Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Crashes and Burns on My Doorstep

Mind Less Monday

How to Mind Less
When My Mind Is Full
A Case Against Being Mindful

I don’t want to be mindful all the time, or even most of the time. It’s a worthy endeavor, but my mind is full most days. If I give careful, that is, mindful, attention to everything, I foresee serious overload, resulting in my brain experiencing the infamous Microsoft Blue Screen or the Mac spinning rainbow of doom.
To avoid such an experience, and contrary to all things Zen, I decided a few months ago to have Mind Less Mondays.

Mind less. “It’s a regular Monday,” is a saying I recall from someone I once knew—meaning that Monday isn’t the best of days. Every moment of busy-ness and activity from the weekend seems to be crashing and burning on my doorstep, on my counters, and on my table. I’m minding it all—more—instead of less as I am pulled in too many directions to count. Remnants of the dog’s stomach illness, although given a thorough scrubbing by hand, still stain my office carpet. Dirt and muddy footprints remain where my huge dieffenbachia toppled to the floor late yesterday afternoon. Repotting, scrubbing, and carpet cleaning top my daily list as soon as my workday ends. Dishes, clutter, and laundry beckon as a result of having a house full of people this weekend. My gas tank arrow points toward empty after driving 300+ miles yesterday. Deadlines loom. Mindfulness and minding less are far from the horizon of my psyche. I’m also tired and grumpy.

I’m minding so much more today that I must search for ways to mind less. I’ll take them one by one.

Busy-ness from the weekend means that I was not alone. I was connected to my family and extended family during the weekend. That busy-ness meant shared meals and conversations. That busy-ness meant baby holding and snuggling as uncles and aunties and this nana spent time with Emma, who at 7½ months, is the youngest member of the tribe. (It's easy to mind less that she threw up on my white linen pants.) That busy-ness meant activity, noise, hugs, and contact with those closest to me. For the benefits I received, I’ll take the clutter, dishes, and laundry.

It’s tough to mind less that the dog ate a pound of coconut oil and got sick—twice—on my office carpet. He’s now well, without a trip to the vet and any expense, so I’ll view that as a plus. I also have a carpet-cleaning machine, which makes it easier to get that extra job done.
Repotting means that later today, I can put my hands in the dirt, one of my favorite pastimes. I’d procrastinated far too long on providing the overgrown dieffenbachia a larger pot with fresh dirt. It’s a dirty life; I know that. I have the opportunity to do some cleaning.

I drove all those miles yesterday with a heavy heart. A celebration of life was held in Lake Worth for my long-time friend Myrle, who lost her struggle with cancer earlier this month. Somber thoughts and feelings tugged at me earlier in the day, but those waned as I saw the many family and friends who gathered to remember the woman they loved. I felt connected to people with whom I’d lost touch for far too long.
It’s hard to mind less that someone you love has died, so I’m working on that and will be for quite some time. I, like many others, must look for and find some peace in the knowledge that her battle with illness is over and find some acceptance to take the place of the heaviness and emptiness in my heart. I’m not quite ready for minding less this aspect of my Monday (or my life), but that’s part of loving and being loved. My gas tank will be filled, and my heart will be filled as I focus more on celebration and love than on loss.
Deadlines are a part of my career as an editor. Today, rather than fret as I check the calendar and note what still must be done, I’ll instead be grateful that I have those deadlines to meet.
Gratitude is the key to minding less—and being mindful. I’ll say thank you more often today, for family, pets, babies, friends, work, and soap.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Flip-Flop and Fine Washable Fail!

Flappy Friday Foibles
Flip-Flops and Fine-Washables Fail,
Flubs, Funnies, and Flailing Through the Week
. . . and Flowers

Friday, oh Friday! Flip-flops, fine-washables, and flowers. This Florida Friday finds me wishing for an end to the fungus wars in my yard. I’d also like to banish the funk we feel from too little sunshine. But clouds and daily rain mean the funk and fungus continue. In addition to fungus and funk, I can count on muddy footprints and crusty shoes inside most days. Puddles stay filled from the daily deluge and shoes don’t always get wiped before treading on the floors and carpets.
Weary of the mud, sand, and gunk on the carpets and floors, I decided to stop wearing shoes inside. I bought several pairs of Old Navy’s fabulous frugal flip-flops in several sizes and colors so my family and friends can remove their shoes. If they don’t like going barefoot, they can choose a pair of brand-new-clean flip-flops from the basket by the door. I wore some myself when I came inside from gardening one day this week. Later, when I was again outside, covered in dirt, grass clippings, and weeds, I looked down at my feet. Flip-flop fail! I still was wearing the once-new pair.

Fabulous as silk is, it does require a bit more care than my comfy carefree cotton. While hand-washing my favorite pink silk blouse last week, I was puzzled by the lack of suds. Some gentle squeezes produced not a single bubble. I then noted that Bissel carpet cleaning fluid works well to remove the aforementioned mud, but it wasn’t designed for fine fabrics. Another fail!

I flubbed big time a few months ago when I demanded the age of a young woman visiting my son. I was fearful because of a widely publicized legal case regarding an older teen and a younger teen in our area. This week, I learned that one concerned mom went a step further: She demanded the young woman visiting her son produce a driver’s license! I failed my son and flustered the young woman at our house, but it could have been worse. And I hope someday it will be funny.

Friday flowers bring light and color and a hint of fragrance from the rosemary cuttings I added to this bouquet. Here’s to another week of not knocking over the vase.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It Is all Daytime TV

Ten Ways I Watch Daytime TV
Are You Watching?

Instead of doing my work, I sit on the sofa and watch daytime TV. A friend recently suggested that I watch daytime TV. Using the analogy of having to go into the fields each day and work, he pointed out that I’m calling in sick. The hard work necessary for the harvest, necessary to sustenance, necessary to kindling and keeping the fire of life burning is pushed aside. Rather than going into those (metaphorical) fields and doing the work that beckons me, instead of following my creative nudges and my call to write, I am watching daytime TV. I scoffed, and in my usual posture of “I’m so much better than daytime TV,” noted that I don’t watch it. I have much more important things to do than pass my time on the sofa swilling drama, celebrity news, gossip, and soap operas. Not me.
My harvest, however, has been rather meager lately. I feel the concern of a looming winter with little to feed me, to sustain me. I was brought up short when I realized that I do watch because daytime TV comes in many forms. It’s whatever takes us away from the fields where we can sow and then gather what nourishes us:
Daytime TV is family drama.
Daytime TV is the Internet, e-mail, Facebook, news, weather, Google.
Daytime TV is junk food.
Daytime TV is one more cup of coffee, or tea, or even water.
Daytime TV is text messages.
Daytime TV is reading in bed in the morning—on a workday.
Daytime TV is going to bed at 9:00, not because I’m sleepy, but to escape into the book I was reading that morning.
Daytime TV is thrift shops, yard sales, flea markets, consignment shops, the mall, the outlets, discount stores, department stores . . .
Daytime TV is gossip.
Daytime TV is judgment.
Instead of writing, rather than going into the metaphorical work fields each day, I watch far too much daytime TV. In the fields, there is no family drama. There is no computer. There are no text messages.
In the fields, a person cannot watch TV. In the fields, the sun will shine a finite number of hours. In the fields, different crops have a finite time for growing.
My time is finite. My art is finite. As is yours.
It is time to step away from daytime TV and head into the fields.