Tag Archives: mindfulness

chapters

Life seems longer, the more chapters of it I can experience.

-James Altucher, Reinvent Yourself

one thing and nothing else

Today, I sat down and knitted.

Today, the windows were open to a crisp and clear morning. My candle burned a coffee aroma into my house. I was trying to dissipate the smell of the trash I’d taken out. I wasn’t trying to make my home feel romantic and peaceful. That was a happy accident.

Usually, I read while I knit, unless I’m knitting lace.  That requires full attention, so I don’t knit lace much.

Today, I worked on a wide, long cowl made in a simple stockinette stitch with wispy thread-like yarn. It is tedious, boring knitting: just how I like it. It lends itself to doing other things while I knit it.  But today, I watched the colors of the thin thread-yarn shift and felt its cobwebby softness under my fingers. My cat found a comfy spot next to me and we listened to the sounds of our neighborhood together.

Today, I have a million things to do.

But for that moment, I just knitted. Knitted, and nothing else.

Nothing But Knitting

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cultivating attention

 

“Gratitude means believing you have enough. Purpose means believing you are enough….Cultivating gratitude and purpose is no easy feat, which means I have less and less time these days to be consumed with pursuing money.” Liz Forkin Bohannon, “To want what we can’t have,” Darling Magazine, Winter 2015

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Cultivation is such a wonderful word. It evokes images of gardens, of hard work rewarded with bounty and beauty.

cultivate, verb: to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.

Cultivation requires attention, which Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls our “psychic energy.”  He writes in his book, Flow, that attention is our most powerful tool for crafting a quality life experience.

“The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” — Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Paying attention helps us avoid the distractions around us every day. The distractions that tell us we aren’t enough if we don’t follow the agendas of popular culture.

Cultivating gratitude and purpose require labor and attention. We can control this. And in doing, we delight in our lives.

 

making a manifesto

In the 1999 movie The Matrix, the Oracle gives Neo critical advice:  Know Thyself. It’s a scene I come back to over and over to ponder how important it is to dig into ourselves, to comprehend what motivates us at our core, to reflect on whether our lives are aligned with what matters most. Through knowing what he is willing to fight and die for and believing that he is an agent of change, Neo eventually causes a major ruckus that alters the balance of power.
Sure, that’s a bit dramatic, but we can gain focus when we spend time  examining our values.  One way to start is to make a simple “I believe” list (you can find a few other ideas on Alexandra Franzen’s site.)  Here’s my rough-draft list, in case you want to get to know me better.

I believe:

That creativity is the ultimate assertion of existence. It’s how we learn, impact, and grow.

That individually and collectively, our relationship with our food matters: it impacts our health, environment, culture, and economy on both large and local scales.

That handmade is love made. When we take the time and expend the effort to make instead of consume, we shower love on everyone we share with (including ourselves!)

That Nature already has things worked out for us and it’s usually better to work with her system than impose an artificial one we don’t fully understand.

That there is deep power in knowing ourselves. Living in high fidelity with our truth makes us more powerful agents of good in the world.

There is magic and meaning to be found in the everyday.

That a full and healthy life is a holistic endeavor.

That we are part of this world and the world is part of us. We need to preserve the natural spaces we still can.

That when we nourish our health & spirit with grace, we can fully honor our gifts & dreams.

That we’re all trying our best, but that we get distracted. None of us has it figured out, and when we honestly share our stories, we realize we’re all in this together.