Posts Tagged With: pay attention

in love with being alive

I saw this on my friend Becca’s (I think) insta.
I was over here like, First of all I don’t drink coffee…
But then I read the last sentence and I got the gooseflesh.

I hope you fall in love with being alive again.
Y’all, let’s ponder that for a moment.

I’m going to ignore the size of the assumption someone has fallen out of love with being alive. I mean, cause that’s one hell of a big assumption.
But…

I wrote just the other day about paying attention. By deliberately acknowledging my gratitude I felt peaceful and joyful. And I might not have had this language in that moment, but I realize now that I can say I truly felt in love with being alive.
That’s been an overarching theme for me this year. And yes, the year is still young. But the feeling has been building in me for quite some time now, it just began to make enough sense to put it into play after the holidays.

I get bogged down in the living of life. The day to day minutiae becomes the focus. I’m so involved in doing the tedious daily requirements I sometimes forget to look up. To pay attention.

That’s life though, right?
Only what if it wasn’t?
What if I could be focused on tedious tasks, manage the minutiae, and still be aware?
What if? What if? What if?
That question ought to be stricken from my vernacular.
As a lifetime question-asker, I’m still learning how to phrase questions so they can be answered.
So instead of asking what if? the question could be something much more specific.
What can I do to complete tedious tasks and manage the minutiae without it being my sole focus?
What can I do each day to help me look up and pay attention?
Simple rephrasing.
Look how much easier those questions seem than the what if? question.
I think I’m on to something here…just gotta figure out what it is exactly.

Anyway, life can get in the way of living. I think we all experience that. It doesn’t have to though. We really can manage to do the ‘all the things’ and still experience peace, joy, and gratitude.
We can be in love with being alive!
I believe with every fiber of my being that it is the simplest thing.
(Most of us) were in love with being alive when we were kids. And at other important/special times in our lives. We just have to remember how to do it.
We have to remember that the tedium and minutiae are just box checking. A handful of specific things we must accomplish in this life.
But we have two hands!
What’s in the other one?
Is that where the magic of love, hope, joy, and gratitude are?

Life can be frustrating.
Difficult people or situations can get in your way.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people in stores who push their buggies all willy-nilly through the aisles. I get foaming-at-the-mouth angry. I lay curses and wish plagues upon them. I want to stab them with my ice pick. My anger doesn’t impact them, only me. I’m the one all jacked up and they’re just shopping.
What would it be like if I didn’t?
What would it be like if I accepted being in this situation without focusing all my white hot anger at it?
Would make my visits to the shops much better for me. I might even find some joy and gratitude with my purchases, right?

Perception is key. (Or is it ‘Don’t be a hater’?)
Either way, I know I’m on to something this time.

I know I have the ability to shift my focus.
I know I can pay attention to what brings me joy and gratitude.
I know by looking up once in a while, I can quite easily be in love with being alive.

However worn out we feel, however tired we are of the tedium and minutiae of life, we are not broken. We may have fissures, or be fractured, but life cannot truly break us.
I know this because I’m full of love. I’m full of hope. It slips in and fills in the cracks from those long ago fractures. Love and hope make me whole.

Hope reminds me to look up and pay attention.
Gratitude brings me peace.
Love is my intention.
And that’s what helps me fall (and remain) in love with being alive!

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focused, but not paying attention

I haven’t blogged in a bit. Neither read nor wrote.
I’ve been so busy doing other things, course work, house projects (pics soon), and other stuff, that I haven’t had the mental/emotional energy to give. That’s not just about writing, it’s also about reading. The bloggers I follow use their mental and emotional energies to write, the very least I can do is use mine when I read them.

This morning I caught up on posts from some of my fave bloggers.
Y’all, I’m so glad I did.
LA wrote two posts that gave me pause.
The first one focused on her gratitude and calm, the second focused on highlights from her week.
I swear to you, this woman inspires me every time I read her!

Not all that long ago, I made a vow to pay more attention.
I’m not really doing that.
Why do I forget to pay attention?
Life gets in the way…?
I’m accomplishing what needs to be accomplished.
I am focused, but I am not paying attention.

So I stopped.
I took some big breaths.
I paid attention.

Low and behold, it created a shift in me.
I felt peaceful. I felt joyful. I felt my gratitude.

So in the spirit of highlighting my week (or longer), paying attention to my joy, gratitude and calm, I compiled a list. (I mean, of course I did.)

I am grateful for:
my massage therapist
Woolly Mammoth giving us shows that are entertaining and thought provoking
our monthly date for dinner and games (cards or board) with my favorite of YBW’s friends
bubbly in the afternoon with Holly
Planning for Baby K (this includes attending a shower in March, purchasing baby items, finally choosing my grandmother name, planning a party to celebrate her arrival, and all manner of conversations with my daughter about her pregnancy)
breakfast with Nora
my therapist
my husband coming home from work and taking my car for gas because I was too sick to leave the house
snow days
Valspar C1214 Ballet Slippers
my acupuncturist
good sleep
Coca Cola when I was sick
knowing how to do important handy things
forecast of a bit of snow this week to keep the streak alive (Thing 1 was born during an ice/sleet/snow event and for the last twenty four years it has snowed, or something, the week of her birthday. Saturday she turns 25, now that’s a streak!)
honest conversations with the people I love
being reminded to pay attention

Reading about another’s gratitude can inspire one to stop and pay attention to one’s own gratitude.
Acknowledging one’s own gratitude can truly cause feelings of joy and calm.

I must remember that while I’m busy living, and accomplishing tasks, I still need to pay attention with more frequency.
Celebrate the life I have while I’m living it.

You know what Ferris Bueller said:

I don’t want to miss any opportunity for gratitude!

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the magic is in me

Monday I twice verbalized something I noticed recently. (Because I pay attention.)
I’m feeling different both physically and emotionally since the beginning of the year.
No, not just different, better.
Stronger, healthier, more aware.
Enthused.
Empowered.
Energetic.

What’s different physically is I’m practicing intermittent fasting. This has made a huge difference when it comes to my energy levels and cognitive function. It’s also provided me with better sleep.
Interestingly, my weight has remained the same, (within three pounds) but that’ll have to do because I’m all about this energy and alertness.
What’s different from the emotional point of view is that I’m actively focusing on me. Doing what I need for the betterment of me. I am paying attention to where I put my energy.
So with having more/better energy and cognitive function, and actively choosing where to utilize it, I’m not only accomplishing more, I’m feeling good in the process.

From where I was in December to where I am now is night and day.
Then I felt overwhelmed, at the moment I feel capable and inspired.
I’m going against my instinct to question it, the whys and wherefores, how long it’ll last.
I will not ask questions that stem from doubt.
I will accept where I am and how I feel about it. And I will to celebrate it!

My energy is being well spent. I’m doing not only what needs to be done, but also what I want to do.
I’m doing coursework like a boss.
I painted Thing G’s old room henceforth to be referred to as ‘the blue room’. Once I move guest room furniture in there I’ll get started on the pink room. My creative space. My nest in this house. (Teeny little squee!)
I’m able to read more.
I’ve even picked up book club books for the next two months.
(I cannot express how big this is. I haven’t read for months…not even magazines.)

I plan to keep this momentum.
And whatever comes at me, well, I’ll deal with it then.
I realize that by relentlessly questioning timelines and end dates my energy is wasted. I realize trying to plan for any possible scenario is wasting my energy.
My energy is precious.
So instead of wasting it on situations in which nothing I do will make a difference anyway, I’ll spend my energy paying attention. I’ll spend my energy focused on me.
That’s where I can make the biggest difference.

I cannot change others.
I cannot alter how and what others do.
I can pay attention to myself.
I can alter how and what I do.


The magic is in me.
The magic is all around me.

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back to normal but not on autopilot

YBW and I finished putting away Christmas stuff today.
Everything but the trees was packed up during the week and today I undecorated, debowed, and deribboned the upstairs trees while he sorted through ornaments. The tree downstairs is the only one not prelit so I quickly removed the lights while he carried the trees and box of ornaments down.
Then we began the loading of the closet.
Christmas in the very back, Autumn and Halloween next then the luggage all went back into the closet under the stairs.
Y’all is there anything more satisfying than a well packed storage closet? I think not.

Photos and art returned to the walls, photos and tchotchkes returned to the tops of furniture. And just like that, the house, and life gets ‘back to normal’.
I did leave one Baby Jesus out so I can acknowledge Epiphany tomorrow, but that’s easy because it doesn’t go with the Christmas stuff anyway.

Then YBW went to tidy his office and I patched all the holes on the walls of Thing G’s old room. I’m going to sand, wash down the walls and start painting. It’s time to get that checked off my list.

We’ve sorted out holiday things to ask our kids about, I have some old nativities and ornaments I want the girls to take a look at. YBW has ornaments for the boys to go through. Well, mostly Thing C, since Thing G is still at home.

We’ve got stuff set aside to take to Thing 1 and Husband N’s later this month.
A crib mattress from a friend who was happy it’s going to a home that needs it. Other random baby supplies, and some things I’ve bought because our granddaughter might need them. (mostly books)

I’m thriving on the planning and organization.
I’ve starting the building of my planning calendars. Yes, that’s plural. I have one I keep on my desk, and one that lives in my car. I have decided it’s the best course of action for me in the coming year.
January is slammed. I have an appointment every day next week but Friday. And one of those is me being brave and going all by myself to my very first yoga class. I’m going to try our three different studios to find the best fit, and commit from there. I’ve been saying I want to start yoga classes for over a year now. After a bit of research and advice I pulled the trigger and registered for a class. I even found a super cute robins egg blue yoga mat that’s got terry cloth on one side. We’ll see how that goes!

After taking a break from my coursework, I’m picking that back up in January. I’ll be writing lesson plans and observations and checking that off my list too.

I’m working out how to build a schedule that makes the most sense. That allows me a proper balance of work and open time. I have a stack of books in my TBR shelf that aren’t going to read themselves, you know. I have time in the mornings before school and in the afternoons with which I can use more wisely.
My goal is to create a plan that successfully allows me time to do what must be done without overwhelming me, as well as to do what I’d like without me wasting precious time.
Stay tuned…

Organizing my environment is so much simpler than organizing my time.
Do y’all find that or is it just me?
I don’t have little kids at home anymore, I feel like it should be easier. It doesn’t seem to be. Though perhaps then it was that I was planning for others so I didn’t have to be mindful about how I spent my time. I did what needed to be done for the girls, the house, etc.
Now I’m pretty much free as the breeze and I feel much more pressure regarding the way I spend my days.

LA at Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 wrote this post about her wintertime goals. I commented, to which she replied, “I have to make fun a goal almost. It’s so easy to get tied up in the day to day.”
That struck a chord in me.
Have to make fun a goal. (almost)
I totally get it.
It’s so easy to let life get in the way of active living. Functioning on autopilot in the day to day. I want to be actively engaged in myself and the world while doing the everyday things that must be done. Disengaging my autopilot and making more mindful choices about how I spend my time and energy.

Building a schedule will be a good jumping off point for me. I can adhere to or adapt as needed to ‘get stuff done’ and ‘make fun a goal’. Once I have a preliminary plan in place I can move from there. I can incorporate any and every thing my little heart desires. As long as I’m being mindful, I can’t really go wrong.
I mean, sure, there will be times I feel overwhelmed or lazy, times I’ve bit off more than I can safely chew, and times when I’m itching for a new project. But by simply paying attention, I’ll figure it out and continue moving forward.

I want to be completely finished with course work this summer. Once that monkey’s off my back, I’ll have more time to do new and different things.
And that’s important because Baby K will be here and I’ll want to oodgey goodgey over her every chance I get!

Have a plan.
Make a schedule.
Kick myself into gear.
I got this!

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not for comparison but for inclusion

I’ve been reading loads of end of- and beginning of- year posts. Some written after giving real thought to what 2018 looked like to the writer, some filled with new hopes, thoughts, or ideas for 2019. Some written to stimulate real thought from the readers.
I got a text from my friend Nora yesterday, it was her adorable bitmoji carrying to the curb, a leaking, stinking garbage bag labeled 2018.
I’m not sharing the pic because I’m making a point about using words. My initial response was to laugh. I even replied “Amen, sister!” But that’s because I reacted to the picture I saw.
When I started describing it just now, I realized I have mixed feelings regarding 2018. And not all of it belongs in that stank trash bag.

There was so much death in my world in 2018.
From Thing 1’s miscarriage to YBW’s precious mom, our beloved sister in law’s mother, friends at work lost parents, YBW even lost one of his colleagues, a man in his 50s. One of my oldest friends lost her mother, a woman who was dear, close friends with my own mother. And another part of childhood dies.
So much loss.
But in 2018 we celebrated anniversaries of birth for our collective children, we celebrated the graduation of our youngest. We celebrated at the news of a baby joining our family.
We experienced teeny little victories, and joys throughout the year. Some personal, some collective. Some meaningless to anyone other than me.

As I consider the close of one year and the start of another, my main take away is I must pay better attention.
Life is fragile and precious.

I spend so much time eyeballing everything from my own point of view.
Well, I guess we all do that.
Remember that show, Ally McBeal? Courtney Thorne Smith’s character asks Ally something to the effect of why her problems are more important than everyone else’s. To which Ally replies, They’re mine.

Looking at the world through your personal lens, your stuff is so much bigger, more important than everyone else’s. And that really does make sense.
I see the world through my point of view because it’s my life.
I’m not suggesting I’m as selfish as Ally McBeal.
Though I’m suggesting I can choose to look past the end of my own nose.

If I broaden my scope, I will see at least some things from a more inclusive point of view.
And in my heart of hearts, I believe that will benefit me.

Pay attention.
I do more than I give myself credit for. However, in general daily life living I spend a great deal of time on autopilot, and that surely narrows my point of view. I think so many of us live that way, just doing what needs to be done without really stopping to see. To engage.
By actively paying attention, we’re naturally more engaged. And being engaged in the world around us is the best way to foster connections with other humans. And even the most misanthropic among us longs for human connection.

YBW and I had a conversation the other day that went sideways af.
I got my nose out of joint and left the room.
I tried to step outside my own irritation and went back to him asking why I’m always the bad guy.
Turns out that the way I asked my question triggered something in him. He felt “backed into the corner” and that I was “wagging my finger at him”.
I asked if he’d expressed something specifically to Thing G. My intention was to talk with Thing G about it if he hadn’t so YBW wouldn’t feel disappointed later on.
So after a heated and somewhat defeated (on both sides) conversation we came around to questioning how to close the gap between intent and perception.
From my point of view, his perception is that my intent is to be purposefully hurtful.
So how can we communicate in such a way that perception and intent are reflective on one another?
We sorted to the best of our abilities the practical aspect and agreed to try different language on both sides.

It made me think though.
Am I paying enough attention to how what I do impacts others?
Am I paying enough attention to how what others do impacts me?
Am I paying enough attention to how what I do impacts me?

Focus on self while paying attention to the bigger picture.
How does what I do impact me and the world around me?
How does the way I look at the world around me impact me?

At first glance, these questions seem big, and perhaps tricky to answer. But if I break them down, they’re simple and I already a good portion of the answers.
Answering them feels simpler than executing the answers.

How can I pay a different kind of attention in the coming year?
How will paying that attention change my world?
Y’all, I’m setting out to answer these challenging questions because I know however lovely my life is, it can be even more so if I choose to see my life in this world from a broader point of view.

I think Ally’s response makes sense. Her problems were more important to her because they were hers.
I feel the same way. I suspect most of us do.
However, by simply shifting the way I look at things, I will remember to see how much bigger the world is than just me.
Doesn’t mean my stuff will stop being important to me, just means I’ll see it from a broader point of view.
By paying attention, and looking at things differently, I’ll begin to see the importance of other people’s stuff.
Not for comparison, but for inclusion.

Acknowledging the importance of others does nothing to negate my own, and does everything to create stronger relationships.
I’ll have moments of narrow view.
But that won’t stop me from trying.
I’ll have moments of paying attention.
I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to more of the latter.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Immune to the view?

I woke this morning to the loveliest view.

As I sat this morning and wrote in my journal, I pondered the question of whether or not my family is immune to this view. Whether or not I’d become immune to this view if it was what I woke to every day.
I love to observe the marsh, the tide coming in and going out. The wildlife. The smell of the pluff mud is uniquely Charleston. If I was here every single day, would it hold the same fascination? Would I take it for granted? Or worse, would I begin to ignore it completely? Would I become immune?

These are interesting questions.
How much in our lives do we take for granted?
And why?
Sure, ‘life gets in the way’. But then I’m over here like, life gets in the way…of life? (WTF kind of sense does that make?)

Life is lovely, even the crap bits.
Gotta pay attention.
Gotta be grateful every single day. And not in that basic girl ‘hashtag grateful thankful blessed’ kind of way. I mean truly accepting what is in your world then choosing to embrace it.
I don’t know, it may seem a rather ridiculously simple point of view, but that’s how I see it.
Pay attention.
Accept the good and the crap as it comes and be grateful.
Be grateful because it’s your life.

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accept the good

Sundance sent this to me.
Not only does she accept the good in her life, she appreciates it!
I am quite delightful. (smirks while typing)

Embrace the good in your world in whatever form it arrives.
Sometimes those things you least expect, or question the presence of, turn out to be what you most need.
You say “exasperating” I say “fucking delight” either way there is good. It’s win-win!

Occasionally, life is rough.
We’re so focused on the trouble, or pain, all manner of ick that hits us upside the head. Even when we’re swimming around in the ick till our fingers are pruney, there is good in our lives, in the world.
All you have to do is open your eyes.

There is a quote:
When you look for the good in others you discover the best in yourself.

I’m down.
But, when you’re up to up to your ass in the ick, you can’t see anything but the ick. That means you’re not actively looking for the good.
But, if you can accept that there is good all around, even in the most unlikely places, you never have to look for it. You’ll be able to see it.

This seems convoluted af.
(and not exactly what Sundance intended when she sent it)
But I feel like I’m on to something.

There will be good in your life that doesn’t look the way you expect.
I’m not suggesting you change your expectations.
I’m saying accept the good you have.
Might surprise you.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

be aware

I haven’t been writing much.
I could explain why, (school, feeling puny, environmental changes, emotional stuff) but that’s just kind of making excuses that simply boil down to: I haven’t had it in me.
I spend more time attempting to write than actually writing. I spend time considering what I’d like to write and paying attention to why I’m not writing.
It’s an interesting place to be. It’s also troubling. I truly enjoy writing. But can’t seem to make it happen. Not even in my journal. I’m adrift in a sea of paper, pencils, pens, and this laptop. (It makes for a crap visual when I try to write it out, but it was working in my head.)
Anyway, that’s were I am at the moment.

This morning I received this:

I read them several times before I responded. I needed to swim around in her words before I did anything else. For a solid half hour this is what I did.
She had it in her heart, she wanted me to know.
She said she felt compelled to tell me. That’s the word she used, compelled.
She did not know that I needed to read those words today. She just knew she needed to tell me.

How many of us each day think, Oh, I should tell so-and-so something-or-other and it’s only a passing thought? How many of us actually tell so-and-so the something-or-other?
Simply living life gets in the way. That happens to every one of us.
But when we stop for a moment, we can pay attention those little things that are so important in life.
One simple act of kindness can start the most complex change.
Now, this particular act of kindness may not change the world, but it created ripples in me. And that’s all it takes.

Sally shared with me that she was aware. That act of love is a precious and powerful gift. I am at once comforted and inspired by her love.

Being aware.
What a beautiful act of love.
Sharing your awareness.
What a beautiful act of kindness.

And, check it out!
I’m writing.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

gratitude, get you some

Gratitude.
I’m not super feeling it of late.
Friday last the roofers came to rebuild and repair the rafters. The next day rain poured into the house. Turns out the tarps were not properly reattached.
Yay.
The roofers were here for nearly five hours Saturday evening working to stop the water.
The rain. Sweet baby Jesus, the rain we’ve had.
And the weather related head pain just makes me weary.

It occurred to me I’m paying attention to the wrong stuff.
So I stopped. And took a big ass breath to focus on the right stuff.
Once I began to consider what I am actively grateful for it was simple to create a list and I noticed a significant shift in my well being.

10:00 am movies at the theater because, summer!
Amber (she does my hair)
Target app
peach citrus white tea from Starbucks
Hercules quotes
crusty bread and butter
air cooled seats and xm radio
simple summer dresses
Bloom gin
long phone conversations with my girl

I’m making the choice to actively focus on what is good, what is meaningful, what I’m grateful for. I’m not sure I’ll do a daily gratitude post, but I’m considering a weekly one. But, each day I will write in my journal that for which I am grateful. That is a promise I am making to myself. And one I have every intention of keeping.

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by life. Easy to get caught up in the chaos. It’s harder to pay attention. Harder to be mindful.
I must pay attention. Otherwise I’ll get lost.
And we all know

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