Wishes For A Mindful New Year!

IMG_0009Once more the year has rolled into its final week. Like everyone else, I anticipate what’s to come as the New Year begins? Who will be our next President? Will the wars in the Middle East spread further and further? And what will our country’s role be in trying to find peace? Will cold weather finally arrive and bring with it snow or freezing rain destroying these tiny gems I photographed on the day after Christmas?

There are also very personal wonderings. How will Bill’s knee replacement surgery go? Will my daughter’s fight with lyme disease finally be over and will she return to perfect health? Will I sell tons of books when my retitled memoir, SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go, is published on September 20th? Yes, you heard that right, a new title which I think works oh so much better. And yes, it will be available on September 20, 2016.

Every December I choose a word to carry me through the next year, as a reminder of what is most important as I travel down the path I’ve chosen. As this past year has slipped by, I’ve found myself falling back into an old pattern that makes me extremely uncomfortable when I allow it to take over my thoughts.

Its name is Worry. I’m afraid that my predisposition for getting worked up over things has taken over my thought process and kicked mindfulness out the door. As a result, I spend too much time imagining what might happen to me, my family, or the world. I’ve also found myself kicking myself in the butt for mistakes I’ve made in the past and my sometimes pissy behavior.

Worry and Regret are not things I want to  carry around with me. So I’m going back to a word that has never been on my list of New Year Words, but is most important in that it has helped me in the past and will help ease my way through the coming months with a bit of sanity.

If I can bring back being MINDFUL during the next 365 days, I will be very pleased with myself.

I think it will take some work to be present in each and every moment, so it won’t be particularly easy or happen over night. And perhaps it shouldn’t be a New Years Word at all. Maybe it’s a Rest Of My Life Word. But I think all New Year Words do that eventually anyway. Or so I hope.

In the last week, I’ve started rereading, When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron. It’s one of her greatest, though all of her books are. It certainly is apt as I observe the state of our world right now. This particular book has helped me through some of the worst years of my life. Her encouraging words reach into my heart, helping to release my unease.

I want to be more appreciative of all of the good things, like those beautiful, little daffodils in the photo at the top of this page that don’t usually bloom here in December. Or these funny Halloween pumpkins that turned intoIMG_0006 something otherworldly by the end of November. They seem fossilized. Very out of season, they make me smile when I pass by them on my walks.

Today, I’m trying to be present NOW. It’s all I’ve really got. Those mistakes and bad behaviors I mentioned earlier happened in the past. Why run them through the wringer one more time?

As for the future, it hasn’t happened yet. For right now, I’ll concentrate on typing these words while I listen to robins singing happily outside in leafless trees. Later, on my way to lunch, I’ll notice the fine mist that is falling and how it gently settles on my hair.

What are your reflections on the coming year and what is it you want most to happen?


I’ll be taking a break from posting here for the next few weeks
so that I can be present for Bill as he begins recovering from his surgery 
scheduled on January 4th. 
Please send along prayers and healing thoughts.
They are greatly appreciated.

My monthly Newsletter will be published as usual on January 1st,
and is the story of how I became a writer.  Subscribe to it at the top
right hand side of this page to have it delivered to your email address.

I’ll be back here on my blog on January 19th.

Happy New Year to All!

What’s Happened To Time?


November 1, 2015

After the neighborhood Halloween parade and hoards of imaginatively costumed kids coming to the door for treats last night, I set the clock back an hour, did some reading, and went to bed. This morning I woke to rain and gray clouds lit by the sun lost somewhere in the ether. Tonight it will be dark when I cook dinner and I’ll be grumpy because I hate it when the time changes.

Wouldn’t it be better to just get used to being on one time cycle instead if changing it every spring and fall? Well maybe. But who knows. We’ll never get a chance to figure it out.

On one level, I’ve been longing for this fall-behind-time because it’s been dark at 6:15 AM which is when I prefer to rise and shine. I’m a morning person and like to have all my heavy lifting and creative work done by early afternoon. But if it’s dark when the alarm goes off, the plan falls apart and I’m running late for my very important dates.

At almost seventy-three years old I lag a bit in the late afternoon. At that time of day, I prefer to read or visit with friends. When I’m way behind, which seems to be a  constant these days, I can’t necessarily do that. But I keep on keeping as best I can.

With darkness encroaching an hour earlier this evening, I’ll have the opposite problem. I’ll want to close the blinds and snuggle in my bed at 8:00 PM. If I do that I’ll  miss going to the movies and other fun things which  just get started at that time. Because I don’t like missing out, I’ll go out anyway. But I’ll be yawning all the way and occasionally my head will nod off. I might even let out a snort when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.

Other people my age complain about the the lack of time and how much longer it takes to get things done when our hair grays. What we want is more time.  We’ve got bucket lists of things we want to do. I’ve always wanted to go to Mongolia and visit Africa again. But when I think about the hours it will take to get to those places while being stuck in a narrow seat with little to no leg room, I have second thoughts. I’m not sure I’d be able to get my legs to work after a long flight like that.

Perhaps I should trade in that old list for one that has shorter trips involved, like seeing more of my own country, while visiting old friends who are scattered from one end to the other. On the top of that new list, I’ll get less specific and include things like have fun, laugh a lot, and be grateful for every moment, regardless of where I happen to be.

I’ve made huge strides this past year in simply slowing down and allowing myself space to breathe and stretch my mind. I’m taking weekends and most evenings off from work. Sunday brunch followed by a movie is a wonderful treat, as is taking long walks, then putting my feet up and catching up some of our favorite tv shows we record.


Time management has always been an issue for me. The time I gain by letting a few old interests go quickly fills with new things and I’m back at square one.  But I shouldn’t complain.  I’m never bored and I’m grateful for all of the choices I have.

Do you have enough time to do all that you want and need to do?