January 4th, Day 4 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, Day 3 of the Positivity Challenge. It has been a challenging day. My positivity assignment was a date watching the sunrise or sunset. No phones. No devices. Just me and mother nature. The sunrise was rather bland as no sun came up. All I saw was the grey of the sky lightened by the white of snow everywhere. I thought I could kill 2 birds with one stone shovelling snow while watching. I was out in nature. Would you call a shovel a device?
The questions from the Unravelling My Year are:
What was the best day in 2021? What happened?
What was the most difficult day in 2021? What happened?
The questions are hard to answer. My 2021 was peaceful and tranquil. That is my thought at this moment. Of course I’m sitting here with a glass of red wine. What I know for sure is there were difficult moments but after they have passed, the difficult part is forgotten. What else I know for sure is I have grown stronger and more resilient with the years. I am a fighter. I do not dwell in darkness. I always fight my way into the light. I have always love winter, the cold and the snow. I love the darkness, too. It is a part of me. Sometimes the worse of times is my best of times. It drives me to create.
The Worse of Times
Doubt often creeps in On fatigue’s uncertain feet, Filling me with fear. And I would have to reach Deep into Faith’s pocket for trust, And remember that often, My worst of times are The best of times.
Unbound joy, a girl and her dog, Walking and running on the river, Each lost in thought and dream, Content, just being with the Universe.
Frozen expanse under blue skies, My footprints in the snow. Overhead a plane soars On its way to Elsewhere. I hear God’s voice calming me, Shhhhhhhh! All is bright, all will be right, In God’s land we abide.
Jumping for joy on the river of life, Naked in our happiness, baring our souls. Leaping and laughing, free spirits in the wind.
I am feeling somewhat despondent off and on these days. I am not fighting it but I am not letting it overtake me either. I am still able to not rain on another’s parade. I am not at all full of vim and vigor. I am full of languor. I would like to just sink into a puddle. I don’t. I plod along as best as I can. It takes me longer to do anything. I am not saying, this, too, shall pass or this is normal. Nothing feels normal any more. It is not a bad thing. It makes me look at life with new eyes. I still have the passion for a well-lived life.
How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without that thought?
They are very good questions to ask. I should ask them more often. They made think about how I would be without my thoughts and feelings of despondency. They stirred me enough to show up here to engage in some words. I had fallen somewhat out of love with them lately. I had lost a sense of purpose for them. I started to question, what does it matter anyways? Who reads them anyways? Then I remember that I write mostly for myself, to help and guide me out of these moods. So I ask myself: How would I be without these thoughts and feelings?
I would be more cheerful and positive. I would have a sense of purpose and direction. I would have more energy. I could move and not be stuck and mired in thoughts and feelings. I could get things done. I experimented and tested letting go. Did I tell you I finally called the plumber and got the kitchen drain unplugged? Well, I did. And everything went whoosh down the drain. More than a few dollars went that way, too. I thought: Do I want to hang onto those dollars and sewage or can I let them go. I have to admit fixing the plumbing is one of the most satisfying feelings in life.
I am feeling a bit better, more lively, but not ready to do a jig yet. I got a few ugly jobs done, like chucking out some Jerusalem artichokes fermenting in brine from last year. The thing with storing things out of sight is they become out of mind. They did pop up in my head once in a while but I quickly banished them. Today I brought them out into the light. They weren’t terrible looking but they weren’t pretty either. They were soggy with a layer of white stuff on top. They say that it’s normal when fermenting vegetables. They are now in the compost.
The kombacha was next on my list. I can’t remember when I had stop drinking and making it. I had a few jars sitting under my kitchen buffet. In one jar, the kombacha became a scoby. It was still viable. The next jar had completely dried up, including the scoby. I had to soak and scrape it out. My biggest jar still had some very strong kombacha with bunch of scobies. My first impulse was to rid it all but then I thought I shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water. So I saved one scoby and 1/3 cup of kombacha, brewed some fresh tea to make a new batch. I will see how it turns out. Maybe it will be delicious. Life is hard.
What can I do? What have I done? I use these 2 questions when I am stuck and I’m stuck often. So I’ve just finished the dishes from lunch. I’m sitting here with my cuppa green tea. Thought I would try something new besides my usual Orange Pekoe, especially when I have a cupboard full of all sorts. Some of them are from Sri Lanka. I see that Orange Pekoe is not a bad choice. It has many health benefits. But I am going to shake up my taste buds and experiment with different teas as well as food. Green tea is even better than black tea because it is not as processed.
I’ve been reading the ebook, Ketotarian by Will Cole from the library. I found it very informative and useful so I ordered my own copy from Amazon. It has many recipes that I want to try out. I was going through my closet the other day and was dismayed to find that my waist line has increased many inches this past year. My belly fat is out of control and is hanging over the waist band. It is not helping my blue mood. It is another thing I can do to help myself. I do not need to let everything hang out. I hope the book will help me to keep some things in.
Life continues to be hard. It is the next morning. I have problems finishing things as well. I am trying my best. What I can do is make a list of what I have done.
I’ve gotten up, dressed up and shown up here today.
I do my qigong routine most mornings. I have done it today.
I’ve folded and put away yesterday’s laundry.
Sorted out my pants in the closet. Experienced items that did not give me joy. Those have been taken to Value Village.
Struggled with sorting, cleaning and putting away seeds,pots and trays for starting the bedding plants.
Struggled to be in the present moment every day.
Taken Sheba to the dog park more often. It’s good for her and myself as well to mingle with other dogs and people.
Do blocks of art. Mostly it’s been embroidery on the machine lately.
Questions and lists can prod me from being stuck. I have to make physical evidence of them. Having them in my head does no good. They would be fuel for rumination. I do that too much already. I have to get off my fat ass and work it! But what would be good to chew on is the 4 mantras that I’ve learned from Thick Nhat Hanh this morning.
I’ve gotten up, dressed up and here I am with my cup of tea. My fingers are not cooperating. They’re a little stiff. I open and close my hands. Not too bad. They’ve been worse. But I can see that there will be no magic today. It will be hard work. It was like that yesterday with my desk. I had to work at it to sort and clear. It’s not perfect but I have some space with no dust. My cleared dining table from yesterday is still clear. A miracle.
I will take what magic that comes my way. Yesterday I was contemplating about the mystery of my body and chemistry. This morning, A Year of Inquiry showed up on my Facebook page. Talk about synchronicity! It’s based on the works of Byron Katie. I’m a self help junkie. If I don’t help myself, who will? I don’t wait to be rescued. I like to learn and do my own research. The live and online workshops are a little pricey for me at $2,000 – $3,000. Eeek! No doubt they will be worth it as it is a year long. But I think making my own inquiry is more valuable. I’ve been listening to other people on how to be for too long.
These 4 questions from The Works are good starting points. I will see how it goes.
Is it true?
Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without the thought?
It is intriguing to think about who I would/could be without all my possibly erroneous thoughts. I could be a whole new person. I could have a whole new life. Would I want that? What would it hurt. I have an inquiring mind. I am retired. It would give me a job. It would be a worthwhile effort. I can feel the excitement even through my sleepiness.
Yes, I still have it – sleepiness. I did get my 8 hours in. I’m still keen on fooling my body out of it. I did my ‘must do’ things in the morning. Now it is after lunch. The dishes are soaking. My eyes are drooping. I must get them out of the way. Soon it will be Sheba’s supper time and her walk. I’m glad we’ve had this time here. I’ll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, I will keep plugging away at my desk and other stuff. Maybe I will be rewarded with a bit of magic again.
Today the sun plays hide and seek behind the clouds. The wind is sighing heavily through the spruce trees. I am spooked by the shadowing and heavy sighs. My skin crawls. I have to do. I can’t just sit and think. Questions, all kinds of whys and how comes would creep in and invade my head and infest my mind. Yesterday, I thought about makingupdating my will and last testament. I thought about who/what causes to leave all my stuff to, whether they are worthy or not. Then I started thinking about relationships. What is and what is not. I make myself stop.
It’s better to do than to think. I took my tea out to my workstation on the deck. It was still coolish but the sun was out. The wind can’t find its way through the screen. I was warm and snug in my sanctuary. The index cards, brushes and paint were waiting for me to make a start. After the first stroke, I was away, absorbed in the process. Gone were the questions, the uncertainties and anxiety attached to them.
So what do you think of my little pouty Geisha? She kind of reminds me of my groupy self when I was little. I had those puffed out cheeks and down turned lips. Funny how I always paint myself. Perhaps it’s my alter ego wanting to come through. She’s trapped all these years and screaming to come out. Now she has an avenue through my art.
This is much better than letting the anxiety getting the better of me. Yes, I feel its creepy, crawling fingers on my skin, its stirring in my heart. I know its ways. I’m soothing and smoothing it down with my brushes and paint. I’m turning its energy in the creative rather than the destructive direction. True, Miss Pouty is not perfect. She is rather sweet though, slanted eyes and all.
I never like doing anything. If I didn’t know any better, I would rather curl up like a cat in the sun. I could easily not do anything but purr and sleep. I know that’s is not a good thing to do all the time. So I packed up my gym bag and headed out for the pool. It was wonderful. I had it all to myself. I can splash to my heart’s content. I can make a fool of myself. No one to witness except the lifeguard. What a good opportunity to practice my backstroke. I can relax with no one breathing down my back. Up the lane I front crawled. Down the lane I backstroked. I did well. I talked myself into 15 minutes, then 30 and at 45 minutes, it was good enough. It was excellent. It was better to do than to sit and brood.
Oy! A ton of snow fell on our fair city overnight. We already had lots on the weekend. Made moving a little more challenging by foot or wheels. More practice for patience and skill. Traffic moved slowly or not at all. It was too early for snow clearing at nine in the morning. Already there were cars spinning their tires when I arrived at the YWCA for my exercise class. I had enough of that years back, I had dumped my Plymouth Acclaim for a Honda CVR with 4 wheel drive. Now I don’t get stuck any more. Still I had to rock it back and forth getting out of the parking lot going home.
If I had been smart, I would have stayed home. But the habit of exercise Monday, Wednesday and Friday got me heading out without thinking today. I guess it’s a good thing even though I wasn’t enthused. Enthusiasm isn’t always necessary. I got the same benefits of moving my body regardless. I have to keep that in mind. I don’t have to force feelings I can’t muster up. Doing the good thing is enough. I’m pooped now having just taken Sheba out for her walk. I have to give it to our citizens. Most of the sidewalks were shovelled. It was tough walking as it was. It would have been a killer if they hadn’t.
Talking about killer, I’ve finished Sue Grafton’s last book, Y is for Yesterday. It is quite dark, leaving me with a bit of ugly feeling. It’s cured my addiction for the alphabet series – for awhile anyways. I might have to read it again for it was confusing to follow. I wonder if Grafton knew it would be her last. It doesn’t read like her previous. It’s lengthy. Was it to sum/tidy up everything? Interesting speculating but I have to shut my mind down. I’m always thinking and asking unanswerable questions. I have to STOP IT. I have to get on with things. I’m rested. My teacup is empty.