Sunday, August 14, 2011
I had finished my latest "reading for fun" book and haven't yet gone to the library to get another. In the meantime, I picked up my current self-help read: Getting Organized, by Stephanie Winston. I have owned this book for probably ten or twelve years. Every time I pick it up, I get discouraged... it doesn't seem to apply... my life is just "too".
"Too what?" you may well ask. "What makes YOU so special, Barb? Everybody's life has its points of pain/disorder/need for improvement."
"But," I argue back, "it's EVERYTHING!" That is the point of "one thing" initiative: to by doing identify a reasonable set of values and goals related to order.
And as with weight and fitness, this area of life needs a custom solution, one that fits *me*. In fact, every area of each of our lives needs that kind of custom solution. In order to live fully, aware, awake, and appreciative of the gift that LIFE is, we need to find the way to who we are and why we are here... and it's not *just* to be healthy and fit. It's to *do something* with that health and fitness.
Having order and harmony in my home is similar... it is not just for the sake of order and harmony. It is not something rigid or perfectionist... it is to enable me to live fully and to fulfill that purpose, that reason I'm here.
This led me to start trying to apply the first step the book suggests: to write down at most six elements in my life that need to be put in order. I had trouble doing this. This is where I always get stuck. Because for the most part, my life sort of works. And yet, I am not satisfied... so... that sort of implies I'm in some level of denial about life working. "Where is the pain?" I ask myself.
After some dithering about and writing down preliminaries, I called it "good for now", closed my notebook, and moved on with my day.
In the evening, the kids came over and were playing with the kittens when the doorbell rang... and there at my door were Becky and "the girls"... her two absolutely gorgeous German Shorthaired Pointers that bring back the soul of my Diamond. Becky got to meet my son as we both came out to pet the dogs and make a fuss over them.
We didn't invite them in, as the dogs would probably have freaked out the kitties. My daughter in law stayed in with the kitties. Although, I have to say, The Prisoner was right there at the door wanting to come out and investigate those dogs!
In the course of those two events: the kids being over, and Becky dropping over, my organizing principle became clear to me, and I discovered that I have two:
1. My home is to be a place of refuge for ME, that serves me, instead of me serving it.
2. My home is to be a place of harmony and love that expresses welcome to those I choose to invite into it.
My goal is to have my home in good enough order that I feel comfortable, not embarrassed, to invite someone in who just happens to be in the neighborhood. I recognize that part of this is work on ME, psychologically... and part of it is the legwork of finding systems I can live with to keep the place in order. That means losing some clutter, for sure.
This initiative is not that different from the Sparks that lead to weight loss and maintenance... small changes, adding up, over time... preparing ahead, appreciating and giving myself credit for progress, not demanding perfection.
This morning, my hall closet, the one at the front door called to me. What better place to start: if there is no room in the closet to hang a guest's coat, what message does THAT send?
Coat, gloves, jacket... in the laundry. Pockets being stitched up. I will not be caught at the first frost THIS year. The closet floor has been swept. Several things moved to a proper place in the house... the garage, a different closet. I am ready to take some old stuff to the donation bin. I haven't done the shelves above yet... but I've certainly done my "one thing" for this morning.
And for a treat/reward, I will go to the library and get the next book on my list of "to read for fun"!
Life's good... Spark on!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Who would have thought that in two weeks they have lived at my house they would spurt like this? And of course they are expanding the territory they "claim" within the house, day by day.
Yesterday my Spark calendar told me to take a nap. Since I had the day off, I took its advice. But before I did that I got my hair done... I'd been "too busy" to get a haircut and my bangs had been straggling down to mid-glasses... not cool. I feel much less ragged now.
I got a full night's sleep last night, too. In fact, after taking my thyroid meds this morning I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep, barely getting up in time to go biking with Becky's bike group. I dashed through breakfast, dressing, etc. in 20 minutes to make it all happen. But it was a great day for a bike ride!
When I got home, I bundled those kittens into their box for a trip to the vet to have microchips inserted. They are now safely registered and if they ever escape and get lost, they will be easy to identify and return to their hu-mom.
I will end today with a birthday dinner for my daughter in law out at the place of her choice. Which she tells me will be Red Lobster. I've had the counts out there for their menu for a while, so it should be a breeze to track.
In short... life goes on, and it is good. Spark on!
Friday, August 12, 2011
Not the weather I would have hoped for. I'm listening to booms and raindrops. And kittens playing with the little bell-containing balls. They managed to knock over a small fire extinguisher in the lower level of the house... looked guilty when I went to investigate the noise. Bit by bit they are taking over the house.
I scheduled today as vacation a couple of months ago, before Sgt. Son talked me into the state games 5K and I took a Friday off for that. When I did, I briefly contemplated canceling today's designation, but you know, there are no US holidays in August, and every so often, you just need a day. So I kept it.
For things like maybe a haircut, grocery shopping, and puttering around the house. I did have some thoughts about yard work in the cool of the morning, but now? Don't think so.
I also slept in, until nearly 6... ah, the luxury of stretching out in bed while the lightning flashes and the raindrops fall! And this day is mine, allll miiiine.... buhahahaha!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
It is August. Next week the public school here start up again... what a short Summer it has been! The hours of daylight are now waning, although it is not easy to recognize it. The sounds, the smells, the sights all point to the inexorable march of our most limited resource: time.
Many of my ponders (I won't call them full meditations) this year have centered on how I shall live my life. Through much of my life the struggle to achieve a certain weight has provided a metaphor, but there are other recurring themes as well. How to establish order and harmony (the "one thing" initiative) is something I have often struggled with.
Part of the reason for the "one thing" initiative is to help me feel better about my imperfection in this area of life. I'm finding myself foundering. Fatigue / low spots hit in these kinds of initiatives, too. As with reaching a new size, and wondering "what next", reaching a level of order, and finding it fraying around the edges can be a little disheartening.
The kittens have certainly added to the number of things to do, and I've been reluctant to count what I do to keep them in order among my "one thing" recognition. That way lies a sense of burden, though. I need to expand my horizons, become less rigid about the order/harmony goals.
And I have to get back to that reward thing. Rewards and a sense of "I'm OK" are essential to life in general.
Bringing me back to "how can I live my life fully, despite having to work... and how can I live my life fully into the looming time of retirement, when I won't have the structure of work and the cycle of weekends?" Yes, I'm starting to think about how close that clock is ticking. How did it get here that fast? 50 years ago it seemed like forever away... where did those 50 years go?
I then begin to realize it went where every day goes... each day was lived. Some were lived fully, some were lived in a daze, some were mostly ignored by me while I set focus on a work project or a (God help me) video game, a book... whatever. Some were full of laughter, some of tears, some of resentment (which I now recognize for what it was), some of joy. But whatever each of those days held... they are gone, save for the memory of them.
What is ahead, today, is a new day, full of potential and moments. What shall I do with it? Will I recognize how precious it is? Will I remember to let people know that I love and appreciate them? Will I take time to smell the roses? Will I get something done that I can point to and say, "Yes! I did this today... this is my one thing!"?
Now that I have put it down here... I think I shall. Today will be a good day. Spark on!
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