This week I’ve awoken and walked outside into springtime. There are dandelions running riot over my lawn and the air is warm and humid. A favorite moment in greeting each day has been to witness the dew clinging to the blades of grass as the day begins. It rained last night so everything was permeated with hydration and the promise of sunlight; together, they form live-giving and sustaining necessities. It’s been the type of memory that I want to imprint on my soul, a brief moment where the season feels encapsulated in a dewdrop. What sensory memory speaks “springtime” to your heart?
It is a beautiful day outside where I live and the arrival of spring is upon us. Each spring, I am welcomed back into the season of growth and expansion by daffodils blooming in my yard. I love that they require no effort or attention and yet return again and again to brighten my spirits. They serve as a superb reminder that not all growth requires conscious effort. What is blooming in your life today?
My poor pup has been cooped up more than usual as of late, between the winter weather and my attempt to avoid unnecessary trips during the health crisis. I had a few housekeeping items crop up unexpectedly today, so I decided it was worth it to head to a local home improvement store that allows dogs in. His incessant whining the entire trip there let me know he was very excited about the trip.
As soon as we arrived at the store, my dog started leaping for joy as his feet hit the ground. He found the nearest human and tugged me in their direction. There was a family with several small children, who did not quite know what to make of such a small dog (he’s a Yorkie) enthusiastically sniffing their shoes and looking up at them in bliss.
I found the light bulbs I was looking for and headed off to another area of the store. We ended up behind another family, and my pup joined right in with them, ignoring their personal space and acting as though they obviously wanted him to tag along. I normally keep very close tabs on him, but, between trying to locate and carry several items, he kept sneaking closer to people than I realized he was.
He met the first family again at the cash register. The young boy who had at first drawn back from him didn’t reach to pet him, but did give him more attention as he stood facing him. My dog was in heaven, surrounded by new humans who might, just might, let him sniff them and perhaps even pet them.
I am in love with the innocence and earnestness with which my dog approaches people. Me in dog form would totally be bearing teeth and foaming at the mouth at anyone who approached; thankfully, he is not me. The fact that he seems to believe he owns the entire warehouse, barking loudly at any other dogs who dare to enter, and prancing around as though it’s been too long since he took stock of his playground, never ceases to bring a smile to my face. I’m reminded of what seems to be my grounding statement this year–there is more beauty than pain in the world. I am so happy to have witnessed it today.
I drew two cards today, one relating to casting a spell and the other connecting to allowing myself to hope. I decided to set “abundance” as my intention. I’ve lived my entire life with a mind to scarcity, pain, loss and lack, so considering riches, pleasure and prosperity does not come easily to me.
Where is there plenty?
Observing the areas of my life in which my supply outpaces my consumption should, theoretically, allow me to experience gratitude. Perhaps the action to underlay my intention should be to capture the moments of thankfulness I experience in a way that allows me to hold onto them more fully. They tend to feel very ephemeral, a morsel whose flavor has faded before I’ve finishing chewing it. I might add an additional “Writing Everyday” category specifically dedicated to recording the good experiences in my life.
What brings me pleasure?
My answer certainly feels base and silly, but, truthfully, food is probably my main reinforcer in life. It is unambiguous in its ability to improve my mood and to provide enjoyment. I like to cook, to ea and to watch shows of others cooking and eating.
The pleasure I anticipate in social interactions rarely comports with what I end up experiencing. Instead, spending time in nature genuinely lifts my spirits and elevates my mood. Spending time with my dog is also enjoyable.
wrestling with contentment
Even though I know what I like, I would not describe these experiences as leading to contentment. I do not know what it is like to rest in a place of contentment feels like as I’ve never stayed there for any length of time. Contentment, to me, is the intertwining of gratitude and pleasure, the sense that there is enough right now and that whatever it is, it will last.
If I’m not content with my life, the two paths that lay in front of me, the two paths I find meet me at every difficult moment, are to change my experience or to change my perception. I have been leaning more and more into attempting to change my perception as my attempts to change my experiences seem very much to lead in concentric circles, where I find myself in another layer of disappointment and failure.
Perhaps a third option, one that I hesitate to settle for and am not sure I can do, is to accept that I am unlikely to feel content with my life. This does not line up with the idea of welcoming abundance, unless abundance is the space left by the lack of things I thought I needed to be happy. What does it mean to say, when I get to the end of my life, that I never found contentment but that I appreciated abundance when it came to me? That my life knew more pain, discomfort and lack than it did resources and plenty, but that I made do as best I could with what I had?
There are very brief moments, seconds really, where I see myself through another’s eyes and I know, in wordless thought, that I am a good person who is doing their best. My childhood trauma not only set me up to find scarcity in excess, but also to see myself as selfish and ungrateful, someone incapable of opening to the holy and the grace of life because of the despicable nature of my soul. This isn’t who exists when all the layers of who I am dissipate. I am in abundance and of abundance. I may not find contentment if I seek it through pleasure, but I can be content in who I am. From that place of knowing I’m enough, I have more than enough at my disposal to be enough in ways in which I need to be.
Are you content in your life? In who you are as a person? What brings you joy? What in your life fills you with gratitude?
“If you’re reading this, you are an awesome person!” isn’t really my style. I attempted to satisfy today’s simple pleasure through my use of social media, by writing positive comments on posts I read, but I felt very unfulfilled in doing so. I struggle to be uplifting and kind at times, and I think attempting to be nice to others in a way that feels forced is especially doomed. So, instead, I plan to look for ways to brighten someone’s day in the next week that arise naturally and feel on target. Who was the last person you encouraged? How did they respond?
As a trans-masculine non-binary person, I’ve become uncomfortable with wearing makeup. Makeup falls under the “performing femininity” aspect of self for me, although I very much believe it is not tied into this for many people and that people of all genders can wear makeup and be valid in their gender without contradiction. The closer I came to acknowledging I was non-binary, the more wearing foundation, in particular, felt like applying a coat of paint in order to conceal myself. Since coming out, as an added bonus, my skincare routine has been on point now that every blemish is visible.
My toenails, however, are another story. For whatever reason, having nail polish on them feels like an aspect of hygiene to me. I’ve mostly opted for a clear coat as of late, but I did sport non-binary colors during Pride month. For today’s simple pleasure, I decided to go with the traditional six color Pride flag, covering half of my big toenail in red and half in orange so they all fit.
I experience abrupt moments at times where I realize I’ve absorbed an advanced knowledge of a topic without the history and groundwork necessary for a basic or full understanding. Most of the flags for the queer community with which I am familiar denote different aspects of the particular group which they are representing through the array of colors on the flag. The yellow on the non-binary flag, for example, represents those whose gender does not conform to the binary, while the black stands for people who do not experience a sense of gender (see more here). I foolishly made the assumption this was the case for the original Pride flag (developed by Gilbert Baker) as well, only to learn this week that the colors represent different aspects of pride and wellness, such as healing, sunshine and nature. At least I know now!
My toenails are currently a rainbow of happiness. Wearing these colors, even if most people aren’t going to see my toes, is bringing me light on this dreary, rainy day. What adding brightness to your day?