..to make the most of my winter.
Keep garedening. Pruning, tdying, weeding, raking, pottering - not leaving it all till spring.
Keep moving. The gardening eill help. It's all too easy for me to hibernate and barely move!
Travel (big plans afoot!)
Think up a really good word for 2020.
..things I plan to do this winter.
Do something I've never done before. No idea what yet!
Check out when the winter meteor showers are and put them on the calendar.
Donate surplus Christmassy things in good time.
Lie in the hammock and look at the Milky Way, even if only for a minute ot two!
Plan menus for visitors well in advance.
Is your list coming along?
Make at least one recipe from each of these books which I bought because I loved the titles and the images. Still do, but maybe I'll love the recipes too!
Go for a walk in the dark. Or on a bright moonlit night.
Find a sauna somewhere nice.
Make a north point in the snow.
Go to Scottish Ballet's production of The Snow Queen (tickets already purchased!)
Take a day 'off' to re-read Eowen Ivey's The Snow Child - preferably a snowy day. I have done this each year for several years now - food laid in, hot drinks, no housework, pausing every now and then to watch the snow fall...
To embrace the cold outside (great health bennefits I am told...)
To enjoy being snug inside - woodburner/candles/cushions and throws.
To eat great food and not put on weight. Quite a challenge.
To enjoy every minute of the run up to Christmas and totally ignore the hype.
I plan to make a list of twenty things......
...put off asking for help even when you know you really need it?
And then finally ask and find it is freely given and wasn't a big deal?
We think we ought to do everything ourselves, don't want to be a nuisance or a burden, are afraid of looking foolish because we don't know how to do something, or we dread being told no and then we might die of embarassment. Somehow it is very hard to say the simple words Would you help me with this. (For some weird reason I can remember how to say it in Swedish but find it sometimes almost impossible to say in my own language.)
I have an eye condition which means that in certain light I don't see very well and I have had to learn to speak up and ask for help on many occasions. I have found that people love to help. I have never been refused help when I have asked for it (and I do know that no-one actually dies of embarassment!)
So I turn things around in my head and ask myself If someone asked me to do this would I think they ought to do it themselves, or they are a nuisance or stupid? In all likelihood I would think they must have a reason for asking and I'd probably be happy to help if I could.
There's also perhaps the idea that to ask for help is to show weakness but knowing what courage it sometimes takes I prefer to think it shows strength to be able to ask for what I need.
What do you think?
First snow on the tops means it's time for the orange and cinnamon candle. Love it.
The click point is a phrase from Marie Kondo, meaning the point at which, in your tidying and clearing. things are just right.
I can recognise my click point in different aspects of my life and know what it takes to get there and just how far I can stray from it without feeling that it has gone forever!
In the house it's when it is just clean enough, just orderly enough - not perfect (that way madness lies) but just right.
A bit Goldilocks - not too clean, not too dirty, not too messy, not too ordered, not too little stuff, not too much. With helpful routines (who would have thought I would love routines? Thank you Fly Lady!) I can be content with how things are in my home.
Everyone has their own click point.
Do you recognise yours?
In my body I know when I have good energy, when I am eating well - just enough, mostly good things, when I am moving enough, when I am getting enough rest. In my mind the click point is when I am not too stressed or anxious, but in the flow (another great phrase) and moving easily through my days.
All this takes attention and experimentation....and time. That's what me time is for me - there's another phrase! - taking time to figure out what's best for me and seeing that I do it. And knowing that what is best for me is in all probability best for those around me too.
It's a clear frosty morning and what will be best for me now is to take a walk down to the shore before breakfast and take some photographs to share with you later.
Have a great day!
Sitting on the porch with a snuggly soft blanket and a cup of hot chocolate yesterday.
I reached for the old threadbare travel rug as it was a bit chilly to sit out, but felt the thickness and softness of this one under my hand - it was on top of the other in the cupboard. It seemed ridiculous to use this lovely bedroom blanket outside but I took it anyway, and found myself making hot chocolate instead of coffee.
The experience of sitting there was such a delight that I began wondering about my attidutde to self indulgence. Pampering was not a word in my vocabulary growing up. We were brought up to be hardy! I can remember as a very young child my Dad rubbing me down with a hard towel after swimming (or I should say being in tthe chilly water - I couldn't swim) and telling me it was good for me.
I had loving parents and we were never treated harshly, but we were not indulged either!
Maybe this is why it feels special.
So all this gorgeous 'hygge and the candles and cushions and throws and taking photographs of it all don't come naturally. I make a conscious decision to do these things in the knowledge that the small 'indulgences' and lovely photographs help me through the hard times. They don't make me soft, they make me strong. They make me grateful.
Snuggled on the porch for half and hour with the sun on my face, some gardening done (I have to 'earn' it of course!), listening to the robin and the wren, watching the light and the shadows change...
I can;t think of a reason.
..but not in a good way!
Travelling a lot on public transport and having quite a sensitive nose, I feel assailed and almost overcome sometimes with the smells of all the chemicals we put on our bodies -
soap, bodywash, shampoo, conditioner, hair food (!? have just spotted an ad for this), hair spray, body spray, foot spray, aftershave, deodorant, perfume, make up, moisturiser, toothpaste, breath freshener, mouth wash, washing powder, fabric conditioner, dry cleaning fluids.....
I want to shout 'People! You do know that all this goes into your bloodstream don't you?'
But I don't.
Some pollution is self inflicted!
This morning when I came down to the sitting room the combined smells of lilies and quince were enchanting...
I am still enjoying EatTo Beat Disease (see this post) but it is such a tome that
I went through the index and listed all the foods recommended to help my eye condition (macular degeneration) and put the list in my purse to refer to when I am shopping.
Instead of listening to the news I put on some Mozart.
I photographed these flowers at the University of Glasgow last week and wore my winter coat for the first time today.
I loved hearing about what you are up to and what you are mad (in a good way) about.
Continuing Life Lessons From Phoebe.
Lesson nine : play every day.
Never ignore a ball that comes your way.
And if all else fails just run fast all around the house, hurtle up and down the stairs, dive on and off the furniture leaping in the air and round and round in circles.
At least once a day, more if you feel like it.
Lesson ten : Just be yourself. This is maybe the best lesson of all. Phoebe is never anthing but just Phoebe.
Shall we just be ourselves and be content?
We are enough.
At least for today.
I am trying for a new take on Autumn (season of mists and melancholy for me).
OK I contradict myself! I said I love all the seasons but let's just say Autumn is my least favourite though I do find things in it to love..
Looking up Autumn on Wikipedia I found this rather good piece on Associations.
I chanced on this site and enjoyed My Autumn Happiness List
I will make one of my own.
I will try to take photographs about Autumn which don't involve 'feuilles mortes' no matter how beautiful they are.
It seemed a good idea to listen to the song and I almost lost the will to live (only kidding!).
Yesterday's photograph showed decay but I felt there was also strength and endurarnce in it. I am looking for a feeling of resilience. As well as dead leaves falling to earth there are also seeds with their promise of new life.
Another association which I like is that of a new term and learning something new. I've not decided yet what that will be ...
Instead of buying them a little at a time, I will stock up fully with candles and logs in preparedness for winter. I think just looking at my stash will be very satisfying. There may be some foodstuffs I can hoard in the same way. There are lots of brambles on my path to the shore...
I can also get some good preparations for winter and spring done in the garden. I want autumn to feel active and strong and probably pretty busy! I did think at one point I'd just like to skip it and go straight to winter but I guess that's not really an option!
Will you make an Autumn Happiness List too? (And do you know any cheerful songs about Autumn?)
Written, pen on paper, early this morning....
By the real world people often mean the world of politics and business and the high drama of the media world but taken literally, my real world right now is this....
Woman sitting writing at an open window in the early morning. Blue sky thin high clouds.
Sound of one pigeon in the forest and the click of the heater under the desk warming up. Taste of tea - the first cup of the morning. Smell? Of cool clean air coming off the forest and the sea loch. I feel the softness of my dressing gown and the warmth of my feet on the wooden floorboards. I am touching the smooth glass of the desk top and holding a light pen that fits my fingers nicely.
This is my real world.
I will engage with the media world again later today. I've been both fascinated and appalled by the current political theatricals, but I am anchoring my deeper self in this real world which is unique to me, and precious.
How do you anchor yourself in turbulent times?
First choppy passenger ferry crossing of the season yesterday and I got seasick! Nauseous and earache which hasn't quite gone away nearly 24 hours later.
So, how was your summer? (Forgive me if you are reading in the southern hemisphere - it must be a bit annoying!).
I wrote about designing my summer in this post. Did you do lots of exploring Julia? And I know Cath got to the artist's Open Garden and was planning on working on her dreamer/creative side - was that fun? Lucille was 'bowling along' listenening to Gretchen Rubin until the video froze - I have a feeling from your latest post that your summer might have been like that too Lucille!
I have been scrolling through the blog to remind myself how my summer went. It's wonderful to have this record - one of the joys of blogging!
I did have a sociable summer. A Midsummer Party with weather good enough to barbecue on the beach, and I met up with friends in the city and had several friends to stay. That was lovely but on the whole the weather wasn't! A lot of rainy days, and quite a few cold ones. I rarely went far without and extra layer and an umbrella in case....For a long spell we seemed to have alternate good and not-so-good days and I didn't eat outside as much as usual, or have as much time in the hammock as I'd hoped for, I didn't have one picnic and only once paddled! It was significant that my one summer purchase was a scarf.
There were sunny warm days and some of my favourite afternoons were sitting on the doorstep. There were some beautiful evenings, spectacular dawns, a goodly number of G&T's on the porch and some magical moments in the garden when the light and beauty took my breath away.
Do you have any special memories of this summer?
..and in spite of rain all day today!
in yesterday's warm sunshine the hedges, grass, path to the shore and two of the meadow areas got cut at last.
Congratulations to Grace who has completed the 95 mile West Highland Way here in Scotland. I am meeting her on Monday to hear all about it!
Angela and Swissrose who live in different parts of Switzerland met for coffee and sent me a happy photo. Both bloggers and commenters here, they met through this blog. Made me smile all day - thank you both! (Angela I couldn't find a link to your old blog but if you'd like to link us to it could you do so in the comments?)
Lynne has opened registration for her new course on Choosing the Poetic Life, with the enticing title Catch The Whispers. Read about it here.
The Scottish Sculpture Park at Colintraive on Argyll's Secret Coast is well worth a visit for it's stunning setting and intruiging sculptures.
More about the Sculpture Park tomorrow...
Marianne Williamson (see yesterday's post) suggests that the kind of inner work many of us do along the lines of self developmen/awareness/care should not stop at ourselves but serve the wider community.
A new kind of politician? A new kindof economy? I am interested in what is new.
I wonder what you think of this interpretation of the digital age?
Have you come across any interesting new ideas of how the future might look?
And do you struggle to find a balance between your inner world and the outer world?
..of Heather and all the other people who so generously donate blood in this country.
It's a cheerful place in the city centre, sparkling clean and friendly, with a notice as we enter telling us that three teaspoons of blood can save the life of a premature baby. Imagine.
I am under the required weight for donating blood (I can only suppose they think I need it more than they do!) but I do carry an organ donor card...
JUST GET IT DONE week.
I'm a great fan of the baby steps approach and treating myself gently, but I am also a procrastinator (first class) and there are things which I ought to do....or I should say ought to have done days, weeks, even years ago! They nag at me, sometimes barely a whisper, sometims very loudly and still I put them off.
I loved my sister's story of cleaning every inch of her vacuum cleaner rather than sit down and write the almost overdue essay. Maybe it runs in the family I am thinking now as I write this blog post rather than make the tricky phone call. A fine excuse!
Time for a more radical approach I thought, when I browsed a book called Hell Week in Waterstones bookstore. I could hear Wim Hof's voice saying Give it all you've got! (I'd love to know if any of you tried his breathing method and found it useful. I do it every morning now and it has been instrumental in giving me the energy to do JGID week.) I also watched the Wimbledon finals and marvelled at the discipline and commitment of the players. Other voices chimed in. Face It Life Is Hard! When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going! You Can Do This! Feel The Fear And Look It In The Eye!
I'm half way through and it is hard. I am pushing myself. I have got a lot done (and feel as if I have spent hours navigating poorly designed websites and listening to 'Your call is very important to us, please hold....') I am determined. It's only a week after all. And the reward will be the freedom from that nagging voice and a day out without it's presence. (Edinburgh I think..)
A variant on my title - J*DI. jUST (insert the first letter of your preferred expletive!) DO IT.
Are you one of those people who just do it without the carrots and sticks that some of us need?
On a gentler note here is a piece about wild flowers in public spaces here in uk (though I think Lady Bird johnson campaigned for such approaches on US highways many decades ago).
..hard to say. But so present in all our lives.
Grief and grieving. Books have been written. I've read a few. Counselling is probably available. I've not done that.
I'm sharing here because this is something which is so present in my life. The pretty side of things I mostly show here is a way of balancing the grief and reminding myself that so much is still good and beautiful in my life. Death affects all of us and I think resilience and coping strategies could be talked about more. (The balance between privacy and public sharing is another kind of a balancing act that I think about a lot!)
For me now most ordinary days are fine. I have a lovely life: family, friends, home and garden, many interests and much to be grateful for. It's the extremes that floor me. The unexpected good news, the beautiful evening, a wonderful piece of music. When I got the good news about my eyes a little while ago I found myself standing in the middle of the garden next day with sudden tears just streaming down my face. When I got the news of a friend's serous illness I just wanted to lean against Barry. No words would be needed.
Things which helped? Reading about a bereaved child child who said 'Tears let the sad out'. The comment (from a reader here - (thank you Damsonlily) that you don't get over loss, but learn to live alongside it, and a neighbour told me that the spaces between the hardest times would get longer - she was right. The kindness of my blog friends has been a marvel.
I got very very curious about how my body could produce so many tears,,,,
It's no-one's favourite subject, and I mention it but rarely, but if you would like to share what you found helpful after a bereavement I, and many others, would be both touched and grateful.
Next post..JGID Week.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)