Although it’s a dark, rainy morning where I live, the weather hasn’t affected my mood. I woke up to a little trickle of dim light coming through the bedroom shades, but feeling like things were going pretty well anyway. Wishing a great day to my readers too!

Word-art that says "A great attitude becomes a great mood, which becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life." -Zig Ziglar

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.

Two women who row with a different club kindly helped my husband and me with our boats and oars at a regatta recently, when we didn’t have anyone else from our own club there, and we were in a big rush because our single and double races were scheduled very close together.

We decided to buy gift baskets to show our appreciation, with apples and other fruit, which we gave to them when we saw them again at another regatta this past weekend.

While I was sitting at my desk on a workday morning, with gift baskets and other cheerful things on my mind, I heard a sad little voice in my thoughts, far away in the distance.

“I was in pain for a long time.”

The voice definitely belonged to Queenie, my troubled younger self who had been wandering around in my thoughts for the past few years, wailing that she was always in pain. Something was different this time, however. I realized after a moment that she was using the past tense, which indicated more emotional distance and capacity for self-reflection. Queenie, it seemed, was finally starting to grow up.

Because I already had gift baskets on my mind, I decided to pop in and visit Queenie in the imaginary village of Channelwood, bringing a virtual basket of goodies with me.

Photo of gift basket wrapped in plastic with purple ribbons.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

It was a chilly autumn night when I arrived. A sliver of moon didn’t give me much light to navigate the narrow little walkway that led to Queenie’s tiny house. I held onto the railing, which was slightly damp, with one hand and the gift basket with the other.

Up ahead, the inviting glow of candlelight seeped through the curtains. I arrived at the door and knocked, feeling just a bit silly about being so formal with a character who, after all, existed only inside my head. Still, considering all of Queenie’s fears and insecurities, I thought it best to respect her personal space.

She came to the door wearing a robe over a nightdress, with her hair wet and tightly braided. Maybe she had been caught outside in the same rain that had left the railing damp. If so, I thought she probably was comfortable by now. A firepot blazed cheerfully in a corner, warming the room, and apple-scented candles in sconces brightened it further.

“Goodies for you,” I said, holding up the basket.

Queenie stepped aside to let me enter. “Thanks. Is today a special occasion?”

I was about to say “Not really,” because it wasn’t a holiday or other notable event on the calendar. Then I thought about it and decided that today really was special because Queenie looked so much better.

“Yes, it’s always special when friends get together and have a good day.”

Queenie had to smile at that. “I’m reminded of Winnie the Pooh.”

“There’s a lot of wisdom in Pooh Bear’s fuzzy little head,” I agreed, standing just inside the door.

“I would offer you a honey jar, but we don’t have any here,” Queenie informed me. “We did find some wild honeybees not far from here, though, and Sara has been thinking that she might take up beekeeping.”

“That’s ambitious of her,” I said. “Don’t worry about offering me any food; I wasn’t planning to stay for very long. I can see that you’re getting ready for bed, and I wouldn’t want to disrupt your evening. I just wanted to wish you a good night.”

As the scene faded and I came back to my present-day life, I still could feel the warmth of Queenie’s cozy little house all around me.

Last weekend I was a bit disappointed with myself because I didn’t row as well in my single race as I would have liked. It was scheduled soon after my husband and I finished our double race, and I didn’t have quite enough energy left for the single. My time was better than last year, but although I tried to put on more speed as I got near the finish line, it was not good enough to earn a medal.

Of course, there are many people who wouldn’t have the endurance to row two 5K races in the same day. Some won’t race a single at all because it takes more effort than rowing in a team boat. So, I shouldn’t have been disappointed. Just to try is pretty good in itself, and there will be other chances to do better.

Word-art that says "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

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.

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.