Archive for ◊ January, 2011 ◊

26 Jan 2011 Life’s Tapestry
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It’s amazing that an entire year has passed since I started this project.  And even more amazing how much my life has changed in that same short period of time.  I thought at the one year point of this project perhaps I should look back and evaluate how this project impacted me.

BATHING-BY-CANDLE-LIGHT_php-219x300I very much enjoyed this project.  It was an absolute delight!  It brought so much anticipation, fun, joy, and interest into daily life.  It really reminded me how simple it really is to create your own life experiences.  Life’s pleasure is simply all out there for the taking.  I also think that because of my focus on this I enjoyed opportunities that arose more than I perhaps would have otherwise.  I set my intention to be in the present, enjoying all life had to offer & experienced each opportunity with exquisite sensitivity.  I may just continue and keep an evolving Intentional Living list in my purse & even if I don’t continue with making such an intentional focus on life’s pleasures I think I will continue to experience all of life’s pleasures more deeply and richly because of this project.  Perhaps you’d like to create your own list and give it a try?  If you do, I would love to hear about your experience.  In retrospect, I think in the future my goal will be one activity every 2 – 3 weeks or perhaps once a month.  Weekly was a little aggressive to try to plan and work into all the rest life has to offer.  That timetable was probably a piece of why I ended up needing to take a break from it towards the end when life got really busy on it’s own.

I think the most interesting thing I learned and experienced was in the time I wasn’t doing the project.  Pretty interesting.   I started this Intention Living Project as a means to actively create fun, adventure, memories, experiences in my daily life.  To not wait for life to spice itself up, but to enrich my life myself.  Life can get pretty routine, and as I said in my intro to this project, “It occurred to me that I wanted to make choices in my everyday life that bring me more happiness, peace and beauty. Each activity, each experience is one of the threads that tell my life’s story.  It is up to me to choose the experiences that enrich my life. It is up to me to design the tapestry of my life.”

road-trip-300x179So I embarked on this project and each week I did something from my “list”, but was also open to modifying the list when life offered greater opportunities.  That happened many times.  I weekly built experiences into my life for the first 8 months of this project.  In the meantime, as you know, my son moved out of state very unexpectedly.  I was able to incorporate all that this brought to my life into this project.  Then in August I took on a full time job at Cleveland Clinic in addition to running my business.  Life got pretty hectic at that point.  I also spent a few months just ‘reorganizing’ my life.  I had to change nearly every routine I had so it took some time and focus to get a new groove going. 

Shortly after I started the job we also began what I lovingly refer to a “house refreshing” project.  When Matt moved we gave him a lot of household items as well as all the furniture in his bedroom.  We decided to repurpose his room.  We painted the room and pulled in furniture & other items from all over the house.  This created new room in other places in the house and created a domino effect of painting and reorganizing every room of the house.  During this process I also purged all the closets, cupboards, dressers, etc in each room.  It feels GREAT!  It feels like we moved into a new home, without all that expense and hassle.

At the same time we also needed to do some repair work of the outside front step.  We replaced it with a paver step and walkway and also resided the house.  We will finalize our landscaping in the spring and we will be entirely refreshed inside and out.  Yes!  Tho with the notable exception of the basement which I need to still tackle.

patrickWith all this going on this fall there wasn’t time, energy, or need to work the Intentional Living project.  But not keeping my commitment to the project was weighing on me as each week passed that I didn’t do the project.  Once I make a commitment, I keep it.  And even tho this commitment was only to myself, it was a commitment none the less.  At first I was pushing myself to keep up with it since I made the commitment, but then realized I just needed to be gentle.  So much change this year between Matt’s move, the new job, & the house “refreshing”.  This project was about bringing interest to daily life to keep the spark & life was bringing plenty of sparkle and newness.  I just needed to let things settle.  I decided to be gentle with myself and knew that if/when it was time to restart/finish up, I would know.  

So one of my big lessons with this project was a very active lesson in remembering to be gentle with myself and to stay in the flow of life.  When we go against the flow, life hurts.  There was no need for life to hurt.  This was all meant to be fun!

The year in review

Top 3 Soul Enriching Activities:
1.       Sharing Matt’s first night at his first house
2.       Visiting a roadside memorial & watching the Taking Chance movie
3.       Starting anew at 25 years, including the new dishes/pots & pans the house ‘refreshing”

Top 3 Plain Old Fun:IMAG0211[1]
1.       Trying blonde hair
2.       Trying on hats
3.       Secretly paying for the prom couples dinner

Top 3 Simple to Do:
1.       Learning some sign language
2.       The entire bubble bath sensory experience
3.       Playing in the rain

Top 3 Free Things to Do:
1.       Watching the Summer Rain
2.       Outdoor Movie Night
3.       Stargazing

Top 3 I’d Do Again:
1.       Ashiatsu oriental massage
2.       Change my hair fact, I just keep changing it. It’s got copper highlights for the winter.
3.      Give unexpected gifts.  I didn’t blog about this but this year several times I surprised different people by sending them unexpected gifts.  It is such a soul-filling thing.  I probably get more out of it than the recipients.  A friend from high school read my blog about coloring and posted that coloring is one of her favorite activities.  She is experiencing some health problems so I thought a surprise might bring her some cheer.  I sent her some coloring books and crayons.  A week later or so she mailed me back a thank you card that included a colored page from the book.  I have that page framed in my office.    

Top 3 that Changed Me:
1.       Visiting a roadside memorial & watching the Taking Chance movie
2.       Not doing the Project/Blog when it wasn’t the right time, despite my commitment to it
3.       Purging and reorganizing the entire house, creating an entire new energy and home experience.

All time #1 experience:  Spending 3 weeks with Matt helping him find housing, moving in, cleaning, organizing, and especially that very first night with him at his new home.  I’ll remember it all forever. 

One day I was emailing with a good friend and we were talking about the project and blog.  He said, “You take a break if you need too, your blog is packed already with “a breath of fresh air” sort of stuff to last for a long while.  It takes a fun look at randomly seizing the moment with the sole purpose of appreciating life and the people we know and love and those we come into contact with day to day.”

Wow.  He summed it all up better than I ever had.  What a generous comment and one I took to heart.  If this project has helped others appreciate life in some small way, I am grateful that my project has been able to touch others lives while it reshaped my own.

Life is beginning to settle down now and so I may get to picking away at that list again.  Salsa lessons here I come:)