Thursday, December 31, 2015

Operation ILYMT

Yesterday I had the house to myself for a couple of hours. My kind of "pause!" I spent the time reading the daily love notes my daughter and I had exchanged in 2015. Yup, we committed to writing everyday and with the minor exception of a few days here or there, we accomplished our goal. It took me almost an hour to read them all. It was the perfect way to end the year.

After reading, I decided to write about the project, which I named Operation I Love You More Than ... (ILYMT). For the next hour, I wrote. Sometimes writing is a chore. Sometimes when the words flow almost without thinking, writing is easy peesy. That's how it was for me yesterday. I was very pleased with the way the whole post read and looked, so I pushed the publish button.

Let me re-phrase that. I pushed what I thought was the publish button. Then I went about closing out a bunch of windows that I no longer needed. This included a partial post of said article. Click went the delete button. I didn't need that version, right? I had just published a completed version.

Wrong. When I went to view the page, it was blank. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. I furiously checked everywhere I thought it could be. I didn't dare conceive that I had deleted an almost perfect post. Alas, it's true. It's gone. Perhaps one of those forensic computer analysts that you see on crime shows could look through my hard drive (and don't think that I didn't try to figure out how to call one) and dig it out of whatever binary box it is hiding in. We all know that's not going to happen.

So it is with a heavy heart that I admit that post no longer exists. I have fumed, cried, stomped my feet, and yelled at the post office lady for something really stupid that was out of her control which had nothing to do with my blog but irked an already irked ME. Sweetie did his best to comfort inconsolable ME. Buddy instinctively knew to stay out of my way.

I can't say for sure if I'll ever re-write that particular post. Maybe I'll figure out a way to capture the essence of it some other time.  I just wanted to explain why this blank post was up for 24 hours. Now you know. I guess if I'm going to screw up, it's good to do it on the last day of the year and keep the slate clean for the new year.

Frustratingly yours,
Merry ME

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


"When you wash your hands
when you make a cup of coffee,
when you're waiting for the elevator -
instead of indulging in thinking,
these are all opportunities for being there as a still, alert presence."
Eckhart Tolle

I thought I'd put my word into practice today.
Actually, I was waiting in a small room for my doctor to give me the results of a recent MRI and getting pissed off that the wait was so long.
About 20 minutes into the wait, I closed my phone and told myself this was the perfect time to sit with the stillness and see what comes of it.
I lasted about 5 minutes. There's only so much going on in an orthopedic office to take note of - really old magazines, diagrams of vertebrae and labeled pictures of all the bones in the human body, a computer, two pens on the desk, and nurses laughing outside the door. I checked my phone a couple more times before opening up the door and letting the laughers no I was getting antsy.

"I've got your chart in my hand," said the PA. In her hand did not necessarily mean she was going over it. When she walked in the room, she said (and I quote), "now why are you here?" The next thing I heard was the tiniest bit of steam coming out of my ears. I guess I'm going to have to ease myself gently into the pause thing.

As for the MRI, it didn't show much different than it did last year. I do have some compression/nerve damage of my L4L5 vertebrae. Probably arthritis. I'm pretty much convinced the nerves in my foot were damaged in the fall and/or surgery. They will either come back, or they won't. I'll try an injection in the L4 area but don't look for a miracle cure.

I think it's going to take some practice to get good at this "being an alert presence" thing,
Merry ME

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Word for 2016

Before deciding on my word for 2016 I spent some time with my 2015 word - threshold. For the first few months of the year, it was everything one would want a defining word to be. It motivated me to paint my front door and sweep away the cobwebs. I contemplated the threshold between earthly things and spiritual places. I looked for thin places. Like opening a brand new book, with the pages crisp and clean, I eagerly anticipated that first step you take when crossing into a new place, endeavor, adventure.

Then, as it has a way of doing, life intervened and thresholds became less fascinating. One step was pretty much like every other step.  Halfway through the year, I stepped down on un-solid ground and broke my ankle in three places. Talk about new thresholds - a ride in an ambulance, pain like I've never known before, surgery, letting go of control, becoming a care receiver instead of a caregiver, learning to walk again. Needless to say, I pretty much had to hit the pause button on my life. My intentions for using the extra time I had been given to write fell short. So did training and taking walks with the new puppy. Moving to a smaller place was out of the question. Hell, I could barely move from room to room.

A month or so before the holiday stress started piling up, or maybe because it started piling up,  was drawn to the word sanctuary. Or it was drawn to me. Seems like everything I read had some mention of sanctuary, or spending time in a quiet meditative place. I also noticed a particular and unexpected calm come over me on the days Sweetie went shopping, Johnson was busy outside and the dogs slept.  I enjoyed the time alone. The hum of the air conditioner was the only sound. Some days it was warm enough to have the windows open and I could hear a few birds singing. The quiet felt good.

I began leaning towards "sanctuary" as my word. Although quiet can lead to a spiritual experience, I didn't really feel like I was looking for a religious kind of sanctuary. The thesaurus pointed out synonyms like refuge, harbor, hideaway, avoidance, burrow, retreat, shelter. All close, but not quite what I was looking for.

"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness, 
and just be happy." 
Guillaume Apollinaire

When I read this quote on Terry Hershey's Sabbath Moment, this morning, I knew I'd found my word - pause. It's the pause I'm looking for. Sanctuary, yes. Retreat, yes. Hideaway and even avoidance, yes. But more than any of those, I think I'm craving a brief amount of time in my life to be still. Usually when I'm in a quiet state, I tend to sleep. I want to be awake during my pause. I don't want to turn it into a "have to" or "should." I don't want the time to have an agenda.  I just want to pause for a moment or two every day and notice. Perhaps it's a different way of practicing mindfulness. Maybe just a way to stop running all the time. A way to stop and smell the roses. A short time for reflection. I'm not a photographer, but what if I took a photo of the things I noticed? Or here's a novel idea, write about them!

As a reminder, I ordered myself a pocket talisman from Liz Lamoreux

What is your New Year's tradition? Stay up late? Do you make resolutions? Choose a word?
Whatever it is, I pray you will be happy and healthy and find a little time every day for quiet reflection,
Merry ME