Blog, healing, meditation, women

When Women Gather

The Bond Between Sisters

Day 259

We are in our third day of heavy rain which will stretch into tomorrow. Today I will make the 2-hour drive to my son’s house to help my daughter-in-law and care for my grandchildren while my son is out of town.

So far this year we have had over 39 inches of rain — 1.44 inches today alone. (According to the U.S. climate website, our average annual rainfall is just over 61 inches a year. Last year we had almost 90 inches of rainfall due to some hurricane-related weather.) It’s no wonder my mind is floating…

In the midst of this rain-soaked weekend, my mind is drifting to a wonderful opportunity that has presented itself. I have been invited to a women’s meditative retreat in October in the midst of fall color in New England. My body relaxes just thinking about it.

My sisters and I were able to retreat to Blue Ridge, GA for 3 years before each of them passed. We rented a cabin tucked away in the mountains and spent a week together. We packed our bags, left our families and troubles at home and trekked to spend a week together as sisters. It was the most fun, restorative and healing time. We rarely had cell service, so we had plenty of time to work through old disagreements and just be.

We bonded and shared things that had never seen the light of day. We decided this: What happens in the mountains, stays in the mountains. I wrote a little about this in an old blog post — Relationships, Sisters, and the Value of Macaroni Salad.

The fall retreat in New England will bring together a small group of like-minded women to gather, share and heal together. We all have a common thread, but our backgrounds and experiences are rather diverse. The thought of this trip has already become a place of respite for me.

Yesterday, my daughter and her wife called to see if I would be willing to consider going to a cabin early next year — a mother/daughter trip. Two moms, two daughters and our shared granddaughter for a week in the mountains. It was a hell yes for me. I know the strength of women coming together.

So while right now, it may be raining hard here, I have many beautiful days to look forward to. Times of healing and communion. Times of shared experiences and new relationships. It is harder and harder to find these quiet and reflective times in our busy world. I have learned if they do not exist, we have the power to make them happen.

My husband has always been and will always be supportive of all my dreams and does not feel threatened by any of it. He knows I always return a better version of myself.

“We’re connected, as women. It’s like a spiderweb. If one part of that web vibrates,
if there’s trouble, we all know it,
but most of the time we’re just too scared,
or selfish, or insecure to help. But if we don’t help each other, who will?”
Sarah Addison Allen,
The Peach Keeper

Blog, meditation

Dusting Off and Starting Over

Day 197

self-care-2904778_640
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I did not meditate this morning. I had a rough night and did not sleep well, so I slept in rather than getting up to meditate. It was a struggle for me to give this time up, but I knew I needed to sleep. But still, I struggled.

This week I started getting up an hour earlier to meditate, then go for my daily walk before coffee and breakfast. It really is helping me. Someone asked me what happens when I meditate. That’s a tricky question to answer because sometimes nothing happens. Sometimes it is just the most blissful and refreshing part of the day. Sometimes I feel as if I am not even present. Sometimes my brain wants to show me something that makes absolutely no sense. I have learned to just see it, acknowledge it, and then let it pass.

Meditation gives me the ability to start my day with a clear and open mind. I have noticed the absence of stress-related aches and pains. I do not spend the day worrying about things.

So, today was different. My sister would say I was discombobulated. I was off. I was really surprised at the difference between this day and the days I start with meditation. And I love that.

I do not feel the need to forgive myself, because I did nothing wrong. The old me loved to find any reason at all to beat myself up. Today I slept instead of meditating. I missed it. The only thing to do is just dust myself off and pick it up again tomorrow.

I did spend some time outside which is a meditation for me. The forecast is for more damaging winds and storms tomorrow, so getting outside today was good for me. It grounds me and connects me to the earth in a way that nothing else does. I never tire of breathing in the air and just being present in nature. This is home.

Blog, meditation, music

The Jukebox in my Head Vs. Meditation

Day 186

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

My appreciation for music is fairly far reaching, although I will admit that my tolerance for some ‘music’ gets lower as I get older.

This morning was a meditation fail. I woke up at 2:50 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. At 4:00 a.m. I decided I might as well sit up and meditate. Of course, in less than five minutes I was fast asleep. I awoke after 8:00 a.m. in a full frenzy because I have a lot on my plate today. So, for the first morning since I started, I made the decision to forgo my meditation.

The result was I started my day with the brain chatter that meditation normally quells. I was not feeling awake, spilled my coffee all over the kitchen counter and have just felt off. Lack of sleep or lack of meditation or a combination of both have left me with a feeling of minor chaos. At least I recognize it, right?

All my underlying thoughts usually get cleared during meditation. I see them, acknowledge them and then they pass. Unfortunately I am now wrestling with them which is an unwelcome feeling after a week of peaceful morning starts.

The jukebox in my head is running full steam. Right now it’s The Guess Who performing “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature”. The Guess Who was the first band I saw in concert so I love their music. I love their sound, but this one is a bit of an oddity in the lyrics. So, my chaotic mind decided to see what Wikipedia had to say. It’s a bit of a long but interesting story. I will leave it to you to read if it piques your interest. Now the song makes a bit more sense to me. We lyric people care about such things.

 

Oops – sorry. New Song!

.

Note to self: Never forgo meditation.

Blog, meditation, Writing

When It’s Not in the Cards

Day 183

Today started on a high note. Meditation was awesome. I am finding that 45 minute sweet spot when my brain stops all the chatter. Now I see why people want to meditate longer.

I worked outside again this morning. I planted sunflowers and milkweed for the butterflies.

All day I looked forward to attending a writers’ group meeting in Asheville with a friend. I left home half an hour early to give myself plenty of time to find parking.

Unfortunately, as soon as I got on the highway, traffic came to a complete stop. There was an accident ahead and all three lanes of traffic were at a standstill. It took me a full hour to get to the next exit and I knew I would not make it all the way to Asheville in time. I called my friend to cancel and turned around to come home.

At home I found my internet and WiFi down. Some things were just not in the cards today. I am always mindful that I was fortunate to get home safely when someone else had been in a traffic accident. I am counting my blessings.

Now to see if I can post this through my cellular data and call it a day.

meditation, retirement

How I Got Stuck in a Retirement Rut

Day 176

Image by David Cardinez from Pixabay

I have never regretted retiring early. Not one day. I was ready to leave the rat race long before. No, no regrets.

What I did fall into was a bit of a retirement rut. It was the first time in years hubby and I could relax away the morning together with no demands and no expectations. We took our time unpacking and we took our time evaluating what needed to be done in the house we bought.

The problem with relaxing is it is easy to do it too much. It’s just like eating. It is so enjoyable and releases those endorphins. It became so pleasurable that I lost my way a bit.

It takes an effort to recenter. We have changed our lifestyle. Now we enjoy our morning walk as well as our morning coffee. We spend more time cooking together and reducing all those too pleasurable sugar and fat laden desserts with healthier alternatives. Neither of us feels like we have sacrificed and we have lost weight as an unexpected outcome, so it was a win win situation.

I took some art classes soon after I retired. Unfortunately, I also had some close family members who were ill and as a result some difficult losses to contend with. Then when the work on the house started, it was all too much and too chaotic. I gave them up.

There is a leveling out now. It did not come for me without seeking it out. I have become very aware of my inner critic and my ego and am learning to hush their voices in my head. I am writing and have returned to taking classes. I am finding inspiration everywhere.

Retirement can be the most wonderful time of life. As I sit here writing this, I have the doors open. The birds and the wind-chimes in the background are very relaxing in their melodious harmony. I enjoyed my walk and my breakfast and look forward to my day.

The addition of morning meditation really seems to be helping me. I do not always understand what comes up. Some days it seems to just be chatter. No matter what happens during that hour, at the end I am fully awake and engaged — ready to start my day. What a welcome change!

As nice as it is, retirement does not come without ruts. They can be small or deep and mucky. It’s up to us to steer clear of them or find our way out of them.