I'm officially introducing myself now - thank you for the fabulous welcome in the last post.
I live near sunny Santa Monica, California, have a job that is a perfect fit for me, a fabulous partner, two kitties, wonderful friends and a little apartment that's stuffed to the gills with books, books and more books (and some other stuff too that's less worth mentioning - you know, furniture, food in the fridge). It sounds perfect, and yet somehow I haven't felt perfect in it - I've gotten so consumed with my professional life that I've somehow forgotten who I am outside of it. And I need to find a little more balance and remember who I used to be. I deserve to have my own life again. And my sweet (and very understanding) fella deserves more than the extra bits of time I have when I'm not working. Somehow in the growing up and getting a career and a grownup life on track I forgot about balance and rest and joy. I knew I needed something more, but I was just too busy to be bothered with spending time on it all. Silly me.
As my blogger profile suggests, I'm staring 30 in the face and while I think numbers are pretty arbitrary things, I also think that since we tend to think of our lives in units of ten, I want moving out of my twenties to feel significant, somehow. I've got just over two weeks left to figure out how, and this is a big piece of it.
I want to turn 30 with a new commitment to building a contemplative, joy-filled life for myself, and I intend to use Vein of Gold to get myself started. I've actually had the book for a couple of years but never really got serious about it, and eventually forgot that it was sitting there on the shelf. I wandered over to this blog at just the right time, and I'm very excited about jumping in and participating.
I don't much believe in signs, but when I opened the book for the first time a couple of days ago, I found these waiting for me! They feel familiar - I know I put them in there, but I have no memory of finding them or why I decided to press them in Vein of Gold. But what an auspicious way to begin!
Over the last year I've also been rediscovering my love of photography, with the help of a fabulous new digital SLR, and it's played a big role in helping me start to reclaim a life for myself outside of my professional one. You'll probably see more photos start to pop up from Artists' Dates (which I've yet to begin) and daily walks. In fact, yesterday I walked at a local park right next to the tiny Santa Monica airport, and enjoyed peeking through the fence to see the planes, as well as examining the textures of the eucalyptus trees that were scattered around the park.
I haven't really decided yet, though, whether I should force myself to leave the camera home when I'm walking. My photographer-self would mourn the lost opportunities, but I don’t know whether I’m more or less attentive to the world around me when I’ve got the camera at the ready. I think the biggest danger is certainly that I’d end up wanting to slow down too much, and my walk would become a staccato meander, only good for taking me from one photo op to the next. I think I can balance the urge out, though. I could make rules for myself – no stopping for more than ten seconds (oh, my), no multiple shots – one chance for each image – and no more than five (or maybe ten?) shots total for the walk. And every shot has to be something new that I hadn’t noticed before when walking. That’s a good discipline for my photography as well as a way to keep my walk authentic. We'll see how it goes.
I don't particularly care for photos of myself (one of the reasons I first got into photography - I could be on the other side of the lens!) but I know I'm supposed to post one as part of my introduction, so I'll share one that shows you my one sustained spiritual practice: snuggling with the kitty.
So far, I've managed to do my Morning pages for three days running, though I was feeling surly about it this morning. Can't tell yet if I'll be able to force myself to keep it up. And today will be my third daily walk. I created my list of "20 things you'd like to have manifest in your life" - I'll post them below. And now I'm tackling the narrative timeline. And it's kicking my butt. I know it's supposed to be hard, but I'm feeling quite overwhelmed at the idea of having to sum up my own life. Partly it's that I have a pretty extensive memory from my early life, and I'm exhausted just trying to put together notes about my childhood. At the moment I'm not feeling inspired to actually write any of it. And I'm not even past age 10 on my notes yet. I might just move right along past it so I can get on to other parts of the book, while I continue plugging away at is as I feel moved to do so. I really don't want my reluctance to focus on the timeline to derail my enthusiasm for the whole process. Are any of the rest of you working on yours yet? What's your experience so far?
20 Things I’d Like to Have Manifest in My Life
1. A regular spiritual practice
2. A sense of balance
3. Reclaim my innate sense of mystery & wonder
4. Comfort in showing my full self to the world
5. Lots of time to explore my photography, just for the joy of it
6. Strengthened connections to friends near & far
7. Start writing again
8. Better health – anemia under control, lots of energy, feel good about my physical self
9. My home to truly feel like home again
10. A contemplative, spiritual “nook” at home
11. Travel, seeing new places, whether big trips (some day) or day trips (today!) – just to get out there on a regular basis and see more of the world
12. More long talks with mom
13. Real progress toward that credential
14. To wake up every morning excited about the day that’s ahead (not still exhausted, not reluctant to start the day, not anxious about what needs to get done)
15. Plenty of time to read for pleasure
16. Feeling on top of things at work, not overloaded and stressed out
17. Much more music & song!
18. Rekindle connection to my younger, more joyful self
19. Get crafty – cultivate beauty on the cheap
20. To strive every day to live up to “My Symphony”