Monday, 24 September 2012

Taking time

This holiday weekend I have given myself a really valuable gift. It is more precious than anything right now and a reminder of how life should be lived. A very wise person I know talks about the need to find 'shafts of stillness in your life' and I think this has been a wonderful, unexpected example.

Everyone is busy and has their own worries and commitments to deal with and I've never met anyone who says they have a great life and an abundance of time. So riccocheting from one challenge to another carrying forward concerns and future problems with snatched pockets of 'me' time seems like the norm. I particularly hate the feeling of not being able to do 'everything' which makes me feel overwhelmed and stops me achieving anything at all, which in turn stresses me further. I want everything fixed and sorted and finalised. I hate ongoing 'projects' which drag on as I lose interest, I much prefer putting in some concentrated effort to get something sorted. This is probably why I've never finished the knitted cardigan I began in the 1980's as I lost interest, the pattern and then the wool over time as the ruddy thing just wouldn't be finished! Getting this new house 'sorted', as in fixed, finished and exactly to our taste and comfort is proving more difficult than expected and a rush of unexpected emergency bills all with a minimum of two '00's at the end have wiped out the contingency funds and are making Visa a profit.

Anyway, this weekend has been fun, a word not often used. I took my own advice and treated myself as I would someone I really liked. I did nice things, none of them exciting, but uplifting nonetheless. I got up on Sat am and decided the day was mine and mine alone. It was sunny and the day seemed to hold real potential. I had promised myself I'd watch James Martin's Saturday Kitchen in dining/summer sitting room now that the new chair was fixed. So I showered, dressed in my 'home' clothes and relocated and connected up my bedroom tv and the new freesat box and watched it with a cooked breakfast which was a nice achievement. As it was a lovely day I left Red in the bedroom to sleep, threw open the patio doors and let Magic wander the morning garden. I decided to tackle the minor jobs that would enable me to use the dining/summer sitting room properly, sort the bathroom storage and find/launder our clothes that have been stored since moving. So, by the time I settled down to watch the BBC4 Crime drama at 9pm I'd emptied three suitcases, done 5 laundry loads and hung them out, scrubbed down and sun dried a bamboo chest of drawers which subsequently proved too bulky for the bathroom, set up the tv in the kitchen, given the new leather suite its cream protector treatment and watched some favourite films while pottering about. I texted a friend all through Insp. Montalbano as she was watching it too and I enjoyed some crisps and choccies which I've been abstaining from over this last month. Even going out in the pitch dark and icy cold at 11pm to rescue the last loads of washing I'd forgotten about was a thought, but it gave my heart a lift when I looked in to see the warm glow of the summer sitting room that was now functional. There was a little blip over the other human's behaviour and demands but instead of reacting and letting it drag me back to the depths I decided to review the situation the following day.

In fact I enjoyed this kind of day so much that I decreed Sunday would be more of the same. I chose to leave my usual obligations to sort themselves out and focussed on doing the things that would make my life better which normally I subjugate for others. Another five laundry loads, kitchen cleaning, cooking a nice meal and even a little afternoon snooze after curling up with a book I've wanted to read for ages were all allowed under the new regime. Before I knew it Downton Abbey and bedtime with the book were there.

So what has any of this got to do with my cats? Well, the extra attention both have received has been as good for them as me. Magic is loving getting outside and even barged past me when I went to hang out a fleece. I tried to get her back in but she wasn't buying it. Instead I found her on the bedroom window ledge taunting Red! This is a first as Red is continually terrified of everything. However, as of this weekend, he is actively showing genuine interest in the world outside the windows and not bolting if you come up to the window to talk to him from the garden. So much so, that I am thinking it might be worth trying to harness train him whereas before I'd reckoned he would be unlikely to brave the garden. He is much happier for contact, wanting attention and initiating 'snuggles' and staying to snooze even if Magic is lying beside me. He's been bolder and was challenging Magic by jumping on her and springing at her even when she was growling and warning him off. Both cats are more keen to sleep beside me if I am sitting and they've even worked out the new chair has arms wide and is soft enough for a decent sleep while I watch tv or use the 'puter'. Best of all Red seems to be putting on a bit more weight.

Real life and commitments are looming. However, hopefully this very lovely and unexpected 'shaft of stillness' has recharged my batteries and will help me face whatever lies ahead with a bit more energy and fortitude.

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