“I don’t care” days.

"Caring."

“Caring.”

I rented the first season of the Downton Abby series on my way home from church yesterday. I’ve been meaning and meaning—and meeeeeaning to do this.

Last night I crawled into bed, with a slice of my husband’s birthday cake waiting on my nightstand, and proceeded to indulge myself.

The first episode appeared mean spirited and dark as I observed how all the service staff were sniping at each other and it felt grim, and I thought—uh-oh . . . maybe you aren’t going to get into this as much as you thought you would. But I hung with it, of course.

By the end of the second episode I was catching on. By the third episode I was hooked. Cake finished, I watched the fourth episode, at which time my lightly snoozing husband woke up, looked over at me and said—‘you know . . . maybe you could turn it off for tonight?’ Usually he doesn’t mind if I watch TV in our bedroom, but then it was past 1:00 a.m.

And to be honest, if he hadn’t woken up, I know I would have watched all three DVDs of it last night—and then gone to sleep. Monday morning needs be damned.

It is that level of freedom and focused intensity that I made my goal for the month of January.

I cannot wait to resume the watching at some point today.

I have journaled a ton of pages since last week’s blog posting. After the end of the holiday season I declared the month of January, “Bec’s month. Only.”

Yesterday’s started like this:

“I’m having an ‘I don’t care day’ and I like it! I recommend it to anyone who feels the need or desire for such a day as this. 

There has been so much sad news this week—friends with advancing cancer, a friend burying her all-too young husband this week because of cancer, more dementia turning up in people I know. Every phone call or email brought sad news, and no matter how much I cared, or how hard I tried to find the right words to comfort these people, I couldn’t help any of them. 

I heard an ad on the television tonight: “Farmers always look forward.” (Thank God, they do, or the rest of us would get terribly hungry in a short amount of time.) 

This 6-week journal project has had me doing a lot of looking back and re-examining, but I expect to satisfy some as yet undefined need for doing that—and then I expect to be more than ready to stop it. And I will know when that moment arrives.” 

I don’t care days are a rare treat for me, but I plan to take more of them, and I wonder that all of you might enjoy exploring the benefits they offer as well.

I caught myself humming to myself the other day. Whoa. Involuntarily humming. I didn’t choose to do it—my body simply let it loose.

I’ve chosen to consciously observe how I was spending my days. Oh, my . . . the repetitiveness of it all. Make the bed, clean out the cat’s box, check today’s task list—make those calls—get that paperwork signed today!—scope out some more story resources, clean the cat’s box (again), start the washer, we’re out of milk (again), send out that meeting notice, make airline reservations- or not?, those bills HAVE to go today or they’ll be late, what was that submission deadline? (you missed it) . . . meh, meh, meh.

Believe me, it doesn’t mean I stop caring; it means I recognize when the ol’ Care Meter has gotten too full and is about to burst.

I acquired a new journal this week, its pages populated with sayings of the Buddha. I find Buddha sayings to be fully accessible to the reader because they are clear and concise. (Whose purpose does ambiguity ever serve?)

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.   -the BUDDHA

I started this Monday morning off with another piece of chocolate cake. And I’ve made a date this afternoon to park on my nice big bed and finish season one of Downton Abby.

All my other stuff will get done at some point. My friends and family know how much I care about them and their heartaches, and my own mind and body have been telling me how much they appreciate that I wised up this particular winter.

I do like this living in the moment stuff.

How about you?

Writing Wooly Mammoths.

Snow day cave drawings

Snow day cave drawings

The lights kept flickering. Outdoors the winds howled, occasionally whistling down through the chimney where they rattled the fireplace damper. Occasionally we lost sight of our neighbor’s house through the trees . . .

This sounds a lot like “It was a dark and stormy night . . .” doesn’t it. ;-D

These frozen snow-glob critters appeared on our screen during the first winter blow this past December, clinging like leeches and daring my imagination to come out and play. The minute I noticed them I knew what I was seeing.

Pictographs like the kind discovered on the walls of the ancient cave dwellers.

Do you see the large buffalo butting heads with a smaller one on the screen? (I admit he was the first I picked out.) There are furry mammoths and brontosauruses as well. What else can you pick out?

The thing I love about stormy snow days—and as evidenced out on the Facebook postings—is that people use these days to back away from regular life. They stay in and take overdue naps or make hot chocolate, clean closets, wrap gifts, bake—and indulge in the much ignored activity of getting quiet while they step away from the everyday jungle.

I’m always in favor of humanity being afforded the opportunity for stepping down for a while.

You can’t pick up a health magazine or newspaper today, but that experts—even the ol’ “we’ve got a pill for that” Western medicine docs (finally)—are spouting the advantages of slowing down, disconnecting and getting quiet once in a while for improved mental and physical health.

We don’t do it enough, even though we know we should. It takes a ravaging storm such as a blizzard, a devastating disease or the death of a loved one to bring us around.

We always need the reminder every now and then to say to ourselves: yeah, today I’m going to step back and do something a little different; maybe something lighter—more fun—more unusual.

When the winds howl and the snow flies, my fingers itch until I pull out the laptop, park my rear on the sofa and free write until I’m tired of it.

Healing days. That’s what such days are.

Mother Nature has my eternal gratitude for sending raging, vicious snow storms every once in a while.

Acquired Grace

       I found the following poster at a gift shop in Chatham, Massachusetts several years ago. Liked it so much I had it framed and now it hangs among the other artwork and intuitive writings on the walls of my office.

 

The Older I Get

The more I notice outrageous beauty

Of stars and moon against the sky…

The softer a baby’s skin feels…

The less panicky I am during sleepless nights…

The less easy answers I have…

The hungrier I am for connectedness…

The less I know, the more I wonder…

The longer I linger in snowfalls…

The kinder I am with weakness…

The more honest I am with myself…

The more I understand children’s logic…

The less rigid I am…

                                      The mightier the ocean seems each time I visit…

                   The less I wonder how old I’ll be someday…

The more hugs I give…

The gentler I am with myself…

The less I think of what I think…

The faster I clean my house…

The wiser I long to be…

The more I realize how impatient I’ve always been with life…

The more opportunities I see in each day…

The more I think about the miraculous gift Beethoven gave to the world…

The more I play

The less I think of what others think…

The closer I feel to old, old friends…

The more natural prayer seems…

The more I enjoy a simple cup of tea…

The hotter I draw my bath water and the longer I lie in it…

The longer I listen…

The wider berth I give to sorrow in the grand scheme of things…

The younger in spirit I feel…

The quieter my inner self becomes…

The greater my appreciation of harmony…

The more time I spend looking at stained glass windows…

The more comfortable I am with solitude…

The more I see good coming out of difficulties…

The more grateful I am to be alive

The more beautiful I am becoming.

    (Gail Kittleson/Holly Monroe ©1998 Abby Press)

A little trail time maybe?

I found the following item on pg. 272 of the October 2010 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine the other day in the Better Health NEWS Section by Sara Altshul:

Scientists at the University of Essex in England found that all it takes is five minutes of strolling in a wooded trail, raking leaves, or performing almost any physical movement in a natural outdoor setting to produce a significant uptick in mood and self-esteem. “Humans largely live inside, but because of our evolution as hunter-gatherers we may feel more relaxed and connected moving out in nature,” explains study coauthor Jo Barton, Ph.D. What’s more, this temporary boost may safeguard against problems like depression. So treat yourself to “recess”–even if it’s brief.

I’ll share a bit of poetry I created a few years back. Maybe you won’t agree with some of the sentiment, but the abovementioned research seems to support it to some degree:

 Too Much/Not Enough

I think people talk too much, listen too little,

    rush too often,

    and waste their energy.

I think people spend too much time hypnotized by TV,

    watching a computer,

    or impaled on a phone. 

I think people talk to avoid themselves

    because they hate the questions,

    and fear the answers.

I think people ask too much, too soon–

    maybe too often.

    I think others don’t ask enough.

I believe people could change.

I believe they could spend time peeling oranges,

    staring out windows,

    smelling new flowers and poking in the dirt.

I believe they could chop vegetables, make soup

    and eat together,

    then lose themselves in kitchen sink bubbles.

I believe they could watch a bumble bee

    work for what he needs, then depart,

    no worse for the wear.

I believe they could fly kites,

    observe their tango with the wind,

    trusting it to carry them where it will.

I believe people could read for three hours a day

    and watch TV for one.

    I believe they could read things that scare them for the path presented.

I believe they could take long walks without self-help recordings

    or stock reports plugged into their brains,

    and finally hear the voice within their feet.

I believe people would see how air, sun and earth

    wait patiently for them,

    eager to bond with their core.

All they have to do is stop talking so much.