gratitude #7/10

Neighbours, today I am grateful for my lovely neighbours. Yesterday I was feeling a little low – I had taken a week’s leave to get the garden sorted, and a big list of projects to complete. Six days later I realised that despite having worked really hard and being exhausted, I was not going to get it all done. Then the ladies from across the road popped by and one told me she was glad someone was giving the house some attention and the other gave me some empathy for the overwhelm I was feeling. She also shared her plans for her garden. So I got some acknowledgement, appreciation, shared reality and connection. I am feeling re-inspired today 🙂

Two mandalas in my front yard planted with a mandarine & mulberry and veggies under the mulch

gratitude #6/10

crested pigeon, minnippi parklands
Crested pigeon, Melanie J Cook. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Yesterday, on my third day of leave I sat in the long grass, in the shade of our callistemon and right next to the new chook run my daughter and I made the day before. I was exhausted from an hour’s digging, so I sat very still and quiet for a while. Still enough and for long enough to be approached by a pair of usually timid crested pigeons. They hopped, one at a time onto the chooks water container and had a little sip of water, just a hand’s breadth from me.

When I was young I thought these birds were drab beyond belief – just grey and beige and a few black stripes. Yesterday, I got to see them close enough to notice that their stripes are iridescent, purple and green flashing in the sun. The beige is like a blush shawl, dusted gently over the shoulders. These little birds are also delightfully dainty, especially when sitting among my fat hens.

I am grateful today for the beauty in the ordinary and for having taken the time to notice.

Thank you also Melanie J Cook for the beautiful photo.

 

gratitude #5/10

I’m grateful for writing today, for reading, for writing, for literacy. I’m glad I can get my thoughts and feelings out on paper, or on my screen, to be fully explored and expressed. I love the sense of relief and satisfaction when I have something satisfactorily writ down.

I’m glad to read the thoughts and feelings of others, for a sense of shared reality. I love the sense of quiet and contemplation that can flow easily into a written conversation when all participants take a little time to reflect and go a little deeper than may happen in the spoken world.

I love reading and writing beautiful things, opening little windows and exposing the word in it’s raw, wild, unfathomable beauty. I love poetry.

I love the practicality of writing a list, a note, a memo or email, jotting it down into the external drive, so I don’t need to endlessly toss it around in my mind. The freedom and release of letting that go!

I do wish my handwriting was a little more legible though 🙂

gratitude #2/10

I am grateful for water today. I am grateful for the beautiful clean water that comes fresh from the tap, for having all the water I need to drink, cook, bathe, clean, and keep my garden going through this winter heat wave.
I am grateful for the rain, washing the sky clean of dust and smog, for the sweet smell of the rain, and for the wild music of the rain on my tin roof, and for the drama of the storm. I am grateful for the rain, for the promise of rain and for the memory of it too.
I am grateful for our river, the Bremer, that despite being clogged with rubble and debris and silt from reckless developers and harried farmers, she keeps flowing, serene to the sea. I am grateful for her beauty, and for the breezes she cools.
And I am grateful for the seas, the wild oceans, our wild mother oceans which nurtured all life… may they never be tamed! And I am grateful for the slap and sting of salt water on my bare skin which reminds me that I am here now and I’d best pay attention.
I am grateful for water today.

gratitude #1/10

This morning, on this first day of gratitude, I am grateful for my breath.
In and out and up she rises.
And falls.
For a moment loving and nourishing me alone
and then leaving,
just for a moment
before returning replenished.
My breath, connecting me to all things.
My breath connects me to the earth and the rich warm smell of the earth, to rain and to the possibility of rain, to my neighbour’s bonfire, and to the other neighbours’ dogs. To little birds, to people everywhere, to the mighty old trees crowding the sky down by the river.
In and out, here now and gone again and here, now and now and now,
my breath, your breath,
here now.

ten things to remind me i am wealthy even when i don’t feel it

  1. running out of tea bags and choosing from three varieties of loose leaf
  2. cleaning my false tooth
  3. driving the little old car – that i fully own – to work. Or walking. Or catching the bus
  4. paying rates
  5. having plenty to throw out on pick up day
  6. having time to drink a cup of tea every morning
  7. having to move stuff aside to find something in the fridge
  8. having a garden full of flowers in a neighbourhood full of flowers
  9. being asked to grab something from the tallest shelf
  10. walking around my neighbourhood even on dark evenings

living nonviolently in an old house that could use a few renovations that we can’t afford just yet.

20160131_070123 (1)Our house is pretty old, for Queensland. It is 120 years old, but it’s heart is 150 years old. That’s what special about our house. The original 1 room house was wrapped in a newer house at some stage. When you go underneath you can see the mismatch of timbers and joints between the two, and in the oldest part, we find hand-made nails. On the inside, part of the now-hall was once the verandah, and there is a cute proper outdoor window looking out from the oldest room to the hall, and the door from that room to the hall is an outside door, a simple hand-made front door with a key lock (the key long-lost).

My favourite parts of the house are that window and door, but also my perch on the back step. It’s kind of a humble place to sit, beside the loo pipe and the worst of the cracked paint, and all. But from this spot I can watch the chooks fuss about and I can wave at the neighbours as they pass. It’s a humble view: the view of the back yards-a-jumble of old cars (being worked on – or neglected) wild gardens, kids skating, clotheslines, veggies and chooks, bric-a-brac storage. It’s messy life and I like that.

Another part of the house I enjoy is the front verandah. The verandah is the coolest spot to be after about 11am. It is on the easternmost side, so is shaded by then and there is nearly always a good cooling breeze from the river. The verandah is wide enough for a full table and chairs and we all sit out here in the evening and eat our dinner. At first I felt a bit embarrassed about being in full view of the street, but if the neighbours thought it weird, they are now used to it and just smile and wave as they go past. My insomniac daughter also does yoga on the verandah in the middle of the night, in the dark. When I think of the verandah I realise how happy we are as a family here. It works.

Some parts of the house do suck though. The bathroom is too tiny to stand in with your arms spread wide, which is unpleasant. Also, the shower is made of asbestos and even though our builder said it was stable I hate looking at it, it gives me the creeps, so I don’t like to spend time in that room.  And the kitchen is not suitable for tall people. We have all banged our heads on the cupboards when we wash up, and the stooping over the sink hurts our backs for ages afterwards. Just 1 little sink to wash up in, it’s pretty basic.

Sometimes I tell myself We really must do something about this! and get stressed out, especially about the asbestos. If I let myself, I will lie awake at night worrying about how much it will cost and imagining running out of money in the middle of renovations and having no toilet and the bank throwing us into the street and oh my god how are we all going to sleep in the car!!  Getting myself into a state about it all. And this is where I use nonviolence to get me through. These are the things I can do…

I can breathe and be aware that I am breathing. Breathe in and out. Breathe in and calm my body, breathe out and smile (thank you Thich Nhat Hanh).

I can rephrase: We really could do something about the bathroom. And remind myself that it’s just a choice (thank you Landmark Education).

I can reach out and touch my house and be aware of the strength and character and love that lives here right now (thank you Marie Kondo).

I can think about the needs met and unmet by the house and in the space that opens up be free to consider alternate strategies to expensive renovations (thank you nonviolent communication).

So the really best part of the house is that there really is no need for me to suffer about this old house. I am free to enjoy her strength and character and quirkiness and her crumbling rambling shambles as well.

 

 

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