Last week I wrote about stepping out of my comfort zone. I have to confess that learning to navigate this website and figure out the ins and outs of setting up a blog page has definitely thrown me out of my comfort zone. When I say I’m technically challenged, I mean it with a capital TC. Whenever I encounter anything beyond the basics, I feel my stomach knot and the grey matter seep out of my brain and run onto the floor. But I’m not a quitter so I keep on keeping on. It would be easy to give up my blogging idea but I’ve decided instead to face my fear of looking and seeming stupid, and to just keep reading the tutorials on this website. I’m also praying that someone will come along who knows this “simple” blogging site and will sit by my side and help me understand what I’m reading.
Meanwhile, and aside from my being technically challenged, life has been really good and full of insights. Last week, during my meditation time, I realized how much I miss because I’m in a hurry. I miss detail, I miss color, I miss the full meaning of what’s in front of me and all around me,and perhaps my hurrying is why I’m missing the simplicity of this website. Anyway, I think I may also be missing many possibilities and opportunities for creativity and bliss. If I’m reading a book I’m in a hurry to get to the end, if I’m cleaning my house or doing errands, or laundry, or almost any action, same thing, my focus is on getting through. It feels like I’ve been running to get nowhere.
Sitting face to face with this truth brings me to the conclusion that I’m probably missing a huge chunk of the journey. I think I’ve always been like this. It’s obviously something I picked up as a child and it somehow became my way of being in the world. After thinking about this, writing about it and talking about it, I think that what I most need to do is to practice slowing down. So, I’ve started making some changes in my life to help retrain myself into taking it slow, being present and focused, and paying attention to detail. I know it will take time and attention to make these changes, but that’s okay because I’ve already put my foot on the path.
One change I’ve made is to add a creative process to my daily morning writing ritual. Before Paul, my husband, leaves for work in the morning, he writes a word on a piece of paper and leaves it on the kitchen counter for me. When I finish writing my morning pages I look at the word he wrote and write a short story about it. Doing this helps me to slow down and think about how to create a story from one word. I let my brain scan my memory banks and see if I relate to the word for some reason. If I don’t, I free associate and make up a story. Doing this really gets my creative juices flowing, it jogs my memory for detail, and though it seems to be a small thing, it’s helping me to make big changes.
The word Paul left for me this morning was thimble. My first thought about thimble was something small and I made a few notes about that. Then, I pushed my chair back, took a few breaths, and waited for inspiration. My brain reminded me that a thimble was for protection and as I let that thought in I found myself being catapulted back through the ages to a sweet, yet forgotten time with my grandmother.
It was in the 1940’s and my grandmother, like many people in those days, had tuberculosis. My grandfather used to take her to Kerrville, Texas where it was dry. After a time, she would recover and my grandparents would come back to Louisiana where it was usually humid. Because of her TB my grandmother had many respiratory illnesses and as a result she spent a lot of time being bedridden. I remember those days when I’d be at her house and she’d be propped up in her bed. Her hair always looked and smelled nice, she usually had makeup on, and she’d be wearing a beautiful dusty pink satin bed jacket that was trimmed with lace, with a little satin bow tied at the neck.
My grandmother had sewn her bed jackets by hand as she lay in bed recuperating. I loved the leftover satin material from all those bed jackets and usually would take those scraps and pin them around my favorite baby doll, Princess. This was my little girl’s attempt to make a new dress for my doll. My grandmother, upon watching me do this, decided she would make some dresses for Princess. I’d sit on a bench next to her bed and watch her hand stitch those beautiful, dainty little satin and lace dresses. She’d have a needle and thread in one hand and a silver thimble on the index finger of her left hand. To my delight, she’d sit in bed and cut and sew until she got tired. When she’d lie down for a rest, I’d take her old tin can that had at one time held a fruitcake, and go through the contents. That tin was like a big toy box for me because it was chock full of brightly colored threads, packs of needles, and different types of thimbles. I’d watch my grandmother nap as I rearranged the spools of thread and the thimbles, patiently waiting for her to wake up and start sewing again.
Though I didn’t know it then, that was a beautiful bonding time between me and my grandmother. As I sat and wrote about those memories this morning, I felt a warm glow spread over me as I realized how important I was to my grandmother. I knew she loved me, but this morning I felt more than loved. I felt cherished, and that feeling helped me to understand why I always felt close to my grandmothers heart.
Taking the time to enjoy this word exercise in the morning has helped me see how many untapped memories I have stored away in the dusty corners of my mind. I look forward to each day with a renewed sense of purpose, feeling like I’m getting my life on track. I’m slowing down, paying closer attention, looking around my world carefully, and having fun doing it all. And who knows, as I quit running to get nowhere, and continue to retrain myself to take it slower, I may actually find a way to understand this website’s tutorial.
See you next week. Please feel free to leave a comment and subscribe to my blog.