I hate it when my mind is stuck in overthoughts. I bet you’re thinking, why don’t you stop but it is not that easy to get my mind out of my head. I know. I’m whining again but I’m leaving it just on the page. You don’t have to listen/read. It helps me to splash it out and not let things swirl around in my head. It can be very exhausting. It takes all my energy and I get nothing done. I haven’t been meditating the last while. Let this time here be my morning meditation.
The morning has progressed into afternoon. My overthinking would not let the words flow. I moved on to the next best thing – doing my draw/watercolour for #the100dayproject. It worked. My pen and paint brush flowed effortlessly. I felt soothed and smoothed with a painting to show. When one thing doesn’t work, don’t stay stuck. Don’t try think it out, move on and try something different.
Now if only I can heed my own advice. Habits are hard to overcome. I must persevere and not give up because of a few failings. I must adopt the 1000 hour rule of practicing a new activity till it becomes a habit. Life is easier with good habits in tow. Life would be easier, too, if I don’t overthink and overdo. When I find myself pursuing everything and anything, to get to the bottom of things, to understand everything, anything and everyone…. it’s time to STOP. There’s nothing to figure out, to understand. There’s no answer to the whys of my thoughts.
It’s amazing how easily and fast I can get derailed. Habits are, indeed, deeply ingrained and difficult to overcome. Coming back to my keyboard is another distraction and ploy of avoiding on what I need to do. But to give myself credit and not to feel totally weighed down with defeat, my tax return is mostly done. I just need to recheck it and push the send button. I have 3 days to do that. AND I’ve finally phoned for an appointment with my gynecologist. I’ve skipped out my checkups because of Covid. I was happy to have an excuse. What’s left weighing heavily on my plate?
Those damn paper clutter. Now that my tax return is mostly taken care of, I can peck at it. I better do a bit every day. There’s no escaping the pain of it. I have to schedule some time for it daily.
The garden thing. I had so many things done and growing last year by this time. I’m struggling with everything this year. But the greenhouse is doing well with all the greens. We can stop buying lettuce. There’s enough of lettuce, spinach and kale. We’re getting some radish. The outside raised bed has been seeded with salad greens the other day to take over from the greenhouse. But there’s seedlings to be transplanted into bigger pots and the sprouted squash seeds to be potted up, too. I’m sure there’s many other seeds that I need to start up. I’ve lost or I haven’t had a track of what or where to grow. It’s an ugly feeling. Sometimes I just want to close my eyes and disappear.
It is 3 days later. I’ve hit the SEND button on my Tax Return. It is sent. I am another-thing-taken-care-of lighter. I’m almost ready for that first day of the rest of my life again. But first, I need to finish writing this post. I need to write this as the last post of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. True, I dropped out at almost midpoint but I still wrote 14 posts in April. And this is number 15 – a wrap up. I would not consider it a failure. Quitting is really wisdom on my part. I now know when to stop when something is not working any more. And how did I know?
I felt the fatigue of writing every day. It was no longer pleasureable.
I could not feel I had a purpose in being in the Challenge. I had no business or product to promote. I write because I love words and the creativity that comes from stringing ideas and words together. I didn’t have a good fit feeling.
I felt there was a competitiveness that was not good for me. I wanted to go back to writing for myself. It is good to engage with others but I could do that also on my own terms.
I was wishing for more time to do other things in my life. I needed time to tend to greenhouse, starting seeds for the garden. I need more time to care for my self, to read books I want to read…
At the end of the day/month, I am happy. I am not a complete dropout. I participated part of the month. I might participate again in the next challenge. Now that I am more aware of when to step back/off, it will be better the next time around.
I have not done well at all. I am sorely disappointed in myself. I am still stuck in all my bad habits, all my clutter and procrastination. I am reluctant to move, change and get rid of anything, even worries. There’s a certain security that I feel in being stagnant even though it causes a gnawing discomfort. Being disgusted with oneself is not such a bad thing. It moved me to pick up my phone and make the needed appointment to get my car serviced. It was as hard as the medical and dental checkups and the call to the plumber. And it is hard to come to this space, too. I’ve fallen out of the habit.
The above words were written more than a few days ago. Bad habits like procrastination are hard to overcome. Wishing does not do the trick. I have to physically do the work. I had fallen back in love with words reading Geneen Roth’s cancer chronicles. I thought it would do the trick in bringing me back here. I thought I could write my own chronicles. I was fired up for a few short moments. I didn’t act on it and the momentum died. That is the thing – I have to take advantage of those falling in love and fired up moments. I needed to put my ass in the chair in front of the keyboard. I’m here finally, not exactly fired up, but my fingers are tapping away.
That dreaded car service appointment turned out quite beneign. There was no Oh, my God! at the end. I took advantage of being out to be out and about while waiting. The guy and I took a trip out to Chief Whitecap Park (Furdale Dog Park) for a walk in nature. It was Sheba’s old haunt in her younger years. I took her there every day I was off from work to run off some of her energy. It is full of beauty and memories. Sheba is gone now but she is with me always, trotting at my side. I feel her presence vividly along the trails, on the beach and the hill sides. On the way back, we stopped at Hue’s Art Supplies to view Degen Linder’s works in the gallery. It was a day well spent. I have fallen back in love with the doing and seeing in the physical world. It’s good to get out of my head.
August 16 and 16th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It seems I can only show up every other day. Even that is difficult though I have so much good intentions. Now I’m showing up every 3rd day. The heat of this summer is very tiring. I try to do my best to show up where and when it is most important. I was sorely tempted not to show up for my exercise class today. But keeping fit is important for staying active. The class was in the morning and a good way to start the day. It would limber me up for work in the garden after. I bit the bullet, pack my bag and got in my car and went.
Hard things are not quite so hard when you have developed good habits/routines. I have been going to the YWCA for my aerobic class and swimming regularly for years. I know from experience that even though I start off feeling tired and not excited, I end up feeling great after. I have established set grooves which I can slip back into after falling off the wagon. I was glad I made the effort. It was a good class and an opportunity for a bit of socializing, an important thing in these times. It got me out of the house and onward to my day.
I have to admit I have periods of despondency with Covid and climate change. It doesn’t make me feel better knowing that we are all in this together. However, since this is what’s here and there’s nowhere to run, I am facing and accepting. There’s no alternative except to do the things I love and are passionate about. I am a minimalist by nature. I like to ‘make do’ and live frugally. Perhaps it’s from our life in Canada as an immigrant. We didn’t have alot of money. My father had to borrow money to bring my mother, sister and I over from Hong Kong. The money was like an insurance that we would not be a burden on the government.
We/I have always been self sufficient. My mother always had and still have a garden. I got the bug and other things from her. I love experimenting and trying new plants and ways of growing. They are endless. I get tired but I never get bored. I am often excited and awed by the wonder of growing things. It is so rewarding to see some of our harvest.
It is the 11th day of August and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ve missed a day again. Time is elusive, hard to grasp. It’s like holding onto water. It slips slides away faster, the harder you try to hold onto it. Before it does today, I’m sitting down, my fingers are on the keyboard, to have this conversation. I’ve come back from grocery shopping with my parents. I’ve unloaded and carried theirs into their house. Mine are sitting on the kitchen floor. No perishables. They will be alright.
Sometimes you just have to drop everything just to have some time/things for yourself. You can run yourself ragged if you don’t. I have that habit of doing, of being productive, of doing/giving for others, trying not to being selfish. Sometimes I end up feeling neglected, resentful with mean thoughts. It’s no one’s fault except mine own. I recognize my flaw, my incorrect thinking. Now I try not to fall into that hole as much. Now I try not to share all of me and what I have. It is nice to keep some thoughts/things just for myself.
It was difficult not to give this bitter melon to my mother but I fought the urge. I told myself I had given her one already and there are 2 more little ones growing on the vine. And she has been complaining she got too much fresh vegetables. Everyone is giving her so much. So I kept this pretty one and cooked it just for myself. It was quite delicious, not that bitter at all. Pretty good for my first adventure growing and cooking a bitter melon. I hope I will get a few more than 2 though it is getting late in the season.
I know I inherited/learned this trait from my mother. She’s always giving/sharing all of her stuff. It’s hard to refuse. I’m trying to learn to be gracious about it. After all, they’re gifts and she is almost 90. It probably makes her feel good she can still give. Like mother and daughter, we find it hard to take. She is learning, too, to take as well as give.
I like to say that I am relaxed and focused BUT I am not. The harder and more I tried, the worse I feel. Logic would say I should stop trying so hard and just relax. Sounds easy but it is very difficult to do. I am restless. My stomach is in knots. I’m trying to stop thinking but I am bombarded with thoughts. Relax! Quit thinking!Let everything go! I could feel the gears in my head going round and round, trying to make it work.
It doesn’t work that way. So here I sit, tap, tapping my anguish onto the page, doing a brain dump. It’s more or less Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. In my case, it’s the Afternoon Pages. It works. I’m finding relief externalizing my pent up angst. Sometimes my thoughts drive me crazy, into a frenzy. I’m like that girbel on the wheel, going nowhere. I lose so much time and energy in this state. It’s better that I can exercise my fingers and let it all out in words. I can call it my brainstorming. I get ideas. I get relief. I get somewhere.
I’m working on getting out my quirks and kinks. I’m focusing on what I can do. I try not to blame other people for my short comings. It’s tempting to throw it on others, but in the long run the only control I have is what I do. That sucks but that’s reality.
I had to abandon my Afternoon Pages yesterday. My mind was overloaded and stimulated. The day was getting on and so was I. So here I am the next day. It is late morning. I have time only to tap a few words before making lunch. I’m appreciating the tips from Chris Bailey’s The Productivity Project. Our/my attention span is short and getting shorter. There are so many distractions/things to check. For me it’s a constant scrolling – what is the temperature outside, what is the temperature in the greenhouse, messages, emails, social media….I didn’t realize how disruptive all that was for my brain until I cut back.
It’s not all that easy. It’s become such a habit. I find myself reaching for my smart phone whenever there is a lull, which is every few minutes. It helps if I leave it in a different room and if I ask myself if it’s important knowing a particular thing. What difference would it make? Quite often the answer is no difference and of no importance.
Now it is after lunch. I’m sitting with my cup of tea. I intend to finish this post at this sitting so the dishes can wait. If I was to do the dishes, it would lead to other chores. It would be more difficult to come back and refocus. That’s what happens with distractions. It costs more time and energy. When I am in a flow, I should go with it. Multitasking does not lead to flow. It makes me frenzied and freezes me up. It’s better for me to focus and do one thing at a time. Another important tip in being productive. It’s also important to know when to stop and that is now. Tomorrow is another day.
Before the day gets away on me, let me sit and make some peace and quiet for myself. Though I did sit in meditation with Tara Brach this morning, my mind is going every which way. It is scampering about like a rat in a cage. It’s thinking about things neglected, things to do. It is not restful, staying in place to inhale and exhale. So I must slow tap to bring all the thinking to a grinding halt. This is the way to creating time, space and ease for myself.
That is better. Breathing in and out, tapping deliberately on each key. My thoughts are slowing down. What is not done now or today can be done later and tomorrow. There is no urgency here except to save myself. I can stop the conveyor belt of useless and habitual thinking and get off. There are no musts here except that I must be like the water. That is, I must be flexible and change with the times and circumstances.
Oh, I am wrong after all. There are a few other musts. I must be more disciplined and not let the Internet hook me so much. I have to ask myself:
Do I really need to know about this or that?
Don’t I not already have knowledge of this already?
Even these 2 simple questions could cut down time googling for information. I do believe that the scrolling is a just a bad addictive habit for me. All the scrolling has led me to feel uncomfortable with my hands and mind idle. Idleness can be a healthy rest, a spa from our frantic world. I used to be very good at lounging, enjoying morning toast with jam and tea. I never knew how good I had it. Nowadays, I’m always busy – thinking, reading, listening, planting…..There’s nothing wrong with it but I am also unable to concentrate, read for long, know what I am reading, listen and really hear. AND I find it very difficult to edit my posts. If you find some parts of my posts difficult to understand, this is the reason why.
P.S. I’ve made a concerted effort in editing this post.
I have fallen off the writing track. It was once my addiction, my meditation and my lifeline. Now it is a strenuous exercise, a has been and a difficult thing to resume. Tomorrow, I say. I will get back to it tomorrow. I have finally mustered enough will power to come to my keyboard. I’m tinkering with the letters and words. Can I make a sentence? Can I form a thought? Will my fingers find the magic and fly over the keys? Or will I fall back into my lament of another tomorrow?
Funny how easy it is to ‘being human’ and so difficult to ‘rise above it’. We use our humanness as an excuse. It is a good word. I’m only human. It is not my fault. It is all very true but how is it working for me? I’m reminded of Portia Nelson’s poem Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am hopeless. 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 this same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in… it’s a habit… but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
I’m walking down Chapter 3 today. I can be grateful on seeing the hole. Habits are powerful and I am who I am. Falling is not a bad thing. It is the refusal to get up and out that is bad. Life is a long street. It’s not all a smooth walk. There’s holes in the sidewalk. It’s good to read all the chapters and learn the lessons. I hope this is another beginning of another long writing affair. Till tomorrow.
I am not organized today. That’s the way it goes – up and down or just treading water. Life is a process, each day unique unto itself. I guess that is why THEY say treasure it – for it will never come again. Sometimes I beg to differ though, like now. We seem to be reliving the same day of the Covid and of the cold. I am not complaining. I am healthy. I am safe. I am at ease. I wear my mask. I social distance. I check the numbers each day – number of deaths, number of new cases.
Each afternoon, we bundle up in our warm clothes and head out to the ski trails in our neighbourhood park. We warm up/cool down walking there. We sweat and get our heart rates up doing our laps around the park. I set my timer on my iPhone so I can monitor my progress. I like to know if I am on the right track and improving. I like to make corrections before I am too far set into bad forms. I am very happy today with my best time of 10:02.42 minutes on my 2nd lap around the park. I could feel that I was improving on my glide. I did not have to work as hard -pushing, huffing and puffing. Skiing is a process. I have to do the time and the distance.
Most of the day is gone. I’m looking at 5:30 in the afternoon. The sun is still out. It is -26℃ outside. It was -37℃ this morning. In the greenhouse, it is still 16.5℃. I can’t believe its high was 26.7 ℃ at 1:49 pm. But then the low was also -26.9℃ at 8:24 am. And just like that the sun has set while I’m tapping and the temperature in the greenhouse has dropped to 4.6℃. Not time to do spring planting yet. Patience, my dear.
So ends another Groundhog day. I’m getting a taste of what Bill Murray in that movie. I’m using too many excuses for the same old, same old. No excuses now. It is that I am just lazy and stuck in my daily routine. I am not lazy generally, just in changing habits. I pat myself on the back after I get back from skiing. I think I’m heroic and have done alot. Therefore I need to treat myself to a cuppa, a snack and Netflix. Before I know it, a couple of hours are gone. And I go: Oh, my God! I’ll do better tomorrow.
I woke up to another frigid morning, even . colder than yesterday – 38 degrees Celsius. The cold doesn’t really bother me that much. I feel more alert and physically better, especially if it is sunny as it has been. I had an early start and completed my Log Cabin quilt square for the100dayproject before breakfast. I did it my old way in one hour. I tried to improve my time yesterday by figuring out the measurement of each piece and cutting them before sewing. It took twice as long. I learned something by trying a different method. I found that even though I measured very carefully, most of my pieces were off. It was a good thing that they were too long, instead of short.
I whiled the rest of the morning away basking in the sunshine. I don’t have to be doing something all the time. Nothing can be good for body and soul. It can help creativity. It can sharpen and/or add to my skills. I cut 11/2 strips in the afternoon. My supply is dwindling. I changed the blade on my rotary cutter. I think I’m still using the same one that came with it. What a change it made! I hardly use much pressure and it sliced through cloth like butter. Why did I wait so long? I do have 2 extras I bought long time ago. I think I hate waste and being extravagant. I was reluctant cutting up the cloths, too. It feels like I’m wasting again. I felt like I should be saving them for a rainy day.
I’m learning much more than quilting and sewing doing these challenges. I’m a hoarder, not in the sense that my house is jam packed with no space to move. I’m the kind who saves the good china, linen, and clothes for special occasions, but then forget to when the time comes. I make do with less rather than more. It probably have to do with the times and how I grew up. We were immigrants and poor in the beginning. We were never hungry and I never thought we were poor. That is until my sister mentioned it. When I asked my mother, she said: Of course we were poor! We lived on rice and dried anchovies.
Saving for a rainy day has become a habit, long past the need to. It is not bad but rather a good thing. I have a large stash of sewing supplies on hand in this Covid time. I don’t have to run off to the store for this or that. Sometimes I can overcome my ‘make do’ habit. I bought myself a Bernina 790 sewing and embroidery machine. I was feeling my rainy day had come and I better get serious, be kind to myself and really live my life.