A coworker who enjoys sending upbeat word-art to perk up our team attached this cute cat picture to an email recently, and my first thought was that it would be just right for a Nurturing Thursday post:

Cat picture word-art that says "Kindness is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back." 

When I started writing this entry, though, I wasn’t sure how to relate it to anything I had done this week. My workdays had been pretty quiet, and it didn’t seem like I had given away much kindness or that anything in particular had come back—at least, not that I could think of. Mainly, I’d been trying to get more sleep and to give virtual hugs to my insecure younger self whenever random memories of old mistakes came to mind.

Then I realized that kindness to oneself is central to Nurturing Thursday, so it was just right after all!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My husband always does the mowing, while I am responsible for anything that grows in the yard and is not grass. Planting annual flowers in the spring is fun, but weeding—not so much. It didn’t really bother me at our previous house, which had well-established perennial flowerbeds and very few weeds. When we moved to this house, though, the neighborhood still had several vacant lots, and plenty of thistle seeds and other annoying weeds blew into the yard.

Digging those thistles out of the flowers often left me feeling achy the next day, unlike when I did the easier gardening at the other house. I started to wonder if I was getting sore because I was older. After all, I was turning 40, which had seemed quite far in the future when we were 30 and moved into the previous house. As time went by and I got busier with such things as the kids’ sporting events, I rushed through the weeding, with the mindset that it was a miserable chore and probably would always give me aches and pains.

This year, however, I decided to test the hypothesis that whatever aches I got were caused mainly by too much rushing around, rather than anything to do with my age. I did some weeding on Saturday while my husband mowed the lawn. Instead of rushing through it, I slowed down, taking a little time to walk around and stretch every few minutes. I also alternated weeding with a little pruning, so that I wasn’t in the same position the whole time.

A more leisurely pace didn’t actually take much longer; my husband was putting away the lawnmower at about the same time I finished the weeding. I felt fine afterward and spent a few minutes browsing through and uploading Creative Commons photos to the library for my art display. I particularly liked the photo shown below, entitled “Old Loggers Path.” I’m sure that must mean an old path used by loggers, but it gave me a mental image of a group of brawny guys with gray beards walking along carrying axes.

Loggers' path with sunlight filtering through tall trees.

(Photo credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli)

When I woke up on Sunday morning I wasn’t at all sore. I had to conclude that I would have avoided years of aches from weeding if I’d taken the time to consider possible causes and solutions. It seems simple enough in hindsight, but our culture doesn’t encourage a mindful approach to health. Instead, the prevailing assumption is that the body naturally falls apart as we get older and there’s not much to be done about it.

While it’s certainly true that the body, like a machine, sustains some amount of wear and tear as time passes, I suspect that much of what gets attributed to age is not really inevitable. Sometimes, all that’s needed is to make a few improvements in maintenance.

Now that the weather is warming up, my daughter decided it was time to teach the Labradoodle puppy how to swim. Not so much how to swim, since that’s mainly instinctive, but the survival skill of how to get out of a concrete swimming pool by walking up the steps. He is almost a year old and looks full grown, but he still acts young and is nervous around water. She put him in the shallow water across from the steps, walked around to the steps, and called him while holding out a treat.

He didn’t quite get the concept, though. He was so afraid of the pool that he just stood up on his hind legs, put his paws on the side, and stood there looking like he desperately wanted someone to rescue him. After a while, he did manage to find his way onto the bottom step, but he didn’t seem to understand that he could walk up and out of the pool; so he’ll have to try again another time.

Often it’s like that with many things in life. We feel stuck in a situation that we don’t know how to get out of, we keep trying the same approach that didn’t work—and after a while, we figure out how to walk away.

Word-art that says: When life puts you in tough situations, don't say "Why me?" say "Try me!" 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

May 6, 2018 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a curious dream last night in which I was traveling. I stayed at a house that was supposed to have a magical Fountain of Youth nearby. Although I heard water splashing and birds chirping, I couldn’t seem to find my way out of the house to discover the fountain.

Fountain in a garden pond.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

The house was big and untidy, with pet food spilled on a tile floor. After I saw that mess, I felt that I needed to take a bath; but when I found the bathtub it was dirty, with random junk all around it. I started cleaning the tub and was still scrubbing busily away when I woke up.

Perhaps not by coincidence, I’d had plenty of sleep for the past three nights. When I got out of bed and saw my face in the mirror, I looked young and refreshed. The physical function of sleep is, of course, to clean up the “junk” that accumulates in the brain and body while awake.

So I believe it would be fair to interpret the dream as a gentle reminder from my subconscious about the importance of getting enough sleep. Being well rested may not literally be a magical Fountain of Youth, but it does go a long way toward feeling healthier!

May 3, 2018 · 7 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

The past week was busy and fun; I got outdoors a lot and enjoyed the warm weather, which finally seems to have made up its mind that it wants to be spring rather than winter. But earlier today, when I was wondering what to write for a Nurturing Thursday post, nothing popped into my thoughts. I felt frustrated, and I asked myself: Had my creativity wandered off somewhere to play, too?

Then I realized it was just silly to worry about such things. It seems to be part of our culture that even when life is going well, sometimes we catch ourselves feeling—just as a matter of habit—like we ought to push ourselves to do more. But of course, happiness doesn’t really depend on how much we get done or how many people like what we do; it’s mainly about being comfortable with ourselves.

Word-art that says "Happiness depends upon ourselves." -Aristotle 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.