nurturing thursdays

I happened upon a new idea…..Nurturing Thursdays...as I browsed another blogger’s site” On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea” at http://beccagivens.wordpress.com 

So although today’s Friday and not Thursday, I’d like to offer some words which I hope will nurture…someone in need.

My own life is oft times crazy, trying to do this, that, and the other thing. Always running it seems…and I don’t mean around the track at the community center where I might find some time to recoup and re-energize…and drop a few pounds while I’m at it. 

If you’re like me, you set yourself goals…short term and long term…and like items on a “to-do” list, you check each off as you accomplish them. It’s a rat race for sure, and usually of our own creation.

Women seem especially prone to setting ourselves up for failure when we can’t get it all done. It seems especially true of women in their 30s, 40s, and perhaps 50s. Those are the years when careers are evolving and children are born.

Book of Answers

Book of Answers (Photo credit: Caro’s Lines)

How to make it all work? That’s the $64,000 question…or more currently…the answer’s worth a billion dollars. Experts and amateurs alike have tried their hand at the jackpot. To my way of thinking…there’s no one-size-fit-all response.

I’ve finally found my way to the truth after six decades on this planet. Like other women, I’ve been looking under every pebble, stone, rock, and boulder for the answer. Know where I found the answer? My answer?

INSIDE MYSELF!!! That’s where I discovered how to make this crazy hamster’s wheel of a life work.

I listen to my own voice, not someone else’s. No one knows the path I’ve taken…to get to where I finally am.

I decide what my goals are…and when I need to achieve them…or not.

I set about working at something…or not.

I establish my own priorities…or not.

I choose my friends..or not.

I forgive my enemies…or defer it to another day…knowing I will forgive them in the end.

I take time to “smell the roses” and bask in the warmth of sunny days…whenever I need.

I make up my own mind…after listening to all sides.

I don’t argue…unless it’s meaningful…never doing so for the sake of…or just because.

I try not to judge others…for I’ve not been in their shoes.

I let my heart rule…not my head.

This is not to say I can’t ever get myself into a pretzel…twisted and discombobulated. But at least I can say it’s one I’ve cooked up all by myself. So that the next time I’ll know which ingredients worked…and which didn’t.

Breathing in and breathing out is what life’s all about. Perfecting the intake…and the release…of each breath, requires a lifetime of practice.

…i’m still practicing…and perfection is not my goal…neither is an immaculate house!

………hugmamma.

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mandatory? blogging?

I can’t help but think that we should all be made to blog. Why? Because it’s become obvious to me that the connections I’ve made with other bloggers, complete strangers, has nothing to do with socio-economic factors, like ethnicity, income-level, achievements, religion, age, appearance, political-bent, physical well-being, or aspirations. Blogging is about shared interests, values, hopes, concerns, anxieties. All with whom I’ve shared more than a passing nod, express compassion for others. 

Blogging Heroes

Image via Wikipedia

From what I’ve witnessed these last 8 months or so, people take to blogging to have a voice in the world. We begin as individuals, venturing forth onto the internet, getting adjusted to the new environment, getting cozy with our surroundings, making adjustments as needed. Some soar quickly, taking flight, experimenting without fear, gathering new treasures which they quickly bring back to their “nests,” feathering them beautifully. Others, like me, pursue one goal, writing, picking up enhancements by accident, or through much effort and deliberation, even getting caught up in viruses and spams.

Blogging is committing to print, what buzzes around in our brains. For me blogging allows my thoughts to alight now and then, like moths that come to rest on a windowpane near a lit lamp. Moving from writing in isolation to having others gather around to read, is indeed a bonus. But it becomes more than that. The blogging community is a microcosm within a macrocosm.

Monkeys Blogging

Image via Wikipedia

All species are interdependent. We humans are not meant to live as islands unto ourselves. Relating to one another is essential to our entire well-being. Blogging connects us, without consideration for the trappings that can separate.

though not perfect, it is an option to seriously consider…hugmamma.

siblings

Most of us are born into families with other children. Siblings are a complicated group. They needn’t be, but most often they are. Finding our niches within the hierarchical order is tricky business. There is usually a pecking order. And it normally runs oldest to youngest, with the latter having no one to peck on, so to speak.

Perceptions of life are affected by our own lives, so they’re necessarily skewed by what our brain interprets of the goings on around us. Obviously these interpretations are our truths, not necessarily lining up with those of others. This isn’t to say they’re not valid, for to us they are.

One of the truisms in life, I think, is that we should listen, really listen, to what someone is saying. We tend to hear what we want to hear. I wonder why that is? It’s almost as though we’re only using one ear. This is definitely the case in most marriages, mine included. But I guess when 2 strangers get together, there’s a lot to sort out, and for marriages to survive there needs to be give-and-take, a lot of it.

Give-and-take among siblings is another matter. When they live under the same roof it’s probably essential, to minimize the bloodshed. But when they’ve left the roost to find their own way in the world, coming together again can be, as I said, tricky.

I’m 61 and the youngest of 9. It’s not easy to throw off the mantel of “kid sister.” I don’t often see my siblings, so the issue rarely comes up. Nonetheless, it’s not an easy position to occupy, especially when I’ve successfully led my life outside the hierarchy. I’ve never been able to say to any of my siblings “I think you should do this.” Not that I would want to do so. I think they’re all just fine as they are. Just as I couldn’t tell a stranger how to live her life, I couldn’t do so with family. I could only offer advice and support, if asked.

I have great admiration for my husband and his siblings, always have. I’ve known them for nearly 41 years, having interacted with them  much more when he and I were dating. The last 30 years or so we’ve lived on the mainland, away from the rest of them. There was obviously a hierarchy among the 12 siblings, but it wasn’t overtly apparent to me. The camaraderie among them was palpable, still is. The banter back and forth among sisters and brothers is light, fun, loving. There’s no heavy talk about setting and achieving goals, working at better jobs, pressure to attend college. Not that these aren’t important. But I think my husband and his siblings set examples for one another. They led the way, they didn’t point in the direction and say “Go do it.” They just did it.

The pattern of showing by example has filtered down to all our nieces and nephews. Many have graduated from colleges on the mainland, and some have traveled outside the country, even as far away as Australia, one nephew living in Mongolia as a Mormon missionary for a couple of years. There is excitement within the family whenever we gather, catching up with one another, getting better acquainted with newborns, or children who’ve grown up in our absence. No matter the lives they lead, there is equality among my husband and his siblings, and their children and their cousins. And it’s for certain, they’ve all “got each other’s backs,” that’s OHANA, Hawaiian for family.

My mother-and-father-inlaw, and their marriage of 40 + years before he died, are to be credited for their successful, love-by-example raising of 12 children. A legacy they have surely left to all who come after. I’m very fortunate to have found love and comfort under the shelter of my in-laws welcoming “umbrella” these many years.

for everyone coming in out of the “rain”…hugs…hugmamma.  

i’ve got a deadline to meet

Regular readers to my blog know that I set myself a task about a month or so ago. By day’s end, today, I will have published 365 posts. That would mean I would’ve written a year’s worth of posts in 7 months. The other part of the challenge was that you, dear reader, help me reach 10,000 viewings at the same time. Needless to say you’ve far surpassed that goal with hits to date at 11, 879! Who knows you might even make it to 12,000, since you’re just shy of the mark by 121 views. 

Whatever the number at midnight tonight, I’m already eternally grateful for your faith in me as a writer. If you were my boss in corporate America, you would have already given me a promotion beyond my wildest imaginings. And so I thank you, with great humility, for letting me into your lives through the written word.

So brace yourselves, especially those who’ve subscribed by email, for  an onslaught…of more words. Tomorrow you’ll get a well-deserved break, I promise…I think.

blest to be writing…for you…hugmamma.

massage “therapy”

I’ve had an unusual last 6 months, with allergies and fibromyalgia taking its toll throughout the spring season. Luckily it was after I’d tended to my garden, preparing the beds for the growing season, weeding and laying bait to minimize the slug infestation. Summer was a busy time with travels to Venice, Italy and Irvine, California. And during the last couple of months I’ve criss-crossed the country to be with my daughter. So it was with great anticipation that I saw my massage therapist,  yesterday.

Under Jennifer’s very capable hands, I felt the knots in my neck and shoulder muscles begin to loosen and relax. I winced in pain when she worked one particular spot in the crook of my right neck area. I’d never done that before, so I knew I’d been in desperate need of a massage.

An “old soul” at 27 years of age, Jennifer is not only good for my aches and pains, but is also someone with whom I commisserate on just about everything. Like the rest of us, she has had to sort out her life. Married, with her own business, I think my massage therapist, and friend, should be congratulated for “making lemonade, out of lemons.”  

Jennifer is such a home body. Having had a bountiful garden this year, she’s been busy canning sugar pumpkins, and making apple butter and blackberry jam, and turning squash into homemade soup. And she was understandably proud of harvesting 20 ears of corn, for neither the deer nor the raccoons had ravaged the stalks. Contributing to their winter stockpile, Jennifer’s husband will soon be hunting elk with friends. She indicated that at least 500 pounds of meat can be had from one animal.

I’m amazed at the thrift and frugality in such a young couple. And yet it doesn’t seem to be founded only upon economic concerns. Jennifer chooses to live a simpler life in terms of material acquisitions. Her passions lie elsewhere, a horse with which she is training, and a determination to become a licensed practitioner of myofacscial-release. These do not come cheap. But they are meaningful and fulfilling goals, for which Jennifer is willing to make sacrifices.

While my body is grateful for my massage therapist’s skill, my soul is graced by her youthful wisdom.

for Jennifer, hugs…hugmamma.

in the moment, “live-life-large”

In one of our many chats, my daughter spoke of the guest who has been assisting with company rehearsals for the ballet, Swan Lake. When the woman was younger, she danced with another company and had performed the lead roles of Odette, the white swan and Odile, the black swan. Throughout her coaching, she has earned the respect and admiration of all the dancers, including my daughter, who has often remarked that the woman could still perform the leads in Swan Lake despite her age. “She’s still technically strong and artistically beautiful.” One day during morning ballet class, she advised the dancers that they should work “in the moment,” focusing upon the step they were doing, not the one before, nor the one after. She also explained that they should immerse themselves completely in a role, so that when they’re done they can put the performance behind them, knowing they did their best. My daughter felt this was very sound advice, as did I.

The life of a ballet dancer seems the perfect metaphor for living life. Find one’s passion, be disciplined in working toward achieving a goal, be flexible in allowing for “detours” that will undoubtedly occur, formulate new resolutions accordingly, relish the journey for its as important as the “pot-of-gold” at the end of the rainbow. If the “pot” is not reached, the trip will still have been worthwhile because of the “nuggets” gathered along the way.

I try to “live-life-large” in the moment, savoring it with all 5 senses. Some days I’m more successful than others. I try not to think of what I might have done better in the past, or what I might accomplish in the future. If I’m blogging then I focus upon the subject at hand, bringing all my thoughts to bear. When I’m cooking, I’m Julia Child celebrating food with abandon. As housekeeper I’m my mother’s daughter, cleaning every nook and cranny with determination. When out walking Mocha, she sets the pace, sniffing every blade of grass, running freely through ground cover up to her chest or low-lying bushes, where she often does her business. When Sitka or Juneau decide to use my lap, I’ve learned to sit-a-spell reveling in their contented purrs. When I crawl into bed, usually in the wee hours of the morning, I’m grateful to have had another day of  good health, for it enabled me to “live-life-large” in the moment.

Outstanding adults who influence my daughter for the better are  a gift. She will have them in her life to reinforce the values with which she has been raised. At 24, my husband and I are no longer the center of her world, nor should we be. She is already striving to “live-life-large” in the moment, gathering “pearls of wisdom” as she  matures.

hugs for living “big”, in the moment…hugmamma.