CEREMONIES/RITUALS – a season for everything

It is August 13 and day 13th of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. As usual of late, I am having difficulty finding the words. My brain is in a fog and my body slow moving. I am feeling the harbingers of summer leaving and autumn approaching. I felt a sudden twinge of the ‘blues’ and a sense of dread out of nowhere yesterday. Can you feel darkness? That’s what I felt, not seen and not spoken of. I gave myself silent comfort, thinking it is probably the changing of the guard – those forces that are ushering in a new season. Perhaps I should hold a ceremony of a sort.

I believe in ceremonies/rituals. They give me a sense of connection, direction and a reason to be. Every morning this summer I do a walk-about on my property, visiting the greenhouse, the garden and flower beds in the backyard. Then I meandered to the front to see how everything is growing there. This is my morning walking meditation – the greeting and giving of thanks to the gods above and those in the garden.

I’m learning important lessons in the garden this year. We are all familiar with the saying, There’s a season for everything but do we really understand what it really means? For one thing, I have forgotten that the saying came from the Bible, from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every [a]purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

What I take away from it is everything is changing. Nothing is static. I must learn not to hang on to everything so tightly as I have been doing, but to let go when it is time. There’s a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. And so I plucked up the Armenian cucumber vine. It was past its best by due date. It has given me many cucumbers and now its leaves are full of white powdery mildew. Letting go is never easy. After trimming off much of the leaves, it took me another day before I could say goodbye. Now it is chopped up and in a bucket for the garbage as mildew is not suitable for the compost. Everything looks much better now. The bitter melon and peppers said thank you for the extra elbow room and light.

LOSING WEIGHT, MAINTAINING RESOLVE

It’s the Fourth of July. Happy Indepence Day to my American friends and relatives! It’s also the 4th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge where I have commited to show up every day to write a post. It’s too early for me to crow about my success but so far, so good. It was a challenge yesterday to have the inspiration, the content and the fluidity to satisfy myself. I was left feeling dissatisfied and a bit down in the mouth. Then I received a very nice and kind comment from Bing, a content writer and blogger. I am buoyed again.

Breakfast is ate, the kitchen and dining room floors are vacummed. I am here to start my words. It is good to have a routine, a few rituals before I sit myself before the keyboard. A few ideas are percolating in my head while little bits of housework are done. A win win activity. Life works best for me in little bites and blocks. I cannot handle the whole enchilada. I am envious of those who can. I am a small splash in my little pond.

I am inspired and motivated by Karen Sammer, a health coach and fellow blogger on the Challenge to lose 10 pounds. I am sure I would feel better for it. I am not a big person with a lot of weight to lose, but I feel every extra pound because of my height. It has nowhere to go except horizontally. Though I do attend an aerobics class three times a week and walk the dog daily, it is not enough. I need to do more. I need to be mindful of the way I eat. So many things to be mindful of!

It goes to show of how not in the moment I am. It is true that I worry excessively of things not done or mistakes I’ve made. I ponder too much on options and make no decisions at all. I let things decide themselves or others do for me. Today is another wake up moment. I can start with the food I eat. I haven’t done this exercise in mindfulness, thinking it is not a big deal. It is a big deal, to chew and taste the food in my mouth – the flavour and texture before swallowing. After all, I am not Sheba, who wolfs down her kibbles before I had a chance to stand up and turn around.

Just practicing it at breakfast and lunch, I feel more relaxed, losing this sense of rushing. I have time to chew, taste and enjoy. Meals are a time to rejoice and give thanks for the food on our plates. For this month I will give up my toast at breakfast. I will have one fried egg with hemp seeds and a piece of fruit. It’s good so far these 2 days. I’ve experienced no sugar lows before lunch, even on an exercise class morning. For my other meals, I will cut down my portion sizes. I’ve been adding ferments for gut health. I will allow myself a bit of snacking. Being too strict and limiting will cause me to obsesse too much on things I can’t have. I know that about myself.

Now I have a plan. I am pumped again. To tomorrow and the food on our plates!

 

 

IN THE CUL-DE-SAC

I should listen to my own advice about starting. It’s not that I don’t want to. Sometimes I have to go through the period of being stalled, being hung in limbo, midair, not wanting to commit. Call it what you will. Maybe it’s my ritual of some sort. It’s good to have rest periods. I do feel an obligation not to waste time, to fill every moment of useful doings.

I’ve been caught in the limbo of not doing for days now. Every evening I catch myself saying, I will start in the morning. In the morning I find it is so much easier to sink into tomorrow is another day. It’s not that I’ve been a couch potato. On the contrary I’ve been on the ‘busy routine’ of living every day, doing the famous ‘busy stuff’ that everyone does.

It’s not that I have so many important things to do or to contribute. It’s that I’ve been  stuck in the cul-de-sac of lassitude, of not caring, of not having meaning, of not being important, of not being present. Perhaps it is called feeling sorry for myself or being in a depressive mood. My favourite excuse is that summer is not my favourite season. It brings out not so good memories of growing up in small town Saskatchewan. Everyone in town goes away to the lake or wherever on holidays, except the Chinese people who has the cafe. Oh, I remember those hot summer days of watching flies drone against the window screen and looking out at the empty dusty streets.

It’s strange how memories live in the very marrow of me. They are hidden deep inside and seep out on hot summer days. No need to worry about me. It’s just the way I talk/write. It’s healthy to be curious and investigate my feelings. It’s good to lay them down on the page in black and white. These ebb and flow of feelings are part of being alive. Feelings come and go like the tide. It’s like breathing in and out. Some are good and some not so. I’m still learning to accept them all, to sit with them as I must.

I’ve been reading Pema Chodron’s The Places That Scare You. I’m learning about Bodhichitta, being a warrior and staying in those scary places. It’s helping me to finally relax into life and not take things so seriously. Life is serious but things are not. I’m seeing the light now. Times when I don’t will come again. I have the words now. They could go away tomorrow. It’s all a cyle, the yin and the yan. That’s what I know for sure.

 

WORDS AND RITUALS

The roast is in the oven. Sheba and I have had our walk. She is fed and watered. The sun is still shining. Life is good again. I made it to my aerobics class this morning. It’s good not to feel like a mean person or a person with mean thoughts. My face is softer, less wrinkly and menacing. Smiles come without coaxing. I’m still humming, Heaven, I’m in heaven. It is one of the reasons why I write – to document these moments when the heavens shift whichever way it does. It is a testament of my moods, a referrel learning center to cast out shadows and doubts.

Memory can be tricky when I am not feeling my best. I can look back on my dated pages and see that my words and thoughts are not mean, dark or full of despair. They are my thoughts in words trying out different problem solving strategies. I document my light bulb moments and things that weigh on me. It’s a good thing so I shall carry on my daily ritual when possible.  How do you problem solve? What rituals do you have?

I’m getting to know myself well now through my writing. I do not always meet my goal of 1000 words a day. In fact I haven’t even done it once! It’s been 5 years and I’m still reaching. It’s what happens in the beginning of a new venture. I got excited and set a high goal. It is not a bad thing because it is reasonable, within reach. You wouldn’t want to set a low goal, would you? Where would be the challenge? I’m still aiming for that 1,000 words. But they have to be worthy for the ideas they represent and not for the word count.

This is all I have today. Will reach again tomorrow.

 

ALL THAT THERE IS

IMG_2241It’s 9:45 Saturday morning.  The sun is finally making its entrance.  He knows how to be dramatic.  He peeks slowly above the rooftops one minute, the next thrusting its rays full force, like Jimmy Durante dancing on stage.  VOILA!

I say it’s about bloody time!  These heavy dark mornings gets on a girl’s nerve, never mind her heart.  I can almost hear that shoeglass dropping.  It shatters into a million shining splinters, the sun bouncing off the shards as they fall.  Everything is all right.  It’s just an imaginary playing in my mind’s eye, much like a dream.  I am made of sterner stuff.  I do not shatter so easily.

IMG_2240I am doing so much better than I realize. This is how my desk look this morning – better than it has for a gazillion years.  You can actually see the glass desktop.  It does feel infinitely better not to have my usual pile of clutter piled in front of me, pushing me down, squishing me in.  My sun room is my sacred space and it is about time for me to give it the respect.  Thanks to a blog called simply + kierste on how to have to clean home every day.  I get it now.  There’s holiness in clean uncluttered spaces.  I am loving the ritual of cleaning and clearing.  It calms my heart and eases my mind.  It puts me in the stillness of the Universe.  I am saved another day – to breathe, write and love all that there is.

REVERB14 – DAY 11 RITUALS

Today’s prompt:  What tiny rituals: signal that your day is starting; help you ease into a creative project; give you closure from an intensive task; or mark other significant milestones in your day? What new rituals would you like to create in the new year?

IMG_6927For me everything begins and ends with a cup of tea – be it a cup of rich spicy Chai or the smooth woodsiness of Rooibos in the morning.  In the afternoon I enjoy a cup of Orange Pekoe for a pick-me-up.  Nothing soothes like chamomile with a bit of honey in the evening.  I would be in trouble if there is a prohibition on tea!

I have wondered what is it about this simple beverage that gives me such comfort and pleasure.  Having grown up mostly in Canada, I am not familar with the Chinese tea culture or ceremony.  I must have developed and perfected my own tea ceremony over the years.  It has served me well, giving me time and pause to breathe – to inhale and exhale, to rest, rejuvenate and to re-evaluate what road I need to go down next.

IMG_6929Taking time to rise and put the kettle on changes my perspective of many things besides my surrounding.  I am no longer inert and staring helpless and stuck at my keyboard.  Moving and filling the kettle stirs my brain and memory.  A word, an idea and sometimes a whole new sentence comes to me.  I sigh inside, my body whispering, ahhhh.  A conversation starts in my head.  I do not feel stuck anymore.

IMG_6931The water boils.  Steam comes in a steady stream from the spout.  I turn the burner off.  I open the cupboard door and finds my favourite mug.  I look through my array of teas to chooses one for my mood of the moment.  Do I need smoothing out, or do I want to step it up?  How about something in the middle to keep the flow of words coming?

My tea ceremony works well in easing me in and out of the day. In recent days, I have rediscovered my love of swimming laps.  The warmth of the water and the rhythm of my strokes smooth and sooth me.  I am caressed by the water as in a mother’s womb.  I am once again held by everlasting and unconditional love. My arms are reaching through the water, slicing away the worry and stress of an ordinary life.  It is a good routine and ritual to keep for the upcoming year.  I am feeling blessed.

RITUALS AND HABITS

IMG_3094

This morning the sky is overcast, but the leaves are still the greenest green and I am a shade paler than blue.  I have been caught unaware by ‘forces’ and inattention.  I have allowed myself be invaded by energies of not my liking.  Perhaps I am talking too much, revealing too much.  I am being vulnerable.

So what?  I am, after all, just a mortal being.  And if I have all these feelings and experiences, there must be other people going through similar things.  And if no one talks and shares, we will be isolated like islands in the stream- with no Dolly Parton to sail away with.

I am working hard to bring myself back to center.  I am paying attention and setting intentions.  It is those rituals and habits that save the day.  One of my favourite phrase from Regina Brett is:  Get up, dress up and show up.  I remember that on mornings when getting up is hard to do.  You see things in different perspective when you’re up and standing tall.  So when I remember, I change my point of view…like changing my walk route with Sheba.  I do get lost sometimes by going in a different direction.

Getting lost is not a bad thing.  Getting lost makes you slow down and get your bearing.  You focus, you think, you observe, you see.  I see that I don’t have to rush and find the answer right away.  I see that I have time to breathe, to look around, to find my directions, to find me.

So this morning I got up, dressed up and showed up.  I made my cup of tea and did my qigong exercises, throwing out my stagnant chi.  I focused and felt my energy field.  I set my intentions.  I breathed.  Everything is copacetic.