Honoring Interior Seasons

Spring by dareppi from Flickr Creative Commons

Spring by dareppi from Flickr Creative Commons

The spring equinox is this week for about half the world; new life is rising and it’s time to plant seeds literally and metaphorically.

The season inside of us doesn’t always coincide with the season in nature. My life works better when I honor my interior season however I can, whether it’s more physical rest being needed, an emotional retreat from the world or less focus on technological communication and more on energetic connection.

Of course we need to be responsible for our lives but sometimes I opt for a less popular way of being in order to honor an interior season.

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The Master Cat by h.koppdelaney from Flickr Creative Commons

The Master Cat by h.koppdelaney from Flickr Creative Commons

Creativity and inspiration, like many things in life, arrives in waves and cycles. Seeing that truth as a problem when the wave is out or the cycle is quiet has never been helpful to my peace of mind. This week, there hasn’t been any inner urging to post about a particular subject and I was tempted to skip a week. It happens to bloggers all the time. Who would ever notice?

Different thoughts went through my mind like butterflies. Blogging once a week is a practice that is serving me well; if I skipped a week would I ever return? Doing things mindlessly, like an automaton, isn’t so good–yet, it didn’t seem as though my habit is quite that bad. There’s no need to compare any of my posts with any other, whether mine or another bloggers.

I decided to take extra care with brunch and not think about it. It can be pleasant to rest and not have something calling to be expressed. Showing up here is a healthy practice and contributes to my feeling that all is well and it doesn’t have to be a bigger deal than it actually is.

I found a great picture that demonstrates how I’m choosing to approach this lull in what I wish to blog about. And like a cat, I might spring into action when there is something to spark my interest again.

A Taste of What Can Make the Soul Sing

Edgar Allen Poe's room; attribution to Futurilla; Flickr creative commons

Edgar Allen Poe’s room; attribution to Futurilla; Flickr creative commons

There are many reasons, known and unknown, why we choose what to pursue in life. Much of my focus has arisen from necessity and responsibility; there were limitations as to what was available to me and other people have had a tremendous influence as well.

Some things are so familiar, like water for a fish; now I’m talking about things that make one’s soul sing. For me that has been my love of old architecture. No one ever talked about architecture when I was growing up in an area where everything looked ugly to me. The first time I went to an art museum on a school trip, I loved the building as well as the Monets and other art. In school I wasn’t good at math, logic and whatever sort of things one needs to be good at to become an architect. The idea never crossed my mind for decades.

I’ve always been tuned in to a sort of hierarchy of what society considers most important; lovely buildings didn’t seem to be it. I recall the emotional impact of watching ugly housing projects implode on television and I enjoyed daydreaming about rehabilitating interiors. When I realized my love and looked into schooling, I became aware that much of building now is about boring stuff like codes and laws which ruins it all for me, even if the study were to be within my reach. I tend to think I built bridges and buildings in ancient times–that is the feeling I get.

Anyway, it was on my radar that people were fixing up houses and most of it seemed to be too much about business. It just made me feel kind of sad as I went about caring for the things in my life that made practical sense. So it was with delight that I noticed something on Pinterest about the Bronson Pinchot Project. He’s fixing up old homes in Pennsylvania and it’s being filmed for television. I honestly had never heard of him as an actor, although he’s famous, and I don’t have access to HGTV or the diy network. I very much enjoyed watching some Youtube videos and then looked through the confusing websites until I found this page where some of the episodes are available as of now.

I have different taste in decor than Mr Pinchot but if I could be an astronaut or a rock star or such, I’d likely do something similar to what he’s doing. Recently had an epiphany about all this. (I might have had it before and simply denied it.) I love to draw but I love real flowers and animals so much better than drawing them. Drawing fantasy architecture or simply utilizing classical details in drawings would be something I could really enjoy and satisfy my love. It’s given me lots to think about regarding people who need more passion in their lives but aren’t hopeful or have clarity about how to fit it in. Even a little taste could go a long way.

One of the things I enjoy about blogging here is searching through Flickr creative commons for a photo for my posts. In searching this time, I found this gem of a photo of Edgar Allen Poe’s room at the University of Virginia.

Roasting a Duck

photo by adactio from flickr creative commons

photo by adactio from flickr creative commons

On Saturday I roasted a duckling, the second time I’ve ever done that and the first time in a decade. The first duck had so much fat and was so difficult to clean up after, that I swore never again. That was back when I believed all I read about how fat is so terrible for us.

It had taken a lot to get me to the point where I could even consider roasting a duck since I’d had one for a pet as a child. My siblings and I had named him Duckess, somehow thinking he was female when he was a baby. He was the only duck we had amongst chickens and geese and he became mean when he grew up.

I love animals and believe they ought to be treated well. My physical body will not tolerate a vegetarian lifestyle and I’ve learned to walk away quickly from those judgmental people who don’t know me, don’t care to know me, don’t care what happens to me or why I choose the things I choose.

Anyway, my roast duckling didn’t look as pretty as the one in the photo here. Usually I need to eat only organic food because of high-maintenance health circumstances. In this case though I chose a $13 duckling from a regular grocery store instead of a $30 plus one from Whole Foods or the local co-op.

I tossed out the orange sauce packet and partially followed the directions on the wrapping, partially following the instructions for obtaining and saving the fat from an excellent blog post I found online. I’ll use the fat for roasting root vegetables and will be making bone broth with the carcass today.

Because I research about health online quite a lot, I’d heard of the GAPS diet. It usually seemed to be presented as a diet to help children with autism. Being a grown-up with other life long health issues, I didn’t pay it much attention.

When it finally came onto my radar a few months ago, after sincerely transitioning to an extremely healthy diet and still feeling like crap, it seemed to make some sense and when I transitioned to it cautiously, I began to heal. It will take some time since I have decades of damage. I crave the cultured vegetables, coconut kefir and other probiotic foods that are part of the diet but understand I need to use caution as the detoxing and die-off of bad bacteria can be awful. While the point is to heal, it’s also important to be able to function in life with some degree of comfort while doing so.

I didn’t have any butchers twine to tie the legs together and my motor skills were such that I couldn’t really carve the duckling in any decent manner–it was more like hacking it up. There was surprising little meat on it but I got a reasonable amount of fat and have gotten through the clean-up part of the process, except for the oven.

We are all so different and the GAPS diet is not for everyone. It would have saved me decades of suffering and missed opportunities had I understood this before, but it was certainly never suggested by the health professionals I consulted with. All the information being presented was pointing me in other directions. Much of what the health food industry was offering was better for me than the standard American diet, but it too caused me challenges and suffering in the long run.

Some people do very well on raw foods, or mostly raw foods but many of us don’t have the digestive fire to deal with a raw diet in a healthy way. Others seem to do well with a vegetarian diet. We’re all different and some of us have to do quite a bit of research and take a lot of responsibility for finding what works for us. Often without support, understanding or interest from those around us.

Other people’s life journeys involve things that aren’t so focused on health and food and they can seemingly get by without giving it much thought. I’m not one of those people.

January Evenings and Indulgences

Highclere Castle ~ photo from flickr creative commons.

Highclere Castle ~ photo from flickr creative commons.

The third season of Downton Abbey is finally here. (The photo of Highclere Castle, where it’s filmed, is by Jonathan Rieke.)

Sometimes I almost feel as though I’m part of the family. Maggie Smith’s character is a delight to watch, although I wouldn’t want to deal with her in real life. There’s an online quiz, “Which Downton Abbey Job is Right for You”, and I scored Isobel Crawley.

It’s been unusually cold here and the sidewalks are icy or slippery in many places, depending on what has or hasn’t been done. Some people are boring with their struggles regarding New Year’s Resolutions and I’m as interested and supportive as I can be, depending on my energy level among other things. It’s been years since I’ve made resolutions, although I have goals and choose several areas of focus.

I’ve done well with having a “word of the year”. This year my word is “refresh”. I didn’t pick it; it persistently and insistently made itself noticed and while I’m not up for explaining what it might mean, the word seems appropriate and I’ve accepted it.

With new dietary restrictions at this time–because health is very important to me–my treat of choice now is having a glass or two of red wine some evenings, even though I don’t bother obtaining wine without sulfites. We all have our little escapes and soft addictions; I’ve eliminated some and upgraded others.

Freshly grated ginger for tea in the afternoon is another treat I’ve been looking forward to lately. It isn’t about what I’ve chosen; it’s about my paying attention and making the time and effort to follow through instead of telling myself I’m too busy and that “maybe tomorrow” I’ll take care of myself in this way.

By next month the energies and themes of my life will be different and something else will be available to add a little sparkle and pleasure to my daily existence. Taking responsibility is valued by me and when this life is over I don’t want to look back and see a pattern of self-denial when it came down to appreciating life.

What are you making the time to enjoy these days?

Suddenly Lighter

Two of the most challenging things about blogging for me is my password and thinking of titles for my posts. When it comes to the actual writing, I just ramble like I talk. I don’t have to look at anyone’s blank expression or rolling eyes or smirking face here either.

After weeks of feeling like I was moving through molasses, things seemed to open up today and be a lot easier. I guess I could do some research to see if there was any planetary activity going on. Just kidding.

First of all, it has felt like Friday all day instead of Thursday. Out of nowhere I got up early and while waiting on laundry to cycle, I planned a budget for the next eight months. That is a miracle. Never have I been able to figure out a budget that I could stick to or that made any sense. You can scoff all you like that I’m not even into it for 24 hours, but the thing is that I have never found any software or templates that made any sense for my particular weird situation. (And I’m not going into that now.)

I have the Quicken starter edition. I got it less than two months ago and it doesn’t do what I was looking for. Likely when it comes time to need a new one, I’ll let it go.

After looking over free planners and software yesterday evening and this morning, not too far into the quest I found something that works for me. Nothing to download and I could customize it to my own unique needs. It’s a simple spreadsheet and didn’t take too long to fill out.

Basically what I have to work with is the money to live on for the next eight months. So I divided that up in a way that seemed beyond my abilities before. It simply doesn’t work anymore to not keep track of things but really, I have trouble with organization and it was all too overwhelming. Until this morning. So while it may be simple for you, I am feeling like an accomplished genius right now. Now my mind can rest until I need it for something else.

Other things were easier for me today too but this is major for me. Something that has seemed so complicated for decades just fell into place.

I’m sure it happens for other people too. WooHoo!

Puttering

Many things change rapidly in this age, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the sake of change. Over the last few months I haven’t been posting here and now I find myself awkwardly navigating around the dashboard with things looking unfamiliar.

In October I got a new notebook PC and I allowed a salesperson talk me into something different than my internet research had led me to choose. It has one of those sensitive mouse things that has the cursor jumping all over and sometimes freezing. I’ve looked at fixes online, experimented and am learning to type funny, avoiding the mouse area. Just one more thing I’m learning to tolerate.

Most of the Christmas cards I’ll be getting have arrived by now. Cards from people who seem to be more, have more and do more than me. So,I work with that.

Dairy foods cause trouble for me, but I like Nancy’s brand yogurt and awhile back I found that they have sour cream too. And now I’m really happy that they have cream cheese! The products have live cultures in them and are organic. I even bought out of season strawberries at an outrageous price to slice and put on nut crackers with the cream cheese and I’m not feeling deprived of holiday goodies this year.

It might rain tomorrow and I’ll likely stay in as I’ve been pushing myself a lot lately. Lots of little projects to do and I’ll just pay no attention to the news and make good choices. Maybe I’ll even show up here again.

Junk Food

I don’t eat junk food and haven’t been able to for quite awhile. I’m on a very restricted diet and feel horror at what other people eat.

There’s someone I care about who’s mentally ill. His diet is awful and I believe it’s killing him, but he’s an adult and I ought to respect his right to make choices. He has a fair amount of money and could probably get whatever he wants but he has such a need control his environment that he lives quite frugally. As in unplugging his refrigerator to keep his electric bill down and opening a can of peas and eating it cold right out of the can.

It’s good to feel that people care during the holidays and I very much like for him to get presents in the mail. But he doesn’t like things people give him. My budget is such that I really don’t want to do without things I need in order to give him things he doesn’t want. But he does like crappy food. The healthy snacks I’ve attempted to interest him in didn’t go over well. So, today I decided to finally give him what he truly seems to enjoy, junk food. So he can get a package in the mail. It isn’t like I’m giving him illegal drugs or something but I didn’t get to this place easily.

There are two places I shop for my groceries. At the local co-op where I get my organic stuff and at an employee owned store where I get what I can because the prices are more reasonable. I picked out the usual amount of items, what I could carry and was surprised that it cost more than twice what the healthier food at the employee owned store usually does. And it’s about the same amount as an equal bag full at the co-op where the price of organic meat and veggies seem quite high.

The stuff isn’t boxed up yet and I’m looking at it across the room and am not at all tempted to eat any of it. In the grand big picture, this is probably not a big deal at all. Maybe it’s nit-picky and obsessive for me to have to over-think this so. But now, at the end of this day, this is what I most remember.

A Year Later

This blog was started a year ago yesterday on a whim. I don’t recall what I was thinking at the time. It seems I may have been tired of being an eternal feedback machine for people talking at me but never listening. My blog–I could express myself and tune out everyone who wanted to argue with me.

Yeah, I have symptoms of chronic fatigue and one of the things that sinks my energy really fast if for someone to argue with me about something I’ve said. It really does make me want to say, “whatever.”

Also my creativity is messy. I was attracted to producing something that at first, superficial glance appeared to be polished and somewhat professional. I soon found that putting photos in was more work than I wanted to do.

I wanted to add some structure to my life. Not being able to depend on my health from one day to the next, it’s quite a challenge to walk that fine line of putting my health first and being productive and moving forward in my life. Often I’m the only one I’m accountable to and that whole integrity and responsibility and the like is really getting exercised on my part.

It has made a difference although I’m not quite clear as to why. Like today, I’m still not at my best and because I have some structure in place I’m not collapsing into a pile of mush, brain included.

The blog so far seems to be a winter seasonal thing. I’d really rather be outdoors. I still look at the blogs of others when I have time. It’s amazing really for someone who was born way before all this internet stuff happened. And like many other things, it makes a difference how each person finds a place to fit it into their own life. It feels like most of us have even less time than we did last year. I hope that gets flipped back soon.

Egg Nog and Naps

For health reasons I’ve been on a very specialized diet and I’m doing well with that. One of the things which I only recall its existence during this time of the year is egg nog. Plain old supermarket egg nog in a carton. So I decided to allow myself to buy and drink one and I’m doing o.k. with that too. It hasn’t lasted as long as I had hoped but I doubt if I’ll be going on a food chemical-induced binge. The once carton will be enough. Oh, and it wasn’t soy or lite either. It is the stuff I really enjoy.

I also indulged in naps today which my body seemed to really need. I’ve been pushing myself to be more productive for months in some kind of attempt to make up for the time and effort I lost when I was seriously fatigued. Before that all happened, people were making painful demands on me. Like many of us, I guess I internalized some of those expectations. It might be worth it to check it once in awhile to see if all we push ourselves to do is really all that important and if it’s truly expected of us. Maybe no one will notice if we drop some things and give ourselves a break. I’ve found that to be true. If I hadn’t written about my naps right here, no one on the planet would have known.

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