Some February highlights

We have so much snow in Massachusetts right now-many feet of snow and more on the way.

I was happy my husband was not traveling for the last couple snow falls; though I now know that I can snow blow my way out of the driveway, I don’t particularly want to make a habit of it-or like my father-in-law used to be fond of saying, “I don’t want to make a career of it”. Plus my husband shovels our little dog a pathway to the woods and he shovels the front walkway and even clears off the grill in case we want to run out onto the deck and throw some food on there for dinner (I don’t, but he might).

But the other day, just before my husband was able to get the dog’s pathway cleared for the third time that day, I decided to let him out into the driveway which was already clear (or as clear as it could be when it is still snowing like crazy). I had my indoor clogs on and didn’t bother putting boots on because my plan was to stand in the garage while the dog ran into the driveway to do his business.

But he got a little more adventurous than usual and trotted right out of our driveway and into the street. It was getting dark out. I was terrified a plow would run him over (plows were coming through our neighborhood at an impressive frequency). I ran back into the house to grab his leash and throw my boots on so that I could go retrieve him.

As I was running full speed across the kitchen tile floor, I slipped and went down with a force that took my breath away. At the sound of my loud crash, my husband came running to find me lying on the tile floor holding my knee (which turned out only to be badly bruised). Still very panicked that our dog was loose and in danger, I urged my husband to find him asap.

Once I convinced him that I was not in need of immediate medical attention, despite still being on the floor with no immediate plans of getting up, he was on his way to save Max from the plow. When he got to the garage door, our dog was standing there, covered in snow and wagging his stub of a tail, as much as a stub wags. There’s no place like home.

Note to self: Put boots on before bringing dog out with leash even when it looks as though an eighteen inch tall dog can’t possibly venture out into three feet of snow.

Despite the snow and the frigid temperatures (which has greatly impacted Boston), we went into the city to the Moth Story Slam this week.  This is an open mic format, sponsored by WBUR. I love the combination of literature and the human condition that is storytelling.

We had a little walk between where we parked our car and where we ate and then another walk to the story slam and back to the car afterwards. To say it was cold is an understatement, but it was worth it because it was great fun.

I entered a story and it went very well and I can hardly wait to do it again. My husband, ever my biggest supporter, told me that he thought just getting up there and doing it without fainting would be impressive (it’s not as if I do this sort of thing every day). And then we lowered the bar even more and decided that even if I faint, he could simply come get me off the stage and he’d still be impressed that I tried.

But alas, it went much better than that and so I was thrilled. Plus I was left knowing what I wanted to do to make it better for next time.  The winners from each slam get to compete against each other at the grand slam later in the year. I’m not typically a competitive person, but I really want to win one of the story slams. Just sayin’.

And I really love the in-and-out of this; the quiet, reflective writing time, contrasted with the time of bringing it out into the world through voice.

Another February highlight that I look forward to is my youngest daughter’s birthday; it happens to fall over the long weekend when she will be home from college. I’ve planned a surprise outing that I’m excited about and both of her sisters will be able to partake. I can’t write what it is in case she finds time, in the midst of her busy social and academic schedule, to read her mother’s blog. One never knows.

20150127_161044I refuse to count the days until spring, because last year there really was no spring to speak of. We had winter, winter, and more winter. Then summer. So March 20th is really just an arbitrary date; we could have snow! We could have cold temperatures! And sure, we could have spring. But I’m just not going to count on it. It’s sort of like a pregnancy due date. We can estimate, but it happens when it happens.

Instead, I will trudge through the snow and the slush and the freezing temperatures when I have to, to get where I am going, and be thankful that I can do this, bruised knee and all.

What we focus on..

It is day five of no sugar and so far the abstinence thing is working as planned.   If thoughts of sugar come to mind, I release them. I just don’t focus on it, because the option of having any is off the table, so it consumes exactly none of my energy. I did dream about desserts though, as in a vivid- feature- movie of decadent options, but when daylight came, it was steel cut oatmeal for this girl. And I have plenty of delicious and healthy options to be giddy about that don’t involve sweets (cacao flavored green smoothies! caprese salads!  Thai food!)

Focusing on what I do want in my life, rather than what I don’t want, always works best.

I know the whole “what you focus on expands” can sound so new-agey and like a modern day tagline, but really it is quantum physics and ancient wisdom and it just works this way whether we care that it does or not. So it behooves us to care.

Except when it comes to the most impersonal things such as weather. I don’t particularly want snow, but I know it’ll keep coming, like it does each winter, like it or not. So I’ve decided this year I just won’t focus on how much I don’t like the cold. I’ll dress for it and I’ll notice how the sun turns the tree branches into glistening silver beams after a snowfall. I won’t exactly embrace it, but I’ll surrender to it. My aim is to  accept it without fuss. After all, I choose to live in New England, so put up or get out, right?

indexI was home alone during the last snowfall, and although my husband had arranged to have someone come do the snow blowing for me, but I simply decided I was no longer afraid of the damn contraption and cleared the driveway myself. And this time I did not shred the buried newspaper into five billion tiny pieces, expelling them across the yard and out into street, causing a news storm. This time was better. The snow blower, for me, was emblematic of making peace with winter. I believed the task was very doable, and so it was.

Which is why, as I am pouring so much time and energy into completing my book, which is a slower and more difficult process than I ever imagined, I cannot, will not,  give too much focus to the thought   Please don’t let me write a book that sucks.

Instead I invite the thought : I am willing to put in all the time and effort required to make this as good as it can be.

Better yet, I just write.

I perplex myself with how I can get so happy over such small things as coconut oil and amazon prime, and yet still want such big things  like a best seller of course. But okay, I will settle for just a reasonably successful book that resonates with enough readers as to consider it worthwhile.

Ah well, all of life is both risky and harmless, so why should this be any different? It feels big and at the same time  just a blip in the big scheme of the universe, so carry on.

And while busy churning thoughts into words that people may or may not ever read, I give little thought to politics these days, or even news for that matter, shredded paper aside. I have never been overly focused on politics and I take in only as much news as I need in order to know what’s going on in the world, and to form an opinion. Lately, though, I am even sick of my own opinion. Focusing on it only leaves me frustrated or dissatisfied. I’d  rather create something I can add to the world, however meagerly, than spin all the stuff that I have no control over around in my head until I end up right back where I started.

Simplifying has brought me clarity.  Sugar was probably the last junk I needed to clear out of my life. Actually, no, I’m sure something else will reveal itself in time, likely a habit or mindset or something else that I awaken to that leaves me wondering how could I have thought that? Or why do I do that?

In the meantime, rather than focusing on what I don’t like or want, I try to keep asking the right questions. What do I want? What would work best? Then I put my focus there, my energy there, and watch it grow.