I’m taking a few much-needed days off from the computer. See you soon!
I am very picky when it comes to workspace. I must have a place to put my feet up (bad circulation); I must be able to control noise (my super-sonic hearing means certain background noises will drive me bonkers); I must be able to control the flow of human traffic (I cannot concentrate knowing I’m a sitting duck for anyone who pops by); and in preparation for working, I must do the proper amount of procrastinating (I call it “getting my zen on”).
Even though the weather has been somewhat iffy here lately (spring, where are you?), I have enjoyed a number of days on my porch already. I am so blessed to have an enclosed porch that is big enough to have a table as well as the cozy furniture you see above. I love working in this space. Whether I am completing coursework or writing in my journal, this space makes me feel like I am in touch with nature as well as my creative self. It must be because I am surrounded by sounds of nature here. I usually have a cat or two near me, and the kitchen is only steps away for a cup of tea or glass of lemonade.
I was speaking on the phone with a friend recently, and she asked me about the birds she could hear in the background (a few cardinals were calling back and forth to each other in the trees beyond the porch). I described my porch to her–complete with string lights and plants and photos of the ocean–and she laughed at how I “have to have things just so.”
At first I bristled (I’ve been accused of being prissy more than once…ahem…), then I let go of that feeling and said what I really felt: I deserve a fantastic space like this. I work hard, and I like things just so–no apologies. I certainly recall what it was like not to have a nice space to work, so why not enjoy it now that I do? She agreed, and I proceeded to ask her to describe her favorite space to work at her house. She said she usually just works on her couch. And the space is cluttered, so she can never find anything. She vowed to create a better workspace for herself as soon as we hung up the phone.
A few days later, she called to tell me that she had re-deranged her living room. She had cleaned, moved all the furniture around, and bought some cute new pieces from a nearby consignment store (a lamp with colorful shade, a bowl of sea glass), and now she LOVES her workspace. She even bought some lemon-ginger Yogi tea, and before she settles down to work, part of “getting in her zen zone” has become sipping a cup of tea from her favorite mug.
Do you have a special workspace? Do you have rituals for settling down to work? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
What do you want?
What do you wish you could change about your life? What can you change?
What would make you feel more appreciated, desired, understood, and heard?
What would make you feel more fulfilled? How can you start your dreams moving forward?
It only takes one step to get started.
“As the moon lingers a moment over the BitterRoots, before its descent
into the invisible, my mind is filled with song. I find I am humming,
softly, not to the music, but something else, someplace else. A place
remembered, a field of grass where no one seemed to have been except for
the deer. And the memory is strengthened by the feeling of you, dancing in
my awkward arms.” ~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
I fall in love with words again every time I read Norman Maclean’s novella, A River Runs Through It. The words are poetic, the imagery is powerful, and the story is gentle yet piercing. Every time I read it, I find myself torn between laughing and crying.
I am also reminded of how much more meaning the words have because they were shared with a very special person in my life. Nine years ago today, my daughters and I lost that special person, and we have probably cycled through the stages of grief dozens of times by now. Since I tend to keep all of that close to my heart, it is often hard for others to understand what I am really feeling (I suspect it is the same for my daughters; we are so intuitive with each other).
Sometimes it is hard for me to share these feelings because I hesitate to make myself vulnerable by doing so. Somehow, though, I know I need to do so to continue my healing process, so I write in a private journal for my own sanity and well being.
Nobody knows how another feels. Every loss is different. We all grieve differently.
From A River Runs Through It:
As the heat mirages on the river in front of me danced with and through each other, I could feel patterns from my own life joining with them. It was here, while waiting for my brother, that I started this story, although, of course, at the time I did not know that stories of life are often more like rivers than books. But I knew a story had begun, perhaps long ago near the sound of water. And I sensed that ahead I would meet something that would never erode so there would be a sharp turn, deep circles, a deposit, and quietness.
The story of my life is like a river. Sometimes, I am in the sharp turns and am happy for the chaos and adventure. At others, I get lost in the deep circles and need something, someone, to hold on to. Then for long stretches, it is quiet. This is also the nature of grief. Ultimately, I always remember the loss. I’ll see or hear something silly, and I imagine how my dear one would have laughed his loud Ricky Ricardo laugh, slapped his leg, lit his pipe, and given me that mischievous look that only he could give.
One thing that Norman Maclean and I both know: you can love completely without complete understanding.
I was talking with a friend recently, and I was telling her about my recent post about “being in the moment.” She point-blank asked me, “What does that mean, exactly? If we are alive, aren’t we in the moment?” After she stopped laughing, we had a good conversation about how easy it is to keep a constant to-do list running through out thoughts even when we are trying to focus on one thing. We often obsessively focus on the past or the future rather than this moment.
In the classes I teach, I often use the example of driving somewhere and getting there but not really remembering anything about the specifics of the trip. I always get lots of nods from students as they acknowledge that they, too, often drive on a sort of auto-pilot. In this busy society, multitasking is a way of being for many of us. Expecting someone to put the phone away and to avoid checking emails and texts for even one hour is often out of the question.
However, we all have certain rituals that help us to stay grounded, to come back to the present moment and focus on the pleasures of being alive in the here and now.
Here are a few confirming rituals that help me to focus on the joys of the present moment:
Recently, I was visiting my doctor for my annual physical–he’s so cool–and we always have philosophical conversations. He reminded me that we can ground ourselves in-the-moment by simply pausing to take a deep breath and saying “thank you.” I captured such a moment in the photo above as I paused to appreciate the cherry blossom confetti on the sidewalk near my favorite book store.
What ordinary (or special) activities help you to reconnect with the fullness of your life? Please share in the comments!