Now What?

I did not complete the January project as planned.  No real surprise there.  How many plans actually go forward perfectly without a hitch?

So, now what?  Should I continue with the idea? Should I back up and regroup?  Should I dump the plan?

I don’t know, yet.  I don’t want to think of it right now.  Perhaps that is my answer.  Nothing right now.  Just let it go for a couple of days.  Saturday has great potential as a day to think about things.  I will have time to ponder over what I am going to do next.

I will have time to figure out “what now”.  I am a little frustrated because I want to be doing something else.  I just don’t know what the “else” is supposed to be.

If the weather permits, time outside in the sun would be a great help.  I need time to look at the trees making patterns against the sky.  I reviewed my personal photos.  I surely love trees.

My “now what?” is to stop and look around.  Look up.  Keep looking up.

Trending

I have been noticing and reading about hygge.  It is trending in my web orbit on various sites.  As I read about it, I am not finding anything new to me.  The Danes are crediting with creating a way to survive the long, cold winters by doing certain things.

Here in Southeast Texas, long cold winters don’t happen.  However, we do have days strung together of damp, grey rain.  This morning is one.  Yesterday was one.

As long as I can remember, I have set myself to enjoy such days.  I have the curtain drawn back and the window open to hear the rain.  The lights are low.  A candle flickers.  My pillows are propping me up as I snuggle under my coverlets.  A cup of tea is steaming on the nightstand.  I have my journal at hand to scribble my thoughts.

I have spent time this morning thinking and planning.  Pondering where I want to go with the projects I am working through this month.  As an update, over the past week, I have hauled off some odds and ends to the charity shop.  I have added things to the costume box for our daughter’s theater.  I have dumped some projects.  I will be continuing to haul off the junk associated with those projects.

Additionally, I have determined to dump the mindset that tells me I must have everything on our place clean and orderly before I can actually feel happy, content or satisfied.  Several years ago, in an effort to fight off this very mindset, I wrote an exhaustive list of all the things necessary to achieve such a situation.  I actually included: no fire ants anywhere on the place.  We live on seven acres in Southeast Texas.  I included no fire ants.  Of course, it was one of those extreme exercises designed to show me how ridiculous are my thought processes.  In the quiet of this morning, I recalled that and laughed all over again.

What does that have to do with now?  I have some items on that very list that are not so ridiculous still holding sway over me.  I am determined to rewrite the tape that plays in my head.  “If this, then that” goes round and round.  If I could get this done, I could have that.  But, I am like the mule at the millstone going round in circles chasing the carrot that dangles on the line out in front of me.

Already I have significantly reduced the incoming flow of stuff.  I have unloaded things.  I am focusing on the things I really want to pursue.  Not pursuing them, yet. I am thinking about those things rather than the carrot dangling out there.

I am allowing myself to truly enjoy the art of doing nothing.  I am giving myself permission to be happy with being imperfect.  I am granting myself leave to embrace my oddities.  I was once described by a friend as one who marches to the beat of her own drummer.  I have tried so hard to seem normal.  To be less strange.  To not distance people with my weirdness.  I am giving myself permission to let it all go and see what stays.  See who stays.

This is a good trend to follow.  “To thine own self be true.”  What year did W.S. write that?  After 400 years, it is still a good trend to follow.

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The Donut Man

Sometimes writing this feels like the man in the old Dunkin Donuts commercial.  “Time to make the donuts…” as he drags out of bed well before the rest of the world of is awake.

I pull up my word document and begin typing.  I don’t know what will come out or where it will go.  That is the interesting part.  What am I thinking today?  What am I feeling?  The posts are definitely of the moment.  If I am having a bad time of it at the moment, the post is sad.  If I am having a good time of it at the moment, the post is happy.

I am feeling simply quiet.  Today was a holiday for me from work.  Texas Independence Day.  I have spent the weekend moving forward.  Friday, I picked up some novels at the used book store, a couple of movies on DVD at buy one get one free.  I replaced the quilts on our bed with new ones.  I read one of the books on Saturday.  We visited a new church on Sunday.  My wash is done up.  I have a menu plan working for the week.  My clothes outfits are planned for the work week.  The house is tidy.  Supper is cooked.  Dishes pending.

I would say I have had an orchid kind of weekend.  Not every weekend is full of outings and people.  I am very pleased with the things I have accomplished.  No.  I did not get it all done.  There are still some things I have not completed.  But, I feel rested and content.  Isn’t that a good thing for the end of a weekend?

I have made some plans to maintain forward motion.  I love to make lists.  I have made yet another list of simple things to remember to do when I am not moving forward.  Things like: assemble the next meal’s ingredients, lay out my clothes for the next day, read a book.  My 9 to 5 has enough challenge and stress.  I need simple things at home.

I hope starting March this way sets a pattern for the month.  I need space to rest and turn off my whirlwind thoughts.  I had a restful time.  The plan is to have a productive week at work and at home.  And naturally there is a plan B, C and D.  Not really.  I just try to remain flexible and adjust as the days flow.

I continue to work on ways to better care for him.  He is my priority.  It may not seem like it sometimes.  I try to look put together for him.  I try to cook better for him.  I try to keep up with my chores for him.  Clean clothes, clean dishes, a tidy home, groceries bought, meals cooked.  Yes. It is old-fashioned.  But, I have the time, talent, knowledge, and the heart’s desire to do it.  I do it for me as well.  But, I do it differently because of him.  I can’t quite explain how it is different than if it was just for me.  But it is.  Simply because I love him with all my heart.  I want him to have a long, happy, healthy life.  I will continue to do whatever I can to contribute to that life.

 

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Do NOT Give Up.

That is what I keep telling myself.  Do not give up the fight or give in to the darkness.  I have intentions.  I have desires.  I have wishes.  I am trying to make myself let go of the side of the pool and swim across the deep end.

What does that involve?  Letting some things go and focusing on the main things.  Focus.  That is the struggle.  If I focus on this thing, what happens to that thing?  I care about it, too.  I like too many things.  I want too many things.

I have for years read about simplifying and de-cluttering.  I have done a ton of work doing just that.  Even to look into my closets, most would be surprised at how little I really have in them.  None of my closets are packed.  They are fairly organized and tidy.  I have spent ages eliminating all sorts of things in my life.

The problem, as I said recently, may lie in the goals.  I have too many goals.  Too many things to distract me.  How do I get to the point of letting go of ideas?  I don’t have too much trouble letting go of things.  But, letting go of creative ideas is another struggle.

Even this weekend, I found some items for a project.  Spent a whole dollar at a yard sale on them.  It will take five or ten more dollars to have supplies to do the project.  How in the world do I get around to doing it?

Basic living seems to take up all of my time and energy.  And still I have not found a spot to allow myself to actually do some messy work.  I don’t have a work space.  I will set out some things and work a few hours.  Then, other things have to be done.  The work doesn’t continue.  The mess is in the way.  Back to the bins and closets it will go.

I am at a standstill.  No progress since last week.  I don’t know what to do or how to get through this block.  The basic steps would be get off the computer.  Get out the tools and supplies for one project.  Set up on the dining table.  Sit down and work.  Whoops.  My mind just raced off to worry about not getting the project completed and having to leave the mess out for a day or two.

I do believe I am ridiculous in my way of thinking.  I do believe there is a deeper issue.  I do believe I may break through to the real issue someday.  Therein lies the fear.  What if the real issue is something I cannot deal with?  What if it is too deep and too painful to deal with?  What if I go over the edge?  Into that black chasm?

My aunt asked me what I do to overcome the depression.  Riding it out.  Knowing it will pass.  It always does.  He holds on to me until I can hold on again.  I write a lot that is never read by others.  The darkest goes into the fire.  The darkness is less dark than in years past.  I do not use medication.

I do not lose touch with reality.  I know that is the greatest fear.  I have looked insanity in the eyes and called him Daddy.  He could not be reached in that dark place.  I associate creative pursuit with an unstable mind.  If I don’t get carried away with creativity, I won’t get carried away.

Understanding this behemoth does not slay the dragon.  I have not yet found the sword that will do the task.  It takes more than identifying and understanding and defining the problem to solve it.  A plan of action, resources to implement the plan, a time line to follow for the plan are not enough either.

There is another element needed.  Courage.  Daring.  Audacity. What it is called doesn’t matter.  Guts to jump off the high dive.  Guts to jump off the river bank.  What is the worst thing that could happen?  Yes, all of those things.  Look them in the eye and jump.  Plunge into the icy cold unknown.  Someone is waiting to reach out and pull me back in if the struggle is too much.  He has been doing so for more than thirty years.  When I am in too deep, he calls upon his Friend to help.

Maybe this week, I will have the audacity…………………….

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Texas Summer

We had Texas Spring for about an hour the other day.  The morning was fresh and clean feeling.  The birds were singing, the scent of flowers wafted, the breeze was light, the sun gentle.  Yes, about an hour the other day, it was spring.

Texas Summer, with its heat, has arrived.  It actually was late coming this year. The calendar still says April, but the weather says early summer. Damp, stifling, thick hot air.  The world is a steam bath.  Suffocating, deadly. 

I love it!  Really.  Not joking at all.  I love my Southeast Texas summers. 

Sunshine, thunderstorms, trips to the river to laze on the banks and cool off in the deep, clear waters. 

Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons grown just out the back door.  Banana trees reaching up to provide shade on the porch just in time for the hottest days. 

Making pickles.  Watching fireflies.  Firing up the pit for barbecue.  Fish fries, fireworks, flags waving. 

When I was a kid, living in this same house, we did not turn on the air conditioner.  We used an attic fan to draw air in from outside.  Mother would cover the arch from the living room to the rest of the house with a king size sheet and run a window unit in the evenings while we watched one of the two television stations we received.  Musical/comedy variety shows, family dramas, detective shows. 

At 6:15 p.m., the house was quiet to see the local weather forecast.  Ssshhhhh……the weather is on…….. In summer, so near the Gulf, plus a sailor father, the hurricane season was as critical as the football season.  No longer any sailors with us, but the habit lingers.  And the hurricanes still come. 

The roads were white sand.  With the baking of the sun and the grinding of car tires, the sand would become like the finest talc and coat my bare feet and legs by the end of a day of bike riding.  There were ever flowing artesian fed pipes of cold water scattered at the park on the lake.  Refreshment.  No need to go home for a drink.  The white sand and the artesian wells have fallen prey to “progress”.

Summers.  Memories.  Already we are planning our summer adventures.  The river beckons.  The heat reminds us of rope swings and muddy banks.  Sand bars and blow up floats.  Wade fishing before the other boats arrive to crowd the shore. 

I love my Southeast Texas Summers……………

 

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Orchiding

He came in from fishing and over supper asked if I had been “orchiding”.  I was puzzled for a moment.  Then, I remembered that is what he has dubbed my pursuit of personal growth and creativity.  He asked if I had painted and I replied no.  I was still feeling stalled.  I reflected on my day.  I made some discoveries.

What had I done all day?  I cried some.  I wrote down some questions.  I identified some of the myths I believe.  For me they are truths right now, but I want to strike down the myths because they are harmful rather than examples for which to aspire.  Remember that whatever one believes is the truth for them.

I had also spent time scrubbing the stove top.  It was long overdue.  Yes.  Even cleaning house can be considered “orchiding” when it relieves my tension and improves my immediate environment.

I rearranged the clothes in my closet in anticipation of warmer weather.  I recently explained to a friend that I no longer complain about the weather.  The weather is the business of God.  Who am I to complain about His business?  But, I still must prepare to dress for it.  I have tried to get my clothes situated to make easier dressing.  I wear jeans and boots or sandals to work.  I have collected men’s shirts from a resale shop that I enjoy wearing.  I like to add scarves and necklaces to soften my appearance.  Getting ready for spring counts for me, too, as “orchiding”.

I ironed embroidery stencils onto two of those shirts.

I worked out the next part of my flower trio paintings.  I figured out the next step, but I have not yet applied the paint.

I stopped at the cemetery and captured some images of the camellia and its blooms.

So, the answer is yes.  I did do some “orchiding”.  It is not always just about being at the easel or desk working directly on arts and crafts.  It is also taking time to think and to feel and to dream.   I will continually need to remind myself of this.  I appreciate his asking the question.

One of my favorite things:

This is the gravesite of my great grandparents.  Her name was Camilla.  Hence, the camellia over her resting place.