1. A whole new year. It’s good to start over, to get another chance, to begin again, to let go and come back.
2. Supportive (and free) practice programs, such as Building a Mindful New Year (BMNY), a six day program from Susan Piver and Lodro Rinzler that just ended yesterday in which we focused practice and study on the six paramitas. What a nice way to spend that weird in-between time after Christmas but before New Years. Today I started 31 Days of Devotion, hosted by a teacher from BMNY, one of my favorite teachers Adreanna Limbach. The focus of a contemplation we did during our meditation this morning was “what do I feel devoted to this year?” (more on that in a later post). Both of these programs — rather than being more content I feel guilty about, more noise, another obligation, another thing on my should do list, something else to beat myself up about — are actually things that bring ease and clarity to my practice, add something that simplifies matters and creates space.
3. Ringo and Sam. We are in the golden years with these two now. Nobody is old or ill or dying, and no one is a baby. They need our care and attention, but it’s at a manageable, enjoyable level.
4. Eric. Buying me flowers, cooking for me, walking the dogs and taking them hiking, watching movies with me (we are going to see Star Wars today at the fancy theater), making me laugh, sleeping through the fireworks at midnight.
5. Marionberry jam. And butter, on toast.
6. Walking. A whole year ago my foot started hurting, five months ago I realized it was a thing and I needed to get it treated, four months ago I started physical therapy, two months ago I went to a podiatrist because it was only getting 90% better and I needed to do something else, and two weeks ago I got a cortisone shot in my foot. My routine for the past four months was this: Every morning the first thing when I get out of bed is a series of stretches. Next I put on shoes with special insoles, even though I’m still in my bathrobe, and I wear shoes all day long until I go to bed. Three times during the day, I ice and stretch my foot. Before I got to bed, I ice and stretch my foot one more time, and when I go to bed, I wear a splint on that foot. Every other day I do a series of strengthening and stretching exercises specifically to help that foot. Once a week I go to physical therapy — a combination of needling (so painful), electric stimulation, ultrasound, and massage, finishing with kinesiology tape. Finally, finally, finally my foot is better. It will take some time before I can walk the full nine miles in a day (six in the morning, three in the afternoon), but I can go three miles with no pain and that feels like some kind of a miracle. Yesterday morning, I got out of bed and both of my feet felt exactly the same, like totally normal feet.
Bonus joy: my new laptop, bran muffins with dried raspberries inside, clean water, my new bathroom (yes, still), good friends, the internet, a $45 repair for my cellphone (so I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars buying a whole new one), heat, down blankets, wool socks, hot water, medicine, lotion, toothpaste, having choices, being able to say no, begin able to say yes, practice, writing, teaching.
Curious what type of laptop you got it! I’m always on the lookout for something that will be easy for me to type on. On the topic of dogs, I know you say that “dog” is one of your practices. Sometime could you write about that in more detail? We are having such a hard time with one of our dogs – excessive loud whining that goes on for hours at a time. We’ve been to our vet numerous times and haven’t found any help. I feel like we’re living with a colicky baby!
My laptop is nothing special, just a pretty standard Dell with a 15 inch touch screen. I have a regular desktop and a tiny little ASUS Eeebook that I used when I needed to take one along, but that laptop is years old and was never all that reliable or fast to begin with, so Eric got me a new one for my birthday this year. It’s nice to have the option to stand or sit at home now, and to have something more dependable and useful to drag around.
So sorry about your dog! Having had similarly inexplicable situations with my dogs, what I can offer is try going to multiple vets to see if you can’t get an answer. Sam was seen by four, two of them specialists, before we figured out that he had food allergies and how to better treat the secondary issues caused by that. And it took all four of those vets collectively to figure it out, and a lot of research on our part. Whining is hard because it can be physical, but it can also be mental — I’ve heard of older dogs going senile or deaf/blind and that triggering anxiety that led to the whining. And yes, I eventually will write more about dog being a practice, but the short version is just like anything else, practice is about relationship (with our self and others) and we work to meet whatever arises without agenda, connecting with our underlying innate wisdom and compassion. More than the practical application of that, the reminder that “this too is practice” helps me to work with the situation. ❤
Thank you , Jill! Yes the whining dog is old and deaf. She is only happy on my lap and I can’t always be sitting!