This week I have been on a bread baking binge. I’m not sure why but there is something therapeutic about it. I don’t use a mixer with a dough hook so I spend time folding the dough. It feels so good in your hands and gets rid of any frustration. I continually learn how to make different and better breads.
I made sourdough with garlic and rosemary, a normal white bread and a breakfast bread with brown sugar and cinnamon on top. I won’t eat all of these but will share them with friends and neighbors.
It is a process learning what things give you satisfaction and peace. I do love baking but don’t need to be eating all of it. I am also not interested in making things to sell. I just enjoy the process.
I have been working at doing the things I need to do to maintain my peace of mind. Things happen always but we can get through if we have developed habits that help us. The past week have been trying on several levels but I am moving one.
Persistence is, for me, the most important thing. I can be such a procrastinator…putting things off and not doing what I should. It is so much easier to find something distracting…like watching the Great British Baking Show….than meditating. But if I don’t I suffer for it.
Keeping on track is so important. Keep working at it!
Life is uncertain; in the end we control only a single thing: our own thoughts.From the book “Pandemic”
While reading the book this jumped out at me. It is so true. There is very little that we can control and sometimes we have trouble controlling our thoughts. And yet, it is one of the things we most need to learn. Our thoughts can take us on a wonderful journey or send us into the deepest depths.
For those who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar etc. it transpires daily. Our thoughts control how we feel. Sometimes the problem can begin with a trigger such as stress caused by the life we deal with or by physical issues such as IBS. Whatever sets off the thoughts can bring us down in a minute.
Most of the coping mechanisms we learn have to do with changing those thoughts. If only it were easy. We can learn the coping skills but we have to use them for them to work. This means making them become habits and that is the hard part.
Whatever helps you to override the thoughts that bring you down work hard to have it become natural as breathing. It is a struggle but one that is worth the effort.
Never give up on finding and using what helps you calm those errant thoughts!
Technology is wonderful….until it isn’t. The more complex it gets the more can go wrong. I have spent three days trying to resolve a problem with my cable, phone, internet, provider. Their system has become so complex that even the people who work for them don’t know what is going on.
The first person I dealt with was in the store. A very nice person who admitted that so much had been changed with their offerings that he was unsure about what channels were available with each plan. My husband was adamant about having certain channels and we were assured that they would be there. You guessed it…they weren’t. I had a very unhappy husband when he turned the TV on.
Next I got on a chat session with another agent who assured me that adding one premium channel would fix the problem. Ha! Didn’t happen.
The next morning I again chatted with an agent. In the meantime I had spent time on the web site searching for quite a while to access the channel line up so that I knew what had to be done. I told the agent what was necessary to fix the issue. He agreed but then wanted me to sign up for home security. The total would be less that I am paying now. Because of that I agreed. He made the changes and guess what? Still no channels!
This morning I again tackled the problem with another agent on chat and wrote out step by step what I wanted done. I didn’t give him a chance to decide. By this time I could work for the company. Finally what I needed was taken care of and we are all set.
It is amazing that things have become so complicated that even the people who work with them don’t know what is going on or how to fix things. I am reasonably tech savvy and wanted to just do the fixing for them.
My level of frustration was high after all of this and I took to gardening to reach a level of calm. Potting plants can sure remove tension!
Today I am baking sourdough bread. This bread became a staple for the miners who sought their fortune in the gold fields. In truth, history tells us it is an ancient bread. In order to make it you first have to have sourdough starter. I made mine from bread and water and time.
Making this bread is a process and depending on how you do it can take days. You are not working at it constantly but just doing things to the dough over time. It is a lesson in patience. It teaches that work and patience can create wonderful things.
I always make bread by hand as there is something earthy and soothing about getting you hands into the dough. There is a delicious aroma and the dough is stretchy, smooth and pliable. The motion of kneading is soothing. It brings calm with a sense of accomplishment.
I love baking all kinds of bread. The bread is wonderful and the house has a comforting smell. Maybe like grandmother’s kitchen.
It is said that we should eat less carbohydrates. I guess I will have to stay away from others because bread will never be gone from my home.
Looking over some of my original posts reminds me to take stock of how I am doing on my journey. Changing ourselves is one of the hardest things that we can do. We have to begin the change and then repeat it util it becomes habit. Not so easy.
We struggle with the habits that are ingrained from years of practice. Once we begin trying to change it is so easy to fall back into the old routine. Since I began this journey I have made some positive changes that have stuck and some that have not.
My task now it to evaluate and decide if the things I haven’t changed are still relevant. If so it is time to tackle them. I find it easier to make small changes that lead me to the bigger one.
I have not been meditating as I should and this is one I will tackle with intent. Why should I consider 5 or 10 minutes out of my day as a problem. From there I hope to grow back into a routine discarded years ago and see the result of spending time in “neutral.” As I said once before my long ago yoga instructor said when we are awake we are in forward gear, asleep in reverse and in meditation in neutral. Routinely meditating brought me calm and a sense of connection to the universe. I want to regain that.
Changing is hard and not for sissies. I won’t give up but keep on keeping on.
Western society is a “first-half-of-life” culture, largely concerned about surviving successfully. Richard Rohr
Some of the Eastern cultures understand that life has stages. The Hindus see a learning/student stage, a family/work stage, a retirement/spiritual exploration stage and an enlightenment stage.
This kind of thinking is also present in Buddhism and other cultures. We seem to get stuck in the beginning stages and have no understanding of how we need to live the “second half of life.”
In the first half of our life we are learning and absorbing things. It is as if we are creating a receptacle in which to live. The second part of life should be about putting things in the receptacle. This means understanding the world around us from a deeper perspective. Filling ourselves up with the meaning of life and understanding what is important. This leads to a deep fulfillment and sense of purpose.
Experience the first part of life with everything you have. Learn, grow, love but don’t skip the next part which will bring you to a place of peace.
Today was beautiful here. We have been having typical March weather…one day cold the next really warm. Today was just right. In spite of the weather the azaleas have been beautiful. We have several varieties in our yard and they don’t always bloom at same time. This year they are all blooming at once.
There is nothing more beautiful than nature. Spending time outside will refresh the soul. Just sitting in the sunshine can make life seem better. Time under the trees quietly thinking helps reduce anxiety and depression. When you can take some quality time with nature.
This is been a strange week. For the first time in forever I didn’t write at all for two different days. Both times life was overwhelming and it just didn’t work. For someone who is retired it seems strange that I have had very little time to do anything. Things are slacking off now and I hope to see a more normal pace. Is there any such thing as normal?
Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have one trauma after another and others seem to drift through life unscathed? I just want to shake my fist at God and say unfair! unfair! It just doesn’t seem right. To make it worse sometimes the ones who have just floated through are also the worst people.
Looking at these things from the outside is probably not logical. Who can really know what is going on underneath. It’s like the saying about the swan. Serene on the surface but paddling madly underneath.
Maybe the people who have been through the fire have been formed into beautiful vessels. Most of the ones I know have so much more compassion and ability to care than others. With all their trials they can still support and care for those around them. You can actually feel the vibrancy of their empathy. It radiates from within.
No one knows what form us. Some can be broken by events and some make finer. When that happens it is a beautiful thing to see.
Have you had somebody or something make you angry recently. There are some things that can really get me going. Rude people come to mind first. Some people are so angry themselves that they seem to want to rub it off on you. They appear to be angry at everything. The anger just seeps out of them.
That is a sad way to be. I used to get angry more than I do now. That may be because I was in situations where it was easy to get mad about something. Now that I am retired and can just stay away from things that bother me I am much better off.
Frequently anger masks some deeper emotion. If something hurts us we often respond in anger. It masks the hurt and allows us to hide it. Showing the hurt makes us vulnerable. People who go around angry all the time usually have a lifetime of hurt behind them and their current behavior sets them up for more hurt.
There may be times when anger helps us to get past a bad situation but holding on to anger does nothing but hurt us. Our anger may not even affect the person or situation that caused it. The person it hurts is us.
Think about how you feel when you are angry. Your heart rate increases. Your blood pressure rises. You can feel your body gearing up to fight. This decreases your immunity, takes oxygen and moves it where it will be needed for quick response. All these responses can cause lasting problems. Just writing about it can cause me to feel some of those reactions.
It is not worth it to hold onto anger. Maybe the best response is to not show anger. My father used to say when someone pushes your buttons the thing that will cause them the most angst is to not respond in the same way. They will be frustrated by your lack of response. It is more aggravating to them than anything else can be. You not only save yourself from the results of anger and one of two things will happen… Your “turning the other cheek” will either calm the situation or escalate their anger. Either way you come out ahead.
This has been a difficult week and it’s not over. My husband is working on a house we need to sell as our age makes it difficult to care for it ourselves. We have been doing repairs on this rental house for years and it is time to stop. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan well and now we are trying to get work done so it can be sold. Nothing like adding this on in the midst of going to the Mayo Clinic, getting ready for Christmas and life in general. Our friend who loaned us the RV has never used it and we don’t know how to work the many devices that we have to use to work things. She has no idea either. I guess we will take it to an RV place tomorrow and hope they can help. I feel as is everything is frustrating. I find myself flying off the handle at every little thing.
I know that we can manage to work everything out but right now it seems too hard. I must find time to stop and take a deep breath…calm down and just let things come as they will. I will sign off for tonight and go meditate.