things I love this November
tea
rollingalong
Supplementing this list with commentary would probably make it more interesting, potentially entertaining and certainly more wordy. But I'm happy to leave you with this very brief snapshot of my present life, and allow you to paint your own picture.
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Circles vs. Cycles
tea
rollingalong
I've been thinking about circles - how the starts and finishes of circles are virtually indistinguishable.
I've been thinking most especially about whether circles can change. Can you go around and around a circle yet experience it as different each time?
If so, then what is the circle?

In many ways, I'm in an ending phase -  stashing things away in literal and metaphoric drawers for later.
In an equal number of ways, I'm in a beginning phase - integrating new knowledge and experience into my personal space.
And yet, I have this feeling that none of it is entirely new, there's a familiarity to my approach and thought processes.
Different, and the same.
Ending, and beginning.
A changing circle? Or the same circle which I experience as changing?

Of course currently, I physically resemble a circle more than ever before - the parallelism of which is not lost on me.

What's different if I believe life to be circular instead of linear?
But I'm pretty sure I don't believe life to be either.
I believe life is cyclical. I cycle through action, awareness and learning - trying to be as conscious as I can through it all - which may ultimately influence outcomes, but still maintains some sense of sameness... the PROCESS is the same. Context and circumstance change.
Hmm... I'm comforted by this.

Fearless Living?
tea
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Two things here:

1. I'm reading the book Fearless Living by Rhonda Britten. I'm really getting a lot out of it.
Britten outlines a model and process for moving from our Fear Wheel to our Freedom Wheel. There are themes of intentionality and personal accountability that I'm just really into right now.

2. There is window cleaning happening in my complex today (of which I was wholly unaware) - a fabulous service (especially for those second floor windows).
I can't quite describe the TERROR I felt when I heard footsteps on the roof.  There just shouldn't be footsteps on the roof on a quiet, calm Friday afternoon. So, in what I believed at the time to be a totally proportional response, I ran like a bullet (or the 32 weeks pregnant equivalent of a bullet) out into the backyard with the portable phone where I could call 911 and be saved from the ax-wielding murderer I imagined breaking in through the upstairs' windows. That's when one of the cleaners spotting the ladder responded to my panicked expression by saying, "Uh... hi?"
"Oh..." I answered (embarrassed laughter), "hi."

After attempting a winning smile to assure the workers (as much as myself) that I'm really not... you know, CRAZY, I sidled back into the house and resumed reading Fearless Living... for what should now be very obvious reasons.

All or Nothing
tea
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I've been contemplating the all-or-nothing mentality recently.  As I wonder, dream, plan for my upcoming work leave I've only been able to envision two possible scenarios:
1. I become a Super Recluse - focusing only on infant-related things, I withdraw from society and everything I've been so busy with in the past months. I wear cotton leisure suits and stop brushing my hair.

2. I become a Super Human - tending to an infant, launching my own business, pursuing professional development, attending networking events, organizing incredible family adventures on the weekends, writing a book, cooking, baking, reading, exercising, cleaning, attending baby-centred activities... I am a sort of dynamo that redefines home-based productivity.

As illogical and irrational and it sounds, I can't seem to see the much more moderate (and realistic) option where these 2 scenarios are blended in some form.
Why is that?
Probably because All or Nothing is easiest to define, clarify and label. It's also so much easier to judge the All or Nothing. In an encounter with something totally new and never before experienced, there's a comfort in judging and narrowing life down to 2 options.
The In Between is much harder to see. It's changeable, undefinable and very fluid. My intention is to move to the In Between - to explore it and notice myself in it.

Time is marching on, sometimes too fast but mostly too slow. This whole adventure will be upon me before I know it - I'm interested to discover who I'll become.
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November
tea
rollingalong

Today I really feel like writing something moody and pensive, but I just can't seem to find the words.

How about a celebration of the mundane instead?
I am rereading a great mystery book by PD James called Death of an Expert Witness.
I am TOTALLY into the song "Evacuate the Dance Floor" by Cascada. I sing it all the time.
So far, I have knitted one turquoise scarf, one blue-brown-grey scarf and I've just started a sort of quilt-like blanket.
I am watching The Office (American version) from Season 1 to Season 5. This show slays me.
As a result of all The Office watching, I have this rhyme in my head A LOT (featured in one of the episodes):
This day is bananas,
B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
This day is bananas,
B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
<repeat many times>
I've got both my holiday gift and my holiday card lists complete. I bought a make-your-own-card kit from the craft store and it's VERY fun.
I take Remembrance Day really seriously. The older I get, the more serious it becomes. Remembrance Day and Election Day are huge events to me now.
I am creating a resource binder and am THRILLED with the prospect of page protectors, dividers, sticky notes, colour-coded reference tools.
I FINALLY submitted my expense report (blech, I dislike this task).

One Turkey, One Woman - A New Sense of Tradition
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This weekend, R and I had our own Thanksgiving dinner (for the very first time!). Free-range turkey, scalloped potatoes, green beans, stuffing, gravy , cranberry sauce and homemade pumpkin pie. I get hungry just typing it all out. There are so many things I enjoyed about our weekend: Blokus championships, movies, walks, reading... but there's one thing that really sticks out...
I like to think of myself as a modern woman (is the phrase 'modern woman' even acceptable anymore?), but I have to confess... you know what my favourite part of the whole dinner was?? Looking out my kitchen window as I did the washing up, satisfied that I had prepared and served a delicious, traditional meal for myself and my family.

As I think about my Thanksgivings gone by, I'm sure I'm connected in ways I don't even know to the image of my own mother at the centre of our holidays. She is the Keeper of Traditions. A tangible energy radiates around that nexus.
And so in new ways, elbow-deep in soap suds, I realized how incredibly powerful and humbling tradition-creating and tradition-keeping are.

Beyond this realization, I somehow connect it to my own sense of womanhood and to the role I choose to play in my own and my family's life. I think I was surprised by the joy I felt in Looking After My Family - as if somehow this is incongruous with what I believe 'modern women' should feel.

There's a lot I don't know about this. But I do know that the role I played this past weekend was not dictacted or forced upon me. I willingly (even excitedly) planned, shopped, cooked, cleaned... it was all completely my choice.
And in my opinion, choice is what feminism is all about.

Monday Happy Things
tea
rollingalong
  • Tea! Today: Earl Grey Creme.
  • On-line purchases arriving by post
  • A comfortable, pretty and supportive undergarment
  • A coin hip scarf - in red velvet!
  • Getting through all the content for the week's courses
  • End of the work day
  • Favourite holiday very soon
  • Classical music
  • A walk later
 

mindfulness
tea
rollingalong

I've been researching some options for yoga in my city and I haven't come up with anything yet. I don't want Big Box Gym yoga - it's just doesn't feel like the right fit. I don't want Uppity Boutique yoga - it feels too fake. I want a local, homegrown yoga studio - possibly in an old house - with a well-trained instructor who's an Authentic Being and classmates who are Real People. I want to feel my yoga practice in my spirit as well as in my body. And even if environment shouldn't matter, it does.
I'm feeling quite determined about the yoga thing today.
This week I did a bunch of course prep, co-designed a baby shower cake, rented a car, facilitated 2 sessions on coaching, made a few genuine human connections, walked down 15 flights of stairs in a fire drill, received great year-end feedback from my old job, met coworkers for drinks, watched the season premiere of Fringe, organized final baby shower details and cuddled my cat. It's been a fantastic week.


I don't know what the point is here - maybe just that life is good right now; full of deep breaths and satisfying sighs.
 


Compassion
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Have you ever played the 1-up game? It goes like this:

Person A: I'm really tired today.
Person B: I'm only operating on 4 hours of sleep, I'm just used to it, I guess.

Person A: My two year old is running me ragged.
Person B: Yeah, well I had 4 kids under 4! You have no idea what that was like.

Person A: Work has got me pretty stressed right now.
Person B: I'm just going from meeting to meeting without breaks, I'm so busy!

Person A: I'm hungry - it's past 2 o'clock, I haven't eaten since breakfast!
Person B: Oh, I didn't eat breakfast this morning or lunch either, it's pretty typical for me.

Annoyed yet? I sure am.

Are there not a SHOCKING number of people who respond like Person B??

I know the mature, zen-like response is to accept and have compassion for Person B's insecurity... to have the sage understanding that these responses don't define or impact Person A; that they are solely and wholly reflective of Person B...
But it's just so FREAKING annoying! I just want to yell, "HEY! Person B! Are you so self-absorbed that you can't grasp, even for a second, that everything is NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!?!?"

But you see, that's exactly what Person B can't grasp.

And that's exactly why (although I get swept up in feelings of injustice, anger, and misplaced superiority), I always return to compassion.
We are all Person B sometimes.


to everything there is a season
tea
rollingalong
You know that feeling when life's energy changes? When the dizzying thrill of One Exciting Thing After Another has calmed and you realize that at some point, you must have crossed your personal threshold for change resiliency because it's just all feeling like a little too much? You come up for air and it's this gasping, desperate intake of oxygen that leaves you lightheaded... and deeply grateful to have made it in time.
And now, Fall. After the whirlwind of summer - after new courses, new commitments, new friends, a new business, a new job, an old job, birthday milestones, a death, an upcoming birth, deeper awareness of Self - I am still here and still whole with an entirely different life landscape around me. This is what I wanted for 2009. I have the Fall to further cultivate and experience these changes.
Fall, with its sweaters and warm socks, crisp air and hot drinks, colours and hikes, apple orchards, stews, pumpkin pie... the return of Fall is always like the return of a very dear friend; comfortable and cozy.

After the season of change, this one will be about taking stock and understanding my new reality.

This new study program - alternately the most natural and the most frustrating thing I've ever done. The personal growth in such a short time has been unparalleled.

This new job - where my performance is evaluated numerically so immediately, so regularly and so starkly that I wonder how the addiction to this strange drug will grow, and about the pain it might cause.

These new relationships - which will last and which will fade? What is important to me about them? There seem to be only questions here.

As I nestle cozily into my home office, listening to Ukrainian alternative rock, thinking about an evening trip to the library, a weekend with some shower-planning, assignment-writing, pleasure-reading and a great need to JUST BE ALONE - I stare out the window into space from my big comfy chair and marvel at this moment of mindfulness. How odd and wonderful to be so sure and unsure of everything all at the same time.
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