Entries tagged with “Defining Moments”.


noun

kän(t)-stər-ˈnā-shən

a feeling of surprise, confusion or disappointment

Say what?

Say what?

I am perfectly accustomed to the notion that things will not always go as I plan. If nothing in life is certain but death and taxes, I will make the claim that disappointment is the death of expectation; the taxation of hope.

I find myself generally able to take this phenomenon in stride. I am familiar with it, as are most folk, and lamenting the fact has never once alleviated its effects. For how we make God laugh when we plan…

Yet at certain times I am especially confused by the way things unfold counter to my expectation. Instances where all indications point to a particular course that simply never manifests.

And I am full-well aware there is no ready answer nor effective tonic. To strive is to risk, to hope is to hazard. These are the toll of possibility, and though the price may seem high at times, still better it is to yield the cost than lay stake instead to complacence.

So, I’ll sip my tea and feel puzzled. When it is gone, I will put my aimless wondering away.

[uhbeyuh ns] 

 

noun

  1. temporary inactivity, cessation, or suspension: Let’s hold that problem in abeyance for a while.
  2. a state or condition of real property in which title is not as yet vested in a known titleholder: an estate in abeyance.

In the quiet silent seconds

I am not, by nature, a person that enjoys inactivity. Though I have learned to cultivate stillness for its multitude benefits, I am generally too restless to enj0y the experience without considerable preparation. I coax myself toward quiescence by degrees and find it particularly difficult in the face of ambiguity. Unsuited to wait and see, I prefer to get up and look.

Yet sometimes, there is simply naught to be done. I mean this not in the sense of merely staying busy; chores, tasks, and distractions abound. Rather, I suggest that in the face of a looked-for outcome, it is at times impossible to take any action to hasten or influence the desired result.

Irresistible as it feels, thumb-twiddling generally serves only to divert. My chosen distractions of late principally stray toward the benign; writing, running, and friends consume most of my attention; yet they have their own merit, these. Still there linger on the periphery old habits and tendencies that do not necessarily earn with concomitant value the worth of time I spend upon them. Absorbing as they may be, I wonder at the foolish persistence I demonstrate by indulging myself in these ways. That I relinquish precious sleep and scarce energy to the pursuit of such diversion seems almost indecent. And so in reflecting upon it, then it is my love for the obscene that keeps me amused.

What instead, during this interval?If an object at rest and all that; maybe I must merely yield to physics, do what suits me so ill and embrace inertia. I’ll have to get right on that…

adjective

  1. Having patches of black and white or of other colors; parti-colored.
  2. Composed of incongruous parts

noun

  1. A piebald animal, especially a horse.

 

We are none of us promised consistency. In many ways, this is probably for the best. 

The human knack for adaptation being what it is, we pivot at some point between experiencing a comforting reassurance in the face of predictability to a stifling sense of ennui which is the ultimate suffocation and demise of the soul.

So, you know, vive la difference!

I’ve been playing with this notion visually for a while. In the two places I spend the most time I have been creating a graphic representation of outcomes I want to manifest in my life. There is less distinction in the messages, admonitions, and tender reminders I am putting under my notice than I would have predicted.

All The Livelong Day

All The Livelong Day

I see both instances declare happiness is a choice, work is requisite, and compassionate attention most desirable. How they are stitched together, and in what proportion each theme appears differs based on the setting and focus of my visioning, but I find the consistency – with crucial differences – augments my understanding and encourages their integration more thoroughly.

Where The Heart Is

Where The Heart Is

The colors are similar but they ramble and riot each in their own particular way.

É¡rit/

noun

  1. Abrasive particles or granules, as of sand or other small, coarse impurities found in the air, food, water, etc
  2. firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck:
  3. a coarse-grained siliceous rock, usually with sharp, angular grains.
  4. sand or other fine grainy particles eaten by fowl to aid in digestion.

verb (used with object), gritted, gritting.

  1. to cause to grind or grate together.

verb (used without object), 

  1. to make a scratchy or slightly grating sound, as of sand being walkedon; grate.

Idioms

  1. grit one’s teeth, to show tenseness, anger, or determination by or as if by clamping or grinding the teeth together.

 

Tires On My Go Machine: AKA Happiness in Pink

Tires On My Go Machine: AKA Happiness in Pink

 

I get it in in my shoes sometimes, grit. My tendency to wear ankle socks, instead of something sensible when I hike, my headlong enthusiasm for the shore, covered in sand; all these result in carrying home tiny passengers which will take up residence in my bedroom rug.

I also demonstrate it on occasion; when faced with opposition.

I feel like my life has required an uncustomary degree of the stuff, for about the last year and a half. I am both impressed with my fortitude and tired of needing so much.

It has cast all that came before it in terms that help me realize how precious certain things I once took for granted turn out to be; freedom from intense physical distress, a reasonable presumption that laid plans can be executed given sufficient will, only chief among them.

I woke up early this morning. No particular reason, but my mind was scampering around such that I knew no more sleep was to come. Lying there in the early dark, I took stock of my physical well-being. I do this every morning now, and I am very sorry to say that for the last few months in particular, the answer is almost never “I feel well/good/fine.”

Some days, indeed it is not so much an inventory of my flesh as a catalogue of affliction. There have been respites – aided by medicine that is somewhat vile to take and odious to endure – but not since early in March has there been a string of days together where I was not in pain and some other alimentary torment. I cannot eat, sleep, work, exercise, or even lay still like a beached walrus with any degree of comfort or surety that the activity will not send my guts a-roiling in fashion like to result in moaning and exhortations.

I have resorted to medicaments, ablutions, and medical invasions I would have declared unthinkable this time last year. The various caretakers attempting to unearth the cause of all this fortitude are as yet stumped. Various incomplete and unsatisfying suggestions – along with odious and drastic treatments accordant – have been floated and ultimately found wanting; if they are not wrong entirely, they do not encompass the entirety of what seems to be going on.  

So, it happens I have become keenly aware of the exquisite value of a moment when I feel able to set my mind to a task such that I believe my body can complete it. When the sun is shining inside my skin, oh the hay I make, these days.

So then I strapped on my shoes – which are too tight because my feet are swollen from the meds that keep me on them – and went for a run. I managed 3 miles at more or less my top speed and was very pleased indeed I did. Now that I am sitting at my desk, barely able to sit up straight for the grinding inside my belly, it pleases me all the more.

 

[lohd-stohn]

noun

  1. A variety of magnetite that possesses magnetic polarity and attracts iron.
  2. A piece of this serving as a magnet.
  3. Something that attracts strongly.

The landscape – both within and without – is now so different from any ever before seen it is almost as though I have been transported to a new and unknown place whilst asleep.

A friend of mine once said to me, “Falling in love is like reaching into a bag of mixed candy. Everything you pull out is sweet in its own way, but no two pieces are ever the same.” This time it feels like I reached into the bag and pulled out a confection as-yet-unnamable but lovelier and more delightful than I had even imagined possible.

In the last week I have been confronted with the limits of my own beliefs, sighted the horizons of what I thought possible, and swept past both in a manner so compelling I know I will be forever changed by the experience. Outcomes being as unknowable as ever still take on the character of foregone conclusions.

Through it all, drawn irresistibly forward and on, when it is so tempting to submit to the gravity working on my heart, I admonish myself to breathe, to pause, and to dream that when I wake to this reality again, it is all the sweeter thereby.  

[uh-ban-duh n]

verb (used with object)
1. To leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert: to abandon one’s farm; to abandon a child; to abandon a sinking ship.
2. To give up; discontinue; withdraw from: to abandon a research project; to abandon hopes for a stage career.
3. To give up the control of: to abandon a city to an enemy army.
4. To yield (oneself) without restraint or moderation; give (oneself) over to natural impulses, usually without self-control:
to abandon oneself to grief.

It’s rare I get to combine a Defining Moment with Explodingdog, but so apt considering the weight of the subject and timbre of the moment under consideration

 

What caution might prevail in the face of persistent evident truth? Is there any litany of reason sufficient to overcome the tide of plunging heedlessness? None, in my experience; and though there have been any number of voices – my own included – ringing on occasion to warn against surrendering to such headlong reckless tenderness, it neither pleases nor serves to do so.

I have always been a Love At First Sight kind of girl. The unwisdom of this is of course totally evident to any rational person. Yet, like mystery, there are some things to which reason may not be meaningfully applied. And though I can, should, and will exercise caution in my actions, it both impossible and arguably misguided to attempt such restraint upon my heart.

To defy the draw of the fall is a feat I have never once managed, and I know I shall not now. Unprecedented though, is the accompanying confidence about what awaits on the other side of that tumble.  Foolish, perhaps this surety, but it is as irresistible after all, as the cause of all this consideration.

[gid-ee]

adjective, giddier, giddiest.
1. Affected with vertigo; dizzy.
2. attended with or causing dizziness: a giddy climb.
3. frivolous and lighthearted; impulsive; flighty: a giddy young person.
4. feeling or showing great happiness and joy

 

I am it. 

[tuh-pog-ruh-fee]

noun, plural topographies.

  1. The detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area, district, or locality.
  2. The detailed description, especially by means of surveying, of particular localities, as cities, towns, or estates.
  3. The relief features or surface configuration of an area.
  4. The features, relations, or configuration of a structural entity.
  5. A schema of a structural entity, as of the mind, a field of study, or society, reflecting a division into distinct areas having a specific relation or a specific position relative to one another.

“Document the world inside your skin.” The Decemberists

 

Accompanying my evident penchant for documenting the world upon my skin, I have decided it is the work of my life to explore and record my own interstices. I’ve been accused of being self-absorbed, and maybe it’s true, but as much as anything I see my existence as a longitudinal study geared toward reproducible results. The most desirable of these being happiness – or at least contentment – but ultimately a simple range of predictable outcomes given known stimuli would be a corollary most gratifying. If nothing else, a simple map to aid in navigation would be a great comfort, betimes.

Of course, the human experience-as-laboratory leaves much to be desired for precise interpretation of data or control of variables. It does not necessarily follow that more thorough review of evidence produces more accurate reckoning. The exhaustive and repeated tours of my internal landscape may only serve to inure me to the process of self-discovery; assuring myself the work is underway, rather than weighing outcomes to ensure progress has occurred. Would that I could line myself up using compass and key, and say;

“Now I am this close to self-awareness! What headway I have made! “

Those that claim hindsight is 20/20 are kidding themselves. Nostalgia, wishful thinking, and revisionist tendencies all conspire to blur that past. Recollection and memory cast time into binary relief; everything was harder, dimmer, and less clear or conversely left limned in light and perfected it in ways utterly infeasible. That we can view historical articles with such varying results given our own current locus speaks eloquently to its unsuitability as reliable data.

It is not then science that I do. I do not have instruments of such precision as the plumb bob, tape, or scope. Yet it is nevertheless a process which acknowledges a changing landscape, and replies to tectonic shifts. The atlas of my essence is still being drawn; the cartography of my soul still under survey…

[huh-bich-oo-eyt]

verb (used with object), habituated, habituating.

  1. To accustom (a person, the mind, etc.), as to a particular situation: Wealth habituated him to luxury.
  2. to frequent.

verb (used without object), habituated, habituating.

  1. To cause habituation, physiologically or psychologically.

rain

One of the most fundamental principles of happiness is staying present; to keep attention focused on the moment, in the body, and consciously awake. That we are not particularly good at this as humans is one of those ironies that convinces, if there is a god, he has a twisted sense of humor.

 Because, the gulf between knowing something intellectually and realizing it meaningfully can be vast. Even this detail – that recognizing and enacting  truths are markedly different things – can send one into a spiral of metacognition from which it is not always easy to recover.

In this vein, and in an effort to support my best chances as happiness while simultaneously outsmarting myself, I’ve taken to plastering my surroundings with little reminders about what contentment is built out of. The admonition to sleep, to laugh is situated under prompt to find joy in the ordinary, adjacent to the suggestion to leap an build wings on the way down. A visual map of the future I am building myself every moment is charted over a wall entire and is the first thing I see when I awaken each day.

And when I actually note these things, my breathing slows, I quieten into my body, and I am instantly happier. Yet like anything to which one is constantly exposed, these objects meant to catch my attention and focus my intentions have become a kind of visual background noise. Though part of the practice is to add something new each week that it doesn’t become so familiar as to slip from my conscious consideration, it is still all too easy to look without seeing; to notice without perceiving.

Yet how delightful the project has been; to surround myself with gorgeous possibility and relentless encouragement. Never before had I considered that happiness was a practical act undertaken each day with deliberate intent. Only recently have I been able to disengage the idea that feelings inform our state of being, but do not dictate it entire. I may feel sad but it does not have to mean I am sad. That being vulnerable and emotionally animated means I am moved easily and imbued with concomitant flexibility and resilience thereby.

Much like the pleasure of warm air on my skin is heightened by pausing to notice it, so too is the value of any experience where I can dwell long enough to attend to my responses. While this process can be uncomfortable at times, it is always enlightening, and usually results in revelations I might never have encountered otherwise. I am empowered and fortified by this practice in every case. The trick then is to make a habit of noticing when I do not notice.

Seems perfectly simple…

[uhn-ri-len-ting]

adjective

  1. Not relenting; not yielding or swerving in determination or resolution, as of or from opinions, convictions, ambitions, ideals, etc.; inflexible: an unrelenting opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment.
  2. Not easing or slackening in severity: an unrelenting rain.
  3. Maintaining speed, effort, vigor, intensity, rate of advance, etc.: an unrelenting attack.

 

As much as I wish it wasn’t so, I am kind of a crybaby. While I can bear up under considerable opposition, I never do so with any discernible measure of stoicism. I’m tough in my way, but I figure if I have to suffer, I want credit, if not for bravery, than at least for endurance. Much like people who endure pain more readily when they curse aloud, my fortitude has volubility. I realize this approach doesn’t always evoke sympathy, but I doubt if I’m functionally capable of holding it all in, so I simply consider it the cost of doing business.

In case it was in any way unclear where this prelude was headed…

I’ve been some kind of sick since mid-January and I am motherfucking tired of it.

Partly to blame, I’m sure, is the transition from a small office environment into a cube landscape of considerable scope. In this setting there are dozens of people touching doorknobs, fingering keypads, and generally fouling the environment with their germiness.

In addition, Hodie has in her turn taken charge of a munchling as babysitter extraordinare several days a week. Since, as everyone knows, children are the bringers of pestilence and disease, mine has brought the sickness she’s contracted from the miniature microbe factory down on me at least twice since she started.

I am weary beyond expression of feeling like shit. Between the onset of gut-gripe that happens every four weeks and lasts for two, and the hideous cold/bronchitis/sinus blech I’ve had interspersed, I would give my bad right eye for a month or two where I just felt fine; where my running and gym schedule wasn’t interrupted by ailments of unpredictable severity; where I could work a week entire uninterrupted.

Such lofty prayers I voice, these days.