On Thursday I finished a book that I got for Christmas. Though I had read it before (in college, I think), I no longer had a copy of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.
Awesome book and a lovely gift for someone like me. I realize that I have adopted some of the techniques Goldberg suggests, and I had forgotten how much I loved reading it the first time. With its short, meditative chapters, she truly captures the spirit of the act we love so well.
I kept my word and took a couple days off writing recently. Well, I managed Saturday and Monday. Apparently I cannot resist writing *something* like a haiku on the weekends, even when I was determined to take a break. There really is something to a daily habit that is kind of irresistible.
Yesterday I shared a post from a favorite blogger, and I think I will do that a bit more during the holiday season. I am trying to get organized to keep that information and schedule it out in advance, which is fortunately easy to do on the “old” WordPress editor to which I managed to down-grade.
Lately I have been binge-listening to a podcast show that I really enjoy, called the Pivot Podcast by Jenny Blake. I actually discovered the book while I was in an AirBnB in October, and it felt like the perfect read for my business transition. When I realized Jenny had a podcast, I also checked it out. She introduced me to Penny Pierce, who wrote The Intuitive Way, which is also precious wisdom.
I have been musing on why I cannot get enough of Jenny. I realize it is partly her voice, and the sincerity and openness with which she approaches her craft. Most of her shows are interviews of authors, but a few are solo riffs. She is a public speaker and does keynote addresses, so obviously she has practiced. But I find it easier to connect with authors who are willing to risk the relatively more “vulnerable” practice of using their voices as well as their written words. Also, she is about a decade younger than me, and the wisdom beyond her years amazes me.
It makes me consider whether I want to experiment with such a medium someday, even though I know there’s a crowded media market. It is interesting how podcasts are democratizing a “radio” market, somewhat like blogs democratized the written media market.
I typically like to listen while I’m in my car running errands. I’m a fan public radio and I support my local station each month. But with the news the way it is, I stopped listening daily after Trump was elected. I just couldn’t absorb it all the time. I switched to podcasts so I could “curate” my listening experience a bit more. This post reminded me to update my Audiophiles page. If you are traveling for the holidays and looking for some audio companionship on your journey, check it out. Cheers!
After my period of organizing journals yesterday, I opted to read through some few early ones. I was only 18 then, just graduated from high school and readying myself for college. I noticed a few things that made me sad for the young woman I was then.
I had such intense body hatred and frequently chided myself about my weight. I was convinced that no guy would ever want me because I was too fat (even though I was just a few pounds overweight). I was hard on myself about academics and I was very achievement-oriented. I did not cut myself a lot of slack. I seemed to feel lonely and disconnected a lot, while I also craved and valued alone-time.
I longed to comfort that earlier version of myself, the one who worried so much, and felt I somehow never measured up or fit in. I wanted to send her some love. So I wrote a little note that I stuck into the last page of the journal:
Dear Cristy (of times past),
You are lovely the way you are. No need to beat yourself up so much. You will find love someday and more compassion and appreciation for yourself. You will be just fine, and your life will turn out to be more exciting than you can imagine. Try to worry less and enjoy yourself more. Cut yourself some slack. You deserve it.
Love Cristy (the older and wiser one)
It occurred to me that the older version of myself, perhaps 5 or 10 years or more into the future might give the me that same advice. As I continue to practice compassion and extend forgiveness toward myself and others, the burdens of life lighten. As I have begun to know myself better and appreciate the light and the dark, I continue to be curious about what I will discover.
We are always moving forward in life. I do not cling to the past. But now and then, reflecting on those lessons I have learned gives me appreciation for the person I am today. If you were to write a letter to your younger self, what advice would you give? What would your future self tell you?
Spending Saturday night at the vet and Sunday day on activities around the house, I opted to take a day off writing. But then I caught up on a few of my favorite blogs and their beautiful messages were such a joy to me.
So I will share a few links from recent favorites. My blog does not need to be about MY voice all the time. I am grateful to be part of a great WordPress community of thoughtful people who write pieces that make me think and look at the world (and my life) in new ways.
If you are not on the short list below, I will get to you eventually if I am a regular reader… it is just that these particular posts really made me smile this week. 😉
I think we are fortunate in Minnesota that there is very little doubt about that distinct feeling of winter. The cold bites at us, and we notice. It will get down to single digits this week and it is inescapable.
I have come appreciated quiet times of the year, when I take my time. There are less events, though some people attend holiday parties (I manage to avoid most). There are some family gatherings at the holidays, but right now feels like a nice quiet opportunity for reflection. I enjoy my peppermint tea with a dash of eggnog in it, and I snuggle with my cats.
Working from home, some days I am not required to go anywhere. I typically make it outside at least once for a yoga class, a dance class or a walk (at the very least a trip to the mail box). My grandmother used to say she enjoyed winter because there were a lot less yard work chores, and plenty of time for reading. I agree. SO many good books on my shelves.
What is your favorite way to spend quiet times of the year?
This weekend I am reading a book that is related to the writing contract I have on the topic of sleep. I am still incredulous that the universe saw fit to send me paid work on a topic that fascinates me. I am embracing it, and really letting myself delve fully into the topic.
I finished the first phase of the work yesterday, the preliminary reference list. This week I ordered this book by Rubin Naiman, PhD because it has been on my “wish list.” Since it was directly related to this writing contract, I splurged and went for it, despite trying to be mindful of my book budget.
I am so happy I did. What a beautiful book. I look forward to finishing it this weekend. But I shall try not to stay up late reading as I did last night (ironically enough). Here’s my favorite quote in the book so far:
If God, angels, or extraterrestrials were indeed monitoring us from above, the most profound change they would have witnessed on this planet since it’s creation is the metastatic illumination of our nights. We have responded to this quieting offer of night with an innervating program of excessive artificial illumination.
From Chapter 1 of Rubin Naiman’s Healing Night
Yes. Naiman’s main argument is that we undervalue our nights and our night consciousness. This has in turn impaired our sleep and our dreaming, to the detriment of our physical and spiritual health. I am so intrigued and fascinated because this resonates for me. Night and shadow are part of our rhythms as humans. We ignore them at our peril.
Have a fine weekend, friends. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of rest. Savor your sleep. Enjoy that beautiful process of snuggling down into a warm bed at night.