Archives for posts with tag: appreciating simple things

What a difference it makes to get a good night’s sleep. How different from each other can two mornings be? I am making a point of savoring my mood and my experience of morning, this morning, because it is mild, pleasant, quietly joyful, and a total departure from yesterday’s crossness and irritability. I lived a great many years thinking every moment of my life was misery, and finding out that some portion of that was entirely a matter of perspective (and choice) wasn’t just an eye-opener, not merely a good-to-know insight, but wholly useful. I also now know to take time to savor, appreciate, and linger in these lovely quiet moments, and to allow them to become memorable.

(If the only emotional experiences you linger over, invest in, dredge up for later discussion again and again, are the painful and unpleasant ones, the whole of life eventually may feel painful and unpleasant; we become what we practice.)

I find, as with breathing, a hidden gem of a practice within the simplest experiences of pleasure, contentment, and joy – simply that of taking time to experience them fully, to linger over them in my recollection, to “share the story” (however silly it may seem to say aloud “I am having such a nice morning!” to someone else). Allowing our quiet moments of joy and our incidental experiences of pleasant living to become memories, by investing our time and attention in them, ensures that our implicit memory of life in general doesn’t become wholly negative, and instead, supports a steady sense of self, over time, that feels generally quite positive. That’s what I did to become “a positive person” by the way; I took the slow route through practicing “taking in the good” and over time shifted my implicit memory in a more positive direction. Incremental change over time is a thing that happens; we become what we practice.

…Think that over, though, “we become what we practice” – that’s all of it. Everything we practice routinely becomes part of who we “are”. Over time, anything we practice regularly, whether we like it or not about ourselves, becomes who we are. Good and bad.  Choose wisely. 🙂

Thanksgiving is almost here. There was a momentary thought in the background, something like “Oh no – what if I forget the ____?!”, and then I grinned at myself as it slipped away. I’m not especially spontaneous, as people go, but I am adaptable AF. lol I have options. Life’s menu is vast. This matter of living it is not like riding a train; it isn’t on rails, I have choices, plans change with circumstances. Missing ingredients become opportunities to explore new recipes, that’s all. It seems doubtful that anything could really “go wrong” with the holiday weekend ahead. I will cook a holiday meal, it will involve food – tasty and nourishing – and the excellent company of my Traveling Partner. We’ll hang out and enjoy each other for a couple days. Perfect! lol Sufficiency for the win. 🙂

Toward the end of the long weekend, after my partner has departed, I’ll get started on putting up the holiday tree. 😀

Quite a few folks in my network, and community, find Thanksgiving somewhat distasteful, these days, and there is little talk of pilgrims. I find there is definitely room on my calendar for a repurposed harvest season holiday build around a feast, and a feeling of gratitude and community, with which to kick off the winter holiday season. I continue to celebrate Thanksgiving as the holiday it is named to be; a celebration of gratitude, appreciation, and simple joys, a good meal shared in good company, and a long weekend with which to prepare for winter. It is also a season for charity, for giving to others, for reaching out and helping those in need, for doing a little more for people who are not me. It seems a wholesome and well-intended holiday, and I cherish it in that spirit, myself.

I wish you well this Thanksgiving – and I hope you have much to be thankful for. If it is hard times, I hope that you find sufficiency and contentment (and prosperity at some point, too). If you have plenty, I hope you share it. If you have little, I hope you enjoy what you have without guilt or shame. I hope we all find a moment that matters, and take a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

Got that splinter removed. 🙂

 

 

It is a quiet morning, following a quietly productive Sunday. I spent the afternoon between household chores getting ready for the work week, and tidying up the loft for improved space to paint and to create ‘guest space’, and a bit of painting, too. We have a house guest for a couple weeks, a friend visiting for work. I felt strangely aware of how loud the espresso machine really is, as I made my coffee this morning. 

This morning I had that strange vertigo again, that I had yesterday morning. It’s very unsettling, and although it cleared up quickly, I am concerned because it is new. I guess I can expect some bits and pieces to start showing signs of wear; this mortal body is a fairly fragile thing, and I’ve not treated it well over the years. 

When my partners alerted me they were on their way home last night, it was clear they’d be home a bit earlier than I had expected, and my willingness to adjust for that allowed me to greet them when they arrived home. I’m glad I did. It was lovely to welcome my traveling partner home, and feel his strong arms around me, and the warmth and love in his embrace. It was a relaxed, happy homecoming and definitely worth the later bed time. I made a point of heading to bed promptly once they had arrived home; staying on schedule and getting enough sleep really matters for me. Making the effort doesn’t always assure success, though, and I was wakeful until after midnight, aware of the presence of our house guest. I managed not to be irked with myself about it, and eventually drifted off to sleep. It was a short night. I will be mindful of that as the day progresses, and make a point of getting to sleep on time tonight. 

With just one partner at home, I’ve gotten pretty good at ensuring I meditate, do yoga, and take care of me. I’ve been easily distracted in the past, from self-care and practicing what works to maintain my emotional resilience and perspective, when they are both home. I’ve had weeks of practicing practices and perhaps over time I’ve become sufficiently practiced – comfortable with new routines – that they will be an easier fit with everyone home? I’m hopeful. 

It was wonderful to cuddle my traveling partner, now returned home, to find myself experiencing that very particular presence that is his, and to share this love we have. Quite wonderful. This morning, it feels like ‘everything’, and certainly ‘everything’ is enough. 🙂

"Compassion" Harkness 1972

“Compassion” Harkness 1972

Today is a good day for love. Today is a good day to enjoy what feels good without hesitation. Today is a good day to be the change I wish to see in the world. 

As I sit here, feet up, hot cup of tea on the table next to me, basking in the commonplace comforts of home and hearth: indoor plumbing, clean drinking water, a home warm against autumn chill, a nutritious breakfast, electricity, efficiency improving appliances, clean dry clothes, internet access… I realize how very special every bit of that actually is. How luxurious. How extraordinary! I have the added luxury of good employment – I am neither exploited nor abused to earn my living, and I have leisure time I can count on.  I can comfortably spend this morning on yoga, meditation, study, and enjoy the quiet contentment of nourishing my heart and soul, of healing, of growing, of learning, in a safe and secure space, quiet and uninterrupted.  It seems very worthwhile to extend a few moments of real appreciation for all of it, to stop for a minute and make time for gratitude.

Gratitude is a pretty big deal. Thanksgiving is coming, and it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle of planning and shopping, so easy to get swept up in a moment of emotional turmoil over some small stressor, or challenge, or inconvenience, and forget about the thanks implied by the holiday we celebrate. So easy, actually, that experiencing everyday gratitude for everyday wonders often falls by the wayside in the flow of everyday life.  Delights and comforts are enjoyed but unnoticed, sampled but not shared, and entirely taken for granted, day after day.

This morning I am taking a different approach and enjoying my morning, even the everyday bits, with eyes wide, and immersed in the wonders of modern comforts and luxuries as though they are new. Taking notice, experiencing appreciation and gratitude, and slowing down the clock. I am contrasting my relatively luxurious experience now, with other times, other experiences; my life hasn’t always been one of everyday comfort, or everyday luxury.

I started the morning with a cup of tea, rather than a latte. I measured out the tea itself, loose, enjoying the fragrance of the dried leaves, and bits of lemongrass and dried citrus. Smiling at the recollection of the day I bought the tea, and the conversation with the gentleman minding the shop, I boiled water, first warming my cup, then preparing the tea. I watched the clock for four minutes, contemplating the clock itself, and the incredible step forward measuring time meant for humanity, and the simple convenience of having a timepiece in the kitchen.  The morning conversation as one partner headed for sleep after a night out, and another prepared for the work day, was cordial and practical.

Soon enough the house was quiet. A light breakfast presented a nice opportunity to consider the conveniences of store-bought bread, cured meat, and artisan cheese. The advances of humankind from its dawn to its present day are considerable, and many of my favorites are every day experiences: stores, bread, preserved foods like cured meats, jams, pickles, dried fruit. These aren’t even new things, but each individually represents some human being at some prior moment taking a step forward and making life better for every one of us in some fashion, if we have access to that product or service or experience.

I made another cup of tea, treasuring my experience of choice.  I have options – even with a simple cup of tea. Green or black? Sweetened? With cream? Iced or hot? Dainty porcelain cup with a history, or a robust mug chosen at a discount store because the words delighted me? My everyday life is even filled with choices of this sort. Options.

I spent time meditating, unmeasured time. The luxury of being able to capture, and measure time is pretty amazing, and we build a lot of our world on it, with the result sometimes being that it feels like time is in very short supply.  I am finding that when I also indulge the luxury of not measuring time, of not limiting it, time seems to slow down, to become more plentiful. The clock advised me after-the-fact that I had spent 37 minutes meditating. It felt like ‘just the right amount of time’, however it was measured.

I enjoyed my yoga practice on a different level. This too, I slowed down. Each pose its own moment, its own experience, and bringing as much mindful attention to the feel of it, to my breathing, to my balance, as I comfortably could. Stopping to review details on a new posture now and then, and enjoying the luxury of comfort and quiet. Calm. Content. Strong. Centered. These are not words I have had many opportunities to apply to my own experience, over the course of a turbulent life. I enjoy each moment awake and aware.

Now I chill and, feet up and my cup of tea near at hand, I write a few words. I observe. I feel. I consider. I find myself taking a moment of gratitude and appreciation for the friends and family that nurture me, and enrich my experience.

Gratitude feels lovely every precious day – and every day is precious.  Today I am practicing gratitude. Thanksgiving is coming; it’s always good to practice what we want to be good at. 😀

Practicing gratitude is like photographing mushrooms at dawn. I took scores of pictures of them, and although only one picture celebrates the experience, every picture I took was an experience worth having.

Practicing gratitude is like photographing mushrooms at dawn. I took scores of pictures of them, and although only one picture celebrates the experience, every picture I took was an experience worth having.