A Change in Routine, A Change in Perspective

Late Afternoon
A pasture in the late afternoon sun along the road I walk.

Here’s a post I wrote a couple of years ago all about how shaking up our routine can open us up to a renewed view of life. Today I’m considering facing a fear and digging into a couple projects I’ve left untouched for too long. And so I find myself thinking about a change in routine and a change in perspective.

I hope you have a great new week in which you can experience a refreshed outlook. We all need that in January! ~ Lori

Listen to me read this post:

I’d felt a cold circling around my head last night as we played a board game with the neighbours. I wasn’t surprised when I woke up with a throbbing headache, irritated throat, and clogged sinuses. No problem, though. I took it easy all day, slept in, and drank tea.

At about 5:00, I felt a bit better and a little restless. Today the weather warmed up. The temperature rose from about -30 degrees Celsius to about -5. No longer a prisoner in my house and thinking that maybe the fresh air would do me good, I went out for a walk.

Lately, I’ve developed a habit of walking in the early afternoon, right after lunch, when the light is full. How different my world looks at 5:00 p.m. with the sun low in the sky and the street lights making the snow crystals sparkle like diamonds.

IMG_1516
Another late-afternoon view from along the road I walk north of town.

Against the washed-denim sky, fading with each passing minute, bare tree branches stretched and tangled together, black and stark. In the ditches along the road, tracks told of rabbits that had been there just before me.

As I walked by, the horses that looked like painted plywood cutouts propped up in the pasture raised their curious noses to watch me. When I inhaled, the clean winter air filled my lungs and as I exhaled, I felt all the cold germs leave my body.

Through the very last light of day I headed back into town grateful that a minor head cold gave me a change in routine and a change in perspective.

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t be a stranger. ~ Lori

 

Three Unconventional Things I’m Thankful For

DIGITAL CAMERA
An autumn road around here.

It was so funny glancing over this post I wrote last year. It’s funny because I think I’ve changed so much and I’m experiencing a whole bunch of new things. And yet, as I read this, I realized that I’m pretty much the same as I was last year when I wrote this! I’m still contemplating work and aging and the benefits of mean people. There’s less new than I thought.

When it comes to pain, though, I have much less since we now have a little hot tub out on our deck. This has changed everything! If you have minor aches and pains, and enjoy soaking in a hot tub, check out this reasonably-priced, resin tub from Costco. If I can set it up and maintain it, you can!

As Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking about the things that bug the heck out of me. This brooding gets pretty old pretty fast. So I thought about how I could turn these irritants into little nuggets of golden gratefulness. I came up with these three unconventional things to be thankful for.

Mean, Miserable People

 What is there to be thankful for in the mean words and cutting actions of others? I mean, they’re irritating, right? But these folks in their meanness and miserableness remind me of the times when I’ve been mean and miserable. I get ready to either mount my high horse or play the victim, and then I take a long look in the mirror. Oh yeah, I’ve been that person! I will try not to be that person, but the chances are very good that I will be either mean or miserable or both again, and probably it will be soon.

Listen to me read this post:

Mean people (or more accurately mean actions) also remind me of the power and the importance of love and kindness. Cruelty is so easily destructive and sharp criticism can build walls of mistrust and misunderstanding. Love alone can tear those barriers down.

IMG_6672
Leaves withering – just like I am!

Getting Older

How can I be grateful for my rapidly disappearing life and my deteriorating body? Well, getting older sure beats being dead. For some reason, each morning when I wake up and each night before I fall asleep, I think about how old I am. For a long time, I’ve identified myself by my age and judged my success or failure in life by what I have or haven’t accomplished by certain ages. It’s true and it’s stupid. I’m sick of primarily thinking of myself as a person of a certain age. I don’t want to worry about it anymore. I’m tired of judging myself.

Lately I’ve recognized all the great gifts that aging has given me. I love my more peaceful life. When I was a youth, I remember always needing to have music on or needing to be in conversation with someone. I bathed my brain in racket. Nowadays, I spend a lot of time alone and in silence. Nowadays, I bathe my mind in quiet.

IMG_5948
Not dead yet.

I love the patience I’ve fostered over the years. Without the passing of time, I could’ve never become so patient. I used to push myself so hard, to do this and to do that. And now I work slowly and steadily and with no hope of an outcome. I always get somewhere working this way just as surely as I would by pressuring myself with goals I may never achieve. For me, this steady pace is one of the best things about being older.

Pain

Yes, with aging have come aches and pains. That’s how it goes. What is there about pain to make me feel thankful? It’s kind of like the old joke:

Why are you banging your head against that wall?

Because it feels so good when I stop.

Those pain-free moments are blissful. Pain also reminds me of all the miles I’ve walked and all those years I’ve had the opportunity to be active. I didn’t have a physical disability or disease that kept me from moving. Thank goodness because I really enjoy activity. Because of this, my hips and knees are wearing out, but I’m confident I’ve got quite a few miles left in them yet.

IMG_6625
Autumn colour.

Perception is My Choice

This October and at this age, I can focus on the mean words of others and use that as my excuse to be cruel and angry, too. Or I can remember to be kind and to change the world that way.

As another fall sets in, I can choose to feel down about my aging body or, instead, I can feel grateful that I’m as healthy and active as I am.

When pain comes to visit, I can curse it and wish that I had no pain at all or I can choose to remember that this mild pain means that I’ve moved and I’ve lived and that I am still gratefully alive. Happy Thanksgiving!

 Below I’ve posted some recent autumnal photos from our fall travels. Thanks for reading and listening. If you like this post, share it on Facebook. You can’t believe how many more people read it when you do that. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~ Lori

What Really Matters

Official Grad

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a good long weekend. This is a re-post of an earlier article. As I wrap up two weeks of vacation, it’s good to remember as I head in the direction of home, what really matters. Take care and enjoy!

Starting a business is hard! What’s more difficult yet is trying not to become completely self-absorbed while working to start a business. These nights, I dream of advertising. My thoughts constantly turn to content marketing and customer-engagement strategies. I can get a little too focused when undertaking a project. This is both good (if you’re my customer) and bad (if you’re me attempting to live a balanced life).

When reading another writer/editor’s blog post this morning, I was reminded that being able to pursue a meaningful career is a privilege. The blogger reminded me that I’m educated and live in a wealthy part of the world. This gives me a head start. He went on to say that there are people all over this big old world for who job success means survival, getting enough food and water to make it through another day. His blog post put things in perspective.

Listen to me read this post:

These days, it’s easy for me to lose perspective, to become caught up in the small things. It’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. It’s not difficult to know what really matters, but it does take stopping for a moment to remember.

IMG_1809
Deer on a hillside during an autumn evening walk.

Peace of mind matters.

Peace of mind and heart really matter. If we have these things, we are a benefit to the world. When we lack happiness, we contribute to the overall miserableness of the world. I don’t think the world needs our contribution in this area. But the planet and its inhabitants need our happiness, our support, and our encouragement.

Helping others is fulfilling.

Helping others matters. I was lucky this summer to get in touch with a charity that supports a cause that’s important to me. I do some volunteer editing for them and though it’s a cliché, I get way more out of this experience than I put into it. Editing and writing is what I do, and it’s fulfilling to use my skills to help.

Getting off devices and into the real world matters.

Being in the real world and off of devices really matters. As a writer, I spend an awful lot of time on my computer. That’s how it goes, and having begun my career using an electric typewriter, I’m grateful for a word-processing program.

IMG_4157.jpg
A lone, frosty tree.

Thankful for technology or not, I try to get out and walk every day. I crave the touch of the breeze and the buzz of the bees. I like to feel my muscles moving my skeleton along the sidewalks and country roads. I love the soft sound of wind in the grass and of crows in treetops plotting their next migratory move. Technology helps me work and social media give me a little rush, but being outside makes me feel alive.

Quiet contemplation matters.

While getting outside is important, so is going inside. For me to realize what matters in life, it’s most useful to just sit quietly and clear my mind. I like looking at my thoughts, watching them swirl around and finally settle as I relax. Quiet contemplation restores peace of mind and makes room for perspective. This is how I stop to consider what really does matter.

Me in a big shovel
Me experiencing the real world.

It’s a rare privilege.

It’s so easy to start striving for what I think I want and to forget that being able to run down a dream is a rare privilege and a wonderful opportunity. A very few of us get to even try to do what we want with our lives. Today, I was reminded that I am one of the fortunate few.

Did you like what you read and heard here? Please follow my blog here. Sign up to receive my latest posts right in your email inbox. Thanks for being here with me!

~ Lori

 

 

 

 

 

Renewed Perspectives

IMG_3821
Here’s a spring picture I took a few years ago.

For the first time in about three years, I got a new pair of glasses. I was astounded at how the world looked when the clerk polished the lenses and sat that plastic frame on the bridge of my nose. Everything was suddenly so bright and so crisp! I didn’t realize how outdated my old vision prescription was. My prescription hadn’t changed that dramatically, but apparently a small change can make a big difference.

 

Small changes making a big difference have been the theme of my life over the last few weeks since I finished up a short teaching contract and started focusing on other things. This morning I went for the first warm walk I’ve taken this spring. Under the bright blue prairie sky I marveled at the clear view of the landscape I got through my new glasses. And they’re cute, too! Having new eyewear isn’t as good as not having to wear glasses, but it’s pretty close.

Listen to me read this post here:

 

IMG_4832
These trees are gone now.

As I walked up the hill and my view expanded, I felt a sharp pang of sadness. I get these a lot lately, more often and more acutely than before. The sadness was the result of seeing what had been a little stand of trees that surrounded a quiet pond that was now transformed into a tidy brush pile waiting to be burned. Brushing is a common practice on agricultural land, and small stands of trees are routinely removed from arable land. Family members who used to live here and come back to visit, comment on the starkness of the farmland bare of trees. It’s different than they remember.

 

Ever Swiffered your walls?

 Spring has encouraged me to do some organizing and cleaning around this little house of ours. The other day, I was working at my office desk. I glanced up and noticed a cobweb wafting gently back and forth. Truth is that I’d noticed several cobwebs here and there in the high corners of the office and the master bedroom. I just ignored them and I was satisfied to do this for quite a long time.

But this spring seems to be my spring for extra cleaning. I’m not very tall and so the best tool to use to reach those corners is my Swiffer floor duster. It removed those cobwebs like a dream so I kept right on going and Swiffered the walls. It was fascinating! There was a surprisingly thick layer of dust there that I hadn’t detected. Got ten free minutes? Try it. You’ll see.

IMG_3974
Finally the weather’s warm enough for me to safely daydream about canoeing.

Facebook wasn’t the problem.

For a while I was pretty disgusted with Facebook. I wanted that social media platform to be something else, I suppose. I wanted a kinder place in which I could really connect with people. My relationship with Facebook reminded of relationships I’d had with men when I was (much) younger. I pictured how things would be great if I could change this and that small thing about the way my partner and I interacted. This dissatisfaction would inevitably lead us to break up and, when we did, the disappointment disappeared.

It was the same when I ended it with Facebook. I spent too long wanting it to be something it just couldn’t be, something it never wanted to be. Facebook wasn’t the problem. My expectations of it were the problem. When my dissatisfaction caused us to break up, my disappointment in the platform disappeared. Sometimes late at night when I’m all alone and have an item to sell, I still think about its reach and advertising potential, but most of the time, I don’t miss Facebook that much.

Speaking of Facebook, if you like what you read here, please feel free to share it to your Facebook feed or any of your other social media networks. That would be great. And if you’re not following me here on WordPress, please consider making that small change in your life.

You can cut and paste this link to my blog into Facebook:

https://wordpress.com/post/loriknutson.com/2729

Thanks for dropping by and spending some time with me! Get in touch anytime and please let me know if you Swiffer your walls. Strangely, I’d love to hear about it!

~ Lori

“I wanna get lost in your rock’n’roll and drift away.” ~ Dobie Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Unconventional Things I’m Thankful For

DIGITAL CAMERA
An autumn road around here.

It was so funny glancing over this post I wrote last year. It’s funny because I think I’ve changed so much and I’m experiencing a whole bunch of new things. And yet, as I read this, I realized that I’m pretty much the same as I was last year when I wrote this! I’m still contemplating work and aging and the benefits of mean people. There’s less new than I thought.

When it comes to pain, though, I have much less since we now have a little hot tub out on our deck. This has changed everything! If you have minor aches and pains, and enjoy soaking in a hot tub, check out this reasonably-priced, resin tub from Costco. If I can set it up and maintain it, you can!

As Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking about the things that bug the heck out of me. This brooding gets pretty old pretty fast. So I thought about how I could turn these irritants into little nuggets of golden gratefulness. I came up with these three unconventional things to be thankful for.

Mean, Miserable People

 What is there to be thankful for in the mean words and cutting actions of others? I mean, they’re irritating, right? But these folks in their meanness and miserableness remind me of the times when I’ve been mean and miserable. I get ready to either mount my high horse or play the victim, and then I take a long look in the mirror. Oh yeah, I’ve been that person! I will try not to be that person, but the chances are very good that I will be either mean or miserable or both again, and probably it will be soon.

Listen to me read this post:

Mean people (or more accurately mean actions) also remind me of the power and the importance of love and kindness. Cruelty is so easily destructive and sharp criticism can build walls of mistrust and misunderstanding. Love alone can tear those barriers down.

IMG_6672
Leaves withering – just like I am!

Getting Older

How can I be grateful for my rapidly disappearing life and my deteriorating body? Well, getting older sure beats being dead. For some reason, each morning when I wake up and each night before I fall asleep, I think about how old I am. For a long time, I’ve identified myself by my age and judged my success or failure in life by what I have or haven’t accomplished by certain ages. It’s true and it’s stupid. I’m sick of primarily thinking of myself as a person of a certain age. I don’t want to worry about it anymore. I’m tired of judging myself.

Lately I’ve recognized all the great gifts that aging has given me. I love my more peaceful life. When I was a youth, I remember always needing to have music on or needing to be in conversation with someone. I bathed my brain in racket. Nowadays, I spend a lot of time alone and in silence. Nowadays, I bathe my mind in quiet.

IMG_5948
Not dead yet.

I love the patience I’ve fostered over the years. Without the passing of time, I could’ve never become so patient. I used to push myself so hard, to do this and to do that. And now I work slowly and steadily and with no hope of an outcome. I always get somewhere working this way just as surely as I would by pressuring myself with goals I may never achieve. For me, this steady pace is one of the best things about being older.

Pain

Yes, with aging have come aches and pains. That’s how it goes. What is there about pain to make me feel thankful? It’s kind of like the old joke:

Why are you banging your head against that wall?

Because it feels so good when I stop.

Those pain-free moments are blissful. Pain also reminds me of all the miles I’ve walked and all those years I’ve had the opportunity to be active. I didn’t have a physical disability or disease that kept me from moving. Thank goodness because I really enjoy activity. Because of this, my hips and knees are wearing out, but I’m confident I’ve got quite a few miles left in them yet.

IMG_6625
Autumn colour.

Perception is My Choice

This October and at this age, I can focus on the mean words of others and use that as my excuse to be cruel and angry, too. Or I can remember to be kind and to change the world that way.

As another fall sets in, I can choose to feel down about my aging body or, instead, I can feel grateful that I’m as healthy and active as I am.

When pain comes to visit, I can curse it and wish that I had no pain at all or I can choose to remember that this mild pain means that I’ve moved and I’ve lived and that I am still gratefully alive. Happy Thanksgiving!

 Below I’ve posted some recent autumnal photos from our fall travels. Thanks for reading and listening. If you like this post, share it on Facebook. You can’t believe how many more people read it when you do that. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~ Lori

What Really Matters

Official Grad

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a good lomg weekend. This is a re-post of an earlier article. As I wrap up two weeks of vacation, it’s good to remember as I head in the direction of home, what really matters. Take care and enjoy!

Starting a business is hard! What’s more difficult yet is trying not to become completely self-absorbed while working to start a business. These nights, I dream of advertising. My thoughts constantly turn to content marketing and customer-engagement strategies. I can get a little too focused when undertaking a project. This is both good (if you’re my customer) and bad (if you’re me attempting to live a balanced life).

When reading another writer/editor’s blog post this morning, I was reminded that being able to pursue a meaningful career is a privilege. The blogger reminded me that I’m educated and live in a wealthy part of the world. This gives me a head start. He went on to say that there are people all over this big old world for who job success means survival, getting enough food and water to make it through another day. His blog post put things in perspective.

Listen to me read this post:

These days, it’s easy for me to lose perspective, to become caught up in the small things. It’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. It’s not difficult to know what really matters, but it does take stopping for a moment to remember.

IMG_1809
Deer on a hillside during an autumn evening walk.

Peace of mind matters.

Peace of mind and heart really matter. If we have these things, we are a benefit to the world. When we lack happiness, we contribute to the overall miserableness of the world. I don’t think the world needs our contribution in this area. But the planet and its inhabitants need our happiness, our support, and our encouragement.

Helping others is fulfilling.

Helping others matters. I was lucky this summer to get in touch with a charity that supports a cause that’s important to me. I do some volunteer editing for them and though it’s a cliché, I get way more out of this experience than I put into it. Editing and writing is what I do, and it’s fulfilling to use my skills to help.

Getting off devices and into the real world matters.

Being in the real world and off of devices really matters. As a writer, I spend an awful lot of time on my computer. That’s how it goes, and having begun my career using an electric typewriter, I’m grateful for a word-processing program.

IMG_4157.jpg
A lone, frosty tree.

Thankful for technology or not, I try to get out and walk every day. I crave the touch of the breeze and the buzz of the bees. I like to feel my muscles moving my skeleton along the sidewalks and country roads. I love the soft sound of wind in the grass and of crows in treetops plotting their next migratory move. Technology helps me work and social media give me a little rush, but being outside makes me feel alive.

Quiet contemplation matters.

While getting outside is important, so is going inside. For me to realize what matters in life, it’s most useful to just sit quietly and clear my mind. I like looking at my thoughts, watching them swirl around and finally settle as I relax. Quiet contemplation restores peace of mind and makes room for perspective. This is how I stop to consider what really does matter.

Me in a big shovel
Me experiencing the real world.

It’s a rare privilege.

It’s so easy to start striving for what I think I want and to forget that being able to run down a dream is a rare privilege and a wonderful opportunity. A very few of us get to even try to do what we want with our lives. Today, I was reminded that I am one of the fortunate few.

Did you like what you read and heard here? Please follow my blog here. Sign up to receive my latest posts right in your email inbox. Thanks for being here with me!

~ Lori

 

 

 

 

 

A Change in Routine, A Change in Perspective

Late Afternoon
A pasture in the late afternoon sun along the road I walk.

Here’s a post I wrote a couple of years ago all about how shaking up our routine can open us up to a renewed view of life. Today I’m considering facing a fear and digging into a project I’ve left untouched for too long. And so I find myself thinking about a change in routine and a change in perspective.

I hope you have a great new week in which you can experience a renewed and refreshed outlook. We all need that in January! ~ Lori

Listen to me read this post:

I’d felt a cold circling around my head last night as we played a board game with the neighbours. I wasn’t surprised when I woke up with a throbbing headache, irritated throat, and clogged sinuses. No problem, though. I took it easy all day, slept in, and drank tea.

At about 5:00, I felt a bit better and a little restless. Today the weather warmed up. The temperature rose from about -30 degrees Celsius to about -5. No longer a prisoner in my house and thinking that maybe the fresh air would do me good, I went out for a walk.

Lately, I’ve developed a habit of walking in the early afternoon, right after lunch, when the light is full. How different my world looks at 5:00 p.m. with the sun low in the sky and the street lights making the snow crystals sparkle like diamonds.

IMG_1516
Another late-afternoon view from along the road I walk north of town.

Against the washed-denim sky, fading with each passing minute, bare tree branches stretched and tangled together, black and stark. In the ditches along the road, tracks told of rabbits that had been there just before me.

As I walked by, the horses that looked like painted plywood cutouts propped up in the pasture raised their curious noses to watch me. When I inhaled, the clean winter air filled my lungs and as I exhaled, I felt all the cold germs leave my body.

Through the very last light of day I headed back into town grateful that a minor head cold gave me a change in routine and a change in perspective.

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t be a stranger. ~ Lori

 

This New Year’s Eve

IMG_4315
Heavy frost in January.

It’s funny how time changes our perspective. When I was young, New Year’s Eve was typically a bit of a downer. I’d go inward and review all the things that had not happened that year, all the goals I’d set and then left there, dusty and unaccomplished, in a dark corner.

I had not learned to play guitar; I had not yet completed that correspondence course; I hadn’t decided on a suitable career; I hadn’t lost weight or gained popularity; I hadn’t found adventure, love or even much romance. I’d never be a writer and I’d never have a satisfying job. Of these things I was certain, and I couldn’t be dissuaded from following my own miserable mindset.

As the clock struck midnight and being unable to sink any lower into self-pity, I’d unconvincingly bolster myself. I’d begin grasping frantically at new goals, new ideas, and new adventures that I could – no, that I would – make happen.

I would finish that course; I would write a book; I would enroll (again) in university; I’d exercise and eat right; I’d buy a guitar; I’d skydive with my new love; I’d meet people and make a bazillion friends; I’d study to be an astronaut who trains horses and rides the intergalactic rodeo circuit…

IMG_1516
A late December sunset north of town.

By the end of the night and by the time I was done buoying myself up, I was left feeling overwhelmed and deflated, a bit dizzy, and chronically unsuccessful.

Years have passed and my outlook has changed. Although I still crave the adventure and notoriety of the intergalactic rodeo circuit (who doesn’t?) I’ve learned that there are greater things than goals and accomplishments. That’s not to say that I haven’t done some rewarding things. It’s been great to have those opportunities, but in accomplishing goals I’ve learned that accomplishments aren’t what fill me up. Like salty potato chips, accomplishments leave me wanting more. The satisfaction is short lived.

It’s gratitude and loving others that has finally satisfied me. And so this New Year’s Eve, I think of all that hasn’t happened to me and that I haven’t done. I haven’t undergone any chemotherapy or radiation treatments; I haven’t broken a bone or anyone’s heart; I haven’t been injured in a car crash or lost anyone I love to an illness; I haven’t lost my job or lost a limb or lost a child; I haven’t lost my mind or lost my mobility; I haven’t contracted Hepatitis B, been kidnapped or murdered.

Moon
Pale January moon over the prairie.

For now, I am safe and sound, and I’m aware that everything changes and that others have not been as fortunate this past year. It’s not enough for me to feel lucky to have dodged a few of life’s inevitable bullets.

For my gratitude to expand into love, I remember those who did suffer a death, a loss, a diagnosis, a hospital stay, a life sentence, and I wish them well. It’s not resolving for the future or reviewing the past, that will make it a happy New Year for me. Thankfulness for what I have and trying to see beyond my own desires is what will satisfy my heart this New Year’s Eve.

I wish you health and happiness in 2018.