Priorities

Often goals, priorities and focus are relegated to a New Years resolution, a spring cleaning. The truth is that we make time for what matters and what matters makes more time for us. When I start my day focusing on truth and putting life into a directed perspective, I find that the time is freer.

Everyone has 24hrs a day, yet so many of us, myself often included, say we have no time. Our days are full of choices, large and small, that impact that flow. What is import to you? What will you give time to grow?

I have been trying to focus on my health this past half-year or so. Not so much because of the pandemic, but because I’ve spent so long dismissing my own needs and telling myself that either it was just my overthinking or that other things mattered more. Considering your health and well-being affect every moment of your existence, it was high time I made it a priority.

I can’t lie, it’s really hard. Not only do I have to firmly set boundaries and try to communicate with others, I also am required to advocate to and for myself. After years of the only response to “how are you” being “I’m good”, cultivating honesty even within myself is a challenge.

It’s still on my to-do list to format a routine and put into place repetitive ways to move towards goals, but my focus is at least changing.

Thank you, friends and strangers, for joining me in my thoughts. It is refreshing to write again.

Determined to feel alive

If I am going to keep hanging in the balance of waiting for my perfect future and being open to growth and change, I might as well be in a good relationship with myself.

Essentially, I have a four year time frame to make some big changes. Four years left in current wonderful apartment, four years to save, to decide, to make moves. I want to buy a house. Where that house will be is not concrete. Do I want to stay in my home state, without family? Is there enough here to keep me, or will I end up settling somewhere else, with or without the support system of my parents close by. I’m fortunate to have a close relationship with them. There is no way of knowing if I will meet someone and form a romantic relationship before then either, and that would be another factor, of course.

I was taken on a wonderful date today. It felt good to dress up, grab a small, fall-special coffee after being cooked a delicious breakfast of buckwheat pancakes from scratch with eggs and bacon and then head to my favorite dirt trail.
The autumn colors were stunning and I didn’t rush my pace, taking in the uninterrupted beauty around me. There was some kind of company event using the park, with signs on the trail so the path less taken was…taken. It led the way, wandering through a field of waving grass and then skirted a group of birches. We’ve had a few storms this past month or so and fallen trees or sawed off roots were not a surprise to see. A large stump, the partially charred trunk lying close by, arrested my attention without a second glance. I almost put an end to the child-like glee that sprung up inside me, but why should I have? There was no one there to worry about boring or embarrassing. Doing my best not to disturb too much on my way through the dry, taller grasses, I arrived at my destination properly pleased with myself. The simple happiness that accompanied clambering up on that big stump was so soothing. It was large enough for me to lay on and stare up into the perfectly blue sky. No anxious thoughts came to plague me. I was able to just be. “This would be a perfect place for a date.” I thought, but the friends I had reached out to were already busy so I was alone. It was about then, that I realized I could be my own sort of significant other until the person meant for me appears. I want someone who values me and makes me feel safe but I don’t do that for myself much of the time. With that in mind, could I be intentional about being in a committed relationship with myself? It sounds strange, but the idea of value and self-love is at the bottom of it.

After appreciating the situation for a bit and finishing the walking circuit, I finally visited my favorite tea shop. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get a personal pot of fragrant tea, a slice of tiramisu, and settle myself in one of the Japanese-style seating areas with tatami mats and low tables. Sure, it still crossed my mind that it would be nice to share this with someone, but it’s also a near-perfect place to write. A violin version of Merry-Go-Round of Life floats quietly through the space, mingling with quiet discussion and clinking of tea dishes. The small chalkboard sign at the counter states “no wi-fi on weekends” and electrical outlets by my seat are covered up. All the better. There are few places to create this atmosphere. Precious tea dribbles onto my journal page as I burn my mouth on the complimentary refill. I’m glad it is thick paper.
Usual melancholy is waiting under the surface of this rest. Hauntingly nostalgic piano music makes its ripples, prodding at my thoughts of both future and past again. I want more days like this, where I am determined to feel alive.

I’m going to stop apologizing for the delays or absences in my posting and instead focus on what I do bring to this place. Life is full of confusing ups and downs. All I can do is my best.

Thank you for being here strangers and friends.

Eventually

Hello dearest friends and strangers,

I have once again spent more than my usual time away from you this week. It’s been difficult to have motivation or inspiration.
Yesterday, I accomplished a massive amount of cleaning and was expecting to feel happy and pleased with myself but instead, sunk into a gloom that I could not understand.

Maybe it was due to finally having “free” time, not a jam-packed weekend schedule. Maybe it was the quiet that I crave during the week, finally sinking in. Whatever reason, there was no escaping my thoughts. Losing myself in social media scrolling didn’t distract me, instead it pulled struggle to the front, forcing me to process what I didn’t even completely realize I had been avoiding.

There is a trend where people show all the hard work and pain that they’ve been going through and then, as the music swells, say or show why it’s all worth it; what they are moving toward.
I’ve lost that. I know I have purpose. I know I have value. I just don’t have an end goal to grasp. My dreams are lackluster. There is no obvious path that I am following. The five year plan question that management ask in interviews has always been difficult for me but I honestly don’t have an answer right now.

As I look back at all that I have gained, everything checked off my ever-growing to-do list, I wonder why comfort doesn’t come with all the blessings. Will anything ever be enough? Will I ever be enough, not for others, but for myself?

Take a deep breath. I’m not looking for you to answer. Just know that, if you’re troubled by your own apathy and numbness to your life, your future, you’re not alone. Keep going. We’ll get there eventually.

A peek over my shoulder

Hello strangers and friends!

Apologies for my late posting this week. I have, in fact, been writing! It just happens to be non-blog content. I work on the same story during the same season each year and this year I have made so much more progress than in the last ones. Still no defined plot but it’s so encouraging to see it finally starting to come together.

I don’t have much that I can put into words about my life right now, despite having many thoughts on the subject. Instead, I will share a small excerpt from yesterday’s experience at my local Renaissance Festival.

” The lines to get into fest are enough to put one in awe of the sheer amount of people. They seem to be a never ending sea, but in the forest, they ease. I was concerned that my spot by the main caravan would already be occupied but thankfully the masses were more interested in tromping in a slow line through the domain of faeries and gnomes.
I am hungry, but to purchase food, I would need to venture back up into the sun and dust to wait in a crowded line for an unknown amount of time. Alas, I will need something. Writing while hungry proves tumultuous to my line of thought.
When the forest is closed to patrons, then I will get something before the two mile walk to where I am parked. If I want to make it out of parking within the same hour, I really should set out around 6pm. That probably won’t happen quite to plan but food is important before that long trek home. “

Consider this a small offering in place of a thought provoking or escapist excerpt. Someone peered over my shoulder one of the days I was writing there and I had half a mind to poke him with my hairpin. Respect the space.

Anyway, I hope your coming weeks are well and good. Thank you for reading.

Beautiful and Tumultuous

The wind is making the trees dance in the setting sun. Spinning seeds find their way to me from an empty sky It is not quiet, yet it is peaceful. When this type of breeze makes my hair caress my arms and strands cross my face, I feel as if I must be important, strong. There is no booming, no cracking or roaring. Instead the power is quiet, soft and still beautiful.

I wonder if the wind has ever known where it’s going. As far as I can tell, it just goes. I want to be like the wind; beautiful in my collected chaos, freely fulfilling my purpose, not worried about where I’m headed.

Toast

The rain patters quietly outside of her open window, punctuated by a car alarm honking forlornly in the distance. Placing her hands on either side of her mug, the warmth seeps into her fingers and she breathes in, herbal cadence blending with fresh rain smell. It had been a long day, discouraging but she couldn’t let up just yet. She wrinkled her nose slightly, noting that the trash was not a list item that she could put off any longer. A blank spot on the opposing wall gained her steady gaze as she pondered the complex weight on her mind. How is it that no matter how much was ever accomplished in either her personal or professional life, it felt like no progress was made?

There was no answer of course. Not this time at least, so she rose from her spot on the floor to stare into the refrigerator. No food looked appealing, either requiring effort and time or unsettling her fickle appetite. She sighed. When did eating become just another item on her list of things to do? The neighbor’s bass thrummed through the wall and she finally grabbed a loaf of bread, throwing a couple slices in the toaster. She jumped when they popped up, what felt only a few seconds later. Butter. Absentmindedly, the previously utilized fork on the counter was used to spread the slices before she once again sank to the floor.

She couldn’t have turned into a robot entirely. Robots don’t care about food. The real question was, what else did she actually, truly, care about? Once again, no answers presented themselves so she continued to study the blank space on the wall and munch on the half-done toast.

The Dream

Though my dreams and aspirations have become somewhat fuzzy these days, I realized that a core desire still remains.

My “what do you want to be when you grow up” answer has ranged from being a mother, to being an event coordinator, to being an author, to teaching English in Japan. Realizing that I currently don’t know what I want to do and that my interest in any previous 5 year plan has flatlined, is both discouraging and confusing.

Years ago, one of my dear cousins and I were looking for locations to do photo shoots. Various abandoned buildings presented themselves but one lives in my memory, solid, to this day. It was the most beautiful brick instrument factory. Sun reflected off of the large multi-glass pane windows, vines climbed the exterior elevator and the sturdy front door: stained glass window and rich finish on the dark wood, provided contrast to the pavement and metal.
It was for sale. We dreamed of buying it and renovating the inside to be full of conduits for potential. There would be various bedrooms, a library, a professional level kitchen, a music studio, art studio, dance studio, workshop and room for more. The building was large. The vision was that people with cohesive personalities and interests could live there in community and create through the different avenues. It would be our place.
Of course neither of us had much money at the time and the lot was bought by someone else. I don’t know what became of that building. I’d like to think that the new owner did something beautiful with it instead of knocking it down and building cookie cutter condos. In my mind, it is what we dreamed it could be.

My more recent idea for a small business, I’ve realized, would fit into that fantasy as well. I want to create experiences for people who, like me, are stuck in the 9-5 grind and wish they could live a different life, but can’t. Boxed escapes brought to you not just by me, but by partnering with local artists and other small business creators. One of the reasons it hasn’t happened is because it requires a massive amount of prep, organization, community and time.
A different dear cousin is visiting me this weekend and she spoke of her roomate, an author who “collects” other artists. People supporting and working with each other, like minded, creating beautiful elements that, as a whole, reach the desired outcome. It brought me back to that dream of the abandoned instrument factory.

Admittedly, these particular people don’t fit what society deems normal or typical but there is a richness in individuals working to understand each other and support growth, even painful, in each other. It’s not something that I’ve felt comfortable sharing here before but I am what some call neurodivergent. It roughly means that my brain doesn’t work the typical way. There are a lot of people who fit into that descriptor and it’s still highly stigmatized. When we are able to share with like-minded individuals, unafraid to be ourselves, it is so beautiful. Safety to exist as you actually are in a community is not something that everyone has the occasion to value on the same level. Meaning, if you fit into societies expectations, you aren’t consistently putting energy toward presenting yourself in a way that is comfortable for others.

I may not know my solid, attainable dream for my future right now but I do know that having the support from people who understand me, and the ability to create and essentially share my heart with people in that way, that’s the dream.

Thank you for reading, strangers and friends.

Pinterest board for the factory is here.

Dealing with Death Daily

Maybe people don’t realize

The impact to my already cracked heart

Even the mention of another human’s passing

Can lend

Spider vein fractures on the vessel that is me

What will cause Kintsugi

Precious pain not hidden, highlighted

Empathy interlaced like gold

Potters hands still hold

Us

I was forced to think about loss of life actively yesterday, not just in passing news or a circle of people I used to be part of. Repeating that I am someone who cares quite a bit about many things, there’s a certain apathy that I employ to cope with constant pain in this world. Multiple instances of loss of life were thrust into my main focus and my heart just aches. It physically hurts in my chest.

For those that don’t know,

Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”),[1] is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquerdusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-etechnique.[2][3][4] As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise

Wikipedia

Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin….Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. …The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.

Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

If you’ve made it this far, I’m glad.

Thank you for reading, Strangers and Friends.

Fear and Fantasy

There’s a storm brewing. I can feel it in the air as I right my toppled zucchini plant. It’s warm, windy, and the wildness creeps into my bones. I want to be wild and free like the flying leaves; soak up the adrenaline and be at fiery peace.

Tomorrow, my favorite weekend escape opens. I can be another version of me in a different world. Going to Renaissance Festival has always given me that feeling, the one I can’t quite put into words.

My imagination is renewed and a match held to the wick of my creative spirit. Maybe it’s that I don’t have to be what most people want me to be. Keeping to myself offends no one and I can slip between groups of people like a shadow, all the while taking in such delicious details.

I’m a little afraid of my excitement. A lot has changed since I was last able to attend, and I’m afraid it won’t infect me with that restful, childlike inspiration.

Do you ever get scared by being excited for something, just hoping it is as wonderful as you remember it?

Have a lovely weekend strangers and friends. Here’s hoping you get to revisit pleasant dreams and fall asleep to the sound of a storm.

Ordinary Peace

Getting last minute approval to leave your windowless office job early on a Friday feels oh so lovely, like you’re getting away with something as you step into the sun, removing your facemask.
I’m sitting on the slab of cement cherished as my patio. Partially shaded, but with the warmth soaking into my legs from the rock, covered by my skirt. A loud crunch/pop sound breaks the songs of crickets as I open a cold can of V8 juice. I’m trying to have more vegetables in my diet and I already treated myself to a creamy nitro cold brew, laced with salted caramel this morning. Normally I don’t spring for nitro but it truly had a different flavor, richer and darker than the regular.

It’s the perfect day as far as weather goes. A cool clear, morning growing from the low seventies to the low eighties with a breeze shushing through the leaves of the trees. Come to think of it, it’s probably frogs, not crickets I’ve been hearing, since it’s not yet evening. Either way, I’m not worried. Normally I would be, thinking about my never ending list of things to do and accomplish but I’m happy, at peace just existing for a change.

Whatever kind of week you’re coming out of, I hope that you’re able to experience peace in the ordinary beauty of life.

Thank you for reading, strangers and friends.