Monday, February 28, 2011

On the Road Again (or as I know it - In the Air Again)

Winter is my travel time for work.  Three shows in two months - meetings with vendors - miles of convention show floors - wheeling and dealing for the catalog.  I like the total focus on one thing to be accomplished and then the quiet evenings in the room to read, write and stitch.  Recharges my batteries.

Snow played havoc with plane travel this year.  I never heard of so many serious storms - ones which disrupted thousands of flights (mine included at both California shows).  It make me wonder what we will be facing in upcoming years as the weather becomes more erratic and intense. The snow on our deck is creeping up towards the top of the railing and is near impossible to remove as rain thickens its coat only to freeze again.  We will have to wait for the slow spring melt.

British Airways whisked me to London last week for the Stitches Show without incident.  After two west coast trips in four weeks, this trip was a quick hop-skip over the water.  Two and a half movies later (would finish Eat, Pray, Love up on the return trip) and I was in a cab in rainy London heading for the hotel.

Thank you, Travelzoo!  The Tower deal was amazing and the view from my 7th floor window was the Tower Bridge in all its glory.  What a sight.  It didn't matter that it rained the entire trip although I would have loved to feel the sun on my face just once.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Profound Inspiration

It is impossible to anticipate when inspiration will strike and a resounding a-ha will escape to echo around my realm.  The reverberations flow like the tide catching facets of other elements buried deep in my mind. 

I suppose no one thing can be that impetus but rather a chain of influences and circumstances sets one up for change.  Mine has been a desire to simplify and stop the rattling in my brain from a thousand things to do so that I can enjoy the here and now.  I have not consciously gone in search of remedies but they have come to me nonetheless.  At this stage of my life when sixty is on the not-to-distant horizon, I find myself looking inward for joy and contentment.  I also find that there are many external things which hamper that desire.

I know it began at Patrick's house in southern France.  A serenity pervades the place and the four of us were content to revel in its pleasures rather than scurry all around the countryside following a tour book's recommendations.  Writing in my journal (as did Kathy and Marty) was a contemplation born of the aura around us and the uniqueness of the experience of being in this particular place at this particular time.  None of us walked away unchanged.

When Karen lent me 'Choosing Simpicity' by Linda Breen Pierce a few weeks ago, I had no idea that it would show me through others the complexities in my life which were making it impossible to feel content.  I see my heart's desire and there will be much pleasure in the quest.

Her book is a result of the simplicity study she conducted by interviewing people who had simplified their lives.  From all walks of life, with many methods of simplifying and diverse impressions of their past and present lives, I saw so clearly how I waste my energy and what I could do to make this latter stage of my life into a more enriching one.

Just as I rowed my first canoe toward open water this summer, mastered its balance, even in rough currents, and shouldered its weight on dry land, I am excited to find my joy and contentment in simplicity.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Embracing Simplicity

A Teacup by Jennifer Orkin Lewis
 A curious thing has been happening to me over the past few years.  I find that I am becoming increasingly bothered by clutter.  Not craft-stash-clutter, but life clutter.  Habit clutter, responsibility clutter, people who wear me down, inane TV shows - there are quite a few things I have been drawn to assess in favor of peace and contentment.

As my bones creak and stamina declines (what is with that?), I have a strong desire to move past the habitual to-do's.  Why waste my reserves on something I don't really like in the first place?  There are a plethora of ideas in my pocket just waiting to take me on a proverbial road trip of pleasure.  Ahhh, but where is the time?  It is right where I left it, only it was taken up by things totally unnecessary and usually involving procrastination.

Things.  Stuff.  Collections.  The stuff in my world is distracting and overwhelms my mind whether I am in their proximity or not.  I have never considered myself a person who collects for the sake of collecting, thank goodness, but that hasn't stopped me from amassing a nice set of cookbooks (a shelf's worth of which have gone unopened for many years), a fair number of Longaberger baskets (some of which are packed away under the eaves upstairs), and a drawerful of dog toys, only two of which Bailey actually likes to play with.  Purge - donate - eBay!

My scheme has picked up steam as more and more time is freed up.  My mind is happier, too. This is amazing. Also, I find that I am doing things more slowly, savoring the experiences, listening intently to friends and approaching more aspects of my life with a single-mindedness that is rewarding.  The more I simplify, the more I gain in fulfillment.  Nice.