Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Month of Minimalism

Anyone care to join me as I experiment with a month of beginning minimalism (also know to me as: reduce, reuse, recycle and don't buy shit you really don't need)? C'mon, admit it, it sounds like more fun than a barrel of free, recycled monkeys, doesn't it?

I've been inspired to try this (key word, in case you aren't paying attention: "try") by a series of events:
1) my post-back-to-school shopping consumer hangover
2) the appalling amount of crap (piles and boxes and closets full of it) that I have tried, desperately, to whittle down over the course of the summer. If you have been to my house lately you will see how futile this effort has been. But you should also have seen the amount of stuff I have gotten rid of. Several large bags have gone to Goodwill, I have sold many items on Craigslist, had one yard sale, two trips to the children's consignment shops, several books and CDs sold on Amazon, two trips to the grown-up consignment shop, items donated to friends, armful after armful of papers sent to the recycle bin and at least 2 large bags sent to the landfill (AKA garbage bin.) And still there are piles, and boxes and closets FULL OF STUFF!
3) the painful realization that the reason why (well, one of the reasons) is that I continue to buy more stuff! D'oh! and then Duh! and then huh? Really, am I that controllable? That suggestible? That weak-willed that I would rather buy a brand new hardback book now rather than put that $26.00 towards a trip to, say Paris or Kauai or even the City? I gotta get my priorities straight here folks!

In my defense, please let me say that I am not as bad as many other 'Mericans. 90% of the clothes I buy for myself (and maybe 50% of the kids' stuff) are used and from eBay or consignment shops, or Goodwill or the flea market - but that is still a whole lotta shoppin' options! Books I buy used at Logo's or off Amazon or at the flea. Again, a whole lotta shoppin'. Most often I check it out at the library first and then will add to my library if it seems like a book I simply must have on hand.

But enough is enough. I really need to see if I can rein this craziness in some. Not for you or anyone else, but for me. I want to consume less - and therefore have less to wash, fold, shlep, put away [repeat] and less to dust or move or put away or carry around. The goal being more time to a) be happy with my family (without stressing about said schtuff) b) read c) practice yoga and d) meditate.

So there you have it - September is the month the experiment begins. Care to join me? Mwahhh haha.....


PS: to learn more about my inspiration check out http://mnmlist.com/consumerism-vs-minimalism

Sitting Torture

Boy, is it hard to get back in the swing of my yoga/meditation practice after a couple weeks of basically nothing.

Today - a little over twenty minutes of sitting meditation attempted and all I could think about was how my back hurt, my feet were cold, and yet at the same time I could not feel them. How is that possible? How long have I been at this? Can I peek? No, there is no clock visible, damnit!

Ahh well, I will be gentle on myself. Happy I found the time to sit and breathe at all - even though I know that is what I need most of all right now.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

This time last week...

This time last week, literally, Juniper and I were holding my mom's hands as she left her physical body and peacefully and softly entered another plane. Another place. She passed away at 7:26 p.m.

I had put my iPhone on her pillow and played her playlist (ironically called my "on-the-go playlist") and Prince's When Doves Cry came on. I looked at Juniper with what I imagine was a stricken look on my face. The Sunday before we had first arrived at my mom's following a call from the nursing home that they thought she would pass either that night or in the morning. We had a wonderful, magical wake with the whole family there. I will write more about that night another time, but at one point we were listening to music and I had said, "I bet she'll go when it's When DOves Cry." So to hear it again, when my mom was so obviously close to leaving, was eerie, to say the least.

It is so hard to let go of someone, even when you want them to go. Even when you know they won't ever get better, when they would hate to still be around in the state they are in, when you have "prepared" yourself for the very moment for what feels like a very long time. And yet, when the breath slows - or stops - your first impulse is always "No! Breathe!" And then, at least for me, I had to consciously say "Yes, yes, you go. It's OK. We will be OK. You will be OK. We love you and will miss you, but we will remember you forever. It's OK to go." Which is literally what I did last Sunday.

I stroked her hair, and Juniper held her hand and stroked her arm and we all listened to Bob Marley sing Three Little Birds to remind us that every little thing IS going to be alright. Then Bonnie Raitt sang Nick of Time. Mom loved Bonnie Raitt and she and Joe saw her a few times, if I remember correctly. This song always made me teary anyways...

Mom's breath was so gentle, so soft, it never really paused nor was there a dramatic intake or sigh. It seemed to me just a sweet, soft stop. She finally just let go.

And then Imagine there's no heaven it's easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky...

I love you mom.

posted 7:26 pm, August 29, 2010 totally by coincidence. or nora intervention.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Things I Promised My Mom

1) I will always have fresh flowers on the table. (She especially loved sweet peas and snapdragons from her garden.)
2) I will find a reason to laugh out loud every day.
3) I will be happy where I am and with what I have.
4) I will never stop dreaming.
5) I will dance freely and without inhibition every chance I get.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Loving this

"Being rich is not how much you have but how little you need."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Be Open to It All

Hello Dear Reader,

A few days ago I went to see my mom. She has been in a skilled nursing facility since December. While I have certainly teared up and been a little weepy from time to time over the state of her disease (severe early onset dementia/alzheimers), seeing her the other day made me sob. Big, sloppy, uncontrollable, scare the children sobs.

The imminence of her death is obvious. Her hip bone is clearly visible even underneath the blanket and I swear you can see the head of her femur where it meets her hip. She is curled up in the fetal position and cried when I rubbed her and held her hand. It was awful.

She is officially on palliative care now which means she has been taken off all of her meds and is now just being given pain medication to keep her comfortable.

I was talking with a friend about the latest with my mom and she asked why I thought I was finally having/letting myself have this reaction. I think there are a couple of reasons. First, obviously, is that she looks so much closer to death. (Although in the days I have seen her since she has looked much better.) Secondly, I believe it is because of my regular yoga and meditation practice.

Over the past two months I have worked to establish a regular yoga and meditation habit. A big part of that practice has included lovingkindness and forgiveness meditation. I know that this has enabled me to open myself up to the inevitable - hopefully with compassion and kindness for my mom, myself, and the rest of my family as well.

There is something very freeing and kind of refreshing about being cracked open.

Write openly,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Jacques Pepin Has That I Want:

1) An amazing French accent
2) Mind boggling knife skills
3) The gall to make an amazing dessert from just chocolate and cornflakes
4) The ability to melt chocolate in the microwave (I am SO BAD at this!)
5) Charming true stories about cooking with Julia
6) An enviable wine cellar
7) No fear of caviar (not sure if I really wish I had this, but he can make even caviar sound essential)
8) A plate of dark chocolate covered roasted hazelnuts and a glass of port. Really, need I say more?

Mais non!

ecrire sur

Tuesday, August 3, 2010