Hilarious! I’m so glad I finally read it. I also have the audiobook and it is fun to listen to while knitting.
Hilarious! I’m so glad I finally read it. I also have the audiobook and it is fun to listen to while knitting.
Spring Plans —
This post is a mishmash of thoughts and ideas from units 1-3 that didn’t seem to have quite enough follow through to become a post, but enough to keep them handy and to think about as time goes by.
What are my burning issues of the moment:
Routines and Distractions:
What do I consider work? recreation?
Hannah, my daughter, bought me this lovely notebook cover recently. An A5 notebook like my Leuchtturm 1917 fits inside just perfectly. I use a Lami Safari fountain pen, which stays clipped to the back cover, for the majority of my writing. Although I have been using Sharpie fine point pens to fill in my habit tracker, nutrition tracker, and to mark the 4 different times of my day.
In my journal: I keep my monthly habit and goal tracker on a piece of dotted paper so that I can fill in the boxes as I move through the month.
My daily pages always include the date, day, weather, and nutrition tracker. I don’t count calories, I just fill in a box for each serving I eat. I have goals, but if I overeat on one category that is just fine. I refuse to stress too much about weight. I’ve been down that road a time or two and have decided it is not worth it. Not at all worth it. Then I just jot down (usually as a bullet point) what I did as I move through the day.
Life Long Learning: In trying to live out our way of life, we commit to lifelong learning in order to grow in wisdom and understanding. This isn’t purely academic learning, this is learning with a clear focus and purpose — to keep us from getting too comfortable.
Areas of learning to consider: Bible (read, memorize), creation, experience, saints, languages (human, music, and creatures),reading, writing. The importance of retreats . . .
If I had to sum up this entire section of the way of life with one word, I would choose curiosity. Sometimes, as adults, we lose our sense of curiosity. We get too bogged down in the day-to-day “adulting” and forget that we live in a magical and magnificent world surrounded by mystery and fantastic creatures.
Curiosity is one of my key values. It shows up every time I’m asked to define myself and my worldview. I strive to maintain a curious mind and to explore things that interest me. It is a value I have passed onto my (adult) children. We are always learning something and sharing the information with the family,
For me, one of my greatest joys is my Welsh classes. But why Welsh? I chose Welsh for a few reasons. I have a lot of Welsh ancestry and felt like a connection to the past would be nice. I love (LOVE) Arthurian legend. I was looking for a language that would really stretch my language learning skills.
Why do I stick with Welsh? It challenges us, inspires me, delights me, and I look forward to sitting down everyday to “do Welsh.” I am at the point where I can intersperse my thoughts (and speaking aloud to myself) with Welsh words. I chose an immersion style class — so the focus is on hearing, speaking, and comprehending. I’ve paired it with Duolingo for vocabulary building. I do find myself growing more and more ready to crack open a grammar and get down to the nitty-gritty of the language. That is year 2 and I’m only 130 days into my journey, so I’ll trust the process and see where it leads.
Learning Welsh has naturally led to learning about Wales: geography, stories, saints, food, holidays, customs, etc. This all feels like its leading up to a trip to Wales. That may just be a dream, but it feels right and natural. It feels like me.
In the past, and I really would like to resurrect this, I have kept track of what birds I see at the feeders. I would choose one, draw it, color in details, and then do a bit of reading in the bird books and on-line to learn more about the bird. I did one per week. I really think that next Fall when the feeders go back outside that I will keep my notebook and binoculars by the table. I never did the sounds of each bird, so that would make a nice addition.
Other ways I implement lifelong learning:
Oh my! I learned so much science reading/listening to this book. I also learned how much science I simply assume all people understand. It was eye opening to learn about people who do not have that fundamental knowledge.
This is so much more than the story of HeLa cells and Henrietta Lacks, it is a story about presumption that occurred (and still occurs) in the medical and scientific communities. I’d like to hope these things don’t happen anymore, but I am uncertain.
February Habits and Goals:
Unit 2: A Rhythm of Prayer, Work, and Recreation
R. Simpson — It is essential to establish a good rhythm before all else.
J. O’Donohue — to be spiritual is to be in rhythm
Rhythm — a link to creation, looking towards a way of life that keeps a balance. There are three labors of the monastic day: prayers, work, and recreation. Prayer creates spaces in the day for balancing the body, mind, and spirit. So be mindful of those spaces.
Take time to think about the things that are “daily” in my life. What makes it difficult to manage my time? What can I do to overcome those obstacles? What does a day in your life look like?
A Day in my Life
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to structure my day and my work into four periods of time where I focus on different things. I learned early in my Anglican journey the value of the daily offices and from the Enneagram (specifically, The Road Back to You) the value of SNAP. So I transition into my day and through my day with prayers and small moments of meditation. My day is a practice in interruption — a cute interruption called Jasper, the pup. “I need out.” “I need in.” “Here, throw this!” “Can I sit on your lap?” “Hey!” ” Intruder Alert!” “RED alert!” “Rabbit!!”
Morning (6 – 10 am): As soon as I know I am awake, I begin the day with the daily devotion Laud. I have it memorized and say the words aloud as I stretch and move for those first few moments. Upon leaving the bed, I quietly sit on my yoga mat for about 5 minutes, just breathing, and seeing what I feel and where I feel. That leads to my yoga practice, a walk, a shower, and then breakfast. After breakfast I have a system of tiding up (maintenance) and cleaning (focused attention) the house. I work my way from east to west, gathering laundry, and end by starting the washer. In the gardening months, I do my garden work after my walk and before my shower. I like to get out there early and get it done before it gets too warm. In order to make this work, I get up about an hour earlier in the gardening months.
Prime (10 am-2 pm): This time begins with a SNAP meditation and moves me into my academic and work part of the day. Things here aren’t nearly as structured as my morning. I have a list of what needs to be accomplished and steadily work my way through it. Bible reading is usually first and I read the passages from the chart in the BCP. Then I generally do some writing. I try to write every day, my assignments, blog posts, letters, snippets of story, etc. I also try to write before I’ve consumed any news, blogs, or writings by others. It helps keep my words my own words. After writing, I usually spend time studying for whatever courses I am taking that semester/year. At 1 pm, I get up, reciting Sext in my head, prepare my lunch, and take a short break to eat, check news, and surf a bit. After lunch I do my Welsh. This is a highlight of each day and I look at more as a reward than a course I am taking.
Afternoon (2 -6 pm): Another SNAP meditation leads into this period. I start by either doing some strength training or a 15 minute Pilates session — I’m not trying to exercise so much as work out the kinks from four hours of primarily sitting still. I also take some time to switch laundry around. Because we have chosen not to have an electric dryer, laundry needs to be rotated on the racks by the stove or on the lines outside. This normally works out to be about an hour of moving around. Then I sit down with my knitting (or crochet, or coloring) basket and listen to an audiobook. Dinner preparation, another tidy up of areas where I worked, reading for pleasure, more laundry work, and dinner all happen in this time too. I conclude this time with lighting a candle and saying Vespers.
Evening (6 -9 pm): Another SNAP before news (and sometimes during news, because holy cow!) then quiet family time, sometimes a movie or tv episode (iTunes), usually just everybody sitting around together but doing their own thing. I choose to read, do Examen, and Compline before turning in early.
It is a quiet, predictable, life. I have chosen carefully the best way to get enough rest to manage my disease and yet have enough interaction and busyness to keep me engaged and active.
I have my own little corner of the living room. It is where I sit to read, to listen, to learn, and to surf the web.
We all like to be in control, but wildness is not to be feared but embraced. Where does my wildness lay? Is there room for it in my life? Can I nurture it? or do I try to tame it?
This question reminded of that great thought in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia:
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” … I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.
This thought has stuck with me and guided me through many faith transitions. It is good to know that God is wild, beyond my control, and yet always good. So when I see those expressions of faith that claim to tame him, control him, or place their own “badness” onto him I tend to lead with skepticism. This has led me to explore paths of faith expression until I settled in the Anglican Communion.
Here I find enough wildness and enough structure to make me comfortably uncomfortable. We are always challenged to “live into our baptism” and we never shy away from the hard issues. There is grace enough for conflicting conclusions, so long as we all agree that Jesus points the way to God. Kyrie Eleison!
This idea of wildness and of being comfortably uncomfortable allows me the freedom to make somewhat unconventional choices for our lives, our home, and our property. As a family we have almost 5 acres and a small-ish home to tend and keep.
We’ve done things like allowing the majority of the land to grow up through wildness into woods. We have paths through the property and we try to limit human incursion to those paths. We use the acre set aside for people and garden as smartly and intensively as we can. We compost religiously. We do (and will) raise our animals, not for food, but for manure production (and in the case of chickens, for eggs). Due to wild animals, and packs of domestic dogs, we won’t free-range or pasture for our animals, so we will do our best to mimic that freedom in safe conditions. We have a vegetable garden, fruit garden, and fruit/nut trees scattered around. We have a pool for keeping cool in the summer, and use downed trees to heat our home in the winter. Michael has dug a system of trenches and cisterns to help the land drain better and to store water for the dry months (garden only). Our new animal enclosures will all have their own rainwater collection system built right into the design. I have been slowing adding pollinator, butterfly, and hummingbird gardens closer to the house.
Our pup Jasper is another area of wildness in our lives. He isn’t particularly well-trained, but he is affectionate, friendly, and generally well-behaved. He is, however, all dog and loves nothing more than to run through the property sniffing, peeing, barking, and letting the wind ruffle his hair. He “commands” the front yard (the human used area) from a perch built onto the front deck. He brings us such joy and laughter as we watch his antics.
I also love to feed and watch the birds at a bird feeder. I hope to bring more wildness closer to the house by increasing the bird feeders and types of feed available next winter. And bees! I’d love to add a couple of hives (we have wild honey bees on the property).