“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” ― Life, the Truth, and Being Free
August…eight months “in” on release and still…the struggle remains real.
I started off the month in a good direction or at least I thought I did and then I just sort of set everything down and ignored it.
Because sometimes, I am my own worst enemy. It is easy to identify things that need to be changed in around me… but turning the lens inward is not as simple… or easy.
My notes to self this month simply said:
recognize things I can change versus things I cannot change
And there is my wisdom and my failure all in one little phrase. Like I said… the struggle is real.
Thank you, Carolyn for providing the space for us to share…and make sure you stop by and see how everyone else did with their word this month!
FOMO (fear of missing out) is the enemy of valuing your own time. — Andrew Yang
This month, Carolyn encouraged us to have fun…and I spent a good bit of time thinking about how to work fun into my word…release.
So I started by filling in my clouds with what filled my day… things I liked and things I struggled with…
Then I gave things stars that improved my day… and the starless clouds all seemed to have the same recurring theme… FOMO.
And while not all the things that got starred are “fun”… they are absolutely necessary which inspired me to contemplate how to insert fun into the mundane daily tasks of housework and cooking… no solution yet…but I am thinking about it!
I did find some “quick and easy” (?) solutions this month and I am happy to report that those changes brought success… or at least started me on a path to solving the problem!
News Fix: I have found that listening to NPR’s Up First six mornings a week is MORE than enough news for me for any given day. I did not die by not checking news at ten am, or at noon, or at 5 pm…who knew! lol Steve consumes more news than I do and in July and if something earth shattering happened, he told me. (okay… he also told me news that was not earth shattering as well… but those tidbits provided some humorous topics for dinner conversation!)
IG/Twitter Doom-scrolling: I had fallen back into the “boredom trap” of doom-scrolling Twitter and IG… I am telling you this is a hard habit to break! I tried a different approach as July progressed…I stopped “carrying my phone” with me, but rather I am leaving it sit either on the kitchen counter or the dining room table. This way I have to physically get up to do any doom-scrolling and that is helping tremendously. Full disclosure… I do wear an Apple Watch so I am not entirely “disconnected” but so far, this seems to be working well for me.
Blog Reading/Writing/Email Hell…which often leads to Endless Internet Surfing: I set a timer on my phone when I sit down at the PC in the morning… the amount of time is still in flux…but, when the timer goes off… so does the pc… and I have not died. At.All. I am still working on a way to make blog writing feel fresh and still seeking solutions to that sticky topic. Sigh. Despite that huge hurdle…the timer has helped me see clearly just how much mail I do not need to read… look at… contemplate… etc. so I have begun “unsubscribing” to a plethora of things and it feels amazingly good!
Reading: Finally… reading, which only got a half a star (while reading for myself always, always gets at least one star!!) My big hurdle this summer… book bingo, and it pains me to say that. It seemed to me that I spent more time “reworking” squares to fit what I was reading versus picking a book to fit a square. I have one book to finish for a cover all and that feels like the biggest relief ever. It was an important lesson in how I should listen to that small, quiet voice instead of allowing that shouting FOMO voice to drown me out.
And there you have release for July…
I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us and for all her work on putting together things to make me think in new ways.
See you all back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!
If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in? Slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and live your life to the fullest. ― Nanette Mathews
Carolyn’s prompts for June included a Blast List, which I struggled with… I was stymied by what to put on this list. Or so I thought… soon the idea of an Un-Blast List was rattling around my brain. As in… releasing the idea of “must do’s” and reimagining a truly slow summer. One not full of things to accomplish, but rather full of something very different.
Finding joy in the slow moments of the day… and intentionally creating more of them.
And so June began and each moment I felt some urgent desire to hurry to get on to the next thing, I stopped and contemplated why? What’s the rush? It was the beginning of a lovely experience… stopping and enjoying the current thing. Purposefully. With intention.
Summer is a finite time… fleeting… all too soon over…and rushing to fill the days with all.the.things. seems so very wrong. Releasing the idea that more is better… and embracing each moment has made for a really wonderful month! (Although, not rushing to fill the days is not as easy as it sounds!)
Slowing down allowed me to sit quietly with my thoughts as well. This, my friends, is never a good thing… except this month it was different and I could not put my finger on what was different until I listened to this…and these words especially struck me… deeply: “…Have patience with all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves”
Yes, slowing down has been very good. The days still feel as if they are racing on, but each day feels more full… memorable… lasting…
I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us as we share our word updates! Be sure to stop this week to see how June was for everyone else!
See you all back here on Wednesday!
“They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite”
― Clockwork Prince
It seems that I have found the path forward with my word, and while I can’t say it feels good… it is a good thing. My “ah-ha” moment came courtesy of Pádraig Ó Tuama…specifically, The Corrymeela Podcast episode 11 with Dr. Lia Shimada. I have listened to the podcast several times this month to pound home that “ah-ha” moment.
Couple that with the “ritual” worksheets that Carolyn provided this month and I am beginning to find some purpose for release.
The first thing I did was begin to write down my daily rituals and I to see an interesting pattern form.
Control, Perfection, and Expectations.
Early on in my life I learned that the only thing I could control was myself, which has since expanded to controlling, or trying to control, everything around me…because if I could be perfect – if everything was perfect – it would be all right… right? Yeah, my adult brain absolutely knows that is not the case… but boy is it hard to let go of control!
I also learned very early that no one lives up to my expectations… and because they won’t, I don’t have to “let them in.” Perfect… that way I don’t get hurt and, more importantly, I don’t have to open up and share. It is the one lasting holdover of my childhood… the idea that as long as no one knows, it will be alright. Except that is only a lie I tell myself.
So where does grieving come in? I know that that living in denial, avoiding, ignoring, and holding in the secret of my childhood has staved off grieving for things lost…and I have to give myself permission to go through the ritual of grieving those lost things.
Hoo boy. I knew this word was going to be hard, but I also knew that it is so necessary. Today, the hardest part is talking about it because I have lived my entire life holding in this secret. I don’t talk about my family… I talk about grandparents, but never my home life. I am not here to say that the floodgates are going to open and I am going to beginning talking about those things. It is never going to be a “conversation starter” or part of any discussion and that is okay. What I am going to do is move through the grieving process… be it forward or backward.
And I am really going to focus on releasing perfection, control, and expectations.
I want to thank Carolyn for providing the space for us all to share (and I want to especially thank her for this months worksheets!)
See you all back here on Wednesday!
(I have gone back and forth over allowing comments here or not… and no comments just feels better. Thank you all for understanding.)
Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy. There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.” –Charlotte Eriksson
This month was all about giving release a bit of a pause. This word has been so mentally taxing at times that it seemed necessary to step back and give myself a bit of respite. So in the midst of that pause, I allowed April to be about something other than me. Instead I spent my time immersed in memories of my maternal grandfather – Oliver Emil Huxhold. Thoughts of my grandpa are always close to the surface in April because of his love of poetry.
But, this month was a “two-for!” Not only was my grandpa a poetry lover, he was also an avid birder! He knew so many birds (and his bird book library was most impressive!) But when MS curtailed his outdoor time – by the time I was 5 he could no longer manage stairs at all – he began to identify birds by their songs. The best times ever were sitting on his lap listening and learning. His absolute “Holy Grail” of birds was the elusive Purple Martin. My grandparents lived about a block off Lake Macatawa on 11th Street in Holland, MI and sadly, as close as that was it just was not close enough to the water. We tried however, and I remember the spring we got him a Martin House for the back yard. My uncle installed a super long galvanized pole first and then installed the Martin house on top of that – hoping that the added height would help. Alas it did not and my grandpa grumbled plenty over the Sparrow Condo in his back yard! To my knowledge he never saw or heard Purple Martins in his life.
Steve and I headed to Erie to spend 10 days at Presque Isle. And wow. Just wow. I went outside a lot (I did bring my phone, but only to take photos) and I have so much to share with you all about our trip but for now, I’d like to share just one thing…the bittersweet achievement of my grandpa’s Holy Grail with the sightings of so many Purple Martins! I love Presque Isle, but I think my grandpa might have thought he’d “died and gone to heaven” if he could have visited it!
Purple Martin Heaven! (with a little Tree Swallow Annex off to the right side!)
And so in all that “outside” time, I really felt like I had company. My thoughts were full of grandpa and remembering all those memories and being immersed in them was exactly what I needed this month.
And, of course, Carl Sandburg has a poem for us! I think he describes them perfectly.
By Carl Sandburg
If we were such and so, the same as these,
maybe we too would be slingers and sliders,
tumbling half over in the water mirrors,
tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun,
tumbling our purple numbers.
Twirl on, you and your satin blue.
Be water birds, be air birds.
Be these purple tumblers you are.
Dip and get away
From loops into slip-knots,
Write your own ciphers and figure eights.
It is your wooded island here in Lincoln Park.
Everybody knows this belongs to you.
Five fat geese
Eat grass on a sod bank
And never count your slinging ciphers,
your sliding figure eights.
A man on a green paint iron bench,
Slouches his feet and sniffs in a book,
And looks at you and your loops and slip-knots,
And looks at you and your sheaths of satin blue,
And slouches again and sniffs in the book,
And mumbles: It is an idle and a doctrinaire exploit.
Go on tumbling half over in the water mirrors.
Go on tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun.
Be water birds, be air birds.
Be these purple tumblers you are.
We sat and watched the martins “tumble” around us as time just faded away and I began to understand my grandfather’s love of these beautiful birds and perhaps leaving a “Holy Grail” item for the next generation to achieve is the perfect thing to do…
I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us – make sure you stop and see what everyone else did with their word this month.
Thank you for reading and if you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.
I will be back on Wednesday with some knitting and reading! (and I promise to get caught up with all your blogs soon!!)