How Thin the Line

May 27, 2022

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

While I hope to start posting regularly to Catching Happiness again soon, I’m not quite there yet. To give you an idea of what’s happening, here is an excerpt from May’s Happy Little Thoughts newsletter:

It’s been nearly a month since I stepped away from Catching Happiness to handle a family health emergency, and I’m sorry to say that emergency has only become more serious. My mother-in-law, Carol, who has lived with us since early last year, has been seriously ill with multiple health issues, including two stints in the hospital and one round of major surgery. She’s home now, stable, and we’re being supported by Hospice care. 

This experience has been shocking for all of us, and an example of just how quickly life can change. Until a month ago, Carol was completely independent and seemingly healthy. We’re still finding our way, figuring out what is comforting and helpful, what she can and can’t do for herself. I’m still figuring out how to be her caregiver while also taking care of myself. It’s a steep learning curve. How much I took for granted!

Breathing, for example.

One of Carol’s most troubling symptoms was the inability to breathe easily. With the help of oxygen and medication, she’s doing much better, but she felt like she was suffocating, and it terrified her (understandably). Until recently, I hadn’t spent much time contemplating the gift of being able to breathe! The simple act of drawing air into my lungs. Talk about a simple pleasure!

Of course, we’d become paralyzed if we constantly thought about how thin the line is between breath and suffocation, health and sickness, freedom and dependence, life and death. But it doesn’t hurt to stop now and then, as I’ve been forced to, to think on those things. To evaluate how we’re living our lives, whether or not we’re doing the things we want to do, being the people we want to be.

My advice is: If there’s something you want to do, don't wait. Find a way to make it happen. You never know when life will change abruptly and youll find it impossible to pursue those dreams.


Mindful March: Work, Rest, and Healing

March 11, 2019

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

I’ve been playing with my theme of mindfulness these past 10 days—doing simple things like turning off the radio while I drive so I can hear myself think, pausing between tasks to take a breath and notice my surroundings, etc.  A sub-theme has appeared: listening*.

What I’m hearing, especially from my body, is that I need to take better care of myself. In addition to the pulled muscles from the fall from Tank, I’ve been dealing with severe tendonitis in my right (dominant) wrist and forearm. My preferred method of self-care, ignoring discomfort and pain and hoping it goes away, isn’t working. I’m also due for some routine checkups at various healthcare practitioners’ offices. The pain I’ve been having has impacted my exercise habits, which is a problem in itself. It’s time to reevaluate how I take care of my physical health, and devote a little more time and attention to it.

After a season of hard work preparing for my trip to France, and a season of turmoil, stress, and change following my dad’s death and moving Tank, I find I need extra time to care for my body, mind, and heart. I need renewal, nourishing, and to cut myself some slack. I do want to keep building my freelance business, and I have new projects I’m excited to work on, both professionally and personally. But at the same time, I’m trying to be better at responding when my mind cries “enough!” and my body stiffens from sitting at my desk and begs for some movement.

I know I’m lucky to have the flexibility I have—it’s much easier for me to move things around to get the healing and rejuvenation I need than it is for those who work full time for someone else, or who have small children at home. I’ve been in those situations, and I’m grateful for my current life stage…even if it is a bit challenging physically.

I also know that some of the crazy mind pressure I feel is coming from me and no one else. I know it’s important to set and reach goals, and not to waste hour after hour of precious time, but that constant, driving voice that remains impossible to please…that voice needs to stop.

And that’s what mindfulness has revealed so far this month!

How do you find balance when you need to work, but you also need rest and rejuvenation?

*I’ll be writing more about listening in March’s Happy Little Thoughts newsletter, a once-a-month email in which I share unique content, favorite recent reads, and other happy little things—click here to subscribe. 

In other news:

One of my favorite freelance articles ever has just been printed: “An American Quarter Horse in France” (click on the title to read the article). Monica and Bandit’s story is delightful—I hope you’ll check it out!