Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Tai Chi

I like to think it's trendy of me, but it's not....

All the cool people are in yoga.

The thing I am discovering about Tai Chi is that it's kinda addicting.

I try to do the form, and find myself wanting to do it again, to fix it or tweak it, and then, to do it again because I like it, and again because it's fun and again because it's calming, and then I look and I've just been practicing for like 20 minutes.

It helps now that I have each move take a breath. And also, there aren't too many steps right now!

I you-tubed the form, but couldn't find the one we're learning, just pieces of it, but I"m SURE I'm doing the last bit wrong.

So not the point.
I enjoy, actually enjoy the movements. I can pretend I'm waaay more graceful than I am! And it looks cool.

I know it looks cool because my Bash thought it looked cool, and if an almost-ten-year-old boy thinks it looks cool, it must be cool.... right?

Then again, he is also the one who suggested we meditate together.

Sometimes, though, he just likes to think of Minecraft.

That's really all I have to say, which is funny, because this morning, I had about 12 things I was sure I wanted to write about!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday morning wake-up, analyze things

Life is hard.

We know this, but for some reason I woke up this morning with that in my head. I think it had something to do with 'life is hard, cut people a break' or something, though what the origin of the thought was I have no idea. Probably something to do with my frustration with not having enough time to do the things I want to do, because too much time is taken up with things I don't want. Then, add on top of that, frustration that other people have figured it out, why can't I?

I do have the time. It's the energy, I expend too much of it, and leave too little at the end of the day. I worked it all out, and it will work out, but sadly, I do have to get up an hour earlier in the morning to work out. No more luxurious after-work, sun-is-out runs for me.

This means I have to go run in the coldest time of day. It's essential, though, because while I can fumble out and start running at 5:15 a.m. because my head clears the minute I walk out the door and am assaulted by wind, cold and frost, I can not fumble out of bed and immediately write anything coherently. I need to warm up. My writing time has to be my running time, my running time has to be in the morning. Brrrrrr. Brrrrrr. Brrrrrrrr. I think I have enough willpower to do it though. I'm already remembering how beautiful the sunrise is, and how good I feel after I've been working out in the cold. I do enjoy cold weather, I love the feel of just a bit of arctic chill.

I need warmer running pants. And I need to find my hat. Probably a light thingie so I can see in the dark. I'm already cold just thinking about it.

This is coming:

Ice. Snow. Cold. How Pretty! If one has earmuffs, one can
enjoy all sorts of wintry-weather concoctions.

I also woke up with a short idea to work out, it's less than 1500 words, so it'll be fun to just crank it out. Love found and lost, in 1500 words or less. Kinda excited about it.

Also woke up with a greater understanding of my voice. It's been bothering me for a while. Not my actual voice, my writing voice. I've been doing a lot of writing mimicking other voices, which is natural and good when practicing, but now that I'm wanting to really reach deeper into my writing, I need my own voice. I have two stories that are good representations of my voice so I'll go back and re-read those to give me a head start.

I've also decided to focus on the story I'm writing that has a theme I really want to explore more. I started it at the same time as this chic lit story I'm working on.

See, I woke up today with only writer thoughts and writer problems on my mind. I believe that is progress! I have a bit of writing to do tonight besides the short short story, but it's article writing, which is a different mindset.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Be the cause of the change

I loved this little saying... Be the cause of the change you want to see.

I have a little addiction to inspirational sayings. I don't see them as empty and meaningless phrases. They are words with a message that have the power to affect those ready to fully hear the meaning.

There was a poster that I passed in a classroom every day when I was a lonely Middle School transplant from a familiar, larger, wilder city school to a tiny, emphasis on tiny, rural school where everyone knew everyone from birth. I was always a shy girl, so didn't make friends easily in an environment where no one needed new friends.

I don't remember the exact words on the poster, I remember it was one of those motivational-style posters.

It said something to the effect of 'to not choose is to choose,' or 'to not make a decision is to make a decision.' It was worded a bit better, but the point of it was, by doing nothing you're in essence choosing to do nothing, simply by not choosing to do something.

It planted a seed that grew into a determination to choose to do things even if  I was afraid or scared. I joined the field hockey team - and we lost EVERY game - but I loved playing. I made a concerted effort to learn to talk to people, reading those silly articles in silly pre-teen magazines on how to make friends (yes, some of us need instructional manuals). I continued to try to do things even if I was nervous, or not great at it, or not really the type of person to do those sorts of things - like the time I volunteered and joined some dance decorating committee in high school. I remember making a poster and something about balloons.

It was a saying that solidified my mother's advice to do whatever, no matter, to go for it, fiercely. She never said fiercely, but it was there in her eyes.

The act of living involves choices, and those choices include the ones we are not making, the ones we ignore as we go about our daily lives.

It's so easy to get up, make breakfast, get the kids ready for school/walk a dog, go to work to earn a paycheck, doing whatever all day long/staying home, cleaning the house, doing the laundry - doing the day to day, every day, all day. Come home, make dinner/find dinner/order dinner, watch a show because the day's exhausting and the kids have been fighting or you worked late and have no energy.

Those days, the day to day, there are no choices to be made, you can go through life day to day.
Without realizing it, you're not choosing. Because there's another way.

You could live each day. You can do all the things in the day to day, but rather than doing it on auto pilot, you can truly live the day, be in those moments, and by living those days, and being in those moments, you can see where choices can be made, where you have a bit of space to dream, a bit of space to plan, a bit of space to choose a life outside the day to day.

That quote, though I can't remember the exact words, completely justifies my little inspirational quote reading habit.  I don't just 'read' them though, I pull the message out of the quote, I own it, and I work toward it.

Be the cause of the change - what can I do to cause the change I want in my life today? Today, it's going to be staying up late to finish a writing assignment for a writer's workshop even though the house is a mess, the children are all riled up like werewolves on the eve of a full moon (checking, is it a full moon?) the teenager is needing to be carpooled and is already cranky and the husband disappeared and checked out before 6 p.m.

Everyone would understand if I didn't do any writing tonight, even I would cut myself a break, but then, today, I would not have been the cause of any of the changes I want in my life. So tonight, I will write a little bit, just a little bit, toward those assignments - I am owning that quote. I am today, being the cause of the change I want in my life.

I try to read an inspirational quote at least once a day, as a reminder. They are meant to guide, signs on the path to the life I want, reminders that though the road is long, I am headed in the right direction, this is not the place to stop.

This evening's inspirational quote:

“Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.”

— Albert Einstein

Monday, October 07, 2013

Running after the mind

I went on a run today - I know that this week will be hectic, and I can't run on my normal run day on Tuesday. I know if I don't make the time for these runs, I'll go loopy, per my earlier post about not letting myself get all frenzied and out of sorts.

Today, like I've done the past few runs, I tried to bring my mind along with me. 

This mostly entails my running after my mind, never quite catching it because while I run, I am grounded and present in a sense - my feet are hitting the pavement and the shock of it is absorbed in my body, and I am aware of every movement, I am aware I am running. My mind, a piece of it, however, isn't always with the rest of me. I have enough of the mind to be attentive to my motion and my running, but the rest of it is just so far away, speeding off down paths I'm not interested in.

I try to bring it back, and sometimes I am successful, but I don't achieve anything much. Mostly, it's a conscious effort to make my mind be with its body. While I'm running on the pavement, this is what my mind does:

Running running running oh that was a chill wind. Oh I ordered those new running pants. How cool that'll be. It'll be cold. I'll need a face mask this year maybe... Maybe I can run... oh look the water is going down the channel I wonder (randomly) for some reason how my friend is doing, the one I haven't seen in 20+ years, wouldn't it be cool if we got to meet up, we could do a yoga camp... wait now I'm daydreaming, I've never done a yoga camp. I haven't even participated in a yoga class in years. I wonder if I should do yoga again, how much? Why does it have to be hot yoga all the time? I own yoga pants! I wonder what you wear at Tai Chi, do yoga pants work, because I think I'm going to that class with my friend who actually lives in this state with me, and okay okay wait, focuuusss...

So then I take my mind and force it back to the moment, the literal moment: I am running on this path I've taken for the past six years... SIX YEARS.. I've been here six boys were so little I remember walking with them when they were in the red wagon...  wait back to now, okay the tree leaves are yellow. The creek is moving a bit fast. The wind has a chill. It's fall. It's gorgeous weather. The day is gorgeous. The water is murky but beautiful in it's own way. There's the temporary fencing with the white bags holding it in place because of the flood. Think about the impact of running. Huh. What'dya know, probably need to stretch my left leg a bit. My butt is hurting. How does that always happen? Wait, stop, your mind digresses.

Then it ran away again. As it always does, because my mind, man, it's a fickle thing my mind, and does not like staying with me, but I took the victory of having it attend to me for at least a little while on the run. Then I focused it again, just paying attention only to the moments - the houses I passed, their yards, the trees, the bridge, all of the things I see, feel, hear as they happen.

So while I can't say I ran with the breath, or ran mindfully, I can say that I ran after my mind, and occasionally I caught up with it and we ran together. 

I think if I keep at it, my mind and I will get to go on some pretty nice runs together.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

silverware, mindfulness and not so much..

I wanted to be deep today, and meaningful. I was going to write something mindful, too. Deep, meaningful, mindful, all present together... 

But I can't, because right now my husband is cackling, screaming and gleefully singing tribal victory war chants. Apparently both his 'home team' and his 'fantasy league' team are doing quite well. Mostly, the tribal bellowing is annoying me.

Except that's not really the reason i'm not being deep. It's just a reason to be annoyed and an excuse to not be mindful "I can't be present, the present is very loud and bellow-y."

 I'm not being meaningful or deep,  or even mindful, because I'm currently wondering about the fairies. I believe in fairies, but not the fairies that live in meadows and flowers and trees, they may exist, but those aren't the ones I'm talking about.  I don't know where the fairies I'm talking about live. I imagine they live in a tree designed by Crate and Barrel, or a butterdish-shaped land of silver and mis-matched china. I imagine the slight fairies dancing around all the spoons and tupperware bowls they have stolen from my home.

Just the spoons, today, though. I gave up on tupperware a while back.

I don't know where they are. The spoons, they've all disappeared. I never find them, either. I secretly suspected for the longest time my children took off with them, but I've been through their rooms, no spoons, or tupperware. No idea where they are. It must be the fairies. Like with socks, only instead of the sock-eating monster that lives in the vent, it's fairies. I don't question the sock-problem anymore, I'm fairly satisfied it's the monster in the vent.

Except I really need a spoon.

But this spoon issue, and the related tupperware bowl/container issue, has stopped my progress on the dishes, because it was while I was doing the dishes I realized all the spoons seem to be disappearing again, and that made me wonder about fairies that stole silverware, and reminded me I also have tupperware container fairies, and then I had to stop doing the dishes so I could consider what this all means and ask anyone, anyone at all... are the tupperware fairies a different type of fairy than the silverware fairies?

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Home alone... quick, write!

I'm not really home alone.
I'm home because my boy isn't feeling well, but since he's not feeling well, he's in his room doing what boys who don't feel well do, playing quietly in his imagination.

I'm home, so I'm going to take the time today to sneak some writing in. Here's the hard part though, all I really want to do, every day, is write. I would rather be here, at my desk with my non-ergonomic keyboard, in the quiet of my home, and write. Write my books. Write essays. Write articles. It's really the world that suits me. I've done it before, when I was in Washington, juggling a degree, raising preschoolers and writing my first book, so I know I can be home and get the work done.

And it's totally in my three-year-plan to achieve this type of life.
It's just, every now and again, when I get a glimpse and taste of the life  I want, oh man, I really just want it now... but patience, I know. Doing this while earning an income is important. I need that steady paycheck right now... oh but I shall dreeeaammm....

And after I dream a bit, I'll write! I'm in two writers workshop courses, both of which so far, are going really well. The next one I take, depending no the course of this one, will be on fictional writing vs. nonfiction writing. The workshops are good because they are doing two very important things for me: 1) Helping me hone my skills and 2) Reminding me to stay on the path I'm on.

I am a writer. Before anything else and after everything else, that is who and what I am.