Tag Archives: family

Seeking Rhythm & Ritual

21 May

I took a break. That may be obvious from my lack of posting. I needed a week away. My intention had been to have a stockpile of 30 different daily intentions by the end of my little experiment… but after about 22… I started having the urge to repeat previous ones. So instead of forcing myself to stay in the box I’d created, I took a breather. Let the week just go by and tried to pay attention to what my natural rhythm ended up being each day. And in each portion of the day. To notice when I had energy, and when I tended to get cranky.

I think Monday is my bare minimum day. Where I pick just a couple of things… like going to the gym, posting a book on PBS, and taking a walk… and then let that be my bare minimum.  Anything else, is only if I feel like it, extra.  I noticed that the previous intentions that fell on this day were ones like Slow Down, and Gentleness. And since I work on the weekends… Monday tends to be my breather, but I also turn into a grump if I get to the end of the day without having done anything that feels productive.

You see this intention game is part of this bigger search of mine. To bring more rhythm and ritual to my days. To our days. I had an inkling of the need for this before… months and maybe a couple years before now. But the presence of a baby who’s behavior is landmarked by rituals (naps, mealtimes, play times), and who brings a decidedly more scripted pattern to our life, had made me realize even more how important rhythm is.

But I’ve wanted it to be a natural rhythm, in line with the ebb and flow that occurs spontaneously throughout the day. Action and exploration at the times when our bodies want to move and our minds are alert. Cooking and clearing when I need to get out of my head and back into my body. Ease and gentleness at the point in the day where we all get tired, a little worn out.

Without rhythm, the hours slip away so quickly, but the days somehow seem long.

I’ve been aching for rhythm.  I have been trying to discover my/our rhythm.

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Daily Intention: Gentleness & Flexibility?

12 May

Friday – Gentleness

Gentleness was my intention for yesterday.  It wasn’t until I was sitting in the beginning of a gentle yoga class that it came to me after a grumpish morning.  The baby has not slept well the past couple nights, and my patience has been short lived.  Unfortunately for my poor Mark, this is not a terribly uncommon occurence.

The yoga was a great way to start the day.  A class that was still intentional in it’s poses, breathing patterns and alignment… but not forceful or overly demanding… an exercise in patience with myself and my body.  And a quality I tried to bring to the rest of my day.  Gentle with myself, gentle with Mark, gentle with Ruby, gentle with Mason (unless he wants a good dance around the living room), gentle with my clients, and coworkers.  Gentle with the way I enter and move through the world.  Similar to being kind… but almost a little more like having grace.  Gracefulness.  The three concepts are so very closely related with ever so slight distinctions.  To me at least.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t pull it off all day.  I was snarky more than a couple more times.  But when the intention would flash across my brain, I would try and reel my patience back in and lay it out gently around me.

Today

Is still a work in progress… I having a hard time figuring out what intention I’m in most need of today.  I’m thinking it will be to in the realm of flexibility.  Going with the flow.  Doesn’t that sound like a good Saturday intention?

We’re finally having our long awaited “date day” for our one year anniversary.  Some friends are babysitting Mason and we have wine tasting, lunch and Crushcakes cupcakes on the menu (Yes, I am having a cupcake.  In the name of anniversary celebration, but also because I’ve hit my elimination diet halfway mark!  Three months down, three months to go!).

Mark had a suggestion for my intention today… but his suggestions are not suitable for this public domain.  😉

Daily Intention: Believe

10 May

Art inspires.  Words, in particular, resonate with me.  Conversations, articles, blog posts, books, movies, even tv shows.  TV gets a bad rap.  I criticize it often myself… but to be honest.  I find almost as much inspiration and relate-ability, and as many quotable words in some television shows as I do in my favorite books.

Believe that dreams come true everyday.  Because they do.”

No, that’s not a line from a Disney movie.

Yes, it was my inspiration for today.

I was writing this morning, and I remembered the quote from a One Tree Hill episode I watched recently (don’t shake your head at me!).  And it got me to thinking about my own dreams.  Secret and not so secret wishes for my life.  I wrote it all out.  My ideal life.

Some things I wouldn’t change.  My relationships, my friends, my family.  The way we work together, love each other, grow together.

Some things I would change.  The nature of my work, some activities I love that I’ve let fall out of my life, the place that I live (though I love Santa Barbara dearly).

But what was really cool to see… was that even my most bold idea… my most outrageous dream for the future… wasn’t that far out there.  Everything that I want for my life, I’ve either started, ever so slowly, into motion… or if I haven’t, I realized how completely attainable it was.

Time and energy and persistence and patience and trust and dedication and keeping up the dreaming are all necessary things, of course… but when I think of dreams that I’ve had in the past that are true and real today… I’m struck by it.

As cheesy as it may sound…

“Believe that dreams come true everyday.  Because they do.”

Daily Intention: Being Kind

27 Apr

I got a compliment from my friend Alexis last night, about my ability to pause and reflect, and to stay present to the moment.  And while my first reaction was to beam with appreciation, my very next impulse was to explain to her all of the ways in which I am merely trying to live with more presence, and how often I hit the pavement radically short of what I hope or expect out of myself.  How all this intention setting is out of attempt to keep myself from sleepwalking through my days, or reacting out of reflex, without thought.  Both of which I still do often.

And then this morning, I read an email that included this paragraph:

“Before I indulge in my reaction to the compliment there comes an important step, the acceptance. We often fight off a compliment, meeting it where our personal struggles exist, making lists of reasons why this is not true. The acceptance of receiving a compliment is the faith that you can allow someone to have their experience. After, you get to have yours.

This is my surrender into the truth of what another is experiencing, without laying my own thoughts or judgements inside of it, simply being a receiver for the words and thoughts of another. When I give a compliment I am sharing my experience with someone, it is an honor to be accepted for believing what I do.”

Hannah Marcotti

 And I tried to remind myself that it was possible to accept a sweet compliment without qualifying it.  And to be kinder to myself than I could ever imagine would be possible, or allowed (Jen Lee nod).  So I decided that being kind to myself would be my intention today.

But then after a few unnecessary snaps at my husband this morning, I saw that the kindness also needed to be extended outside myself.

So I struggled for a while between whether I needed my intention to be focused on giving myself support… or giving my loved ones support, before I realized that choosing was silly.  And perhaps even abusing the point of this daily intention.  If kindness is what I feel is needed right now, I can dole it out to myself and my family simultaneously.

So here’s to being kind.

And here’s to hoping this intention seeps into my other days, and becomes a new reflex.

Daily Intention(s): Be Generous, and Listen

26 Apr

((Wednesday))

I’m starting to feel like a Cafe Gratitude menu… but my intention for yesterday was be generous.

I was thinking about the overnight trip I was making down to OC, and how visits to my hometown, while always eagerly anticipated, often wind up being a mixed bag of fun, lively coffee talks or old towne walks, and complicated befuddling family politics.

So somehow, it struck me that a potential antidote to the sometimes uncomfortable moments that occur, could be generosity.

Generosity in any form I could offer it up.

Generosity of time

Generosity of myself

Generosity of patience

Generosity in attention

Generosity in suspending any little sister/youngest daughter attitude I may normally be tempted to cop.

I wasn’t perfect, because let’s face it… old habits die hard.  Particularly where family dynamics are involved.  But it was a great mindset to begin with.  And return to.  And assist me in making the most of the short time I had down there.

I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of generosity in those terms before… and it’s something I want to practice far more often.

Then at end of the night, around 11pm maybe, the power went out!  Mid magazine read and conversation with my parents.  Out of the blue.  It was kind of creepy actually… but seeing as though I had already been getting tired over the past few hours, I took it as my cue to go to bed.  And my inspiration for today’s intention.

((Thursday))

To listen.  To take my cues from the universe, or my body, or my baby, or what people are trying to say to me, and really listen to them.  Rather than trying to superimpose my plans and premature conclusions upon them.  To really pay attention to how my surroundings are informing me throughout the day.

Because I really do think we are constantly given some pretty clear messages from our selves, those around us, and even our environment.  Answers to questions we ask over and over again, as though we don’t know the answer… when really, maybe we’re just ignoring them, or chattering over them, to suit our own agenda.

So today, I tried my best to listen.

Thanks for listening ; )

Lessons in Marriage

25 Apr

I’m reminded, last night, as I have been many many times over the past year, of the importance of owning up to your own shit.

I remember reading a line in a book sometime, years ago.  It said that sometimes we don’t even realize we’re in a bad mood until we’re around other people.  It’s like, our moodiness is hard to recognize until it can bump or crash up against another person.

Never have I found that to be more true than in marriage.  And I give myself a huge, internal pat on the back whenever I can pause in the middle of some misplaced crankiness that I’m splattering all over my bewildered, and most often innocent husband… take a breath… and explain what’s really going on in my head.  Resisting the urge to imply that he is somehow to blame.

Most of the time I can get there… even if it takes me a while.

Sometimes I can’t.

But I sure do try.  Because we’re allies in this life we’ve created, not scape goats for our own individual tantrums.  And I like it better that way.

Coffee Date

27 Feb

coffee in italy

If we were to grab a cup of coffee somewhere… I would hope it would be a shop that’s a little bit funky.  With couches and club chairs that are a little beat up, and hopefully a fireplace, and some old vintage tin signs on the walls.

I would probably have to order an herbal tea, although I would long for coffee in my cup, because although most coffee shops have non-dairy creamers now, very few have non-dairy, non-soy creamers.

We would pull up a couch or a chair, and gaze at the fire for a second.  I’d pull my feet up onto the chair to get a little more cozy, take a deep breath, look you in the eyes and smile.  Partly because I feel at home in coffee shops, and partly because I feel so comfortable with you.

I would tell you how we really should do this more often, and I would mean it with all my heart.

I would tell you about how I ate a handful of trail mix at work the other day, and mid dried kiwi, I realized it much have sugar in it.  But I would also be sure to say that I was tempted to eat the garlic bread that came with my quinoa pasta yesterday, but resisted.  Small victories, right?

I would tell you that I have been thinking so much about the future lately.  Where to live, how  to live, where my baby will go to school, how to make sure we’re laying the foundations for the kind of life we want to be in day to day, and that sometimes those thoughts are overwhelming.

I would tell you that this coming Thursday, is the last day until March 31st where both Mark and I are not working.  That of the four weekends this next month, two weekends I work straight through, and the other two weekends, either he has a conference or I have a workshop.  I would be clear in saying that I’m SO excited for these workshops… for the travel up to the bay area that they require, and for the workshop itself… but I would also admit that having that little time together worries me a little, and is not a pattern I want to set up.

I would tell you how we talk about how we want to be intentional with the time that we do have together.  The couple hours after Mason goes to bed and before we fall into ours.  And how sometimes, like last night, we do a great job working on a project together, talking, poking fun at each other, until we get too tired to do so anymore… but how a lot of the time, we’re so in need of a break by the end of the day that it’s blog reading and hulu watching, next to each other.

I would take another deep breath, and a sip of tea, and I’d ask about you.  How your days are going, how you’re juggling everything.  Are you excited about where you’re headed? Are you nervous? I would ask you if you ever get that little voice in your head trying to tell you that you need to reconsider, and what you do about it.

I’d tell you that Mason’s skin was started to smooth out.  The baby softness was returning, even after a few days of these oils, and this diet.  And then we gave him some milk over this weekend while I was at work, that I had pumped at the beginning of the month, before I started eating this way.  And didn’t realize what we had done until his little cheeks started to roughen up again, and a rash spread across his chubby little legs.  Blast!

But my eyes would light up as I tell you how excited I am, because that means that it is working!  That he won’t have to just learn to live with it because food really does heal if you pay attention to what it is you’re eating.

And as I start to sparkle with possibility, I would tell you how I want to do everything.  I want to live in Portland or Corvallis, and Kent and Brooklyn, and Venice and Tuscany, and maybe even in Providence Rhode Island… just to try it out.  I would say that I want to write for a living, start an etsy shop, get a degree in Nutrition, do more yoga, knit more prolifically, read more books, give my baby all the time and attention he wants, spend more time cuddling with my husband like we did when we first started dating, take Ruby on long walks…. you would laugh at mean little as I almost start vibrating with excitement when I think of all these things.  And then when I pause to take another breath… I would say that I’m trying to learn how to pace myself.  To readjust and tame the nudge inside me that makes me feel like I should try to do all of these things at once.   And pick a couple each day, or each moment.  So that my time has a bit of focus.

After my rambling comes to a close… we would sit and sip for a few moments.  Each thinking of our own string of possibilities.

And we would catch eyes again and smile.

And of course the time would run out too soon.

We would gather up our bags, I would probably take my tea to go, since I’m such a slow drinker.  Cast a longing glance at the pastry display, and walk with you to the front.  I’d give you a big hug, say, “it was good to see you”

And we should definitely do this again soon.


<post inspired by Casey Wiegand>