If you forgot this morning, this, it says, will help you set things right. And give you a cute baby bunny video, too.
Happy May Day!!
If you forgot this morning, this, it says, will help you set things right. And give you a cute baby bunny video, too.
Happy May Day!!
A lot of my childhood stuff was discarded over the years, but neither I nor mom ever discarded Sad Baby. Plush in all parts except the face, she had a zippered-pouch in back cradling a music box. The soft body, with lilting musical tones, was a comforting snuggle.
The plushie eventually made her way from the east coast to California, her cloth frayed and worn, the music box long dead and disposed of. I washed her face, aired her out and alternately displayed her on my bed or stuck her in the garage.
Years passed. Sad Baby had been in the garage a while when a desire to declutter arose. My decluttering urges loop around regularly. Each time, something that survived the last cycle, does not make the current cut.
One de-clutter tip I’d read was to take a picture of an object cared about but no longer wanted. It would keep the memory without having to store the thing.
I looked at Sad Baby. “It’s time,” I thought. “Time to let go of you.” Sad Baby had been mine for 55-years.
I took a picture, tucked her into my trick trash, and she was gone.
Sad Baby comfortably lived in my memory. I didn’t miss her. I was content with my decision.
I was raised in a house of heels. And now I’m done with them.
High heels were a family thing. Dad bought them. Mom wore them. And I adored them. Many came from Frederick’s of Hollywood, a catalog company carrying sizes large enough to fit mom’s feet, with a selection not available at our local shops.
They were usually stiletto’s, tall and sparkly, with a heel strong enough to be used as a weapon. For me, they were real versions of Barbie’s peep-toe mule sandals. When mom and dad were going out for a night of dinner and dancing, these are the shoes mom would wear to finish her outfit.
I loved watching her get dressed up. I loved watching her glow as she slipped on the magical shoes to complete her outfit.
She’d come down the stairs and swirl before dad. Her full skirt would rise, revealing a bit more of her long legs, their curve enhanced by the heels. Dad, watching appreciatively, would emit a low whistle. Mom beamed.
After writing about the Rabbit Prophecy on March 31st, and putting a note by my clock-radio (a permitted reminder), I forgot to say Rabbit Rabbit on April 1st.
“Are you awake?” Bubba asked that morning at 2 a.m. “Yeah,” I answered.
With that exchange, April’s good-luck rabbit-fortunes were derailed.
For these situations, should anyone ask, I have a trump card. I said Rapid Rabbit on January 1st, which covers the year. It’s my insurance policy.
“No, you have to say it each month for it to count,” my dad argues.
It turns out my dad also disagrees with my conclusion that Rabbit Rabbit was correct.
“No, no, no,” he said, after reading my blog and the Wikipedia post. “I don’t care what the internet says. It’s Rapid Rabbit. That’s how your mother and I always did it. That’s how we taught you.”
Rapid Rabbit was the way I always said it, and according to dad, was correct.
My sister had learned Rabbit Rabbit, and when she did her on-line sleuthing, that was correct.
We were both right, by different sources.
I’m glad to get this resolved. Again.
I still have to remember to do this the first of the month. But my options have expanded. Now, I’m confident the rabbit wand can be waved many ways.
One Rabbit, Two Rabbits, Three Rabbits, four.
Rapid Rabbit, Lapin Rabbit, It’s all rabbit lore.
I don’t consider myself superstitious. Until I am. Then I do various things to avoid jinxing myself: knock on wood; keep umbrellas closed indoors; sidestep walking beneath a ladder.
I also, on the first of a month, start the day off with the words “Rapid Rabbit.”
Talking with my sister today, she reminded me that tomorrow is “Rabbit Rabbit” day.
“Wait, did you say Rabid Rabbit?” I asked her.
It wasn’t just an avocado. It was an instant of attentiveness, of being awake to a moment in life I usually sleep through. Were I not blogging, I likely would’ve slept through that moment. Instead, I experienced avocado-man with an awareness that saw his small act as something bigger.
As if in slo-mo, I fully took it in.
That’s been a wonderfully, unexpected benefit of blogging.
A fellow ran down the sidewalk from Whole Foods, an avocado in his hand. I was in line at a sidewalk sandwich spot off our town square. Avocado-man popped behind the sandwich counter, cut the fruit open, sliced it, and laid it perfectly onto a partially-made sandwich, which he handed to the man in front of me.
Wow, I thought. What a great customer experience.
Can you imagine! I picture him telling his friends. The guy ran over to Whole Foods to get an avocado. For my sandwich!
And his friends would shake their heads in disbelief.
As my friends shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them how things went awry during my birthday outing. The birthday without clean coffee cups, bananas or bread. And with no one going out of their way to deliver any of them for me.
That customer and I; we each had stories to tell.
I wasn’t sure if avocados were fruits or veggies; they’re a fruit. Here’s the scoop from the California Avocado Commission.
I had 1,000 pieces to choose from.
I would put my puzzle together. I would include straight border edges.
If I couldn’t do it following instructions, I could do it my way. It didn’t matter if all 1,000 pieces were there. I was only going to use thirty-one of them. I’d make them fit.
Sometimes you have to bend rules; think outside the box; stretch boundaries; break clichés.
Sometimes you have to own the puzzle.
I owned it.
Photo source: Walk the Goats
1,000 pieces. That’s what the puzzle box said. I bought it. I’d try this puzzle thing.
Last time I was around a puzzle was 2-years ago. I was at a birthday party and the puzzle was 2/3rd complete. The remaining pieces were nicely laid out, face up. Several folks were standing over the puzzle, chatting, while scanning and trying to fit pieces in. I hit 3-clean picks in a row: snap, snap, snap. It was satisfying. “I’m a natural at this,” I thought.
I figured I’d buy a puzzle and try it at home. Lots of folks like puzzles. Maybe I’m one of them.
A thousand-piece puzzle is not a good place to start, if you aren’t sure you love puzzles.
I love this chair. Lots of friends shared their memories of similar chairs when they were growing up. I told dad I thought the red chair would look great against snow. When enough fresh powder lightly blanketed it, he obliged and took pictures for me. It’s beautiful in any season. May it remind you of a peaceful place, time, moment.
Photos: Walk the Goats’ Dad
I’ve written two blog posts inspired by a place I dubbed mindfulness intersection. It was a stretch of road I drove regularly, giving me plenty of opportunities to practice mindfulness.
My first lesson was about my rage at another car cutting in front of me.
My second lesson had me being the cutter, at a different, but similar, intersection.
My third lesson—I’ve stopped saying final because life keeps surprising me—I tell here.
This lesson captures the essence of Don Miguel Ruiz’s second agreement—don’t take anything personally—in his book, The Four Agreements.
“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
This third lesson, surprisingly, happened while I was walking. Having had a disagreement with Bubba, I was outside, stomping up the street, trying to clear my head and make sense of what had just happened.
My blogging efforts remind me of learning to drive a stick-shift: fits-and-starts. In January, I met my goal of posting three-times a week. So far this month? Sketchy.
My excuse? I went east to spend time with dad, to celebrate his 95th birthday. Generally I avoid flying cross-country during winter; too unpredictable. I haven’t been home for Christmas in decades. I tried to get east for dad’s 90th birthday, but snow-storms cancelled that year’s trip. With mom’s death last September, the urge to go east for Christmas or for dad’s February birthday was strong.
I opted for dad’s birthday, both to miss the holiday madness, and so I could get information together for his tax return. Dad might discourage my traveling for his birthday; but to get the taxes done would be a compelling enticement.
Whether I was going to get east seemed dicey.
An old chair. Fresh paint. Reds. Greens. A touch of blue. Nature. An invited moment of quiet and calm among the trees and by the water. Deep breath.
Photos: Walk the Goats
I have a new swear word.
Actually, it’s less a swear word and more a cheery way to acknowledge a minor mishap.
The word was born in the kitchen, while scooping quinoa out of a bag and into a pan. No matter how careful Bubba and I were, grains of quinoa always leapt from the measuring cup onto the counter.
Have you ever found yourself muttering under your breath about being clumsy, careless, stupid over something minor? Over something you’d never criticize a child for?
Well, when the quinoa fell, our voices muttered.
Some things are habitual; tracks laid down years ago and reaffirmed so often they’re solidly etched into being automatic. Bubba and I have a few of those tracks; we work at counterbalancing their automaticity with more intentional responses. Sometimes we find something that works and is fun.
It was in the kitchen, with quinoa falling and voices muttering, that we found our counterbalancing tool: the quinoa itself.
Quinoa, when spoken, sounds like keen-wa. Which is quite fun to say, especially if you elongate the vowels.
Now when the quinoa falls, we call out keeeen-waaaa! with a cheery voice; it’s so much easier to feel upbeat when the music is soaring. It’s become our way of simply recognizing what is—the quinoa is going to leap—rather than responding as if it shouldn’t be doing what it’s doing.
It’s been so effective at quieting our spilled-quinoa-muttering-minds, we now use it regularly, in all sorts of situations. Because, at least in our house, life serves up plenty of spills, drops, tumbles and minor mishaps.
In my last post, I wrote about a decision I made years ago that helped me navigate the self-critical voices in my head and challenge their disapproving chatter. As a result, my inner-landscape-thoughts turned in a new direction. The directional change was slow, but that decision led me to experience myself and the world as kinder and gentler. The outside world hasn’t gotten any kinder; but my inside world has.
A few years ago, I made another good decision: I started meditating on a regular basis. Meditation takes the learning from that earlier decision and deepens it. It helps me tap into greater equanimity and contentment. I feel more balanced, less tilted toward finding things wrong and getting upset.
Andy Puddicombe is my meditation guide, his lessons delivered via the Headspace app.
Bubba discovered Headspace after coming across a talk Andy did at Google in 2014. Andy is the voice and experience of Headspace, having spent ten-years studying meditation before being ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk.
Have you ever felt a tug-of-war taking place inside you?
Not just a tug-of-war between two teams, but between multiple teams. Two teams tug on the smart/stupid assessment rope, each at opposite ends. The stupid team pulls furiously, dragging you slowly to their side.
Two other teams tug on the attractive/ugly rope; the ugly team manages to find enough “evidence” to give them the win.
Other teams tug on more self-images: kind/unkind; generous/stingy; strong/weak; on-and-on, dragging your esteem through the mud. The teams that pull on the dark traits seem to win more battles. Their voices are loud; insistent; convincing. The Judge stands over the games, hears the critical voices, and declares the winners. The Judge’s scales tilt in favor of the demons; somehow those voices are easier to believe.
Those battles went on in my head for years. They were torturous and painful and left me feeling at times as if a dark, wet blanket were draped over me. Battles still occur—they always will—but I have more tools available when they arise; light exists to counterbalance the dark.
Have a thought that’s bothering you?
Place it here and let it go.
Pixel Thoughts: A 60-second meditation tool to clear your mind.
Sometimes small things agitate me; today it was forgetting to bring my health insurance card to a medical appointment.
As soon as I walked in to the lab, I realized my new insurance card was at home. The sign in the receptionist’s window said cards were required for service. I hoped they’d let me email them a copy when I got home; I feared they’d tell me no card, no service, and I’d have to go home and get it.
This would be an unexpected change in my plans; a change I didn’t want. Unmet expectations are not uncommon in life; they are what they are. But sometimes those unmet expectations—things not going the way I want them to go—can trigger an inner reaction.
When that happens, I’m trying to pay attention to how my body reacts; because my body usually sends me signals before anything else.
I have a love/hate relationship with stuff. I own too many things. Not all of it sparks joy, that Marie Kondo test to decide whether to keep something or eliminate it.
I’ve gotten rid of things along the way, but unless I move and have to do a major purge, things flow into my house at a faster rate than they flow out. Having lived in the same place for nearly 20 years, stuff has accumulated.
The percentage of stuff I use regularly is…small.
Some of the stuff is seasonal, stored until the season rolls around again.
Some is aspirational: those pants I’ll fit into once I’ve dropped 10-pounds.
Some is, if I’m brutally honest, fantastical: am I really going to read Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human or George Lakoff’s Moral Politics?