When Life Gets Boring

Okay, so this is a place of honesty, and thus, I feel the need to share about the in-between times of life, full disclosure. Typically when the blog gets quiet it is because I feel like I have nothing fun, exciting or insightful to share.  I mean, who wants to hear about the fact that I went to work, endured horrible traffic on the commute home, and spent my evening doing nothing useful?  Not even myself, that's who.

Bear with me, I had a cup of coffee this morning (I rarely drink caffeine!), and feel compelled to share and discuss the more low-key aspects of our week.  However boring they might be.  Are you glued to the screen yet with my "hook?"  

The truth is, although we certainly enjoy our adventures and active lives (so much!), the in-between times are really no different to anyone else's.  And yet, equally as important, right?  Enjoying and appreciating the quiet times is an art form, and one that we shouldn't miss out on.  This is something I hope to get better at.

So, how did our week shake out, you ask?  Okay, maybe that was me asking...  

Sunday, Chris managed to get up snowboarding with some friends for the first time this season.  I am still not cleared for such intense activity, and sadly my boarding days might be over, so I was really glad he found some friends to get up with.  But while he was away, how would I entertain myself?!  

Well, I decided to paint our entire first floor, that's how.  Ha!  I was so tired of the bland, dark beige that was there when we moved into the house last year, that I woke up bright and early ready to start the big project! (Full before and after coming soon!)  I think I painted for 9 hours straight on Sunday, and I was definitely feeling it on Monday morning.  I had to wait for Chris to get home to use the ladder (he didn't give me the nickname, Clumsy Clogs for nothing, my friend...).

The paint is gray, but looks almost white on the color swatch at Home Depot.  When I put it on the walls, it turns out it looks almost blue, which I was ecstatic about!  It really brightens up the back room (kitchen and family room), which is where we spend the most time, so we were pretty stoked about that.  Now if only I can convince Chris to let me paint the kitchen cabinets white...

Anyway, back to our week.  Monday was a holiday so we decided to head outside for a walk and lunch at a new restaurant.  We were lucky enough to have a beautiful week of warm sunshine (Sunday was over 70 degrees!), so it was really nice to get outdoors.  I also spent some time refinishing a beautiful china hutch that we got on craigslist for $50 (a steal!).  It will go in the front room, and I am SUPER excited to see how it turns out! (before and after coming soon...)

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty low-key, Chris and I have both been busy with work stuff, so we spent some time on our laptops while simultaneously catching up on The Americans (before season 2 starts next week!), and enjoying some tasty vegetarian tacos.  

Thursday, I made a decision to jump back into fitness with gusto.  That's right, I said gusto.  I have been feeling in a bit of a funk lately, about several things really, and I knew the one thing that would help me shake that off was exercise. Although I am still having to be super careful with me knee (it keeps swelling back up), I decided to jump back into Bikram Yoga.  For those of you not familiar, it is yoga in a room that is heated to 105 degrees.  Sounds completely horrible, sweaty and miserable, but I swear to you it works wonders.  Not only do you get an amazing physical workout, but you also experience this incredible feeling of positivity and happiness when you leave that room.  I don't know if it is the detoxifying, or maybe the fact that you turn a little delusional from the heat, but whatever it is... I am hooked on Bikram once again!  

Last night, I literally fell into bed at 9:00pm (this is nothing new, I always go to bed early), and slept like a rock all night.  I am stiff and sore this morning, but I am going back to the yoga studio for more this afternoon.  Call me crazy...

This weekend, Chris surprised me with a little getaway as my birthday present, so I will share stories and photos of our adventures sometime next week.  

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend and take time to smell the roses! Hey, I did...

Seeking Mindfulness

Most people, upon hearing that I am about to turn thirty, jump to the same question: when are you going to have kids?  It's a perfectly logical question, I suppose, but truth be told it is one I often struggle with.  Hear me out.

You may call me a daydreamer, but I often fantasize about traveling to remote places of the world and helping those in need.  Or living somewhere very culturally different to the West for a year or two.  And let's not forget about my ongoing need to realize my true passions in life and fulfill my own potential.  

Why can't you do those things at the same time as starting a family, you ask?  (It's okay, I ask myself this question, too.)  The truth is, I am not sure how to balance these priorities in my life.  And they really are all priorities.  I may not need to move halfway around the world, but I do need to feel like I am making a difference.  Like I am not falling into the life that is expected of me, but instead, that I am creating the life that I want to lead.  How do I balance finding inner peace-of-mind, gratitude and life balance, while surrounded by faster, better, more, more, more, here in the west?  And if we do start a family, how do I impart these important things on a little one?

We read so many books, watch so many documentaries, and can recount all kinds of a-friend-of-a-friend stories about people who move to India and return a changed person.  A more centered, grateful and happy person. Which I suppose is part of the appeal.  But how then do we manage to make these necessary changes without an intercontinental move?  I think immersion in this case, as in so many others, is very important and helpful in achieving your goals of inner piece and mindfulness. 
And therein lies my struggle to find this without disrupting my life, along with many other goals that I have.  I dream of using my creativity to impact the lives of others, and often brainstorm ways to combine my two passions, both in a way that is true to who I am, yet unique to me and only me.

My solution will be a work in progress and will likely (hopefully!) evolve over time, but I have a few action items that I plan on taking to get me started.

The first priority must be focusing a bit more time and effort into meditation.  It may not be meditation in a small tribe of Monks, but rather an old stone building in downtown Denver, however the concept remains the same.  Clear away the clutter and achieve the ability to calm my own mind.  I think this small step is the most important, as it is so much easier to tackle difficult challenges when you can control the thoughts and noise of your own mind.  So for me, that means attending regular meditation sessions until I am able to achieve successful meditation at home, or anywhere, on my own.

Priority number two is one that I have already made some progress on, at least in terms of research.  I may not know how to combine my own caged creativity with giving back to the community just yet, but that doesn't mean I can't start giving back a bit more.  After a lot of research over the past few months, I have found a nonprofit organization that feels like a good fit for me to start volunteering my time with.  It requires a minimum of 2 days a month, which should be very easy to begin incorporating into my schedule of work and play.  Hopefully it will grow from there.

And my final priority to get me started down this path, is making my friendships a more vital part of my life. Having moved around the country a fair bit over the last ten years has meant that my friendships are also scattered around the country.  I plan on nurturing those existing friendships a bit more, and focusing on creating a more stable network of friends locally in an effort to feel more settled and happy here in Colorado.

I hope to continue adding to this list, as I progress through this journey, and I'm sure I will learn a lot along the way.  One thing that I find extremely important when it comes to all of these things, is believing that I am enough.  I heard this quote from a motivational speaker recently, and realized that I fall victim to this more often than I realize.  So just a little reminder to myself every day, that I am enough.  Simple, yet powerful.

Do you think it's possible to master the art of mindfulness while living in the chaotic West?  I do, too.  With a little patience and a lot of effort.  Who's with me?  :)