A little yarn…

yarn skein

Sometimes the most mundane of experiences has a way of crystallizing a larger thought.

Recently i needed to purchase new contact lenses with an updated prescription.

Bear with me, this does get more interesting than that…

I’d become accustomed to seeing gradually less well with the older prescription, but after a recent eye exam i began to really look forward to seeing better again.

The new contacts arrived in time for me to pop them in on a special day — for an annual family gathering. The moment they were in, however, it was obvious the prescription was wildly off; they were completely unusable.

Checking over the paperwork from both the eye care provider and the online business i’d purchased from, i couldn’t immediately find an explanation. I set it all aside and went to the picnic wearing the old contacts.

Seeing a bit less well that day was insignificant, but the irritability and sense of defeat i felt over the conundrum wasn’t. I usually prefer to confront such problems as they arise — because i usually feel capable of getting it figured out.

But in this instance i felt uncharacteristically stymied and (therefore) upset about how to resolve something that shouldn’t be a big deal. To me, this was clearly attributable to the depletion that comes with the wellness challenges i’ve written about before.

Also attributable to those challenges is the infrequency of my posting here. So many subjects i’m looking forward to writing about, so little ‘productivity.’ In the meantime, i often struggle just to stay on top of routine written correspondence with faraway friends.

As i wrote in my post this past spring, there has been improvement as far as settledness and acceptance. Finding balance has involved staying as physically active as reasonably possible, in combination with giving attention to when rest is best.

Among my attempts at relaxation, i recently returned to the craft of crocheting that i learned as a little girl, and have been finding it pleasantly therapeutic.

The yarn comes in a bundle and i like to pull out several feet of it ahead of time to reduce the resistance between that skein and the hook. I notice that if i loosen too much of it in advance, though, the slack yarn tends to knot up, defeating my purpose of making the drawing of the yarn easier.

Now, that may sound like an irrelevant tangent, but hold on — here’s where i tie it back around to the contact lens incident…

While i wanted to get to the bottom of the lenses quandary immediately, my mental and emotional energy were such that it had to be set aside.

I had to accept that things have changed, and that i couldn’t just charge in and unbundle the proximate tension coming from this minor wrinkle before moving on to the next thing in my day. I needed a more capable frame of mind, or i might have tangled myself up worse.

So the thought i started out with above that needed crystallizing is that as i look for big-picture balance, it’s helpful to be attuned to timing and energy in the small things.

Sometimes a problem is best tackled as soon as it presents itself.

But sometimes wisdom says to wait — and sometimes waiting is imposed on us. Either way, the mental task is to let go for the time being.

A few days after the initial lens prescription bafflement, i was able to discover what went wrong with the order and to resolve the issue with two simple phone calls.

The new, correct contacts arrived today. I’m seeing lots of things a little more clearly now.

Things spring brings…

spring flowers

Tired of being tricked, the spring flowers on this bright and breezy Wisconsin morning seem to be turning toward the sun and asking, “You mean it this time?”

Or maybe that’s me asking.

As is typical in these parts, spring announced itself early with some pleasant warm days, then taunted us with a few chilly snaps before agreeing to stay for good.  

Nature’s spring tantalizing sent me looking for a prior spring-themed post i’d written. I was surprised to find — in the way that the passing of time is nearly always surprising — that it has already been three years since that post (It’s the Thaw That Counts).

I was also startled at the contrast between that spring’s perspective and this one’s. That one had come during a period when i was still dealing with repercussions of a life-altering personal crisis.

As pleasant as today’s gentle breeze is, even more so is this reminder of how far behind me that particular storm is.

As i’ve said in the context of other transitions, for me one of the most important factors of confronting any challenging experience is determining to do so with complete honesty.

Continue reading

The Side Door…

Time for another short fable, for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

It’s been a while since i’ve done one of these. (See previous ones under Allegory.) I find that the brevity and symbolism have a unique way of getting at something i’m feeling or experiencing.

Most times when i write these, i have an interpretation in mind, although some meanings come about in the process that i didn’t consider at the outset. (This one began with the first few lines given as a writing exercise, but soon took on a life of its own. Alternate title: Beyond Doubt.)

Please do let me know ideas or meanings that come to you from this story. I also invite you to write your own continuations of the story in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading.

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wooden-door-open_19-97664

The Side Door

Out for her daily walk, lovely Dubia blinked twice and looked again. Could it be?… Yes, definitely, it was Paul — walking toward her. It had been several years since their last contact. Her hands trembled as she drew her jacket tighter against the cold wind. What was he doing here?

Here on the boardwalk along the river, where she had long ago tried in vain to connect with Paul, the odorless cold now hinted at the coming snow storm.

The present light dusting had not yet made her steps uncertain, but would soon.

Away from the elements and close to her body, she carried a shivering kitten. Pausing momentarily to unbutton her jacket, she reached in and reassured the tiny creature, then bundled up tightly again to protect them both from the bluster as she strolled.   

Fishing shanties dotted one side of the wood-plank walkway. On the other was the river, lined with idle fishing boats waiting for their owners to take them to their winter storage places.

Most of the diminutive old buildings had been restored, now housing cafes and other shops. Just past midday, the clinking of cafe dishes paired pleasantly with the muffled clanking of chains that moored the few remaining vessels.

Just one shanty was shabby and still, apparently abandoned. The door facing the walkway was padlocked, but there was a side door someone had left ajar.    Continue reading

Celebrating all relationships…

“A true soulmate is a mirror, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”

(Elizabeth Gilbert)

I would add that any healthy relationship can provide a mirror that reflects as well the best of who we already are. Attention to both — to our underlying dignity, and to areas where we could become our better selves — can arouse in us the desire for personal growth.

heart cat tails

Nourishing hope…

“Hope is not a feeling of certainty that everything ends well. Hope is just a feeling that life and work have meaning…

…Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity.”

(Vaclav Havel) 

sunbeams thru clouds

Solo piano concerto for a new year…

I have this mental picture of a concert pianist about to set hands to keys… pin-drop quiet in the hall… adjusting the seat… lightly shaking the arms… digits hovered over the blacks and whites… the momentary pause to focus before the first note… And then flows the masterpiece!

Approaching my writing keyboard is nothing like that, of course. False starts, discordant notes and incomplete thoughts are what the writing process is composed of.

At a time when the calendar bellows at us that it’s time for a fresh start, many of us are reviewing the raw material of our past year, which perhaps is also characterized by false starts and discordant notes, and attempting to summon meaning and renewed purpose from it all.

For me, a repeating motif of this past year has been the occasions for tears. But wait — before you write me off as a downer, allow me to remind that tears flow in both joys and sorrows. Indeed, both are often mixed in the same tears.   Continue reading