Yesteday I got an urgent email from a garden centre telling me it was my last chance for priority booking for Father Christmas.
Sorry. I am only just able to contemplate the end of summer! Having beautiful weather too. Posting this under Simply Chill and Simply Laugh.
..by which I don't mean just lying in the hammock, though I plan to do a fair bit of that!
Some periods of lightness and ease (a phrase I still remember from reading The Ya-Ya Sisterhood decades ago).
In order to try and get that, at leasst some of thime I will take care not to commit to too many things this month, to leave room for some spontaneity.
I may skip the news altogether. If there is something I need to know it will find me.
I will try not to exhaust myself gardening as I did yesterday.
Light hearted books and beautiful music are not hard to achieve. I have just listened to Bill Paterson's Tales From The Back Green (a world I recognise) which made me laugh out loud, and walking round the garden early yesterday morning listening to a Beethoven cello sonata really loud on my headphones was absolutely thrilling.
Both wondrous and joyful. I may have danced a few steps...
I woke one morning recently and realised I had no actual appointments, I did not have to be anywhere at a certain time, in fact I had a fairly free day apart from my self imposed to-do lists and I thought How would it be if I just let the day unfold...
I can already hear some of you say Hah, chance would be a fine thing!
We are so goal-oriented and driven at times, don't you think? Even our 'time off' is often timetabled.
So, when did you last just let a day unfold? On holiday? When convalescing? Ever?
I gave muself the gift of the whole day. When the sun shone I went out, when it rained I came back in. I ate when I felt like it, I napped, I gardened a little, I cooked a little, I played some music, lit a fire, drank a lot of tea, watched the clouds, did a few light chores, paused every now and then to ask myslef What do I feel like doing now? And listened to my answer. It was so refreshing!
Can you gift yourself some time?
Time to just be rahter than do?
We judge each other all the time. It's what we do, and necessary for survival, but we are often expected to express an opinion when, it seems to me, we are in no position to judge and social media encourages us to be simplistic (thumbs up/thumbs down) on even complex issues.
Try, just for a day suspending judgement. Just let things be. Give yourself a break from it, from turning everything into an ethical dilemma for example. Or from judging yourself, perhaps harshly, as well as others. When I tried this I was quite shocked at how many of my thoughts were very judgemental indeed!
After a few hours of not judging I felt very free and relaxed, and since my private judgemental thoughts rarely if ever make any diffference in the real world it seemed like a very good idea to try it out more often.
What do you think?
I got the Christmas box out from under the eaves to retrieve the Advent calendar..
..if full of care we have noot time to stand and stare (W H Davies scroll down here ).
..is a strange place!
On the way to the city I listened to Rethink The World Order about the battle between liberal democracies and nationalist, populist autocracies, and a fascinating programme The Amazing Life of Olaudah
Equino which was both horrendous and heartening. Serious stuff after which the retail world seemed somewhat vacuous and meanngless.
On the way back Sibelius' Fourth Symphony, written when he had been diagnosed with a tumour on his throat, and described by the presenter as Sibelius 'clinging to cliffs and looking out on a landscape riven by despair'.
A mild altercation between the bus driver and a passenger ended with 'You are in the wrong, not me'.
I went home and watched grown men and women thwacking small balls at speeds of over one hundred miles per hour at each other accompanied by grunts, roars and what I can only describe as whinnying. They get paid thousands of pounds for this. I was riveted.
I went to bed feeling exhausted although I had barely exerted myslef, and, surprisingly, slept really well.
Bizarre, don't you think?
A sunny day (at last!), mowing the paths through the meadows and a snooze in the hammock resotred my equiliibrium,
and a British player through to the semi-finals of Wimbledon was cheering news :-)
You can always tell a blogger - they photograph their food before they eat it!
It's a wonderful and relaxing treat to have such food put down in frnt of you. Leisurely breakfasts and healthy lunches..
Salads and juices with 7, 8, 9 ingredients.
A restaurant on the beach as the sun set - torches lit the beach after dark and we waded into the still warm sea.
Desserts included the best affogato ever!
All making me rethink my cooking at home..
..for five minutes or a fortnight, with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, in a hammock, playing with a cat or watching wildlife, a bath by candlelight, having a nap...what are your favoutie ways to chill?
In my gentle reviiew of the ctegories of the blog I will skip Simply Bin It for now and look at Simply Chill.
What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?
And which month if not June is the best time to make time to Simply Chill?
Depending on what device you are using, you will find this category on the side bar, or you may have to scroll down a long way...
I hope you have time for a browse of this quite large category. Don't miss this one (do watch full screen) It's from a lovely television progranne from a few years ago. Tell me what you think of it!
..so we went for a walk up Puck's Glen. Very dramatic and blissfully cool.
..should be hung above every dentist's chair in the country! Would you agree?
Did you find perfection? (See yesteday's post.)
If you can't spot it around you, create it. Listen to the perfect music for this day or this moment, make the perfect lunch or sandwich, find that perfect birthday card or present for someoone.
Here is my pocket of perfection for today. I find it helps me keep a balanced view of things and reduce anxiety. What use are we to anyone after all if we are overwhelmed and stressed?
..except that it's only 371 days till next Christmas!
The damp chilly greenhouse may have been Covid-safe, but I now have a horrible cold.
There are times when it's wise just to give in and retire to bed.
Take care (especially if eating outside!)
...upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Or so the old song goes. Everything your heart desires will come to you.
I listened to twelve versions of the song and I couldn't find one I liked enough to share. Now I wish I could get it out of my head! I have been humming it, singing it and whistling it for days.
So, I will go for the real thing. You know how I like the real thing. I am watching the weather waiting for the first starry night, when I will wrap up warm and sit on the porch with a drink and choose which wondrous star to wish on.
But the wish of course, must be secret, or it won't come true..
As you know I acsolutely adore the smell of quince. I got to wondering why I had such a visceral response to this scent and sat thinking about it this warm morning recently, when the air was full of the delicious perfume.
I picked up a fruit, put it to my nose and inhaled deeply and it came to me - it smells like a new baby!! A freshly washed new baby. If you have ever known the delight of holding a new baby on your shoulder and putting your face into it's sweet neck....that's the feeling that comes over me when I smell this smell.
Are there particular smells which affect you strongly? And do you know why?
Sometimes I find things, but more often than not things find me.
Here are some of the things that found me today about the pandemic and reactions to it other than those of politicians and economists...
(Because of the random nature of this phenomenon I regret can't always credit them.)
We must stay calm and centred so that we don't contrubute to the fear and anxiety.
Two separate lines from a poem by South African Anton Taylor:
The sun rises each day and so do the numbers
We must choose: I or Us
We choose Us
I think it was Jack Kornfield's wife who said that when you see the empty stadium or theatre what you are seeing is love in action - we are protecting people we will never meet - 'look into the emptiness and marvel at all that love'.
Ask if the pandemic is happening to us or for us.
This could be the time to do that inner work.
We all have forgiveness to do for our hearts to be free.
Dolly Parton has written a song about it one line of which is:
If the virus don't kill us, the stay-at-home will!
Shall we just keep calm and carry on?
Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore is a new programme on BBC 4 with truly wonderful nature photography. The very best thing about it is not being told that all the fabulous plants and animals are facing imminent extinction and that it's all our fault!!
There is very little commentary - we are allowed to gaze in wonder and amazement....
Here is a short sample from YouTube..just three minutes but the programme is 30 minutes long and late in the evening. Perfect before bed.
Now tell me that didn't slow you down!
It seems you have to sign up for emails from Marie Kondo at konmarie.com to get this little meditation video. I can't link to it directly. I do find the emails attractive and short and not too frequent, so you might like to give it a try?
I will keep this on my phone to use anywhere, anytime I need two minutes to chill.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)