Climatic conditions needed to be perfect produce the spectacular view I was looking at. Tree branches coated with hoarfrost are a sight that thrills me.
The majority of my life was lived on Canada’s west coast and I’d never experienced this particular beauty until we moved to Alberta fifteen years ago.
I’d seen my share of frost, but nothing as photogenic as the feathery type that forms on blades of grass, tree branches and leaves. Hoarfrost is so much more than a simple coating of ice crystals.
Several times during the day, I sat and gazed at the beauty. Instead of venturing into the frigid air for a closer look, I enjoyed the view from my warm living room. By mid-afternoon the temperature hadn’t risen but a wind had come up, loosening the frost. Bit by bit, the ice and its weight was removed and blown away.
This scene reminded me of problems and cares in life. Like many others, I put on a brave face and tell you everything is fine. Even if I don’t feel that way, it’s important to ensure everything looks good on the surface. I sometimes forget that ice, no matter how pretty, still feels cold.
When I acknowledge my need to be authentic and relational the frosty mask starts to fall away. By sharing my concerns with others, I am able to surrender the many items I have no control over. The icy bits that were weiging me down get blown away by the warm breeze of companionship. Together we find peace.
“Are you all settled in?” and “How are you adjusting to condo life?” are questions I’m frequently asked. I used this blog to talk about the process of our downsize and move, so six months later, thought it was a fitting place to give an update.
The answer to the first question is, “Yes.” We are happy and feel completely at home.
The adjustment to condo life has been easier than I expected. Hiccups in the transition process have been few.
The fact I don’t miss the space I had or the things I had to give up has been a huge surprise. When I had the space, stuff accumulated. “I might need this one day,” became the excuse for holding on to and tucking things aside.
The process of letting go showed me I had been living in a ‘lack of’ mentality rather than a spirit of abundance. A silly example of this was the bag full of elastic bands I had in a kitchen drawer. Can anyone relate to this?
Kathi Lipp, a speaker and author on subjects like living clutter free and getting yourself organized, said something that helped me deal with a few of the bigger things I was holding onto. “Not everything that comes into your hands is meant to stay in your hands” gave me permission to pass along items I’d never use but felt some sort of attachment to. I was able to send them to new owners who would appreciate them. Instead of guilt, I felt freedom.
The smaller space I now live in is the amount of space I actually used in our larger home. Not only do I have all the room I need, I have found the lack of clutter in my personal space equates to less clutter in my mind. I now have more time and energy to use in ways that bring joy.
I find it ironic to know the process I initially fought was what brought me more of what I needed to live my best life.
Yellow arrows painted on the paved pathway clearly indicate the direction foot traffic should flow.
I understood why this was necessary during the busy evening events planned for the park. My dilemma was wondering if I needed to follow these directions during my morning walk, when no crowds were present. I entered the park on foot, on the opposite side from the parking lot, so was already going the opposite direction.
After glancing around to ensure no one else would be entering this section of walkway, I strode in opposition to the painted markers. What I did caused no harm to anyone but still left me feeling slightly guilty.
This was about much more to me than following arrows marked on the ground. I have often had to make a decision between taking the designated route or following my own path. What seems to be best or most convenient for me is not always what I should do. My conscience is sometimes in opposition to my will.
These days we are faced with many decisions and opinions. Which way I go is ultimately up to me. I can follow the guidelines and social conventions or I can oppose them, certain that my rights are more important than my compliance.
If my choice causes harm, intentional or not, I will be faced with guilt and remorse. For that reason, I cannot allow personal beliefs to be the cause of disregarding the rules. When it comes to the direction I need to go, it’s seldom as easy as following painted arrows.
At the time of this writing, I’ve been doing an online, self-paced Spanish course for 270 days.
In order to move to the next level of learning I have to reach a certain ranking for the week. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to score enough points to move ahead. Too few points and I could be demoted to the previous level.
A few times I didn’t put in enough effort and barely maintained my standing. This bothered me so I now strive to remain in the top twelve.
Last week I checked my score and discovered I was in first place! It was only day one of the week so, while excited, I knew it might not last. The next morning, I had dropped to second place so spent a little longer online and regained my standing.
This is the way it continued for several days. My competitive nature had me spending more and more time each day. Sometimes I went online a second time to check my score and do another quick lesson. I wanted to finish the week as number one and get the virtual rewards that position offered.
With less than two days to go, someone surpassed me by so many points I would have to spend about three hours each day rather than my daily one hour. If I did this there was a good possibility I could win!
The voice of reason asked me what the cost would be. Time with my husband would pay the price, as would many other pleasures.
As if that weren’t bad enough, when I race through lessons, more intent on gathering points than learning, my retention diminishes. Foolish mistakes are made. Was the intent to learn the language or to come first in this level?
I listened to reason. That left time to bake muffins, go for a walk with my husband, email a childhood friend and work on a writing project. Although I didn’t finish in first place, what I spent my time on definitely made me a winner.