Monday, February 6, 2017

Oooh child, things are going to get easier...

As the 70 degree days increase, the days dipping into the 50s decrease, and the February days fly by I will say for the first time this year but not the last:  there's no place like spring in the South.  The camellia trees are overloaded with blossoms.

The trumpet flowers are just on the verge of opening up, with a few early faces:

Forsythia buds are swelling...

Crocuses are popping up at the feet of daffodils all over the yard.

My main New Years resolution was to get organized, because getting organized gave me the time and means to pursue other goals.  One such goal is mindful living and meditation.  I regret to say that I'm terrible at meditation, don't enjoy it, and haven't seen any benefits from the few minutes a day that I've given it.  The mindful living component, however, has been incredibly fruitful.  A simpler way to phrase it is living in the moment and enjoying the little things.  I used to be quite good at this, but work got so busy, and I developed a lingering and discouraging post-antibiotics complication, so 2016 really went out with a whimper. 

It was surprisingly difficult to get back into this.  Spend two minutes contemplating an object in your office, my guide said, but I found myself spending more time glancing at the clock than analyzing my stapler.  For me, it was better to get outside. Once I really started looking, it was easy to find things to contemplate, and to find joy.

Water droplets on leaves.

A lone mushroom with ruffled edges, forcing its way up through the mulch.

The brilliant blue/purple of my rosemary bushes, which are all flowering now.

The rich colors of the lenten rose leaves.

A chatty jay, scolding me for disturbing the peace.

I brought in armfuls of flowers and made bouquets.  Just catching a glimpse of a little bouquet through an open door, even in a room I rarely use, is a pleasure.

One of my Christmas gifts this year was an ANTA vase, something I'd wanted for a long time but hesitated to buy because of the price.  I choose a color scheme that I thought would look nice with all seasons and filled it with white camellias.  Again, it's the glance through an open door, just seeing  a glimpse, that's such a pleasure.

Seeing a cat curled up in a basket...

...or in our cheerful snowman sheets... a moment of pleasure.  Buying a $2 primrose at the grocery store and seeing how perfectly the yellow centers match the yellow of the trumpet flowers I brought in from outside...another moment of pleasure.

It's not just a visual practice, though.  Mindful living involves all the senses, and I'm slowly making progress on smell (using essential oils in daily life), touch (working with different textiles - felt, cotton, wool, fleece), taste (trying new food experiments), and sound (slowly starting a music study this spring).  Being organized has given me the time to do all of these things, and even though it's only early February, I'm ready to declare this experiment a success!  It's becoming second nature to work from my planner every day and to notice all the little pleasures that make up a happy life.

I've made great progress on many craft projects (more happy news!), but just don't have the time or space to fit them in here.  Hopefully next week!

Until then!

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