Some days the heaviness weighs me down. My head is full of this and that, information, things to do, guilt, other people’s stuff, my stuff. It’s difficult to stand tall and free. I was feeling all of it this morning. What to do? It’s hard to let go of getting right to the ‘doing’. The habit is set. When did it happen? How did it happen?
With the recognition of the moment, I tried to set aside my book, my phone, my everything. It was difficult and uncomfortable to sit with just my tea and toast. But my head was heavy and weary. I tried for nothing for little moments in time. Then my toast and tea were done. I still had 3/4 hour before heading out for my exercise class. I picked up my phone. I put down my phone. I don’t need to cram my brain with more information. I got up.
My next ‘challenge’ after finishing ‘my year of’ is creating order in my home. It is really about creating order in me. No time like the present to start. I headed towards the bedroom. I dusted the dressers, bedframe, light fixture, above the doors. It did not take long. I still had time. I got the mop and damp dusted the floor. Sheba is in shedding season. The hair! The dusting and mopping were very soothing and relaxing.
I had plenty of time to get to the gym. My head felt much lighter and I had one clean and orderly room. What I learned from the experience is that I have to take time for creating space – whether it is in my head or in a room. The time is always there but I have to take it. I’ve been taking time to exercise. It’s become a good habit. I have to apply it to other areas. It’s good to take time to clear, to empty the trash in our heads as well as in our house.
Some days are easier than others but all days are hard. At one time I thought it best not to use that word – hard. I’ve changed my mind. Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s best to face the facts. Life is hard. Days are hard. This morning the sky was overcast, ominous, the trees whipped about by the wind. I felt nature’s turbulence within.
Day 362 – July 25, 2017 @9:34 am
Seems like I’m waking up to Groundhog Day – the same sky and turbulence. The difference is the turbulence is not within me. As I speak the clouds have scattered and the sun is peeking out. Nothing stays the same. In these last days of my year of, I’m ever conscious of our/my shifting world. It has always been so, the impermanence – “transient, evanescent, inconstant.”
In my new state of awareness, I have this feeling that everything and nothing matters. I get to decide which. I am the master/captain of my destiny/ship. I choose everything matters. It is in my genetic code. I am an explorer, a striver and a survivor. I choose life. I choose to make it a good life. This decision gives me direction in every moment. It makes a difference in the days, weeks, months, years to come.
They are not momentous. They are little decisions/changes in little moments. They make my day just a little easier. I am not monumental. I am but a woman of little stature. I like it.
They say that eyes are windows to the soul. It’s how the light gets in. I have been worried about losing the light for as long as I can remember. I am very near sighted and had thick, thick glasses in childhood. Not only was I worried about the light but being unsightly as well. Thank God for high index and contact lenses and inplants. Now my vision is better than ever.
I did not know in my youth that short vision can be a good thing. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks about writing as much as you can see through a one-inch picture frame, taking one-inch bites at a time. And E. L. Doctorow said writing a novel is like driving a car at night. “You can only see as far as your headlights. You can make the whole trip that way.”
I can see the wisdom in that – staying in the present, looking ahead to see what lies within the range of your headlights. You can live your whole life like that. So I take a deep breath and take a step ahead. Then another, walking in the path lit by the light.
I’m thinking about self-love. What does it mean to mean to love oneself? One thing I know for sure is that you don’t hurt yourself. But in real life, how many times do we sabatage ourselves – knowingly or unconsciously? It’s good to have this time here to give it some thought.
The day is really dreary and life has been difficult. I try not to feel sorry for myself. It would be harmful rather than helpful. I suck it up, knowing that it is the same for everyone. Not thinking I’m special is self-love. I move onward and forward. I go to my exercise class. I did not enjoy it. That is not a requirement. I still benefit from it. My mood and body are healthier for it.
I’ve dropped out of my history class – American Politics in the time of Trump. I rather have the time for myself. The class is very interesting and the professor is fabulous. My schedule is crammed and it is taxing to rush from one thing to another. I choose what is better for me – my exercise class. There is too much Trump all around already. Do I need more? I can pick it up at a later time. It’s for interest only.
So here I am, showing up again. Showing up is loving myself. It is wonderful that I have this time here. I am not worrying about my grammar, my tenses. I am just sharing my thoughts, what I am doing, my successes, my failures. We can benefit from each other. These are a few ways I’m loving myself.
Now that I have made the return to my words, I need to heed them as well. I need to do as I say else they would be empty words. They would be like the emperor without clothes.
273 days in my journey of change, it is still easy to fall into the same faulty behavioral patterns that Portia Nelson talks about. It’s good to review her words again.
“I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down another street.”
I’m not as helpless and lost as I was at the beginning of the journey. I’ve been lost and had fallen into the same hole quite a few times. This morning I was right on the edge, teetered and stood my ground. Nope! I’m not falling in this time.
Practice. Keep on trying. Let go. Love. Be kind. These are some of the things I need to do over and over. It’s a meditation. It’s living. It is.
Today I am focusing on utilizing those spare moments. So here I am – showing up again, remembering that small moments can add up. One of my mother’s favourite say is those drops can fill a bucket. Let me fill my bucket list/drop and cross them off like the 17 year old Becca with terminal brain cancer. I already have had more moments than she ever will. Let me join #beccatoldmeto have faith, to be kind.
We do not have to be special. We can just be.do.whatever.however much.we.can.each.moment.each.day. The bucket will fill a drop at a time. At the end of the day, I will have done that much more, be that much fuller, satisfied…I will have a sense of movement, that I have gotten up, dressed up and showed up. It’s enough to celebrate.
I’m listening and heeding my own advice. I need to show up and do – even if it’s a little to succeed. I’m counting my blessings that I am still here, standing/sitting, tap, tapping away at the keyboard. It’s grand to feel their rhythmic breathing beneath my fingertips.
I am grateful for the flowers my friend gave me. I light a candle for another. That’s how it is. We take care of each other in whatever way we can. It’s enough. What more can we ask of each other? I take the gift and hold it close to my heart. I say a prayer and send it forth to heal and comfort. It is what I can do – prayers and love.
The day is cool and grey. I turn on my inner light. I turn on my inner power. I walk, jump, shuffle. I line dance. I pump iron. I can do those planks but not quite the pushups. It’s okay. I’m building up my muscles. I’m building up my resolve. I can. I can – show up.
Lassitude is painful and difficult to overcome, especially if the dog is barking incessantly at you. My brain is already foggy and spongy like a swamp. Her noise adds another layer of mud to it. I had to bribe her with a chew.
I am trying to get back to my words. Not trying to recover lost ground but to start from where I am. Today is day 261 of my year of doing different. I have been absent here for 21 days. Life happens. I’ve been busy. I’m trying to be flexible. I have so many reasons and excuses. The thing is I haven’t shown up here though I’ve been marking my journey on Instagram. If you are still following my year, you can still find me here on the Instagram sidebar.
My year has been full of ruts and repetitive errors. Change is difficult, even in thinking. It is most difficult in thinking because if we could think different, we could do different. With 100 days in the year, I’m paying more attention, putting a little more oomph into the push. I know I am changing, getting stronger bit by bit. I’ve pushed through some of my lassitude today, finishing some started projects. The trick is to set the intention and to do it now. That was what I did this morning. Instead of sitting and brooding, feeling my fatigue, I descended the stairs to my workspace. And here she is, my Petite Fille, almost finished.
A small success can give me a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. It can give me some momentum to take the laundry down, fold and put them away. And now to do the dishes.
It’s Saturday, my favourite day. It was sunny but the clouds have come. I am enveloped in grey – perfect for having regrets and disappointments. How do I draw or paint it though? These days I am caught up in a whirlwind of emotions of excitement of discovery and melancholia of vulnerability and impermance. There are things I have absolutely no control of. We talk of acceptance but it is no easy to come by.
I am regretting that I did not go for my Saturday morning swim. It’s the only time that I am most guaranteed a lane of my own. It’s my zen moment of the week. Why didn’t I go? My body cried for not-going- anywhere time. It yearned for time to laze in the morning sun, perhaps to read a few pages, to sketch at leisure. I had to choose. Sometimes my mind is in a frenzy of choices. So. I. Just. Stayed. Put.
Regret and disappointments are human traits. We have that ability to cast our eyes and minds back, regretting and feeling disappointed with ourselves, others and choices. It’s hard to stop yourself. My different today is recognizing that and accepting. It’s okay to regret and feel disappointed but Don’t. Just. Stay. There. Go forth. What was it that I wanted the time for instead of swimming?
My morning sketch at leisure. Reading a few pages. Being here in this moment, tap, tapping out a few words. It’s been difficult to show up. The game is if I fall, wander off the path, to come back again and again to this – my life, words, and loves.
These days, it’s hard to bring out the paint and the words. Things do not flow but I still stutter, dab and poke along. A sentence is strung. A picture evolves. Some seeds are planted and some are ordered. I have learned to love this process of eking, drip dropping. I am not at a standstill. I am making progress like the tortoise. There is no need to rush. The finish line will come soon enough.
I am learning to reframe, review and widen my lens in this year of doing different. It’s so easy to fall back into easy and same olds. It’s equally easy to do a different thing. It’s easy to do the same in a different way. The hard part is being mindful and staying the course. The thing to remember is we are all the same. We all struggle. No one is perfect. We all fall off the path. It’s the falling that wakes us. It’s an opportunity to learn and change.
I’ve been obsessed with making art this past year, starting with a 100 day challenge of making art every day. Here’s my day 1. I went the whole 100 days, making little arts and then bigger ones. A year later, I’m taking some online classes. They have helped immensely. Now I can talk the talk and walk the walk. I’ve been just talking about my passion for 30 years or so.
Whatever I learn from making art, gardening and whatever…all help to make a better me. Making, doing different keeps us from falling asleep at the wheel. It energizes and motivates me. I learn to see with different eyes, listen with different ears and speak with different softer words. Here’s some of my wonky creations with left hand and sometimes with eyes closed.
From doing different, I am different – capable of making wonky art.