1/15/2019

SLOW

I've just felt so slow, and sluggish, and lacking in inspiration thus far in 2019. I have no enthusiasm to get out of bed in the morning, when it's dark and cold outside and in. I'm actively pursuing inspiration via social media, but despite finding an absolutely lovely Instagram account (@walks_with_luna), and spending the past two days clicking through all of her posts from day one, I still feel stuck. 

Yesterday, I bought a paper journal, in the hopes it would jog some of the life that used to be contained in me. But while I wait for my slump to pass - hopefully it doesn't take a change of season to also change my mood - and my back to stop aching, I will keep doing my dailyness and hope routine sparks contentment.

In the meantime, I guess you can expect small and random blocks of text. And maybe a picture. Although I'm even lacking the inspiration to select a photo to accompany the text right now.

1/14/2019

MONDAY

Speaking of mantras, an all-time favorite...

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


1/11/2019

BOOK HAUL

Where is my January inspiration?! Am I in a slump? Is it because of my slow, off-my-feet start due to the back injury? Or have I fallen victim to the January blues? I've heard it's pretty common... It's cold, it's gray, and there's just not a lot to feel motivated about. I feel the urge to write, but am completely at a loss for a topic about which to write. 

Honestly, reading is the only thing I've had any motivation for this week. I've been crazy busy at work, and that's helped the time to go by, but in the back of my mind, I'm only thinking about getting back to my current read. I finally make it home from work, and immediately collapse on the couch with my book and a little spoon. I'm still reading Becoming by Michelle Obama, and it's been fantastic. I love the insight into the life of a strong, intelligent, inspiring woman. 

I'm now about 65 pages from the end of Becoming, so I'm planning to start a new one this weekend. It's one that I am so anxious to start, and have been for some time. I was planning on making it my first read of 2019, but I decided I needed more of the girl power inspiration to kick off the year. So, next on my list is... A Little Life. 

I can't recall the last time I heard of a book getting so much passionate hype - from both directions. It seems people either love it to the point of emotional self-destruction, or hate it to the point of violent tossing across the room. It makes me a little nervous as to how it's going to affect me. Will it overtake my life like a drug addiction until I finish it? It's a pretty long one, so I could be out of commission for a few weeks if that were the case. But it's just what I need right now: to be completely enveloped in a story that is outside of this bland reality in which I am currently living. 

Anyway, on to the point of this post...

I was gifted a $100 Amazon gift card for Christmas, and I decided to spend the entire thing on books. With that, I thought I would share my choices, which all arrived this week. It's been a happy postal week for me! I have a crazy long list of TBRs on Amazon, but I'm particular about which books I actually spend money on, since I also like to take advantage of the public library. So I try to avoid buying books I think our small public library will carry, unless I anticipate it's going to end up being a book I want to keep and potentially revisit. So, with all that in mind, here are the eight books I ordered from Amazon:
  • I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections by Nora Ephron - I read my first Nora Ephron collection last year, and fell completely in love. I can't wait to hear more from her.
  • We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction by Joan Didion - Another incredible author I discovered too late in life, and am now scrambling to catch up. This collection includes seven of Didion's novels, so I think it will sit by my bed all year, and I'll visit on and off between other reads.
  • At Home in the World: Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk's Life by Thich Nhat Hanh - Hanh's books are always a favorite of mine, inspirational and medicinal for my spirit. 
  • To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret by Jedidiah Jenkins - I love an adventure/travel memoir, especially when combined with a reflective practice about self-identity and what makes life real, so I was intrigued by the description of this one, although I hadn't ever really heard of the author before. 
  • Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks - because it's Tom Hanks! I can't wait to explore his writing. This might be the next read after A Little Life.
  • Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler - I've been hearing about/seeing this novel all over the place for the last year, and I kept checking the local library, but haven't had any luck finding it, so I finally caved and bought it. 
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed - Another one that has been on my list for such a very long time, without having the luck of finding it in the library. But I love having short bursts of inspiration on hand, so I think this was a wise purchase.
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke - I'm afraid I've built this one up so much in my mind that I'm pretty intimidated by it, but it's also one I've always felt I should have read. So this WILL be the year that I make the effort. 
In addition to these wonderful treasures, I also received my January box from Book of the Month, and I actually added a second book this month, after it was voted the 2018 book of the year. My regular monthly pick was Golden Child by Claire Adam (and affiliated with Sarah Jessica Parker's publishing label, so I feel confident in this pick!). And my add-on was Circe by Madeline Miller. Based on the synopsis, it sounds like a style of novel that I wouldn't choose for myself, but the hype for this book is a pretty strong motivation to try something new. So out of my comfort zone I shall go, in the hope of a pleasant reward!

What are you planning to read this year?

1/09/2019

LATELY

It happened... again. This time, worse than before. 

On Saturday afternoon, I sneezed and threw out my back. I heard a pop, and then felt a pain for the next 24 hours like I have NEVER felt before. 

Why do these things only happen on the weekend, when the doctor's office is closed?! 

After I finally did get to see the doctor, on Monday afternoon, I felt almost no pain on Tuesday morning. How much time I spent in excruciating pain, feeling miserable, because this happened on a weekend?! I am now hoarding the extra muscle relaxers he prescribed, in case this happens again on a weekend. 

During my time laid up in bed, here is everything that entertained me:


  • Tea with vanilla creamer, my newest obsession
  • You on Netflix - I would have barreled straight through this show if husband hadn't gotten a glimpse and decided he wanted to watch it too, so I've had to wait for him to watch it in the evenings with me.



  • 90 Day Fiance on Hulu
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Google chat with my friends who were working

I'm feeling much better now, and finally made it back into the office today. However, I have discovered that I am currently suffering from a serious fear of movement. I'm so scared of hurting myself again. 🙎

1/03/2019

9 FOR 2019


I guess I could call the above photo my vision board for 2019. It encompasses all of my mantras for myself this year. I feel so much hope and positivity and inspiration going into this year. While I have given up on the notion that the world should change to suit me, I now believe that I am a world within myself. As the wise Rumi is quoted: You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. My 2019 mantras reflect that concept, and my focus is on strengthening myself at the core.

Let me elaborate...

Listen. I talked about this ongoing struggle in an earlier post, and I want to continue working on this throughout 2019. 

Yoga. Every damn day, as my guru Adriene says. Or, every day possible. My main focus this year is my physical health, because that is the part I tend to neglect. The part that takes effort. We just purchased a treadmill that I'm excited about getting started with, but yoga has such a positive permeating effect on me, which I too often forgot when I fall into a lazy slump. And true, my lazy slump comes from the best of intentions, as it is often because I just want to read read read, and I forgive myself for that, but I want to work on the balance and prioritize more of what benefits me in the long-term. 

Reading. Speaking of read read read... It's an easy goal for me to want to read as much as possible, but in specific terms, this means fewer television reruns. I love a good crime show binge as much as anyone, and that's going to continue, but how many reruns do I need to watch when I could be experiencing a brand new plot line in a book instead?

Simplicity. A concept I've been working on much of my adult life: de-cluttering, powering down, uni-tasking, breathing. Continue this in 2019. Extend simplicity to other areas of life yet to be identified. How could I simplify work?

Self-care. Another concept that has dominated my adult life, especially as a person who suffers from anxiety regularly. Simplicity and self-care go hand in hand for me, as I search for simple ways to incorporate self-care throughout the day, such as taking a real lunch break, away from the office, to read for 30 minutes in the middle of the day.

Health. In the health category, aside from yoga, the emphasis this year will be on diet. Simplifying our diet, taking in healthier foods, and eating out less. This is always a tough one for me. I love the taste of the crappy foods, and I love the convenience of ordering a meal for someone else to cook for me. But it's important enough to me that I want to work on it. I want to be more creative and organized in the kitchen, so we don't waste foods, and eat an interesting variety. I have so many kitchen-related goals this year!

Write. Long story short, the goal is to keep this blog. I've mentioned my previous struggles with starting blogs and giving up when I didn't feel they were perfect, but the process of writing really satisfies my soul, and I need to keep working on it for that reason alone. However, I also need to do it my own messy, spontaneous way. It doesn't need to be perfect, or even consistent. It's not for anyone else but me, even if it is a public arena. Pre-planned posts aren't my thing. A list of topic ideas isn't even that helpful for me. I just want to work on listening and answering when inspiration decides to call on me.

Create. Speaking of the call of inspiration, creating in general is something I want to focus on this year. Looking for inspiration all around me, and keeping my eyes open every day. Photography is one of my favorite hobbies, and I want to ramp it up this year. I've been discovering so many new sources of inspiration through other blogs and Instagram lately, and it's time to apply some of it to myself. I might even try to learn some new photo editing techniques, and experiment a little bit with finding my artsier vibe. Again, must be careful not to infuse too much perfection-pressure on myself. 

Adventure. I think adventure is at the heart of all my other goals. Traveling, hiking, even a simple nature walk, will go a long way towards strengthening my goals of self-care, health, and creating. It's a major goal in itself to put myself in situations where my inspiration and health are going to benefit. 

And that's it! 9 mostly inter-connected and inter-dependent goals to guide me through 2019. Looking at them laid out this way, I think it's going to be a good kind of selfish year for me. 

What are your mantras for 2019?