Getting There

I’ve worked on the canvases.

They aren’t done yet, but I have gone and gotten a new phone, cooked part of Easter dinner, thought about cleaning house and bathed a dog.

I also played games with the family, took a nap, cleaned two offices and am writing this blog post.

So, this weekend was not a total loss.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about working on the canvases while doing other things I didn’t actually want to be doing.

But, to be honest, when I was doing the fun stuff, I didn’t think about them much at all.

They aren’t going in the in the declutter box as I’d previously threatened if I didn’t finish them this weekend.  I will get them done.

empty-boxBut, I also going to start filling up a box with stuff I don’t need anymore.  Not the above pictured box (that’s just a picture of one off of the internet).  I have an actual box that I’m going to fill up.  That just makes more sense to me…filling up a real box.

It appears that I’m really getting my life together. I have a plan and everything.

Life is good.

 

I Hate When That Happens!

I have a plan, you know.  Really, I have more than one plan – I’ve got lots of plans – and some of them might even work.

There’s the plan where I make a list of everything that needs to be done to get a room in my house pulled together, and I assign a day of the week to each room, and every room in my house is cleaned every week, and my house is always in tip-top shape.  Yea, that worked.  When I kept up with it.  If there were no unscheduled things to do like doctor’s appointments or anxiety-filled days or illness or bad moods or…..

There’s the plan where I walk every day and eat lots of veggies and fruit.  I maintain an awareness that I need to lose more weight and keep up with the healthy lifestyle because I have high blood pressure and anxiety and am at risk for developing diabetes.  I feel better, am in a better mood and don’t want to sleep all the time.  But….

There’s the plan where I keep decluttering my life and don’t have piles of unnecessary crap lying around that I need to deal with.  The stuff that makes me walk in my front door and sigh.  This plan involves getting rid of stuff that I might need “someday” because I want to be living now…

There’s the plan where I re-do my studio and start taking my creative needs seriously and make art – a lot…every day because it’s important and I should make time for what’s important to me.

There’s more, but if you read this blog occasionally you already know all this.

I’m not going to be too hard on myself (or try not to).  I have been working on all these things.  Tons of stuff has left the house.  I’m much more careful about what comes in.  We are working on the house.  In general, the house if more manageable.  Things are better.

And I’m still frustrated.

And yesterday, I read this post from one of my favorite blogs entitled “Why Saying You Want to Change is Not Enough”.

Why Saying You Want Change is Not Enough

I get points for having a plan(s).

I lose points for expecting change to happen when I’m not actually acting on the plan(s).

I’m learning not to keep score so much.

I’m glad I read the damn post.  I’m not glad that I had become complacent and started thinking that the plans were enough.

I quit working on the plans and got stressed and anxious and ended up in that never-ending cycle that ends up with me not liking myself very much (because I’m a complete and utter failure at life and everything else).

The article reminded me that I’m okay.  Really good at a couple of things.  Okay at quite a few more and not so good at some stuff.  I do have a plan (or two).

Sometimes I lose motivation.  Sometimes I need to be reminded that I’m not actually doing what I’ve planned to do.

I’ve taken the first steps of my journey.  I just need to keep traveling.

And most importantly for me:  stopping to rest a bit along the way is okay.  I’m doing okay.  I’m making progress.  I’m not super-woman.  Just me.  Just trying to be the best me I can be.  Screwing up along the way.  Having good days and bad days.  Doing stuff right sometimes and other times…not so much.

I’ve got a plan and that’s a move in the right direction.

 

A Regular Thing

Being alone on a Sunday is becoming a regular thing.  Everyone is off at work or a friend’s house.  I’m not complaining – I love my family, but I am probably a loner by nature and this is nice.  Nice and quiet.

I’d like to be curled up under a comforter reading a book checked out from the library – bassets snoring at my feet.  I could be doing that, but I have a goal-directed mission.  I want sustainable “peace”.  Not just the kind that can happen when circumstances allow me to be alone, but the kind of peace that can exist when real life is going on.  Undone projects, dishes, laundry and piles of belongings aren’t conducive to peace.  They are distracting and prevent me from focusing on what is really important.

So, I am cycling between the kitchen sink, the laundry room, piles of old business documents to shred, and clearing counters.

Do I love it, do I need it, can it go…these questions are also cycling through my head.  And a new question that I’m trying out.  Should it stay?  I’ll often come across an item and think “that might be able to go”.  Instead of making a decision, I leave it where it is.  Inevitably I’ll come back to it and donate it.  Why the hesitation?  I’m learning to listen to that little voice.  In my heart, I know where I want it to go.  In my head, I’m still dealing with fear.  I don’t even know what I’m afraid of – not having enough?  Not having the “right” stuff?  Not having a “good enough” house?  Not being good enough?  The answers will come in time.  I have to believe that.

The journey is purposeful (and difficult).  Finding out who I am authentically.  Listening to my heart and tuning out the part of me that longs for acceptance and validation from the world.  Learning to be comfortable with my decisions.  Making choices that are best for me and the ones that I love.

It’s a new month and the beginning of a new week.  What opportunities lie ahead?  What can I accomplish?  Those questions cause some anxiety to be sure.  My heart starts to race a bit.  I can feel the tears begin to form.  Those are signs that I’m heading in the right direction.  I no longer turn away from that anxiety.  It means that I am heading into new territory. Fear is a necessary component of growth for me.  I must walk right into it and not shy away.  The old, comfortable situations aren’t working for me.  They haven’t worked for a long time.  If this sounds a bit melodramatic, so be it.  I’m ready for drastic change.

So, a new month, a new day…a continued journey.  Bring it on!

The Interruptions

interruption
[ ìntə rúpshən ]
NOUN
a pause, break, or temporary halt in an ongoing activity or process
I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again…and probably again and again…
“Sometimes the interruptions are the work that needs to be done.”
You know that day (or week) when you have a plan to get it all together, and then life happens.  The unplanned for thing(s) that you couldn’t have expected, but probably should have.
Illness, injury,  a forgotten appointment, a friend in need –  you know, the next door neighbor in her 70’s whose roof got seriously damaged during a storm and another storm is on its way.
That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.  The things you need to do.  The things you want to do.  But, in the back of your mind you’re thinking:  but I have a list.  A list of things I’m going to work on today.  I’m going to do those things and cross them off and everything is going to be all better.
Except that’s not life.  It’s certainly not the life you are trying to get your life together in order to live.
I want to clear my clutter and organize my life so that life’s happenings aren’t seen as interruptions.  So that I can focus on doing what needs to be done without feeling like I don’t have time.
I want to be the person who is there for someone who needs them.  The person who isn’t half-way present.  I don’t want to feel like the work I need to do is an interruption.
Sorry for this hastily written blog.  I’ve only got a minute to jot this down, but I suspect that I’m not the only person who struggles with this.  I hope it doesn’t sound as much like a rant as I suspect it does. it’s meant to be more of a “share”.  I am frustrated – with myself mostly.
I want faster progress.  I want improvement now.  It’s been a busy week – full of life (interruptions).
Peace.

The Lights Went Out and a Light Dawns

We had a pretty awesome storm last night.  The works:  rain, LOUD thunder, and lightning.

The lights went out.

Remember the pathways through the stuff I’ve been telling you about?  Try navigating those in the dark while trying to find the candles and matches.  Those cluttered counters?  Not helpful in the dark.  Stuff falls off onto the floor (and your toes) while you are fumbling around looking for a match.  Also, there’s no clear and safe spot to set a candle.

If kicking a box (or five) didn’t break my toe, the can of tomatoes did when it fell off the counter.

I just went to bed.

This morning, while getting out of the shower, this is what I saw. IMAG0592

It’s looked like this all week.  I’ve been “going to clean it off” as soon as I had time to clean the bathroom properly.  “Going to’s” just aren’t a good way to get things done.

I timed it.  It took only 5 minutes, 40 seconds; including the time it took to take things to their proper home and to use that Soft Scrub to actually clean the counter. Those steps count on my fitbit – I’m still trying to achieve 10,000 steps on a regular daily basis.IMAG0594

Double win!  Clear and clean counter, more steps.

The rest of the bathroom isn’t done, but progress has been made.

A light dawns.  Maybe my list of things “to do” should be broken down into smaller jobs.

Not, clean the bathroom, BUT clear the counter, take the dirty laundry to the laundry room, empty the trash, etc.  I don’t have the time to get it all done, BUT I can get something done.

Hmmmm? Maybe I should actually write down a list.  I’m always going to, but never actually do. There’s that “going to” phrase again.

I know that writing things down gets it out of my head.  It actually clears some of the mental clutter.  There’s also the satisfaction of crossing things off of the list.

The list would have to be realistic and specific.  Not clean and de-clutter the entire house by this evening.

I’m going to do it.  I mean really do it.  Right here.  Right now.

To Do Today

  1. Clear off and clean master bath counters
  2. Gather dirty laundry and take to laundry room
  3. Clear and dust surfaces in the living room
  4. Clear and clean hall bath counters.
  5. Clear and wipe down hall counter
  6. Clear desk top
  7. Stack all boxes of paper that needs to be shredded in one spot (by shredder)
  8. Put all of daughter’s boxes in one location
  9. Gather all empty boxes in on place to await use or recycling
  10. Take shredded paper to recycling and donations to thrift store
  11. Do 2 loads of laundry – wash, dry, and put away
  12. Maintain fridge and pantry
  13. Wash dishes
  14. Find quote for new art card and print out
  15. Stare at canvas for a little while
  16. Make daughter deal with two boxes of stuff today
  17. Don’t forget to pick up youngest daughter from her friend’s house
  18. Enter expenditures in budget and reconcile account
  19. Run errand for husband
  20. Be kind to myself if I don’t complete this list because sometimes life happens – remember that sometimes the interruptions are the work that needs to be done.

This is the new plan.  The new and improved plan.  Where there’s life, there’s hope.

Please be forgiving as I’m not going to spend a lot of time proofing this.  I just realized that it’s almost noon and I just publicly wrote a list of things to do.  The perfectionist in me doesn’t want to fail.

Gotta go!


Muddying Up the Water

When I started documenting my personal journey towards a more intentional, simple and peaceful life on this blog, I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go.

I honestly had no idea what this blog might have to do with the journey.  I felt a need to reach out in community and to find some like-minded individuals who might journey with me.  I didn’t really have any expectations that anyone would “like” what I had to share or that anyone would “follow” me.

In fact, I thought quite the opposite – I couldn’t fathom that anyone would be interested in what I had to say.  But I was afraid to start a blog, and facing fear was my challenge at the time…so I wrote.  Some folks like what I have to say.  Some have even chosen to  hit “follow”.  And I am grateful for the affirmation.  I’ve gone to every blog and “met” the writer.  I’m struck by the fact, that on the surface, many of us don’t seem to have much in common at all…not age, occupation, country, gender…nothing that commonly brings folks together.

But, we do have something important in common.  We are all searchers and seekers with a belief that things can be better – and a desire to make it so.  We are different and the same.

I had believed, in the beginning, that this blog would find a focus and generally tend towards one topic more than any others. That has not been the case.  It reflects all the interests (and distractions) that make up my life.

I am deliberately not traveling down a straight highway for this journey.  I want to walk off the beaten path and follow rabbit trails along the way.  I want to believe that I am not too old to give up on dreams and aspirations.  I want to continue to learn new things and make choices that bring me happiness and peace.  I anticipate that I will make mistakes and more than a few choices that are not the right fit.  I will become discouraged and disheartened.

And I will find joy and discover that I am capable of accomplishing things beyond what I expected.

That being said, many of the things I need to accomplish along the way are mundane, difficult and challenging.  Not fun at all.

Sometimes solving one problem worsens another.  It muddies the water.  It makes it difficult to see that any progress is being made at all.  It’s hard to remember to take a step back and regain perspective.  To remember to focus on the whole journey and not just one portion of it.  Sometimes I get lost or hit an unmovable obstacle and have to turn around and retrace my steps to find a new way – a way that takes me towards the goal.  Sometimes it feels like I’m going the wrong direction entirely.

I’ve decided to create a plan – a sort of map that will help guide my journey.   Sort of like a business plan, but not so boring.  It will have to include pictures and colors and lists.   Maybe a journal or a big canvas to hang on the wall.  Just something to help when I can’t see clearly.  A plan. In writing.  That’s the next step.  It probably should have been the first step, but….

I’ve brainstormed of list of things that need to be accomplished and/or that I want to explore during the next days, weeks, months, years…  Remember, I’m brainstorming here!  And, not in any particular order:

  • Get out of debt and get our financial status on solid footing
  • Continue de-cluttering until our home “feels right” and then maintain
  • Continually evaluate our living space and whether it’s meeting our needs (size, location, etc.)
  • Homeschooling my last kiddo and preparing her for life
  • Explore gardening and self-sufficient living
  • Art, art and more art – creating, sharing, exhibiting and selling????
  • Improving and maintaining my health
  • Contributing to making the world a better place
  • Staying connected with family and friends
  • Having more fun
  • Work at being at peace with who I am and who I can become
  • Forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Letting go of fear

Not a complete list – I’m sure I’ll think of more.

A pause in the journey to let the muddied water settle.  Then to continue on – one step at a time.

Gross

I had some free labor available today, so we switched rooms.  Now, we’re working in the living room!

And…the carpet and pad is all pulled up!  One word to describe it:

GROSS.

I will never, ever, ever live in a place with carpet again.  With or without pets.  But, especially with pets.  Going to do you a favor and not post a before or after picture.  The dust may have been the worst of it.  I repeat:

GROSS.

I am so happy it is gone – or almost gone.  Out of the house at least.

IMAG0244

Home (Life) improvement massively underway.  Who knew having a plan (and actually working on it) could result in such progress!

Life is good.