Day 245 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – A different way to meditate

I knew I needed an early start today as the weather is projected to be 105 F. So before my spouse was even out of the shower I was outside painting the caps on the numerous retaining walls in my back yard. I purchased the paint months ago and today was the day for me to complete the task. Typically when I work in the yard, at length, I tend to solve the world’s problems. At least in my head.   

I’ve learned some people meditate on a walk or jog so I figured I could meditate while I painted. I brought over an outside chair, dressed in my painting clothes, and prepared to work. Realizing as of late that I am able to meditate better with planned noise, I found a two hour YouTube meditation. It was highly effective. As I worked on my chore I had my typical brain wanderings. I was disturbed early in the process by the awful squirrels running along the fence which drove my dog crazy.  Once they had escaped to the open area beyond my fence things calmed down. I then kept trying to remember the Huck Finn reference about painting. I wondered if someone in this day and age could be fooled into doing the tedious job. I actually enjoy painting, but boy am I messy.   

It wasn’t long before I was in deep thought. This week I have been hearing ad after ad about Father’s Day. At different points in my life this holiday has brought sadness, wistfulness, and melancholy, but never joy.  I remembered the many many “father figures” that have been in my life. I was never connected to any of my stepfathers as a child except the first one. He was more a dad to me than my own father. So at the ripe old age of four when he would beat my mother, I decided I never wanted a dad again. These memories did not bring me tears this time. I just moved past them. Then I thought about stepdad number seven. While not perfect (no one is) he was the best thing that ever happened to my mom. I would not have believed that when I first learned of him. I went over to my mother’s house because it was my birthday and typically my mother would make a special dinner for me. Instead of having dinner I found a note on her kitchen table that said “Sorry I can’t be here for your birthday, I’ve gone to Vegas to get married.”  I had no idea who it was she was marrying this time. My only thought was oh well, here we go again. The first Father’s Day of their marriage I did not acknowledge his presence. I had not done so with any of the former men and did not feel compelled to do so. After a while I came to know this gentle man and to love him. As I was an adult when they married, I never felt compelled to call him Dad. But my fond memories of him were that he was good to and for my mom. For that I shall forever be grateful. I came to love him and the to love the way he accepted my children. K1 was always called pumpkin by him as a toddler. She decided to give him a name also. She named him Pickum. It wasn’t long before everyone in the immediate family called him Pickum. He is the only man I have ever made and purchased Father’s Days gifts for. These thoughts brought tears of thankfulness. My brain then went to his final days in this realm. He was always reading his Bible. I hoped it gave him peace. I wondered what his passing would do to my mom.

Then I went back to Father’s Day. I thought of my dear cousin who had an amazing Father and I feel her loss. My uncle was so kind and caring. I miss him so much. It wasn’t long until I was thinking about all the women I know who no longer have their fathers. I never had that gift of a loving dad. As much as I loved W, he was my mom’s husband, not my dad. So on this week before Father’s Day, I was still confused about my feelings. It will just be another day like any other. I don’t have a deep sense of loss. I don’t know what I feel.   

 My brain finally left the Father’s Day track and moved to thoughts of annoying critters in my yard. I check my phone and it had been two hours. I continued to paint until my phone died. Then I turned on the outside radio. Loving the music helped me continue with my chore. After three and a half hours I finished. Sadly it was not before my silly dog chased a squirrel and got white paint all over her paws.  So into the house for a clean up. The dog was not happy with her required shower. 

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Day 241 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/It happens when it needs to happen.

Morning meditation is still my new go to. I like that before I get into the mental  mode of “what do I need to do?” or “what do I want to do?”  I can do what I know I should do. Being the overachiever that I am, I expect to always get the results I desire the first time. But things happen when they happen. I am grateful for the ability to learn new tricks at this stage of the game.

Yesterday it took three times to let go of my inner “to do” list. Then what should have been a 20 minute stop at my classroom ended up taking almost two hours. I had a good conversation with my P and then also hugged and spoke with the secretaries. There are definitely things I shall miss about my school.

The odd thing is that I actually did not do hardly any of my “required” tasks that kept me unfocused in the morning.  Instead, after returning home, I read interesting blogs of other people I don’t usually follow. Then I allowed myself to get hooked on a Netflix series that is strangely dark and sad. I binge watched all of season 1 and was let down that season 2 will not appear until 2020. This led me to my binge watch.

It was a lazy day that should have stressed me out because I didn’t get done  with almost anything I wanted to do. Instead I just went with what I felt like doing. I had a great call with a dear friend because she won’t be available on Sunday. Our conversations add to my well being and happiness. I think we might have been sisters in a former life. The day was so much more of wants than needs. 

After our call I spent three hours going through paperwork and shredding documents. It actually worked out that I didn’t pay some bills yesterday because I found other important things that needed to be dealt with.  I figured everything could wait until this morning and luckily the world didn’t end. I need to remind myself of this more often.  

Today I again began my morning with meditation, some texts, some FB messages, and some bill paying. I did two loads of laundry and then had an informative conversation with an agent at my insurance company. I am glad she was so helpful. I made it to the post office to mail out the very important scrapbooks to a friend as well as my bills. I traveled to the bank next and they helped me complete some important paperwork. The teller was new and had to ask for assistance. She kept apologizing for needing help. I happily reminded her we all have to get help when we learn new things. I went to AAA to pay for my tags on my old car. The woman was helpful as she explained how I transfer my old plates to my new car and how to get new pates for my old car.

Home for breakfast and then because all went so well in the morning I decided to try to get the plates changed. So back to AAA and then my gears were stopped. It seemed the dealer had not registered my car yet so I could not put my disabled plates on the new car. I need to add that to my list of things to discuss on Wednesday. I guess it will happen when it happens. I was on a roll and it did put me out a bit that I will need to redo the AAA trip later.

A few more errands were completed and I took time to review my highlighted notes on chapter 12.  As usual I had a wonderful conversation with Kim. I am so excited to join in her retreat in the fall. A retreat is another thing I have never done before. I am kind of getting into this retirement equals new experiences gig. Leaping into joy is new to me. I am typically an  uber cautious over-planner. So as new things happen when they are supposed to, I shall continue to boldly go where this Lauren has never gone before. (Yeah Star Trek)

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Day 240 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/ I ‘m still working on it.

So I woke up in the wee hours of the night and decided to meditate.  I was not successful and just decided to get up and get my thoughts together about my day. I tried again later in the morning without success. My mind is playing with me. I keep thinking of all the things I must do for the day. You know, fun things like insurance companies, AAA, post office, bill paying, and all those things that don’t care if I am retired or not. I need to get things accomplished that I have put off.  I am very good at putting things off. I am also good at getting things done. I need to work on getting the things done that have deadlines to them instead of getting things done that I want to finish. 

I will get out of the house to get some chores done. It’s 8 AM and I feel like I am running late. If I just do the important things with deadlines today I will feel great. So I am setting my priorities on things with a deadline instead of things that are on my mind. I will try again later because……

if-at-first-you-dont-succeed-try-try-and-try-again.jpgIf At First You Don’t Succeed , Try Try Again.

Day 239 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/ Great way to start the day.

It was my intention to start my day with meditation.  The world had other plans however. Early in the morning I had a call from K2 and then a Facebook PM from from two friends. All the conversations made me feel connected. I then sent off a few Facebook messages to people I care about. I kept doing my chores while maintaining conversations. Then I had another phone  call, this time with my aunt for her birthday. This was followed with a nice long text conversation with a dear friend. My morning was packed with people I care about.   

I decided to continue with my daily chores instead of meditating for the time being. After a nice breakfast at home it was off to get some chores done. A trip to the bank, the thrift store, and the grocery store completed our morning. All the while I was thinking about how much I enjoyed the simple pleasure of connecting with those I care about.     

I played with the dog outside as is her requirement of us. She has us very well trained to go out back and throw her toys upon arrival home. Then I spotted my outdoor swing and decided it would be perfect for a meditation location.

I turned on a YouTube  meditation as my background noise.  I had to have it up fairly high because of my distracting wind chimes.  My thoughts went to the realization of being retired. More than one person this morning mentioned the fact that I will probably not feel retired until August. That is where my brain has been going also. I do not plan on any regret or sadness in August, quite the contrary. I know August will bring me joy as I think about my friends and coworkers attending meeting after meeting for days.

As I contemplated my morning I was overcome with such a calm mood. I was aware that it has not been my regular routine to interact with people in the morning on a workday. I chalked it up to retirement mentality and I was pleased. My thoughts then went to all the wonderful women in my life. I remembered a conversation at my retirement lunch yesterday where some of the women were discussing how we are all connected in more than one way. My mental travels ventured to generations past, present, and future. My thoughts were of redefining  myself. I am no longer a teacher in a classroom. But I will forever be a daughter, a niece, a mother, a cousin, an aunt, a grandmother, a friend, a writer, a scrapbooker, a quilter, a reader, and a gardener. I was very pleased with my “who I am list.”   My meditation focused on who I am and have been. I was at peace and not at all filled with sadness.   

My evening meant a trip to Lowes for some more garden items. I am enjoying the wonderful consequences of the crazy unusual wet winter we had this year. My star lilies have gone crazy. I have more agapanthus with buds waiting to open than ever before. My succulents grew so tall I had to move their locations.     

I am enjoying my garden additions also. My dear friend Carrie gave me a foot tall metal butterfly with a solar light. I finally found a place for it that made me happy. Joe from work gave me solar butterflies that also now adorn my upper garden planter. I have moved around some of my bowling balls and await time to devote to decorating them. I am enjoying this retirement gig. I am enjoying my commitment to  doing what makes me happy, especially my meditation. I am very grateful for making it to this phase of my life.

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Day 238 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/It’s all about the meditation.

A new day, another venture into meditation and what it will bring up. I actually got a headache from the emotions today. I am finding that I respond better to some sort of noise than I do to silence. As my house is never silent, I constantly am aware of every little noise in my surroundings. It makes it more difficult for me to settle my thoughts.

 My meditation link for today. I searched and found this soothing site. I was able to put the other household noises aside. It is no wonder that I need noise for meditation. I go to sleep to noise, I read with noise, I study with noise, I clean with noise, and I am OK with that.   

I did not begin with any type of song today. So obviously some things are changing.  I often question myself as to what route I will be taking as I travel through my mind’s twisted neural pathways. I still find it amusing that while I might believe I have an itinerary, I actually have no control over where my thoughts go.

Once settled, I began thinking about how much I really need to start taking better care of myself. The same thoughts I fight with forever. I tried to bargain with myself to just do one simple thing each day and then add more and more. I plan to have many years of retirement so it only makes sense to do it in good health. Then I started berating myself for not waking each morning with gratitude, as has been my habit. I am a pro at looking at all I do wrong.

What then ensued was a long list of family members I love followed by a statement about each one.  I reminded myself that I do not have to love the behaviors they exhibit. I thought that would be comforting in some way. It was not. I thought back to the chapters of CNM and tried to put the right detaching statement to what I was feeling. Then I thought I should stop meditating, go back, and reread parts of my book. I quickly realized I was trying to avoid the meditation. So as I melted into identifying my feelings I felt more and more comfortable. I know I can love these souls and know I am not responsible for changing them. I know I am responsible for my feelings alone. This was quite a lengthy process as I moved from individual to individual. 

Then I traveled to the thoughts of all the friends I hold so dear. I do not hold myself responsible for their happiness. Nor do I think of ways to change them. I love them as they are. I saw the connection. I revisited the names of each of my family members and expressed my love for them sans conditions or qualifying statements.

The last thought before exiting my meditation brought a bucket load of tears. Why do I not love myself unconditionally? Why is that so hard? My head started to pound and pain ensued. I looked over at the computer and I was at 58 minutes into the meditation. Lots to think about today.