I was watering my houseplants just now, and I started thinking about how much better the world would be if we all took care of ourselves just as regularly. Sometimes when we get busy and neglect ourselves, we don’t have enough awareness and concern regarding our own needs to know that we need more self-nurturing. Maybe we have some idea of how our friends feel, and how our plants look, but we lose track of ourselves. If we put a little more effort into making friends with ourselves, then we wouldn’t end up feeling “wilted” and wondering why we have so little energy left for others.

Word-art that says "It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others." -Dalai Lama

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.

This time of year, it often feels as if the pace of life has speeded up and, sometimes, that there is just too much going on. In the modern world, we do indeed have a lot of assorted obligations and distractions, which can make it hard to keep track of all the details.

What’s good about it, though, is that we also have a lot of choices. We don’t have to stay in one place doing the same things forever. Instead, we can pick and choose among the many possibilities that are open to us, keeping the ones we most enjoy and letting the others go.

Word-art with many inspirational messages, beginning with "This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often."

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.

October 8, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming about zombies. I was walking along a street when it suddenly seemed to tilt upward into a steep hill. All at once, the sunlight looked much brighter, and I got dizzy and began to feel very strange.

Street going up a steep hill.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I knew that meant I had caught the zombie virus, and I was trying to convince my husband not to give up hope. After all, I told him, we didn’t know for sure that everyone who caught the virus always became a zombie, so we shouldn’t assume it. Maybe some people were able to recover; or even if not, it was possible that a cure might be found soon.

Then I started to wake up. Unlike other dreams I’ve written about on this blog, I didn’t have to guess at the meaning of this one because it helpfully told me, just before I was fully awake. “The meaning of this dream,” a voice murmured in the back of my mind, “is to avoid assumptions and leave space for improvement.”

After a while I fell back to sleep and had more dreams, which I can’t remember. As each dream faded, I heard the same voice saying, “Don’t forget—avoid assumptions, leave space for improvement.”

That seemed strange enough in itself, but it got even weirder after I woke up. While I was getting a cup of coffee, the nagging voice in my head made an appearance once more. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before, and I couldn’t guess what was so urgent about the dream’s message.

When it showed up again mid-morning while I was sitting at my desk doing my usual work, I decided that I’d better do something about it. I wrote myself a note in all caps: AVOID ASSUMPTIONS, LEAVE SPACE FOR IMPROVEMENT. Then I put it prominently in the middle of my desk.

“There, subconscious mind, I won’t forget,” I said. “Are you happy now?”

Apparently it was, because I didn’t hear anything more from it after that. I was still left wondering, though, what exactly my nagging subconscious wanted me to do about the mysterious message. It seemed like reasonable advice, but what was so important about keeping it in my thoughts right now?

As far as I knew, there wasn’t anything going on in my life that put me at risk of turning into a zombie in some figurative sense of the word. Sometimes traveling to rowing races on the weekends with my husband left me feeling tired on Mondays, but not to the extent of being zombified, and I didn’t feel that I was making negative assumptions—or at least, none of which I was aware.

But of course, if people knew they were making assumptions, they wouldn’t be doing it. So I concluded that the nagging voice wanted me to watch out for harmful assumptions that might be holding me back from some kind of improvement. While it would have been much easier if my subconscious mind had given me any clues as to what those assumptions were, I suspected it probably thought I’d benefit from reflecting on the question for a while.

Now that the fall season has started for rowing races, my husband and I have been going to regattas on the weekends. On Saturday we rowed in Toledo’s regatta on the Maumee River. It was a lovely day with calm water and excellent weather.

We’ve been there several times, and by now that river is starting to feel comfortable and familiar. It’s very different from just a few years ago, when the race course seemed like a big, scary, dangerous place. When we made the decision to start traveling to regattas as novice rowers, sometimes it felt overwhelming. But as time went by, it naturally got easier.

Word-art that says "The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity." -Amelia Earhart

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.

What’s been on my mind this week is how to avoid stagnation while, at the same time, not getting burdened with too many projects and obligations. And what I keep circling back to is that I need to live authentically and be open to new experiences; all the rest will mostly take care of itself.

Word-art that says "Be strong... Be different... Be you..."

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.

September 26, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

At work this month I’ve been participating in an exercise that was described as a continuous-improvement project and a way to encourage collaboration across workgroups. Teams made up of people from different parts of the company are proposing suggestions for better perks and other ways to improve employee engagement. The presentations will be made on Monday.

For my team’s project, I volunteered to do some research on labor shortage and retention issues, so as to put the topic in perspective. That made very clear why management is concerned about the employee engagement issue. It was quite an eye-opener. I learned that 27 percent of the U.S. workforce quit their jobs in 2018, which is the highest quit rate on record. Meanwhile, retirements also are on the increase: every day, about 10,000 workers of the Boomer generation sail off into the sunset.

Ships under a sunset sky.

Although I had known in general that a labor shortage was developing and that many companies were finding it hard to keep enough workers, I hadn’t fully realized the extent of it until I looked at the statistics.

I suspect management’s real goal with this employee engagement project is to look for ways to keep the workforce happy, or mostly so, without having to raise wages much. That probably won’t get them very far in reducing the number of quits and retirements, but we shall see. Next year ought to be interesting.

Earlier this week I had some old worries pop up. Apparently they needed to work themselves out from wherever they’d gotten lodged in my subconscious.

When I woke up today, I felt much better. It always helps to let those anxieties go, rather than holding onto them and being weighted down forever.

Word-art that says "Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths." -Charles H. Spurgeon

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.

Today I started feeling tired by midafternoon, which wasn’t surprising because I got less sleep than usual as a result of enjoying last night’s moonlight row with my husband, which I wrote about in my previous post.

I made a point of being kind to myself, enjoying my afternoon tea, and not pushing too hard to get everything done. After all, there will always be to-dos in our busy modern lives, but that doesn’t mean they need to leave us frazzled or displace the little things that make us happy.

Word-art that says "Make a list of things that make you happy. Make a list of things you do every day. Compare the lists. Adjust accordingly."

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.

September 12, 2019 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

This week has been unusually hot for September, but that was okay because my husband and I decided to go down to the river last night for a moonlight row. The moon was bright and nearly full, rising above the trees soon after we launched our boat in the twilight. The water was perfectly calm, and although the air was still a bit muggy, it had cooled off enough to be comfortable. It was a lovely evening to be out enjoying nature, and the occasional mosquito didn’t bother me much. On the way back to the dock, our boat bumped a log that we didn’t see in the dark, but no harm was done.

We ate dinner pretty late afterward, but that was okay too. To suit the mood, I put this animation of moonlight over water on the digital art display in my dining room. It automatically repeated on a one-second loop, giving the impression of looking out the window at the river—almost as if we were still there.




I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week too!

Some conversations at work over the past week left me with general feelings of being stuck in a rut and unsure how to get out of it. I often tend to make decisions intuitively, letting things settle into my subconscious mind for background processing until answers emerge. Usually something comes to me before much time has passed; but the what-comes-next question has been on my mind for several years, and it still hasn’t come clear.

So I have decided that from now on, I am not going to allow those cultural expectations about planning in detail for the future to rob me of self-confidence in the present. Rather, to get myself started on the right path, I’ll visualize my near-future self as having an abundance of positive energy, dancing joyfully through a world in which amazing new opportunities can be found everywhere.

Word-art that says "Your life should not be a game of follow the leader. Pave your own path and dance all over it!"

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.