Weekend Coffee Share, Surprises or Subtle Transformations

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Come sit on the back porch with me for your morning beverage of choice. It promises to be a slow-moving, sticky Southern day here in North Florida. What would we discuss if we were having coffee today?

Well, Bixby has sniffed around and has already retreated to the house . He certainly doesn’t miss his stray-dog days! Though, he likely will come out again. My drink of choice today is cold, green matcha tea. I am allowing myself to move quite slowly. I hope you don’t mind the pace. Stop a while and relax. I have cardio later, but it can wait!

I’ve had plenty of time lately to take in my surroundings, to stop and smell the roses. Sitting on the porch provides a lot of lovely views of nature. I haven’t seen as many birds lately, but there are other sights.

I’ll be praising the rain again later today. It sure pleases the plants!

This week, I did a little bit of writing for continuation of my short story, Crossroads Diner #205. I hope to extend it to novella-length. Again, slow-going, but I am not fretting over that. I’m allowing myself to move when the muse moves me, and to work on other things when it doesn’t. I am still journaling daily this summer as I eat a slow, relaxed breakfast. It is so good for my relaxation levels.

My journaling experience is accompanied by affirmations by Louise Hay in her journal titled A Garden of Thoughts. Coincidentally, I’m taking an online course on teaching students with special needs, and we are currently learning about Growth Mindset, a very important thing, and I am feeling more enthusiastic about my job and this training than I thought…but let me tell you about my growth in regards to journaling.

Journaling is a part of many self-help programs: AA, chronic pain (TMS) sufferers, etc., because self-reflection helps a person look at how they dealt with things in the past and how they can change it. I am an adult child of an alcoholic and a chronic pain sufferer. Admittedly, I still suffer frequent arthritis pain, and just saw the doctor for a steroid shot in my shoulder this Wednesday. The journaling has really helped my mindset. I’ve often in the past felt like I was less of a person or didn’t deserve great things, that it was just the way it was. That I was limited. I think I addressed the shoulder pro-actively, as I plan to stay active and now I’m stretching it a little more each day.

Breaking out of self-limiting mindset is extremely important. Each of the affirmations in A Garden of Thoughts is highly positive, and I can’t always believe all of them, but I have my own take on them, and I am glad to see the words. For example, today’s affirmation: “I celebrate today, another precious day on Earth. I shall live it with joy. Today I am a new person.” Yet, I just couldn’t agree that today I was, or even ever needed to be a new person. Still, I am not the same-old me. I am much more relaxed than I was six weeks ago, no surprise there.

It does feel like I’m celebrating every day by taking time to smell the roses. This is something that summer provides me, so it’s not entirely new; it is cyclical. I am so habitual. I have my routines: a slow breakfast of cereal heaped high with fruit, a little turmeric powder on top, and more recently, Reiki music during breakfast, and the journaling habit which helps me stay off the computer until after breakfast.* I do feel my stress and intensity melting away a little more each day. My thoughts are: “Today, I am even a little more self-accepting; today I am just a little more grateful, less fearful, and more in love with my lot in life. ”

Each day, I am growing less rigid about outcomes and more determined to enjoy the journey and those who are with me on this journey. I am setting my expectations free, because now is a break from the rat race, so this is the time to do so, and I am getting better at that gradually with each passing day.

No big, sudden surprises, but the gradual realization that I am in love, that I love myself even more, and that I can handle this world and this life, perhaps even handle it well! I’ll continue to celebrate it daily. Perhaps when I return to the ‘rat-race’ this fall, I will maintain this mindset.

Thank you visiting me for a coffee (or tea) chat. What’s new with you?

Weekend Coffee Share, Lazy Summer Lounging

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. This last week was very relaxing and maybe even lazy, once I got the vacation laundry done. There were two days of teacher training, however, but Friday gave me a renewed chance for lounging. 🙂

Schultz Center, training and conference center.

The training we received was very informative. Despite English teachers having new standards, new curriculum, and a new text, I left with the feeling “I can do this!” The lesson plans are more clear, and the text completely links with our new state standards, so I’m quite happy with this! I also had a great lunch with a teacher friend at the Garden Cafe!

Since our vacation, I’ve had a sore/stiff shoulder and my boyfriend has a knot in his back muscle near the shoulder blade. For me, it was likely from doing a backstroke while lounging in the Coco Cay waters. For him, it’s definitely from carrying luggage that included my cosmetic carry-on . We both seem to agree that vacation was still worth it!

Here, I’m wearing my obsidian necklace from Chichen Itza, Mexico from Chris. Hard to tell here, but it’s a Tree of Life.
Journaling is part of my summer writing plan that helps me work on mindfulness and gratitude!

On Writing

I wrote probably one page this last week on Ellie, the Time Traveler. I also jotted down thoughts and ideas for continuing Crossroads Dinner #205. I’ve really been distracted by the shoulder. However, I’m still journaling by hand almost daily. Here are some thoughts on being part of the rhythm and flow of life:

From the July 1st prompt: I heard in a pain podcast, “Don’t be fearless, but fear LESS.” (Pain Free You). My thoughts are that we cannot help but to have feelings, but we can try not to over focus on them. This morning, it’s easy for me to trust the process of life. I know all my loved ones are safe, and I’m sitting in a room blessed by Sunshine peeking through my blinds.

Grasshoppers are making joyful noise out in the day as the temperature climbs. It is peaceful. I am noticing it all. On cloudy, rainy days, I need to also spend more time noticing, just observing, because it is also a part of life’s Evan flow, the cycles of nature. I can notice what’s around even if it’s not what I wanted or expected without judging, even if it changes my plans. The dance of nature is so awesome to observe!-PC

That’s where I am right now. I see my doctor about the shoulder next week and will have coffee with a writer friend Thursday. It is sure to be at least a two hour coffee chat! Have a great day, and I hope you find time to relax. Bixby certainly is a guru at this!

Weekend Coffee Share. Cafe Music and Pre-Springtime State of Mind

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! The sun is shining through the window blinds on this crisp morning, and the cafe is the place to be! My ‘cafe’ is currently playing songs by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, and there’s a click of my dog moving about on the floor until he settles at my feet again. It all sounds heavenly to me. I haven’t “hung out” in a real cafe in quite some time. So, I’ve created my own. We’ll converse virtually.

It’s a coffee drinking day! I have abstained from coffee for the last four days, due to my desire for better sleep and less anxiety or stress tension. I don’t think coffee is the whole problem, but I promised myself I would drink the green matcha tea more often, as it fuels me enough and is supposedly healthier. Still, this is my reward today, since I slept great last night and actually, most nights this week. Coffee goes so well with Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” Piano and/or horns and a sultry voice just bring Spring closer to my heart.

Spring is scratching on our car windows, flirtatiously telling us she is near. “Be ready,” she calls. A rainy week has washed a lot of pollen off of our cars and into the streets. Florida is confused, but heck, that is nothing new. Having lived here since I was eight (with an 8 month misled venture out to OK for the sake of love), I’m used to it. Last night it got close to the thirties but our Florida sun is brightening this day.

I went along, day after day this week with a number of gray, rainy days. Having Monday off was great. Wednesday after school I had the Newspaper Club meeting. We accomplished a lot, I believe! Some are unsure of themselves with writing, so I pair them up, and it has helped. I am trying to make it a welcome place for anyone to find their voice. This was the third week. On the evenings after Newspaper Club, I am pretty tired. I get to bed and fall asleep with ease, and if I wake up in the middle of the night, I get right to sleep. It is good work, something that I am enthused about and that is turning out to be really good for me.

It’s becoming clear to me that I write a lot about my struggles. That’s because I am human. When I am honest with others about that, they are more honest with me. Add to that fact that, my struggles that I’ve overcome are a part of who I am. In my everyday life, I am teaching students who need to feel comfortable expressing themselves in my classroom, so I believe this is beneficial.

Keeping things in or hiding things about ourselves is difficult, too difficult. It results in us alienating ourselves; I know, because I did this drastically four years ago, when my son went through a really hard time with emotions and mind issues after a car accident and head injury. I felt like a failure as a parent. There were struggles he had with himself and that I had with him in the household. I kept so much bottled inside and felt really depressed since I was bottling up the stress. Not very healthy.

Glad that I’m beyond that, I have a few close friends that I can confide in. His struggles are much better, and he has held down a job for two years. I see that I wrote a lot about my stresses back then as well, and that’s a good thing. It helped me to hang on.

Having gone through the shoulder injury last year and educating myself on dealing with arthritis pain has helped me acquire healthier habits. There is a true link between anxiety, body tension, and pain. I’m still working on all of it.

Writing is sporadic, but I will not give up. Perhaps I will move more into autobiographical writing. Journaling is a more frequent process for me in “getting things out.” Blogging is a sort of journaling. It’s all good.

The sunshine outside my windows is representing my current state of mind. I’ve gotten through many things recently, COVID fear being part of them, and I just don’t feel as fearful anymore. Sitting at home in the computer chair all day is not an option! I can do this. You’ve likely heard me say that before. 🙂

**Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly bloggers’ feature that many across the globe have joined. Search for or use the hashtag #weekendcoffeeshare and tell me about your cafe of choice and the goings on in your part of the world. Have a great week!

#WeekendCoffeeShare. What’s New?

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. Today, I drink green matcha tea, since I had coffee yesterday and experienced some bothersome sciatica. I started the matcha tea in an attempt to improve sleep and stress/anxiety reactions. I do think it helps in the long run, and I allow myself coffee 3 plus times a week. So now, I am experimenting to see if my nerves are calmer with the matcha tea, hoping that means I know one way to keep sciatica at bay. We shall see, right?

Bixby has had a haircut, and good timing, since it was 78 degrees yesterday here in Northeast Florida! It’s supposed to cool off again but won’t be below 40, so it’ll be fine.

The always-poofy tail! #pommix

On New Year’s resolutions

I always liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It is a great time to start over and look forward to a better year. I sort of did it differently this year. I’m reading and working on something called A Mindfulness for Beginners Journal. (That’s because, despite trying for fifteen years, I still suck at meditating, but I’ve accepted that some ideas that pop up at the wrong time could still be good ideas). Anyway, this journal gives recommendations on things or ways to ponder and disconnect from worry and the every-day grind. One suggestion was to think on an inspiring mantra, shut my eyes for a certain amount of time, and then write down the mantra or whatever variations occur to my mind.

Perhaps I was not narrow enough or focused enough (which I’m not), and I always break the rules with these ridiculous exercises; still, I will actually own it if I do it my way. I only call them ridiculous because I don’t do them exactly as they are prescribed. I’ll own that too. 🙂 Since mindfulness is a personal thing for all of us, don’t we need to access it in a way that works for us? I was writing each time something good popped into my head, thinking of the things I need to remind myself all throughout this coming year. Here’s what I have, in a quaint little graphic:

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”-quote by Amit Ray, from A MIndfulness for Beginners Journal

Yes, I am enough.

My running joke is that I take selfies merely to document the aging process. Believe what you want. 🙂

My gratitude today is for sleeping well last night, which is overall much better for my sciatica. They say practicing gratitude is a great way to stem off or fight anxiety, which I believe affects the nerve pain of sciatic. I will make it so. My belief is that, day after day, I can make a difference in this world while honoring my own needs and boundaries. I will make it so!

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for stopping by. I hope your life is wonderful, and I’d love to hear what you feel gratitude for during, and despite, this COVID pandemic.

Peace!

My First Ever WP Blog Post Repurposed, “Nikki Giovanni, You Inspire Me!”

I have recently been reminded that I’ve reached my three year anniversary of blogging with WordPress.  I have not regretted a moment, except maybe the times when I didn’t feel like I could post more than one a week.  This first post was quite fitting, as it documents a turning point of inspiration, and why I bought that little notebook that helped me become confident enough to remember fleeting thoughts and piece them together.  I was lucky to win tickets to a rare speaking engagement!  Without further ado:

Reflections From July 16, 2015 (that I wrote in my little notebook):  My inspiration comes from many people and places, but one that is quite memorable is the poet, Nikki Giovanni.  I am fired up right now, because I got to hear her read at a luncheon today!

I love her smile here, and her lack of make-up or artifice.  She is herself, at home and comfortable in her own skin.  The first day I heard of her, I was not any of those things.  I was 20 years old, unsure of myself, finding myself the only one of my peer group in college, and how I got in I wasn’t always sure; I certainly assumed for several years I would not be going.  My self-esteem was hinging on some “boy” I was having some “sort of” relationship with while in college.  I thought about it, and him,  entirely too much.  Should I keep it going?  Should I forget it, tell him it wasn’t what I wanted or fulfilling me spiritually?  Geesh.  What a waste of time, mulling over such a wishy-washy situation.  Had he wanted more, I probably wouldn’t have, so why wasn’t it that simple for me?

Fact is, I was in college, being challenged, and enjoying that greatly.  I was working part-time, not always enjoying it, but I was paying bills, albeit barely.  I was going home to an apartment that was partly mine and a roommate who, it turns out, was not as great a friend as I thought.  I didn’t even always want to hang out with her.  I was not a drunk or a partier, (maybe twice a month), but I was somehow just at an emotional low.  Maybe I was short-changing myself? I wanted more emotional fulfillment.  So, I had read something by Giovanni and then saw this quote from her, that somehow just really clicked with me; I even copied it down and put it somewhere safe to look at again and again.   Here it is:

      “There is always something to do.  There      are  hungry people to feed, naked people to  clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

― Nikki Giovanni

I was wasting all this time with some college boy who didn’t even care if I thought about him, living in an apartment with a friend that was no longer a friend, and feeling unfulfilled.  The only thing that fulfilled me at that time was diving into the Literature and texts I was assigned.  Oh, and some of them really saddened me.  There was Gothic Literature such as Mary Shelley.  Existentialism.  I really felt it all.   But I survived.  I moved back home with Mom for the remainder of college, continued working, and paid for a lot of my own college.  I made time for other friends, and my college relationship pretty much ended when he went away to an out of town school.  But Nikki’s words stuck with me.  There is a world out there in need,  why should I stay in here in my own head worrying about things, when I can go out there and make my world better?  And look at all the energy we sometimes spend on an unhealthy or one-sided relationship, or even friendships that no longer serve us, when there is so much more to do?
You could say I live her advice.  I suppose the last part of her quote is what I put to use back then, regarding who you should engage among you, and who you should remove.  Lord knows, I had to practice it many times repeatedly over the course of my life.  I also took a good amount of advice from the Bible, but how confusing that can be to a young person.  Nikki’s quote on sick people, hungry people, those needing clothes, is also a reminder to someone like me who had all that I needed.  I was getting an education, but it wasn’t making me happy and I felt so alone.  I can say that got better.  It is also true that I struggled with depression at times.  I had to sometimes just do something good for another person in need.  Sometimes I had to just get busy and get out of my head.  Analyzing existentialism or the deeper meaning of Gothic Literature can be a gloomy subject.  But it was very deeply satisfying when I could take a break and do a good thing, or have fun in the sunshine for a while.  One day, I would like to be able to consider myself a successful writer.  There is no amount of money or number of books I will assign to that.  Giovanni herself said something like that today, about how money won’t fulfill you.  You just need to have some of it to stay alive.  It thrills me to say that Nikki Giovanni has influenced me.  I’d like to put that on the back of a book one day!
And as for teaching,  yes, like Nikki said, we need more black children to grow up, get educated, and go into space!  We need them to become scientists, like  Neil deGrasse Tyson. (Who, by the way, is really cool!)   It is much needed for the equality of the races.   Imagine, if I could turn the right student on to a book about space or time travel, and in turn, encourage him to explore space!  Such an honor it would be.  It gives me something to remember when I look at that sea of faces every August.  They all have the potential.
Nikki also mentioned how our language is changing.  (Look at the definition of marriage.  Just recently it was decided by the Supreme Court that two women or two men can now marry).  Think of the definition of equality; she mentioned how a black man and white woman could not have married 60 years ago.  The world is changing and so is our language.  We need to observe and we need to write about it.  So I am writing right now.  She said, “Everyone go out and buy a notebook to write in today.”  I already have one.  I thought it was lost, but it has turned up again!  And I also have this space here for writing.  So I am inspired again!   Indeed, there is so much to do.    Life is good!
%d bloggers like this: