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.
If our glass is half full or half empty is all in how we look at it. It is exactly the same, just our point of view. I try to take the half full point of view. I have enough problems in life either real or created. Half full makes it a little easier.
One of my new year’s rituals is always re-read a book each January. These books are supposed to remind me of what an empty glass might and hopefully provide some inspiration for the upcoming year. The book I re-read is what I call a keeper book. Keeper books are books that you are willing to pack and pay to have toted around the US as you move, knowing you pay for every pound in that moving van. Keeper books are books you have lent and they were never returned and you bought again, again and finally again in kindle edition so you never have to buy it again. Keeper books are books that change your life each time you read them; you are reminded of how harsh life can be and how amazing the human spirit is.
I am mulling over which book will be my choice this year. While I am mulling, I though I’d share my two front runner choices for this year.
Miles to Go Before I Sleep by Jackie Pflug I have purchased this book now a total of four times. That should tell you how many times I have read it. I first found out about this book when I received it as a gift from my husband for Christmas when it was first published. It is the story of a woman who was on a plane that was hijacked. She was shot in the head and thrown out the door onto the tarmac by the hijackers who were demanding fuel. She laid on the pile of people who were shot before her for five hours afraid if a hijacker saw her move they would finish the job. The book takes you from the time on the plane through her recovery. It has taught me so much about perseverance, forgiveness, moving forward, coping with adversity, making the most of what I have and spirituality. It was topped off when I was able to hear her speak once. She said something that has stuck with me forever: At some point or another along the way, we all get hijacked. It is different for each of us cancer, death, job; you will know it when it jumps up and hits you and sucks the life out of you. The trick is taking the most difficult choices and becoming the most capable person that you are.
Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng T I confess I have only read this book twice. I go back to it because the Chinese cultural revolution has since been repeated through out the world. Governments imprison people because they fear smart people. When I say smart people I am not talking necessarily intellectually, schooled or high IQ. I consider smart people to be people who don’t take what “they” say without seeking to understand; people who don’t act like sheep or lemmings. I find inspiration in Nien because she was imprisoned to be re-educated. She spent years in prison under terrible conditions. She was offered her freedom many times if she would sign a statement confessing to things that were lies. Many others confessed to the lies for their freedom, but she did not. She lost her health in the re-education camp. Her daughter died during the time she was imprisoned. She eventually was released and escaped to the US. Her book inspires in me the value of having principles and core values. It also has made me a skeptic and a person who is always seeking to know if what “they say” is based on a fact I accept. I never want to be a lemming. I knew so little about Mao and the cultural revolution before I read this book. It has made it important for me to understand what is going on in the world. Nien did not believe that could happen to her or in her county and yet it did. The book made me aware that things can happen.
I still am unsure which one I will read. May be I will read one and make a resolution to read a second re-read on the first day of summer to keep me going all year long.
Do you have a re-read book? If so please share it in the comment area.
I am not a resolution kind of girl. Resolutions mean I need to wait on January 1st to start to change. I am always a work in progress and my changes happen through out the year. I pick something I want to improve on and write it down, fold it in half. I then date it six weeks out and put it in my drawer to pull out six weeks later. They say that is how long you have to do something to make a change. I never allow myself to have more than three changes at a time. I am a woman and can be self critical enough of myself without filling a draw with reminders.
This year I did make some a huge stride in health improvement. I have removed products with high fructose corn syrup from my diet. There are still plenty of added sugars in what I eat, but picking just one and refusing to buy products that have it is a step in the right direction. I fell off the wagon and had a Coke the other day, but did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I was sort of glad for the lapse and it reminds me that changes sometimes don’t have to be a lifetime of deprivation. Once that one was done I wrote add more fiber to my diet. That one was a bust. It was too hard to measure. At the end of six weeks I changed it to buy only breads that have at least 6 grams of fiber per slice and whole wheat flour is the first ingredient on the list. That one I mastered, though I must admit I do occasionally indulge in a homemade loaf of a rustic white bread.
I would love to write a book. I picked writing at least once a week here on my blog as a change I wanted to make. I haven’t always blogged once a week, but has become a habit I enjoy and makes me think about writing and its creative process. For awhile I had a change in my drawer to write a single themed blog. It did not work for me, but who knows I may put that back in the drawer some day in the future or something else that would move me toward penning that book I know is in me.
I had mastered my exercise routine and had even gone so far as to be consistently doing two kinds of exercise regularly. I have done more than fall off the wagon. I have completely undone any good habits I had established. I used the excuse that work was crazy, and then work did get crazy. Now I find myself establishing even more bad habits in the name of busy with work…skipping meals…not taking breaks from the desk… So I have put do a 30 minute yoga routine on even days back in my drawer I know once I get yoga back in my life, the balance it brings will allow me to move forward with more healthy changes.
Yesterday I was making thank-you cards and I used my sewing machine. I found that so soothing. It reminded me of what a creative outlet it is for me. I may just put finish one of my UFO’s (unfinished objects) in my drawer. I have no shortage of those.
So this year I hope that I make positive changes in my life, not just in January all twelve months. In case you are wondering what is in my drawer right now here goes.
- Do a 30 minute Yoga routine on even days.
- Clean the kitchen counters to the completely clean state once a day.
- Keep your toes painted. It makes me smile, and it such a simple thing. I want to not only do it in the summer but year round.