It's been a busy couple of weeks - and so, in the spirit of keeping on - today I am keeping it simple. It started off with work deadlines, which went right into our annual "ski fest" and all the pandemonium that comes with 13 adults, one active toddler, and 2 dogs spending a weekend together. A quick trip to NYC to attend a workshop and then a little weekend babysitting. For my February photo challenge, I chose "motion" - knowing that I would be spending a few days with this little cutie made it an easy choice. Halfway through the month, I'm still learning and will keep it for another post. (photo credit for the above photo goes to Greg - I just love this shot) Auntie Maggie was excited to come help with babysitting - and thinking I might capture a cozy a bedtime story scene, this little attention hound demanded to be the star of the show. Babysitting Ella was a joy - although I think that her animated conversation with mommy and daddy on this television remote went something like, "when are you coming to get me?" My art journal has not been completely neglected. While there continues to be a major disconnect between what I envision and what actually lands on my page - ummm yeah, well, it's all about the process. I was all set to start 2019 with the word "explore", but a simple writing exercise led me to the word "soul" - so, yes, I am going with that. And with that - I am elated to have today off. Chessie and I will be taking it easy (and doing laundry - lots of laundry...). No ponderings for today - which, as I am sure you all know, does not mean I am not pondering... I hope you have a wonderful day! Do you choose a word to guide you through the year?
Whew - I am so thankful to have made it through last week. It was one of those crazy, busy put-your-head-down-and-get-it-done kind of weeks. This is the norm for this time of year - I always know it's coming - and yet... and yet.. One morning, as my commuter train pulled into Boston, I pondered - "hmmm, which subway line do I want to take to my office, this morning? orange or green?..." and then came to the conclusion - "NONE - I am NOT getting on the subway, this morning. I can't, I just can't." (Except it wasn't nearly as desperate as I am making it sound). And that was one of my all time best decisions. I walked the three miles to my office - - which took me through the Boston Public Garden - past the the Swan Boats waiting, ready for the tourists that would undoubtedly come an go on this beautiful spring day - past the tulip gardens in full bloom. - through the Back Bay neighborhood and Copley Square, where old meets new and the city comes alive with the start of a new work day. I arrived at my office - amazingly, not much later than usual - clear-headed and ready to start my day. So - as I dashed off one last report on Friday afternoon, receiving the much hoped for email "looks good" - my response back - "awesome - I've got to run" and that is just what I did - getting the heck out of Dodge - escaping the hustle and bustle - heading to Away - where a long, stressful week came to a beautiful end. Got to love it when that happens. So, yeah - only two, maybe three more weeks of put-your-head-down-and-get-it-done-maybe-I-should-just-bring-a-sleeping-bag-to-the-office kind of work ahead, and then... and then... deep breath. It's good to have something to look forward to! Sadly, as I uploaded these photos to my computer, I came to the realization that it is time to retire my once trusty point-and-shoot. I keep it tucked in my bag - always, finding my big girl camera too heavy to carry to work everyday. Sigh. I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!
Otherwise known as "Finding Balance - Part 3" which seems to have hijacked my life - are you tired of this topic, yet? As you have undoubtedly surmised, I'm not entirely happy at work. I need to remind myself, though, that I am not entirely unhappy, either. And while I am feeling - well - a little out of balance, I have taken a detour from my normal fiction reading into the world of non-fiction - looking for guidance - or inspiration, really. I am borrowing and buying as many books on "minimalism" as I can find. I know - the irony... Anyway, before I tackle my work-life balance problem (is it a problem? - hmmmm- I probably have a few things to work out) the part of me that needs to feel in control is taking control of whatever little pieces I can grasp - starting with my closet. grasping balance through my closet Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo? I don't exactly embrace everything she suggests, but I am planning to take the plunge - clothes first. The criteria for choosing what to keep and what to eliminate is whether or not the item "brings joy". Ummmm, so, clothes don't really bring me joy. What worked for me, though, was asking myself the question "how does this make me feel?" I discarded anything where the honest answer was "lousy" or "uncomfortable" - including a few items that I wear regularly. Why continue to wear something that makes me feel bad? So - this process wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be. I sorted and discarded and even started looking at some of my clothes differently. I am no where near a ten-piece or even a capsule wardrobe. But just getting started feels like a refreshing change. Minimalism? So, Greg is pretty happy about the whole closet cleaning thing (my closet, that is) - but a little concerned over my interest in minimalism: Greg: I'm not sure that I'm on board with this minimalist thing Me: Don't worry - if it brings you joy, you get to keep it Greg: Well, my radio brings me joy, and my train brings me joy, those pictures bring me joy, and my TV brings me joy... Me: What? - your CDs bring you joy? - when is the last time you listened to them? Greg: Not my CDs - my TV Me: We're not getting rid of the TV (sheesh) Greg: Well, if we get rid of the CDs, what will we put on that shelf? Me: Empty shelves are okay... Yikes... So, yes, this is going to be a long process. According to the book, my next step should be books - and this is one area where Marie Kondo and I will have to agree to disagree.…
"Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?" Mary Oliver One thing leads to another, and another, and another - and my quest for balance continues. It all began with my Monday morning dread. Although, perhaps "dread" is too strong a word - "apprehension", "trepidation" - maybe. It all began with my Monday morning trepidation which led to thinking about balance, which led to TED talks, which led to the ten-item wardrobe, and on to reading about minimalism, and tidying and new blogs and new books - my mind is a jumble of a million thoughts. But I will save most of this for another day. Last weekend, Greg and I began a minor home improvement project at Away. This project became a necessity when we noticed one of our kitchen cabinets separating from the wall. The need to do something short of a kitchen remodel, which is not in the cards - yet - adds to my already scattered thoughts. Cautiously prying the cabinet from the wall - hoping the wall doesn't follow: Greg: When you and Chessie were out walking, did you notice that our neighbors extended the road to the top of the mountain? Me: Hmmmm, What? Why? - but that is crazy! Won't it be hard to get up there in the winter? Let's check it out tomorrow morning. And so, with the almost spring-like Vermont sun shining, we traipsed upward. We've climbed this way many times before - always forging our own path. This time, though, we followed the new road, carving through the forest, to a clearing. And there - I felt I was on top of the world. As I stood, gazing around me - breathe in, breathe out... The pine scented air like my own personal Christmas - its gift, tranquility - zen. And then I understood - sometimes what seem like the "crazy" thing to do, makes all the sense in the world. Books in my bag: Currently reading - Chasing Slow, by Erin Loechner and Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert - food for the soul
The other night, I was perusing Pinterest and stumbled upon TED Talks. Have you ever done this? For just about any topic you can imagine, there are short talks available. Exhausted from work, I spent most of an evening surfing and watching. So, when I found "Five TED Talks for when you're ready to change your life", I'm thinking - Yes please! And then, "11 Best TED Talks For When You Feel Like You're Burning Out" - hey, that's me. I continued clicking. I watched a man speak about taking a year off from work, and how he realized the importance of spending time with his family and not allowing corporations to set the definition of balance. How to Make Work-Life Balance Work. Another talk suggests that we shouldn't be seeking balance, but living off-balance on purpose. I came across an interesting talk explaining why some people don't have one true calling in life. So yeah, cool, I am a "mulitpotentialite"! I just need to figure out what to do with this little tidbit. Why some of us don't have one true calling And then, just for kicks, I watched a woman speak about the "ten-item wardrobe" - thinking to myself, yeah right... So, here's the thing - I truly enjoyed these short talks, but I'm pretty sure that I don't need to take a year off from work to understand what is most important to me. And while they weren't the "how-to" talks I thought I was looking for (like - how did that man manage to leave work for a year?), they lit a spark within me. As I am anticipating my work taking an ugly turn (I may be feeling overly pessimistic), that ever elusive "work-life balance" is rearing its ugly head again. And then - as a multipotentialite, how do I fit photography, yoga, cycling, blogging, and all the many, many things that I have yet to learn, into my current work-a-day life? So, no - I have no answers - yet - but these talks did get my thought process started. And then, awakening at 2 am, an idea came to me - the insight I seek is quite likely hidden somewhere in the notion of a ten-item wardrobe. Go figure. To be continued... ted.com - this is actually a pretty fun site to get lost in, whatever your interests may be. Do you have any hints or tricks for maintaining balance in your life? (photos from my archives - still waiting for Spring :-))