Archives for posts with tag: mindful service to hearth and home

It’s a sunny Sunday morning in Autumn. It wasn’t frosty this morning, but quite cold (not quite freezing). The morning has been lovely. Intimate. Romantic. Connected. I enjoyed the shared experience of coffee with my Traveling Partner, and this lovely Sunday morning, savoring each minute.

Eventually, his morning and mine diverged ever so slightly; he heads into his woodshop, I sit down with my listing of things to do. I favor Sundays for thorough housekeeping and mindful service to hearth and home. 🙂 It’s become a practice, over time, and I find it a satisfying approach to ending one week and moving on to the next. It’s definitely more satisfying still, with this lingering smile on my face. I feel very loved. It’s a beautiful morning.

I take a minute for small things of value. Little things I enjoy and appreciate. I make room in my thinking for some moments of gratitude. What an interesting journey this “life” thing is, yeah? I think of faraway friends, and remind myself to send this one an email, that one a letter, maybe, just maybe, pick up the damned phone once in a while. 🙂 These lasting friendships are an important part of my journey, my history, my story – and my success along the way. Totally worth taking the time to check in once in while, with people who are dear to me.

A small bird lands on a branch of the pear tree beyond the window, and sits there briefly as the branch bobs in the breeze, before flying away for some other branch, in some other tree. An ordinary bird. An ordinary moment. I make a point of savoring the simple delight I take in the sight, nonetheless. (Have you ever stopped to consider how very few things in life – good or bad – are truly “extraordinary” in any way? If we reserve our joy for only the outstandingly joyful moment, aren’t we short-changing ourselves on many many hours of heart felt smaller joys? How sad.)

My coffee is almost gone. What’s left is cold. The sunshine reflected off the side of my neighbor’s house reminds me that the day will not wait for me, and I’ve got quite a list of things I’d like to do today. 🙂 It’s already time to begin again. 😀

…List of chores. Yep. It certainly is a huge… list. Fuck. Am I really expecting myself to get all of this done, today? On this knee? With this arthritis pain? 0_o It seems… unreasonable.

…It’s actually not that bad.

I look over my list again. Routine housekeeping, all of it. Regular, commonplace tasks that need to be done with fair frequency. The image doesn’t show that above “Hearth & Home” sits “Self-Care”, and below the list in the image are also “Errands”… I do like an orderly list. lol

I put self-care first on my list these days, because it needs to be; if I don’t take care of myself, who is going to get all this shit done?? I put errands last because it’s pretty easy for a “quick trip to the store” to become a hours long distraction from everything on the list that needs to be done. lol Some things on the list are daily chores, they get checked off each day, and put back on the list the next day (looking your way “do the dishes”!). Other things are weekly, still other things are “occasional”, seasonal, or “as needed”. It’s just a list though; making the list doesn’t imply getting it done. There are definitely verbs involved. 🙂

I consider each task on the list. I move them around so they are more or less in the order I think I’ll want to get them done. I’m playing with my list and drinking my morning coffee, and writing, while also chatting with my Traveling Partner, who is eager to come home. I’m eager for him to come home, too… and I’d love to welcome him home with my list of shit to do fully completed. What a welcoming place to come home to! I smile to myself, recalling what it feels like to come home to order, to a well-cared for living space, and to a calm, peaceful environment. No drama. No work bullshit. No dishes in the sink, or shit in disarray. Just… home. The thought renews my commitment and my motivation to get it all done. Yesterday was mine, for me. Today is for mindful service to hearth and home. 😀

…It’s already past 8:00 am. I’ve finished this cup of coffee, with one last swallow of now-cold brew (nothing at all like actual “cold brew”, I assure you lol). I’ve got this list, and this day, and it is very much looking like time to begin again. 😀

After the chores, perhaps a hot mug of cider on the deck, or meditation by the fire? Something to look forward to, but first – verbs.

I am sipping my first Monday morning coffee on the first work day of the new year. Getting up on time was no challenge; the alarm was set. As is so often the case the night before I return to work after a break, though, I slept restlessly and lightly, waking often. I used the hot shower to ease the stiffness in my joints, and put on a lively playlist to start my morning, dancing to the Kongos as I made my coffee.

The night stayed cold, and the snow remains from yesterday; the walk to work will be icy. I am unconcerned. I will stay comfortable today with a hiking base layer under my work clothes, good boots, and my handy “Yaktrax” for the icy walk. I’m not enthusiastic about getting back to work, honestly, and I am at risk of being highly distracted by exciting things going on for me outside the office – a good practice today will be basic mindfulness applied to work tasks; being fully engaged in each work task results in improved efficiency, better quality output, and less likelihood of daydreaming or my mind wandering. I’ll have to balance that with basic good self-care practices to ensure I take appropriate breaks, get calories and medication on time, and set clear expectations with myself and others about working hours. It can be so tempting to work long hours ‘getting caught up’ – but it is a poor way to treat the woman in the mirror, and there is no assurance that such an effort matters in the slightest to anyone else.

I sip my coffee and think ahead to the work day, distracting myself from my morning without meaning to. I let it go and come back to this moment, to the music, to the morning. I look around and see a couple of things that I’d rather not see when I get home from work and smile; there is still time to do some chores before I leave for work.

Today is a good day to take care of the woman in the mirror, she certainly does a lot for me.

Yesterday definitely felt like a holiday sort of day, and I enjoyed it immensely. My leisurely morning became my afternoon trip out to the local Ikea, and really it’s every bit that ordinary…only… yeah. I finished the day feeling rather more than typically festive.

One choice I made for the holidays this year was to take a break from therapy and coast on (and deepen) existing progress. I had been feeling uncertain of how far I’ve come, and was finding it harder to appreciate the effort and outcome, while also revisiting old and new hurts over and over again seeking further improvement. I needed a rest, and a chance to really just enjoy some time with the woman in the mirror, as she is, and see what we’ve got going on these days. Yesterday? Yesterday was the icing on that cake – because it could have been a very different day.

I picked up the car and even knowing there would likely be holiday traffic, I followed the GPS and allowed myself to take all the highways and freeways – it’s been a long long time since that held any potential for fun, for me, especially on a rainy day. I made the trip out there and back without incident – and without stress! Wow. That’s a big deal. I haven’t been seeking any improvement on that specific thing – but there it is. Nice.

I picked up the table and chairs I went there for – they were in stock, which I had verified before I left to get them. I didn’t have trouble lifting or moving the boxes myself – also an improvement, although not anything to do with my stress level, it’s just nice to see I am closing in on my fitness goals, too. 🙂 I got home prepared to wrestle with directions, tools, angles, confusion, a headache… the usual. My regular end result is a completed project of adequate functional quality, maybe with a chip or hidden bit of damage incurred due to frustration with myself, or low blood sugar making me stupid or clumsy, and the invention of at least one truly novel swear, and some tears.

Yesterday wasn’t that way at all. After I turned in the car, I sat down and had a coffee and a bite of dinner while I read the instructions once, then twice – and then again while I laid out all the parts in an orderly way for convenience. The table and both chairs were easily assembled without issue – or swearing. I took my time with the work, and the relaxed approach gave me some extra thinking power – I noticed and took time to correct small defects in the manufacturing (holes that were not punched or drilled cleanly, edges that were rough) as I worked. The result on this project? A beautiful table and two cute durable chairs – I have a dining set that I actually like, and enjoyed a feeling of accomplishment to see it turn out so well. Taking care of myself and my basic needs for the win!

Comfort, joy, and enough.

Comfort, joy, and enough.

Once all that was completed, I realized I was tired, and at the end of the day. I spent awhile relaxing and meditating, and made a point to reach out to my traveling partner that I would want a couple of hours in the morning for housekeeping before he heads over for Giftmas Eve dinner… which I will serve on the new table! 😀 That expectation-setting has real value, too; it contributes to keeping my stress level low. Most of the housekeeping is done; all that’s left is one more time with the vacuum cleaner, taking out trash and recycling, and small finishing touches, like making sure the hearth is clear of anything that could be at risk with a merry fire going. No rush, no urgency, no pressure.

I’m smiling and noticing there’s nothing fancy about yesterday that made it so festive – I took care of myself, enjoyed my day, and got things done. Clearly that was enough. I keep using that word – ‘enough’. Sufficiency has grown to become a prominent characteristic in my every day life – and my path ahead; as a concept it serves well to prevent me from yearning for things I don’t truly want or need, simply because they are ‘more’ or even ‘better’. ‘Enough’ matters on this journey of mine, and I am less encumbered by what I don’t have, because ‘enough’ is all I want.

How do you know what is 'enough'?

What’s ‘enough’? Your results may vary.

Today? Today is Giftmas Eve. The tree is lit, and the holiday music in the background sets the mood as I sip my coffee – I have butterflies in my tummy like an excited child who really believes a magic man in a red suit edged in fur on a sleigh flying through the sky will squeeze down the chimney with a fat bag of fun… based on merit, but without actually requiring anyone truly achieve anything. lol It’s pretty silly, isn’t it? I still believe in ‘Santa’… but I believe in what I understand of Santa as an adult; once a year random people reach past their moment and resources to do something extra for someone else – sometimes a lot extra for many, sometimes a little extra for those nearest and dearest. I’ve been Santa so many times… that’s the adult experience of Giftmas; the doing. There are verbs involved in the magic moments (aren’t there always, with all of them?) There are things about this experience I hope to carry forward into the new year – into every year, and every moment – especially the comfort and joy. 🙂

Home for the holidays.

Home for the holidays.

Merry Giftmas, Humanity! Take care of yourself – take care of each other – be generous with your kindness and compassion, and stingy with your anger. Don’t forget to take care of the human in the mirror – that one does so much for you, every day! Today is a good day to show yourself some love, some encouragement, compassion, patience, and provide yourself luxury self-care. 🙂