It is almost the end of the year and the end of another decade. But for me a new day starts when I wake up, not at midnight. Nothing changes except the time. My memorable time stamps occur during meaningful, personal moments.
January 1 is a work holiday where I get paid to not show up. Cool.
Valentine’s day is a great day for candy and cards but is arbitrary. I prefer to express love for friends and family with time spent, not obligation.
The last Thursday of November is not the time I am most thankful.
I don’t wish for peace on earth and goodwill towards men just within the last week of December.
Forcing these celebrated dates disconnects them from the meaning they are supposed to celebrate. And it’s thoughtless and again an obligation.
I prefer celebrating meaningful time stamps instead of calendar dates.
I slept most of the last weekend of 2019. It was cold, wet and dreary with even a tornado warning for the area. But I did have time to reflect on the benefits and variations of rest.
I remembered that rest can mean different things to different situations including permission to be “unproductive” without guilt, a break from responsibility. Or solitude to recharge. Stillness to decompress. A safe space in bed while the grey skies fall or cozied up in the office chair reading.
Getting permission to not be helpful and then connecting with dead poets and authors.
However we find rest it is essential and beneficial once we take advantage of it without thought or guilt.
Well, you’re in your little room
and you’re working on something good
but if it’s really good
you’re gonna need a bigger room
and when you’re in the bigger room
you might not know what to do
you might have to think of
how you got started
sitting in your little room!
Looks like I’m in the market for a new Polaroid. My current is perhaps too old. The lens is scratched and the lighting is unbalanced.
I expect a little bit of surprises but not to the point where the images are almost unviewable.
Trying out the new black and white 600 film during a photo walk.
F: 600 B&W
December is a cold, dark and depressing-looking month for me here in Oklahoma. I’m expected to maintain a busy schedule at a time when energy levels are low. So I am finding it important to let go over this year’s past burdens. While I’m at it, why not the decade since we’re coming up on the year 2020? When I say burdens I mean past feelings, mistakes, guilt and resentment. So I’m taking some downtime to create a space in my home office by reorganizing and prioritizing. What is essential and what can wait? This space also doubles as a space for mindfulness, contemplation and even silence. This quiet time will be used to reflect this past year and the new year. To work out achievable Groundhog Day resolutions. To plot and scheme words to paper in my writing. To plan and prepare desired photo shoots and projects. This Winter season is for retreat and reflection. So what will it look like?
Not only does this mean reorganizing the office space but organizing my time. I know I can devote at least two hours a day during the work week and even more during the week end to create the space/time I want.
Now I am free to talk to loved ones, walk or hike, practice yoga at home, pray, meditate, journal with pen and paper, journal here, focus on photography techniques, whatever I need to contemplate and reflect on.
So now that I have this space I have to designate this place as sacred. This is devotional time. The idea is to use this sacred time for reflection, gratitude, mindfulness, contemplation, solitude. This is the time in solitude to be replenished and to heal.
This past year I had too many goals and aspirations. Let them go. Stop trying to please everyone or compare myself to others. Let go of resentments, bad judgements and anger. Time to focus on letting go of expecting too much from people and consider them instead. Focus on eliminating procrastination and doubts. How are these affecting me? What can I let go of so I can be free?
Already I feel as if my spirits are lifted. Maybe it doesn’t look so bad outside after all.
Simply walk. The earth is a big place and there is plenty of walking to be done. I belong here. It is who I am. There are many different ways I try to incorporate walking.
I am walking to work more frequently. I would walk up and down the stairs but there is blocked access to most floors. So, I walk around my floor; a lot. I walk to the cubicles, to the beverage stations. Lately I’ve been walking around inside the skywalks to the adjacent buildings.
Mindful walking happens any time and any place I need to think, work out issues or meditate.
Walking with a companion. Talking, sharing, laughing.
Photo walking is huge for me. Combing two passions is to be taken advantage of.
Day hiking takes preparation and is a challenge but worth it.
Extended hiking could include overnight stay in the wild and appreciating the exhaustion of a great day. This also includes a bonus walk by returning.
One roll of film, 36 black & white exposures and one hour to shoot it in. Chasing after light, shadows, textures, shapes and anything else of interest. Memories of a lifetime ago in the high school darkroom came flooding back as I blindly loaded the spent Ilford roll into a spool and tank in the pitch black room. Hand-agitating the negatives for forty minutes was both time consuming and time flew by at the same time. Washing, drying and stretching them out into a contact sheet over the light table and deciding which frames were worthy of enlarging them into prints. The excitement while watching the images appear like magic in the developing solution and the smell of fixer chemicals on my hands as the final images were dried.
I had forgotten this feeling because it had been so long. I promised myself my next visit will be much sooner. I had missed this.
Right around that first hint of cold weather in early November and then the time change I decided I would have to learn to work around the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that typically effects me. Because I currently live in a state where the dormant grass turns yellow and the leafless trees look abandoned and depressing, I have come to terms that there is nothing I can do about it being winter and freezing and to accept it. Except to change myself.
This time of year I can be focusing on enjoyment and appreciation instead of complaining about the cold, the ice and the possible snows. The days are shorter but I can still focus on the things that inspire me, are beneficial and will bring me joy.
Sleep is huge these past few weeks. Bundling up in warm clothes and blankets has been relaxing. I’m reading more and I love the sensation of knowing there are more books that I want to read after the current one. More reflections and contemplation about who I am and what I want to accomplish for myself and for others. Soups are excellent for my cold bones. I’m writing more on my novels and short stories. I’m cataloging my photography archives slowly and deliberately. When possible, take advantage of the warmer days of winter by hiking or photo walking. My birthday was sunny and in the 50’s and don’t think that wasn’t lovely. I’m learning to appreciate the longer, darker hours by noticing the clear sky that cold winter nights bring. They make the stars seem brighter.
I want to be in harmony with the seasons, not the man-made clocks and the concepts of time.
Maybe the idea of winter is something to be enjoyed and not endured?
This shift in my mindset may just be the cure to my SAD.
How can I maximize job satisfaction and enhance employability?
Boost meditation, exercise, diet, sleep (MEDS)
Shift from standard of living towards quality of life
Focus and attention towards those that need it most
Wherever I can
Planet Earth is the best playground with great opportunities