Friday, August 19, 2011

Small Joy of the Week

A few weeks ago I was out of the office and returned to find a note on my desk from a coworker: "I borrowed your computer."  My keyboard, which has been grubby and disgusting since I started work there five years ago, had been cleaned. I have, over the years, tried to clean the keyboard with no success. Now it is sparkling white. (Cube neighbors tell me she used hand sanitizer to clean the keyboard. Does that make sense?)

The clean keyboard is wonderful. Every time I see it, I rejoice. That feeling may wear off someday, but it hasn't so far. (Thank you, Cory, for changing my life!)

I have a practice I call Delight of the Day. It is simply to notice one thing each day that delights me. Watching for that one thing causes me to do what psychologists call "positive scanning."  It causes me to practice the twelve-step slogan "look for the good."

I'm going to add to that practice one called Small Joy of the Week. It is to change one object or habit in a way that improves my life. For instance, this week I'm going to clean the keyboard on my home computer AND (I'm going for two) I'm going to give myself permission to use the guest towel in the bathroom when I dry my hands instead of the harder-to-reach bath towel.  Those are small changes, but I think they may have a significant impact on my mood.

[Addendum to my last blog post: I understand that Japanese beetle damage does not hurt the tree itself. It just changes the appearance of the leaves.]

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beauty in Structure

Trees are my teachers.

This morning I realized that the trees in our neighborhood are not, as I first thought, turning to their fall colors early.Rather, they are being eaten by Japanese Beetles. The beetles start eating at the top of the tree and work their way down. From a distance, it looks like this:
 photo at laTURF

If you look closely at the leaves, the beetles have "skeletonized" them, removing the pulpy areas and leaving the fibrous ones.
photo by Rachel Wetzler. A Bit of Yellow… Beautiful quilts!

So there I am, simultaneously marveling at the beauty of these lace-like leaves and sorrowing over the health of the trees.

I am left with the determination to strengthen and beautify my own underlying structure.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I have been mulling over this feeling of being stuck I've had recently. The good news is that I feel like what Havi Brooks calls a "tiny sweet thing" is being born. The bad news is that stuck is an uncomfortable feeling. I have a (possibly unhealthy) attachment to productivity and progress and stuck is neither of those.

I ride a paratransit bus two days a week.  This bus picks me up at home and takes me to work. In between those two points it goes anywhere on the east side of the Metro area, picking up and dropping off other people. Yesterday, there was a woman on the bus who was pretty agitated about how far from either of her two end points the bus was taking her. I remember having the same concerns when I was a new "normal" bus rider. I would clutch the printed bus route in my hand. Every time I started to lose faith, I would check the route and learn that the bus was on its way to its target. The paratransit bus does not have a published route. Each day it goes different places. I have to trust that I will end up at my destination. As I am riding I can be worried about what's going on or I can trust that other people have the route in hand. The choice is mine.

It occurred to me yesterday that I need to be as relaxed about my stuckness as I am about my bus ride. This is part of the journey. It's not where I would have chosen to go but it may, in the end, get me where I need to go. It's all about trust.