December 31, 2014

End-of-Year Musings

Some end-of-year musings haphazardly arranged in a paragraph:

If I use the word never or always, it's best to step away and meditate. Though unnecessary (and a bit excessive), an outdoor hot tub is helpful during Wisconsin winters. There's a fuzzy line between unhealthy obsession and the making of really good art. I feel better when I follow the seasonal rhythmsApples make a good snack. There are unlimited ways to see anew--to see something fresh in people, places, situations, and life. When I feel I must keep pushing or doing, that's exactly the time to be still. Having someone's full attention is rare and meaningful. Natural light is fascinating, especially as it changes. There's a relationship between my irritation level and time spent on the computer. I make choices in every moment of my life--a life for which I am deeply grateful.

December 16, 2014


Last May, I hung an exhibit in an interactive gallery. I asked viewers to caption four of my self-portraits and caption themselves in the mirror. I'm curious about perception. How two people can experience the same moment in completely different ways.

Look at the image above. How do you caption the emotion? Some answers from the May show: sadness, leaning in, doubt, fear, anticipation, relief, concentration, humility, depression, defeat, solace, grief, joy, contemplation.

A single image, yet varied perceptions. Defeat and solace; grief and joy; fear and relief.

Into every encounter, we carry a filter. Sometimes that filter is clear, but often it's cloudy--clouded by our expectations and our history. We think someone is unkind when she's actually distracted. We assume someone is happy when he's actually in pain. We perceive chaos where there's magic or tension where there's beautiful honesty. It's difficult to see clearly.

And it's helpful to know our perceptions are not reality. They are not the truth. When we're mindful, we open ourselves and remove these filters. We understand there are many views of the same situation. We might not like it. We might really want our particular view. But that's not how life is. There's freedom in letting go. 

This holiday season, can you see someone in a new way? Can you remove an old, muddy filter? Can you view a situation differently? Can you see yourself as beautiful?

December 12, 2014

New Grooves

I like routine. I find comfort in my morning meditation, Friday yoga class, nightly hot tub, and Saturday farmer's market. Routine is soothing. And it's also rut-making. Mark likes to try new things and he easily goes with the flow. I often resist. Yet the resistance sends a veiled message: don't assume, try something new, just show up.

When I take a fresh path, even the slightest veer, it's always worthwhile. My experience changes and my mood shifts. Sometimes I resist the entire time, yet I emerge differently. I see life in a new way. Old ruts can indeed become new grooves.

December 10, 2014

Slow Down

The season is winter. Animals hibernate, conserving their energy. Plants go dormant, covered in snow. Darkness sits on the earth, asking it to sleep. There's a beautiful stillness in winter; a place for restoration. Yet we humans create bustle and doing. We actually choose the busyness--parties, shopping, gifting, scheduling.  

Mark and I did errands on Saturday and saw an interesting juxtaposition: holiday music declared "the most wonderful time of the year" while people with tense, tired faces pushed and rushed. We receive cards in the mail that contain no message, no intimacy. It's as if cards, gifts, and holiday cheer are on the very long to-do list. 

Remember: this is the season of hibernation. We can choose quiet and rest. We can slow down. I want to do less and appreciate more; to make deeper connections with fewer people; to minimize gifts and expand love; to work from my heart, not external pressure; and to listen to nature, as it gracefully rests.