What Do You Contain?

“The beauty you see is also in you…
You only see what you contain”

Isn’t it one of the lovely circles of life that the beauty we take in, we hold, and it in turn allows us to see and experience more beauty in all things?  I am privileged to live in a most beautiful place and it has opened my heart to other beauty in my life.  The beauty of a group of 15 kids ranging in age from 5-12 working together and helping each other in our community garden in our Libray Kids in the Garden program.  One child has profound hearing loss and speech difficulty, yet was easily welcomed and included by all the others.  The youngest seems painfully shy, yet found his footing with the help of another child a couple of years older.  The two oldest, where there seems to be a marked difference in maturity, hung together at first, then realized the younger ones were struggling with the scavenger hunt and split up to help the younger ones.  All of this coöperation, with not one episode of unkindness or lack of enthusiasm, was truly a thing of beauty.  As the weeks go by and our tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and assorted other goodies begin to ripen and the kids get to know each other better I expect there will be more moments like this.  This day, which was glorious in every way, with warm sun and clear skies, came on the heels of gray day after gray day, punctuated only by rain and wind.  I felt deflated and filled with the kind of gloom that only a long Montana “sprinter” (spring on the calendar – winter outdoors) can induce.  Then suddenly sun, smiling excited faces, and my hands in the dirt to turn it all around in a quick two and a half hours.

This morning we are back to “sprinter” even though summer is only days away, it is wet and cool again.  But the beauty lingers in me and I see how green the grasses and trees are, washed clean overnight; and the wildflowers continue to burst forth with the long hours of daylight with or without the sun.

Continually watering the inner garden and filling oneself with every moment of beauty and tranquility grows inward radiance becoming one’s gift to the outer world as well as to oneself.  Add a full mix of care, compassion, hope, joy, wonder and beauty of all kinds.  The more one contains of the positive  the less room to hold anger, sadness, cynicism or indifference.  Taking care what is added to the container, mindful that all that one contains colors all that is seen and done; choose wisely.

It’s A Riot

Of birdsong that is!

Last spring I was so lost in the gray days that seemed to stretch on forever that I would just look outside in the morning, sigh, and prepare for another nothing day.  But choosing happiness, I look out at the gray day, step outside and tune in to the natural world.  The birds are returning at a furious rate and the songs have gone from a symphony to a battle of the bands.  Stepping out on the deck I breathe in the cool mountain air, laugh at the cacophony and allow myself to feel the world around me reawakening.

A benefit of blogging is being able to compose on the computer, rather than in notebooks, which has been my customary practice.  I still keep a journal at hand when I am reading just to jot down quotes or ideas that strike me, but I am able to move to the computer and do the real work here.  As a result I am continuing to refine my workspace and bring together the items that allow my creativity to flow on to paper.  This has been such a fun and exciting process, it keeps me focused on my goals and I look forward to the time I can spend on my projects.

Today is my WordPress class at the library, hopefully I can get some tips on making this blog more interesting and connected with the rest of the blogosphere.  If not, I will run home and sign up for the adult education classes offered this spring.

Words to focus on today: mindfulness, joy, learning

Daylight Savings Time

We are not really saving any daylight, right?  So why this artificial clock changing routine twice a year?  Worse yet, now I have several devices that change automatically and several that do not; the funny thing is even the auto setters can’t seem to agree on the exact time, each has a different minute setting.  I feel like the March Hare racing around trying to set clocks close to the same time as the others.  I imagine in some not too distant future my “smart” home will synchronize all the devices.  Until then I believe it is somewhere between 8:30 and 8:40 AM.  I do go by the earliest by the way.

Yesterday was successful on three fronts:

  • Overcoming fear to use a new tool and carry out a much-needed task – air compressor and tire inflation
  • Hard physical labor, reward – visual sense of accomplishment and physical exhaustion
  • Continuing routines that are healthy – food diary combined with healthful eating and  exercise/meditation

Today I am committing to a creativity day.  I’m bringing a large table up from the garage and will work on a couple of crafts projects and my Activity Box.  I realized that I have collected clippings and such for a variety of activities and then they go in a folder in the file cabinet and are instantly forgotten.  So I decided to decorate a plain file container that is fun and enticing and add these folders today and more I’m sure, as I go along:

  • Hikes
  • Gardening
  • Classes
  • Events

I hope a cheerful looking box sitting out where I can see it will remind me that I have loads of fun right at my fingertips!

Nature note: the Juncos are back!  I mistook their small bobbing black heads with tiny bright yellow beaks furiously bobbing up and down on the ground for butterflies last year when I first spotted them.  They arrive in big flocks and only stay a short while before heading higher into the mountains for the summer; but their sweet peeping and flurry of activity are a joy on an almost spring morning.

Loose Ends

I realized last night that in my enthusiasm to do new things, and find my happiness in everything, I have started more projects than I have the time to devote to them.  Today I will wrap up a few loose ends to allow myself more time to devote to the things that truly make me happy – happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy. Today will be a day of less fun tasks that will lead to greater happiness in the long run.

  • Finish vacuuming the rest of the house with my new vacuüm – that means the baseboard, the window sills, everything!
  • File or throw away every computer related CD & instructions – just do it!
  • Create order for my books in progress – too many
  • If I stumble upon something that I can wrap up in fifteen minutes or less I will do it now.

 I know that spring in western Montana is a little of this and a little of that but it may be on its way!  Last night we had rain, such a soothing sound that I slept with my window open enough to hear it.  This morning there was a dusting of snow but the sun is out and it has melted in the sunny spots already.  Another beautiful day in the neighborhood!

On mindfulness, I bought a little notebook to track all of my food and beverage consumption, which I will decorate to make the un-fun a little more so.  I need to pay more attention to what goes in my mouth, and knowing I have to commit it in writing may slow me down some.  I found an acronym from someone  who had been in rehab; I think it is  a healthy tool to use to bring oneself back to mindfulness in the present.  Ask myself:

  • H – Hungry?
  • A – Angry?
  • L – Lonely?
  • T – Tired?

And then use a mindfulness technique to become fully present while sitting quietly with eyes closed:

  • S – sense – what do I feel in my body? Cold, eyes tired, back hurts, blister…
  • I – image – what do I see with my eyes closed?
  • F – feeling – what emotions am I feeling right now?
  • T – thinking – what am I thinking?

By the time I go through HALT and SIFT I may have lost the urge to mindlessly graze – one can hope!  Time to start my terrific Tuesday – I can hardly wait to see how much I can finish today.

Sunny Sunday

The sun is out, and it feels like spring.  There are two robins in the tree outside my window cavorting and celebrating as well.  What a glorious way to start the day!  I am incorporating mindfulness (paying attention to the here and now) with gratefulness into my thinking about every moment. I am using what the politicos refer to as spin to change my thinking.  Last night during a roaring wind storm, during which I tend to worry about all sorts of flying objects and damage, instead I turned my thoughts to how lucky I am in a warm safe home, with a cheery fire and a huge selection of books; gratefulness.

One of the risks of this somewhat Pollyanna-ish thinking is the loss of being taken seriously, always hugely important in the past.  But when I framed it in a new way, would I rather be taken seriously and be unhappy or would I rather be happy and let the chips fall where they may?  I chose happiness.

Today I will sing, loudly, all the way to Missoula, dance when I dry my hair and put my purchases away, and laugh just for any old reason or no reason at all.  Happy Sunday.