I did not have any idea of where I would go with my word this month. I was absolutely feeling like I understand the concept of how to fill your days with things that matter.
But leave it to Krista Tippett to show me how to take what I have learned this year and fine tune it. Full 2.0, as it were! So this month I have been putting into practice the things she talks about in the first three episodes of her short “Foundations” podcast series.
She starts by asking the listeners to become alert and reverent of the everyday ordinary. This was just the prodding I needed to take the concept of a Full Life deeper… Was I alert during my days or was I tuning out on the ordinary. The reality is that I absolutely was tuning out – frequently! So I began honing my Full Life to be more alert and reverent of the everyday ordinary. This is not easy… it is seriously one of the hardest things I have worked on. Because… tuning out is a natural occurrence (for me, at least) Make coffee… tune out. Make dinner… tune out. Steve is complaining about work… tune out – big time. As you can see, this will be an ongoing process and right now I feel like I am constantly reminding myself to “tune in.”
The second installment brought an easier task and one I was happy to circle back on. Yep… Krista encouraged us to “live the question” which is a concept that Rilke talks about. For me, living the question is such a freeing task. It reminds me that I do not need the answers to everything. Uncertainty is okay! Really!! And when I coupled trying to be more alert and reverent during my day with living the question… I had too many “a-ha” moments to share here. But one thing I found much easier was when I am consciously “living the question” I am much more aware of the everyday ordinary and it was easier to allow the ordinary fill my days rather than tuning them out. As I said above… I was so happy to circle back on this way of living! Perfection? Not at all, but the journey this month has been so enjoyable.
The third installment settled me into a lovely concept… becoming critical yeast. As a baker, I found this analogy for life brilliant! You see, baking without yeast… is well, flat, tough, and yes… hard. This week I have been thinking about how very un-yeasty I am in my day to day life. And so as I fill my days with living the question, being alert and reverent of the ordinary… my focus has been on asking myself the question: Am I bring any yeasty-ness to life around me? A new way to fill my days! (Are you seeing a common theme here? I sure did this month…. even when I think I am living a Full Life, there is always more room!)
There is one final installment coming this Thursday and I am very eager to see where Krista will take me then! This little series has provided such good things to think about as this year begins to draw to a close… and with all this pondering, I am noticing a new word has been showing up regularly in my days. I am enjoying these word visits and am contemplating this word in my morning meditations. It feels early for a new word to “show up” but I am glad that this month I have been thinking about being more present and alert so that I have noticed its arrival!
As always, I am so grateful that Carolyn provides a space for us to share our Word Work! I am excited to see how others did with their words this month!
I hope to get caught up on all your blogs this week – be patient with me! And!! I have a painting to get done before Wednesday! Yikes!
Happy Monday everyone and I will be back tomorrow (what?!?) with a November welcome!
Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. — Ashley Smith
This month, Allie Edwards team had a brilliant suggestion for my word this month… take photos! And so each day I captured some photos of what filled my days. It was fun… and very different from what I did way back when I captured one photo of my day. I made sure that photo was the perfect setting… edited for more “perfection” and when I look back on all those months of photos I feel very removed from them, as if I am an outsider looking in. They absolutely did not bring to mind the day or what happened that day or what I did that day.
This exercise, however, felt entirely different. They are not “perfect” photos… but I feel very present in these images and I hope that a year from now when I look back on them I will remember more of the day, what happened, and what I did… that this exercise will actually help cement the month in my memory!
I noted the changing light.
I did lots of spinning.
I picked so many tomatoes.
I made pitas more than once.
I knit my “gninth” gnome!
There was painting and more painting.
Poetry…every single morning.
There were happy hours! Ha!
And, of course, Sherman.
All this is not to say that it was a perfect month… it wasn’t because there were struggles as well. I tried to remember that being a listener is better than being an advice giver… so I let my ears fill up and worked on keeping my mouth shut! (Sometimes I succeeded even!)
But!! There is still five more days in September and I am eager to fill the coming days with good things!
As always, I would like to thank Carolyn for providing a landing space for us all to share what we learned, how we grew, and how our word showed up for us each month!
See you all back here on Wednesday!
I mentioned earlier this month that I was feeling “done” with my word. And then I really settled in and spent time with Ali Edward’s team as they invited me to look at my word as if I was beginning again but from the perspective of how beginning in August looks so differently than it does in January.
Welcome to the deep breath of August… words that spoke to my heart. These words became my mantra this month especially as I began again contemplating what a full life might be.
I took a cue from a friend and made myself a daily reminder on my iPhone to sit down and spin. It is working so beautifully because I am almost done spinning for a sweater I want to knit! A simple reminder to make time to do something that I enjoy so very much.
I prioritized time for me… which is not ever on my list of things to do but this month I made space for me. I read poetry – specifically Derek Walcott. I have made a note in my calendar to spend every August with his poetry. It was so perfect this month…and especially Love After Love – it just fit so perfectly with making time for me!
I also did some knitting and lots of painting! The realization that not making space for myself results in a poorer quality of mental health which might actually be a gift to those around me!
I noted the changing light in the days, the difference in the birdsong, the groaning of my garden as the long string of dry weather took its toll. And rather than bemoan these things… I reveled in them.
In other words, I filled my days with August… and I loved every single second of it!
I want to thank Carolyn for so graciously providing a space for us all to share our journeys! See you all back here on Wednesday (hint!! There will be a Finished Object!!)
Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. ―
This month was spent on the Great Simple Challenge … something that takes a lot of work to be successful at. It was my daily focus in my meditation time… simplify… and simplify more. And I discovered that simplifying is much easier said than done.
We (Steve and I) don’t live very simple lives. Work for him is stressful and that stress spills over… because of course it does. Family miles away (mine) and family next door (his) are not simple. Trying to drop that COVID 20… absolutely not simple. Learning something new (hello, painting!) so not simple!
So this month I worked hard to “get my thinking clean” to focus on simple.
- No checking what “news” I might be missing.
- No checking what Tweets I might be missing.
- Not caring what, if anything, was posted on Instagram.
- Half listened to the stress spillovers… realizing I don’t have to have a solution, just “listen” helped with that.
- Self-affirming that I did my work on raising my children… they are not perfect, they will all make decisions I would not… and being okay with that. (In case you think this is easy… oh boy, think again… hardest thing ever!)
Instead this month when I felt the complicated creeping in, I stopped and did a bit of breathing (thank you, Nadia for sharing this focus that has been incredibly helpful!) until calm returned. Sometimes just a few breaths, other times… well, the breaths eventually work just keep breathing!
In my ongoing quest to simplify and my successes:
- I found knitting to be my very best companion. Slow, meditative… one stitch after another. I can feel the complicated vanish just picking up my needles.
- I have created a space where I can paint and not feel guilty about the “clutter” that painting brings. It was my huge success over the weekend…I moved all the painting bits and bobs and set everything up. I am very, very ready for my first class this morning! (And so eager to begin!!)
- I stopped myself from “thinking about that next project” and stayed focused on the current projects. When I am itching for “something new” I knit another “pop” square for the blanket. It gets the urge for something new out of my system!
- And I plotted out some sewing time as well!
- I am still washing dishes by hand… and am not at all upset by this. We will eventually get a new dishwasher. I think, lol!
There is one thing on my list that I have not gotten to yet and likely won’t before August arrives. I need to finish the reorganization of the living room and find a better spot for my little e-Spinner. It is in the “out of sight, out of mind” space right now. I want to spin a bit more each week… or perhaps it is better said to do some spinning each week!
Being simply full will be a work in progress… and perhaps one I won’t ever be finished with! But getting a taste of being simply full has been wonderful. I am not sure I have a need to move mountains, but a simple life is so, so, so appealing!
A huge thanks to Carolyn for providing the landing space for us all to share our journeys with our word.
I will be back on Wednesday with some making and reading!
This month kind of felt like a cheater month… I carried May along into June and did no new work on my word. (although the end of the month saw me full of FRAGE thank you, Nadia Bolz-Weber for defining my feelings so eloquently.) Knowing that was coming made the month feel like something was hanging over us all…and sadly, that feeling of more impending doom has not abated. And so you will see that this month I did no work with my word. I coasted on May’s work. Although, I did make a synopsis of where I have been with my word, and this was the exactly what I needed this month from Ali Edward’s team.
I have spent half the year, thinking about what filling myself means…what does it look like as I navigate life. I spent time thinking about being full versus being empty and I realized that there needs to be some empty in my life to appreciate full… and that led me to contemplating being content with what I have… realizing that I do not need every new thing to fill my days. Perhaps the best of all was the idea of stepping outside the frame to see the whole picture and that was such a joyful discovery!
Which brings me to May… and slowing down. I loved it! (Thank you May for providing the perfect thing to carry along with me!)
So a bit of my slow down June:
I took a new approach to gardening this year… no big veggie garden. But rather a few tomato plants in containers… which are doing incredibly well! This is good on a number of levels… first, I don’t mind being the “solo gardener” my containers of a few tomatoes and my few flower containers. The second bonus is that there is no longer the “water argument” with Steve. He complained every single day about how much I watered the garden. These containers are turning out to be the perfect way to fill my garden longings!
Next, I have been setting aside about 45 minutes each day to practice painting. Sometimes, I just watch a video, sometimes I play with colors (this is where I need the most work… oh boy, lol) and sometimes I actually paint! This is absolutely the best thing I am filling my days with and I have no plans on stopping. (FYI, for all of you who are looking for a bit of inspiration… Rick Surowicz has a plethora of free classes on his YouTube page. You are welcome!)
Finally, I am embracing a “rules free” summer of reading and that also feels so good! So reading, yes and lots of it! But it is all stress-free reading…which is exactly what reading should be!
As always, I want to thank Carolyn for providing a landing place for us all to share our progress. The Blogging Word Community is one that inspires me every single month!
See you all back here on Wednesday with some making (and reading, of course!)
This month was a month full of “ah-ha” moments. So many.
In fact, this month was so full, I even found a theme song… listen if you like and see what I discovered this month! The song starts at 1:40… (but if you listen to the bit of the talk before the song I found something magical there…do what you love, every day!)
Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time. — Billy Joel, Vienna
This month I contemplated what I am filling my time with. Do I over think? (Yes…) Do I under think? (Again, yes…) Do I think at all? (Oof… sometimes I don’t)
And then that quote… slow down, you’re doing fine.
I finally read Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks, and while there were some very repetitive bits, there were some very good nuggets waiting for me there and, if I am blessed to live to 80, that leaves me with just 968 weeks to fill.
And with those numbers in mind I am going to feel less guilt about “not doing all the things” … I know, but in choosing to not do all the things, I will have time to do the important things… without guilt.
The other thing I struggle with is FOMO… no, not fear of missing out… my FOMO is my fear of messing up. That perfection issue I have… and one of those little nuggets Burkeman shared was some wisdom from Rilke:
…the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. ―
Live the questions now. Gosh, what incredible advice…because I might not have the answer until tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Or, perhaps… never... and that is okay!
This kind of thinking has absolutely changed how I am thinking about my days… the lists I make (or don’t make and really… not making lists, my gosh it is freeing!)
And so what did I do with all the extra time I found this month… what did I do with the four weeks that May gave me? I slowed down… drastically.
I signed up for an art class… water colors… and I am loving the time I spend there every day. Why is it so good? Well because I am messing up… lots! What better way to overcome that fear than just messing up, right?
And there you have my very full May… full of so many ah-ha moments. And that is exactly what I want… to be full of the things that matter.
A huge thanks to Carolyn for providing a space for us all to share the discoveries we made this month!
See you all back here on Wednesday!