RIVER MUSINGS

The fish were jumping at the river this past weekend.   

Most of the time, I wasn’t quick enough to see them jump, being pre-occupied with other things.

Momentarily distracted.

Instead, I saw the splash as their plump bodies landed in the water, sending out a ever widening ring of circles.

I’ve been noticing lately, how much more of life is taken in when I choose to be mindful of what is happening around me.

And yet, from day to day, it is so easy to be caught up in the business of Life and NOT notice.

Perhaps you’ve experienced these same moments of  “Oh, I missed it…”  whatever “it” might be.

The warmth of the sun, perhaps, during these early days of Fall – a touch of summer still hanging in the air.

Or perhaps it’s the comforts of home that are taken for granted. Of course, this means different things to different people.

It could be as simple as a comfortable bed to snuggle into at night, along with a warm quilt or another body next to you.

It could be a home-cooked meal, with ingredients fresh from the Farmer’s Market or perhaps a spa-like master bath, that envelopes you in luxury and pampering.

Sometimes all we need is the familiarity of a favorite chair, or the simple joy we feel from seeing our favorite colors.

Do you surround yourself each and every day with small things that give you pleasure?

Do you take the time to notice?

9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter

Actually, this week I’m featuring a favorite guest writer, Christine Kane. I think you will enjoy her wisdom and sense of humor.

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.

9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter by Christine Kane

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A retired man once told me he loved going camping with his wife because camping showed her how simple life can be “without all that bloomin’ stuff she keeps everywhere!”

He’s right!

Our lives are meant to be simple. Our intuition and creativity thrive when given freedom and space. Clutter is a disease. Each moment we ignore the reasons we hold on to things we don’t want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity.

If you’re a clutter-clinger, be kind to yourself. Begin with an awareness of your thoughts and excuses. For starters, read over this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse!

Clutter Excuse #1: “I’d be a bad mean horrible person if I…”

Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we’re bad people if we let go of heirlooms, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing, or unwanted gifts.

These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place. And conveniently, we never have to decide what we actually do want in our environment. We become environmental victims. Often, that spreads out into other parts of our lives too!

Clutter Excuse #2 – “I spent so much on it!”

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around? Or convince yourself that you’re going to get your money’s worth – even if it drains the hell out of you?

You won’t. And it will.

We’ve all done stupid things. And we’ve all had to let them go. Now it’s your turn.

Clutter Excuse #3 – “I might need this someday.”

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Way in the back of old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can’t be gotten rid of.

Why?

Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day – in spite of technological progress – you’re going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1989.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries.

(more…)

LEARNING MINDFULNESS

Last night, I ended up at the emergency room for a seriously infected finger. I went there at my doctor’s suggestion, to have my finger lanced, which in itself was a new experience.

The procedure went smoothly enough, and as a result my pain level plummeted from a 10 (on a scale of 1-10) to a 1, which made the entire ordeal more than worth it.

Without going into detail, suffice it to say that years of a recurring bad habit likely contributed to the infection. I promised the doctor I would not repeat my mistake. As we all know, these things are easier said than done.

I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit and create an alternate, more positive, behavior.

What it really amounts to, is simply being more aware of one’s actions, positive or otherwise. Being able to notice when I’m reverting to old behaviors will be key.

This can be a challenge for the best of us, but I’m determined to try.

Greater awareness, or mindfulness, has been on my radar for some time already. Little by little I’ve been paying more attention to the various tasks that I engage in throughout the day, from the mundane to the very important.

Yet it seems we are always in a hurry,  rushing from one activity to the next,  gulping down meals on the run (sometimes in the car) and rarely taking the time to smell the proverbial roses.

For example, how many of us are fully mindful when we eat? Yes, you may notice that you are consuming a bowl of soup, but are you taking the time to really enjoy it? To notice the aroma, the unique blend of flavors, the fresh ingredients and the lively colors?

Being aware means taking in your surroundings with all of your senses.

It means not zoning out while enjoying your food, then questioning “Did I really eat the whole thing? How did that happen?!”

A few days ago, I read about a monk who practices a ‘tea meditation’. Curious, I decided to look at my own tea-drinking habits and realized that I typically enjoy a cup of tea while reading a book.

What I also realized, in that moment, is that if I’m reading at the same time I’m ‘enjoying’ that cup of tea, I’m not fully appreciating what I’m drinking because I’m into my book, instead. The hot, soothing beverage is gone before I know it, and I don’t really know what it even tasted like.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but think how much more pleasurable it would be to simply take five minutes to enjoy your tea, or coffee, and savor the moment without multi-tasking?

Learning to be more mindful is a good thing.

And bad habits? They can be broken.