“With patience comes choice and with choice comes power.”
Another quote from Louise Penny”s “All the Devils are Here”
And the patience and perseverance have paid off. I have picked up the pieces of my life again.
Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend and then to Trader Joe’s. We all know I love me some Trader Joe’s. I bought a few snacks for football this weekend, stocked the freezer with a few ‘I don’t feel like cooking meals’ and the milk that was my justification for stopping there in the first place. And on the drive home I cranked up the radio and found myself smiling for no real reason at all.
Yes the yoga and meditation and walking have helped. And my word for the year “Embrace Today”. Funny how you pick a word (or two) at the beginning of the year and it really resonates at some point. I was finally able to shut up the voice in my head that kept imagining what I would say to M* if he ever tried to contact me:
There was the icy stare or cold silence option. The puzzled “who is this” question? The breezy “hey (cause you never meant anything to me at all) how’s it going” in a cheery voice. The neutrally voiced “why are you talking to me, we are not friends,” statement of fact.
Once I started focusing on just today the voices in my head retreated. I wake up and think about what do I want to do TODAY? I typically pick one household type chore and then see what else appeals to me. And I do it.
It is a relief to climb into bed at night and feel good about the day and not dread tomorrow. It is good to stop the endless loop of the past and rumination on the future. To be back in the present moment. To sleep through the night again.
My gut is telling me this is a time for waiting. Change is coming but I need to be patient. Not one of my strong suits but the need to pause and be still is very strong at the moment. I need to heed it while at the same time living my life as it is right now. I can do this!
I have to admit that yoga, meditation and now walking every evening have turned out to be very healing. I am enjoying exploring Sabino Canyon more fully and last week I finished my walks under the very bright moon which I loved more that I thought I would.
My son has returned to in person school four days a week providing me with some badly needed solitude. And a chance to have the kitchen stay cleaned up for more than 5 seconds.
I think I may have fell in love just a little with Ethan Hawke after watching his short TED talk:
Once again my “word” of the year is proving to be quite beneficial:
Life is so much easier when you live in the moment and not worry or plan so much for the future or keep reflecting on the past.
The only thing I am wishing for right now is cooler temps. We are back to the 90’s and I had to turn the a/c back on. 🥵 Despite the heat I am enjoying crock-pot meals, pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes and watching football.
I am not liking all this new WordPress crap. Some of my photos won’t upload “for security reasons”. Does someone think I have some sort of code embedded in my Trader Joe’s haunted house? And now there are blogs that I cannot comment or like anymore. (Sorry L.A.!) I admit to being a little weary of trying to keep up with technology. 🙁
I finally figured out what makes me feel better. Walking. Outside. With no destination and no time limit (except darkness).
I have begun taking an evening sabbatical. I leave the house between 4:00p and 4:30p once the sun has retreated enough to be bearable. I go over to Sabino Canyon and walk. It is not too crowded at that time and I have plenty of solitude. Sometimes I find a quiet spot to sit for awhile. Yesterday I sat near the oh so dry creek bed and listened to the wind in the cottonwood trees. The rustling of the leaves was incredibly soothing.
This has become by far my favorite part of the day. The only negative is it gets dark in a hurry here, full dark at 6:00p right now. I try to be out of the park by 5:45p because I don’t want to get eaten by a mountain lion (even though that would be an unique way to go!) and there are not any street lights anywhere.
Last night I dawdled watching an amazing sunset and found the end of my journey to be in total darkness. I did not encounter any mountain lions but there were two rather fierce looking bunnies in my path. I tried to make myself look big and scary and they scampered off, ha!
Once back in my own ‘hood I had to pause for some javelinas in the wash across the street from me. I think it will be a good idea to carry a flashlight in my pocket tonight, cause I am sure that would keep a mountain lion away 🙄.
I know I have said this before and used the same picture* but I really feel it can’t be said enough these days, COMMON SENSE people! It is taking me a few days to wrap my head around this new “normal”. I find myself feeling rather anxious which is atypical for me. I am trying to puzzle out why.
Maybe because I have the responsibility for a child? Part of me is happy he is home safe with me and part of me worries that we will be screaming at each other before the week is out. Putting a woman at the tail end of menopause with a boy on the cusp of puberty seems like way too many hormones in a confined space.
I think the more likely cause of my anxiety is simply the unknown. How long will this last? Will we get locked-down? How many people will actually get sick? Will anyone I know get sick? Will I be able to buy toilet paper (or whatever it is I run out of first) when the time comes? How long will the repercussions last?
Ah, how long will all this last? Will school resume? When will shelves get re-stocked? Stores re-open?
Will this end up changing our lives permanently in any way? Think about how things have changed since 9/11. All the changes to security. Will the impacts from COVID-19 eventually lead to major changes concerning health issues?
As you can see I don’t have any answers, only questions. In time all these questions will be answered. And in the meantime the answer to dealing with my anxiety was staring me right in the face:
My word for the year is “EMBRACE TODAY”. Duh, I need to stop worrying about a tomorrow I can’t control and enjoy what I have today:
no sick family members
sloppy joes, french fries and peas planned for dinner
books to read (I just started “Olive Kitteridge”!)
internet access to all my blog and Facebook friends
a freshly washed dog
Netflix, TCM and “Poirot” to watch
a clean, comfortable bed to sleep in
My list could go on and on but you get the idea. Stay safe and encourage:
Common Sense in Uncommon Times
*Picture is from an e-mail from the Vermont Country Store
This year I am going to work hard on reconciling my planning, list making, scheduling self with my living in the here and now self. I actually think this is quite doable, I just need to strengthen some mental muscles.
So, typical planning me starts jotting down what I would like to accomplish in 2020. Then I think I should come up with twelve items and schedule one for each month. But here and now me said, whoa. What if I don’t want to work on something a whole month or I need more time or I want to start and stop and resume a project later?
New combined me stepped in with the compromise. I narrowed my list down to six items I really want to do. No assigned schedule, a few of my projects will be worked on all year. One of my items has a deadline so I’ll adhere to that. But I will let here and now me decide when to do the rest.
Here are my six goals for 2020:
Catch up on organizing my photos. I started 2019 already so I really don’t have that much to do.
I am going to make a scrapbook for my son this year. One page for each month and use the extra pages for birthday and vacations.
Put together my own book of meditations/words of wisdom. I recently got a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” and was surprised to learn it was something he wrote simply for himself. I am always collecting quotes or thinking odd little things I want to remember and have them scattered in different places. I’ll put them in one book and practice my hand lettering at the same time!
I am going to do the A to Z blogging challenge in April. I have my topic/theme and I am already drafting blog posts.
Take Carla Sondheim’s collage class. It is supposed to take a full year but I probably won’t start until maybe the beginning of summer. We’ll just see how it goes.
I love the idea of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November each year but November doesn’t work for me. I just have too much going on then. So I am going to make my own short term novel writing time frame. Probably a bit more than a month but my goal will be to have a first draft of the novel that I have been trying to write for the last few years done. No matter how badly it turns out!
For daily items I will continue with my yoga, meditating twice a day and keeping writing my joy/gratitude lists.
Gotta run, this day is full of possibilities to embrace. 🙂
Despite my best intentions the days this month have felt rather hectic. I have decided I am not a fan of the no-plan plan. I am thinking a “soft” plan would suit me better. I will put things on the calendar and when the day comes if I really don’t feel like doing whatever it is then I can re-plan it. Or if the mood strikes I can do it sooner. But especially for the holidays I need to see all I need to do posted on a calendar.
I am continuing with my yoga and meditation. I was worried I would quit the yoga now that I am getting up in the dark but found I love doing the yoga by the light of the 12″ tree in my office. It is peaceful and festive and the stretches feel really good.
Meditation continues. I am hoping my focus improves for the morning session (so much to do these days!) but I am loving the evening session and actually look forward to that period of peace and quiet before bed. Once again I am in the office with the only light coming from my tiny tree.
Something I forgot to mention last month is my gratitude logging. I write down at least three things each night that I am grateful for or brought me joy. I do believe this is having a positive affect on my attitude. Helps me look for the good in the day. (No line at the post office! A good coupon for Petco! Getting my second shingles shot out of the way, even if it did make me feel like crap for two days.)
My absolute favorite thing to do this month? Story time with my son. At bedtime we take turns reading a story to each other. We have a whole shelf of Christmas books, many of which he has technically “outgrown”, except I believe you can never out grow books. So we are visiting our favorites, “Oliver the Other Reindeer”, “Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake”, “If You Take a Mouse to the Movies”, “Mickey and Minnie’s Gift of the Magi”, just to name a few. That reading time together makes my heart happy.
All the holiday pieces are coming together. One thing that I am doing differently is saving a few items to do between Christmas and New Years’. Not all the cookies need to be baked ahead of time, not all the movies watched before Christmas Day. For my family Christmas is celebrated through Epiphany, January 6th. I always feel a little sorry for those families that start the day after Thanksgiving and are sick of Christmas by the 26th. Just makes the winter that much longer.
I like taking my time preparing for the whole 12 days of Christmas (which start Christmas day). This year may not be quite as detailed in the planning but there will be activities and fun family time.
I hope you get to enjoy the whole holiday season, both the preparations and the festivities!
My focus for November was yoga, meditation, creative time, random acts of kindness and having some computer free time. I am thrilled at how well I did for all these!
Yoga: Every. Single. Day. Whoo-hoo. I even added one new pose to my morning routine.
Meditation: Every day. “Self-five!” I am now up to ten minutes a day. I have been thinking about my twenty minute goal and realized I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Mostly because I would lose some of my flexibility as to when I could meditate if I had to have twenty uninterrupted minutes. Plus I wasn’t sure I could really focus for that long.
So I took a few minutes to really think about what I wanted and I have decided to stop at ten minutes in the morning and add an evening/bedtime meditation session. I will start with five minutes and add one minute a week until I am up to ten minutes. I will experiment with different times and bedroom vs office and see what works best.
It was a bit of an epiphany realizing I can simply do what works best for me and I don’t have to follow someone else’s guidance or rules.
Computer Free Time: I am doing better. I realized trying to do a set 24 hours was really hard but that after a quick use in the morning I could ignore the computer the rest of a designated day. Overall I felt like I was on the computer a lot less and that I am well on the path to less mindless computer use.
Creative Time: I have been working on lots of projects this month and enjoying them all. Now I just need to get some of them finished! Here are some of my accomplishments:
Still working on my felt winter window, slow going. But I have almost finished eight Christmas mason jar ornaments.
Random Acts of Kindness: I accomplished this mostly through my driving. This time of year the snowbirds are starting to arrive so there are a lot of older drivers out there. Going slow. Forgetting where places are. Confused about the left turn arrow which could be at the beginning or end of the green light (and in a few intersections is at both the beginning and end). And it only gets worse through March. This year I am being extra patient and ultra courteous. I especially get to do this in the mornings letting drivers in/out of the school driveway right next to my son’s school. And yes, I do feel like a better person and less frustrated driver for doing this.
One of the drawbacks of living in the moment is I am not doing my holiday planning like normal. Typically I start making lots of list about mid-October: Thanksgiving menu, selecting cookies recipes to bake, Christmas shopping lists and planning out the calendar. When will we do “Christmas Story” night or look at Christmas lights? It feels weird to not be planning all this out but I am wondering if maybe this can be a good thing? Maybe this Christmas will be much simpler?
I finally made a few lists last week and started buying the non-perishable items for Thanksgiving. My heart wasn’t in it though. I wrote out the Thanksgiving menu and then a list of ten, TEN, different items I should prep ahead of time. This for a dinner for three people and when I am trying not to have many leftovers. Maybe next year I will be ready to change up the menu but for this year I am sticking with our traditional feast, just in smaller quantities. I did ask the family what they would change and the answer was “nothing”. So no help there.
And then I realized, yes I have ten different items to prep but smaller quantities will make a difference with quite a few of the items. And my son will make the pie. And honestly, I don’t have any overly complicated recipes so while the list seems long the time involved isn’t so bad. And by Thanksgiving week I will be excited to do the food prep. So I am giving myself permission to do the grocery shopping and then forget about Thanksgiving until I am ready for it.
I also made a Christmas shopping list and when I got to seven different stores I said “enough”. Even now I feel a little sick looking at shopping lists and menus and ideas for potlucks. Right now I am not the least bit interested in Christmas. I suspect (and hope) this changes with the arrival of December.
The big events that need to be planned ahead are done. We have our Polar Express tickets and reservations for Flagstaff, “Nutcracker” tickets as well as tickets for the New Year’s Eve Road Runner hockey game. But everything else is up in the air. Scarily I am okay with this. More than okay actually, I am excited to see how the holidays unfold with fewer expectations. And, dare I say, less work?
For now I am going back to my drawing and reading and watching Miami Heat basketball. No need to get caught up in holiday hoopla too soon.
My goals for this month are to do a series of short yoga stretches every morning, write down at least three things that brought me joy or that I was grateful for every night and meditate every day.
For the meditation I am going to be trying different ways to meditate like using a mantra or walking meditation as well as practicing at different times of day. I am hoping it will be easier to stick with a daily practice if I mix it up a little. I will be starting with six minutes a day and adding one minute each week until I get to twenty minutes. (I have been meditating for five minutes most days for awhile now.) I feel like twenty minutes is a good goal.
At least three times a week I want to spend time doing something creative. I am keeping it rather open-ended, not sure if that is the best idea but we’ll see. I feel like telling myself I have to do it for a certain length of time would be too restrictive. I have a list of ideas of things to do, some writing, some drawing or painting. A few on-line classes bookmarked. I like the idea of giving myself permission to sit down and create something.
In October I did a pretty good job of cleaning and purging long ignored areas. Much to my surprise I am continuing this process with no goal in mind. On the first of November I had my husband move the fridge out and cleaned the floor behind and around it. And then on Monday I found myself doing yet another clothes purge. I donated eleven items and five pairs of shoes. Since then the cleaning has continued, mostly moving furniture and cleaning underneath. Sometimes I do surprise myself!