Posts Tagged With: pay attention

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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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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