My first posts were about my Pretzel walks. I remember writing about what I had seen and experienced as I walked. So a return to this today.
I have been forgetting to be mindful – present as much as I can in all I do. So for the past few days I have been making an extra special effort. Whether it be eating my dinner, washing up, talking to a friend, watching “Eat, Pray Love” (Julia Roberts – Always a winner), I have tried to be more present in them. Not letting my mind wander off on to other things, not checking Facebook, not looking at my “To Do” List.
So this morning I tried extra hard to be “in” my morning walk with Pretzel. It is amazing how much I noticed. There are a few brightly coloured flowers out in some plots which are just lovely to look at. The trees with the sky as a backdrop were so crisp and present this morning. Some of the plots on my morning route are so beautiful to look at – their owners obviously spend a lot of time tending them. Being present makes even the mundane more interesting. I do the same Pretzel walk every day – and usually I am cold and half asleep, The walk was so much more enjoyable this morning. I had snuck in 20 minutes Meditation before Pretzel woke up (yes she is a dog not a baby) and was very chilled and present as a result. I had actually felt good after that meditation – meditation does not come naturally to me so I take that as a win.
So this morning I stopped to say “Hello” to a couple of people with their dogs – a lovely lab and a small bichon frise in a brightly coloured knitted jumper. I gave my usual greeting to the gold coloured Buddha in a plot not far from here. I took a detour to smile at the skeletons on the battered decking owned by an older, rather eccentric man (a very kind and friendly person),
I didn’t take my phone with me as I walk around the site so no pictures of this walk…. But maybe tomorrow. So instead – a photo of Pretzel my Pug / Chinese Crested Cross (Pugese).
It’s strange isn’t it – how a little scruffy creature can mean so much! This little puppy keeps me going. She is always available for a cuddle. She curls up with me to sleep. She makes me smile. I honestly think that this little dog has kept me going when things get hard.
Another day of unpacking and trying to find a home for far to much stuff! I still cannot work out how to use the oven so no pizza for me this evening! Pretzel has escaped three times because she just dashes out the door at top speed whenever it is opened… Need to get the fenced decking sorted so that she is better contained. And I have looked at the launderette – so complicated! What is this card I have to use? Arghhh.
Despite the tedious unpacking and the odd problems, I have had a good day. I have no deadline – for the first time in weeks. I can get things done at my own pace. I enjoyed my short trip into Hastings. I enjoyed waking around the site with Pretzel trying to get my bearings. I now have caravan envy – some of the vans are so wonderful. I have found some ideas for decking though. Lots of people were siting outside today in the sunshine. Some were sitting at the Club House – I haven’t ventured there yet. Would be a lot nicer with someone to go with. I am currently Billy No Mates lol.
I am falling in love with this place. My van is in a really good spot… Not too noisy. I like the compactness of it. I stayed with a friend who lives in a 4 berth touring van a couple of times last year – I loved the simplicity of it. I remember it as a very peaceful home. My van is a lot bigger and I have so much more stuff! And I will have two teenagers living here too. But I still love it. The site is strangely quiet considering its size and the number of families who live here. and all of the vans and plots are different. I loved the little bit of Hastings I experienced too. I am excited to see more.
As I was unpacking, I started realising that there is a lot of things that I haven’t had a chance to do recently – reading, crochet, walking. I want to do more art – maybe mandalas. I have not had the chance to meet up with friends. I haven’t meditated enough. I haven’t been to the park or the beach. I have missed so many Sangha nights because I was in Hereford. I haven’t even cooked myself proper meals. My life has consisted of driving, packing, grieving and organising… And today I realised that I had got into the habit of collapsing on the settee at the end of the day with Netflix / Amazon Prime and a drink. Not skillful at all. I have also realised that it is going to be very difficult to get back into good habits / skillful living again.
So many thoughts going on in my head today. I have been realising this week that there is so much going on in my life, so much that can cause stress and pain. I know that there is always suffering; that no one’s life is perfect. I know that there are many people who are suffering way more than me. But, for me personally, I am becoming aware of just how much is going on with me and people I love and care for. This means that there is an underlying sense of anxiety every day. When the phone rings there is the real possibility that there is bad news. Every day there is the possibility that there is even more suffering in store for the people I love most. It means that I can never plan anything with certainty (as if anyone ever can! But that just seems to be more true at the moment). For me it has led to a feeling that there is a lot to bear. That the worldly winds are battering me and just won’t stop. That there are different stresses, people, situations pulling at me for my attention, for my time, for my thoughts.
And there is guilt! Because there are moments when I am happy / content / at peace. Not everything is going wrong! A lot seems to be going very well. I (very selfishly?) went on the retreat I have had booked for months at the weekend. A weekend of peace and inspiration which meant that I have come back to my world with more calmness and purpose. I have moments in meditation when all just clears away and I am just me. I laugh with friends. I become immersed in a book. I become utterly involved in the latest episode of “Call the Midwife”.
Walking Pretzel this morning was lovely. I look at all of the stresses from a Buddhist perspective and feel calm – but, because I am not perfect, I feel guilt about not feeling more stressed and anxious about it all in that moment! Yes – I am weird! I am not even sure I have explained that at all well.
I write a lot about what I am learning that is helping me through. How I am learning to go to refuge to the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. This is becoming increasingly important to me. I have also written a lot about changing what I can change. Choosing a different path which may lead to a better, more fulfilled life.
This week I have been feeling particularly fragile. But I am standing firm. Staying calm. Three “things” are helping. The first is something that a dear friend said on retreat – when we plan things we cannot be sure that they will happen. I might want to meet a friend for coffee on Saturday but I may have an emergency trip to Hereford or I might feel ill or a hundred and one other things. The most we can say is “We will meet on Saturday all being well“. I was reminded of that phrase again last night and it helps. It helps keep things in perspective.
The second is individual friendship. Last night I went to the Sangha night and was immediately enveloped in warmth and love. It was a beautiful healing, calming atmosphere. However, the one thing that helped me the most last night was the big hug that I got from a friend. I was leaving at the end of the meeting and he stopped what he was doing and just hugged me. My friendships are becoming increasingly important to me. Those people who just text or call me to see how I am. Those people who never fail to check in with me. Those hugs, those words of understanding. These friends cannot change what is going on but I am so comforted by their presence. Interacting with them, talking with them and listening to their stresses, their happy times, their adventures through life help me greatly. They make me feel connected to the world. I feel great love / metta. There have been times this week where I feel that I have been helpful to others which makes me feel warm and useful – it gives me purpose.
And the third. This came to me at the retreat. I have to just let some things be. I just have to accept what is sometimes. A particular friendship which feels difficult – I can just let it lie for a while. See what happens. Just stop trying so hard.
I will stop here. There is so much more to explore in everything I have said but enough for now. If you are one of the people still reading this blog – thank you xx
I have just had a lovely text from a friend which has warmed my heart and made me smile.
It was Sunday morning. I wasn’t feeling that great. I thought that I was coming down with the cold that seems to be attacking everyone at the moment. But I had 15,000 steps to do that day. I am stubborn – I will get those steps in if I possibly can. I couldn’t face doing my normal Pretzel walk. I knew that if I did, I would plug in my headphones, switch to Spotify and listen to my favourite playlist which brings up emotions and memories. I decided to get in the car and do the short drive to the Downs. I used to take my dogs Lara and Dana up there a lot in years gone by. The Downs are beautiful and hold great memories of a Jack Russell and a Rough Collie ( a “Lassie dog”) running off lead having fun.
So I went to the Downs. What a beautiful walk. It was a cold and grey morning but, at first, there were not many people around so Pretzel was happy to be off the lead. Later she was spooked by the biggest German Shepherd I had ever seen who jumped up at me (I didn’t mind) and then chased my poor, tiny pugese. After that she was clearly nervous so I kept her close to me. For the first half of the walk though, Pretzel as free to run around and sniff and play.
I worked hard to stay in the moment that morning. I knew that there was a good chance of me getting low as I was feeling unwell and fragile. So I took in the views, took pictures and smiled at the people who went by. There were lots of runners up there that morning – all going strong.
It was a lovely walk. I was so pleased that I went. And I am pleased that I chose not to wear headphones. I am pleased that I chose not to think, to dwell. Every time sad thoughts came into my wandering mind, I managed to push them away. I just walked and enjoyed watching my little dog have fun.
Christmas morning. I remember this time when I was little. A stocking on the edge of the bed filled with presents. The stocking was one leg of mum’s American tan tights – it is amazing how much they stretched! My brother and I would go into my parents’ room and show them what Santa had left us. Then downstairs to have breakfast and then open the presents. During the morning there would be mince pies followed by the traditional Christmas lunch. In the afternoon we would play with the toys we had for Christmas. I remember the year my brother got Subbuteo – the dog kept walking across the pitch and causing mayhem. And the year my Nan helped me with my 1000 piece jigsaw which consisted of a brown horse’s head and blue sky.
So this morning I am on my own until my girls return later. So I decided that I would take advantage of the lack of traffic and drive to the seafront. I am so pleased I did. It is only 3 miles away – I should visit it more often. The views were lovely. I let Pretzel off the lead on the beach – pebbles rather than sand sadly. She had a great time sniffing new smells and just being free. People walking / jogging / cycling. Lots of happy dogs – no doubt they are hopeful that they will get a special Christmas dinner. For once I walked without headphones which left me free to say “hello” and “Happy Christmas” to fellow walkers.
So a lovely walk this morning! Not as long as usual – but a break from my normal route. A great way to start the day.
Well I seem to have managed to delete a post! Clever me. Can never leave things alone – have to tinker, have to play, have to try and make things better! Lol. So this new post can combine yesterday’s and today’s. Lesson to self – stop being such a klutz!
I didn’t take Pretzel for a walk yesterday. The weather was awful – storm Diana (Dirty Diana as a very dear friend called her) was around in part… Not much because of where I live but she obviously likes to make her presence felt as far and wide as she possibly can. The main reason for the lack of walking though was that my very lovely but silly Pretzel has stolen my Callie’s dinner the night before… I did not know that such a small dog could be quite so sick! Anyway, because I didn’t go for that walk the day didn’t start as calmly as usual so I felt a bit out of sorts all day to be honest.
This morning – yes we walked. And because it was not too wet and cold, Pretzel was quite happy to walk beside me. She trotted happily around our usual 5K route. I listened to some music (Man of No Ego – he can be found on Spotify and YouTube), thought about my forthcoming day and watched the sky change as the sun came up and the darkness faded away.
Thinking back to yesterday – I was right not to take poor little Pretzel out. She was a sad little dog. But I did not need to go back to bed for an hour! I could have gone for the walk on my own or used some of that time for meditation. Never mind – lesson learned!
I found my post from yesterday! So I have undeleted it. YAY!!
I have been a bit “out of sorts” all day. Something has just not felt right. I think that it is because I did not start my day with my usual Pretzel walk. Most days I do this 5k walk and use it to wake up; to think about the day ahead and try to concentrate and be grateful for good things that are happening. This morning = no walk. My poor little Pretzel was not very well – she had eaten something that totally disagreed with her … Dog vomit everywhere is so not pleasant especially at 2am. She still looked a little bit sorry for herself when my alarm went off at 6:10… She definitely did not want to walk around in the wind and rain. It was a gruesome morning and I must admit that a small part of me felt grateful for the excuse not to don my waterproofs and go out.
Now what I should have done is get up and gone for a walk by myself or used the time to meditate. That would have been a good idea! But no – I decided to feed my cats who were scratching at the door then go back to bed for an hour. Now, I am not saying that a lie in is not great once in a while! I am not saying that there was anything inherently wrong in doing that! What I am saying is, that, for me this morning, a walk or meditation would have been a much better way to spend my time. My head would have been clearer and I would have set myself up for the day.
Fortunately my little scruffy dog is better now so we will be back to our morning walk tomorrow!
Really did not want to get up and take Pretzel out for her walk this morning… It was cold, grey and wet. Pretzel was reluctant – she tried extremely hard to stay warm and cosy in her basket.
But we wrapped up warm (I looked a sight!) and off we went.
The skies were grey. It was as cold and wet as I feared. But, in the end, I enjoyed my walk. I listened to music (songs from Nashville – my current obsession) and just enjoyed being awake and out in the fresh air.
I think Pretzel came round to the idea after a while as well 🙂
Introducing my pug / chinese crested cross – Pretzel. According to google she is a “thing”. She is a “Pugese”. Look them up. She seems to have more hair than most. Being biased, I think she is prettier than most.
Anyway – although impossibly cute – she is not to be the point of this first blog post.
I go for the same 5k walk around the streets where I live at least once a day. Most days I am listening to music (the Nashville soundtracks are my current obsession) and fantasising about a life that is certainly not going to happen. Now this is obviously not healthy! My real life has not got a hope of matching up to this one! And – I am definitely not “living in the present moment”. This is not following Buddhist teachings and will not make for a happy Tee.
So today, whilst listening to Russell Brand’s “Under the Skin” podcast with Charles Eisenstein, I actually looked around me and took notice as I walked. I lived in the present and appreciated what was around me – the sky, some flowers hanging on from summer, autumn leaves. I even managed to notice and, hence, pick up a discarded McDonalds bag. I stopped to talk to an elderly woman walking her very sweet yorkie.
After a very enjoyable walk, I returned home and have had an extremely productive day.
Let’s hope I learn all of the lessons from this! And do the same tomorrow – and the next day.
Today has been my most positive day in a long time. It is all in the mind. It is all about how I deal with my thoughts and my emotions. It is about skillful thinking.