Mindful Monday: A Month of Processing

As January 2011 comes to a close, I’m pausing to reflect on the first month of this new year. I’ve spent most of this month internally processing all of life’s changes since the close of 2010. The Reverb 10 series gave me a lot of fodder to ruminate over 2010’s events and manifestations for 2011. I aspire to become an English consultant, a tutor, a freelance writer, an independent editormy own boss. My writing on this blog should reflect that goal clearly, in fact. I’ve been blogging professionally for over three years now, and in that time I’ve made friends, attempted to monetize, written sponsored posts, and devised a posting schedule. Mindful Mondays focus on my endeavors to be more mindful of my words, actions, psyche, and body. Wordless Wednesdays provide an outlet for my photography hobby. Thankful Thursdays became the new gratitude series, so that I could share my appreciation for all things big and small in life. Foodie Friday caters to my love of food. I’ve had to move due to a fire, as well as job loss. Over the past seven months, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my desire to earn a living as my own employer. Money affords us the ability to provide for ourselves and our dependents — and I’m sure we all know by now that I really need an income to feel like my kids are going to live comfortably. I’ve been seriously considering finding a job — full time or part time — in order to feel like I’m doing my part, and yet I find that being home for them also has it’s perks. I mean, I wanted to spend more time with my family after all.

During this month, I’ve had the opportunity to discover what feeds my soul and what poisons it. I’ve had the time to seriously consider purging clutter that I really don’t want, need, or use anymore. The emotional attachments we form to seemingly silly objects is rather fascinating, and at the same time I understand how some people can horde a plethora of items. We project our memories onto inanimate objects in an attempt to remember our memories at a later date. Sure, the memory’s been made, but we don’t always remember to relish in those good memories — as a matter of fact, I doubt I’m alone in that I some times dwell on the not-so-nice memories more readily than the good. However, packing and unpacking has made me realize that I need to ask myself what I really want, need, and use in my life. Additionally, I’ve begun asking myself a lot of questions about the present and the future. I’ve brainstormed ideas for my blog, my business website, and a professional website (more details to come next month). I’m excited about the possibilities and cautious about the obstacles ahead. While 2010’s business hasn’t quite given up just yet, this year seems to have a glimmer of hope beginning to shine through.

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Reverb 10: Photo

Filed under: Reverb10 — Tags: , , , , , , — Meredith @ 1:46 pm January 24, 2011

12/25 Prompt: Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

This is a picture of me with Junior at Chop Stix Cafe, taken on December 27th. It captures me as a loving mother, the kind of mother I want to my children to remember me as. Brian took it with his new camera — it was a gift from our friend that evening, actually. This picture reveals how attached I am to my family, how much I enjoy noodles, my fondness for tea, and just the essence of me. I wasn’t expecting him to snap this photo, but once I saw it I was certain it would be perfect for this prompt. I had worried about choosing the right photo beforehand.

Chop Stix Reverb 10

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Reverb 10: Final Batch

Filed under: Reverb10 — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Meredith @ 1:59 pm January 16, 2011

So, I read @whollyjeanne’s advice about writing the reverb10 posts, and I’m going to heed her words to send backlogged prompts out in a batch and not to write a book about them. Admittedly, I don’t quite have the photo I want for the photo prompt, so I suppose that’s just going to have to wait. Anyhow, on with the prompts….

12/24 Prompt: Everything’s OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

I actually had a moment of that, although I cannot remember the date, time, etc. I had made mention of it to Brian, that I had a calm sense of being at peace with the impending move. During 2011, I intend to try and remember that I had a sense of peace with this change, knowing it was the right thing to do — even when I doubt it.

12/27 Prompt: Ordinary joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

Much like the previously stated “moment,” I really can’t remember one explicit time, place, etc. However, I can say that any moment in which the kids were all calm, getting along, and being unusually angelic provided me with ordinary joy. Any moment in which my husband and I enjoyed together doing anything or nothing at all provided me with ordinary joy. Ordinarily I can enjoy even the simplest of life’s pleasures, even in the toughest of times when it feels like the whole world wants to see me fail miserably.

12/29 Prompt: Defining moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

It’s funny how a lot of these prompts essentially kept forcing me to reflect on the same painful memory that I’ve tried so hard to block out — getting fired. However, it really did define the rest of my year. The only other competitive moment was the moment in which I accepted that job in the first place. I never felt comfortable with that decision, and I do still beat myself up over ignoring my instincts.

12/30 Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

I was given the gift of more time. Time is a glorious thing.

12/31 Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

What’s at the core of my story? Could it be struggles? Overcoming obstacles? Fighting through things? Learning lessons? I read through my reverb10 posts and remembered the pattern I began to see as I reflected upon 2010 — as well as life in general. I’m an emotion individual with strong convictions about life and how to live it. I can be incredibly hard-headed, even when I know it’s time to change course. In fact, it took me five months to realize I needed to let go and relocate. I don’t always give myself enough credit. I’m new school and old-fashioned all at the same time. I’m sentimental and enjoy traditions. I dream big. I set a lot of goals. I take on a lot of projects — self-assigned and otherwise. I can only be myself.

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We’re already halfway through January 2011, and thus far I’ve been much more introspective than anything else. I believe that once I complete the chores and business I have with 2010’s lasting effects, I will move forward a little more lightened. I also suppose I will eventually get to that photo prompt, too.

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Reverb 10: Soul Food

Filed under: Reverb10 — Tags: , , , , , — Meredith @ 8:30 pm January 3, 2011

Prompt: Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

I’m pretty sure it should be obvious that the tiramisu cake touched my soul. In fact, it should be fairly obvious that I adore tiramisuvery much so. The rich, creamy texture of the mascarpone, zabaglione, and whipped cream blends delicately with the moist, spongy consistency of the lady fingers soaked with espresso and liqueur to create an exquisitely unique dessert. Preparing it in cake format simply allows for a different serving method. Garnishing tiramisu — cake or otherwise — with cocoa powder enhances the richness of the dessert, and I do love my chocolate. Put more simply, I fell in love with tiramisu cake this year.

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Reverb 10: Achieve

Prompt: Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

Now that I’m settled enough to get back to meditating and writing on these prompts, I’m choosing to respond in the order of which suits me best. Today I’m choosing the December 28th prompt by Tara Sophia Mohr. I spend so much time pondering the year ahead and all the opportunities it holds. Sure, the road ahead appears difficult, littered with obstacles and challenges that threaten to derail my efforts, yet I feel hopeful that I can harness the power to transfer misery into happiness.

What do I want most of all? What would I like to achieve? I want to become my own boss. No more clocking in, clocking out. No more worrying about waiting on payday. No more worrying about work-life balancing acts that always seem to lean more heavily into the work portion. Right now, I’m still feeling like this is a very scary endeavor I’m partaking, however I imagine I’m going to feel extremely accomplished and satisfied with myself and the lifestyle I make for myself by the end of this year. I imagine I will feel liberated and fulfilled. I imagine myself working with students and clients who enrich my soul and brighten my days. I imagine sitting here leisurely sipping the simple mocha — a packet of hot chocolate mix, a serving of instant coffee, and a mug full of hot water — or tea, feeling at peace with my life, knowing my bank account’s in the black thanks to my efforts. I imagine enjoying the sun shining through the windows, reminding me that I once felt despair and anguish that passed as seasons tend to do. I imagine feeling relieved that I can finally go forward with plans of home ownership once again.

So what 10 things can I do to feel that feeling today? What 10 things will further my cause, making this dream a reality?

  1. I can relish the mug of mocha I just finished sipping.
  2. I can look out the window at the late afternoon sun shining down on a chilly north-west Georgia landscape.
  3. I can continue unpacking boxes, moving items to their proper locations, and laying out furniture in a homey setup.
  4. I can advertise my tutoring services.
  5. I can work on my business websites to move them closer to unveiling.
  6. I can take a hot bath to relax my muscles and my mind.
  7. I can calendar deadlines and create tasks in my Thunderbird.
  8. I can drink my water to ensure I’m well hydrated.
  9. I can curl up on the couch to do nothing for a little while.
  10. I can meditate.

These are all relatively simple tasks that can make a humongous difference in my life at this point in time. I need to also remember that success doesn’t happen over night. It takes baby steps and perseverance. Here’s hoping that 2011 will bring me all I wish for and more!

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