twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Decisions, decisions. January 24, 2017

Filed under: jewels,knitting,life,writing — kathy @ 11:35 am
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“The only thing you want to do is stay in bed and pet me…I repeat, the only thing you want to do…”

Are you like this?

 

Over any given weekend, do you take time to make a list of things you’d like to do/accomplish during the upcoming week?

 

And then once the week begins, do the other “must handle” items like doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and household chores get in the way and all your good intentions go out the window?

 

Does it drive you crazy, too?

 

I used to be so good about defining my goals and crossing them off my ever-lengthening to-do list—oh, how I love to cross stuff off my list—but the last few weeks, I look at that list and feel paralyzed. Forget all the other stuff that gets in the way; I just can’t choose where to start. And then I panic a little.

 

I realize some of that panic comes from the place in my head I mentioned a few weeks ago, the place where I feel I’m running out of time in my life. But this is getting out of hand. Some days I look up at the clock and see it’s noon and I am still sitting, cat on lap, trying to decide what to do that day. By then it’s usually too late to start anything of great importance, so I just run the vacuum around the house, or sort through the mail. Bleh.

 

I pondered this dilemma a good while this morning—two full coffee mug’s worth of time—(see what I mean?) and finally had this brilliant idea. Well, it seems brilliant now…we shall see.

 

Anyway, I thought that if every night before I went to bed I decided what I would tackle the following day and set things up to be able to jump right into my project, I’d be a step ahead of the game and save time, too. Kind of like laying my clothes out the night before. No heavy thinking, just get up, take care of the morning stuff, and then get to work.

 

Starting tomorrow—I mean tonight—I’ll begin this experiment. Let you know how it turns out…

 

Have you got any special ways to get your projects underway every day? Would love to know.

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Brown days January 11, 2017

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Can’t I just stay in bed and cuddle with him?

You may think from the title, that I’m referencing the dreary browns of winter, but no. Bug’s high school (can you believe she’s a senior?!) has alternating class days: brown days and gold days. On gold days, classes officially start at 8:45 am, although the teachers are available at 7:45 if the kids need to come in for help, or make up a test. But not brown days. Brown days start at 7:45.

Which means I have to get this tired body into some clothes—I never just throw a coat on over my pjs and go because the day I do that would be the day my car would break down or someone would hit me—and my teeth brushed by 6:15.  On brown days, I need to snap to it right away. Make lunch and breakfast for Bug—yes, I still do that for her, even though she can handle it herself—and drive her to school because with her recent health issues, she still hasn’t had a chance to get her license yet.

So when the alarm goes off, I hit snooze and flip the day’s plans through my head while trying to lift myself out from under a cat and the warm blankets before the alarm sounds again. I’ve done that without too much trouble over the years, but lately, I find myself really struggling. I’ve been dragging myself out of bed with a big groan.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not much of a morning person, although in the past 10 years or so, I’ve discovered that I don’t mind the early hours so much. It’s quiet in the house, in the world, even. I feel I have a little time to myself before everyone needs me to do something. My mother always got up around 5:00 am. She’d have her toast, coffee and newspaper, and let the dog out before she had to pry us kids out of bed. Smart lady.

But recently, thinking of all the things I’m planning to get done that day seem overwhelming instead of inspiring me to get a move on. It’s been harder than ever to push myself out of bed and get going, and I couldn’t figure out what to do to make it easier. I tried going to bed earlier, not using the computer right before I went to bed, even drinking some Sleepy Time Tea so I’d get a better night’s sleep. Still, early morning would come, that alarm would go off, and I’d cringe.

Then last night, while I was in the midst of my nightly prayer of gratitude, a funny old memory snuck into my thoughts.

My mom and I had been having coffee during the early morning hours of one of my summer visits home. We were chatting when we heard my dad moving around upstairs and then pretty clearly heard him swear; my mom laughed a little and told me that’s the first thing he’d been saying every morning lately. Now I don’t know if he said what he said  because he hadn’t been feeling well, or if there was some other reason for a swear to be the first thing he said in the morning. But it occurred to me then that the first thing out of your mouth, or even in your mind, shouldn’t be so negative. How could that be healthy?

I’ve always felt words have energy and power; words are a prayer.

So as I fell asleep last night, I decided to figure out a positive word I could think/say when I woke up this morning. “Welcome” was the winner, and as I woke this morning and stretched and whispered the word into the darkness, it felt soothing.

I have to admit that the rest of this morning seemed to flow with more ease and I had more patience than usual. We’ll see how the busy day ahead shakes out. Meanwhile I think I’ll continue this morning word experiment, for at least the next few months.

 

An Intentional Hail Mary January 5, 2017

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Last year I managed to do something I once promised myself I wouldn’t do: I completely, utterly ignored my blog for nearly an entire year.

Sure, past years, about midway through, life got crazy and I skipped a month or three of blogging. But the last year has been so overwhelming and relentless that every time I sat down to write, I couldn’t puzzle out where the heck to even start.

Some of you friends know the health challenges my little family has faced this past year; all of these difficulties were enough to affect each of us so deeply that just making it through each day alive was a victory. And sadly I know that many, if fact all of us out there, face tremendous struggles daily. And often, privately.

In my own case, beyond physical frustrations and pain, much of the suffering I struggle with revolves around how life has seemed to pass me by. I am haunted by my inability to yet accomplish goals I’d pinned to the walls of my mind as a bright young thing. Now tattered, these plans flap in the winds of time. The days have flown with the winds. It seems the grind of life has ground on, but I don’t feel improved by any of my trials. Older, certainly; but not wiser.

Still, recognizing that inner work needs to be done is some kind of progress, right? At least I’m awake enough to see that I need that soul work to become the person I was born to be. To be a person who lives thoughtfully, with intention and gratitude. To make thoughtfulness the place in my mind I where I automatically start thinking. To banish negativity. Especially self-directed negativity. And as though to underline all that thinking, the universe appears to be throwing teachers in my path.

Recently I came across a lovely memoir called Never Broken, by Jewel, the singer. I haven’t finished it yet, however I find myself inhaling her words. Her early years, full of struggle and pitfalls, belie the strength and insight this woman has nurtured within herself: her journaling, poetry/songwriting, and creed have a thoughtfulness that is inspirational. In the afterword of her book, she lists things she did to help “retrain” her thoughts and behaviors and they are such wise simple things such as Spend time in silence, Establish a gratitude practice, Create a home for happiness, Embrace imperfection, to name a few. To some, these statements may seem like self-help retreads, however, when read within the context of her memoir, you see them in action. She actually lives her belief that inside each of us is a perfect soul that can never be broken, and that no matter what bad things happen to you, your soul is still there, untouched and waiting for you to reveal its strength and beauty. We just have to do the work to look inside.

And then, there is my personal guru and friend, Elizabeth Duvivier. She is an amazing soul, a wise woman, a gentle but spirited teacher. She is the creator of the legendary Squam Art Workshops (which will sadly come to an end after their fall retreat this year). I was personally introduced to her genius when I took an online workshop she was offering in 2014, called The Magic of Myth. Here we studied the ancient myth of Psyche and Eros, and then, using our newly found insights, we wrote myths of our own. This class touched me in a way I hadn’t expected, however. It not only inspired me to focus on my writing again, but further, it forced me to look deeper inside myself and find the themes that defined how I saw myself…how life’s journey had shaped me.

This year, I was lucky enough to take part in Elizabeth’s “Into the Mystic” retreat. I can’t possibly go into all the details here (though perhaps I will sometime), but I found myself awakening new areas of my psyche while there. Trying to see my self without judgment, was a practice I began to work on. And very difficult indeed for me.

And in 10 days, I am thrilled to say I’ll be taking Elizabeth’s new online year-long course, The Magic of Myth II–End of the Quest. (I believe there are still spots available–you might want to check it out) We’ll be working to go further inward, to “live from our source.” By doing so, I hope to learn to be able to see and feel more clearly why I’m here. This explanation barely scrapes a tiny line into the depth I suspect this course will have, however, as Elizabeth always says, you choose how deep you want to go.

And I say, hell. Time’s running out. Go long, go deep. It’s gonna be a Hail Mary pass sort of year…I can feel it.

 

 

 
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