If the Universe messes up your plans, just go with it… and other stories.

 

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Living

I ditched the paper plan halfway through this week. Trying to predict my week around what it looks like on Monday morning is like trying to plan your week around a toddler’s sleeping schedule: fanciful in the extreme. I decided that using a digital calendar was a much more sensible idea  – quicker and easier too :).

So, my week was rearranged again, this time by work, not my children. After I juggled, traded and rearranged my days, I was left with two days in a row in the middle of the week. At the end of the second day, an idea for rearranging my work hours came to me; instead of having my hours spread out over three days, I decided to ask my boss if I could work them all over two days, leaving me with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday free in the middle of the week. Isn’t it funny how when you stop resisting something and just go with it, a gift can appear?

The luxury! I could barely contain my excitement at the very thought of it :). As an added inducement, I decided to offer to do reading with the kids at the end of each shift, giving the school an extra three hours of my time. I approached my boss yesterday, she readily agreed, we filled out the paperwork that day…and job done! I now have three days off in the middle of the week – OMG :).

So…the lesson here is, if the Universe messes up your plans, go with it. She might just be trying to show you a better way. And even though my beloved weekly plans become obsolete within hours of crafting them – they still serve a purpose. The purpose is not so much when to do things, but what needs doing. The process of writing out what needs to be done for each subject, as well as laying out my work commitments, social plans, appointments and even downtime is incredibly valuable.

This month I am working on balance, also known as living the life I want rather than life living me: and a weekly plan is my secret weapon. I know I have been talking about time management for weeks now; it is just where my head is at. Please forgive me if you are:
a) Totally sorted in that department OR
b) Do not give two hoots about managing your time
🙂
What is your secret weapon for achieving balance in your life?

Loving

11822377_840018946105855_6096587853369939389_nThis. Not because I do not like a clean house: I do. But, as I have been learning, if I want to have other things I like, like watered plants, full birdbaths, hot scones, lemon meringue pie, a yoga practice, a blog with writing in it and good marks – then cleaning has to be put in its place.

So, dust (vacuum, tidy, wipe benches, scrub toilets, clean windows) when I must – which is when the sight of it offends me and makes it difficult to enjoy those other things I love so much.


Lemons! At this time of year, I am often overwhelmed by citrus. We have a huge, ancient mandarin tree that has enough mandarins to feed the village, a small but aggressively fecund lemon tree, not to mention limes and oranges from Happening Farm that the Bear brings home. The chickens have also started laying again, after having such a long rest from egg production I was starting to plan chicken soup recipes…lucky for them, eggs started appearing again :). So, what to do with all of these lemons? Lemon cordial, lemon butter and my very first lemon meringue pie. I cannot tell you how happy this made me :).

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Lemon cordial and lemon butter.
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My very first lemon meringue pie. So proud 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Springtime yoga. It’s not spring officially, but the seasons are most definitely turning. Not that you’d know it to look at me right now: there’s a big frost outside my window, and I am sitting here in my office/yoga room with layers of clothes like an eskimo, a hot water bottle on my lap, sitting right next to an oil heater. And my hands are so cold they hurt. However, the elemental part of me knows that spring is coming. So, this week I dug my springtime yoga sequence out and reminded myself of the Ayurvedic approach to the winter blues:

Spring is the time for cleansing the body from the winter’s slumber. In the winter, we have a tendency to get sluggish, and so spring becomes the opportune time to shed heavier layers and clean the body of excess toxins in the tissues. We are all naturally drawn to spring-cleaning our homes, and so we must also be inspired to spring-clean our bodies!

The Kapha dosha, which is the water and earth element, is highly accumulated in the body from the winter months. This can be experienced as winter weight gain and feeling lethargic. With a few daily rituals you can start to liquefy that buildup and release it from the body.

At this time of year, the body especially loves twists, back bends and dynamic forward bends. It’s time to get the energy moving and get fresh oxygenated blood to all of your cells. This kind of yoga practice is like opening the doors and windows to your house after it has been shut up all winter.


This gorgeous art, shared with me by my favorite blogger, Lisa from Carr Party of Five <3.

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I am not completely sure who the artist is, but I have linked it to a Tumblr blog called Whispering Darling that has other beautiful artwork by this artist (and may also be the artist herself). ❤

Learning

About ways to reduce household plastic use, by the beautiful Brydie from Cityhippyfarmgirl. For starters, I had no idea it was Plastic Free July. I wish I had known, because that sounds like a fine challenge. More of a challenge than Dry July, that’s for sure (for me anyway). Secondly, I learned that the top four single use plastic items are straws, plastic bags, takeaway coffee cups and water bottles. People, these are the easiest ones to not use, seriously. I hate plastic wrap and foil sheets, so I use airtight storage containers both for leftovers and lunchboxes; and as for lunchboxes, I avoid individually sealed items like the plague. Brydie suggested that we take containers to the butchers and get them to put our meat straight in the box. Good idea huh?

What are some ways you reduce plastic in your life?


I am reading a book this week by David J. Rogers, a blogging friend and author, called Fighting to Win – Samurai techniques for your work and lifeIn it, David applies techniques and wisdom from the Japanese Samurai warriors to everyday life and work. I love it. It gets me all fired up – no more skulking around, worrying and doubting myself! I want to face my obstacles, whether outer or inner, with complete confidence.

Zan-totsu has a larger meaning, maybe the largest. It means always engage life, never withdraw from it. Never back away from it for any reason – because you’re afraid, or you’ve been hurt, or you’re bashful, or bitter, puzzled, tired, sullen dejected, hurried, worried, forlorn, suspicious, resentful, disgusted, guilty, apprehensive, angry, humiliated, etc, etc, etc. When you move zan-totsu, you let nothing stand between yourself and where you want to get. You always dash forward, bravely and joyfully, without delay.

Awesome huh?


Okay, so this week I found myself very challenged by media studies: we are learning about Celebrity Culture. Celebrity Culture is very interesting from an academic point of view – its history, how it adds colour, sparkle and interest to the modern,  non-creative, mass produced life and also replaces the loss of community and religion. I get all that, for sure. But then, you know, we immersed ourselves in Celebrity Culture, because that’s necessary too if we’re going to study it, and I found myself witnessing all of this stuff that I had, up until now, managed to avoid: The Kardashians (I had heard of them, but I didn’t know what they looked like or what they did), Jade Goody (OMG. I have no words), Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, The Beckhams…I know so many things I had never wanted to know! The Bear laughed when I said this, and said, a trifle cynically, “Welcome to University!” I don’t really know where to start with all of these people, but what I can’t help thinking is that they think they are working the system, but in reality, the system is well and truly working them. I actually felt nauseous and anxious after the tutorial and lecture, and for quite a while after. I liked it in my bubble, thank you very much!


Lastly, this week I learned (again), that the best way to eliminate anxiety about a project is just to start it. There is magic and power in just beginning something. I was worried about an assignment for my writing subject, a four part assignment where I had to produce an overview of my travel story (which is still in thought form), the opening paragraph, the research I was using as well as  a mini essay on what constitutes good writing. I am not supposed to have written the story – that’s the final assignment – but because I hadn’t written it, and it was still stuck in my head – I felt frozen and anxious. I had to study in the town library on the day that I was working on this subject, because there was a scheduled electricity outage at home, so I felt even more uncomfortable. So, I did the readings, went through the study guide and then watched the lecture, which was all about the assignment. Right at the end, something the teacher said about planning your story on post it notes clicked something in me, and I drew a rough table in my book outlining the five or six stages in the journey in one column, and then listed all of the other things: memories, history, places that I wanted to include as well. Early the next morning I sat down and wrote half the assignment :). As my friend Beth says: JFDI (just fucking do it.).


And that’s it from me, my friends. It’s my second Dad’s 65th birthday today, so we’re packing a picnic and going somewhere secret and beautiful that the Bear has been wanting to take us for ages. First up though is pancake Sunday and coffee (how I love thee Sunday ❤ ).

Have a good weekend everyone xo.

19 comments

  1. Yes, I have started cleaning when the dust offends me. I love that poem and may copy it, if you don’t mind. Love the little artwork by Whispering Darling, or whoever, will have a look at the Tumblr feed. Fecund lemon tree, yes. Oh, so many, too many to use or even give away! The pie looks delicious, bet your family think you are seriously talented producing that. Having a 27 year old daughter means I knew all of those celebrities, unfortunately. Have had to endure hours of Kardashian watching in the household. Thank goodness it was only vicarious watching and not emulating that happened. Now that she lives in Adelaide, it is the one thing about her I don’t miss! But I do credit her with my pop culture knowledge, limited though it still is. Happy Birthday Dad, hope your day had a hint of spring in it. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • They did think I was seriously talented 🙂 it’s an impressive looking beast the lemon meringue pie!
      Of course, copy the poem – I took it from somewhere else too 🙂
      My children haven’t bought into celebrity culture yet thank goodness. I am of course hoping they won’t, because it makes me feel queasy.
      The magpies are waking me up every morning just before 5. That is such a springtime sound. The skies are clear and blue, with that August smoky haze from pre summer burn offs. The camellia is in full bloom and so is the miniature rose. Life is good 🙂
      Have a beautiful day Ardys xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First off, a very happy birthday to your second Dad. I hope he is doing well. I find myself not overly concerned with time management, probably because my life isn’t half as busy as yours. But I have very similar views on house cleaning. Not my cup of tea, and it gets done when it has to be done. I suppose I wouldn’t be quite so opposed to cleaning if I had much less stuff in the house.

    I had 2 appointments scheduled yesterday morning (that ended up not happening) when I discovered in my inbox an email invitation to a live talk and healing session online with a healer that is new to me. I was drawn to this man, and having no prior knowledge of him, I chose to listen to my intuition. Because of that, and also because I just wasn’t ready to sit down with someone at our local hardware/ home store to talk about having new countertops installed in my kitchen, I cancelled that appointment. And our family hair cutter needed to move my son’s hair cut appointment a day, so it freed up time to watch this healer online and run an errand before my son’s friend came over to play. Things worked out for the better. (And I’m amazed at how this man works: Mas Sajady).

    I envy your having fresh citrus fruit around you. I’m in a colder climate, where apple trees, blackberries and blueberries do well. On the other side of our state, where it’s a dryer climate, they grow peaches, pears, cherries, and more. That said, I love apples and berries. One of my favorite things to make is lavender applesauce (lavender grows very well around here, too). The first season I made applesauce, I made plain, cinnamon, and lavender. Now I’ll only make lavender. So delicious!

    I’m going to have to borrow JFDI from your friend. It’s a reminder that I could use often. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I of course am envious of your apples and berries – because that’s how it rolls :). Lavender apple sauce! That sounds incredible 🙂
      I love having enough flexibility in my life to roll with its unexpected opportunities and events. It’s amazing to watch how neatly life rearranges itself to be more perfect than it ever could be with me planning it. Mind you; I have to do a bit of planning 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You hit the nail on the nose about celebrity culture…you learn too many things about these people that you don’t want to know. Watching those shows is like eating too much junk food….it will make you sick! Hope your nausea on the topic doesn’t hinder your studies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, it won’t – I have a research project on it, but just on the academic analysis of celebrity culture, which is fine. You’re right: it’s like junk food or porn – you know you shouldn’t consume it, you know it doesn’t agree with you, but some perverse instinct keeps you coming back.

      Like

  4. Sara, I’m so busy I’m dizzy. So your discussion of organization and time management comes at a good time for me. A problem for me is that looking at the many tasks confronting me, I want to be finished with them all at the same time–immediately. The result is I lose focus on any one task and end up wasting a lot of time with nervous energy and confusion. I went out to dinner with my wife tonight after a frazzled day, and said, I just have to calm down and do one thing at a time.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying my book Fighting to Win, and I thank you for talking about it in your blog. In the book I talk about what I call the “Law of Give Up to Get.” By that I mean that to get something, like success in one area, you have to give up something else. That’s a law. In the long run, you can have everything, achieve all your goals, and have all you wish for, but at any one time, you have to give up something to get something else, and that’s what I’m relearning for myself. I wish you a good week and look forward to your next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice was: you’re just going to have to do everything 10% worse, in order to achieve this one big goal. I love that it’s a law, and it’s interesting how much I do instinctively. I like the idea of charging in without fear; I am not an over thinker by nature, although I am prone to self doubt at times.
      With my week, I allocate time to each project throughout the week…some mornings for writing and blogging, this day for one subject and another day for the other subject etc. this works for me, because I like to do all different things rather than get thoroughly engrossed in just one. That’s different to how I used to be, but so is my passion for time management :).
      It was my pleasure to talk about your book – it is awesome. Buying a hard copy of the new edition in Australia is difficult though, disappointingly.
      See you next week!

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  5. I’ll keep the anti-Celebrity Culture bubble warm for you. I’ve heard the names, except Jade Goody but never watched them. Haven’t missed anything have I…
    How wonderful that you asked and received and gave a little more in return both in time & good deeds. Positive karma in the bank all ’round 🙂
    We eat lots of leftovers and homemade lunches, so plastic containers are necessary to the point we both lament the amount of plastic tubs in our cupboards and when emptying the dishwasher/drainer but that’s how we keep a lid on our single use plastics. We don’t use straws but have 2 glass straws I bought when the G.O. had the skin cancer removed near his mouth. Apparently people who regularly drink health shakes go through a lot of straws otherwise. We have stainless steel water bottles and various keep cups for DIY takeaway coffee. What annoys me is a strata rule that our non-recyclable rubbish must be in plastic bags – because the building is huge, the bins are inside in the basement and it stinks at any rate 😦
    Achieving life balance? As I read the paragraph on Zan-totsu, I though oh no… not doing that is how I achieve life balance, by picking my battles, withdrawing, keeping time for myself… lessons hard learned.
    I love Dust if You Must… but you would have guessed I would.
    Hope your Second Dad’s birthday and your family day was fantastic and extra happy 🙂

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    • Hi Dale, lovely to see you here as always <3. Thank you for keeping my bubble warm for me, I appreciate that, and look forward to returning to it as soon as possible :).
      I don't think zan-totsu is about about fighting indiscriminate battles :). I think it is about approaching the battles that are necessary with the right attitude – confidently and with joy. Being a warrior type, I have learned over the years to pick my battles, and being an introvert, I am absolutely dedicated to creating and keeping alone time, even in the busiest of weeks. That for me is self care. Even approaching my boss for a change in hours could be seen as a little battle and I approached it as such: the idea came to me, I thought about the pros and cons for both me and the school, weighed it all up, and then when I was sure it was something I still wanted, I approached my boss first thing and directly, with no expectation of defeat.
      And thank you, we had such a beautiful day for my second Dad's birthday. A picnic on a private headland: the blue of the sky and the sea, the warmth of the sun, dolphins, whales, eagles and kites…it was really something. Have a good week Dale xo

      Like

  6. Sara, this is a versatile and very profound post, right from the title to the content in each section has a message and it is so meaningful. Many times we get upset with change of plan and we shout and yell at others who affected that change and on whom we have no control. But later we look back and analyze what really happened thereafter we invariable find that what happened, happened for the good.

    You manage to do so many things and do with passion and there is perfection in every aspects of your working and writing, the poem indeed is so beautiful, was hooked and kept on reading, so simple and there is such magical rhythm, it resonates and it keeps driving us…”paint a picture, write a letter, music to hear, books to read, bake a cake, plant a seed, and understanding the difference between want and need…” it is so beautifully written, it immediately connects.

    Doing yoga to working on lemon and working on writing courses, so much things you keep doing week after week, and you bring such lovely and new perspective, your new blog outlook is quite refreshing and indeed inspiring.

    Hope you are having a nice weekend and great celebration of your second dad’s birthday.
    😀

    Like

    • Thank you Nihar – I do like to squeeze as much out of life as I can :). If we are not living the life we love and conversely loving the life we live, then what is the point of it all? I have never bought into the philosophy that life is suffering; although pain is a part of life, suffering is optional.
      I’m glad you enjoyed that little poem, it’s quite meaningful isn’t it? And thank you, we had a most wonderful day for my second dad’s birthday yesterday – all blue sky, ocean, food and sunshine.

      Like

  7. So many things to respond to here. I hardly know where to start! 🙂

    I am a planning junkie. Back in the day, I was a Franklin Covey disciple – carrying my beloved planner around with me everywhere, making little check marks, and color-coding the hell out of everything. These days, I’m all about calendaring in Google Calendar. I’ve become very dependent on this system. Seriously. If Google Calendar ever goes away, I’m going to be in big trouble. I wrote about my process here: https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/manage-your-time-deadlines-and-sanity-with-one-tool-%E2%80%93-down-with-the-to-do-list/ I’m SUCH a geek about this now, particularly for the reasons you wrote about, like the ability to quickly rearrange things in a digital format. Thank goodness for that!

    But, the deeper lesson is, of course, learning to roll with the punches and listen when the Universe is hitting you over the head with a suggestion that makes SO much more sense than your best-laid plans. My daughter has been an excellent coach in this regard. She’s eleven now (and I’m much wiser), but when she was young, I tried to schedule our days out in Excel. What a joke. She very quickly straightened me out. Adaptability became a key survival tool for me. I’m still learning, but I’ve gotten much better at adjusting on the fly.

    LOVED the poem about dusting and the “growth” art. Both are so perfect for my week. While I did do some cleaning yesterday, it was long overdue and actually felt somewhat cathartic. As for growing, I have been trying to pull myself back from the crazy pace I’ve been running at for the last couple of months, and give myself a little nurturing TLC. It’s only small doses at the moment, but it feels wonderful. I even took a 20-minute nap this afternoon!

    As for your brush with celebrity culture – ouch. I don’t follow any of that and am only really exposed when my eyes involuntarily scan the tabloids at the supermarket checkout. Each time I read those headlines, I feel like we’re living in a Kurt Vonnegut novel where things can’t possibly get more ridiculous. If I thought about it too long, I would probably feel very depressed and unsettled about the whole thing, but I try to just keep it on the periphery of my mind. I’ve only got room for so much info in there, and what the Kardashians are doing is not on my list!
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jamie 😊 omg I laughed when you said that you tried to excel schedule your days with your daughter! God they sort us out, don’t they?
      Thanks for sending me over to the Google calendar post. I am very inspired :). At present I am using iCal on my iPad and windows calendar on my computer, which is just silly. Google is the way to go, so I can have the same calendar on my iPad and computer. I may spend some pleasant time doing just that today :). I love that you have been scheduling time dunce you were a girl. It shows that you take your time seriously.
      As for the Kardashians and Vonnegut…geez. Like you, I caught glimpses (horrifying) of all of this at the checkouts, but being forced to watch videos and read articles on Miley Cyrus and the rest is truly disturbing. Oh well I’ll get over it, precious princess that I am 😜.

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  8. So many good things in this post – I will read and re-read.

    Celebrity Culture! Crazy world that it is. I am so glad it is absent from my life, and thankfully too most of my community, friendships and childrens life thus far. I rarely feel that I have mental health issues, but put me in a busy shopping centre, lights blaring, magazines a calling, images a leaping, and I feel that nausea and anxiety – for myself and the future of the world – arising. Some folks seem to be able to interact with this stuff lightly – which is amazing to behold. Me, I think I am best in my bubble. And breath deep when I am not!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes…I know I am not alone in my reaction to celebrity culture. I guess I have crafted a life where I don’t come into contact with it. It is good to remember that we are possibly the minority’s. I know what you mean about having the bright lights of capitalism in your face like that. Sydney can be a bit like that for me, where I come face to face with the extreme unsustainability of our (humanity’s) lifestyle. The bubble pops.

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