One night coming home from work last week I was taken aback by the beauty of the moon rise. It was so amazing to see the clouds that were sneaking in to cover parts of it. I so wanted to capture it and share it. The way the clouds moved back and forth covering the moon and then not was like a magical show of nature. The colors of the night were like a blanket covering night sky and snow-cover lands alike. it was almost indecipherable where the sky ended and the horizon started. The color was a blue of melancholy, sadness, loneliness and yet so peaceful.
I talked myself out of stopping my truck and taking a picture until I was nearly home. The reasons were many for not taking the picture. It was approaching night so the light wasn’t good, but that is what made the sight so special. I didn’t have the right set up to take the photo, I had just a phone. The picture wasn’t framed right and there were things in the picture I really didn’t want. It was bitter cold and I was dressed to commute, not stand outside for an extended period of time. Dinner was waiting. The list in my mind was a mile long as I continued to look at that moon and watching the changing images as the clouds moved in and out.
I recently started a new creative set of classes for 2017 and my statement his year is: Change the Pattern of Your Life. It hit me. I was letting the same pattern of excuses make me not take a chance and see what would happen. When I was just a 1/4-mile from home I finally I just got out and took a half dozen shots. None of them will make National Geographic, but I did it. It doesn’t capture the sight as I saw it, but it still serves as a medium to share something of that night with others. I did not let the pattern of letting the same reasons for not doing something continue to drive me and prevent me from trying.
Do you let a very repeatable list of reasons prevent you from trying something? Does your selftalk sound like a parrot repeating the words over and over? When was the reason you tell yourself for not trying something a new reason, not the same reason you told yourself 100 times over? Challenge yourself to explore, do something that those comfortable reasons say not to. Don’t let the pattern of your life prevent you from living it.
If you are interested in the class I am taking samples of my creative work and information on the class can be found about it on my other blog Playing Without Limits.
Working outside the home and commuting daily allows a person to notice when the days get longer and shorter. There is a consistent time piece of our daily routine when we walk out the door, get on the highway, catch the commuter bus or train by which we are able to measure our days. We noticed day and night relative to that constant migration daily to work and home again.
I feel like I have been living in constant darkness lately. Each day I left home in the dark of night with the stars overhead heading to town and came home in the same darkness. If I was going to get some sunshine it had to be during my lunch hour. This first week of January we had vicious cold snap of subzero temperatures. One day we got all the way down to -30 at our house, and that was before we factored in the wind. I was down right miserable in the cold and darkness. Yet by the end of the week, even with the nasty freezing temps, I had found hope. I was driving home as the sun was setting. In Montana twilight lasts forever, so suddenly I was driving home in the last vests of daylight. The days were still cold, but the afternoon light was giving me hope and encouragement. The hint of days getting longer has gave me optimism and hope that no matter how cold the days were yet to come and no matter how long the nights, spring though months away is slowing making its way to my neck of the woods.
Today is another day. It is the day after yesterday and the day before tomorrow. For me is not some magical special day that I make resolutions, promises or goals tied to the new year. It is a just day. It is another 24 hours to be spent by me, if I am lucky followed by another It is a day in my life. Each one special and one of kind.
Each morning somewhere between the time when I wake up and when I actually start my day I reflect how do I want to use this day. During the time when I do the routine morning tasks of cleaning up, eating and getting dressed I start to think about what this day holds. I begin to organize my thoughts recognizing what things I have to do today and the things I want to do. I want to fully experience life each day, but I don’t want to get lost in all the externals that I don’t actively be me. I don’t want to feel like at the end of the day my existence did not make a difference. It is a balancing act. What I plan for each day isn’t the same every day. Many things influence my plan for the day, if I work or not, is there a commitment I need to fulfill or a deadline approaching, how do I feel, what my family needs, my friends, and so much more. Some days I have a simple wish, to walk more steps than I did yesterday or eat a healthy lunch. Recently my goal was to pray for a family who has lost a son and that I learn more about compassion and empathy because I can not imagine their pain. Some days it is to accomplish something at work, something that won’t likely change much of anything in the world. While other days it is do a random act of kindness for someone who I don’t know.
Most days I pick several things for my daily goals and other days I just aspire to accomplish one thing. I try to make it a mix of for tasks but sometimes I when I feel spent I just wish for a day for me. This weekend I gave myself the gift of nothing. Nothing for me is to allow myself the luxury of doing what is calling me at the moment. For me nothing can be to read, sew, write, play in my studio, talk to my life-time friend, pull my camera out or take a walk. My wish for the day can be a grand task impacting everyone I meet or just a single movement toward a lifetime quest that only I recognize. It changes for me each day.
It is not about a resolution I make on the first day of the year. Instead it is about my life list. All those things I want to see, do and change. My life list does include places I want to see and things that are personal goals, but it contains bigger unreachable items as well. Those big things, like world peace, I don’t serious believe I can change all by myself, nor will even see in my lifetime, but I want to be a drop in the water that sends out waves or a butterfly wing that contributed to a distant tornado that is part of that change. I want to waste one less minute than I did yesterday. Today I want to make better use of the time allotted to me than I did the previous day I was given. I fully embrace each day no matter what day of the year it is. I wish the same for each of you.
Yesterday was the first day of winter. It is the shortest day of the year , if we are talking sunshine. I went to work in the dark and after working all day I headed home in the dark. In spite of all the darkness when I got to work I found beauty in the local homes blanketed by the snow illuminated by the glow of street lights.I just had to capture what I saw and share it with you.
Today I spent the day making holiday cards to mail. I stamped and painted all my holiday cards and then stamped my envelopes as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the process though most would say I was nuts to make something handmade that will likely end up in the trash after the holiday season. But it okay for me. I enjoyed thinking about the people I knew we were sending them to.
I love to get holiday cards and yes the infamous Christmas letters. I love to hear from friends and families we have known for years and life has altered our course such that we are no longer living close by. I read them when they arrive and again once the holiday is over. I think about the people who sent them and how our paths crossed. I love to catch up if only once a year. I love to see the pictures that folks share and how they have changed. . I love it all because they took time to “say hi.”
It used to be that many more folks sent holiday cards. Folks drop you an email and that seems to be where we are going. I know it is expensive to purchase cards and the cost of postage is nothing to sneeze at. I know people’s time is often more precious than the money, so spending an evening or Sunday doing cards is hard for some folks to justify. All of these are some of the many reasons why the tradition is fading away.
In this hurry up, always on, electronic age it is fun to get a piece of happy mail on a cold snowy night and remember the people in your life. Thanks to everyone who send me a card, photo or letter this year. To everyone that I sent to I hope you enjoy.
I have taken a break now and then from my blog but never like this one. Never before for months, but I felt that this one was essential. I have always been politically active. I have always enjoyed discussion with others who do not share my point of view, trying to see how they get to the place they arrive. I have always believed that respectful discussion makes both myself and the other person more pragmatic, more empathetic, more compassionate and not so narrow minded. Unfortunately this time around it did not seem possible.
I lost social friends this election cycle because I did not support their candidate. When they asked and I felt comfortable sharing, because we had in the past, I was chastised for my choice. Screw my reasoning for my point of view. Who cared if I did research based on what the candidates said, and drew my own conclusions instead of repeating things just because I read or heard them. Promises were made by candidates and many others rang empty and false to me. People said we read it on the internet or hear it on the news it must be true. I was of the era of “question authority” and would go back and try to figure out fact a fiction, even when it seemed near impossible to do so. People were called names and things were said about them, but we were not willing to really go ferret out the truth that is at our fingertips now with the internet to get to real information, not what he said or she said, but real truths. It was disheartening to me to loose friends and feel like there was almost no truth this time in what was being said. I was saddened by the lack of civility not just by candidates but so much of our citizenry.
I also felt strongly that each of us are given a very special personal right to vote, based on our beliefs, our life experiences, where we are in the continuum of life, economics and family situation. It is yours right to vote as you see fit, not be be persuaded by me to vote the way I am, because how you got to your candidate was a different path than I had taken. It was not my right to try and attempt to influence you no matter how much I wanted to. That is why each of us have a vote, to voice our beliefs. It is the way our democracy works.
Once the election was over, and the system had worked as it was designed we had a new president. I had a lot to think about, I even thought about stating a new blog to chronicle the next four years. In the end I decided against it, because if I did so, I wanted it to be fact based and I learned preparing for this election fact checking takes lots and lots of time. In the end I would either be preaching to the choir or getting hate mail. It just did not seem like I how I wanted to spend my free time.
Now we all watch the next four years to see what happens, and then we deal with what does because that is what we do. I go back to blogging about everyday things. I share the thoughts of someone who lives in Montana as she looks out the window. I am glad to be back. I missed you all.
One of our favorite spots on the Wise River.
This week we were out and about taking photos for a retirement journal RangerSir has asked me to make for one his employees. Our daytime adventures took us to some of our favorite places in our neck of the Montana. One of those places was an out of the way place on the Wise River. Once we got there I just had to get my feet wet. The river was low as it often is this time of the year. Even though it was low the water was cold, a true mountain river. It made it easy to imagine walking out into the river because there was a log on that someone had placed in the middle of the river. RangerSir was not interested in getting his feet wet so this was a solo adventure for me. My destination was to sit on the log, enjoy the water and sunshine.
I could have laid there for hours listening to the sounds and relaxing. Too bad it is a couple of hours from our house.
I laid out there quite awhile until RangerSir and Zip reminded me we had other places to visit before the day was out and the sun would set. I was totally relaxed listening to the water, the wind and the sounds of nature. I could smell the resins of the evergreens heating up in the afternoon sun. It was a little bit of paradise.
Once I had gotten back in the truck and and we were headed on to the next place we wanted to photograph I realized I think I am more water than mountain. I suppose that is easy to say since I have a mountain front and center in my picture window, and no water near by. As a kid I spent my summers on the lake with my grandparents and spent years living in the land of 10,000 lakes. Until I moved to Montana I was always walking distance to a lake or river. Now as we start to think about where we might move to next, I think water trumps mountain. Not 100% sure but something to think about when picking our destination. Water or mountain? Mountain or water?