I have certainly done my share of complaining and whining during these most difficult times. Still, there have been many delightful days as well. For example, there were the 2 or 3 days I was able to visit Lemon & Lavender, a most unique boutique. I have no doubt that store has been imbued with fairy dust. There were also a couple of Mr. Rogers days in the neighbourhood. I could cite more, but you get the idea.
During all those days of lock down and curbside pick-ups, there wasn’t any need to upgrade my wardrobe. I find shopping on line is too much of a crap shoot to get items that won’t need to be returned. Looking back, I hadn’t been out of my neighbourhood to do any clothes shopping since before the pandemic hit.
As life in the city has shown more signs of normalizing, I felt the itch for some retail therapy. An opportunity presented itself and off I went with a friend. Weather wise the day was just right. Warm but far from too warm. A very light sweater was not too much. When we got to the mall which was an outdoor mall, again just right for current times, there was no parking. My friend drove a couple of laps around the entire lot. Nada. She then drove into the parking garage. Also nada. This all seemed a little strange as there were hardly any people to be seen. We drove out of the garage and there still appeared to be no spaces. I put a little request out to the universe. No sooner did I finish my plea when a parking spot opened up right in front of one of the stores I had planned to visit. We call that TV parking. You know how on TV shows or movies wherever people need to go, there is always a parking spot right in front of the building.
Our first stop was Eddie Bauer’s as I have been needing a super warm winter jacket. EB’s has always been my go to for winter wear. As fortune would have it, the second jacket I tried on was exactly what I had been hoping for. It was on sale which made it even sweeter.
The next stop was Anthropologie. I have not had the opportunity to visit that store previously. It had been on my mind to do so the first chance I got. I was hoping to find some interesting tops. I did. There was a shirt with a combination of colours that makes smiling irresistible. I also purchased a sun shiny yellow sweater that would brighten anyone’s day. No sunglasses needed either. The cool part was the entire process took very little time to zero in on those 2 items, try them on and buy them. Both stores, I might add, have great return policies.
Honestly, I had no desire to visit any other shops of which there were many. I had gone to the one’s on my list, found exactly what I wanted. It couldn’t have been easier or more fun. We did take a little time to sit down at a patio for some nourishment after which we drove home.
This may not seem like a big deal. On the surface it was not. Beneath the surface, however, it was. From the time we left home until our return, everything flowed smoothly, easily, joyfully. The feeling in that state of flow is very uplifting. That is the point. When we can find that flow state in whatever we are engaged, we are at our best, feeling our best and have that sense of overall well being.
Comments are welcomed.
This week there’s a little more to say about the continuum of changes going on. Change, good or bad, can be disruptive in normal times. We are no longer living in normal times. Everything has become exaggerated, exacerbated and topsy turvy.
We may never fully figure things out. Just when we think we know what makes people or things tick, they tock. Then one Debbie Downer day, I happily remembered why change is so difficult.
There is actually a neuroscience reason that accounts for a good part of it. Neuroscientist Jeffrey Schwartz: “At the level of individual neurons, brains are built to detect changes in the environment and send out strong signals to alert us to anything unusual. Error detection signals are generated by a part of the brain called the orbital cortex (it’s located right over the eyeballs, which is very closely connected to the brain’s fear circuitry in a structure called the amygdala. These two areas compete with and direct brain resources away from the prefrontal region, which is known to promote and support higher intellectual functions. This pushes us to act more emotionally and more impulsively.”
Knowing my brain is not a fan of change is curiously comforting. Knowing there’s a valid reason for being wary of change, tells me I’m not a total neurotic. Well, then how might we best deal with change? There is no one size fits all. Each of us deals with challenges in our own unique way. Each of us has particular coping mechanisms that work for us. Here are some things I’ve found helpful:
Build a support team of family, good friends.
Comments are welcomed.
Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians. As Autumn has rolled in so come 2 major reminders to express gratitude and appreciation for the blessings we have despite these difficult times. Today being Canadian Thanksgiving and U.S. Thanksgiving next month. Of course, it would be the best of worlds if we celebrated the blessings in our lives every day as Terri Guillemets says, “Every day, spread the magical stardust of thankfulness into your life. “
Despite the fact that Winter is not far behind, there are so many gifts that Autumn gives us to enjoy while we are in it.
A few years ago I wrote a cheesy poem mixing the styles of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Maria Von Trapp that express some of my favorite things about Autumn.
Autumn, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
County fairs and fresh produce markets,
Apples and pumpkins and hot roasted chestnuts,
Cider and doughnuts and cool moonlit evenings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Leaves of bright colors at peak for the viewing,
The first sign of wood smoke through the air swirling,
Hay rides and scarecrows and fun family gatherings,
These are some more of my favorite things.
A couple other favorites that didn’t end up in rhyme include the swooshing and crunching sounds from walking on leaf covered paths and the wonderful aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice wafting from baked goods and hot mulled drinks.
On a more philosophical note, Autumn is a good time to reflect on the year. What things would we like to carry into the next year and grow? What things are best left behind or changed? What things do we want to let lie through the Winter and view with fresh eyes in Spring which brings hope renewal and rebirth? Lots to ponder over a cup of hot cider and a piece of pumpkin pie.
Comments are welcome.
A few weeks ago I wrote about stuff hitting the fan in a big way. Well, that fan seems to be in perpetual motion. Unwanted changes also seem to be in perpetual motion. There’s been so little time to adjust to one thing when another rolls in. I find myself bouncing around among inertia, resignation, trying to accept what is out of my control and figuring out how to move forward with what is. I think there is often a tendency to complicate difficulties making them exponentially more difficult. While pondering the current situation, a couple of quotes came to me that were just right for this or any other challenge.
“If you find yourself in a challenging situation, one that pushes you beyond your comfort zone. One that stimulates frustration, disillusionment and even despair . . . Take action. Do what you can do. Make the best effort you can make.” Gregg Krech
The other is paraphrasing James Dean. Essentially, we cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails to continue forward with our journey.
What is most important is to make the effort to do one small thing. Just take that one action to get started. Then take another step. Soon we realize we are out of the doldrums and moving into a more productive, energetic state. The switches don’t get flipped all at once. One by one everything gets brighter and brighter.
This is the message I need to keep giving myself throughout these most trying and unusual times. Sure, we can trip up and downward spiral. That’s part of being human. It’s about remembering to flip one switch; take one small action. That downward spiral will begin to reverse course and turn upward again.
Comments are welcome.