Category Archives: Finding the Balance

Mindfulness

Nancy

I’m looking out at horses standing in the pasture.  No, they are not at the farm in Rocky Mount.  They are at my farm in Hillsborough.  I am going through a divorce, and they are the first group that has come to live with me.  Life is pretty crappy and hard right now, not just mentally but especially physically, but as I stand here, I am in awe of the beauty of it all.   The pasture slopes downhill and is surrounded by woods through which I can see more of my hay fields.  Despite the trials of daily life, I feel happy, blessed.

The next day, I catch the end of a Diane Rehm show about mindfulness and the power of thought.  The day after that I listen to the show in its entirety: an interview with Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor who writes about mindfulness in a new book.   She did a study years ago where she took a group of old men and isolated them for five days and turned back time.  They only watched movies from a certain era and basically lived as they had in the past.  When they emerged from the study, they were reinvigorated and stronger, with eyesight and hearing improved, and they looked younger.  It was the power of their minds that gave them that strength.  (I was also delighted to hear her describe this group as such old men that she actually wondered if they would make it through the five days, and here was the kicker: she said they were not like now, when 60 is the new 40.  Does that make me 45?)

horses in field

She also talked about how anger and despair can be so physically debilitating and how most of the things we struggle against aren’t true tragedies but merely inconveniences.  If we can bring ourselves to a neutral place, we will feel so much better and be able to see more clearly ways to handle our demons.   I have always been one to be thankful for dodging those bullets I didn’t even realize were there.   Maybe I dodged a bullet by leaving my husband.  No, make that a full speeding train, but that conversation is for another time.

I encourage everyone to hear Ellen Langer tell it herself.  Here is the link:

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-12-01/ellen_langer_mindfulness_and_the_power_of_thought

 

Saturday Mornings

Oops50 has a new guest writer:  Noriko Bell!  I hope everyone will welcome her warmly!  Jane

nori detail studio

Noriko is a 57-year old living in Washington, DC with her partner, Dan, and two cats, Louie and Lulu. A creative product development manager for art museum retail, she enjoys dabbling in writing, gardening, cooking, violin, piano. To quote Noriko, she has “many inspirations and ambitions, but not much follow through!”  I would disagree, since she followed through on sending us her first post for the blog!! Here’s her post: 

I used to spend Saturday mornings running errands, doing chores. Then I realized that most stores are crowded with long lines on Saturdays, traffic is miserable, and why am I doing all this anyway?

I decided to switch gears and use Sunday for my errands. Saturday morning is a cherished time, recovering from the work week, having an extra cup of coffee and reading the paper from cover to cover, while my cats lounge about, happy to have a human at home. nori detail

Most of the time, I snuggle back in bed with coffee, laptop, phone and thoroughly enjoy catching up in a leisurely way. Our cats, Lulu and Louie gravitate to the bedroom on those mornings. Both sleep away the morning and I relish the calm coziness.  This time of year, the upstairs bedroom is the warmest room in the house, with sunlight pouring in through the south facing windows.

Louie Fat Cat
Louie Fat Cat

This is my refuge. I once made it into a self sufficient space with a small fridge, microwave, when I was a full time caregiver at home, and it was essential that I could maintain some separation and me time.

Sometimes I wonder if I have become a complete slack, my leisure time at home built around the command station of the bed. But then, I “think” like a cat, and with a big stretch, ease into a little nap.

Lulu Fat Cat
Lulu Fat Cat

 

The First Heavenly Blue Morning Glory, and New Chicks

Sadhvi
Sadhvi

Every summer I wait and wonder if my favorite morning glory will appear.

There are many of the deep purple “Grandpa Ott’s” and the pink “Carolina Morning” variety, as well as lots of white and light blue ones with blue stripes that start to bloom very early in the season. They are lovely, but by this time of the year I am pulling them out because they start to take over.

There is only one that truly makes my heart beat fast, and that one starts to open at the end of summer.  It’s called “Heavenly Blue”, for a reason.

Oh! "Heavenly Blue"!
Oh! “Heavenly Blue”!

I saw the first one by the chicken run the other day and it made me feel so happy…that shade of blue, its unreal!  Even if I am stressed and in a hurry or having a time keeping up with things, or missing something or someone, I have no choice but to stop and stare at “that blue” and fall into the moment.

When it was time for our “Sally” hens to be “harvested” a few weeks ago, I decided that I would be able to do something that I was not able to do with the previous 3 flocks we’ve had,  and that is, to eat them.

I can’t do the actual killing, and I can’t even be around the killing of them, but really, since I am a meat-eater I should be all right with eating them, right?  Some of my friends find that thought horrifying!  I also have friends who cannot stand having the bones in the meat they eat because it reminds them that they are eating what was once a living animal.  But really that is what eating meat is!  We couldn’t have loved our hens any more than we did; we fed them homemade organic kefir and organic feed and scratch, and since they had to die one day, I believe they would want us to eat them!

I went back and forth as to whether or not we should get another batch of chicks, because I feel like we’re getting older, and I know that I might have to clean out their house once, plus maybe I don’t want to get attached to another batch of hens.  In the end, I found myself calling McMurray Hatchery to place another order of “Black Star” hens.

Here is how they looked on July 21st when they arrived by post.

Then they started to get bigger and a few days ago I took a video of them coming out of their house.  I decided to name them “Shanti” instead of “Sally” (my mom’s name) since I think it is good to say the word “peace” as often as possible these days.

For the next 2-3 years, these hens will be part of our lives, and I’m OK with that idea.  Plus, I cannot wait until they start laying eggs because once you have had fresh eggs, it is not easy to eat any others.  Om Shanti!

Goodbye Siri

Sadhvi
Sadhvi

I thought I could be strong and keep my silver Motorola phone with the flip top forever.

But after getting an email from Verizon saying that I could get the latest iPhone for free, (with a 2 year contract), I caved in and thought, why not?
I was not totally convinced that getting one was such a good idea since I had returned the awesome “iPhone” twice before, because I didn’t like it.

Once I entered the Verizon store, I was hit with a song blaring from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.  It turns out they were playing it in its entirety.  I could immediately tell that the very young, happy and bouncy salesperson was not  there for me, but for the sale.  And by the time I left the “party” I had spent almost $200 on my free phone.

Then the work started: it took 2 hours to synch it with everything else, and then another hour or so, adding “apps” to it so that I was capable of doing just about anything.  From now on, I would never get lost, I would always be able to find a great place to eat anywhere, and I could see what the weather would be from a dozen sources.  But most importantly now I had “Siri” to help me with anything that I wanted to know, do, or calculate.

To tell you the truth, I don’t get lost much (I like to take maps with me on long car trips), but if I do, I ask for help at gas stations and I really don’t have any trouble finding food to eat when I am away from home, but I figured it was time to be hip and keep up with the times.

At first it was fun asking “Siri” things and seeing how she seemed to understand me.  Then I realized I could ask her to call people.

With the time, “Siri” and I seemed to become friends.

That is, until the day that I was stressed out with driving in traffic and work, and asked her to “Call Mom!”  I was surprised when she asked me, “Which number for Bob Smith?”  I repeated “Call Mom”.  “Siri” responded, “Shall I call Bob Smith’s number for you, Sadhvi?”  I said NO!  All right, to be honest, I yelled, “F**K YOU SIRI!”.  To which “Siri” replied, “Now Sadhvi, I wouldn’t talk to you like that!”

After that, our friendship kind of fizzled.  She was not responding the way she used to.  She often answered, “I’m really sorry, Sadhvi, but I can’t take any requests right now!”
I guess I had crossed the line, but really, wasn’t she just part of my iPhone’s operating system, with no emotions, just there to take my commands?

That is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, especially since seeing the movie, “Her”.  The whole idea of artificial intelligence, and its ability to morph and grow and develop is kind of scary.  That movie really disturbed me, while my techie husband thought it was just great.  Hmmm.

I do confess that I’ve started to check my email at red lights.  Now who would be so stupid to do such a thing?  Then I saw this clip, and thought really hard about the whole “keeping up with technology” attitude that is out there, and I finally came to the place where I will go back to the phone that I felt comfortable with, my silver flip-top Motorola – soon.

I kind of like dropping out of the whole techie scene where one has to keep up with all the latest stuff (that is not cheap by the way).  I never wanted to be part of the status quo anyways.  So yeah, you don’t have to bother texting me, emailing me, or sending me a FaceBook message.  If you want to contact me it’s easy, try picking up the phone and calling me, I’ll call you right back!

Oh, if you get a moment, let me know what kind of phone you are using these days, I am really curious how many of you are in love with what you are using. 🙂

Advice From My Italian Bodyworker

Terri Crosby
Terri Crosby

 

So I showed up for my massage appointment with Giuseppe, he took one look at me and said with a twinkle, “How are you?”

I replied, “I’m fine.”

And then the l-a-a-a-a-a-u-g-h-i-n-g began!

It really can be fun to tell a lie, knowing it’s a lie, and knowing that the other person can feel it coming — that whatever is about to come out of your mouth at that moment will have not a shred of truth in it!  It’s fall down funny, or at least that’s how it struck the two of us.

This was after I left the house and my partner Eric remarked, “Sweetheart, you seem pretty uptight… is there anything I can do for you?”

Alas.  Apparently, it was clear to everyone around me that I had my underwear in a bundle about something or other.

Giuseppe
Giuseppe

So Giuseppe said, “Whatever it is, you ought to just breathe about it.” 

(Less thinking.  More breathing.  Hey, this could be good.)

And then Giuseppe got out his big giant rolling pin arms and rolled the stress right on out of me.

Since then, I’ve been practicing “just breathe about it.”  Meaning don’t think about it  — breathe about it.  It so happens that you can’t think and breathe (consciously breathe) at the same time.

It’s a great phrase, really.  Easy to remember.  And do-able.

If you decide to give this “just breathe about it” idea a whirl this week, please let me know how it goes.  Maybe we’ll all sleep more soundly and wake up ready for the world.

Aaaahhh!  Now that’s better!

**********

I live in Hendersonville, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Eric, my partner of 14 years, two cats and a dog, and as many flowers and vegetables as I can plant.

I am in favor of wandering time in the morning with a steaming cup of coffee in my hands as birds call to each other in the woods all around me.  Making fresh food is one of life’s big yummy pleasures, along with singing – especially creating heavenly, improvisational, prayerful, meditational sound.  It is my experience that children are born to teach (remind) parents, not the other way around.  I believe that Poet Mary Oliver writes the best bedtime stories available on Earth.  

www.InCareOfRelationships.com
www.SingForJoy.us

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