release for 2015

We will be more successful in our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time,
and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.
                                                                                                                         –Thich Nhat Hanh

Blue Ridge Mountains 2014

Last New Year I wrote a list of resolutions in my best handwriting, with a little script lettering for flair and a couple doodles to make it cute.  Fellow blogging mama, Lyssa wrote about focusing on one word for the year, so I opted to do both the list and the mantra in 2014, just for fun.

Of course the one word mantra was much more successful. It was easy to remember and flexible. I could focus on achieving it an any moment, because it wasn’t specific to one goal. It wasn’t something just to cross of a list, it became a practice.

Slowly.

I chose two words for 2014, mindfulness and presence. Jonathan gifted me a wrist tattoo of the Chinese symbol for mindfulness and still it was slow to learn. Often this past year the lessons came at the cost of connecting with my internet community and contributing to this space. It became easier to shut off all screens, to be a present mother and partner, rather than being more mindful of my time. I’m still learning how to juggle, and which aspect of the juggle is important. I will be a student for the rest of my life.

In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?
                           – Jack Kornfield

My mantra for 2015 is release. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Frozen with Rivers, but I’m taking Elsa’s lead and letting go. Since our move I have felt severely overwhelmed by the number of the projects that need to get done and the ones that moved with us, unfinished. This year will be a release of unrealistic expectations (that often lead to disappointment, guilt and anger), unwanted possessions (that clutter our space and require our time for cleaning or moving); and unnecessary appointments (that inevitable leave us wishing for more and more time in the day).

The lessons of release sounds much like mindfulness. Told ‘ya I’ll be a student for the rest of my life.

Cheers to 2015!

 

 

 

30 (things to do) before 30

©fourwoodthinking

March is really kind of a lull month for blogging. Perhaps more writing takes place this month than any other time throughout the year, but it all happens in my private journal and tucked away at night. It’s my birthday month, so inevitably it brings reflection and thoughts for the future.

It’s too easy for me to get stuck in my own head and feel frozen, unable to cope with my feelings or enter the present moment. My 2014 resolution word, mindfulness has really stopped me in my tracks. It’s forced me to reevaluate some of my habits that aren’t conducive to a healthy lifestyle, or at least not the life that I want to lead.

I really want to dig my feet into the soil of this thing called life and cultivate something truly amazing. I needed a little time away from the screens to be present with my family and plant some positive seeds for healthy growth and habits.

One thing I realized in my time of reflection is that I need to take the time to love myself. It feels so silly to write, because I feel like ‘Of course I love myself,’ but I can’t recall the last time I did a good deed just for my own gain. I’ve compiled a list of adventures and challenges to accomplish within the next two years, my 30 (Things to Do) Before 30. Most of the list contains items that I’ve always wanted to do, but blew off until tomorrow, and then unfortunately tomorrow turned into years of neglect. Of course some desires or goals take time and money. There are plenty of travels I would like to do in the next two years, but I tried to keep my list realistic. I still have quite a bit of work (and fun) ahead of me.

My wish isn’t to simply cross of items on a list, but to spoil myself, challenge myself, respect myself enough to stop pushing off my desires and leaving them in daydreams.

30before30

birthdaycake

Jonathan made me a small birthday cake to take to work and share with my coworkers. When I returned home I found a new one, a banana-vanilla cake with blueberry-coconut frosting. Immediately I pulled out my phone to catch what little natural light we still had from the day, but he stopped me. He’d already taken photos. “I took them with the good camera. I thought you might want to show off your cake on the blog.” Ha. He’s the show off.

I’m so blessed.

nothing like the present

present02present01 present03 present04

“The greatest gift we can offer anyone is our true presence.” – Thich Nhat Hanh 

Our true presence is a gift we try to offer one another each and every day. It seems easy enough, but somehow it can be difficult. There are numerous distractions in our lives that make it easy to forget. They pacify us in times of worry or stress and we procrastinate working out those feelings instead of simply facing them head-on.

As the year winds down we’ve struggled a bit more with being truly present. Or I should say, I have. The holiday season brought the usual hustle and bustle, but also some interesting news that required big decisions. I was stuck in dream-land as we waited to hear news about these decisions and… well, they fell through.

Lesson learned. Live in the present moment. Plan for the future, but don’t live in a bubble of daydreams, otherwise I may miss out on the beauty and blessings that are right in front of me.

Following fellow mama and blogger, Lyssa, I chose a word words for 2014. Mindfulness and presence are our mantras for the coming year. Reminders to turn off the screens, breathe away stresses, thoughts of work, chores etc. and instead offer ourselves to the present moment. To focus our full attention on …

the smile of our child

hearing his concerns and joys

looking each other in the eyes

sharing a full embrace

facing our burdens with right thinking

cultivating love and celebrating all aspects of our lives

As with a list of resolutions, this will be an exercise in focus and self-discipline.  I can’t just dream my life will move forward, I must be an active participant. All these things I think I knew. May I actually apply them this new year!

“Don’t just hope for the shore to come to you. If you want to cross over to there other shore, the shore of safety, well-being, non-fear and non-anger, you have to swim or row across. You have to make an effort.” -Buddha

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Thank you all so much for sharing in our first blog year. We have appreciated so dearly all of the comments we’ve received and the connections we’ve made. May you all have a joyful time celebrating the new year! See you in 2014!

newyear