The above is a picture of a pig in a kiddie pool full of crispy cool water.
Why? Because these are the things that Monday blogs are made of.
(I apologize in advance for the length, randomness, and overall disjointed nature of this post. I’ve been gone for a good month and my sweet little brain is overflowing with adventures and tale-telling (interspersed with life theories and love, of course))
This handsome swine’s name is Walter (seriously), and he’s a fan of sitting in all things I’m supposed to be cleaning. Do you know how difficult it is to coax a giant pig out of the refreshing depths of H2O in 107 degree heat?
Anywho, we’ll come back to this fun imagination-provoking question later.
I bought a book of devotionals a couple of months back (because words=platelets (that’s a real thing)).
It sits on my nightstand between the ongoing cycle of random literary detritus and Cosmopolitan magazines (…that I don’t read…).
A few weeks ago I poured myself a generous cup of french vanilla roast (D^2 if you’re wondering (Dunkin Donuts if you live in a world sans Amy-semantics), stood at the kitchen counter, and flipped to the then-dates devotional.
And well, two words toppled out that made my brain stretch and scatter a little.
At first, I was annoyed.
You don’t even know me, hardcover book.
And then I realized that being annoyed at an inanimate object in the wee hours of a weekday AM was not only unreasonable but moderately illogical, too.
So I opted to just read on…and, since, life has taken a turn for the unpredictably glorious.
Trying new things is a trying operation for this one…and so it was shock and amusement across the board when I informed the ones I love that I’d be training for a figure competition.
Like all great ideas, this one came alla Harpo’s patio after diving about 6 margaritas deep…and was then reinforced by the abovementioned devotional (that seems wrong a little).
After the first week I had provided myself with about 37 reasons as to why I should immediately dismiss this idea (most of them having to do with not wanting to do it (and pizza (and chocolate))).
The diet requirements in and of themselves are a challenge. In addition to weight training 6 days a week (and being scolded by a 57-year-old Clint Eastwood soundalike with a 12 pack), this adventure takes the cake in terms of necessary fortitude.
However, I’ve now made it about 2.5 weeks and it’s turning into a full on addiction.
My body has definitely changed, but the largest and most interesting differences are taking place between my ears and inside of my dear little cranium.
When I first started training, my biggest issue was getting past my own critcism. I was being introduced to so many new things that my mind would quit long before my body could even get a chance to. My trainer quickly caught on to my nonsense and fairly sweetly told me stop it (he’s a small man but he’s intimidating…and so you listen to his words (even when he’s mumbling)).
The best and most wonderful thing he has said to me is, “When you think you’re getting tired, look up.”
Originally when he said this I just stood there and stared at him.
He then explained to me my nature (as if I didn’t know).
“You think too far ahead. Before you can get through one set you’re thinking about having to do the next set and you’re just overwhelming yourself.”
He told me to lift my head up, focus on something ahead of me, and finish one.
Do it perfectly.
And then begin again.
And this is what’s gotten me through the last few weeks.
If you know me or have known me for any amount of time, you know that I live for those moments that pop up and make themselves available for blog topics.
It’s taken me a while to nail down how I wanted to use this one, but here it is.
It’s a very easy thing to start thinking in terms of “next week I have to,” “in a year I’ll be able to,” “after I,” “when you,” and so on.
It’s most every day that I log into Facebook and am confronted with peer wishes for the day to be over, for it to be the weekend already, or a countdown to something taking place in the near future (i.e. the next set).
It’s very easy to lose focus on what’s right in front of you, on the things taking up space in your hands and heart in the very moment you’re standing in.
Shauna Niequist wrote a book titled Cold Tangerines, and in it she writes these words:
“This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted.”
After I read this, my whole “focus” mentality began extending outside of the gym. I’ve begun to pay extra close attention to the smallest of the seemingly monotonous surrounding me.
Mornings have become my absolute favorite time of day. I get to see the sun rise through the giant glass windows of the gym. I drive home with the windows down and the music up. I get home and brew coffee and the whole house fills with the smell of french vanilla. I crack eggs and I watch as little bubbles form at the edges and I open up the blinds and let the sun shine in.
And I’ve come to realize that this is life. The contentment that quiet and stillness brings on its shoulders. It’s picking up the magnifying glass of current and happening and watching very closely as each day unwraps and spills out its contents.
I focus on finishing one.
And do my very best at stretching it out perfectly.
I’ve also made it a personal mission to begin filling up my limited spare time with the things I love. Like great coffee and amazing books.
And that’s also where Walter came into play.
I began volunteering at the Long Meadow Rescue Ranch to be around animals.
The work is methodical, the quiet is soothing, and the air is light in way that doesn’t happen in the city.
And it’s so quiet.
And, well, I fell in love.
With all of that.
And that’s been my happy lately.
Heaping mounds of random nonsense and hushed conversations with barn animals.
And taking the smallest bites of life I can imagine.
I imagine one day I’ll get to see the forest.
But before I do, I want to make sure I’ve climbed every last tree, crossed every stream, and left trampled brush in my wake. I want to have examined and tasted and felt everything there is to examine and taste and feel.
At least of the things within my reach (and I’m trying to reach really far).
The rest of it I’ll be content reading about.
❤ Have a lovely day