Friday, March 04, 2016

Thoughts on life (my 10th Blog Anniversary!)

As mid-March approaches, I will be celebrating both my birthday and the 10th anniversary of this blog!

Like everyone (it seems) I've been spending more time on Instagram (windlost1) than on the blog this past year.  

I've really missed the ritual of writing.  Writing was so very cathartic.  I often wrote to help dissect what I was feeling.  And it was emotionally-focussing, to distill your thoughts to create a coherent essay.  

So while I love the spontaneity of Instagram, I do miss the discipline and clarity of the longer format.

Having said that, Instagram has rekindled my love for photography!  

Over the past year on IG, I challenged myself to shoot more carefully and thoughfully and set myself some photo assignments, like this flower series:

Freesia No.1 in Creamer

Freesia No.2 in Pitcher

Flowers in the sink awaiting their vase

I had such fun with this series, shot entirely with my old iPhone4 (which I have only just today replaced).

Apple blossoms from our tree
Snapdragons and urn


Apple blossoms on porcelain

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Who would think that learning to edit my photography style would help me to begin editing my thoughts and even my home?

  I have lived for 18 years with chronic pain (bad headaches and myofascial neck and back pain) after a horseback riding accident.  And I work as a senior engineer in a collaborative but very challenging research environment.  So I often find my world very, very overstimulating!

So I began to adopt a sort of serene (#aquietstyle) photography style that is echoing a pull toward serenity in my daily life.
Each day, I am trying to be just a little more quiet, a little more grateful, to take things just a little bit slower (this doesn't always work), and operate a bit more mindfully.  I am finally acknowledging my limitations, after 18 years of chronic pain, for the first time...as a chance to be more present and less grasping. 

I can't do all the things I used to, nor can I do them in the same quantity. 

I have spent years trying though, and have suffered immensely with the loss of my former identity.  I still grieve for the person I was.

In the past, I was far more fit (who wouldn't be, exercising 6 days a week...well, I can't do that any more), more achievement-oriented (I was constantly taking evening classes), more caught up in the chaos of the world (trying to help everyone at work, do everything for everyone in my personal life, attend every event I was invited to, and always always staying late at work to polish all the details, etc.).

Now I am choosing to listen to my body more.  
To be quiet more.  To rest more.  
To reflect more.  To distill my life down to what really matters.  

To still be engaged but to say No more often, and say Yes only to those things that really please me.  

I listen to the quiet more.


And quietly and slowly, I am finding more kindred spirits who see the world a bit like me.  And I'm worrying less about being interesting and charming to everyone.  
I worry less if everyone likes me or finds me interesting.  What a relief!
Many years ago, I saw a psychologist to deal with an emotional struggle with a former  boyfriend.  After several sessions of trying to convince myself that this relationship just needed more work (by me mainly), the psychologist said, "I think you already know the answer."  I talked some more and she said again "I think you already know the answer".  I think she said it five more times before I realized what she was saying.  I did know the answer but was trying to make myself fit into the situation, which didn't fit me.  The answer was that things really were not working...FOR ME.

A light came on.  I could suddenly see what I needed, what I knew all along.  I ended the relationship.

Oftentimes I think we're spinning so fast  that we don't take time to listen any more and see what we really need, at a minimum, to survive and be content.  To distill what really brings pleasure, what makes our hearts most happy.  We take on too much out of obligation and also out of confusion - we see so much possibility in the world and we want to try and to be everything.  We see other people's accomplishments and think that we need to do those things too.

But not everything is meant for you.  
Not everything is meant for you.  
Not everything is meant for you.
Not everything is meant for you.



(I am not perfect at this yet)

I am trying to let go of the things not meant for me.  The things I think I should want, or that other people have (which seems to make them happy and popular). 

 And I am listening more to the things that make me joyful inside, that propel me towards the life that I envision for myself...

A pretty Provencal painting in my office

I may not be as accomplished, or as slim or as exciting or as fashionably-dressed (or whatever we strive after and call success nowadays) as I once was, or thought I should be.  

But I care much less what people think.  And I have accomplished a great deal already in my life that makes me proud.  I have come farther than I thought I would based on my challenging beginnings.

And I know now that I don't have to attract or please everyone, or appeal to everyone.  My success doesn't have to be valued by everyone.  I am a great daughter, wife, friend, colleague, and a damn good engineer.  And that is not even a tenth of it.  It isn't a tenth of any of us who go so much deeper and have grown and learned so much more than others could imagine.

I just want to hear my own thoughts now, in the quiet spaces of the day.  

And after hearing them, I want to let them go and stop clinging to definitions of myself.  It's hard work.  I am trying to shed a complex identity that we all create for ourselves and be left with something simpler and easier to manage.  I am tired of being hostage to wants and not-enoughs.

I am starting to feel more clear and content and much more sure of myself than when I was going 100 miles an hour trying to be everything to everyone.

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Happy 10th Anniversary to me and especially to you, my dear and faithful Readers!!

21 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. The photography and the words resonate with me. Happy Anniversary to you! So nice to see a post pop up today.

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  2. so nice to see you on your blog again, amazing post ! I have not seen you on instagram, I do not have a cell phone and that is were everyone sees stuff... some days I feel a little lost without one but then I think no, you do not want one... lol... so love your photo's ! amazing... anyway glad to see you are ok hugs x

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    1. Hi CarolAnne, so nice to see you here and hope you are well. Thanks for reading and I should be trying to blog more. It's such a nice thing to write again. Xox Terri

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  3. lovely post. thank you for sharing your journey thus far. you were one of the first blogs I found years ago and I have always enjoyed visiting.

    donna

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  4. Beautiful, thoughtful post and photographs. I have followed your blog for years and miss the posts but happily follow along on instagram.

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  5. How good to hear from you, Terri. I've missed reading your blog (happy anniversary, by the way!). I like what you've written here. I have a simpler kind of life than many people, which might partly be due to the fact that we don't have children. I feel I'm a happy, content person most of the time. About four years ago though, I rediscovered my faith and it has been the best thing. I hear you say many things in this post that are the cornerstone of Christianity. God loves us all for who we are. With a focus on Christ, the things of this world become very insignificant. Every morning I start my day by listening to a homily on the website Wordonfire.org. Bishop Robert Barron is a wonderful, intelligent, skilled speaker. I love how he pulls examples from modern day into his sermons. If you don't already know Christ, I encourage you to get to. It is life changing.
    Claudia

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    1. Dear Claudia, oh so lovely to see your words here and I've missed you! I must catch up on your blog. Thank you for your encouraging words and the link to Bishop Barron. I will look it up and give it a listen!! Can't wait. And you are right, I think many of us are searching for a foundation on which to build our lives and our faith can provide that if we allow it. XOX

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  6. Lovely, and so very true. So many of the things that seem so important when we are younger, we realize as we age are just not. There are so many more important things in life and things are just not one of them.

    Your photos are amazing and I have seen them on instagram. May I ask if you use an additional lens?

    Happy 10th anniversary! Looking forward to seeing more of you here or on instagram.

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  7. Dear Terri,
    Your writings and serene photography has truly resonated with me today.Your quest to find peace is an honorable one. I have been on much the same journey. It has taken a long time; however I am so happy to be at the place in life to know the importance of self care. The Buddha quote is perfect....

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  8. Happy 10th Anniversary Terri! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. This is something I can relate. I've been through a big identity shift over the past several years myself, and I'm still learning to adjust to this new identity and uncover my potential within the given limitations. It's been challenging. But you're right - limitations sure encourage us to seek what matters the most and why, and that can be a true blessing (but some days, it feels more like a pain than a blessing, haha!) I'm so glad you're my friend. Here's to enjoying slower and simpler moments. It's a good feeling to slowly become who we truly are :-)

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  9. Happy 10th Anniversary! Your floral photography is beautiful. I love the serene quality which allows the focus of their true beauty to shine through. Just lovely!

    What a beautiful post, one that definitely resonated with me. Over the last few years I had to adjust to a "new normal" of sorts. Letting go and accepting things as they are is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Once that happens, its easier to move forward. It sounds like you are at that stage. I love your honesty and wish the best for you as you continue your journey of self discovery to live a simpler life. I'm with you there!

    All the best to you.

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  10. I believe you have accomplished all that you stated above and have done it superbly, Terri! It just feels like you're polishing the edges. Truly. All the best!

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  11. Happy Birthday, Happy blogiversary (is that a word?) and a HUGE thank you for such a lovely and thoughtful post. Such a good reminder! not everything is meant for you. YES!

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  12. Happy belated anniversary and birthday darling! So proud of you and really admire your perseverance xxx

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  13. So nice to read your post, Terri. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on life, working within limitations and listening to the body. Not sure if you remember me, but I live in Victoria and also have chronic headache. Still. Trying also to step away from all the crazy busyness that is really more than my nervous system can tolerate. I hope you are inspired to continue writing!

    Hugs to you, Christine Webb

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  14. Your blog is breathtaking, Terri!

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  15. Your blog is very impressive and have the useful information it is really caught my attention.


    great work

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    good job Beautiful! :)

    حراج السيارات

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  16. Nice to see the wonderful images. Thank for sharing the message with us. Wedding Mandaps

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  17. was thinking of you this morning, hope I find you well... hugs Carol Anne

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  18. Omg! I can’t stop looking at these pictures! It makes me wanna play with me decor. Thanks so much for inspiring my day.

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