It’s raining again today and I find myself in a rather contemplative mood. Last night we went to a seminar on Port. That’s right, Port, the fortified wine from a certain region of Portugal. I first became enamored with Port right about the time I discovered Sherry, by making the Chanterelles sautéed with Sherry that you have heard me wax on about. I love sitting by the fire, watching the flame of comfort in the dead of winter and sipping a glass of Port out of my prized Waterford glass; a gift from my Mom. Just another example of how food and drink can have stories woven into them if you allow yourself the indulgence and time to create and recall.
This brings me to what I am contemplating today. Time. It seems to be a common theme in my brain these days. I am recognizing a pattern in my thoughts and behaviour in regards to time. When I have time to slow down why is it that I create busyness that really does not add meaning to my existence and when I don’t have time, I fantasize about all the wonderful, meaningful things I would do with time if only I wasn’t so busy?
So here I am today with time. I am not currently teaching and so my days are spent blogging, cleaning, cooking or doing whatever I like. However, what should be a time of bliss seems to have turned into a chronic ‘to do’ list coupled with a frenzy of thoughts that are not conducive to my well-being. Thoughts about what I should be or do, like maybe I should be working harder to be thinner, maybe I should be walking two hours a day and going to the gym everyday instead of just 3 days per week. Maybe I should be doing yoga every morning and every night, after all yoga is one of the things I wanted to do more of when I was working but didn’t have the time. Alas, if I do the yoga and walk a couple hours a day I have used up half of my day and then I won’t have time to experiment in the kitchen, blog, research, create a seminar and oh yes, what about weaving and knitting more and starting to journal on a regular basis. Oh and I wanted to read more while I am off work. I thought I could spend time just sitting and reading and flooding my brain with a whole new wave of knowledge and stories to add to the fabric of my soul and perhaps meld into own book.
Do you see what I mean? Seriously, what is all this banter in my brain about? I think I might have an idea what this is. It occurred to me a few weeks ago while visiting a Chapters book store and sharing what I thought were some good reads with a stranger, that I have read an awful lot of self-help books in the last few years. I believe I have only read 2 or 3 fiction books in the last 5 years. It is not as if there is anything wrong with that but perhaps it is a symptom of the thing I struggle with most. Self acceptance.
Why is it that I always seem to be striving. It is not as if I find myself walking around feeling useless or no good all the time but subconsciously I believe the ‘not good enough’ thought is always lurking, waiting for an opportunity to dominate my thoughts. It doesn’t take much. Perhaps my compulsion to read more and more and create more and do more and be more, more fit, prettier, thinner, etc. is all the same thing. Perhaps I have abused myself and the precious time I have here on earth.
Last night as I was listening to a CBC podcast of Tapestry, Mary Hines was interviewing a philosopher who made a statement that shocked me. He referred to the fact that most of us have about 1000 months here on earth. What? 1000 months, really? When I thought about life from that perspective it changed my thought patterns abruptly.
How can I spend one more minute working myself into an unhealthy frenzy so that I can fit the criteria of what I think the world expects of me. What do I expect of me? Hmmm, I’m so tainted by the influence of others and the world that I think that I will have to give that some serious thought.
In the immediate future, as in today, I think I will do those things that I think I would like to do when I find myself feeling hurried. I started the day with 40 minutes of yoga for stretching out my aching back and leg while listening to gentle music and the calm voice of the instructor. After that I did quickly vacuum and clean the shower but then I pulled myself back to that gentle place. A hot shower, some lavender body cream and a steaming cup of hot coffee with cream. After that, reading from the current book I am enjoying and some sharing of ideas with my partner while listening to the gentle rain fall, as we sat out on the porch. I followed that up with a boiled egg and toast. I put the egg in one of the egg cups a friend brought me from Prague and thought of her while I ate.
After clean-up I took the time to make a cup of tea rather than gulp down a second cup of coffee, (which I usually don’t finish) and then moved onto blogging. So, what is next? Following my instinct to stay slow and calm I think I will go to my weaving room and settle into the rhythm of threading my loom, a slow, repetitive task that I find calming. Perhaps I will read some more later and then try a new recipe, something yummy to take to my parents tomorrow when I go to visit them.
After that I think I would enjoy a nature fix and there are many trails that weave through a forest that used to be a nut grove around here. I will put on my boots, raincoat and hat and be sure to take a bag with me just in case I come upon some fallen walnuts that I can collect and bring home.
Maybe I will finish the evening off by the fire, knitting, contemplating the flame and sipping a glass of Port from my Waterford glass and acknowledging that this is how I want to spend the remainder of my 1000 months. Unhurried, aware and satisfied with what is while being ever cognizant of what could be.