ladies dinner

I spent a highly enjoyable evening with old high school friends at a BYOB in Philadelphia.  We enjoyed good food, good conversation, and good reminiscing.  Since I rolled in to my cozy apartment at nearly midnight, I’m going to call it, and say this post is my effort to nearly complete my May goal of blogging every day.

Tomorrow the man and I celebrate four whole years together.  We’ve come a long way.  I’m a lucky gal.  Happy Quatro my love.

an ever-evolving journey

As much as I might try to explain how class ended yesterday, I couldn’t do the following passage justice.  Our yoga instructor ended with this, and while I find the entire thing very powerful, I think the image that struck me the most was the idea that our path is like ‘riding on a train backwards ~ we cannot see where we are going, only where we have been …. wisdom is whatever is going to happen to us today.’

In essence, this just further clarifies the impermanence of life, in a really positive, encouraging way.  I loved it, and my instructor was kind enough to send me the quote in its entirety, so I am sharing with you.

The Path is Uncharted

This path has one very distinct characteristic: it is not prefabricated. It doesn’t already exist. The path that we’re talking about is the moment-by-moment evolution of our experience, the moment-by-moment evolution of the world of phenomena, the moment-by-moment evolution of our thoughts and our emotions. 
The path is not Route 66, destination Los Angeles. It’s not as if we can take out a map and figure that this year we might make it to Gallup, New Mexico, and maybe by next year, we’ll be in L.A. The path is uncharted. It comes into existence moment-by-moment and at the same time drops away behind us. It’s like riding in a train sitting backward. We can’t see where we’re headed, only where we’ve been. This is a very encouraging teaching, because it says that the source of wisdom is whatever is going to happen to us today. The source of wisdom is whatever is happening to us right at this very instant. — Pema Chodron

impermanence

Class tonight was blissful.

It wasn’t crowded, which meant not being on top of my neighbor’s mat, it wasn’t nearly as tough as the past two weeks (or, perhaps it just played more to my strengths) and my mind was much more focused (which, after the day I had, was a small miracle).

We talked about impermanence and attachment this evening.  I know I always say that class is fitting to what is happening in my life ~ I am not sure if that is the case, or if all the concepts and ideas of life can be applied to at least one thing within a person’s daily existence.  Irregardless, I needed the mental stretching class provided today.

A friend once said to me, as we sat on bleachers in a quiet playground with stars filling the sky, that the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain.  You could rephrase it to say the only thing that is permanent is impermanence ~ either way, it’s the same idea.  Life changes and shifts on a daily, weekly, yearly basis.  Relationships ebb & flow, we are each striving to mold ourselves out of deeply flawed putty, working to become our own vision of a well-rounded human.

I am reminded daily that this is an on-going process.

I’ve always had attachments to material things ~ we all have.  I used to wonder if mine stemmed from moving so often when I was young.  The impermanence of home was stabilized by pieces of furniture, a stuffed bear named Rudi (who still sits by my bed, and is in his 27th year), books that have lined my bookshelves in every place I have called home …. So many things with personal meaning, significance.  Living with the man for nearly three years, I’ve learned to spring clean ~ get rid of unnecessary things, outdated things … things that had become, over time, nothing more than clutter.  It is always a little nerve-wracking and exhilarating all at once to send bags or boxes of long-held belongings to Goodwill, or the Salvation Army.  But in the time that follows, I do not pine for that which I have given away.  Material things feel very important until you loosen your grip on the value you assign them.  On the flip side, some things are too personal to me to consider giving away. Will I ever relinquish Rudi Bear?  Probably not.

From another perspective, friendships and relationships change.  Recently, I realized with deep sadness, that someone I cherished for what seems like forever, isn’t the same person I used to know.  Time has slipped by, and life has changed us both.  I think with regret that I made mistakes ~ I didn’t nurture the relationship ~ I took for granted that we would always be close.  I made an assumption that some things were forever… but I should have known better.  Coming to terms with that on the mat seemed fitting.  Relinquishing the fight and acknowledging that one cannot go back and fix mistakes ~ one can only find wisdom in today, and move forward purposefully, within the present environment.

It is so easy to allow oneself to get caught up in the small details of daily life.  I am one hundred percent guilty of it.  Something unbalances my work day, and I twist into knots, rather than stepping back, and trying to gain a whisper of perspective.  When we began class, our instructor asked us to think about the events of the day, but to remove any feelings or emotions from the thoughts.  I envisioned each event in a sterilized environment ~ like scalpels and knives in an operating room.  Clean, unblemished, and nothing more or less than what they appear.

I think that what I came away with is that life will continue to move forward, ever-changing and shifting, as though the ground is never truly firm beneath our feet.  These changes, whether fluid or jarring, are part of life, and whether one allows these changes to affect them individually or in broad strokes really depends on the person.  I have my fingers crossed that as time rolls on, I get better at looking at the big picture instead of all the little pieces.

 

S’mores!

This afternoon, the man & I decided to make s’mores, because by the end of the night, everyone is too full & too tired (or, more accurately, much more interested in “iced tea” than gooey marshmallows, silky chocolate & crunchy Graham cracker).

The verdict is in & I am a fan of campfire s’mores. Prior to today, I had melted marshmallows as a kid in our family’s fireplace, and intermittently over firepits in suburban backyards. There is something to be said about a true campfire s’more. I am off to enjoy the delicious goodness. Happy Sunday!

Lucy’s First Camping Trip

I’m blogging from my phone today with very iffy service,so I will be short & sweet. We have been planning this camping weekend for quite some time – it is Lucy’s first (and only my second, so the man is dealing with uber novices).

We recently bought a new tent which we managed to set up in the dark so we could sleep last night (huge triumph). We realized this morning, however, that while our trial run last weekend of setting up the tent was very helpful, we’d managed to forget some crucial elements (an example ~ both sleeping bags!) We have managed to remedy most of the boo-boos, and the man is off getting more firewood as I tend the fire.

I would love to add pics but I can’t seem to upload them from my phone, so I promise to add at a later date. I hope you are enjoying Memorial Day Weekend as much as we are!

community

There’s a saying ~ it takes a village to raise a child.  I said it last night during WeHangsDay because our friends’ are lucky enough to have a huge family network they can lean on for pet and child care when life gives a little squeeze on time.

The man and I have great families, but we’re not lucky enough to have both sets of “in-laws” only a phone call and 10-30 minutes away.

Which is why our little community ~ affectionately called “The Compound” is such a blessing.  We moved in nearly three years ago ~ as the only renters.  And as time has progressed, we have been welcomed into the family that is “The Compound.”  Recently I realized that I was nearly as protective of my compound family as I am of my actual family.  Yes, there are strong personalities and quirkiness, but no one is allowed to be dismissive of my compound family.

It’s a concept that has been marinating in my brain recently.  These people ~ whom the man and I didn’t know prior to August 209 ~ have become a family of sorts.  Doesn’t that speak to the nature of humanity?  Yes, our major common bond is vicinity, but if we scrape the surface of history, that’s a fairly strong reason to have a relationship.  Think of how often you are somewhere unfamiliar, and you meet someone from near where you live ~ an immediate kinship.  A very powerful thing, geography.

I’ve also become very aware of the tie between age and life perspective.  Maybe these ideas wouldn’t have been as important to me at 22.  But at 32, nurturing positive relationships of any kind is fairly crucial.  It helps sustain life; it helps create a life of fulfillment outside of work.  To me, there is very little more important than cultivating and nurturing strong and positive relationships with people of all backgrounds, generations and ideologies.  The Compound gives John and I a little piece of that.  And we are full of love and gratitude.

And now, in the infamous words of Gossip Girl, xoxo.

 

 

moments on a wednesday

The following are photos from my time stuck in the car at the grocery store … waiting for the rain to slow down ….

Driving home ~ sun is shining, but traffic is yuck-o!

Sitting in the ACME parking lot ~ you can’t tell from this picture how hard the rain is coming down ~ sheets of it!  Downpour.

No windshield wipers during the storm.

Curly hair day ~ I fought the humidity on Monday, and decided it wasn’t a battle worth fighting all week.

Rain, rain, go away ~ come again some other day.  (…. is that the sun peaking out?!?)

I bought a sherbert-colored bag and I’m ob.sess.ed with it.  Love. Love. Love.  So summery!  As I said to John, sometimes you can tell that I’m my mother’s daughter (she loves color, while my aunt loves whites and neutrals).

Half the new Zav dessert ~ on its way home for the man to enjoy.  It was a creamy delicious concoction of chocolate mousse, cake, caramel, and salted walnuts.  Ridic.

After 15 minutes I called it a loss, shuffled into the grocery store in the pouring rain, and got supplies for WeHangsDay.  Dinner is prepped, and now we’re organizing for Lucy’s first camping trip (countdown ~ three more days!).

Happy Wed.nes.day everyone!

it’s only tuesday … urgh

My day sort of flew by ~ I have had a to-do list of office work that has lingered on my desk for a few weeks, and since my parent’s flight home from the UK was delayed 8 hours, I got to spend the whole day at the office, which I was not anticipating.  Woo-hoo!  It would be really exciting if today were Thursday … but unfortunately, there are three work days left, which dampened my spirits a little, since I probably won’t get to bed until 1am.

Yoga was pretty hard-core tonight, but class in general is pretty hard-core, so that might be misleading.  For the first time in awhile, I got stuck in my head a little bit, instead of focusing on class’s meditation, and at one point felt very light-headed (which was a bummer).  I was also reminded that I have the arm strength of a small child (when this occurs to me, I always vow to do lots of sun salutations and push-ups, to build up the strength … and then I remember that I hate doing push-ups so it becomes a circular argument in my head).

In the spirit of that inner argument, one of the things I have been meditating on for the past few days is the idea of changing habits.  Yoga’s meditation was a good one, but because I was distracted, I ended up focusing on the thought of breaking and/or changing habits.

This is not a new idea for me.  When I get frustrated with myself, I try to take a step back and remember that the only person who can change me is myself.  Knowing it and doing it are two different things.  And controlling and changing my behavior is incredibly difficult.  I think everyone knows that feelings ~ when you’re feeling really motivated and put-together and in a good place … you promise to eat more balanced meals, and get up an hour before work to jog.  You think about meal plans and balanced budgets and crafting and … well, all that stuff really together people do.

And then morning comes, and the bed is really comfy, and it’s hard to follow through on all the resolutions.  Or you get home from work, and the day was a beast, so you have a glass or two of wine, even though you really wanted to go to the gym, or even just not drink.  Sort of like last week’s thought ~ one step at a time, all put together, is progress, even if it’s hard to see.  It’s all about keeping yourself motivated, and having the will-power to focus on the end goal.

Perhaps what I should do is come up with a mantra ~ something I can whisper to myself when things feel tough.  For right now, I’m going to hop in the car and pick up the parental units.  I’m sure it’s been a long day for them, and I want to get them home safe and sound.  Enjoy the toosday, and sleep well.