Tag Archives: mindfulness

Letting Go Challenge: Weeks Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four

 

 

Weeks 23 and 24

THE JUNK:

  • 5 Pairs of Pants
  • 1 Pair of Shoes
  • 21 shirts
  • 1 Vest jacket
  • 1 Pair of socks
  • 1 Blu Ray Set plastic cover
  • 1 Bell
  • 1 (very old) hand sanitizer
  • 1 Benadryl spray (out of date by 5 years)
  • 8 medicine bottles
  • 1 pack of hairbands
  • 1 cut up credit card

Forty-three things.

I missed a week. After 22 weeks of continuous clearing out, I missed a week. Sooner or later, I always drop the ball. Usually when that happens, I get discouraged and distracted and months later wonder how I went from doing whatever it was every day to having gone months without doing it.

Not this time. I missed a week. One week.

Tom Robbins said, “Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.”

So here I am, picking up where I left off.  I don’t know if I’ll have 42 items this week–I’m writing this in between gathering stuff, doing chores, etc.–but I will have only missed one week.

Not too shabby for a gal with the attention span of a Mexican jumping bean on meth.

This week I discovered a COLOSSAL waste of money. I had bought 2 sets of Breaking Bad deeply discounted with the intention of selling it. It never happened. I just couldn’t do it. I ended up giving it away to a friend who’s as appreciative of the series as I am. Maybe not such a huge waste of money after all. But still a “holy shit” moment. As

I also realized as I was gathering items–specifically the med bottles–that I’ve gotten rid of  a lot that I haven’t documented. I’ve had a lot of med bottles. Small boxes, and things like that.

But I get it honest. This week, my dad texted me a picture of his doctor’s record that showed him bringing me into the doctor. In 1974. Apparently, my mom is going through stuff at her place, too.

I’m in the process of reducing two bookshelves to one; I don’t know if I’ll have it finished this month, but it’s closer. I discovered that by getting rid of a Wii box in the entertainment center, I could move my movies there, clearing out almost a full shelf. The reference books that I have no intention of getting rid of (mostly writing books and some lit books from college), I’m moving to the office now that I have room on the shelves in that room.

I had high heels on it previously. I have NO idea why I thought putting them on office shelves was a good idea, but I got rid of them a long time ago.

There is no horse to get back on. There is just this: my getting rid of things, simplifying my life. Sometimes life gets in the way of those plans.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

 

Advertisements

Fabulous Friday: Fabulosity Part One

In a Facebook Rheumatoid Arthritis group that I’m in, someone posed the question: How did your life get better after being diagnosed with RA?

Not necessarily because of RA, but after you found out you had it?

I marked it, saved it for later for when I was a) not hurting so badly and b) could actually think of ways my life has gotten better.

My answer, when I had sketched it out, was far too long for a Facebook post. In fact, it’s far too long for a single blog entry.

So I present to you, Part One.

I.     I have become more mindful.

I say this one first, because it is the foundation for all the rest of the ways my life has improved.

Within the past few months, I have incorporated meditation into my morning routine, a short piece of time where I try to do nothing but follow my breath. It’s a bit funny…everything comes along just as I sit “to sit,” as they say, and that’s when the dog’s butt must be scratched, the wild cat who detests me decides to rub against me, and the cats in the far bedroom knock something over that may or may not make it dangerous to walk into my bedroom.

But I sit.

2. I also take 20 minutes in the morning and use it to attempt to learn something new.

I have what may be a literal ton of books in my house–many of them I haven’t read. I’ve made a vow with a passion that Brienne of Tarth could appreciate: I  will not get any new books until I read the ones that I have. I’ve been tested. There are so many things out there I want to read, and I am ever-so-grateful for Amazon’s wish-list feature.

oathkeeper

Aah, my precious. Is that an Oathkeeper in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?

But I have so many books that I have and, at one time or another, wanted to read them. So, I read them first.

Right now, for example, I’m reading Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner.

I think i won it for raising my hand at a customer service conference I went to several years ago.

It’s a decent read, at least at 20 minutes at a time. I don’t know that it’s affected my behavior in dealing with people. In fact, I don’t know that it’s directly changed anything except pointed out the irrationalities of some of my own behaviors.

It’s just one of many elements that have been introduced within a short amount of time. But I am different.  I deal with people differently. I deal with my time differently.  I deal with forgiveness differently.

My life has deepened; it has–perhaps not more–but different meaning.  What I love has been magnified:  a flower that is where it “shouldn’t be,” a shared laugh with a friend, really, really good coffee, the feeling of accomplishment at adding another 1,000 words to the novel.

What I don’t love has lessened or fallen away:  the attraction to negativity, the addiction to distraction.

Mindfulness–as it’s progressing for me, anyway–has been the single biggest change in my life, but it has set the stage for every other positive that has happened since I was diagnosed.

It reminds me that flares are temporary, life–with or without   flares–is fleeting, and my proverbial clock is ticking. It forces me to examine the question: What do I want to do with my life?

Rumi said, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

RA has, at the very least, sharpened my focus and led me, perhaps kicking and screaming, in small steps toward the beauty of what I love be what I do.

I won’t go so far to say that “RA is a gift.”

I am SO not that Zen.

But it has brought about changes for which I am grateful.

And that is something.

(Image Sources: Featured Image taken by my cell phone; Brienne with Oathkeeper from HBO’s Game of Thrones found here.)

Professor Tiger Lilly

tigerlilly1fence

This is Tiger Lilly.

She came into my life when she appeared on a coworker’s carport; she was so tiny that  she fit, not just in my hands, but within the length of just the finger part of my hands. Not even as big as my palm.

I always feel the push-pull when I see a tiny animal: I really, really want to take it in; I really, really can’t take any more animals. At this point, I had three geriatric cats and my super-duper dog.

This was well before Jitterbug flew the coop.

I had three cats; I didn’t want to take another one in.

But she had a bobbed tail.

A couple of years before this, one of the supervisors at work had a pair of white bob-tails.  I’m pretty sure I “squeed” (which I try, at all costs, to avoid) when I learned this. “I want one,” I told her.  “I’m keeping them,” she told me.

So that was that.

But then I learned that she gave them to a kid with cancer.

I couldn’t be mad at her for giving them to a kid with cancer!  But I was. Just a little bit. I’m not proud of it.

I made a rule: I would not get another cat unless it was a bob-tail.

There’s something about them.  I like things that defy expectations and stereotypes. Things a little bit different.

So when a coworker came to me and said, “I heard you’ll take in cats,” I said, “No, no, no.”  I was firm. I was steadfast. I was absolute.

But then I saw it: this tiny, skinny thing covered in shit. I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. It was tiny and helpless and dirty, and I’d like to think I was well on my way to remaining a bastion of resolve. There was another lady who loved cats; I could find it a home with her.

But then I put it on my chest, shit and all, and it started purring immediately. I ran my fingers from its tiny head down its bony spine to discover it had a tiny stump of a tail.

And whatever backbone I had, whatever decisions I had made logically were out so far out the window, they had already flown to South America for the winter. My decisions were probably drinking fruity drinks with umbrellas in them.

Whatever resolve I had mustered disintegrated like teeth on methotrexate.

And so it came home with me, and it so teen-niney, I had to check out a YouTube to see how to determine the sex.

There’s a joke here about the NSA or the cops checking my computer history, but I’m not quite capable of reaching it.

Continue reading Professor Tiger Lilly

Mindfulness, Mirth, and Money

Image

One of my greatest spiritual teachers has been (and continues to be) money.

It sounds strange, even to my ears.

When I think of spiritual teachers, I think of the Buddha, Jesus,  St. Francis, Rumi. Saints and Sufis, philosophers and monks.  I think of men and women who have demonstrated spiritual law, who have lived godly lives, who have magnified peace and compassion.

I don’t necessarily think of things. Especially not money-type things. After all, love of money is the root of all evil (or all kinds of evil, depending on your biblical version); it doesn’t seem to be an expressly spiritual thing.

And yet money seems to be my first–and longest lasting–teacher in mindfulness.

I first started paying attention to where I spent my money when it seemed I was running out of it.  I had, month after month, mindlessly paid my bills and without ever paying attention to them.  Why? I had enough to pay for them. It was only when my “safety net” dropped below my “acceptable” threshhold that I really started to pay attention.

I noticed how very much I was spending in a nation-wide “big box” store, a store, I might add, who promised to save me lots and lots of money.  I hated going to this store, everything about it was unpleasant, from the struggle to find a parking space to the obviously unhappy cashiers. The chain has a horrible reputation both for poor customer service and for the way it treats its employees.

I knew all of these things.  But yet, I went.

Because it was convenient. It was convenient, I found, to be able to buy light bulbs, socks, and milk all in the same place. It had everything I needed.  And then some.

As I became more aware of my distaste for the store, I began shopping at local stand-alone grocery stores. The prices were higher, I noted, in some cases much higher. So, for a while, I vacillated, torn between the better service and quality of the grocery store and the lower overall prices of the big box store.

And a strange thing happened. Continue reading Mindfulness, Mirth, and Money