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July washed out with the waves; August brings serene hope

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Yuki, my husky rescue, both giveth and taketh away my time. But she’s worth it.

Last month in my June/July update, I got comments about my percentages and equating them to a traditional grading system, contending that such an application to My Happiness Project just doesn’t jive, that you can’t grade happiness. However, the percentages, the charts, the lists, it all appeals to the little bit of analytical mind I have. As a creative soul, I own very little of that type of drive (this is where my husband and I balance each other out). The little I do own, therefore, I relish. So, charts, lists, comparisons, and a percentage to create a matrix of my project is a good thing for me. It lets me measure, it lets me see that yes, I am progressing – even if I’m not perfect. But, like I counsel my writers all the time, “perfection is the enemy of good,” and “you want progress not perfection.” Seeking perfection is a happiness killer. I understand that I know that.

 

It’s a good thing I recognize that, because July was a difficult month to reach goals. Financial resources, I’ve learned make it easier to “pay it forward.” With my time sucked with a special-needs child, and just the care and maintenance of my family and home, and trying to maintain outside friendships (which I still feel I’m not so good at), giving any more, I’m finding is hard. It also seems that our Western culture is all about the monetary donations. Donations of time, energy, and counsel are regarded as less than and not sought out – even when that’s what I have to give. Therefore, my Pay It Forward goal was a mere 25 percent. My knee, which has been injured mysteriously this month, kept me from the Pea Patch. I just can’t bend down to weed. My own garden shows this, as well. I fret about the medical bills potentially piling up if it doesn’t heal quickly.

 

I think I have exhausted all ways to save more money and earn more money. Until some kind of solution is found to provide for my special-needs child as he reaches adulthood, I’m stuck doing what I’m doing:  trying to freelance with Creative Word Lab, sneaking in cleaning jobs here and there, selling art on occasion. It’s all I can do. I grow my own food, I stretch food dollars in extreme ways. I turn off this and that to cut down on costs. I even feel like I might have to cancel our BBQ because I just don’t feel well enough or flush enough. But, it was the same last year and I did it anyways. It was alright. I just have to keep telling myself it will be alright. I garnered a mere 25 percent in those two categories as well.

 

Spending on myself has to look different. It means using time resources or energy resources. Instead of sweeping the damn kitchen floor for the second or third time in a day (remember, my dearest Yuki is a husky…), I can read, or give myself a pedicure, or take a walk. I can have coffee with a friend. That’s spending on myself, too. Given a new way to look at “spending” allowed a 54 percent mark on this goal. I was able to purchase one thing for myself, too. An article of clothing for recreation. But, it was mostly about spending time on myself, including our wonderful beach vacation, which was a total Pay It Forward move from friends of ours. If they didn’t have the property, the generosity to invite us — it wouldn’t have happened. Time is priceless, my friends. The whole goal made me realize that I spend an awful lot of time on other people. It’s the nature of being a mother, a spouse, a mentor, and a healing-focused soul. I would like to feel like I’m angry that I don’t spend time on myself every day; but, I’m not. I’m okay with giving. It provides happiness. That’s what this little project is all about, yes?

Just roaming on the beach is such a gift to yourself.
Just roaming on the beach is such a gift to yourself.

 

So here we are, August 3rd. This month is about Spirituality. My goals are:

 

 

New Inspirational Reading

Outdoor Altar set up

New Meditation Practices Investigated

Plan a retreat

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As you can see, I’m kicking butt in August so far. I’m creating my own book of favorite quotes, as inspired by this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:  “Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” One for each day of the month. I’m making plans for a little space in my yard just for my own serenity (aka altar), I’m reading more about Transcendental Meditation, Buddha, and the Zen Masters. I’m investigating a retreat. Initially it was something for my spouse & I to take together, but I’m also wanting a writing retreat. So I’ll be making plans for both. I’m leaning towards going to the AWP conference early next year. It’s pricey, but it’s at the level I need to be with my writing now, plus it’s local, which is a bonus. So AWP it will be. Now to plan and raise the funds for it before the early registration expires. A retreat planned for just my husband and I will present other challenges. Mostly of how it looks like: where, when, how to provide for the kids while we’re gone. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

Well Lammas (first harvest) has come and gone and there’s still more work on the Urban Farm, the WIP manuscript, and preparing for our annual B.A. BBQ. How’s your July/August gone/going? If you could take a retreat, what would it look like? Thanks for reading, pay it forward a bit and leave a comment?

Published inHappiness Project

2 Comments

  1. You could apply at Hedgebrook for a writer’s retreat. They’re taking applications right now.

  2. Even being aware of reaching forward is a great part of progress. You’re doing magnificently! And giving to others can be a fabulous way to give to yourself, as long as you don’t give yourself away. 🙂

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