It is day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I better seize the momentum of this newness to get going. I was going to reward myself after writing this post, but I failed the delayed gratification test. I already had my bowl of frozen maple walnut yogurt. It’s hot and I’m sweaty from freezing peas, doing the lunch dishes and watering part of the garden with the grey water. It’s a bit of a chore but well worth my effort. I didn’t realize how much grey water we let go down the drain until I started collecting it. I collect mostly just from washing lunch dishes. It can get labour intensive. I don’t have enough energy and stamina to do more. I have to be prudent with my resources.
Morning seem to be my most energetic self this summer. I try not to squander it away by being slothful and grumpy. I got myself off to an early start by booking an 8 am swim. Life is easier with commitments. Without, I am lost and adrift in the sea of freedom. Today I am rewarded with the pool all to myself. My grumpiness and frown are smoothed away in the water of the pool. There’s no worry of being too slow and having my toes grabbed from behind. I luxuriated in the peace and aloneness of just me and the life guard.
I love these mornings when I can get off to a good start. I can have them every day. It’s really up to me to make it happen. I had time to reflect on how as I swam up and down the lengths of the pool. I can choose to do the things I love, think the thoughts that build me up, spend time with positive people and those who are truly friends. I do have choices and control of many things that affect my well being. Now that I am more cognizant I can do better. I know I am not as grumpy as I used to be. I must be heading in the right direction.
The time after my morning swim is also perfect for heading to our community garden to weed, harvest and water. I am cooled and relaxed, ready to withstand the summer heat. And mornings are generally a bit cooler. It is wonderful to see all the greens of our efforts in the bright summer sun. It is not work but therapy for a gardener’s soul. Since it is a community garden I am happy and honoured to help another gardener water her plot. To be of service to another also adds to my well being. In return she has given me seedlings and apple sauce. Relationships is about reciprocity. Here are some of our happy plots.
My most difficult journey is the present one. The how of starting is always the first stumbling block. It is the cue to think back to my ancestor, Lao Tzu. He said that a journey of a thousand miles start with a single step. I step forward tentatively – one word, then two…I’m on my way. My most difficult journey is also my inner one. The one with lofty goals, the one which I hold myself to impossibly high principles, the one which I do not allow for mistakes, the one with no detours. It is the one that I, inevitably, have come to a dead end.
I’ve been at the crossroad for some time now. I’m sitting here contemplating my options. Which way are you going to go, Lily? is singing in my head. I know that I can only go forward. There’s no backtracking in life. I’m taking my time, dwelling in the quiet, listening to the beat of my heart. What is it telling me? I no longer trust other voices telling me this and that. They do not have my best interests at heart even though they sincerely believe so. I cannot hold them at fault. I am probably guilty of the same.
I’m watching the shadows on the wall, sipping my peppermint tea. It is peaceful here. I have time. It is a good place to linger and rest awhile. I’ve had a full and wonderful day. I swam 13 laps or 26 lengths this morning. Somehow 26 lengths sound more impressive. I’m pleased and proud of myself. I’m still holding myself accountable of doing my best of the day, living up to my commitments of showing up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and staying the course of a healthy physical and mental diet.
Good morning and Happy Canada Day! It’s July 1, the first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am going to show up here daily for the next 31 days with my chatterings. I enjoy challenges. They offer me an opportunity to be disciplined and accountable. It’s also a chance to meet and interact with other bloggers. I have a few rules for this space of mine. These are that I be:
What I hope for this month is to get up, dress up and show up each morning. It will be my mindfulness practice of being present and alert before my keyboard, breathing in and out with each tap of on the keyboard. It does take away my thoughts of my morning physical discomforts. I am in the moment of forming thoughts and ideas. I am stretching and reaching with each finger. I am a proper typist. No pecking away with two fingers. I had graduated from Saskatoon Business College way back in the ’70s. I’ve had a class in typing using an IBM Selectric Typewriter. It does not have a moving carriage. The little ball travels back and forth.
It is late in the afternoon. I’ve had a good start in the morning. Making a commitment to write every day gives me structure. Having structure helps my disorganized brain focus and get with the program. Thoughts just get lost, rattling around in my brain. But if I tap them out here, I can see them in physical form. Then I can act upon them. And act I did. I put some sweat in the garden this morning before it got too hot. Now without the weeds I can clearly see the 2 rows of peas. Much more pleasing to the eye than before. I timed it right as the rains came in the afternoon. This is how I can get things done.
I’ve mentioned more than once or twice about my disorderly moods. This space and challenge has provided me with a purpose to show up and do. I don’t have a business to build or promote. I am not interesting in making money but I am in having a purpose. I can get engaged in constructing hopefully an interesting and informative post. I can converse about what is important and helpful to me. I like to think that I can motivate a reader or two. I will strive for better construction and proof reading. I will work for it. Happy blogging to my fellow bloggers.
I’ve never ever found an optimum time for doing anything or an easy time for starting something. Truth be told, I’m a daydreamer, a doodler, lounger, wistful thinker. In short I’m a procrastinator, trying to hold life at bay. What is this fear of starting and living?, I ask myself. I have no clue, no inkling of an idea but just this physical discomfort of not wanting to commit. Laugh if you will but we all know that he who laughs first, laughs last. I am sure you have that procrastinator in you, too. Only you haven’t recognized yourself in the mirror.
I see myself as molasses in winter mode. It is cool this morning. I see my little cucumber plants shivering in the raised bed in the front yard. First the heat. Now the chill. I hope they make it. I’ve never had much luck with them except for one year. Now that’s something to aim for. Something to get my juices flowing and off my butt. It takes patience and persistence to succeed at anything. My cyclamen is such a testament. I gave it the attention it needed. I don’t have a steady supply of that either. It comes in sporatic spurts. I’m not good when the going gets tough. Sometimes I abandon ship. Now that’s another thing to work on.
It’s another morning. I’ve clearly abandoned ship yesterday before finishing this conversation. I’m going through a spell. I’m lacking motivation. Nothing turns me on but I’m working on it. I feel as if I can’t even get myself out of a wet paper bag. Sometimes I just have to put in the effort as if I do love it, whether I feel it or not. That’s life. What is it that gets you up and going? What are your secrets for joie de vivre? What keeps you on the job till it’s finished?
I’m sipping on my cuppa, my favourite diversion for not doing. I’m glued to my chair but at least I am flexing my fingers, tapping on the keyboard. I’m trying to stay awake, thinking of how to overcome my inertia, how not to feel overwhelmed about our climate crisis. What else can I do not to contribute to the carbon footprint? How can I get outside of myself to help the world I live in. These are some of my thoughts on this sunny cool June morning. Perhaps I can bake some rhubarb crisp to warm up. I’ve been making rhubarb sour cream muffins the last 2 days but I’ve run out of sour cream.
April 30th, last day of the month and last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I have mostly shown up. I missed a couple of days. I believe in commitment but I’m not as rigid as I was. All or nothing is not good. Prioritizing and showing up when I can is good enough. That is my favourite phrase, good enough. I’m not sloughing off. Really, I’m not. I like being flexible and secure enough not to feel I’ve failed if I miss a day or two. Boundaries and moderation are good practices.
Keeping track of goals is as tough as my mail and finances. I must have a built-in radar system. I do most things by hook and crook. Often I can’t find anything but I haven’t encountered any disasters and my finances are in pretty good shape. That’s probably due to my Chinese-ness. We’re good with money. We know how to spot a bargain. And I am cheap. I don’t really want to classify all my fellow Chinese as cheap. I might end up standing by myself in a corner.
After a month of mutterings I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a square peg. I’m trying too hard to fit into a round hole. I could give up the effort and look for a square one. It would make more sense. I cannot make myself into what I am not. I’m going to give it all up and relax into the nothing, the not doing. I’m tired of being a gerbil on the wheel to nowhere. Instead, I could focus on the awe of the sunrise, sunset, the moment, the breath. You know the drill. I can mutter a new song. I can look at the hole rather than the dough in the doughnut.
Need I say that it is difficult to show up every day? It is. It’s late. Words and thoughts are harder to come by. But I’ve had a wonderful evening out, connecting with colleagues from long ago. Now I sit in the evening’s after glow wondering what to say. I’m remembering the conversations at the table: Have you heard about X. She has breast cancer and is getting chemo. Y is a private care home. Z died. What I know for sure is, time goes fast and life is sweet.
I know why it is that I choose to come to this place every day. It is to live. I made the commitment for a year. But why not for the rest of my life? A life is worth to live it well. I want to taste all its sweetness and bitterness as well. For how could I tell the difference without either? I want to feel the sun and the rain, the wind and the calm. I want to experience and weather it all – life in all its catastrophes.
And so I show up every day in this place in mindfulness. I am learning/choosing something different, to see another view, to be in another’s shoe. Can I be more of the world and less of me, I and mine? That’s one point from today’s session in mindfulness with Melli and Dr. Rick Hanson.
It is late. It is enough. To choose the easy and simple, I say good night. Till tomorrow.
The sun greeted me this morning. No more Groundhog Days! Yipee!
It goes to show that there are beginnings and endings. ‘This, too, shall pass’ is true. I can believe it now and will again and again. I will hug it to my heart for future reference for difficult days ahead.
I’m looking ahead to beautiful days in spring and a hot growing summer. But I’m also looking back at the month of April to see how far I’ve come and what I have learned. Each day is a step forward for me. That is what a challenge and a commitment did for me.
I HAD TO GET UP, DRESS UP AND SHOW UP.
Now, I am reaping my rewards. I have 30 posts, one for each day of the month. It is very satisfying! And it really isn’t THAT difficult. Each day I just put one foot in front of the other. When you make a start, something always follow. It is no rocket science. I sit at the keyboard and the words come – somehow.
And just so comes my doodles. I see the picture in my mind and somehow they come out of my fingertips onto my iPhone screen. How amazing is that! I have to thank my FB friend Janet Riehl for telling me about the doodle apps on smart phones. I’ve been doodling ever since. When I am surrounded by greyness, rain or sleet, I can surround myself with my own light and colours. We can choose and create how we want to live our lives.
Perhaps that is the biggest lesson I have learned in these 30 days of April. I can choose how to be in each and every moment. Some days the choices are harder and fewer but I am still the captain at the helm. I get to steer. Of course the sailing is much easier if I know where I am going. That is another challenge!
And so on this eighth day, I am rather weary. Challenges can be taxing. I’m assessing the situation and my energy to stay for the long haul. There are 22 more days to go. Having made strong statements and commitments, I have to go the distance. Doing my best each day is all I can ask of myself.
My aim from the start is to build on what I have accomplished each day. I do not want to regress. So far, so good. Each day I have gotten up, dressed up and showed up. The bed gets made. The dishes get done. The floors vacuumed of dog hairs. Some days, they are done better than other days. But it is the best that I can do at the time.
Some days I feel better, have more energy, more pumped and more profound. Other days, like today, I am not. But I put one foot in front of the other and move.
Look at how far I have come, one step at a time. And here I am, tap, tapping away at my keyboard, words spilling on the screen. I’m singing a song of hope and faith.
What is the ultimate challenge? For many it would be happiness. And what does it mean to be happy? When I think about happiness, the Doctor Phil phrase, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” would pop up in my mind.
And to be honest, I would have to tell you that I would rather be right. It’s that puritanical, judgemental and stubborn streak in me. How can I possibly compromise my honesty and integrity?
So can you guess what my ultimate challenge is? It is not all about blogging every day in April. But the writing process helps. I need to balance myself so that I do not jeopardize my emotional and physical well being as well as my relationships because of this rigidity. Life really is too short for righteousness to rule me. What or who is right anyways? We all see through different eyes.
I know I CAN rise to this challenge. And what better time than spring to consciously work on goals and commitments?
If you are a friend of mine, you will know that I am obsessed with self-improvement. It is my habit to read and gather information of how I could change for the better. I don’t know if I ever put the knowledge into application.
They say that recognition is the first step towards a journey of a thousand changes. At least I got that. I often just sit on my duff, read and gather, looking for yet more information. So let me be a little more proactive and use this month to propel myself forward into action and towards towards changes.
How can I succeed in this journey? What tools do I need?
I am committed to carry out my actions every day this month. Next month is next month. I am already setting my priorities for the NOW instead of later. It is important for me to do my morning quigong routine. It is a must. The movements set my body ready to meet the day. The breathing and quietness fuels my brain and heart.
So here’s to my courage, patience and flexibility.