What happens when you take an electronics break…

OK, say maybe this isn’t what happens when YOU take a break from electronics, but it’s what happened when I took my self-imposed 48 hour break from all computers and most social media. I really did quite well in sticking to my promise to myself. I had to look at my phone a few times each day, as I use the Carrot Rewards program to track my steps, and I check in a few times a day to see how close I am to my daily goal. I also responded to a couple of text messages from a friend simply because I hadn’t advised them I was taking this break. All-in-all, I think I pretty much lived up to my goal. What was I able to accomplish with the time normally spent surfing the internet, scrolling through email and messaging people?

I was able to go through some boxes in my home office and find my Reiki information. I haven’t reviewed it all yet, nor have I started practicing again, but I’ve made that first step by simply finding and sorting the information.

Bulletin BoardI moved some artwork and the bulletin board in my home office, allowing me easier access to  the bulletin board, and this encouraged me to do up index cards with research for two of the writing projects I’ve promised myself to focus on this year. The cards indicate the basic timeline of the information I have on these topics, and leads on information I still have to research. Now that I have notes going up there, I may end up flipping the bulletin board the other direction as I seem to be running out of space.

I found out I have an insane number of notebooks on the go but, in my defence, they notebooks.jpgall have a purpose. I have one that I journal in, or did, and plan to write in daily again; one for notes after I meditate; one for ideas for future blog posts; one for information gathered from various doctors after my stroke in 2016 (that would be the “I meant to behave but there were too many other options” one); one for notes from various psychic, card and energy readings I’ve had done over the years;  one with notes from my Reiki training and sessions I’ve completed; one for research on my own life story; one for projects others have asked me to help with; one for notes on a second writing project I’ve tasked myself with this year; and, one for the future. Actually, I have three for the future but two are still packed away somewhere. I just love books and don’t want to search through several for the information I need, I want to know exactly what book I will find it in. The ladies I work with can attest to my need to be organized.

I also took some time to just sit and relax, and in doing so, I discovered this beautiful art Mother Nature leaves on my living room floor at a certain point in the day this time of year.

I’m not generally in my living room at 11am, so when I was on this day, the sun shining through the window provided a pleasant surprise.

I also caught up on some of those jobs we all put off as long as possible, or I do anyway. I cleaned my ovens (I have a double oven) and this is the one time I really wanted to use my computer because I know Google could have shown me how to clean the oven racks faster and easier. I also organized the tools in my hall closet. This “Jan-of-all-trades” needs to keep stuff handy for when her next repair or renovation project pops up and that’s one more job out of the way.

Then the real fun started. I decided to download the remaining pictures on the memory card in my camera, only to find that the spring for the memory card had sprung its last, and the card won’t remain inside. I’ve done my version of McGuyvering; taped the door to the memory card compartment shut and voila!…my digital camera is good-to-go again. It looks like I’ll be using the cord to download pictures from now on.

As my break from electroncs wound to an end, I decided to reward myself for all of this productive work, and picked up a bag of chocolate covered raisins while out shopping. When I poured them into a bowl to put on the end table, I grabbed a couple and popped them into my mouth. What followed involves fruit (the raisins), dental floss, and an unexpected visit to the dentist. But that, is a story for another day.



Taking a break

We all need to take a break once in a while. Whether it be a break from our daily routines; a vacation from work; or a break from relationships in our lives. I have been dealing with a virus, or cold, in my eye since New Year’s Eve…and as a result, I’m taking a 48-hour break from my electronic devices. This causes a problem in that I promised myself, no-one IMG_0020else, that I would post on here every Sunday. In anticipation of trying to live up to this self-imposed deadline and my, also self-imposed break, I’m writing this on my Friday off from work, and will post today. When I get up on Saturday morning, I will not be reaching for my cell phone to check messages or scroll through Facebook. I won’t turn on my PC to pay bills, I’ve taken care of that today, nor will I use it to do additional research. I won’t boot up my laptop to work on this post. I won’t turn on my tablet to read my ebook version of “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff…as much as I want to finish this one. No, for 48 hours I will be reading through notes on the pieces I’m working on, put them in order, make notes on next steps and plan daytrips for additional research needed. I’ll may read more of “What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the hard-copy version, and listen to some relaxing music. I’ll take some time to meditate, which I haven’t given myself the time to do in longer than I care to think about. I may try to find my resources on Reiki and start practicing this again, as I promised my hairdresser this morning. Hell, I may even write a letter. You know, those things we use to get in the mail from friends and family and which have now been replaced by quick little posts on social media. I’ll catch up on the TV shows I’ve recorded, or want to see on Netflix. Some may not agree this is taking a break, but I’m more concerned about the strain on my already sore eyes from electronic devices closer to my face. My TV is up on the wall a good 15′ from where I tend to sit, so I don’t see this as an issue. I also don’t see reading from a book, or my printed and hand-written notes, as a problem as they are not accompanied by the artificial light eminating from electronic devices.

So be warned, if you send me a text, I won’t reply right away. If it’s urgent, those who need to call will, and I’ll answer. I simply will not initiate the use of any of these devices from the time I wake up on Saturday, until after supper on Sunday. My eyes need a break from brightness of the light from these devices and my brain needs a break from the constant streaming of negativity online these days. Sure, I can adjust the light, but that isn’t all this is about. It’s about taking back control of my time. I work all week on a computer, then I come home and spend my evenings messaging, posting, scrolling. When you think about it, how much time in our lives have we handed over to electronics? Again, I don’t mean TV, because that is a whole different issue but it can provide an escape….or background noise when you need a nap. I’m talking about social media, that just draws you in to other people’s drama.

Funny, I’m posting on social media about avoiding social media…ah, the irony of it all!

What’s next?

NotebookIt’s the start of another new year and with that comes my personal need to make some new starts and clear out some old ‘stuff”. I feel compelled to pare down and clear out what isn’t necessary in my life and to do that, I’m starting with my house. My home has never been what one would call cluttered, but I’ve spent the last month or so going through every single room, closet and box and deciding what I’m keeping, and why. As I recently told my daughter, just because something was received as a gift, doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. At some point, that gift may become just another item that needs to be dusted; that needs to moved to make room for something else; or that simply needs to be passed on. I have gifts that I’ve held onto for years upon years, and others that have served their purpose and been passed on to someone who can use or appreciate it within a few months of receipt. In no way does that mean I didn’t appreciate the gift, or the sentiment behind it, I simply feel it has served its purpose with me, and it’s time to pass it on to someone else who will appreciate it.

One of the items I’ve kept for a very long time, is this small wooden cat. During the summer after I completed Grade 5, I went to live with my oldest sister. I recatmained there while attending Grade 6 and this meant I was away from my very best friend, who I’d met on my first day of class at Bright’s Grove Public School in Grade 2. We were determined to maintain the friendship, even though we were living about three hours apart. To do this, we wrote each other weekly. I wish those letters were something I’d kept, but the jabbering of two pre-teen girls wasn’t something I thought I’d ever want to reference again. The cat has followed me since, and held a place of pride on my dresser in each of my bedrooms. While she has lost part of her neck bow along the way, she carries with her the security of friendship I so badly needed when my life was being pulled apart, yet again. That period of my life is one of the writing projects I’ve promised myself I’ll focus on this year. I’m happy to say, the friendship that little cat represents, continues to this day. While my friend has now been the one to move away, the bond forged those many years ago remains just as strong, if not stronger, quite possibly because all we have gone through together. The process of eliminating the unnecessary in my home, has so far resulted in more than four large boxes of donated clothes, ornaments, dishes and other items. Now that Christmas is over with, it has also included the passing on of my 15-year old artificial tree, and a number of ornaments that have no sentimental value to me. It feels good to know that, while I’ve enjoyed and appreciated these items for many years, they are now going to someone who will get many more years of use out of them.  

Part of my process, when promising myself to blog regularly, was to write down possible Blog booktopics for future posts. My nattering away about clearing out my home, was not one of those topics. I guess that’s part of what I enjoy about blogging. Sure, I have topics for the future in the notebook specifically allocated for that…yes, that one with the floppy eared pup on the cover, but generally it’s me taking the time to sit down and let my thoughts out. As a good friend said, reading my blog is like sitting down to have a coffee with me. I hope you’ll continue to join me with your coffee, tea, water, wine…or whatever you might feel is appropriate, as I wander my way through this process and see where it takes me, and us.

Mistakes and Lessons

I’ve always tried to teach my kids that nothing is ever a mistake. When we are faced with a choice, the one we choose is what we feel is right for us at that moment. When we look back and consider that choice a mistake, it really wasn’t, it was a decision we needed to make because there was a lesson we needed to learn by taking that path.

My daughter recently showed me she has learned, and understandIMG_20171225_200034s that message far deeper than I thought. Kate made this adorable octopus for me at a local shop. You may notice that the paint on the right eye isn’t perfect and pools at the bottom, almost like tears building up and ready to fall. My understanding is that the paint dries extremely fast and the lady at the shop told Kate they could fix that. It appears they have a special ‘eraser’ that can wipe off mistakes. Kate declined and said she wanted it left exactly as it was. She told me this story and added, “I wanted it kept that way because it looks like it’s getting ready to cry and that represents the struggles you’ve dealt with over the past couple of years. The other eye is clearer as it looks to the future.”

I then shared, with both of my children, the story behind a walking stick I’d purchased a number of years ago. Many years ago, I’m going to say around 2003, a Native American – Wiccan – psychic woman told me, the moment I stepped into her home, that my Totem was the Bald Eagle. I’ve always remembered this and, after meeting the award winning Ojibwa wood carver Wilmer Nadjiwon at the Toronto Sportsman’s Show somewhere around 2005, I’d felt drawn to his work and wanted to visit his studio in Tobermory to see if I could find a Bald Eagle carving by him that I could actually afford. This visit didn’t take place for many more years, and unfortunately, I was not able to find a Bald Eagle carved by Wilmer, those who know his work will recognize his familiar owl carvings and there were many of those there. However, I did find a walking stick carved by his nephew with a Bald Eagle topper. It was exactly what I’d pictured, and it was in my price range. Sadly, this particular walking stick is not signed and I don’t remember the artists name.

I was taking it to the front of the shop to pay for it, I noticed one eye missing. I could have easily mentioned it, but I didn’t. I wanted it exactly as it was. As I told my sister, who drIMG_20180101_111659ove to the studio with me, it reminded me of my daughter. For those who do not know Kate, she was assessed with Asperger’s Syndrome in her early 20’s. She doesn’t mind me taking about this because we both use it as a teaching tool. The easiest way to explain Asperger’s is to call it high functioning Autism. It’s so much more, but that just makes it easier for people to understand without going into it too far. As I explained to Kate on Christmas morning, it reminded me of her because she sees the world very differently than the rest of us. I’m extremely proud of the steps she’s made to adjust herself to ‘our’ world, and the strength she’s shown in sticking to her guns when she simply chooses to stay true to herself and do what is comfortable for her, whether others understand or not.

I’ve since been gifted with another walking stick, this one a Wilmer Nadjiwon oIMG_20180101_115941riginal, and the head of this one is a Wolf, crying to the moon. I’ve become very drawn to interpreting the animal imagery I have during meditation and, when researching Wolf as a power animal, I very much see this as my son. I won’t go into that further as he is a private person, but I display these two walking sticks in the entry of my home; one allowing things to be seen differently, and one with a strong sense of family, avoiding confrontation but fiercely defending loved ones when necessary.

I hope that people feel that when they enter; the ability to see and respect things from various perspectives, a strong sense of family and loyalty and a non-confrontational atmosphere. Home….