Mindlessness versus Mindfulness

On my windowsill! Did you know that spring is only 37 days away?

Last week my acupuncturist, Jill, prescribed an interesting regimen for me. I’ve been seeing her for just about 20 years and she knows me well. I first went to her when I was suffering from hot flashes and other nasty things associated with menopause. I found that being stuck with needles to be extremely helpful. Bill, my husband, even noticed the difference.

Since then I’ve been seeing her every six weeks or so for maintenance and I can always tell the difference in how I feel walking into her office and then walking out. But when we began moving in earnest, I cancelled my October appointment and haven’t been back to see her until last week. Again the magic of the needles made a difference in how I was feeling and we set another date for two weeks from now. Until I’m sailing smoothly through my days once again, I’ll be seeing her every other week.

As most of you who have moved about a lot know, selling an old residence and buying a new one, along with the purging and packing, is not for the faint of heart. And though we’re doing well with our settling in, there is still stuff I need to do, like going through all my old files and redoing the whole system to make it simpler and easier. I will be hiring an expert organizer to help me get it moving but all of this is a slow process and it can be very frustrating especially when I can’t find what I want in the file cabinets. Or when I’m anxious to start a new project but am afraid to add complications to an already overloaded plate.

I’ve struggled with that since we moved in November and now it seems I can’t wait any longer to jump head-first into something new. Jill, noticing my exhaustion and my struggle with increasing pain in my shoulders, neck, and wrist, sometimes knows better than I do what I need. She suggested that I take time to rest and recover from pulling up stakes before I charge back into action. Others have been telling me the same thing, saying that they breathlessly watched me organize, and get the move under way in such a short period of time.

Do I listen? Some accuse me of selective hearing.

It wasn’t until the past week or two that I’ve noticed just how tired I am. But there are all those wonderful, creative ideas that are beginning to stream through my head. Though I’ve promised myself to take one-step-at-a-time, there is no stopping a passionate, overwhelmed artist who’s been seperated from her muse for far too long. So I stumble about not knowing where to begin. Do I get the files organized first and get the bills paid on time or take some time to rest before I just plow ahead into my next creative exploration?

Jill’s words are often as magical as the needles she sticks me with. She suggested that having a mind full of “want tos and have tos” is not serving me well at the moment.  She said, “You need to to take naps and stop thinking so hard. Throw mindfulness out the window for a while and be a bit mindless. Rest. Take time to just be.”

As I sit here writing this blog post, I realize what good advice that is. In all my doing, I’ve forgotten how to simply be in the world. I don’t need to be take part in the rat race. Hopefully I won’t be so tired tomorrow and my racing mind will slow its pace and relax.

Have you ever thought of allowing yourself to be mindless?

Reclaiming My Creativity

 

Sunflower

Wow! This is my third post here in three weeks. It’s been a long time since I’ve written regularly and I hope it continues. I’m still not completely settled in, but I’m taking time to indulge myself by writing here, so perhaps I’m getting close.

I’m one of those people who needs a daily dose of creative time. That hasn’t been happening since July or possibly even before that. In the midst of the crush of moving in just over three months, I’ve been strung out, grumpy beyond words, and unable to just take time to call my own and do something that nourishes my soul. Getting back into a creative routine has been a slow process. As of yesterday I’ve been here for two months and now I’m ready to roll.

I started with getting back to cooking, which I’ve always loved doing. It’s a way of creating goodness for those who live in my home and is always appreciated. Add that to being somewhat of a health nut, I’ve found that creating delicious food that won’t kill my brain and body, part of my creative routine. But in the last few years and especially during the moving process I didn’t enjoy the time I needed in the kitchen to do that. One of the things about aging is that time doesn’t work the way it used to. It takes longer to do many of my daily tasks, and I’m often very hungry before I’m ready to cook.

From mid-September until early December, we ate our dinners out or brought in take out. Fortunately, here in C’ville we have a number of good restaurants and one in particular with a generous menu of gluten-free and Paleo meals. But there are a couple of problems with that including the cost. Secondly, most restaurants have great dessert menus. Since we rarely have sweets in our house, especially icecream which is my biggest addiction, we’ve naturally been enjoying what the menus have to offer us, like flourless chocolate torte and the like. Addiction is addiction, and trying to slap my hand as I’m enjoying such treats only makes my cravings worse. The result? You guessed it. Clothes don’t quite fit they way they used to. But now that’s beginning to change.

Thirdly, I’m completely tired of eating out. No longer do my favorite restaurants pull me in so I can take a night off from hovering over the stove. But that’s okay, I’ve been enjoying planning and cooking up some fabulous meals and enjoying the process. This past week I put together a wonderful Broccoli Cheese soup, Shrimp Scampi, and a to die for casserole of chicken, cheese, and locally made organic corn tortillas and all the flavors needed to make tasty enchiladas. Of course lovely salads of fresh greens, avacado, orange or grapefruit segments, and sliced almonds top off these meals. And the only dessert in our house is a piece of fruit or an occassional piece of dark chocolate. Yum!

And now the writing is coming. Next I hope I will be getting back to work on my visual journals and maybe even a bit of beading. I just discovered an old beading buddy is one of my neighbors. We’re both into creating gorgeous French Beaded Flowers and I’m looking forward to spending time with her.

What do you do when your creative routine has been interupted for a lengthy period of time? Do you get right back into it or does it take time to stop pissing and moaning about it and get back to work?

Making Way For Change

Lilli is famous for going out and then coming right back in.

It’s been said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. I’ll not deal with the death and taxes part here, though there are many CPAs out there trying to figure out the new tax laws. Taxes may not go away, but they do change!

Change is always happening and I’m especially feeling it as I continue on my path to where ever I’m going. I can’t say where that is but for the first time ever and without regret, I’m just letting it happen.

I’ve done enough worrying, whining, and it adds to that pile of anxiety that seems to follow me around.

If I just go with the flow sometimes astonishing things happen that take me in new directions that fill me with happiness.  I’ve alway been good at ”what might happen?” and have spent too much time stressed and working out plans, B, C, and D, while the world keeps spinning and I miss out on exciting opportunities.  So when I begin imaging the worst possible scenarios I tell myself to just focus on now, and deal with what’s on my plate right this minute. If it’s a piece of dark chocolate, I simply hold it on my tongue and let it melt slowly, enjoying the rush of sweet and bitter flavor that most often tells me to have another piece. If it’s a bowl of something I’m not fond of, like lima beans, I simply chew, have a sip of water to help wash them down and think about the vitamins they are providing for me.

We just discovered that Bill’s diagnosed bursitis is not bursitis at all. His “good” knee started bothering him a week or so before Christmas and when he woke up one morning and discovered he couldn’t put any weight on it, we went to the ER, where the knee was xrayed. After reading the image the ER doctor came back in and said,  “it’s good news. It’s only bursitis and nothing to worry about once you rest it for a while.”

But once home, it continued to be painful and got worse. Last week he saw an orthopedist who xrayed it again, taking pictures from several different angles. What he found was arthritis and though it is not as bad as it was in his other knee that resulted in a knee replacement several years ago, it could get worse over time. For now, Bill had a cortisone shot, will be getting a knee brace ordered especially for him, and will start doing some physical therapy next week.

Yesterday I went to the same orthopedist about my very painful shoulders and a wrist problem that is also making me extremely uncomfortable. I’ve alway had shoulder problems but usually a visit to the chiropractor or a good massage helped it go away.  But now those things don’t help any more. It turns out I have bursitis and tendonitis in both shoulders and carpal tunnel and tendonitis in my wrist.  Whoa!  Is this what is called aging?

Hellebores, a sure sign that spring is on its way.

We don’t know what will happen in the days to come. Will Bill need another knee replacement which can make for a long recovery or will he be fine? Will he be able to travel during this new year without pain?

Will my problems go away after going to physical therapy twice a week for eight weeks?  Will I be able to continue to make art and write?

We’ve decided not to worry about it. We plan on relishing the good days, the return of the light, and the approaching spring. And we are gratefull for our new cozy home with its sturdy roof over our heads, good books to read, and nourishing food to fill our bellies. I hear about those folks in Southern California now experiencing mud slides after those terrible fires………………………………..

And I think it could always be much worse!

Trusting In The New Year Ahead

As a child I moved constantly. My dad was an architect/ home builder and we often lived in half built houses while he finished them off and then sold them. It was a pain of course having to change schools, leaving “best” friends behind, and feeling my way during those first weeks in new schools and neighborhoods. I did it though, often missing what I’d left behind. It wasn’t until I was in highschool that I stayed in the same school with the same classmates that I finally felt I really had a home. But when I graduated I moved to Vermont with my parents and went to college there. Another new beginning. Bill and I met there, got married there, and that’s where our kids were born.

We left Vermont in 1979 and came to Virginia where we’ve been ever since. For the most part I love the weather, except for  hot and humid July and August. The rest of the year is pretty awesome though. We moved here to the Charlottesville area in 1985. Since then we have moved three times within this community. Each place we have landed was perfect for us at the time and when we needed something new we moved on.

We’re still in Charlottesville and continue loving it. The new home we moved into in November is perfect for us right now. We’ve been able to simplify and find that aging is easier than it would have been in the lovely home we recently left. This place is smaller, better organized, and easier to take care of. And we continue to still have the friends we made here.

We’re still getting settled, but we’re warm and cozy and enjoying the array of birds at our new birdfeeder. Even the resident blue birds come to feed. I’ve never had them come to a seed feeder before. When summer comes I’ll be offering them meal worms to keep them around. Our aging kitty, Lilliput, is now an indoor cat and is no longer a threat to the avian and rodent communities around us.

All of us have just moved into a new year. There will be more fresh starts and adventures ahead. What are you hoping for in 2018? What will bring all of us joy during the next 12 months? What will we bring with us that will sustain us during possible trials ahead?

I’m bringing TRUST as my word for the coming days and continue to work with last years word, PAUSE, which I still need to work on. I trust that the days ahead will be filled with love, kindness and ease. I hope to continue to pause when life gets tough, remembering all of the things that I am so grateful for … including family, friends, and you, my followers.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Being Thankful

We are moved into our new home. We aren’t quite settled but that will come soon enough. Max rides the elevator with us without qualms. Poor Lilli the cat, escaped out the door twice, but came back quickly once she realized that she’s in a different place and there might be monsters who hate cats around every tree and shrub.

We still have workmen around doing last minute touchups and hopefully they’ll be gone very soon. Our main floor is the most settled and in the evenings we enjoy lazing in front of the gas fireplace knowing we’ve worked hard and long to unpack more boxes. We are still purging. Figuring out what we have space for is continuing, sometimes with a twinge of regret, but we get over it quickly and are thankful for what we do have.

We’re extremely happy and feeling much lighter as we find our way into living with less. I do miss my big studio, but once the new one is unpacked I know I’ll be ready to get back to work.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
I’m grateful for all of you and am happy your part of my world.