Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Learning to cut through the Noise and Listen

There’s been a lot going on lately, no question.  The past few months have been a whirlwind of events with my oldest son’s graduation from college, his graduation party, my husband’s surgery, Lakefair, a family vacation and my stepmom’s surprise 60th birthday party (yup, we pulled it off…even after surprising her on her 50th!).  Whether the event lasted one day or a week, each required preparation, planning and organizing before and during the event with a short time to catch our breath before the next.   
I already knew July was basically shot and that August would be the month to get back on track with writing but what I hadn’t realized until the other day was that I also have to get back on track with relaxing. 
What the heck is relaxing?
Relaxing:  to spend time at ease; to spend time resting; to make or become less strict; to make or become less tense.

Yeah, sometimes I forget the meaning of the word because it’s just not an act I’m prone to exhibit.  Oh, I relax but my form of relaxation keeps my hands moving, my brain spinning and my thoughts processing.  I just can’t sit still and be.  I can sit still and read, write, cross stitch or scrapbook but the thought of doing nothing…well, who has time for that?
This definition of relaxing is more my style:  to spend time doing things for pleasure, especially as a relief from the effort and stress of everyday life.

That’s what I’m talking about.  Whether I read, write, scrapbook, garden or play horseshoes, this is my form of resting and it makes my life feel less strict and it causes me to feel less tense.
However, the other day I decided to take a break from writing because my office was just getting too stuffy and warm (we’re having a real summer here in the Pacific Northwest!).  Rather than hassle with finding a fan, I decided to get some fresh air and take a walk around my gardens.  That’s not always a good idea because I tend to see things I need to do…a little weeding here, some watering there, or other chores I’ve been too busy to take care of.  I think I did pull a weed or two and I also decided to dig up some potatoes before deadheading a dahlia.  But eventually, I got the urge to sit in the canopy I have set up nearby the gardens.  Not for any particular reason; I just thought I’d take a seat in one of the comfortable camping chairs and take a rest.

Once I sat down, I felt that I needed something else to do.  I couldn’t just sit there.  I saw myself heading back into the house to grab a book, a magazine or my journal but my body didn’t respond to that idea.
So I sat there.

And I enjoyed the comfort of a chair under the canopy while the day turned to dusk. 
Piper, my dog, sniffed every inch of the yard before she finally lay down on the grass just outside the canopy, and my cats, Hershey and Misty, joined in by hanging out with us.

And we all sat there.
Eventually, I heard a small bird chirping in a bush nearby.  He’d been playing peek-a-boo with me earlier when he got frustrated at me for continuously walking by the bird feeder.  Now that I was staying in one place, he was happily singing me a song.  Then a frog chimed in with a chorus of croaks.  Not quite the sing-song voice of a bird but a melody of its own, just the same. 

And we continued to sit there and listen.
Soon another visitor approached; one I have had mixed feelings about the past week.  A doe and her two very young fawns have been tempted daily by the plums on our tree, the rose petals in the garden and the blackberries behind the canopy.  They are beautiful creatures but they can wreck havoc with just one visit, much less many. 

You can correctly guess that at this point, Piper didn’t just sit by and let the deer enter our yard.  She gave a few quick barks of warning and it was enough to warn the deer that they should head in another direction for the evening (or until we went to bed).  Good girl.

The only visitors missing were the owls.  They are definitely my favorite.  Every year, they come back and I enjoy hearing them talk back and forth.  Once, while I was sitting out by the fire pit, one of the owls flew into the yard and landed in the tree right above me.  Another evening, one landed right on top of the outbuilding nearby.  It was an awesome sight and not one that happens often.  Usually, I only get to listen to them screech and hoot as they talk back and forth (like tonight…I can hear them from the window now as I write).

So this is what it’s like to cut through the noise and listen…to just sit, relax and be. 

It’s a chance to let the mind, body and spirit unwind as recharging also occurs. 

It’s a necessary reprieve from this hectic, loud, busy world of ours. 
And it’s a habit I should learn to enjoy more often.

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