Monday Musings: Summer

Monday musings in paper and inkThis was really meant to be last week’s Monday post but I got busy working on my new section avatar. I am actually trying to work on it still, but why postpone the post for the graphic?

I usually try to begin the week with a post listing a set of blurbs which are like snippets of what’s running through my head at the start of the week, instead of writing a full blown post. Sometimes one or two actually get written as a full entry later on, but I like the mental exercise of putting shorter paragraphs together without the pressure of developing the idea running through my head. It’s like a mini-workout..

I don’t remember now what I had hoped to write so let’s try to pull this Monday’s mini headlines forming in my head.

Weekend work around. I don’t normally work on weekends unless I have to or am requested to, but yesterday, I purposely set aside time to get started on a document I hope to work on some more today. In my mind, I wanted to manage my stress levels by not having to start from scratch on what are usually hectic Mondays. I set a time limit of sorts and told myself I will only do this task and only this. And I stuck with it. As soon as the task was done, I didn’t linger and shut down. I resumed my weekend. And in more ways than one, I think that helped. I’m on the bus and just got to the city and while I already got some emails that means it’ll be me grabbing coffee and then working away, I have one less source of stress. I’m at east a half hour ahead with the work I completed– and that gives me some breathing room. The important thing is, I didn’t spend the weekend working. I just completed a task.

Sometimes you just need to go with the flow. This Monday was busier than busy but I tried to just go with it and not fight it. I was writing stickies in my head . Reminder(s) to self.

Choosing to be nice. Salad line. You walk towards the end of the line where an acquaintance is waiting her turn. Now I try not to be presumptuous when in a social/work environ such as the cafeteria. So I don’t say hello figuring she was busy on her iPhone. She gets her turn and I get mine and between the two helpers trying to pull our orders together, I know she knew it was me. Still no hello. I go about my business and I walk to the dressing where we were practically face to face. I respect her choice not to be sociable and to pretend like we don’t know each other. Sometime it’s better that way. I’m not mad at her but she just became a statistic in my “not nice” list of people. Wouldn’t it have been just easier to be nice instead of putting so much effort into not being?

Former bestie at work now totally avoids me even when his work means I’m one of his clients. Friendship and professionalism are not the same. You may lose the friendship but you always have to maintain a certain work ethic where you work. I don’t like everyone I work with but I always try and do my job as best I can, no matter who is on the receiving end. I choose to be nice.

I treasure the happy times. Last week, I afforded myself an indulgence and went for a coffee break treat and a lunch adventure. It was a very busy week but I had much to be grateful for. So even when some things didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped they would, I just kept replaying the “happy ” in my mind, and the truth of the matter is, it was way more than whatever negative moments came my way. I had a warm big hug to the heart and I hold that close and just bask in the warm and fuzzy.

I’m exhausted but I’m smiling at the thought of the warm and fuzzy.. and I know I’m probably making sense only to myself, but that’s why I write.
57th Avenue. Looking towards the west side

#Happy

HappySo August is here. Another month just rolled away and now we are officially on the tail end of the third quarter of 2019. How time has flown.

I try to start my Mondays on a positive note, no matter how busy or chaotic things shape up to be when I glance at my calendar. I’m not a runner but I liken it to what I would be doing if I were psyching myself up for a sprint or a jog. There’s that visual of brightness and energy.

I’ve come to rely on whatever resources I can find to put me on that positive track. While I haven’t meditated much of late, I know that it’s a helpful tool. I work on imbibing positive energy through external stimuli and my own workings. I visualize. I reach deep down inside me to pull the positivity to the surface. I find my “happy”.

Don’t you just love it when a thought or a memory brings you there? More so when there are days when you need those short bursts of “good” and “happy” — be it in the form of laughter, a smile or a snapshot in your mind. Those are the real moments that matter. Why else do we have photographs and souvenirs to remember things by. We want to bring ourselves back through the memories those pieces trigger.

It seems that life has gotten busier and busier as the years have gone by. It takes a more determined effort to carve out moments to bask in a bit of happy in your mind, but the truth of the matter is, those moments don’t always have to be all that grand or big.

Have you ever tried to search for #happy on Instagram or Twitter? On IG alone, there are 535 million posts tagged with that single word. So you should have inspiration aplenty with what makes others happy. You shouldn’t have such a difficult time finding a #happy worthy moment.

Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, muster a smile, and picture the word “happy” and see what comes to mind. Then let that vision linger for 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 seconds. If it’s a memory, let that clip roll in your mind and loop it if you want or just be there in the moment again.

Just be.

Don’t even go to how that feeling was from so long ago, or is of a different place and time, or is no longer real. It was when it happened and that is what you hang on to.

Stay with the happy. No if’s, no buts. Just be.

Lightening the load

Untitled

My Monday kicked off to a busy start. There are Monday’s that start off slowly and build up– and there are those where I literally hit the ground running. Today was one of the latter, but it was also a day of distractions. Still, I tried.

I managed to hold my tongue when I felt compelled to say something to someone who had made me feel bad. Sometimes, I need to remind myself that some battles are won with silence and by being still, instead of waging war head on.

I have always been headstrong and outspoken. Often, my emotions get the better of me even now when I consider myself to have mellowed with age. Where others would think the so-called wisdom of the years would’ve calmed a firebrand like me, the years seem to have further fired up the quickness of my temper at the slightest provocation. It’s in the extremes.

At times, I surprise myself with my ability to just take things in stride and let it pass with nary a reaction from me. Or how I would shrug off a transgression and just chalk it up to a loss on the part of the other person. I have learned to let go when I can muster the composure to do it. But I am human. I still fall prey to the fangs of anger and my horns pop out and I am transformed.

I make no apologies, but I continue to try to be a better me. more so for the young boy whose spirit I have tried to nurture with kindness and generosity, so that he might imbibe the same traits. I try not to be so emotionally charged, or be quick to anger. The operative word there being “try”.

I end the day trying to find a sense of balance so that I can quietly and gently find myself deep in slumber tonight. I tell myself the day is done, and whatever challenges or worries plague me here, I must leave it at my desk and head home with as little as possible of that burden. I remind myself that there are words that are better left unspoken– because they will only stir up rancor and will not help me to feel better. So I hold it in. I delete the text I was typing. I choose silence. I write here.

One thing that I am always grateful for is that I can always find the words to let my pent up feelings out. In these lines, I find my release. And I am hopefully able to walk out with a lighter load.

Two months hence

I am not going to apologize nor make excuses.  Writing has been both natural and a struggle for me of late.  I often find myself thinking of new posts — of words forming sentences that could possibly be a coherent entry here — and then I fall short of actually opening a draft post and nothing is accomplished.

I have been rather busy, though.  I just came from a two week trip home — twofold in that sense, since I went to Manila and visited Bicol, home of the majestic Mount Mayon, and I also spent a few days with bestie Donna down under.

So many stories waiting to be written and told.  I actually am at a loss as to where to begin.  Rather than organize everything in an orderly fashion, I think I have a better chance of getting something done by writing as I always do — spontaneously.
Mayon volcanoWe had arrived with high hopes of capturing this beauty, but there were low lying clouds that obstructed the view.  Believe it or not, the above was taken on a moving plane as we took off for the return flight to Manila.  Yet another story waiting to be written.

It’s now two weeks since I got back, and the jetlag has eased up a bit, but I am still in “Manila” mode.  You know that moment after you return from vacation when you find yourself  drifting off to where you just came back from — and then you are jolted awake from the daydreaming by the realization you are back where you usually are.  Not really a bad place to be for me, but there’s that tiny part in my heart that wishes I could have a day or two or three more.  There’s always that longing to stay, even when you know you really have to get back home.  The real home where work and life awaits.  And so you leave and say your goodbyes.

I just let out an audible sigh.  My own words are getting to me.  Ha!

This trip was different for many reasons, and the new things I learned about myself and my family continue to resonate with me as I find myself moving in my normal again.  I’m typing away, biding my time as I wait for the bus to come, seeing a silhouette of the Empire State Building outside my perch on the 56th floor.  But my heart is 10,000 miles away, thinking how Manila is waking up to a brand new Saturday morn.

It was a good trip.  Although I have a long list of things I had hoped to do and didn’t get to do, my two weeks should stave off the longing for another long break for a couple of months more at least.
CagsawaI’m already planning my next vacation, but at the same time, trying to put this journey and its memories and souvenirs in order.  I haven’t even gone through all the goodies that I am savoring post-Manila and Sydney!

It was good to be in my happy place.   And yes, I long to come back sometime soon — but for now, I have enough memories and happy thoughts to last me until I return.  So I bask in the joy and the bliss of knowing I have my happy place tucked here in my heart.  I have the pictures that will take me there again.  I have the memory of the laughter and the warm hugs and yes, even the not so pleasant memories bring me back to happy eventually.

My heart is full.
The Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters

Saturday into Sunday

I promised myself I’d make it a no pressure but productive weekend, and so far I think I’m on track. I’m just a tad sad, though, that my last post here was practically a month ago. Four posts are in my virtual editorial calendar and I’m hoping at least two make it to publication here.

The days have been busy but not quite as stressful as the first part of the year. Or could it be that I’ve started coping better, so I am not all over the place and ready to pull my hair out when things start taking me over. I haven’t been meditating much so it can’t be that. It could be my newfound focus on losing weight and taking better care of me.

For starters, I get ahead of myself when I feel like I’m getting worked up. I step back and remind myself there are other things I can focus my energy on. Maybe that’s one reason I haven’t been too keen about keeping my meditation on a regular cadence. I am not stressed out enough to seek it out. I know that’s not the right way to get my mind into a better plane but I will try. I recognize meditation has done wonders for me during my lowest of lows, and I really should heed my own advice not to wait for an emergency before attending to things that ail us.

Weight has been lost, indeed! Six weeks ago, I decided I’d get on the keto diet bandwagon. Now this journey has been a pretty interesting one and merits a post all its own, but I am happy to report that I have lost 13 lbs, 2 lbs short of the achievable weight that I was aiming for. Not bad at all. I am back to my usual weight and can now work towards (1) firming up the flab (which I have a lot of!), and (2) losing more. I am not quite where I should ideally be, but what I have lost brings me to just “slightly overweight” instead of “really overweight”. So I can definitely say I’m making progress on the “taking care of me” part.

As the weekend spills over to Sunday, I’m feeling okay with Monday not being too far behind. No wishing for a longer weekend– I am actually excited by the thought that a new week is just right around the corner.

Paper and pen

WritingI have been hearing a voice in my head prompting me to take paper and pen and write.  I don’t quite know what about, but I was told by a friend that if I were to write a book (ambitious!), I should do it on paper.

I don’t know if I’m writing to get the juices flowing for my dream to get published to become a reality — or is it simply another love letter to an older me in the not so distant future.

Maybe.

I used to journal longhand, back in the day when blogging was just in its infancy.  Or maybe even its toddler stages.  I have at least two books (or even three) I had written longhand in — and a third which was a Christmas or birthday present from the ex — once upon a time when he answer to the label “husband” or “honey”.  Then I stopped journaling, only to resume it around a decade later.

But before that, I went online and wrote.. took photos and wrote.. and I am still writing.  Not quite as much as I had hoped, but at least there is that conscious effort to write again.

My return to written journaling was spurred on by my discovery of art journaling.  I picked up a hardbound book and altered it with drawing and color and used it as my canvas.  This coincided with a very tumultuous time in my life which meant there was so much I needed to write down.  Although I have always said I am not an artist, I managed to create an altered book with my own version of artistic expression, filling the embellished pages with journaling over a period of two years.  Then my life somehow settled — some — and the upheaval subsided into a quiet calm.  I came to the end of my altered book.

I have tried to kick start my art journaling several times since, but with no success.  And yet I know I will keep trying.

So here I am now, pen in hand and almost to the third page of my first story.  I feel like that in itself is quite an achievement.  These days, I go with a joyful “yay!” to celebrate joy & Triumph.  And with a smile on my face, I know I am back into my love affair with paper and pen.

In my corner

Grand Central

For days on end, I’ve been trying to get myself to write a post here and in my craft blog, but the truth of the matter is, life had me sidelined by more pressing matters that needed immediate attention, and we sometimes have to pause other portions of our lives to deal with it.

I love how this multi-frame pic came out, achieving overlaps and shadows of the typically busy scene at the grand concourse of Grand Central Station. I picked a corner and tried to hold the camera still. I wanted to capture the movement of the people but keep the building itself as a steady backdrop to the action. It captures what I sometimes feel going through my head or my heart or both.

I’ve been trying to sit with unsettling feelings instead of wasting time fighting them off. It works for me. So yes, I’ve been listening to my meditation guide and trying to imbibe what he is urging me to do, although it has been days since I took the time to meditate. (NOTE TO SELF: meditate.). I never quite realized that avoidance takes more effort that just acknowledging the feeling and letting yourself settle with it. I try.

Meanwhile, I have set a few goals for the weekend, but mostly putting my house in order— literally. I have projects waiting which I will write about in my other blog, and I look forward to just resting and recharging. To me that means going through my magazines, maybe reading a chapter or two and creating. We all have our means of coping, and fortunately for me, I had long ago identified what takes me to that place of calm.

It’s quiet. This weekend is mine. And while I enjoy weekends spent with my boy, I like the silence and the space to just think and worry about me. I don’t need to worry about taking care of anyone, just this weekend and days like this. I can venture out and go to the city, or do something different and maybe visit a museum or just go window shopping, but the gusts blowing outside make me yearn for the coziness of home. And more and more, I find that the quiet moments help me to deal with the noise when I return to the world come Monday.

I have also just returned to posting on social media again — and I am many posts behind. I’m getting there. Sometimes I think I should just post the pictures, no hashtags, no blurb. But just as I blog more for myself than for anything at else, I need those tags to remind me what that moment was all about. Even when I post about a meal I may have had, its more than just that food that was instagram-worthy. It’s more about the feeling of the moment and the company and the conversations and the memories that were made. My boy and I have started a new tradition when his weekends are mine. We now go on a Fridate. He and I are liking the new routine and then we head home together. I take a picture of the food and yet that encapsulates that one evening and the joy it brought. Happy thoughts.

I like quiet weekends when I can be alone with my thoughts and just be still. I used to think that I needed to keep myself busy outside to explore and enjoy and experience life. Then I discovered I could do the same without leaving my home. Of course, there are days when I feel the urge to just go out.. I might, tomorrow. Or I might just stay home.. and keep busy. Or maybe I will just rest and recharge. I kind of like it here – me in my corner.