Sunday Update

Things have calmed down a lot since last weekend’s unexpected appendectomy for my daughter. Mizz J is getting a bit better each day, and is ready to resume normal life again as an MSW student, after a solid week of recuperation. And I’ve been able to pay attention once again, to what I want to achieve for 2018.

Health

I am so excited to report that I’ve been able to resume working out again! Last spring, I had a bit of trouble with my thyroid, that kept me unable to exercise. The few times I did try left me feeling exhausted, dizzy and nauseous. (The last time I felt nauseous, I was about to have a TIA, so understandably I was nervous and wanted to stay away from anything that incurred this feeling.)

This week I got up the courage to try a few online workouts (with Mizz J only a couple of rooms away, in case I got into some sort of trouble…hehehe). Nothing too challenging – a 10 minute weights workout and a 16 minute walking workout. Having achieved these with no issues, I attempted AND completed a 36 minute cardio and strength workout last evening. Woo hoo!!!!

I really like Jessica Smith and her approach to exercise. I love her walk and talks…and I especially love Peanut, the French bulldog. That dog snoozing through her videos is what drew me in, in the first place! Peanut makes me laugh and want to keep going.

So that’s where I am at, at working on my Health goals for 2018. A very good start.

Financial Security

I made my first lump sum payment on my building’s demand loan this week. Unfortunately this is not something I can do online so I guess I’ll be heading to TD every payday to do this in person. It wasn’t a huge payment, but it goes directly on the principal and over the course of a year, it will certainly add up!

I also created a discretionary spending log, in Excel. With a tab for each month (and a line for each day) and spending targets for each category, to keep me on track. I LOVE data, and actually enjoy capturing it in this format. I especially love the days where I spend NOTHING. Not sure why I haven’t done this sooner….oh wait, maybe because I was too busy rebuilding my life for the past 4 years? Yeah, pretty sure that was it. ūüôā

Art

Current Art Projects
What’s on my desk in the studio at the moment

I was inspired by a quote I received in a newsletter from Jessica Smith this week: Begin with the end in mind. Karen, from Profound Journey, a lovely blogger friend that I follow, says it’s from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Which I do have a copy of, somewhere in Chez Badass. I shall put it on the Re-Read list!

So, to begin with the end in mind means to me it’s time to draft an idea for a painting to represent what I want to become by the end of 2018. Since the Queen of Wands filled that role in my Winter Solstice tarot spread, it seemed natural to me to work on a painting of that grand dame.

sketch of Queen of Wands
Close up of first shitty draft of sketch

You’ll see from the previous photo, that I took my inspiration from an Alphonse Mucha illustration I found on the internet. I have loved Mucha since I first discovered his works as a teenager. It took me a moment to realize his model was giving the viewer the finger (intentionally or not), which made me love it even more and need to incorporate into my hasty sketch.

My Queen of Wands is saying “Oh, do you not like what you are seeing? You can’t handle my self-assuredness, strength and vitality? I’m done with trying to appear small to coddle insecure fools and their egos. So, fuck you very much.

Obviously I have a lot of work to do with this before I can transfer it to a canvas. Those 4 scrawly things surrounding the circle are supposed to be sunflowers, for instance. But it’s a good therapy shitty first draft. ūüėČ

And, also because I have my upcoming (less than a month away!) vacation trip to Barbados on the back burner of my mind, sea turtles keep popping up:

Sea Turtle on Watercolour Paper – as yet incomplete

Mindfulness

I’ve been focusing on mindful yoga and stretching this week. And mini-meditations, and pausing to notice.

Reading

Borrowed 2 books from the library this past week and finished one: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman. Now working on Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Three books completed already towards my 2018 goal of 50 books read!

Intuitive Processes – Tarot

I’ve been pulling a card every day and interpreting its meaning for me, before I look it up in one of my Tarot books. An enjoyable part of my morning routine.

And, looking for inspiration for my Queen of Wands painting led me down the Alphonse Mucha Google rabbit hole. Which led me to the Mucha Tarot. Which is speeding it’s way towards me, as I type, via Amazon.ca.

Looking forward to receiving even more artistic and intuitive inspiration, from these cards!

How was your week? I’d love to hear all about it.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to Real Life with a Wrench Thrown In

Happy 2018! May all your intentions come to pass.

I had a plan for this weekend and it was a good one! I am trying hard to get at least some of these things done.

However Friday was spent at the hospital with my daughter, Mizz J, who was sent there forthwith after her early morning pelvic ultrasound. She was sick over the holidays (we thought it was the flu) and despite a course of antibiotics for a presumed bladder infection, was still feeling uncomfortable.

Well, no wonder. She was walking around with a burst and abscessed appendix. Go figure! Only the antibiotics for the non-existent bladder infection were keeping her from being violently ill.

After a long day in Emerg with a doctor who didn’t believe the ultrasound’s tech findings, she was ultrasounded again and immediately whisked upstairs. Surgery took place Friday evening.

All is well now. She is receiving mega-antibiotics by IV and we are hoping she comes home today.

Between hospital visits, I was able to put away Christmas:

Tree ornaments 2017
The tree was beautiful and enhanced by some special ornaments from special friends

And finish off the Aged Eggnog, which was delicious and will be made again next year. At least a double batch, this time!

Alton Brown's Aged Eggnog
The absolute last of it. So good!

While at the hospital, I noticed this on the wall outside of the ubiquitous Tim Horton’s coffee shop (really, every hospital has one now. How did that happen?):

mindfulness exercise at the hospital
Mindfulness is the new black, apparently.

Mindfulness and Mandalas seem to go together like kids and puppies; like pie and ice cream; like socks and sandals (hehehe…just kidding. Threw that in there to see if you were still paying attention).

I was able to resume some mindful yoga this morning. Holey moley, was my body tense from all the goings-on of the past couple of days!

My Mandala Days art course begins on the 16th. Eager to see what’s involved!

Hope your new year is off to a blazing start!

Rock on,

The WB

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2017 in Review and 2018: My Intentions

2017 Review

2017 was a calm and pleasant year in my personal life (as opposed to an exciting yet challenging year in my work life), for which I am so grateful. I wish every year could be 2017. I didn’t lose anyone this past year. (Not in 2016 either, although my mother’s death in late December 2015 was so close to that year that I felt its reverberations throughout those 12 months anyways.)

2017 was the year of REACH (my word). This applied mainly to my creating art. This was the first year that I applied a great deal of focus and effort in this area since I was a teenager. And reach I did! It was difficult to push past my insecurities and inner critic, and just start laying paint down on canvas. It was a reach to allow myself to fail over and over again. This painting in particular (which I can reveal now, as it has gone to its recipient) was very uncomfortable for me to create, and thus a definite REACH:

Acrylic Painting of Horse
Horse, 2017

I went to Mark Grice’s studio in Alton Mills to create this painting. I chose it because I knew it was going to be difficult for me to paint a horse AND in non-horse colours. I’m not good (yet) at so many things artists need to know and excel at, but with Mark’s guidance this painting came together. And Mizzus J loves it. She said it looks like Gavin, one of her two horses. What more can I ask for?

I finished out 2017 with this painting, completed yesterday:

Painting of Sunset on Lake Okanagan
Kelowna Sunset, based on a photograph I took on my last night there.

2018 Intentions

My intention for 2018’s art is to continue on my artist’s journey. I met an artist whose work I admired, at her studio in Bayfield 2 summers ago. When I asked her how to become a better painter, she said something that has stuck with me every since: “Just paint. Everyday.” Simple, no?

I have signed up for another online Mandala art course, hosted by Julie Gibbons: Mandala Days. Unlike Mandala Magic (the course I participated in, in 2017), this course is for creating actual pieces, not art journalling. Which is just up my alley, as I discovered this past year.

Other intentions involve:

  • Blogging – posting at least once per week on Ye Olde Blogge; find other like-minded bloggers/readers (my tribe, as it were) to connect with
  • Reading – increase reading for pleasure – my goal is 50 books. (I’m WidowBadass on GoodReads, in case you want to connect there)
  • Mindfulness – increase mindfulness in my life through activities such as meditation
  • Financial Security – becoming intentional about rapidly paying down the debt I am carrying on Chez Badass – debt I incurred by investing in much-needed improvements over the past 4 years
  • Intuitive Processes – become proficient at Tarot, because:

I believe that it is a good tool to help one develop and strengthen intuition and lead to insights – and help get in touch with yearnings/feelings that are buried deep within one’s self. So I performed a Celtic Cross spread at the Winter Solstice this year, to help me in planning for 2018:

Winter Solstice Tarot Reading 2017
Celtic Cross Spread, for guidance for the coming year

I was really surprised when the cards told me that:

  1. I have to focus on my health or ignore at my peril (5 of Pentacles)¬†Having failed at this many times in the past 4 years, I didn’t want to write it down or even think about it as an intention for the coming year!
  2. I have the inner resources to do this. (Ace of Swords)
  3. I can come up with solutions, and to believe in myself and focus on success. (Page of Wands)
  4. My past is full of grief and regret and the belief I made wrong choices. No, duh. (5 of Cups)
  5. Renewing health; creating harmony and balance is the goal. (Temperance)
  6. Unresolved factor affecting my success – my inner “carb monster” (bondage); doubts that I can succeed. (Devil)
  7. I need to delve into why I haven’t been able to get any traction towards improving my health. (6 of Pentacles)
  8. Be the person others see you as: Adept, Reliable, Steady, Supporting. (King of Pentacles)
  9. Guidance, Hopes and Fears, Beliefs, Values – I am afraid of attracting attention from men as I lose weight and become fitter. I don’t want to have to deal with this. There. I said it. Valid or not, it is a fear of mine. (The Lovers)
  10. The outcome (when I am successful in achieving this goal) – Vibrancy, Energy, Cheerfulness, Self-assurance. (Queen of Wands)

So, an added intention for me for 2018 is to improve my health through self-caring activities including strength, flexibility and stamina-building activities, and nutritious food choices.

My word for 2018 is PERCEIVE. To understand, to become aware, to become conscious, to use intuitive judgement.

How about you? Care to share your thoughts?

Rock on,

The WB

 

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Just Wait and Yule See

I think I may have mentioned on Ye Olde Blogge a time or hundred that every year I struggle with our North American commercialization/celebration of Christmas. It has become much too materialistic and in-your-face for yours truly.

This season has become instead a time of reflection and review and planning for me as the nights get longer and longer. And I love this time of year for that!

TRIGGER WARNING: If someone holding a different opinion than your own could lead to you turning into a Judgey McJudgepants and leaving a nasty comment, please skip over this next section. If you feel you must take a tone with me, your comment may or may not be deleted, depending on how much of a chuckle I get out of it.

Oh sure, I partake in some Christian Christmas rites. It’s part of my upbringing and my history. I put up a tree. I send out cards to friends and family. I re-watch old Christmas movies and sing along to carols. I even do the gift thing, although more and more I am giving gifts that are homemade – gifts of my time and intention. I love to wish people a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year AND I mean it. I do these things because I enjoy them and I like celebrating this season (this month, especially) of long nights and waiting for the sun to return.

I am not a Christian, so there is no religious meaning to my celebration. You won’t find a manger scene at my house. But I will haul out the Seashell Jesus, because I find it amusing. I think I’ll put it next to the picture of Krampus my talented son made for me. For balance.¬†Someday maybe I’ll add a representation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the mix, and my triptych of mythical beings will be complete. Ramen!

If you are reading this and a practicing Christian/Jew/Wiccan/Pagan/Hindu/Zoroastrian/Muslim/WhateverReligion, great! You do you. Whatever gives you comfort and meaning is cool with me. Please return the favour.

TRIGGER WARNING OVER.

What I am celebrating at Chez Badass is this: the end of the darkness and the return of the light. Because the longest night – tonight – the winter solstice (the official start of Yule or Yuletide) – is something I can get behind.

I do so love this rock we live on – the natural world – and the turning of the year, and I like to acknowledge this event. And this is the time and the season for me to pause and reflect and set intentions for the next spin around the sun that I am lucky enough to be a part of.

This is nothing new. Humans have been celebrating the solstice since well, we first noticed it was “a thing”. And these Yule celebrations have been co-opted into Christianity and have become integral to the Western celebration called Christmas.

For my particular celebration of the longest night, I will lighting (many, many) candles and finalizing my goals and intentions for the coming year. These include, in no particular order of importance (because they are all important to me):

  • more artistic activity
  • more mindfulness
  • more writing – specifically, more blogging
  • more reading
  • less spending – in order to knock down the demand loan on Chez Badass

I’ll be going into each of these goals in detail in upcoming blog posts. Yule see, hehehe!

I will leave you with this thought – at this special time of year why not remember to:

Keepin’ it real. Keepin’ it Yul, y(ule)-all!

Merry Christmas and Rock on,

The WB

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Painting Reveal for Mindful Monday

Yesterday my good friend and Barbados buddy, Mizz C, came down to Chez Badass for a visit so I was able to present her with her (May) birthday gift. OK, I know this sounds bad. But we are the kind of friends who still feel close even though we haven’t seen each other in months. I was also able to re-give her last year’s Christmas present, which was left behind in my vehicle last February when I dropped her off, after our trip.

We’ve been friends for over 50 years now…the kind of friends who can spend a whole afternoon sitting beside each other, noses in books and tea mugs in hands, and barely speak and think we had the most marvelous time. Because we did.

Anywho, she asked me to paint her a beach scene…someday.

Vision Beach – first try at using a palette knife

I do like how this painting turned out. I wanted it to represent any beach, anywhere. Mizz C lives in a beach community a couple of hours north of the Village. I chose a beach scene without any details that could convey a certain geographic region and didn’t make the water too overtly tropical in hue. I think I will have to repeat it for myself some day. I think something like this would be perfect to hang in my bathroom, so I can look at it while soaking in the tub.

I followed a painting tutorial by Angela Anderson to create this beach painting.

And because this is a Monday post, I want to speak a bit about mindfulness, as well as and related to art. When I am in my studio (aka laundry room) working on a piece, it is almost a meditative activity for me. I am so intensely focused on what I am trying to convey with my paints, that all other thoughts are emptied from my mind. It’s a nice break from the mind chatter, to have those almost unrelenting pop-up thoughts fall away momentarily.

Four weeks in, I think the meditation that I am practicing is helping me physically. I have less neck and shoulder pain lately, even when spending more time than usual hunched over my computer at work –¬† like I was last week when my right hand person was off and I had to take over some of her duties besides my own. Last time she was off, I needed to apply a heated bag to my neck and shoulders during the day, to help ease the tension. This time I didn’t feel any pain.

I have a massage therapy appointment this week. I wonder if my masseuse will notice a difference. I feel different, on the inside.

I used to think that creating art was a very free-flowing, emotion-heavy, intuitive and spontaneous activity…when I wasn’t doing it. But I find it mostly to be about careful planning, design, and problem-solving…just like real life. And it is a mindful activity. All of which I like. All of which I can get into. All of which I am working on getting better at.

Rock on,

The WB

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Mindful Monday – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

What time is it? It is always now. Ordered this “watch” at a time when I really needed to remind myself to stay in the present.

A few weeks back, when I got serious about meditation and incorporating mindfulness into my everyday life, I was searching for some guidance.

I contacted a local-ish instructor of MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) via email but she never got back to me. Not too surprised by this as her website looked like it was state of the art…for 1995. I could have called her, but while I was waiting for her to respond, I did some surfing and instead I found a course I could take online.

I am now on Week 3 of the 8 week¬†Online MBSR/Mindfulness¬†course, hosted by Palouse Mindfulness. This learning is free and available to all (all with internet access, that is). Like yoga used to be – before it became mainstream – when it was hosted in church basements for the few and the curious. (At least, that’s how I was introduced to yoga, back in the 1970’s.)

So far I am impressed with what I am learning – the readings and the videos are from well-known practitioners in the field. ¬†The guided meditations and yoga videos are clear and helpful. I recommend this whole-heartedly if you are interested in learning about and practicing mindfulness. There is also an online community for students taking the course, to discuss what they are experiencing. I didn’t sign up for that, so I can’t comment. But if that interests you, it’s available too.

In between meditation sessions and work, I have been busy creating. I finished the piece I showed in-progress a few posts ago:

Let that Shit Go – the figure was traced from an image I found on the Interwebs. The rest is my own design.
Close up of paint detail

I’ve been thinking a lot about art lately, as I reflect back on 2017. It’s something that has been helpful, enjoyable, and thought-provoking for me this year. More on that in another post.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

 

 

 

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Well played, Amazon

Well, Black Friday and Black Friday weekend came and went and I didn’t see the inside of a mall.

I did buy a couple of things though – one planned for and one unexpected, but kinda planned for (I’ll explain). So I feel pretty good about my little bit of consumerism. Both purchases were….mindful!

First off, remember when I told you I unsubscribed to almost every email prodding me to buy? I left a couple…one was Michael’s, because I only buy my art supplies there when I have a sizeable coupon (50% off, I’m looking at you!), and those coupons come in the email.

And the other was Amazon, because – thanks to their emails – I found out I have access to Amazon Prime Video, and now Music and I am quite enjoying both of those services. Especially since I gave cable TV the boot a few months back.

During my overhaul of Chez Badass into a liveable space, being an Amazon Prime member made a lot of sense and I was seriously debating discontinuing my membership now that my place is fully small-applianced. Then I got the email chiding me for not taking advantage of my Prime Video subscription (part of being a member). OK, maybe not chiding. Maybe I was chiding myself for being such a dumbass that I did not know I even had access to this.

Anywho, since then I’ve been enjoying shows like Bosch and American Gods…but not on my TV. Only on my iPad. Alas, although my TV is only 3 goddamn years old, it apparently is too old to handle the Prime Video app. I won’t go into the swearing and gnashing of teeth and phone calls to LG customer service and an information-gathering trip to Best Buy that preceded this realization but let me just say that that’s a Saturday morning I will never have back.

Once I settled down, I thought a couple of things. First – there is no way I am buying a new goddamn TV just to watch Prime Video with. Second – maybe it’s time I went with Apple TV. Well, thank goodness I checked things out on the Interwebs first, because I learned that Apple TV does not offer the Prime Video app. But apparently might, soon? And in the meantime, I could magically beam it from my iPad through the Apple TV box onto my TV. Hmmmmm…sounds like a lotta work, that might not work, ya know what I mean?

So I held off, waiting for the big announcement that Apple TV now offers the Prime Video app. Still waiting….still waiting….

Then the email from Amazon came, announcing something called a Fire Stick – for only $50 with free shipping. A quarter of the price of the Apple TV magical box that still does not offer the Prime app. A no-brainer.

Yep, so that and some cadmium yellow and cobalt blue paints (55% off). Those were my big Black Friday weekend purchases. My Fire Stick should be delivered today.

Yep, I responded to the email prods to buy…but I had planned for those purchases in advance. They were things I already had decided I needed and was planning to buy. So, they were mindfully done.

Yep, and for now, I am very happy to remain a Prime member. They keep adding value to this subscription. Well played, Amazon!

Rock on,

The WB

 

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The Pause that Refreshes – Mindful Monday

I’m working on it.

I have been meditating every day and practicing doing things mindfully, and dumb shit still does bother me. At least it takes up more of my mental energy than I feel it deserves.

There was a post that popped up on my Facebook feed (isn’t that the way these things always start?), and I’ve was thinking about it off and on for most of yesterday. The person posted in one of the Village’s community groups that he was upset because he ordered pizza delivered but didn’t tip the delivery guy, and the delivery guy got sarcastic with him, thanking him for the (no) tip. No mention was made of poor service. Mr. No Tip chose not to tip for his own reasons.

So Mr. No Tip felt he had to justify his actions (poor, single dad with no car) and complain that he doesn’t get tipped for his work, and seek assurance from the Facebook community that he was right, goddammit, and the delivery guy was wrong and let’s all talk about it and get worked up and hopefully delivery guy gets fired and the named pizza business takes a hit for¬†employing someone so rude.

Well, this wasn’t explicitly said, but why else wouldn’t you just shake it off and move on with your life?

I think I know. Because Mr. No Tip just might have felt like a bit of shitheel for no tipping, and then he gets called on it, so now he feels even worse and therefore has to take measures to feel good about himself again, online. I’m no therapist (thank goddess, eh?) but I’m just supposin’.

Anyways, I read the comments (I know, I know…sigh) and people were commenting on how a tip is not a given and yeah, they had problems too with said business and drivers…but what about poor servers, yada yada. The general consensus was that the driver never should have said what he did. And I agree.

Perhaps “war” was too strong a term in this instance. But still entertaining AF.

But the driver didn’t complain on the community forum about that douche that stiffed him for a tip or¬†call him out by his name*, so I focused on Mr. No Tip’s behaviour instead.

And this got me thinking all kinds of thoughts. I tried to not think about Mr. No Tip himself, whom I’ve met IRL and who has not impressed me with other whiny shit things he has posted. I tried instead to put myself in his shoes as I thought through what was posted.

Which was easy, because I have been in his brokeass shoes. And when we couldn’t afford to tip someone for service, guess what? We didn’t eat out. We didn’t order in. We made do with what was in the kitchen cupboard.

Money was always tight growing up. When we went out for the day as a family, Mom made sandwiches and the Coleman stove was packed so we could have soup and tea to go with our meal. Because there was no extra money for restaurant food, not even at a cheap diner. We picnicked at a roadside rest area instead.

Once a year, my parents treated themselves (and later, us kids too) to a meal out for their anniversary. They saved up the money (including tip) to go out for a real treat – Chinese food. They didn’t say: We are supporting 5 people on 1 immigrant working man’s salary and we can barely make ends meet and this is our only meal out for the next 12 months, so we are entitled¬†to not tip.¬†

They tipped, because that is what you do in our society when you receive good service at restaurants and the like. You don’t make your brokeass life the server’s problem. If you can’t afford the tip, stay home. If you can’t afford the tip, don’t order delivery.

That doesn’t mean you have to tip – but if the service is decent, you should tip and you should factor that into the cost of your meal before you go out or order in. That’s how I was raised.

In my younger days as a married adult, money was tight as well. I was still in university. I remember one of our first meals out as newlyweds – could’ve been an anniversary, I can’t remember – we thought we had enough cash with us to cover our meal and the tip but when the check arrived we found we had miscalculated. Oh shit. We were young and unprepared – no credit cards; debit cards were not a thing yet, nor ATMs; banks were closed; and I had left the chequebook at home. So we had to slink out of the restaurant without leaving a tip for our nice server. I left a note explaining that there was nothing wrong with the service; we were dumbasses who couldn’t add. I felt like a total shitheel that night. I never let that happen again.

I went back on Facebook later in the day and saw a post that said the original post (and comments) had been removed and Mr. No Tip has been removed from the group as well, by the group’s administrators (yet again). He was removed about a year ago too, for making an somewhat similar ranty post, with racial overtones that offended a lot of readers including yours truly. Then he popped up again a few months later, having rearranged his name on his Facebook account.

So, what does any of this have to do with mindfulness, you might be asking by now?

Like the cool cat at the top of the post, I was hoping that being more mindful would mean this kind of thing wouldn’t occupy so much of my brain on a November Sunday. But that is not what mindfulness is about actually. It is about taking a pause before automatically reacting. And in that pause, (hopefully) seeing and acting with more clarity. With mindfulness.

I paused yesterday. I did not fire off a comment (snarky or otherwise) to enter the fray. Which is something I might have done earlier. I did take a pause to not react, and instead to clarify my own thinking. And I recalled some nice (and some humbling) memories as I did so. And then I wrote it all down on Ye Olde Blogge, because…NaBloPoMo…hehehe.

Good to remember when my fingers get twitchy on Facebook.

Rock on,

The WB

*Mr. No Tip didn’t either (I doubt he knew his name), but he did name the business involved which I think ultimately led to his post being deleted.

 

 

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Coming to Mindfulness by the Back Door

I’ve been thinking a lot about living in the moment (being mindful).

I’ve been practicing daily meditation for a couple of weeks now. As with most people, I’m pretty bad at it. But I keep trying.

And the reason I keep trying is because, at the most stressful time of my entire life, being mindful got me through.

When I was living with JD, his OCD made our lives chaotic and exhausting and extremely difficult to live with any measure of peace. Correction: it made my life that way. It was his normal way of being and he seemed mostly OK with that.

Except every once in a while he would complain about other people being able to take vacations and have weekends “off” and time to enjoy life, and why couldn’t we?

Oh brother. Where do I begin? I used to tell him exactly why but he didn’t want to acknowledge that it was the disease’s doing because he didn’t want to seek help. So I just stopped responding. He didn’t want a solution; he just wanted to complain at the unfairness of it all.

Anywho, every once in a wee while he would agree to us taking a day or most of a day off and we would hit the road for a respite. Those times got me through. During those times, without consciously thinking about it or forcing it, I lived totally in the moment. I was BEING. HERE. NOW. I ¬†didn’t think about the mess back home, the unceasing backlog of work, the shit-storm life I found myself trapped in, NOTHING. ¬†I just enjoyed every present moment of being with a more relaxed, funny and charming JD, and taking in some new sights and experiences.

And when that day or those few hours ended, I felt as refreshed as if I had been away for a week of “regular” vacation. Huh!

When JD got cancer, things got much worse. Because nothing was supposed to change or else the cancer would have won. (Spoiler: the cancer won anyways – 6 months later.)

So I kept working and going to (online) school and now I had a new job Рcaregiver to someone who already needed a lot of care and attention. JD had to stop working because he was too weak but he kept on going with his MBA studies as well. And his OCD escalated, of course. And I had to participate in even MORE of his daily rituals as part of my caregiver role. Plus we had a few of our own, like his nightly heparin shot to the stomach, that I had to administer.

Most days the only moment of peace I had to myself was when I went upstairs to wash my face to get ready for bed. I wash my face with olive oil, have been doing this for years. But when JD was sick, this became my “moment”.

I would apply the olive oil to my face and gently massage it all over. Then I would take a washcloth and rinse it in the hottest water I could stand. Then I would place the hot washcloth on my face and just let it sit there. Ahhhhhh….

I called it my daily spa moment. During that 60 seconds or so, I focused on the feeling of peace and serenity that accompanied the hot cloth being applied to my face. I succeeded in noticing every wonderful moment of that experience. My mind emptied of all other thought. And if I was really lucky, I got to enjoy it until the cloth got cooler without hearing “Sweetie? Sweetie, where are you? Sweetie! Sweetie!!”

And it was enough to keep me going for another day. It had to be.

So these 2 experiences taught me about the absolute power of mindfulness. I wasn’t intentionally being mindful – not at all – I had no time to think about that. It was more like a survival instinct kicking in. I found myself at mindfulness, at this intention unintentionally, by opening the unmarked backdoor.

Rock on,

The WB

 

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Becoming Mindful About Money – Mindful Monday

Indeed.

I think I’ve been pretty good with money overall. But I do have some big-ass goals related to paying down the demand loan on my building and those extra payments aren’t going to make themselves, ya know?

One of the first things I’m looking at to increase mindfulness in my life is to become more mindful about my spending (again). In the bad old, sad old days, I was used to having to sweat over every little purchase. It was not fun.

Living on my own now, I actually have more money at my disposal than when I was married, thanks to no longer carrying two properties while also paying for a masters degree and supporting husband #2’s dream of becoming a golf pro (a seasonal, minimum wage venture while apprenticing). Huh, go figure. Thus for the last few years I’ve been enjoying not having to think too much where the money was going to come from when an idea/item took my fancy. (Kayaks, I am looking at you!)

A while back I read an excellent post on how, in our consumerist culture, we are brainwashed into thinking we can save money by spending money. This was embraced by husband #1 – it used to make me crazy to have to scrimp on groceries everything only to have him come home with some expensive new toy tool and proclaim how much money he saved by buying it.

Like the whole second-hand sewing machine vs. motorcycle debacle. In the early days of our marriage (1981, I believe), I asked if he thought we could afford to get me a used sewing machine I saw listed in the newspaper ($150) and he said we couldn’t afford it right now. I was disappointed but agreed to wait. Not even three weeks later he comes home late from work and tells me he bought a motorcycle ($3500). Even put on his big boy pants and went and got a loan – all by his little self – without so much as a hint to me as to what he was doing/thinking. But he got SUCH A GREAT DEAL!

So I did what any good wife would do. Ran right out to the mall and came home with a brand new designer wardrobe¬†sewing machine ($250). Good times, good times. Good thing I’m “over” it. Yup. (See yesterday’s post.)

Back to the Now: The post I mentioned above – on Our Next Life – resonated with me so much that I still remember it, weeks later. It really is worth the time to click through the link and read about how this couple “fostered a new mindset” instead. AND, their spending went down and savings increased when they weren’t hunting for the best deal when considering a purchase. Mind. Blown.

Like Mrs. ONL, I have been spending this past week ruthlessly unsubscribing from store emails – at a rate of about 5-10 per day!

Some were easy…some I struggled with because, well….oh look, such pretty things from a favourite retailer… I love a deal as much as any red-blooded woman.

These Inbox temptresses were arriving daily with one purpose only: to create a desire to purchase that didn’t exist in me until I opened them up.

Hey yeah, I’ve been meaning to get me one of those, and look – it’s on sale with free shipping if I spend more than $50! What else can I buy to take advantage of the free shipping? Look at all the money I’m saving by buying this thing I had no idea I “needed” until I READ. THIS. EMAIL.

Free shipping and returns?

Code for 50% off on EVERYTHING IN THE STORE/ONLINE?

BOGO?

NOGO! Get thee behind me, Satan! I unsubscribe you. Back to the sooty depths of the spam folder, where you belong!

Yeah. So I’m letting that shit go.

Money mindfulness for a Mindful Monday.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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