Observation Journal (March 27th)

Lately I find that I’m observing more of my external surroundings. I have noticed many flowering trees around my apartment complex and the campus that I don’t recall noticing in years past. I’m realizing that perhaps I was keeping my vision at eye-level and below, rather than looking above more often. I had no idea how many beautiful flowering trees I get to enjoy during the spring, and somehow even the lousiest of days brightens when I’m outside looking at everything coming back to life. During the past week, I made it a point to observe all the foliage and flowering, especially when thoughts would begin to surface in my mind. I reminded myself to let my feelings and thoughts rise and fall as quickly as they arouse so I could focus more upon my external surroundings. I have a bad habit of being consumed by thoughts and completely missing some very wonderful sights simply because I’m so wrapped up in my thoughts and the emotions they evoke. It will definitely take a lot more training, but I’m becoming more mindful of myself in my daily commute. I think I like this change quite a bit.


[The Mindfulist] March 28th

[March 24th] Quality Exchanges: Do you bring your awareness to each exchange you have? How about those that you wish you weren’t having? Think: if you’re interrupted on your way to work by an activist, are you mindful in your exchange? Or do you blow them off?

Because I work at a major university, I am consistently being bombarded with information regarding a plethora of issues: politics, religion, special offers, etc. I have come to take the policy of never making eye contact. The second you make eye contact, you are doomed. They will offer you a flier, and you can either accept it or decline it. I always feel like a heal either way — did they really need to print that out? do they think I’m horrible for not taking the darn thing? Obviously, I’m being mindfully avoidant. However, I have been in those shoes before. For about two weeks, I was once a telemarketer trying to earn a living. To make a long story short, I learned a valuable lesson about the people that always seem to call during dinner. They aren’t doing it on purpose. They are trying to pay bills. They are trying to go to school.  They are trying. They are human beings who don’t necessarily want to be telephone sales pitchers for the rest of their lives. They are human beings with dreams and goals that far surpass anything a career in telemarketing could ever afford them. They are just trying to live their lives, and they don’t mean to offend you. They are being paid by someone else who’s got the agenda to call you, and they are just doing their job so they don’t lose their job. You listen to your boss, too, don’t you? So, when they’re trying to build a repoire with you, remember that you have that same human commonality, and be a little kinder when you ask him or her to take you off the list. When you see that person handing out fliers, you don’t have to feel obligated to take it, but that doesn’t mean you should be rude. A simple “no, thank you” will do. When they are ranting about a charged topic right in your face, smile, wish them a good day, and remember they are still just a human being like you. We are all human, after all.


Gratitude # 75

I’m currently grateful for the lovely option to publish later. Because the weekend is forecasted to be so lovely, I don’t intend to get on the computer really — unless it’s to check the temperature and weather radar. Okay, and I will probably do the daily sudoku and crossword mostly because I value the mental exercise. However, I will let my email age until Monday morning. I will refuse to be tracked via status messages. I won’t get roped into politically-charged articles, and I won’t necessarily check the blogs I read. Everything will still be here bright and early on Monday morning. Do you know what won’t be here bright and early on Monday morning? All that time I have between 5:30pm today and 6:00am Monday morning. My family won’t be here at my desk on Monday morning — they will be at home. My little Pumpkin is now over 4 months old, quickly approaching the 5 month mark. He’s holding steady on his hands and knees and promises to begin crawling very soon. He’s gnawing on anything that comes within grabbing reach because he’s got bumpy little teeth patiently waiting to burst forth through his gums. My Muffin just turned 3 on Wednesday — and I realize I didn’t get to post her birth story (or rather the sanitized version — I have a 6-page private version that’s full of colorful language ala Dooce).

I wish you all a very relaxing, wonderful weekend, and I will return on Monday! Check back after 9am tomorrow and Sunday for some scheduled posts.


Gratitude # 74

Although time is short today, I would like to reflect on some of life’s little blessings. I’m grateful for the class before seminar. The nickname for that particular class is “Fruit for Jocks” — think basket-weaving, only tastier. At the end of each class, they give out free fruit and cookies to their students, and they almost always have leftovers. So far I’ve gotten strawberries, clementines, bananas, nectarines, plums, fruit cups, and a container of fruit from Publix. I may have forgotten something, but in any case it’s always nice to have that little healthy snack waiting for me, especially at that time of day. I always get hungry around that time of day, and usually I munch on one of my little healthy muffins. Free fruit during free writing time always adds up to a good afternoon — not to mention the beautiful breeze that swept through my hair on the walk to and from seminar.


Kreativ Blogger Award

As part of my acceptance of the Kreativ Blogger award given to me by Nicki, I’d like to award Brenda Della Casa, Giyen Kim, Renee, Jasmine, and Sadie for the Kreativ Blogger award. In accepting the award, you ladies must award 5 deserving bloggers and share 5-7 things that no one knows about you yet. Here are mine:

  1. I enjoy piano solo music.
  2. I’ve been known to eat cold Chinese food.
  3. Shiny objects still have the absolute power to distraction me from just about anything.
  4. I don’t sing. I just don’t. I hate having to initiate the birthday song at pretty much every single one of my kids’ parties, but no one else ever steps up to the plate. I assume they dislike singing. In those cases, I force it.
  5. I can actually be a grouch. No really, stop laughing! I know I’m all sunshine and rainbows here, but I can and do have bad days.
  6. I don’t plan on hacking off my hair once I hit that arbitrary age when all women chop it off in favor of the conservative bob. Hey, it’s not like I plan to have a neon mohawk at age 50!

Now it’s your turn! Here’s hoping you enjoyed these short tidbits about me. I’m pleased to finally accept my Kreativ Blogger Award.


Gratitude # 73

Today I’m extremely grateful to be migraine-free. Yesterday, I most definitely experienced what they describe as an “aura” during lunch — I was dizzy, I saw fuzzy zig-zags, and I felt really off. I could feel a headache coming on, so I took some ibuprofen and headed back to work. Big. Mistake. When I got off the bus, I could feel the sun’s mighty rays piercing through the cloud cover. The whole left side of my head throbbed. Somehow, I made it back to my desk. I sat down and realized that nearly 3 or 4 conversations were going on at once — and everyone sounded as though they were on maximum volume. It’s amazing how your sensitivity to the senses becomes so heightened during a migraine. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t function. I attempted to relieve some of the pain by holding a warm mug of tea up to my head, but that only provided temporary relief. As soon as I’d remove the mug from my head, the throbbing pain would increase. I tried sipping soda. The bubbles felt nice on my gums, and it helped calm my stomach. It’s amazing how the pain of a migraine can upset one’s stomach, isn’t it? Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I could tell it wasn’t going to just go away and let me be a productive worker, and I left early. It took a nap on the couch in the dark to make it go away.

Today, I can think. I can eat. I can think about food without wretching. I can type. I can look at the computer screen. I don’t feel like my head is in a vice grip. It feels good not to have a migraine!


Brick Wall

It would seem I’ve hit a brick wall. I’m finding more and more that I stare blankly at the “add new post” page, wondering why the words won’t come. Surely I have plenty to be grateful for, and surely I could make mindful observations. Yet I’m incapable of picking a topic. My original approach to The Mindfulist daily prompts doesn’t seem to fit well with the direction of the prompts — they’ve been more about doing and less about reflecting (that’s not to say I don’t appreciate the prompts to do rather than contemplate). I guess I’m feeling more “I would like to do this” instead of “I would like to plan this.” I suppose I should embrace this ebb of literary content as a period of accumulating noteworthy material. I should embrace this time to create through other mediums, to get outside and enjoy the weather before it becomes a blisteringly hot summer again. The leaves are growing back, the trees are flowering, and the azaleas are blooming. Surely I’ll find inspiration soon.


Spring Break

Despite the fact that it was spring break here, I some how managed not to get a post in at all this week. I keep telling everyone that spring break is for undergrads — and it is. Granted, spring break usually means it’s quiet around town, yet somehow I didn’t write at all. I suppose you could say I’ve kept busy, but I’d likely chalk this hiatus up to a mental block. Life has so many interesting intricacies right now, and I’m having difficulty trying to quiet my mind enough to produce coherent thought processes. Mind you, a lot of this is private and off-limits to the public — I have particular boundaries that I don’t like to cross when in the spotlight. As I work towards becoming the best version of me, I realize I’d like to be graceful in many ways. Please bear with me as I work through my block. I think at this point I need to simply be in the moment and make a very good effort to unplug, unwind, and untangle this web of thoughts.


Gratitude # 72

The weather today was magnificent — perfect for opening the windows to let in fresh air and perfect for taking the kids outside to play. I have been waiting for a lovely day such as this to get outside with the family and enjoy some fun time. We started off the day with a big breakfast: a double-batch of pancakes (made with raspberry blush vinegar), bacon, lite maple sausage, cheesy scrambled eggs, and orange juice. The pancakes? They were fabulous! I highly recommend using that flavor of vinegar to make the pancakes. It gives them a slight raspberry flavor that brings out the sweetness. So good! This afternoon, we went to the playground in our complex and let the kids enjoy some time playing kickball, throwing the football, sliding, swinging, and running around. I took some pictures to commemorate it. I love nice days like today. Here’s hoping for another nice weekend in our near future.


Feeling Uninspired

I’m going to type a little piece that I wrote yesterday afternoon during seminar. I haven’t been able to really get my thoughts to congeal into something audience-worthy all week it seems, but I’m quite proud of the piece I wrote yesterday.

I enjoy filling blank, white pages with colorful, meaningful ink. Looking at a blank notebook that I can write my thoughts into really thrills me. Putting the pen to paper results in a satisfying flow of thoughts and energy. Looking at the words that I have left for future reference brings me joy and relief. When I’ve filled a book with my words and ink, I feel accomplished. I feel like my mind has been given room to breathe and expand.

I love conducting personal research. I find a topic to be fascinating, and so I choose to learn more about it. I hunt for reputable sources to increase my knowledge. I read whatever I can find to fill the void. When I have finished, I feel smarter, more knowledgeable. I feel as thought I’ve used my intellectual capacity in a beneficial way.

I have had a lot of writing accomplished [yesterday]. I allowed my creativity to flow, to be inspired to simply write for the love of writing. I have taken time with one of my favorite media of expression, and I have fulfilled the need to quiet my mind and be present in the moment.

The above piece was very beneficial to my mindfulness pursuits. Again, I hope you enjoyed it.