life lessons, NATURE

WAITING FOR AN ANT

I have an unstoppable amount of energy that propels me, daily, into a whirlwind of activity. This energy is a force  I have always had, one that when I lasso it, I can have such joy from the satisfaction it brings me. At times it can also cause an intense feeling of failure and fragmentation in my soul.

Today I woke up after a week of incredible accomplishment, finishing a to do list of cleaning and organizing that would make Marie Kando smile. I finally straightened up a basement filled with enough frames and glassware that I could probably open my own IKEA. This cleaning of the basement was nagging at me for months as I had done this already once before when I began my love affair with J’s Junk. This time, though, these things I had accumulated were from another basement, my Providence business location, that I had cleaned out over two years ago.

Rather than throw perfectly good reusable items away, I had decided to bring them to my basement and reorganize them for a yard sale or reuse some other time. Two years later, there they sat, gnawing at  me like an old scab on a wound that would never heal until I left it alone. Not a pretty sight, but kind of the last hurrah of many years of over purchasing along with disarray from having two businesses and everything that happens between them over time.

I love the feeling of saying to myself, “Let me just move this one thing.” And before I knew it, like Samantha twitching her nose on an episode of Bewitched, the entire basement was pulled apart and reorganized. I am not finished yet, but it is almost there. This caused me to redo a spare room in my business that had become a catch all for anything needing to be out of sight from clients. This led  me to clean a shelf removing my Wonder Woman collection from my living room and placing it neatly away in a storage bin.

Checking things off of my list, cleaning, organizing, moving and shifting energy, learning, reading, writing, growing, changing, this is who I have always been and I seldom tire from it, except when I do. Then it is that time. To stop. To stare. To sit.

So this is where I found myself today when I woke up. No plans, no to do lists, just me, my garden and my book and laptop. In the garden, under the umbrella, a plentiful array of birds at the feeder, butterflies and hummingbirds, cardinals and bunnies. A virtual gorgeous symphony of sound and a simply lovely environment to do nothing.

I watch an ant carry a dead ant on its back. As I get up to inspect this, I accidentally sweep them with a honeysuckle branch and split their funeral walk interrupting what may have very well been some type of ant ceremony. I scold myself and apologize to them knowing that I have disrupted a simple but likely complex natural life cycle of two little ants. I watch for the alive ant, who rushed off from the disruption, to return to pick up the dead one who was left behind from my insensitive curiosity to no avail. And I think, this is life too. I think, “When was the last time I watched ants?”

When my son was about four and I was opening my first business, I was moving things in and out of the space. He was sitting outside the stairwell using a stick to playing with dirt and an anthill. He was ensconced in the present moment  as only little ones can offer to us busy moms when we actually  just stop and notice. There was an annoying fly buzzing around his eye and he kept swatting it away. Frustrated and taking big sigh, he yelled out to the fly, “Fly! What do you think, my eye is your home?!” Truth serum out of the mouths of babes. I will never forget that tender moment all these years later. It was the reminder of the moment. To be in the moment for that actual moment that has stuck with me and one that I sometimes forget even when I am in my relaxed zen state.

There is always something to do. But sometimes it is important to listen to my brain and not do something. The not doing is doing and doing it is difficult. I am sure this is something that Winnie The Pooh must have said at some point. I watch nature, I wait for the ant to return and I check my phone. This causes me to lose sight of my intention to be in the moment and wait for the ant to return.  Instead I talk to my aunt on the phone for a bit and wander as I speak.

When we hang up, about twenty minutes later, I look down and notice that the dead ant is no longer there. I missed its departure and will never be sure if it was a fly that picked it up, or if the ant came back to continue its walk with it humbly on its back.

I sigh, thankful that I even noticed this and remember that I must slow down sometimes to notice. This is not something that comes easily, but rather than berate myself, I find myself just simply noticing the simple act of noticing. And the in between of not. Maybe the ant today needed to grieve the loss of its comrade privately without the prying eyes of a human giant. Perhaps this is nature at its truest core.

Meanwhile I work on my time alone with myself and nothing to do, trying to stay here in the nothing and not make my beautiful nothing into a busy something. Only time will tell.

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SHAKING IT UP

SHAKING IT UP

Wind and rain and cold, the perfect combination on a June 4th early almost summer day for my new installation of a second floor air conditioner. Like washing your car and the next day it rains, I said to the kind man doing the installation, “Now watch, it will be a cold and wet summer and this AC will not even be necessary.” Frankly, I am in disbelief that I have come to this place of central AC. In my former life of marriage and home owning, the thought of AC would occasionally be brought up by my husband at the time (I just can’t stand the word X, it feels like I am supposed to erase those twenty years of my life and I wouldn’t change them for anything). “ We don’t need ac,” I would say, “we live so near the water, the breeze is our AC.” I am a windows open 24/7 kind of chick. I like to hear the birds, the sounds of the day and the breeze of the water I am blessed to see from most of my southern and west windows. I almost feel like AC is a cop out for this hardy New England born and raised. It’s not like I live in Florida. I mean in the south, AC is a given. Like a built in pool, the intensity of the summer is so short lived here in New England, why bother?

Until menopause. Menopause changed all of this. Hot Flashes with a capital H and F changed my purist mind. My partner has it in his bedroom and sleeping on those hot humid nights with the hum of the AC has made camping out at his house my go to resting place since surgical menopause became a part of my world almost three and half years ago. So AC is now officially in the entire Whitehouse. And if the weather continues like yesterday for the summer, I will never even have to use it. But this is doubtful, this is New England and it is not even mid June yet.

As the guys were here most of the day yesterday doing the installation, I decided to move a few things around on my first floor. This led to moving a few things around on my second floor and up and down and back and forth I went for the good part of the day. Changing. Moving. Shaking. Tossing. Reinventing. When the mood strikes, the adrenaline rush could move mountains. The day before, I managed to get my dear son to help me with a few pieces of furniture. Back in the old days, I probably could have done it myself. I have always said, Hell hath no fury like a woman who wants to move furniture. Adrenaline is a powerful force to be reckoned with and it is a propellant that comes from the deepest part of my core when it comes to moving furniture. Rugs, pictures, chairs, tables, everything is up for grabs and in all of my years, I have learned to release the emotion tied to some of the stuff I have in my house. Of course the advantage is that I have a business on the first floor and it is easy to move up, down and all around. I am always thinking about change. Adding bathtubs, building additions, porches, decks, my brain moves constantly with ideas, but since I have a son in college for two more years, these major changes have to take a backseat. Hence the working with what I have. Where does the need to move and shake come from? I have friends who seldom move their houses around, they seem normal and happily adjusted.

I just have an inordinate amount of creative energy and this is how it reveals itself in my life. I often think this is why I enjoy wine so much, it helps to slow down and mellow out this creative force that takes hold of my spirit on occasion. Regardless of the whys, I have learned to go with the flow and allow the moving and shaking to do what it does, move and shake. There is a beginning and an end to changing things around in my house and an intense feeling of exhausted completion when the final picture has been hung and the last bag of trash has been brought out to the container.

I have learned a few significant points in all of this changing. One is definitely that just because it is a dining room doesn’t mean you have to put a dining room table in there. Just because the living room is considered the formal living room, doesn’t mean you can’t make it what you want, after all it’s my house. I can do whatever I want so instead I have lots of sitting spaces. As a matter of fact, I have over four in my house alone, and in my business I have three plus four outside.

Sitting. I have been trying to consciously sit a lot more. This likely sounds like a challenge to the reader here after what I have just written about my in my intense energy abounding daily. There is something about sitting though. Just sitting. No phone, not even a book, just sitting. And staring. And listening. And thinking. Just being quiet. All this working, working out, and moving requires the opposite in order to keep me in check. As I sit here in one of my new sitting spaces looking out over the garden, I feel energized and peaceful not doing anything except sitting and writing with my morning cup of tea as I decide on the rest of my day. Moving things around in our spaces helps to keep us awake and conscious about our lives. What we have accumulated, what we no longer need, and what we hang on to and why is a great outcome in the moving of stuff. Ultimately it is an energy shift in my space and then ultimately in my being. This is the joy of the change. Never a dull moment and for this I am and continue to be a lover of life.

Grateful, humbled, happy and sitting.






a few of the many places to sit and stare and wonder.