by Kat | Jul 25, 2022 | General, Words
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. ― Steve Jobs
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!
by Kat | Jun 27, 2022 | General, Words
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!)
by Kat | May 30, 2022 | General, Words
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. ― Rainer Maria Rilke
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!
by Kat | Apr 25, 2022 | General, Words
Four months into my word and I really am surprised at the Full Discoveries that April brought! When I began this journey with full I considered “being full” to have distinct boundaries. Either you are full… or you are not…and with that idea in mind, I began to look at what was full in my life and what needed more…fullness.
But what if full does not have distinct boundaries? What if it is less a feeling and more an experience?
And so I began thinking about what that would look like…what it might change… and, especially, what that would feel like.
The only people who see the whole picture are the ones who step outside the frame. ― Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet
What if the best part of full is when I step outside of full…or the boundaries I think belong to full?
I can tell you that even just thinking about this changed the way I consider things…and perhaps the best way to explain this is through the photographer’s lens.
Bonny hoped last week that I had taken more photos while at Presque Isle… and while I did take some photos (which I will share later this week… I promise!) I did not take as many photos as I had in previous visits… rather I spent more time looking beyond the frame. Seeing and experiencing more by spending a lot less time looking through my iPhone and it was so invigorating.
My “a-ha moment” was this: every minute does not need to be filled with doing something but instead by stepping into the moment, living in the moment… whatever the moment is… and in changing that one little thing I experienced so much more than I ever had before!
So here I am today… on the Monday-est of Mondays: Re-entry Monday… ugh!
I am wondering if that kind of full can only be had on vacation… you know, when there is not a normal routine or the usual task list of things that must be done. I speak from experience because in the lead up to vacation, I over-filled my days. I tried to do more each day – spring cleaning PLUS regular cleaning, and sewing, and knitting, and reading, and…I think you get the idea.
And you know what, although this is Perfect Vision Hindsight…very little of that was necessary…and if I had stepped into the day and looked at it completely rather than from my “list view” I might have realized that sooner (sans hindsight).
This month brought me so much to think about and I am going to step into May and be more conscious (and maybe more full?) of the moments (and hopefully less full of the unnecessary) on my journey to full!
A huge thanks to Carolyn for hosting us on our One Little Word journeys.
See you all back here on Wednesday!
by Kat | Mar 28, 2022 | General, Words
We need much less than we think we need. ― Maya Angelou
This month I have contemplated full from a different perspective… rather than comparing it to emptiness, I considered contentment.
And Maya is so very correct… I need much less than I think I need.
The Less is More concept is a foreign one to me because… being a True American…I always want the next best thing. Rather than being content with the overabundance that I have, I am quickly distracted to that next thing… (Hello to all my fellow Band Wagon Jumpers!)
So this month I slowed down, I thought more, and I waited longer to make impulse decisions.
Perhaps Pandemic Living had already set my feet on the path to slowing down and thinking about decisions. Yet, I still jumped on a Band Wagon or two recently… and lived to regret doing so. And that was after thinking about that decision for a number of days. So I increased the wait time… drastically. And low and behold… the urge eventually passed for almost all the things that I thought I desperately needed.
Instead of filling up with more things, this month I focused on being Full of Contentment. I spent some time with March Madness. I sewed… and worked on liking the necessary process required to get to the point of sewing. I read some unexpected books thanks to not having an entirely full Book Queue which allows me to do some “spur of the moment” reading. I gave my self permission to let go of perfection and played with water colors… and loved every imperfect second of it! I pulled out yarn from my stash and cast on for a summer sweater that I had been contemplating *buying yarn to knit*! And there was even a healthy dose of Bonus Contentment when I got gauge… The Knitting Gods were smiling! I put contentment in my Daily Gratitude Journal… more than once. It is a good reminder that more is not better… and contentment is exactly enough!
I am really loving this process of looking at what full means and I am eager to continue this journey in April!
A huge thanks to Carolyn for hosting us this month! See you all back here on Wednesday!