Monday, July 25, 2022

Tending to My Roots

I don't know what the formula is but waking up to a Monday morning in my little oasis away from home fills me up with words, the desire and time to write. What is the secret to this little pocket of time I have found?

My weekends are spent tending to life-in-my-oasis. There may or may not be a lot of human interaction. Either way, I wake up to a new week with an inner peace, energy and pep in my step.

Monday to Friday obligations deplete me. Expectations of myself, job requirements and housework that feels endless due to the (seemingly) infinite amount of cat hair in our midst. I love our cats ... I just wish someone else tended to the cat hair. It is no wonder robot vacuums were invented. I'd bet a quarter that the person who invented these vacuum cleaners owned a pet.

Back to the point now ...

Here in my little oasis, I tend to have a loosely based schedule. I know I will get dirty one day. Mowing our "lawn" is like stirring up a dust bowl. While already dirty, I tend to find something else to accomplish before I clean up for what remains of the day. Cooking will happen. I have the time, desire and energy to actually cook while I am here. Then I have food/meals to bring back with me, when I re-enter my regularly scheduled life where I don't make time for cooking.

It is a very family oriented time when I am in my home away from home. Sister-time; time to just enjoy the company of my adult children if/when they come to call; a few cousins; an aunt/uncle duo; the occasional sibling gathering; and a recent birthday celebration for my uncle was held one block away from my little weekend oasis.

My weekends are time to tend to my roots. My essential essence of who-I-am is here and I love nurturing that part of myself. 

Where do you replenish yourself? One doesn't have to go far to find what feeds one's soul. When I live my city-life, I find my peace within the walls I call home and right in my own back yard. Walks and time spent simply watching, listening and waiting for little moments Mother Nature has up her sleeve. 

Find a way to tend to your root system. Bloom where you are planted. Stop, look, listen to your world. Search for your peace wherever you may find it.

P.S. I'll bet you thought this post would be about coloring my hair. Nope. That ship has sailed. I'm all natural now and my hair is the color it was meant to be. 

Let the Dominoes Fall Where They May

July 21/22 7:28 a.m.:

One week ago, I wrote the post "Come Walk With Me". I wrote about my decision to take the better of two options as I navigated my early morning. This morning I chose the alternate options.

I woke up early and was eager to jump into the day so I skipped my morning stretches. Bad news: the effects of stretching are immediate. I was much less limber as I moved about and got dressed. Good news: the effects of stretching are immediate. Tomorrow morning, when I DO decide to take the time to stretch, I'll be right back where I was yesterday.

I opted to skip my walk in lieu of jump-starting my podcast/puzzle time with my morning smoothie. No nature stories to divert my attention and get out of my head a little. Straight to the business of puzzling and listening to other people's words before I listened to my own. I missed that space to just "be". 

I have a list of household tasks to accomplish today. Windows, vacuuming, washing floors, de-cat-hairing, a side order of dusting and an errand to run. I have bookkeeping work to tend but hope I can accomplish my home-work tasks while still keeping on my top of work-from-home agenda.

House work. Work from home. It is truly no wonder why I love my little weekend oasis away from home where it feels like real life doesn't exist for a few days.

I wrote these words, walked away and tended to (almost) all of the above.

And it was good. The energy I spend procrastinating is so much better invested just DOING one thing I want to get done.

Once I start something, provided I am not distracted by something that jumps the line, the domino effect of one thing leading to the next, the next, another and yet another little task is how I manage to accomplish what-must-be-done.

I crossed a lot of hard things off my list that particular day. I had one distraction I was able to easily tend to (something that has the ability to completely derail my intentions), but I got back on track. 

It was so much easier to wake up the next morning knowing I had accomplished what I had set out to do. It was easier to WAKE up, not so easy to GET up. Those stretches I neglected before I got out of bed? When my achy body woke me up in the middle of the night, instead of reaching for pain relief in the form of a pill, I did my stretches without leaving the bed. It was all I needed to get back to sleep and live to wake up and stretch another day.

Ahhh! Sometimes those ahhh-some moments find their way into your day in the most unexpected ways. Accomplishing something you have been putting off? Ahhh-some! Finding relief through stretching verses a pain reliever? Ahhhhh. Waking up the next morning with vim and vigor to tend to the few items left on that list? Ahhh! Then tackling your day job with that same vitality and tending to one more of those tasks that have been put on the do-another-day list? Ahhh [said with a huge sigh of relief]!!

What small action can you do today to bring a little bit of that Ahhh-someness into the moment? It doesn't have to be a big thing. Sometimes simply getting out of bed and getting dressed is a feat unto itself. Other times? ONE small step can lead to another and you may amaze yourself. If not today, another day. Let ONE domino fall and see where it takes you.

Monday, July 18, 2022

I Hate My Hair!

I woke up to a new-haircut-hangover recently. I could write a post about my hair but I'll spare you the details. The uncertainty of life-as-I-know-it has been bubbling over lately and I needed a release valve.

I was angered over every little thing that particular morning. Everything felt hard. I had no patience, coping skills were lost and I just wanted to be angry. So I picked on my hair.

I am feeling impatient as I want to fast forward through the next few years so I can be where I hope to be. 

I am feeling anxious about my ability to support myself for the rest of my days.

I am feeling frustrated about things that are out of my control.

I am feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of my Monday to Friday life.

I am doing my best but I am not at my best.

But, as it was with my recent haircut, I will do the best with what has already been done and time will take care of the rest.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Come Walk With Me

I slept in this morning and immediately ran through my options as to how to make up for my lost half hour.

I could skip my stretches. No. I will at least do one out of three sets. No. I did all three sets of stretches.

I could skip my walk. No. I will at least go for a quick walk.

I left the house with speed on my mind and I was almost oblivious to simply noticing the world around me. 

Until ... I thought I spotted a few rabbits from afar so I went out of my way to see what the two lumps of brownness were in the distance. As I neared the suspicious "rocks", I zoomed in my camera lens. With my bare eye, one of them looked like a tree stump until I saw the view through the camera.

I'm glad I snapped the photo when I did because these were a skittish pair and were ready to dart as soon as I made my way closer.

My mission was to at least do a quick walk-by of my new favorite nature watching spot. It rained last night so the birds appeared to be feasting on whatever bugs had to surface due to their flooded underground tunnels. There were eight pigeons (?) enjoying their breakfast meal.

I had tried to describe this man made water feature to my aunt yesterday and my words weren't enough for her to get a good picture in her mind as to what I was talking about. So I took this picture from the school playground. There are two schools sharing a very large school yard, each school has a large playground, tarmac and a large field to encompass all school related activities. What lies beyond the line of trees in the distance is a fenced off storm water retention pond which has attracted a few different varieties of birds which has caught my attention:

From the walking path, this is what you see:

As I circled around, to get a full view, this is the water feature from another angle. City surrounds it but it is just pretty (in my eyes):

There was only one pelican this morning. I don't know if I was too late and the other two flew off before I arrived or if they were simply in hiding. But I was glad I had one pelican spotting:

As I headed towards home, I turned back and took one final shot. The cloud cover in the sky was evolving throughout the series of pictures. I just found the sight peaceful.

I was on my last lap home when I saw a rabbit run across the street. One final rabbit sighting while home was in sight. 

Rabbits were the first and the last thing I saw on this morning's walk. A perfect little "sandwich" on a morning stroll I could have just as easily talked myself out of.

It was time to come home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Air Show

When heading out for my walk this morning, I went directly towards the storm water oasis I have recently rediscovered. It did not disappoint.

Three pelicans were still swimming and I noticed one of them scooping up and swallowing something to eat while I was watching. 

The red winged blackbirds were the background accompaniment and continued to interact with at least one pelican when in a certain area of the pond. Are the pelicans swimming in their turf when these exchanges happen? The pelican nips at the bird in flight and they don't appear to be aggressive in their actions. But what do I really know? I'm just a quiet observer.

As I was circling the pond, looking for a better vantage point to watch the wildlife attracted to the water a large bird swooped high overhead. I was curious, as I believe it was the same unknown bird I spotted yesterday.

It flew off to a far away light post when I approached the pond but after some time passed, this same bird flew around and around the pond. I felt pretty fortunate and immediately wondered if this "bird of prey" (that was all this amateur birdwatcher could distinguish) was putting on a show just for me.

Wistful thoughts of Mom's comments on eagles and how she would love to soar like an eagle made me think of her and I wanted to believe her presence was close by. 

I desperately tried capturing the flight on video but nothing beats the naked eye to watch and marvel at a soaring bird.

My personal air show went on for quite some time and I was so glad I showed up to witness this special event that I was starting to believe was "just for me".

Then, the bird swooped into the pond and just as quickly flew off with a fish in its talons. It was heading north when I last spotted it. The air show wasn't for me. The hunting bird was gathering its breakfast meal.

The birds are watching me just as much as I'm watching them. This particular bird of prey perched atop a lamp post far away from where it was when I first spotted it. It is my guess that when it felt I wasn't a threat, that it came back to concentrate on its fishing expedition.

Ahhh. The moments I find when I'm close to home instill my personal belief that there is no place like home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Breaking Patterns

Breaking a pattern can be as simple as changing ONE thing that sets you down a familiar path. This is sometimes exactly what one wants but is not always what is best.

I went for a walk bright and early this morning. I had a familiar, calming destination in mind. When I first set out, my thoughts were much of the same old, same old thoughts I've been recycling, reusing and ruminating on the past while. 

As I walked, I heard the pouty little voice inside my thoughts say, "There aren't any rabbits". A more hopeful side of that same voice reminded myself, "Maybe they are having their second batch of babies and the moms are in hiding". Then I tuned into my surroundings as I continued on my way and spotted one, then another rabbit. "There they are! You just have to keep walking and being mindful" the more level headed side of myself said.

I found myself at my favorite city watering hole (a man made storm water pond) which brings me back to earth and calmness envelopes me.

There were three pelicans swimming around. A duck flew in for a swim. Another large bird flew overhead (but didn't land) which reminded me of a Canada goose but it was some other bird. There were a red winged blackbirds singing their hearts out and interacting with one of the pelicans. 


I stood and marveled at the sight before me for at least fifteen minutes. Watching. Listening. Taking pictures and videos to capture the sights and sounds. It was heavenly. I thought of nothing but the moment I was in.

As I was leaving the area, I spotted a rabbit. Then a second one. The rabbits are still around. One just needs to be in a place where they like to hang out. 

As I made my way home, I reminded myself that sometimes what we are looking for is as close as our own backyard or neighborhood. If one can't find peace within themselves at home, it may be a futile effort to go seeking it elsewhere.

My thoughts were familiar yet brought back to life as I walked this morning. I came home feeling revived and refreshed.

Then what did I do? I settled right into my familiar routine. I made my breakfast smoothie, tuned into my favorite podcast, did my puzzles, signed into my work computer ... and the spell was broken. Poof! Back to real life. Back to the books.

Change ONE thing upon returning home. Grab a cup of coffee and sit in my own back yard. Grab something to write with and just let the thoughts flow out of my head and onto the page. Take time to pause before taking a dive into the deep end of life.

Work. Life. Responsibilities. They are unavoidable. I believe they are best managed if we take care of our soul a little first and foremost. 

Break ONE pattern. Allow yourself to immerse yourself in a moment. I highly recommend nature, even if only to stop and gaze out the window and see what appears if you watch long enough. The process may not work miracles but it just may reroute your thoughts into your inner wisdom, hopefulness and a renewed perspective before the realities of the day must be met.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Don't Overthink It!

It was a small thing. But it worked out so well I must write it down before I forget to remind myself of the lesson learned: Don't overthink it!!

I was having the laziest of lazy days. I had prepared food in the fridge and there was absolutely no need for me to cook anything for supper. Suddenly, I popped up and decided to throw some baby potatoes and chicken in the oven. Just as quickly, I sent off a supper invitation.

I cleaned up and suddenly wanted to send a P.S. to my invitation. "Sorry. I didn't mean to sound so desperate. Just come if you want"; "No need to say yes" and a myriad of other explanations for my spur of the moment invitation.

I didn't receive a reply instantly which allowed me to doubt myself even more. Oh well. I'll have good leftovers for tomorrow. It's all good.

Then came the reply. My invitation was not only accepted but it was very well timed as there was no supper on their agenda. 

I threw together a last minute salad, seasoned with anticipation of company and just a real good feeling about how a quickly thrown together meal fit so perfectly into the day.

The meal tasted ... good! Everything tastes better when shared with a friend (or family). A quick spur of the moment action resulted in exactly everything I could have ever hoped for. And more.

I could have so very easily talked myself out of all of the above. What a wonderful way to wind up a weekend. Not overthinking. Just doing. I highly recommend it!