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?
This. 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 :).
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.
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 life. In 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.
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.