Paying Heed

Sometimes you have to stop everything and listen to the wisdom of the winds and the wild things and the five-year old’s.

I stood on the top of the kitchen crossbeam, my hands braced on a log rafter, scrubbing the fish-fry grease that had floated, landed, and collected dust for all of last summer’s resort season. The gray water dripped down my wrist and collected in my sweatshirt. With one hand dirty and the other securing my precarious balance, a nose itch or hair in my eye had to be meditated away. “Clean the logs” was my only agenda. With my perch, even thinking wasn’t a wise distraction.

But then my Iris, in her five-year-old exuberance about bird nests and first dandelions and pretty rocks from the gravel road, came running loudly into the cabin. Continue reading “Paying Heed”

On Rabbit Holes and Doing Hard Things

Dreams and memories have been hitting me with a rushing force lately. Wounded animals, babies, difficult physical feats like mountain climbing and surviving barrages of gun fire. I wake with every sleep cycle, adjust my pillow and press-on, back into my dark world of wonder.

But every few weeks something calls me up and out of bed, and I’ll wander the house until I realize the moon is full and my eyes needed to rest in it, my shoulders needed to square-off with it, the soul batteries needed its quiet recharge. That is all. I’m usually free to then return to sleep, but other times I sit down to my journal and a cup of tea no matter the sleeping house.

Soon when it calls, it’ll be warm enough to step outside in my robe, put bare feet on the ground in those small hours and breathe deeply for a few minutes. God is in those breaths. God is in that grounding. God was the call that brought me up and out to gaze in wonder at my minuteness.

I’ve been making my life awfully hard lately, the moon tells me.

A memory from over twenty-five years ago returned with clarity and force last week. Someone once of great importance to me asked what I truly wanted out of life. I had reached that baffling teenage place where happiness had long-since become a mystery and the typical youthful distractions and pleasures suddenly seemed shallow and pointless. Many of us resist this knowing and push headlong into a life that celebrates those and only those pursuits, but I choose to tumble into the question, the discomfort, the not knowing.

“I just want to be satisfied,” I had answered in all my teenage wisdom and angst. “I just want to be satisfied.”

What one does to chase an ill-defined concept like life-satisfaction can be akin to following the rabbit hole. For certain I spent my fair amount of time chasing pleasure pursuits, but I always returned to the philosophical search. Now, it seems, I never leave it. It is my current rabbit hole. Most of my questions remain. Most of my dissatisfaction boils over. Still I press on, now with an urgency that only raising a child can bring. I feel this desperate urgency to shape up my life and Self so as not to pass my angst and dissatisfaction on to her.

It is exhausting.

Most of it is probably pointless.

The moon gently winks at me, as if I’ve stumbled upon some fresh wisdom in that exhaustion.

I stopped drinking water after dinner, which has helped with the poor sleep I whined about last column, but I did not cut out sugar and carbs completely.

I did not do what I said I was going to do. I do not have glory to report.

I make life harder or easier with every choice I make, and my mom’s chocolate chip blonde brownies make me pause completely in their decadent earthly pleasure.

Still, I’ll press-on. Finding something that works for me is my specialty. This place, this Angle works for me. This relationship, this love with this man works for me. This proximity to parents and all that comes with it works for me.

But a lot of other pieces of life are not working for me. And I squirrel about putting my focus on whichever one feels the most painful at the moment. Rarely do I set goals. Rarely do I make a plan. And then, uncomfortable dreams and distant memories have to be enlisted to bring me back into focus. Wisdom whorls its way into my life like the life-marks that decorate an ancient tree. Oh, that I would listen to the trees.

The sun rises and whites out the moon. The birds sing me into distraction from 4:30 on. The never-ending responsibilities of home and child call. Resort spring cleaning begins. Other duties crop up as they tend to do: the park, the county and school board meetings coming to The Angle, graduation, the coming summer events, and of course the call to write is never not present.

Now I also have a new and more pressing focus, which I’ll write about in the coming weeks.

It never ends.

Until it does.

So, I guess I choose the rabbit hole. I choose the endless chase. I choose the hard things because there is where I will grow. I choose the dissatisfaction the spurs me to act until I find what works for me. I choose God in the quiet moon and whatever She can teach me. Everyday I choose.

And as the wisest woman once said, “Sweetheart, you can’t do it wrong.”

 

The 13th Minimize Minute

Sevens High

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge #13 Sevens High

Get rid of 1 thing on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and so on until you’re getting rid of seven things on Sunday. It will be a grand total of 28 items. You can also play the game for a whole month, or even a year if you’re so inclined. Just get rid!

How’d it go: This was an easy way to get of a few things that probably would have sat around until I got to that specific category or closet. I can also see how it would be a good way to ease into minimizing for someone who is a saver. Once I started, I didn’t want to limit myself to the daily numbers, but I stuck to the plan and took pictures to document. It turned out to be kind of fun. I gave several of the items away to other people, some to the thrift store and some went to The Angle’s recycling center where people often “shop”. I think I’ll do this again next week too.

Monday – 1 sewing machine

Tuesday – 2 pairs of flip flops with 10-12 sets of interchangeable accessories

Wednesday – 3 winter scarves

Thursday – 4 hair brushes/combs

Friday – 5 books

Saturday – 6 DVD’s

Sunday – 7 handbags

 

The 12th Minimize Minute

Give an Experience

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge #12 Give an Experience

This week, give the gift of less clutter to someone else. The next time you have the opportunity to give a gift for a birthday, wedding, hostess, shower, etc., give the gift of an experience. Create a homemade coupon or buy a gift certificate or plan an experience and have concert tickets, for example, wrapped up with bow. But make a huge effort to not purchase “stuff.” Most people want less stuff, so offer your time, creativity or spend your money on creating a memory that will stay with the recipient for much longer than any old sale item. Continue reading “The 12th Minimize Minute”

“Copy That”

 

Awake in the early morning hours, I relish the silence. The steady tick tock of the kitchen clock and the breathy hum of the refrigerator cycling on and off are my ambient noise. The human world is still and silent here at The Angle. Outside, the wolves prowl sometimes near but mostly far, the skunks raid my winter compost, and the owls hunt. The rare yard light hums and sputters, reflecting wide across the ugly April snow. Frozen and waiting, life feels hushed and reverent.

Until 6AM on the dot, when the Angle school bus roars by each weekday like a blaring alarm from the outside world sent to remind us we’re not truly alone and independent. Continue reading ““Copy That””

The 11th Minimize Minute

What bugs you?

Challenge #11 Bug Be Gone

Pick something that bugs you every time you see it and resolve it.

How’d it go:

My goal with this challenge was to tackle a low-priority task that, while not critical, still bugs me every time I see it or use it. That was my only criteria, and honestly, as I looked around my home, I realized I could tackle one of these every single day and they’d still pile up. The wobbly stool, the squeaky door, the stained carpet, the dirty windows, the unpacked moving box, the unhung pictures, the loose pan handle, etc. Continue reading “The 11th Minimize Minute”