One Thing Today

Christina's flickerings: a niched blog which may even have a purpose.


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Allotment dreams

I have a beautiful image of a lifestyle I want implanted in my mind’s eye. It has had enduring appeal for much of the day. I’d like to share it with you.

An allotment, where I sew seeds and harvest food, according to the season, organic vegetables and fruit, which feed myself and my family. I am wearing clogs, overalls and a big beautiful hat, and yes, you guessed it, I have arrived at the allotment on my elegant bicycle, complete with detachable woven basket. I duly unfasten it and peruse my bountiful winter garden picking fresh salad leaves and spinach for lunch, then pumpkin, celery and carrots for tonight’s soup. I can taste it already, a touch of turmeric and garlicky croutons.

I am not as far off this fantasy life as you may think. This morning I walked down the road in the rain to watch the fenced off chickens running around in the open field, the cockerel crowed beautifully, chiming my morning into existence. I love where I live, it’s a village in the country but I commute into the city for work.

Potentially I could buy a small allotment and grow my own produce and have a couple of chickens even. It wouldn’t be much of a time commitment really. A few books and a few Sundays preparing the soil and I’d be ready to go. Gardening is good for the soul. It could be my meditation time as I grow older. Clearing the weeds, feeling alarmed by the slugs and snails that will inevitably appear. Finding natural antidotes to yeasts and things that destroy crops. Finding out that the soil I have is rich in minerals, that the sun radiates upon the plot all year round and watching the seeds I have planted sprout up in perfect harmony. My daughter could get involved, learn all about plants, something her mother, a born and bred Londoner was never able to explore.

In the meantime I will follow my one thing a day philosophy, rather than feel overwhelmed and defeated by the difficulty of turning this daydream into a reality (I am not a cynic it’s just I am experiencing increasingly more difficulty washing the dishes and keeping the bathroom clean – darling husband has been dutifully attending to our home lately). So, in the meantime, by the end of the week perhaps, I plan to install and begin growing salad. Fresh, crisp, always appetizing salad (especially when lavished in lemon, capers and olive oil). I have some pots, I know where to get some organic seeds, and my friend the green grocer always sells soil and dispatches ever helpful gardening advice.


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New Year Faux Pas Post

The faux pas is….beginning this year’s blogging adventure with anything other than an overly optimistic exposition of my intentions for the year….but the truth is in December I made no lists, did no sweeping reviews, made no resolutions. I had some worthy ideas about projects I’d like to explore and places I want to go but that’s it. No grand gestures, glasses brimming with optimism or heartfelt pledges. I am favoring simplicity for 2015 and although I am feeling subtly hopeful, in a way only January can do to you, I am, for the first time, not results driven about my plans for this new year. How is it working out? Judge for yourself, my first post follows.

I hope to bring some much needed stamina to 2015, so that I will be able to grow from this place.

The year has began with unexpected silence. I have felt the need to withdraw and nurture my heart. I don’t know why this makes sense but it does. I have been feeling breathless and in need of love and care. I am learning and remembering how to do this for myself. It is not easy. Old wounds re-surface, stories I tell myself to heal need re-telling and allowing the moment to be, without expectation or obvious momentum. Letting go of the need to impress others, embracing my need to be alone and then if I want to, connecting and sharing with others but in a selective and sincere way. Feeling fear, understanding that it is capable of ruining a perfectly joyful experience. Working through the fear as a meticulous artist would, gaining understanding as the grip of negative thoughts loosens and worrying dispels, to be replaced by strength and peace.


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Hygge and Wabi-sabi

Hygge

Danish. Noun (uncountable). Pronounced “heu-gah”

The art of building sanctuary. Inviting into our homes and hearts that which makes us experience comfort and belonging to others. Feelings of gentleness and soothing tranquility. The absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming. Nourishment on a cold dark night by filling the home with candles and rugs and blankets and sitting around an fireplace sharing food and stillness with your tribe of wanderers and wonderers.

Wabi –sabi

Wabisabi (侘寂) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. It is a characteristic feature of Japanese ideals of beauty, and holds a sacred court much in the same way the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection do in the West.

“If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.” – Juniper, Andrew

Sources: mishmash but check out this and this for more info.


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Gentle with my failures

The last couple of months signaled change. I began a detox – adhered to it for most of May. Working full-time, mothering, partnering, surviving. I also had a big event to plan. I quickly realized I had piled on too much. A strange reaction but I quickly began to retox. Ate meat again, began smoking and had a few drinks to smooth the ride (habits I had left behind a few years ago). Emotionally I quickly guilt-tripped and fed my anxiety. Tearfulness, exhaustion and fragility abounded.

The past couple of weeks I have been steadily gaining momentum again, trying to understand my reactions and needs. Its hard work but I know it is a time of rapid self-growth, deeper into my character and failures. I am afraid of failure, exposure and dysfunction so it is quite a difficult time for me.

However for a change I am being gentle with myself. Decided not to use the whip but to softly nurture my hurt self, sense of awareness and drifting consciousness. Steer myself back to shore as a mother should, by observing, waiting and cajoling when needed.


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Making the competition disconnect

Letting go of the impulse for competition.
Why? To stop jealousy in its tracks.
Why? Because jealousy is a destructive emotion. It kills friendships and stunts creativity, generosity and growth. It is about as toxic as they come.

Being inspired and threatened at the same time by others’ successes. This happens to me all the time. When I read a blog with stunning images and perfect writing. When I meet with friends with a better sense of style or more money, better careers..… the list goes on.

Of course in that moment I am judging myself as inadequate, not experiencing gratefulness, self-worth.

In that sentiment of greed, envy and competition I am small.
I could instead be great.

Perhaps I could be enjoying the wealth that comes from celebrating others; with well-wishes for them and their endeavors. I could instead be finding my humility in that moment. Resting in the knowledge that there is excellence around me. Instead I am guilty of not feeling good about their achievements. Ashamed at my ‘instincts’ to appropriate their gifts for myself, even if what they have is not something I have ever actively pursued.

Yet comparing yourself, it is so alluring….right? We all do it…. are you doing it right now?

It seems to me that in today’s decaying worldview, we have induced competition as a way of being, as a good way of reaching our goals. At least that is what we are taught it is useful for. That this impulse: to be the best, to be better, to do it first. This is what success is made of.

But what if that is actually not true? If I imagine a situation where I am not in the slightest competitive but open to striving and achievements and listening to myself, my truth, discovering what changes I need to make in my life the when and the how. Discovering what I need and what I have to offer others.

Doesn’t this type of motivation make for more solid foundations and authentic actions, from which results cannot help but be better, best, first, because they are from a place of authenticity and newness and genuineness. Of course we need to change our discourse entirely were this to ever happen. Words like better, best, first, would evolve past competition.

In this new discourse I can imagine I will be very happy. I am not trying to emulate anybody or taking from some limited resource of inspiration, style, ideas. I am grounded and generous. I have made the competition disconnect.


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The alter ego as an artistic tool

Is this a useful tool for an artist?

I guess as a performer it would be. I have heard diva’s utilize this all the time to get over stage fright. It makes sense.

What about in other artistic realms. As a writer? I always think of sincerity leading the way but perhaps it could be useful if adapted to a writer’s needs.

Sometimes a writer needs to perform too, take on another role in order to understand a character deeply. Here we employ an alter ego, observer if you will. We have given our observer certain magical powers, like being all-seeing.

What about our writer’s voice. Sometimes it needs something, an edge to shift our writing to the next level. Here an inner diva, a provocateur, might be useful. Think of all the writers this ‘personality’ works for. Add a bit of bitchiness, sparkle, attitude to your writer’s voice. A word of warning however – make sure you do your research and own it, readers can smell fake a mile off.


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Days like this

Its dreary, I am grey. There is only space for taking inspiration from others. Music and literature might get me out of the woods. I am in my head, I am not going anywhere, I am sitting in this rut and not sure I care that my wet clothes are sticking to my skin – will the cold catch me?

Do I have gifts? What should I do with them? There is no space for words today. They have gone to another place. I am emptying of them, my muse is having a clear out. Even she is fed up of me.

Where is the beauty today? I want to take to the open road with nothing and just drive till I stop. No destination, no map. Open road searching for me….my muse, my God. I want my baby with my – she is the best company a girl could have. I will teach her to sing.

 It is not easy to be sincere to your inner voice, your vision, the empowerment of yourself. It takes work. A couple of days off duty and you are lost down the garden path. Lost in other people’s dreams, outdated ideals and comfortable excuses.

Frustration beckons you home – if you listen you might make your way out but it’s a maze. Hold on, be kind, breathe. Now close your eyes and remember. Who is she? Listen. What do you hear? Silence. Wonderful you are halfway there.

Listen deeper. It is your heart beating. Do you hear that? It’s beautiful.

This is the problem with low self-esteem, you have to dig deep. But when you find your worth, you really love it, treasure it. Like a baby take care of her. Love and comfort her, speak soothing words until the night passes.