It’s the start of another Wednesday – exercise class and write it day. It’s good to have a schedule, a routine. It helps to keep me on track. I should schedule a clean house day, too. I remember I had to dust on Saturdays when I was a kid. It worked then. It will work again. What a great way to start the day, getting ideas and finding solutions. I hate the feeling of being stuck, of no movement and nowhere to go first thing in the morning.
I love waking up early especially now when it’s already light by 6 o’clock. I saw 2 people out walking already at 6:30. Clearly they’re disciplined early birds. I’m up but I like to lull around. I did my meditation this morning but I was not in the present moment at all. My mind went wandering as soon as I turned on my usual recording. I tried to bring my attention back again and again. It was no small feat and I was not very successful. That’s how it was and that’s how it is with life. We try. We succeed or lose or don’t lose or gain. We try again and again. It’s call living. Nothing is static, not even when we think we are. The things around us change. They don’t wait till we’re ready.
I guess this is my self/pep talk to keep me moving, present and on track. My days are like my paintings. The outcome depends on how much effort I put in. Even then the results are different from day to day. I don’t come with a ton of energy. I am slow as molasses in winter. I can only handle so much – people and activity. Needless to say, I don’t have a load of friends. I am not a party goer. I don’t accomplish a lot in a day. I did a little grocery shopping for my mom this afternoon. It came to only $45.00 and I’m pooped. Everything takes a lot of effort. One thing I can say for myself is that I do make the effort – every day. No matter the size, any effort is no small feat for me. I tread water a lot.
It is the 17th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It is a good time for another review. I’ve been missing and skipping more days here lately. And it’s likely that I will not be able to finish this post tonight. Well, my purpose for this month is to carve more time for myself. There’s much to do in this merry month of May. I don’t have as much energy and focus as my younger self. Some things have to go.
It’s a blistering hot day today, up to 32℃. It was almost too hot to sit on the deck by 9 this morning. I did it anyways. At least the deck is covered, out of the sun. I opened both doors to get a breeze. I did not sit in idleness. I was transplanting little tiny seedlings into little paper pots I made. It was almost like performing neurosurgery. I think I will think twice before doing this again. I only have 4 more batches of seedlings to go.
It’s almost 8 pm. Sweat is running down my face as I sit here tapping. I hope we will get some rain after this. I won’t hold my breath though. The earth feels like it’s burning up. I can’t remember when we had some normal spring rain. And what is normal any more?
It is another day/afternoon. Not as hot as yesterday but too warm to sit on the deck. I’m chased back into the relative cool of the house. I’m trying to finish this post/review of how I am doing/progressing. Overall I think I’m making a passing grade. I don’t sweat over the small stuff as much. I don’t let my anxiety put me in the hole. It is just feelings, right? My motto of regardless of how I feel, I get up, dress up and show up still works. As inane as it sounds, life goes on. It’s a healthy treadmill to step on and keep up as best as I can. That’s all that is asked of me.
It is important how I speak to myself in the morning. Good morning, self! is a good opening. The day is then started. I get up, dressed up, wash my face, brush my teeth and show up. How I plan and face the day is important, too. There are must-do things like getting dress, brushing your teeth and showing up for a good breakfast. The next-to-dos are working on projects of sewing my quilt squares, writing this blog, my 6 minute of hula hooping, 6 minutes of marching/walking,squatting exercises. It worked well for me this morning. I even had chili cooking in the Instant Pot for lunch. I even had a trip to Early’s Garden Center for more supplies. Lunch was ready when we got home.
Tomorrow it might not go so well. A little planning and trying the best sets me up for success. I will have to remember that. Oh, I must not forget the conclusion. I am carving out more rest time. I have learn to stop and not push so hard on each and every thing. It is ok to fall behind when I am tired or short of time. There’s no must or die. Some things are not that crucial.
Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am empty of ideas and words for the page. To tell the truth, I am weary of challenges and trying and plodding forth. In this space and time, I would like to give everything a rest, not to give any thought or effort. In other words, I want to vegetate. But I know it’s not something to strive for. I’ve been spending some time there already. It hasn’t good for my mind. It leads to laziness and not living my best life. I’ve been sleep walking through my days.
I feel sleepiness tugging at me as I sit here tapping away. I sit up taller in the chair, realigning my head and shoulders. It’s as if I’m preparing for meditation. I hear the children’s voices from the daycare two houses away. I can see them playing through the fence slats. The sun is out. It is a beautiful day. I am now awake and in the moment. I’ve been missing too many of such moments, immersed too much in my own thoughts. I have to let in more of the world around me.
I’m struggling to tap out words and thoughts, the things I said I don’t want to do. But the effort is worth the struggle because the goal of this month of April is to see clarity and make progress. Neither is possible languishing and not being home in myself. I see now that I have been absent, not taking responsibility, making excuses, trashing myself, blaming circumstances. I could go on forever. I can see and understand a little now what is meant by fear of success. The fear is also about living up to that if, indeed, I do succeed. It feels safer to be in failure. But I no longer want to dwell in that valley. I can survive a little fear.
Maintenance is important but very difficult for me. I rather close my eyes, walk away and not think about it. It catches up with me eventually and I have to deal with it. I’m trying to understand this phenomenon to make life more pleasurable. I suppose it is one of those things that has no explanations or it is plain obvious. Who wants to deal with their shit? Let’s not do the digging in head thing and just get on with it.
I’m observing myself and learning how difficult it is to overcome the habitual patterns of my old self. It feels so uncomfortable thinking and feeling, never mind doing different. The discomfort is painful in a sense that I’m stuck. I can’t go forward but I don’t want to go back. My body yearns the same old. My mind is fighting it. No, you don’t! It’s like wrestling food from Sheba’s jaw.
I’m hanging in there. It’s my daily struggle and challenge. It’s all a part of index cards, free motion sewing squares, daily walks with Sheba and charting my progress here daily. I’m still reading Breaking the Habits of Being Yourself. I have read 39% of the book. I don’t feel I’m being obsessed with things. I’m doing daily little bit of the things that matter and I enjoy. They’re like building blocks of stick-to-it-ness. I see the improvement little by little in my index card art and my free motion sewing. Seeing it gives me pleasure, satisfaction and encouragement to keep on, maintaining my momentum. The little cards and blocks are my tools.
I’m applying little blocks of time to organize my activities of daily living – clearing my clutter, keeping me and the house in health and order. It’s working, albeit much slower in the house department. Some things are harder to do than others. The plants are pruned, watered and fertilized this morning. The orchids are waiting to be repotted tomorrow. There’s endless things to tend to. Thinking in small blocks of time enables me to think everything is do-able. If I think the whole enchilada, I will stall and shudder to a complete stop for sure. So here’s to the little building blocks of success.
One way of guaranteeing success is showing up and doing. Here I am. I will dispense with the fancy words and fancy pictures. But if they do pop up, I will use them.What is new for me today? David Whyte’s piece on Rest. It’s what I am trying to attain. He says it so well. So here it is:
I’ve been striving too hard to obtain whatever. Now I want to live into that essance of giving and receiving. It is the breathing in and the breathing out. That is what I have to remember, to come back to over and over when I have wandered into the exhausted, in wanting and striving for it all. I have forgotten about the pause and empty spaces. They are beautiful notes that pull everything together. I am remembering them today.
I could see a light in the distance but I wasn’t sure if I could make it that far. Should I try anyways, not knowing? Should I or shouldn’t I? The tug of war begins. I am worn out before the journey begins.
The light is waning. I am losing resolve. My ugly sister whispers in my ear. Loser, you can’t do it! I do not shush her. I let the words sink in. Is it true that I can’t do it? Would that make me a loser? I feel anger rising up towards her, towards myself.
I breathe. The anger is gone and so is the hesitation. I take one step forward, remembering what my great, great, great forefather said. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. The light brightens with each step I take. It beckons me forth. I am getting closer and closer. I realize then that the light is a guide and not the end. Success lies in trying and beginning.
How do you measure success? On this 17th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I am still writing every day. There are 13 more days to go. Success in this aspect looks possible and probable. But what about my other aspirations for this month?
Have I been living according to Don Miguel Ruiz’s FOUR AGREEMENTS?
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
It always helps to stop and evaluate your goals and progress. Having a challenge in the framework of this month helps me to focus. True, some days are better than others and some posts are more profound than others. Sometimes I can’t help myself and my mouth runs away on me. Judgement creeps in along with assumptions on difficult days. Some days I am more perfect than others. But always, I try to be conscious. Always, I choose to do the best I can.
Today is one of those not so perfect days. But it is the best that I could do. It is a success.
The days are getting shorter and cooler. It’s harder and harder getting out of bed in the morning. There is this heaviness in my body and mind. That is my awareness when I wake up in the morning nowadays.
I did not step out of bed till eight this morning. But I still did better than the sun. It did not show its face till nine! And then it hid itself behind clouds as if saying, Oh no, not today! I am tired. Just can’t do it.
Mr. Sun, I know exactly how you feel. I am feeling YICK! I don’t feel like getting out of bed, never mind doing anything. But part of my mind recognizes that it is the time of the hibernation season. It is too bad that we can’t be like bears and sleep the winter away, curled up warmly in some cave.
We are not bears and we cannot hibernate. We have to rise and shine somehow, even if only dimly. I’m remembering that I’m suppose to write a novel in November, 50,000 words in 30 days. Well, it’s only some 1700 words a day. What’s the big deal? Nobody is saying that it has to be a bestseller, or that it even have to be good. It just have to be written.
Somehow that makes me feel better. I’m thinking, too, that even if I can’t write 1700 words a day, I could try for a 1000. That is the goal of this little blog – a thousand and two words a day. So far that goal have not been reached. But wait just a cotton picking minute!
I cannot think like that. I am already setting myself up for failure. Why not aim to succeed from the word get go? I WILL not compromise or booby trap myself into failure before I have even started. How often have I done that to myself?
Look at how far I’ve come so far. Tenacity is in my genes. I love words and have been told I have some talent with them. I have two blogs to show for it. I can work on imagination. I just need to get my head out of linear thinking and into possibles. I CAN. I CAN. I CAN.
I am the woman who can! Alice still lives here. Now where’s that damn rabbit hole? I need to fall into it and come out and see what’s on the other side.
It seems surprising to me that when so many of us look towards ‘retirement’ as an answer to everything, a lot of us are also so afraid of it.
My hairdresser thought I was too young and worried for me. She liked being at work more than being at home.
She is not alone. Many of us enjoy being at work more. We cry for freedom but we also love having schedules made for us. We know exactly what we are suppose to be doing all day long, including when we eat. Freelancing and winging it on your own could be scary.
I was never one of those who counted down to the months, days and hours to being finally free, whatever that means. I was never one who worry about things to do, places to go, etc. But. I did worry about who I was going to be and who had I been all these years.
How am I doing? Well, I’m in my 3rd month. I haven’t traveled the whole wide world yet. I haven’t made a ton of new friends, not even a one, though have met some new people. I haven’t discovered any new burning desires. Haven’t won the lottery, or anything. All this does make me feel somewhat of a ‘failure’ at retirement. Somehow I feel that one should be out there burning up one’s bridges.
Oh well, I am always bigger in my own mind than I really am! But I have been getting 8 hours of sleep almost every night. I am enjoying the lovely autumn on our daily morning bike rides with Sheba. I am working out my quirks. I am enjoying life.
Today, I’m reading a new book called INTENTIONS, picked out at the library last week. I’m quite pleased with the appropriateness of the title for this time of the year. It is quite an interesting little book that I couldn’t put it down without finding out the outcome. And so, as usual, I skipped to the end. And now, I am reading the middle.
Well, I had set no intentions on changing my reading habits and I am still enjoying the story. I am also reading another book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I am still reading it in the order, page by page. It is a very interesting account of how habits function, how they can make or break us. I will put the information to good use. I will be my own guinea pig. And we will see if I have enough discipline to follow through and adopt new, healthier habits.
So far, so good! I was able to put down my book and sit at this keyboard. It would have been so easy to stay curled under my quilt and just read. I’m still fighting my sinusitis. My energy comes and goes and I have to fight inertia constantly. It would be heavenly if I didn’t have to do anything ever again!
As you can see, I am feeling a little discouraged so that I have to set my intentions early in the day on what I MUST do. The one thing that is a must is to keep the floors reasonably free of Sheba’s dog hair. So after breakfast, she gets a rawhide chew while I brush her tail, undersides and butt. Then, it’s out with the vacuum. I’m making progress. It’s not so hard to get on it. It’s becoming a habit. Soon I will be able to do it without thinking and fighting it.
I haven’t done much besides that, though I did load up the dishwasher and push the start button. I was going to take Sheba to the park, but my body wouldn’t comply. So when Rod offered to take her out, I let him. Always accept help when it comes your way. And having accomplished my most important intention, I feel a sense of success.
HURRAY FOR ME! Tomorrow is another day, another new beginning.