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Posts Tagged ‘hopeful’

I have been talking to myself a lot lately. Usually when I talk to myself repeately, it means it’s time to update my blog. I just realised that I haven’t written since February. Where to start?

My little white Nissan, Melody, was hit by a snowplough. She was parked across the street as I couldn’t park in the parking lot (the snow was being cleared). The plough driver was coming around a corner and didn’t lift up the blade enough. Shattered the back windscreen, the two driver’s side windows, sheared off the drivers side mirror and gouged all along the driver’s side. I don’t believe I would have survived the accident if I’d been in my car.

At any rate, with some back and forth with the provincial insurance company and the city, I received a payout that more than covered the car loan. Excellent. For two weeks I was debt free! I then debated about whether to apply for another car loan as I had found a used car, excellent deal, online. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a car loan or a line of credit.

I have struggled with my finances most of my adult life. I couldn’t figure out why I was in my fifties and losing sleep about retirement, etc. Then I found K. Kenneth Davis, also known as “The Trans Capitalist“. He wrote an e-book, “The Money Talk” which, seriously, changed my life. It helped me understand that my ideas of financial success and freedom were outdate and were wrong for me. Check this man out. Seriously. You can find him on Instagram and Facebook.

I decided to apply for a line of credit, so I could use that once my “new-to-me” car “Hope” is paid for. It may come in handy when the time comes to buy that cargo van! I was approved for the line of credit ALL BY MYSELF, and “Hope” has come home to me. I’ve been picking up things here and there for her to make her into a micro-camper for days off and vacations. More on her in another post.

I’ve started simplifying my life. I started with my kitchen. I had too many gadgets that seemed like a fabulous idea, but were never used. I had way too many drinking glasses. I had wine glasses and I no longer drink alcohol. So they have been donated. I still have one very fancy heavy-duty wine glass that use to drink my sparkling water, when I’m feeling fancy. Most of the time I drink it straight from the Soda Stream bottle.

I’ve donated most of my shoes. I have five pairs left, three pairs of boots (one pair of winter boots, one pair of rain boots, and one pair of dressy boots. I pared down my handbags. I pared down my luggage. I continue to pare down my clothes. I took a swoop through my closet this weekend and I think I’ll be doing it again in about a month.

I read an article about a woman who wore the same dress for 100 days. At first I thought it was kind of gross, but the more of the article I read, I began to understand why. I have clothes in my closet for “just-in-case” purposes. I haven’t worn them in years. I have a number of blazers, all of which I like, but only wear about half.

Where is it written that we can’t wear the same ensemble over and over? I mean, truthfully, I do wear the same outfits over and over. When I do buy clothing it’s usually to replace something that has worn out or no longer fits. There are a few things I have learned through this pandemic. One of which is, I am NEVER AGAIN wearing a garment with a fitted waist. No thank you.

At any rate, I’m not striving to be a true minimalist, rather, I am striving to have a simpler, less-cluttered life. I want to be surrounded by things that are useful and also things that are beautiful…things which bring me joy.

I will put blogging into my calendar so I am more regular at doing so. There’s some interesting things happening with Sir Vincent, including an ongoing debate about whether or not it’s acceptable to stand in my ear to see out the window in the middle of the night. Sometimes multiple times! I sleep on my side, hence, he stands on my head, his paw in my ear.

Anyway, do please check out K. Kenneth Davis, The Trans Capitalist. He may well do for you, what he did for me. Buy his e-book and take a long, loving look at your finances. Maybe you’ll decide, like I did, that I don’t need more money, I need less stuff. I don’t need a big house to call a home, I can create a home on wheels. Etc.

I had the opportunity to talk to Kenneth about money. I was a total geeky fangirl when he approached me to talk about my reactions to his e-book. We were having a fabulous conversation about shame and money when technology failed. Isn’t that ALWAYS THE WAY? So, I’m hoping we can chat more about that. He has given me the confidence to understand that it’s never too late to learn about money, and budgets, and debt, and savings, and expectations.

For that, and for him, I am incredibly thankful.

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I’m sure most of you are familiar with the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”. In making changes, both small and significant, I have realised that it takes a team to keep me sane, and upright…well, unless gravity intervenes.

A couple of weeks ago I was at the chiropractor for my bi-weekly visit. At that visit he was going through diagnostic tests that are done twice a year. They measure my biochemistry among other things, and can show cause and effect to how I’m doing. I’m not sure exactly what it measures, but he can read my stress, and life balance, in the results. Needless to say, given how the last couple of months have gone, the results weren’t great.

So we talked about it. About what’s been happening in my life. About how I need to make changes within myself before I can expect anything else to change.

My physiotherapist is also an amazing resource. And she’s a parishioner. She, her husband and their lovely dog join us by Zoom for Worship some Sunday mornings. And it’s great. She and I also talk about how my body responds to stress and what I can do to help with physical and joint issues, which right now, are many.

I have the best family doctor. She is much younger than I am and we have a very open relationship. She knows I will advocate for myself and she will call me out when I’m not doing what I should be doing. A couple of weeks ago I was not doing well at all. And she called me on it. So, now I’m taking a pill to help relax me enough to sleep. The pill works well…when I remember to take it at the best time, not four hours later. Ugh.

My Spiritual Advisor is a former mentor and current close and trusted friend. She lives in Ontario and will also challenge me when I’m not at my best, and will call me out, on what I need to do to be at my best. The other night we spent a couple of hours crying together over the phone, as I realised that I need to make myself a priority. I need to be as much of a priority as my Parish. Now where you, kind reader may be saying “Well, duh”; to me, this was an extraordinary realisation.

I also realise how fortunate I am to live in Canada, with universal health care and a great set of medical and dental benefits from my employer; to enable me to visit the chiropractor, and physiotherapist without going bankrupt. To be able to talk to my family doctor, or go to the emergency room and not need a loan to do so.

Each year I am required to write up a set of Goals and Objectives, for myself and to measure my parish leadership. At the end of the year I go through them with a committee, whose sole focus is ensuring I feel supported. When I sat down to go through the goals for 2019-2020, I was certain I had not achieved most of them, because of medical leave early in 2020 and because of COVID-19. When I stepped back to look at what we did accomplish I was astounded. Which is fodder for another blog post…

I came up with just two goals for 2021-2022. The first is to maintain status quo with respect to my workload. Focusing on Worship, Liturgical and Homiletic Preparation, crisis Pastoral care and other life milestones, such as baptism, weddings and funerals. In other words: hatch, match and dispatch. The second goal is to be more mindful with how I care for myself so I don’t end up on the knife’s edge again. Both goals were received enthusiastically.

I’m learning that I need to follow a routine if I’m going to be at my best. I need to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day, regardless of what day it is. I can nap in the middle of the day, but I need to observe the same waking and sleeping times.

I’m learning that my body is unreliable in triggering hunger. In the morning I tend to feel nauseous, a side effect of medication and M.E. On days when I’m at the office, I don’t pack myself lunch or snacks or anything. And sometimes I find myself walking through the door at 4:00 pm feeling unsteady and somewhat lightheaded. Well, duh.

SO, the plan is that when I am going to be working at the office, I will pack (mostly) healthy snacks in my work bag as well as some water. I will endeavour to eat in the morning, and will aim for two meals a day. On days when I’m working from home or enjoying the Sabbath, I will again aim for two meals a day, plus snacks.

Every day I will go outside. Even if it is to smell the air and walk around the block, I will get outside and move my body.

I will take breaks when working, rather than pushing through, then realising it’s 9:00 pm and I haven’t eaten or moved in several hours.

Priority one is sleep. Once I have that balance achieved, it should help the other priorities fall into place, such as journaling daily, intentional daily prayer, intentional meditative practice, stretching and breathing exercises. Being gentle and loving with my body. Curbing negative self-talk, and treating myself with the same kindness I treat those I love.

My hope, is that in six months, I will be feeling and looking much better. Right now I’m weary and look as though I’ve been “dragged through hedge, backwards” as my Mam is fond of saying. In other words, I look as lousy as I feel.

But hey, I’m grieving after suppressing that grief. Grieving takes time, and so does healing. And because it’s written down and shared with several people, you included, dear reader, I will now be more accountable, to myself and to you.

So, you can expect more frequent posts, I won’t commit to how frequent, but definitely more than once a month.

And now I will wash my face, brush my teeth and head to bed where I will journal and listen to a daily meditation. And then hopefully fall asleep to the sound of my cat purring.

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I’m not sure if it’s COVID-19 fatigue, if it’s mental exhaustion, if it’s too many hours in front of a screen, if it’s too little hours asleep, if it’s a CFS/ME flare or just what it is…but I’m weary.

I talked to my counsellor two weeks ago and she asked how I was doing. I default to talking about work, and she always steers me back to how I am doing, outside my vocation. Outside the busy-ness of my life. And I told her I was exhausted. And she gave me the BEST advice.

You see, many of my colleagues, from both denominations, talk about being outside and active. They talk about hiking and boating, of running and kayaking…and I have difficulty finding the energy to shower. My get up and go has got up and gone.

My counsellor told me I need to rest. I need to sleep. I need to listen to my body and when my body tells me to rest, that’s what I need to do. And to stop comparing myself to my colleagues. Also excellent advice.

I’m an empath. It’s difficult to live into this reality when we are not in a time of pandemic. Besides feeling my own “stuff”, being an empath means I feel other peoples “stuff” too. In the last month I’ve had four funerals (three of them in 10 days), and many of them were very challenging.

I learned today of the death of a colleague by suicide and it broke me open. Many of the people I am in contact with in this small community I call home are struggling with mental exhaustion. A colleague framed it this way…he said mental illness is something that can be treated, while mental exhaustion is something completely different. It is something for which there is no cure or fix. And that’s exactly what I’m feeling.

I’m planning a week’s retreat time at the end of November where I’ll escape to the magical place of Away. Vinnie has been interviewing sitters and he’s found a lovely young lady (and her Mum) to order around while I’m away.

My flat is a mess. I have chores to do. And usually these chores would be done in a couple of hours. But it takes me days to do what I could do in little time. I will get it done, because I do not do well in chaos.

Tomorrow I have another appointment with my counsellor which I know will be good. And tomorrow night I’m attending a COVID compliant community event that I’ve been really looking forward to. And that means I will need to rest myself during the day so I can function to make it to the event.

These times are challenging. They are downright exhausting. But I’ll get through them. Because even though I’m weary, I’m hopeful.

And that’s got to be worth something, right?

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I’ve been interested in zero-waste living for a while now. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go completely zero-waste, yet I am making strides. One of the first things I switched over from was from plastic to bamboo toothbrushes. I used to have a subscription which delivered a new toothbrush to me every two months. Then I started figuring out how much pollution was being caused with a single toothbrush shipped every two months, as opposed to ordering six toothbrushes at a time…a year’s worth, if you will. The other day I came across bamboo toothbrushes with removable heads. That needs more investigation…

Today I took my last plastic bottle of laundry detergent to the Transfer Station for recycling. I’ve got some pods to use and then I’ll be starting laundry “strips” which are organic paper-like matter that you throw into the washing machine with your clothes and voila! I’ve been using wool dryer-balls for awhile, and I love them.

My goal is to reduce single-use plastics from my home as much as possible. With COVID-19, it’s a little bit difficult because we aren’t yet allowed to use reusable produce bags at the grocers. A benefit though, is I use the disposable produce bags when I go to the gas station.

A few months back, I switched to shampoo and conditioner bars and they are amazing. I’ve switched out body wash for artisanal soap. When I finish up the remaining face wash I’ll switch to using bar soap on my face.

This week I ordered zero-waste deodorant. It’s called “No Pong”. The name itself made me laugh out loud. The skin under my arms is very sensitive and reacts easily. I’m hoping this deodorant that I apply with my fingers will do the trick.

So now, instead of a bunch of bottles in the bathroom, I have one. Face wash. The rest are all bars. Soap, shampoo and conditioner. The razor I currently use is a metal and plastic handle with a removable/replaceable head. I don’t know that I will be able to handle a Wilkinson-style razor with razor blade…my hands shake and my balance is bad, I don’t want to inadvertently cut an artery.

In the kitchen, my storage plastics have been replaced (as they lived out their life expectancy) with glass bowls and silicone lids. I just bought a microwave popper to keep excess packaging out of the landfill/transfer station.

I use beeswax cloths instead of plastic wrap. I buy milk in glass bottles. I’m going to buy juice in a frozen concentrate rather than a plastic bottle. I use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil whenever I can.

Toothpaste. I’ve tried tooth tabs before and I can’t stand the gritty sensation. I’m not a fan of carbon toothpaste and am looking for tooth powder that is healthy for my teeth and gums and zero-waste. I don’t love brushing my teeth, so I need something that doesn’t suck…and doesn’t taste like garbage.

My cat’s litter is made from a recycled corn byproduct which makes it biodegradable. I’m still putting it in plastic bags to get it to the garbage, but I’ll figure out something to address that.

I buy pop in cans instead of plastic bottles when I’m traveling, or better yet, I bring a reusable water bottle. Again, with COVID-19, where I would bring a re-usable mug when I bought tea, they aren’t permitted currently.

I used to bring my prescription bottles back to the pharmacy for re-use, but right now that’s not allowed. So I’m amassing quite a collection. I’ll find a use for them, I’m sure of it.

One step at a time. One choice at a time. One item at a time. I’m very mindful of packaging. And of shipping. I try to buy local wherever I can, or if I need to go to the next city to buy something, I’ll combine errands to save on unnecessary trips.

With everything that is going on in the world, it may seem silly or unnecessary to be concerned with single use plastics. What I do know is I can make a difference. Even though I am one person.

I have paper towels but rarely use them. I have tissues, but also have ladies handkerchiefs which I carry when I’m out. I have washable dusting cloths and cleaning cloths. I try to buy with the least amount of pollution wherever possible. The mop I use has a removeable, washable pad.

Now, I love the dishsoap I use. And I’ve used the same bottle for the past 3 years, buying refills for it. I know there are solid bars I can use for dishes, but I’m not at that point.

I no longer colour my hair. It’s not to say that I won’t ever do it again, but right now I’m enjoying watching the Artic Blonde come in. I love the silver highlights. And I’ve earned every single one of them.

When I’m out and about if I stop for a cold drink I politely refuse the straw. I have bamboo cutlery and glass straws for when I travel.

It’s not everything, but it’s something.

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