Archives for posts with tag: mindful living

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. πŸ™‚

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. πŸ™‚

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. πŸ™‚

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. πŸ™‚

Yesterday went by fast. Too fast. I ended the evening feeling a bit rushed, pressed for time, hurried through things, short on bandwidth… and a little stressed. You too? It’s a fairly common experience for adults I know – what about you?

Did you do anything about it? Do you know that you can?

I halted mid-rush, somewhere in between watering the container garden on the deck, feeding the fish in the aquarium, yoga, and a shower… I… just stopped. I paused for a moment in front of a painting that hangs in the hallway (in a space that’s really a bit dark for that one), and really looked at it, vaguely surprised to see it, as if unaware I’d hung it there in the first place. I took a minute. For breath, for life, for a moment – for me. There wasn’t really any reason to be rushing around like a mad woman. Is there shit to do? Yep. Am I the one that’s got to do it? Again – yes. Does everything have to be done with equal fervor right fucking now? Ahem. No. Not at all. Not even possible – and the attempt to make it so isn’t just silly, it is exhausting. It also tends to dial up the intensity on life’s background stress, quite a lot. So.

I stood quietly looking at this painting with new eyes. Giving myself over to really seeing it. I turned and looked at another. And yet another after that. When I moved on with things, it was a comfortable pace, and a relaxed approach to the evening – and to life.

I sip my coffee this morning thinking over that moment, and many that preceded it during the day, contrasting the hurried moments, the frantic moments, with the chill moments. Which are actually more productive, realistically? Which bring more joy? Can I have/do both? My own answer is a clear and unequivocal “yes” – but there is an effort of will involved in managing it. I find myself needing to pause, now and again, because over time the pace of life seems to accelerate rather unpleasantly.

We are mortal. That’s still a thing, even in the 21st century. We have yet to improve upon that, or fix it, or, really, limit it in any noteworthy way. So, given that this may be my one shot at living well, at living beautifully, at living life from a perspective of contentment and joy, it seems wholly worthwhile to figure out how not to be so damned rushed all the time. lol πŸ˜€ Still working the bugs out. A quick pause to reset is what I’ve got for now that I know is effective.

I begin the morning with coffee and music. I almost overlook writing, and valuing this time, pull myself out of the news – pausing for a moment to slow my thoughts and breathe deeply – and write (here I am!) for a few minutes. There isn’t time for everything – we have to choose. Choose wisely.

Time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I woke at 4 am. The headache nagging at me had all the signs of likely being caused by dehydration, in spite of the quantity of water I am drinking. I need to be drinking more; it’s just that dry here. Fresno is, more or less, a city snatched from a desert by sheer cussedness. It’s not the most hospitable climate for human primates, but we adapt pretty easily.

With effort, and considerable awkwardness as my muscles protest, I get up, get a big big drink of unbelievably icy cold water from the near-frozen bottle of water in the tiny (working, quiet, convenient, appreciated) fridge. I think I’m going back to bed. I’m not. I don’t. I’m awake.

Fuck this headache.

I drink more water. I check my email. I rather pointlessly hunt for the tiny earring back that fell to the floor when I got up; I forgot to take my earrings out last night. In spite of the early hour, I was that tired. No matter. I give up; I’m not even awake at that point and the effort is wasted until sometime after sunrise. There is only one working light in the room, and it doesn’t illuminate much at all. lol

I drink more water. I’ve been drinking more than a gallon of water a day. It’s not enough. This is Fresno.

So hot.

I’ve a journey ahead, and find myself feeling a pang of reluctance to return “home” so soon. How is this place not home? I mean… yeah. I could, still, call this place home. I miss these friends. I miss the life that had been developing, before I moved, chasing “love” (sex, actually, and maybe security). A different path might not have brought my Traveling Partner and I together, so, no regrets, really… But, oh this place! These friends. I miss a great deal of what “here” has to offer. It’s hard to leave so soon.

…On the other hand. I miss my own place. This small room confounds me. lol I am traveling quite light on this trip, and I’m missing a few things for everyday expected comfort. I can’t paint… no art supplies. 0_o In this heat, I don’t have the energy for hiking and shooting nature photographs. The heat exhausts me; I slept in every morning but this one. That peculiar sleep of desert folk, where the best deepest sleep really begins shortly before dawn, after the night has cooled off all that it will. It makes sleeping in quite effortless; it’s the best sleep. This morning I woke early with a headache, having somehow not consumed enough water yesterday. It’s a bit annoying, really; I was looking forward to the sleep. :-\

The Author will pick me up around 8am, and we’ll go out to breakfast somewhere sort of near the airport before he drops me off to people watch and read before my flight departs. I’ll arrive home, hours later, after a layover, after ride from the airport to my residence. There will be the moment of relief. The setting down of bags. The discerning glance around the place as I note how well or poorly I have welcomed myself home, based on how thoroughly I prepared for that moment, before I departed. A shower. A quiet evening. Then… back to the routines of life. Not as if this trip hadn’t happened – it has been too profoundly rewarding and connected for that – more grateful to have had the experience, and the opportunity to see so many people so dear to me, than anything else. A needed vacation.

Headed back to a cooler climate.

Still with the fucking headache? I drink more water, and look at the time. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

We can so easily do “society” and “social contract” and “social network” better than we do. We have the best possible raw materials for it; the greatness among us. Have you ever sat in the company of your smartest, wittiest, most competent friends, and wondered… “how did the world get hereΒ with these people in it?” I have. I did a bit of that yesterday, enjoying deep conversation, meaningful, topical, varied, insightful – with people of experience, heart, intellect, and will to drive change. How did we fucking get here??

The day was well-spent in the company of long-time friends of great intellect and consideration. We sat outdoors late into the evening, at a cafe, mostly drinking water and talking. Occasionally someone would order something (it’s the proper thing to do). We sat down around 3 pm, my good friend The Author and I. Later another friend joined us, and he and I continued our conversation for hours – The Author had an errand to run elsewhere, leaving us behind to catch up on old times and find out more about these people we had become over the years. The Author returned some time later, and we were all joined by still another old friend. We talked into the twilight and beyond the fall of darkness. We could have saved the world last night, if anyone else had cared to get on board. lol It’s the way of things; there really are people who know how, truly, to “save the world”, unfortunately for the world, the rest of humanity has no intention of following a wise plan. Ever. Too busy being greedy, self-serving, cruel, and destructive. Sad really – we’re a pretty cool species, otherwise.

I fell asleep still dressed, exhausted by a day in the blazing sunshine (no sun burn, yay!!), filled with visiting friends, and grand adventure. I woke with the earliest hint of dawn, and returned to sleep. I woke a bit later, and went back to sleep again. No reason to get up super early… I slept in.

I woke gently some time into the morning, but the highway beyond the motel was still quiet. Yoga on a rock. A cool refreshing shower. An icy coffee, creamy and rather too sweet, full of ice crystals like an unexpected frappe… the tiny fridge is set much too cold. LOL Refreshing.

The Author has to try to run his errand again this morning, early. I opted to stay behind (though I now wonder why). The morning is gentle and lazy, and easy on my spirit. I watch the sun continue to rise, feeling the cool morning breezes fill this odd place. I am barefooted. Relaxed. Contemplating a second coffee while I half-wait to hear from friends about breakfast, or brunch, or hanging out. There is a party, later, and it isn’t at all about me. More friends to connect with, to hang out with, more children to meet before they stop being children anymore.

It’s a beautiful morning. We didn’t save the world last night, maybe we’ll get to it today? It’s a good day to save the world. If we all worked together we could manage it – by relying on the greatness among us. There is so much of it. What about you? Are you the person you most want to be? Are you making the world a tiny bit better every day you live, simply by being who you are? If not – why not? These are important extra credit test questions on the final exam in life’s curriculum. Yeah, it’s a test. All of it. Are you going to get a passing score?

It’s an open book test. It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜‰