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Posts tagged ‘breathing’

Jenny: How To Enjoy A Day Off

The other morning I had the great fortune to stumble across an entire, glorious two hours between tours for kids to squander away at will.

And so, I ventured forth on my own little date with myself. This is one of my FAVOURITE things to do in the world, namely because:

a) I am free to do whatever the heck I like without considering anybody; and

b) I am fabulous company.

It’s funny, because while I am technically an extrovert, I’m absolutely not one of those people who finds being alone uncomfortable, threatening or in any way negative. (Note to self: this is quite possibly a side-effect of having children. Was I like this pre-kids? Hmmm. Must investigate).

No, no! Being alone these days is such a complete luxury and just so damn hard to come by, that when it does I savour every last drop.

Is that a magazine? Oh my heavens, I might actually READ THAT. Give me four!

Coffee? Don’t mind if I do! Make mine a super-size double decaf with a shot of tranquiliser. No, no, nothing fancy, just whatever you’ve got on stand-by.

A new movie out? Hells to the yes! Don’t tell me what it is, for I don’t really care, so long as it involves frozen Coke and Maltesers.

So, there I was on my little self-indulgent conquest, when what should I stumble on but this complete and utter delight of a West End store: Nook.

Nook, 19 Browning Street, West End

Isn’t it just….cute? I ventured on it, proceeded to slobber all over the lovely polished floors and then asked whether I could take some photos for me ole blog! And so I set forth, feeling like quite the mother who’s finally been let out of the house artist extraordinaire…

Mmmm…

Heck yeah.

Ah, I am so in love with sewing machines. In the same way that I’m in love with Edward Scissorhands. I think they’re so beautiful, yet have no idea what to do with them.

It even had its own resident cat. And while I’m not generally a fan (of cats that is, not residents), even I could acknowledge that this dude just added to the whole charm quotient.

In other words, my perfect date!

How ’bout you? Any other solo date lovers out there? Any fave/dream/ideas for outings?

x

[Cross-posted from Comic Mummy]

Miranda: Breathe in, breathe out

Late May and June seem to overflow with spring sports, end-of-school trips, rehearsals, recitals, and events. Like many of you, I drive from baseball practice to the dance studio and then back again, arriving at home far too late to get a decent dinner onto the table. The options are: plan carefully and cook dinner in that narrow window between work and the chauffeur routine, or get pizza (again).

It’s easy to be swallowed up by the 1,358 details and pressures of daily life. Last week I retrieved my college son during a two-day road trip to Ithaca, NY, just in time to come home and help my husband rip out an asphalt driveway. Major DIY landscaping projects loom, woven in between graduations, shopping for teacher gifts, T-ball tournaments, and driver’s ed. Normally, the added tasks and activity of this time of year would turn me into a raving bee-atch stress muffin. But this year things are a little different. I’m not a sea of tranquility — not by a longshot — but I’m not fantasizing about my escape to Mexico, either. What’s changed?

I’m running around, but my recent efforts to do less and reduce stress have actually begun to work. I’ve stopped taking on new client projects (the existing clients are more than sufficient) and I no longer need to work nights in order to stave off the panic attacks. I continue to refine my custom planner, which I still love. In the big-picture thinking about moving closer to what makes me happy, the answer seems to live in “just being.” Being, as opposed to doing.

A lot of different threads have come together for me during the past few months as my husband and I began to seriously study and practice Buddhism. Now that I’ve done more than just dip my toe in (I’m probably up to the ankle) I wonder why I didn’t embrace this practice a long time ago. I’d read many Buddhist-inspired books over the years, but I never before connected all the dots. Mediation and mindfulness speak directly to my long-time desire to live in the moment, appreciating my children — how fleeting this time is! — and embrace creativity as much as possible without all the self-flagellation when it doesn’t happen. Somehow Buddhism always seemed to me like something that other people — crunchy, poser Westerners — took to in order to check out of life. But I was wrong. It’s not about checking out, it’s about checking in. You don’t need to be Tibetan in order to practice Buddhism, and it’s already helping me become a better mother. (One of my favorite books in this category: Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn.)

I’m also running again, eating better, and protecting my 7+ hours of sleep a night. And I’m reading, almost every night. What am I NOT doing? Well, I’m not watching any TV, but I don’t miss it. I’m also not doing very much personal writing. But I’m trying not to obsess. Obsessing means losing out on the opportunity of RIGHT NOW. Remember our discussion of someday is today? Well, today brings whatever today brings. I’m down with that. Yes, there are many things that I’d like to make happen. I’d like to finish my novel. My nonfiction book. Heck, just my creative nonfiction essay. I’d like to ensure at least three posts to this blog every week. And I will do all of those things, in time. But I won’t do them at the expense of this beautiful moment, or my children. (It was quite affirming to look out the window just now and see a hummingbird skimming through the sprinkler in my front yard!)

Summer looms, and with it the perennial promise of slower days and a bit of relaxation. (When the weather is fair — for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere — it does seem easier to embrace the moment, doesn’t it? Of course, this is the very reason why my husband argues that we should move to a warmer part of the country 🙂 ) How are YOU feeling during the end-of-year crunch? Are you able to enjoy the beauty outside? Have you developed strategies to stave off the stress? Are there certain items in the self-care category that you refuse to give up, come hell or high water (a nightly bath, journal writing, a weekly yoga class, a photo a day)? And if creativity gets put on hold for a while, do you trust in a cycle that will bring it back? Please share….

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