Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Considering Autumn...

I have been privileged to be invited as a contributor to a new online radio show called The Global Almanac (airing Sundays at 6 PM on BlogTalkRadio.com). The show's focus is to educate listeners about the universal principles that govern our lives and how we can use this knowledge to our best advantage. The inaugural show took place on September 28 and among the subjects that was touched upon was the significance of autumn and how the energy of this season affects us. The direction of universal energy during autumn is down. This is reflected in the falling of leaves, in the lower position of the sun in the sky and the lessened amount of sunlight due to shorter days. It is a time when the weather cools and the emphasis is on indoor concerns.

My contribution to the radio broadcast is that of sharing the insights I have received while working on my garden. One of the most striking revelations I gleaned was when I made the connection between the garden and my home. That is to say that as I moved things around in my garden, such as uprooting plants, rearranging pots, etc., there was a corresponding energetic shift going on inside my home. After participating in Sunday's broadcast, a further insight came to me. It occurred to me that not only does the energetic shift occur within the home, it occurs within each of its occupants. We...our bodies...are home to our individual energy, our essential nature, and we are each as affected by the natural flow of energy as the plants in my garden. Just as the changes outdoors causes activities to move indoors, so do we tend to focus more on what's going on inside ourselves, physically and emotionally.

I have to wonder. Is it purely coincidental that the most festive and important celebrations take place in late fall and early winter or is it more likely a result of that internal focus? More musings some other time.

Ballo ergo sum
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Friday, September 19, 2008

An exceptional day

In my last entry, I mentioned that among the things I expected to do in the upcoming months would be assisting friends and family in those unexpected times of need. Such an opportunity came yesterday when I was called upon to escort my aunt to a post-surgical follow up appointment with her eye doctor. Under normal circumstances my cousin would have taken time from work to do it but this time it wasn't possible. I was called in to pinch hit and I was more than happy to step in. Truth be told, I have been after myself to visit this side of the family for quite a while (okay, so it's been a few years). My uncle has been sick for a while and I hadn't been to see him so this was not only an opportunity to be of service, it was a chance to redeem myself for my lack of attention.

This trip only took a few hours out of my day but it was worth its weight in gold. Not only was I able to reconnect with members of my family, I received an unexpected bonus. My cousin's daughter was there with her little girl who recently turned two years old and I'm embarrassed to say I had never met her before. What a little doll! Then my other cousin drove in from Boston with his three year old son whom I had also never met before. (Gosh, what a lousy relative I am.) So I got to meet some of the newest members of the family. The bigger bonus is that I had brought my camera with me and was able to capture all of my family in photos. That alone was pricless.

The drive home from my aunt and uncle's home afforded me the opportunity to make a few unexpected stops and pick up some items that I had put off because they were a bit out of the way. This meant that I could scratch a few more things off my To Do list. I arrived home in plenty of time to relax, change my clothes and start dinner before the first of my family members returned home.

The day flowed like a stream of water. I easily found parking wherever I went. I moved from one task to the other without skipping a beat although I was following no set plan. I encountered no resistance in my travels (with the exception of one jerk who nearly caused an accident in front of me because he was in such a hurry to pull out of a driveway). I felt calm, centered and happy. It was the kind of day I've seen portrayed in TV movies, the kind I thought was contrived and manufactured for mass consumption, not the kind of day "real" people experience, and yet that is precisely what I experienced. The events of the day were mundane but the manner and intent with which they were executed was magnificent in its elegant simplicity. Such a day is golden. Such a day is exceptional. Such days are happening to me on an ever-encreasing basis.

This is what it feels like to live in grace.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and All Ways,
-Gitana, the Creative Diva

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Summer Retrospective

(Here are pictures of my old rusty shed and the newly painted shed that has replaced it. For more, use my Photobucket link [above right] and go to the Backyard Renovation 2008 album.)

The entire month of August has passed without me making a single blog entry. Labor Day, the "official" end to the summer season (calendars and equinoxes notwithstanding) has come and gone and is a fast-fading memory. I'm looking ahead to the fall and seeing all the work that lies before me but before I do that, I want to take a look at all the work I've accomplished during the summer. And boy, do I mean work.

In my earlier posts I mentioned the home improvement projects that were on the To-Do list for the summer, namely a new fence, a new shed, and refinishing the floor in my daughter's room. In addition there were a few other projects that popped up along that way, such as creating a memorial garden to commemorate my ancestors, digging up and giving away my excess garden plants to fellow Freecyclers, and relocating my out-of-season clothes and performance costumes into the attic storage area. I am happy to report that all these and more were completed. Unfortunately my entire summer, three solid months from early June to Labor Day, was tied up in these projects. I'm not complaining but I have to say I am tired...dog tired...but fulfilled and very well tanned.

The tasks I accomplished were, in my opinion, nothing less than Herculean considering I had to do them all by myself. The larger aspects of the work were accomplished by others (the fence replaced and old shed removed by my husband and son, the new shed installation and floor refinishing done by contractors). But we all know that the bulk of the work, the work that can grind you into a sweaty, pulpy mess by the end of the day is the little stuff. Removing the contents of the old shed and then replacing it all in the new shed. Giving the shed two coats of paint with a hand brush because a roller could not be used. Weeding, raking and cleaning up the yard. Moving mountains of dirt. Uprooting plants. Yada yada yada. Well, folks, that's what I did for three solid months. In the midst of it all I also had to complete the daily tasks necessary for maintaining a household such as laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning. etc.

Why did I do it all myself? Frankly because no one else was around. My husband and son were at work all day and my daughter was away most of the summer. Besides, doing it all myself meant I got to do it all my way. I'm an organizational maven and I like to have things organized in a common sense, aesthetically pleasing manner that will allow me to have easy access to them. Accomplishing that takes time, time that I am more than ready and willing to spend, time that my family would not willingly give me. Involving them meant dealing with differing opinions on how things should be done and power struggles I didn't want to engage in. I chose to do things slowly and deliberately, in a meditative sort of way. It was a win-win situation for me. I got to organize things as I saw fit, in my own good time. My family was spared the extra work involved and I was spared from hearing them whine and grouse about having to do anything after work hours.

When you are in the midst of a large, ongoing project, you can lose sight of the amount of progress you're making, little by little, every day. I call those large projects elephants. Those bits of progress are small nibbles, eating away at the elephant. That's what I was doing...eating the elephant. Imagine my surprise last week when I looked around at my yard and realized that the only thing left of that elephant was table scraps. I had finally eaten the elephant and it caught me by surprise. My shed was painted and repopulated, my garden was weeded and raked, my memorial garden was complete, my screenhouse was nearly empty and I could actually sit on a bench inside of it that had been buried under bicycles and garden hoses. What a rush!

Now what?

Like I said at the beginning, I'm looking ahead to the fall and seeing all the work that lies before me. Soon my annuals will start to wither, my perennials will go dormant. I'll have to bring in my houseplants and "winterize" my garden. There's my daughter's Sweet 16 to organize, apple pies to be baked, Christmas cards to be made and gifts to be crafted. This doesn't even begin to count the family and friends who will call upon me to assist them in one way or another or the unexpected projects that will pop up along the way. The list goes on and on and on... Geez, I'm tired already.

Bring it on!

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and All Ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva