The other night I looked up into the sky and gazed at the moon. It was just a sliver of a thing at first appearance, a soft yellow crescent just hanging in the sky. But, as I looked more closely, the dark shadow of the remainder of the moon was visible as it completed the circle. A lyric from my favorite Waterboys’ song came into my head:
I pictured a rainbow / You held it in your hands / I had flashes / But you saw the plan / I wandered out in the world for years / While you just stayed in your room / I saw the crescent / You saw the whole of the moon
I sighed, wondering how our focus can often be so different from someone else’s, how what we see can so dramatically diverge from what another sees when we’re looking at the same exact thing. Or person. How do you explain it?
There have been times in my life when what I see when I look at a person is dramatically different than what others might observe. Where I might see someone as fallible and imperfect, another might draw a far more negative conclusion. Whose perspective is more wrong – the one that sees the dark or the one that sees the light? How do we come to interpret and process the same object or person in disparate manners?
I have no answers, just instincts and optimism. My eyes might linger on that bright spot in the sky, while others can’t see beyond the darkness and I believe that’s their choice. While there are times when I may wish for that same negative perspective I know that, for me, I’ll continue to do my best to see the light and the whole of moon.
I may need to consult with an astrologist because it feels like the planets have shifted recently and things have gotten a little whacky in my world. My head is full of thoughts and wonderings and second guessing and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, to be honest. It’s exhausting and I need to get myself in check and put things in order asap.
Enter – organization and alphabetization! You see, that’s my technique for gaining a sense of control. Somehow the act of sorting, folding and tidying up my possessions, both real and virtual, soothes me and helps to calm my mind. Yesterday, I cruised the aisles of Target searching for just the right containers to place my running clothes, sweaters and shirts into to create a more harmonious home. Here’s what I walked out of there now owning:
My plan is to remove everything from my clothing armoire, determine what to keep and then neatly fold everything into the appropriate bin. There are a few small organizers as well, which I’ll be using in a large kitchen drawer to maintain the order recently created when my middle son finally gave me the Christmas gift I most wanted from him – the cleaning of that particular drawer. See how easy to please I can be?
With my Target purchases stowed in my car in anticipation of a weekend of gaining organization, I took on my next task: digital peace of mind. I’ve been mocked before for my IPhone’s desktop appearance, but I don’t take offense by critics seriously, especially when their phone desktops are a jumbled array of apps and icons with dozens, if not hundreds, of unopened emails and notifications. I shudder at the mere thought of that kind of lack of organization! As you can see above, I have thematic folders for my apps which somehow make sense to me. The additional time it take to click on the folder to launch an app is justified to me since I don’t have to waste time thumbing or scrolling through my phone’s contents. The fact that my folders are in alphabetical order…well, I’m a librarian. What can I say?
How do you deal with mental or emotional angst? Stress eating? Substance indulgence? Physical activity? Share, please.
Here are some photos from my recent trip to the desert. I’m already looking at the calendar for Christmas 2019. I need to get back there again to spend time with someone I dearly love and to soak in more of this beauty.
A new year is probably the ultimate holiday gift, don’t you think? Receiving the chance to try again to get things right, to attempt something new, to do something better, is a luxury not everyone gets and while I’m not a devotee of the typical new year’s resolution, I do get a little jazzed by a clean slate on which to write a fresh chapter.
I’ve decided that my task for 2019 is to work on accepting what others give me with grace. Whether it’s a physical gift, a kind word, or an opportunity to experience something, I want to be able to receive and accept it with openness. That may sound simple to you, but it isn’t always easy for a person who is accustomed to meeting their own needs and prides themself on being fiercely independent.
This grace to which I aspire is something I probably should have begun working on long ago – like that time a friend’s family took me to Florida with them for vacation and I attempted to pay for my meal* at a rest area on the Jersey Turnpike. My friend’s father spoke to me quietly, with kindness in his voice, and told me they had invited me with the expectation that they would be paying my way, unheard of (and unimaginable) in my world. Just like seeing Florida for the first time, his generosity will be something I’ll never forget.
On New Year’s Eve I had my first chance to start practicing being graceful. I was presented with a thoughtful and unexpected gift, a gift that I might have been inclined to resist because it was generous and felt like too much after having been hosted as a houseguest for nearly a week. Instead of immediately declining though, I paused, took a breath and accepted my present with a sincere thank you. I love the gift and will use it frequently and I know that my thoughtful and dear friend was happy giving it to me.
How about you? Is there something you’re hoping to find or create in your own life this year?
*I had $50, given to me by my brother, for a 10 day vacation. I was poor – and clueless.
Despite having returned in recent months to therapy, I still find running solo to be the best way to stretch my brain (and legs) while exploring my world, both inner and outer. It’s when I feel most able to release the leash I at times hold on my thoughts.
I’ve been reflecting, as one does this time of year, and I’ve been thinking specifically about the men I’ve loved over the years and how those relationships changed me and impacted my life. Without a doubt, each one has been unique. It seems that love, like snowflakes to go with a nearly-winter theme, is never quite the same twice. That’s probably what keeps us coming back for more – we often don’t immediately recognize it because it sneaks up on us just as often as it sweeps us off of our feet.
Some of the lasting reminders of a love affair are obvious (hello, children!) while others are only revealed cryptically to those beyond IRL friends. While there have been gifts and lessons and disappointments along the way, I’m starting to realize that the greatest impact on me from my romantic history hasn’t really been on me at all.
No, instead, it’s about how I’ve learned from each relationship, each love, how to be a better love-r the next time. I have an improved understanding of humans and how we each have our own unique needs, needs which aren’t always easily or clearly expressed. I’ve become more patient with another’s flaws because I can more clearly see my own. Instead of immediately thinking that someone’s behavior is directed at me, I’ve finally grasped that it just might be who they are without really having anything to do with me at all. I’ve certainly learned what I want from a relationship but, just as importantly, I’ve realized that being willing to learn what another wants, and finding happiness in being able to provide that to them, comes with its own measure of satisfaction.
Being someone’s girlfriend, partner, wife or lover has maximized my capacity to fill those roles. Understanding that love doesn’t necessarily come with a guarantee of happily ever after can be daunting, but knowing that there’s always another chance to be the best love-r you’ve ever been is its own reward. I’ll just keep trying. How about you?
When I carried a two pound loaf of Genovese style pannetone and a dozen bagels in a bag topped with a single bialy around the city, I knew I had to acknowledge how much I sincerely love bread. It might just be my favorite food group and it definitely would be my desert island wish. Truth be told, the thought of being sensitive to gluten makes me sick to my stomach. Yes, I love bread.
Let me counts the ways…
Italian holiday breads such as panettone at Christmas and pane di Pasqua at Easter. I love a bread that marks a holiday, what can I say?
Irish breads like soda bread and whole wheat brown bread lightly dusted with oats. With rough cut orange marmalade, please.
Croissants, particularly those that leave a petite souvenir of their presence in the form of scattered flaky crumbs and a glisten of butter on one’s fingertips.
Bagels and bialys, with whipped cream cheese to smear on, for the win.
Focaccia like the one you get in Genoa, tasting salty like the ocean and herbaceous from rosemary as you tear into it.
Challah, yellow with eggs and used in every single bread pudding and French toast recipe forever and ever.
Naan, stuffed with slightly bitter garlic and a tad oily.
German fruit stollen, the city cousin to the more well-known, country style dark fruit bread that is the perpetual butt of jokes.
My own version of no-knead bread in which I tweak the recipe a tad by increasing both the salt and the yeast.
Whenever I do that character strengths test, you know the VIA one , my top characteristic is consistently Gratitude. I don’t know, maybe it comes from not having much in life when I was a child,* but I do find that I have a deep appreciation for all the wonderful people, opportunities and things I have in my life. Below are a few which immediately came to mind on this cold Thanksgiving morning.
The sun that rises and sets each day with the ability to light up the sky in a new and magical way.
Layers of clothing and heat to keep my family protected from extreme temperatures.
Children who love to travel and are still willing, at times, to share adventures with me. On the occasions when they take off without me, I appreciate the confidence with which they approach the world, and the experiences they gain, almost just as much.
My brother for just being there – always.
Friends – those who I’ve known forever, as well as those who have joined my life in more recent years. Having such an array of people who share my interests, humor, and daily past times makes my life incredibly rich.
The women who have provided me with their wisdom, strength and advice when my own parents were unavailable. They have given me gifts for which I can never adequately thank them.
The men who have taught me what I want, need and expect from a relationship, even if it has been a lesson based upon what they could not provide. Special shout out to the one who makes me smile currently.
Chances to travel to new places as well as revisit favorites. There’s so much to see!
My crazy dog and the fat cat currently living in my house, both of whom always welcome and return my love enthusiastically.
A refrigerator and pantry filled with food, a state I never take for granted.
You, a person who takes time from your life to read about mine. Thank you for being here.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
*I’m not suggesting we were starving or homeless, there just wasn’t much security or stability in my life when I was a child.