems to be something I can count on.

For now, I’m sipping my coffee contentedly. I’ve chosen change, and made a plan, and each step forward takes me a step further down my path. Where does it lead? I don’t really know that; the future, at least how I am able to experience it, is not yet written. There are changes that occur around me, some chosen by others, some simply turns of circumstance, and perhaps those will become the sorts of things that change something in my own experience, too. Change is.

I stare out at a gray wintry sky. It hints at rain. There is snow in the forecast. It’s a gray rather uneventful day. I think about baking coffee cake to snack on later. I smile recalling my Traveling Partner’s request for specific flavors, winter spices. Vanilla glaze on that, I think, sipping my coffee. It’s a lovely partnership to share, and I take a moment for gratitude as he walks away after standing close, rubbing my shoulders as I write. Hot coffee, cold day, and the warmth of being loved… nice moment.

“This too shall pass”, my brain rather grimly reminds me. I laugh back, because, sure, yeah, that’s true… but I have memories of love and partnership for a lifetime, and an enduring relationship to enjoy now, whatever the future may hold. That’s enough. More than enough. It’s honestly pretty splendid compared to a lot of the options in the vastness of human experience, right? 🙂

I look at the time. My break is over, and it’s time to begin again. 🙂

The last day of 2020. There’s no point arguing that, and unless we abruptly change calendars, there’s no turning back now; the year is ending. 🙂 I’m okay with that.

This is a season of change. There are choices and plans to make. There are past mistakes to contemplate, to learn from, to avoid in the future. There are future opportunities (and pitfalls) ahead, on which to build still further into the future. My results will surely vary. There will be verbs involved. Practices to practice. Choices with surprising outcomes, upon which to reflect further. It seems like there is almost always “further” to go.

This blog, this humble instrument of expression, these handfuls (fistfuls? bucketfuls?) of words have been incredibly helpful for me, along this strange journey of healing and growth, as I head toward being the woman – the human being – I most want to be. I sip my coffee, flavored with a bit of the buttered rum batter I made this morning, for later this evening, when my Traveling Partner and I toast the new year together. It turned out pretty good, and I’m pleased with the flavors. Pretty good in coffee, too. 😀

I started this blog on January 8th, 2013, as I teetered on the edge of life’s most final decision; whether to go on living. (Breathe. This is all about hope and promise and continuation – it’s not a sad tale.) Since then,

I’ve published 2232 posts here.

I’ve received 10,020 spam comments (blocked by Akismet).

I’ve received 1060 legitimate comments from readers. (Thank you for reading.)

2914 days have passed.

11,304 views of my page were recorded.

When I look closer, I see that some of my posts are hundreds of times more popular than all the others… by far the most popular (in the history of my blog) is “Be My Valentine? How About I Be My Own Valentine?“. It’s followed closely by my reading list. The Parable of the Barking Dog, and The Parable of Poison have also been very popular. When I re-read these, myself, I still find value in them, and room to grow as a person from reflecting on observations made long ago. (That’s sort of how writing works, I guess. lol)

This year, the most popular posts still include my reading list and The Parable of the Barking Dog. Beyond those, the favorites seem to reflect the times rather a lot. Reflections on this journey-of-self, musings about finding balance in challenging times. Thoughts on the passage of time, and shifting perspective, on a birthday.

I take a look at the recorded search terms that took people to my blog this year (it’s always worth a giggle):

…”Don’t be a dick light”? What does that mean?

I find myself mildly frustrated that I can’t see the “unknown search terms” – I bet they are interesting. lol I take another look – search terms over “all time” (I mean, since this blog started, right?)… It is an interesting look at what drives traffic to my blog, and maybe why.

I’m clearly not the only fan of Rick & Morty. I’m interested in what it is about “inspirational word” searches that bring people here… I hope they find something worthy to sustain them on their journey.

2020 has been a wild ride – one of the most peculiar seeming years of my adult life, as far as I can recall. Right up there with 1981 (joined the Army), 1989 (the fall of the Berlin Wall), and 2010 (it’s complicated). It’s not that other years don’t stand out as significant, it’s just that these were “big years” in some harder to pin down way (for me). 2020? Monster year. Plague (well, pandemic). Election year. Black Lives Matter. Australia on fire. California and Oregon on fire. Presidential impeachment. Climate change slowly stops being debated and starts being acknowledged. The “Me Too” movement. RBG died. My Traveling Partner and I bought a home. I mean… yeah. It’s been a big year. I’m glad it’s over.

What about you? Have you taken a moment to reflect on times past? What will you do with the year ahead? Will you fulfill a dream? Reach a goal? Will you persist? Will you let go of old baggage in favor of a new direction in life? Will you change the world?

…I guess we don’t know until we begin again. 🙂 See you in 2021. 😀

The New Year is almost here. Time to turn the page on this plague-ridden year and begin anew*. I used to make a point of creating an event on my social media pages & apps, and inviting my contacts to join me in taking one hour out of the 24 available hours on 1/1 of the new year – for themselves. Time to be spent reflecting on the year past, considering the goals of the year ahead, and plotting what that path might look like – in a sense, crafting a map of sorts, of the way ahead. Some time spent on purposeful reflection. Some time spent on self, and self-care. I’ve found it a worthy moment to spend with myself, each year.

…I’m not on Facebook these days. I have, but don’t use, a Twitter account (the grotesque spectacle of how Twitter can be mis-used, provided to us over the past 4 years, has been a lesson – for me – in “fuck that dumb shit, who needs it?”). My Instagram account lingers on, primarily as a last “easy” means of staying in touch with some far away friends. I spend less than 15 minutes per day on it, and often go days without looking at it at all. (Lovely landscape pictures… chipmunks… kittens… the ads suck, and I don’t like the association with Facebook at all.) I’m not on Twitch, or Discord, or Parler, or Reddit, or… yeah, I learned an important lesson some time ago about the value of my time, and also? The likely real-world harms that result from “doom-scrolling” and obsessing over the funhouse picture of other lives that social media presents as “reality”. It wasn’t at all healthy for me, personally, so – like a lot of people – I cut way back. Waaaaaay back. I’m down to just the one (Instagram), and I’m constantly asking myself whether I get real value out of that one that justifies having any involvement whatsoever with social media, generally. lol

…Leaving social media complicates some things in the 21st Century, while it simplifies others. That’s just real. Still worth it.

You’re invited, too!

So… I invite you to take One Hour, this New Year’s holiday, and start the year off with a moment of your own time, wherever you are, wholly spent on giving thought to who you are today, who you most want to be, and how you can make that journey from here, now, to arrive at living life as the person you most want to be day-to-day. I’m not saying one hour gives you an easy path to that potentially quite distant goal – but surely most journeys are simplified by checking a map once in a while? One Hour is a bit like “taking down the directions” to a destination – potentially more like jotting those down on a cocktail napkin than like drafting a proper map, but you get my meaning, I’m sure. 🙂

Take One Hour. Go for a walk. Write in a journal (preferably your own… 😉 ). Are you a fan of “weighing the pros and cons”? Make a couple lists. Give real thought to real challenges. Ask yourself the hard questions that are on your mind – even if you don’t find immediate answers. If nothing else, take that One Hour, and be your own best friend for a little while.

…One Hour isn’t much, really, out of an entire day or week, month, or year, surely we each deserve that much and more from ourselves? It’s a start. Another beginning. A stepping stone to a future. A personal practice that has remained a favorite of mine for the many years I’ve done it. Here’s hoping you make time for you on New Year’s Day, and that the year ahead finds you on the path to that best version of yourself that you see ahead. 🙂 Realistically? It’ll probably be a journey that takes far more than one hour. There will be challenges. Changes. Choices. You’ll have to practice some things. Maybe do some things very differently than you had.

Your results will surely vary. Fortunately – however many times you feel you have failed, you can begin again.

New path, new perspective.

*I have to admit that although in a great many respects 2020 was quite terrible as years go, in other respects – many, actually – it was also (for me) quite a good year, too. I have mixed feelings about that, but it would be at odds with the woman I most want to be to fail to acknowledge that some events of 2020 have left a lasting positive mark on me. My relationship with my Traveling Partner has deepened considerably. We bought a home together. Improved our quality of life in a number of ways. I’ve got a good job. We live in a pleasant community. It’s hard to fuss about how shitty pandemic life is when we are so fortunate… just saying; linguistic shortcuts are sometimes at the expense of nuance and details that matter. 🙂

I’m thinking about life, and love, and forward momentum. I am pondering hurdles I have cleared, and those that I fell short of. I’m thinking over good decisions, poor decisions, and some handful of decisions I can only look back on with a sort of befuddled astonishment (as if in acknowledgement that some choices were just that poor, or so obviously wrong-headed, even based on what I knew at the time). I give myself a moment of tender understanding, and obligatory self-compassion; I would be kind and understanding to anyone dear to me, if I found them mired in self-doubt, wondering where it all went wrong, or pissing and moaning about how much they suck as a person, so, it seems only reasonable to “be here” for the woman in the mirror, pretty much mostly all the time. 🙂

…Today is a good day, it just happens that it is also a day suited to contemplation.

What about you? Are you maintaining some kind of committed practice of being there for the person in the mirror? Of treating yourself well? Setting and managing clear expectations with others regarding boundaries and limitations? Are you being frank with yourself about what you want and need in life? Are you first in line to deliver it to yourself? How about those sticky attachments in life that find you struggling with frustrations, “extra” obstacles, or mystifying emotions? Are you working on letting some of that go? How’s your health? Are you staying safe and well? Are you sufficiently privileged and fortunate to be able to?

I spent the Winter Solstice in contemplation, meditation, and in the studio painting. I woke this morning feeling a certain nagging feeling suggestive of “loose ends” that want to be tidied up. More meditation is clearly in order. More painting. More walking along the creek, or among the trees.

Sometimes it really is enough just to be there, with and for myself, for a few quiet moments. Sometimes… maybe not quite enough. Time is precious and limited.

…And it’s already time to begin again… What will I do with my opportunity to restart, regroup, re-purpose, renew, refresh, or re-attempt? It’s here. It’s now.

It’s time.