a warm and welcome place to share words and thoughts

Archive for the ‘relaxation’ Category

Better than a glass of warm milk

I don’t know what the problem was the other night; too much ice cream, the overly dramatic book I was reading or maybe the Mercury Retrograde has seeped its way into my system. At any rate, sleep just would not pay me a visit. I lay in bed for what seemed like hours; tossing, turning, staring at the night sky through my skylight and counting the few stars I could see in the bright city sky. Nothing seemed to help, nothing relaxed me enough to drift off into my usual land of crazy dreams (I tend to have very vivid dreams that last all night long, like some kind of science fiction movie marathon). So I turned to the one thing that can relax me like nothing else – the sweet sound of music. I wanted something mellow of course; The White Stripes seemed like a poor choice in my efforts to turn off the monkey mind in my head. I found myself drawn to the one artist who can calm me like no one else – Elliott Smith.  His album New Moon was the perfect choice to me; full of his gentler acoustic songs, sung in the soft vocals that he is known for. And lo and behold, I must have drifted off like a baby listening to a lullaby. I woke up with my headphones on and the cd no longer playing. After that it was nighty night! I thought about how the music was like a lullaby, and how sweet it would be to have one lover singing the other to sleep in this way – so romantic! To fall asleep in this way would be pure bliss…

Lullaby

My heart is cradled in your music

Sweet high notes that gently rock me

To and fro on your rhythm of love

Tender melodies that caress me

Whispered words in a sea of calm

My soul slips into a dream

Of a love so gentle, so soothing

Lulling all my cares away

And my heartbeat sings a song to you

“I love you, oh so true”

A lullaby of love

A morning walk

I try to get out and walk every day, which is usually sometime after lunch. In the mornings I have my routine of prayer and meditation, followed by coffee or tea while I journal or read something spiritually uplifting. This little routine I have can sometimes go on for three to four hours, so there goes the morning most days! But I do find it a lovely way to start my day. The other morning though, something in me whispered, “Let’s go for a walk, before the day becomes warm and full of people.” So at 7 a.m. (gasp!) I was up and out of bed, and headed up the steep climb to Washington Park, which is the home of the International Rose Test Garden here in Portland. What a wonderful treat it turned out to be, as I cleared the morning cobwebs from my head and took in the beauty of a place that is so deliciously close to my home, available to me at any time. And the writer in me found inspiration in a few words I journaled about my experience, how it just felt so good – and the words come out in a poem.

It Felt So Good

 

At the top of the hill I stopped

And looked out over the city draped in haze

Sitting on the soft green grass I rested

In a meditative pose

I opened to all the earth’s gentle energies

It felt so good!

Walking through the playground I stopped

To sit on the swing

Slowly moving, to and fro

I gathered my strength and flew above the earth

Gliding through the cool morning air

It felt so good!

Meandering onward I came to the singing fountain

I stopped to sit on the stony edge

And listen to the lovely melodies

Of the water chime as it played on metal

Tantalizing my sense of sound

It felt so good!

I walked along until I spied the splash of colors

Roses in full bloom, roses in the fullness of being

I noticed the brilliant shades and hues

I breathed in the familiar fragrance

I brushed the soft silk of a petal against my skin

It felt so good!

I turned to go home

Along the shaded dirt path

My body swinging with the rhythm of life

My heart open wide like the roses

My soul singing like the fountain

And it felt so good

Not as in shape as I thought I was

Shortly after I moved to Portland I realized I really didn’t need a car here, and so off it went, back to Minnesota; the daughter of a friend of mine desperately needed a car at the time, and she was more than happy to buy my very reliable Honda Civic. That left me using public transportation, which is abundant here, or else walking my way around town. After a few months of walking so much, I noticed my clothes fitting a little better (not so snug), and I could walk the four flights up to my apartment without feeling as if I needed oxygen. So when the new meet-up group I found recently posted an evening walk in my neighborhood, I signed up, even though the distance was listed as six miles. Piece of cake I thought – I walk that and more on a day of exploring or running errands or sometimes both. What I didn’t take into account was the uphill direction we would be going on our route, exploring Washington Park and the very hilly Southwest area of Portland. How bad could it be? Pretty bad, as I soon found that my leg muscles were really as weak as noodles. But then I had a second wind – yes, I thought, I just had to get into my stride and I’ll be just fine as we said goodbye to two members who (very wisely and I should have joined them) decided to stop halfway and take the train back to our starting point. Not me though, no I was going to finish this walk if it killed me. And as we started to climb and climb our way through Washington Park, I thought at one point that I could very well die this way – a heart attack would have been a sweet release at that point as my poor heart and lungs worked overtime to keep me going. I started lagging far behind the others, but a very nice and concerned couple took me under their wing, walking a bit slower so they could keep an eye on me. My thoughts of a pleasant and scenic evening walk were shattered with every step I took now; my mantra becoming “one more step” instead of enjoying the beauty of the park. But finally, just when I felt like I could lay down and die, we reached the summit of Council Crest. And I have to say, the pain was worth the gain – we were treated to a spectacular view of the city lights from what felt like a heavenly vantage point – my ears actually started to pop on the walk down. As we began the big sigh of relief walk downhill, I found myself muttering, “Are we there yet?” like an impatient child. All I wanted to do was get home and stop walking! And I finally made it home, where I shoved aside my obsessive neatness tendencies and threw my clothes on the floor, appreciating the comfort of my bed like never before.

Messages from nature

So much of our existence here is spent interacting and sharing with other people, that we oftentimes fail to catch a glimpse of the messages of nature. Nature is wise, and calls to us. Once we can slow down enough to connect in that realm, and bask in the quiet required to go beyond our physical senses, there is much we can learn as we find ourselves able to translate nature’s language.

Living For the Moment

 

My flowers live in each moment

They don’t reminisce

About time spent as a seed

Or worry about the past

Did I grow enough?

Did I take too much water for myself?

Did I not bathe in the sunlight long enough?

They learn to grow and move on

To blossom and show their beauty

Not steeping themselves in what has passed

Otherwise, we could never delight

In the beautiful blooms that they become

Free time

I love being retired! And with it comes a welcome and refreshing amount of free time; time to do the things I had always dreamed about doing, and sometimes not really doing much at all. Either way, it is my choice, what I decide to do with all my time – my treasure chest of free time.

My answer to a question

 

The question was asked of me

“What do you do with all your time?”

 

Well, today I journeyed to the park

I packed a bag full of books and filled my water bottle

And after I grew weary of reading

I lay down on the carpet of lush green grass

Closing my eyes, I saw my surroundings with my ears

There were cars driving by, and buses loudly humming

The bicycle man drove by shouting out “ice cream!”

Wind enticed the leaves into conversation

I heard flashing lights of red and blue from the frantic fire truck

Then I opened my eyes

I saw the trees waving hello to me

Their long branches heavy with abundant leaves

Creating a canopy over me, gently shading the sunlight

And I saw people like me, in the park

Doing what they will do with their time

 

Once more I was asked

“What do you do with all your time?”

Well, today I journeyed to the river

I sauntered along the river walk for a time

Then I grew weary and retired to a bench

And I watched a yellow kayak float by

It reminded me of a banana floating on the water

I listened to the gulls

Complaining to one another

About the lack of food the tourists feed them nowadays

And I noticed the bridges

Lined up like stiffened arms reaching across the water

The one made of dark black steel beckoned to me

So I accepted its invitation of safe passage

And crossed from west to east

My view of places is altered

I see where I was; downtown buildings dot the landscape

The esplanade I walk down shifts and floats with the river

And I see people walking along, just like me

Doing what they will with their time

 

The persistent questioning continues

“What do you do with all your time?”

Well, today I grabbed some money and a credit card (just in case)

And I journeyed to the mecca of quaint shops, eateries and other delights

That make up my neighborhood

I zig zag in and out of stores

Some offer such pretty summer clothes

But look! I found a new hat!

The tea shop up the wooden stairs has the most delicious teas

But today was hot, and I had a cold beer instead

Sitting at a sidewalk table

And one more stop before I go home

The bakery – with the macaroon cookies – their specialty

I wait in line behind all the people

Doing what they will with their time

 

So now I have a question for you

What do you do with all your time?

 

 

 

 

 

Color crayons and poems

One of my childhood joys was having the big box of 64 bright and colorful Crayola crayons. My artistic skills have always been lacking; I am a drawer of stick people only. But I found I loved to color! And as an adult, I still love to color! Not too long ago I took a trip down memory lane and bought myself a brand new box of those 64 freshly sharpened sticks of wax that used to delight me. Then I found a coloring book for “older” kids, assuming they meant me, with letters of the alphabet depicted in groups of flowers. I have spent joy filled moments, creating my works of art. And the joy of coloring is the freedom in choosing whatever colors you wish – bluebells do not have to be blue, nor do orchids have to be colored with the crayon labeled “orchid”. Last year I volunteered for a time with a 7th grade English class, helping them with reading skills as well as writing poetry. One of the poetry assignments was to pick a color and write a poem about it, using the five senses as lines of the poem in describing the chosen color. I took it upon myself to do the assignment also when I got home, writing about my favorite color, and here is the result…  What color would you write about?

Blue

My color is blue

Blue looks like the shifting color of the sky

as night turns to day

Blue sounds like the slow, lingering notes

of a gentle trumpet

Blue smells like freshly washed clothes all in a line

hanging to dry in the breeze

Blue tastes like the cold, wet crunch

of a popsicle as it melts in my mouth

Blue feels like the rolling waves of the sea

that come to shift the sand

Blue is my color

 

 

It was the tub that sold me

I tried not to be too picky in finding an apartment; after all, I had only given myself a week in Portland to find a place to live, otherwise I would table moving there for a future time. But the one thing I absolutely had to have was a tub. For me, bath time is a sacred experience, not just about  washing up. So when I was shown the claw foot bathtub, in the quaint and cozy studio apartment with the skylight, in the charming 100 year old building, I fell in love! This was a bathtub that was actually designed with the full splendor of the bath in mind. Nice and deep, with a gently sloping end that would oh so nicely accommodate my bath pillow. There is nothing worse than trying to recline and relax in a tub that sits upright all around. And I could fill it with enough water to really sink into – luscious! Even though I sometimes have to wait a good 20 or 30 minutes for hot water to come round, it is well worth the wait. I have found lavender to be my favorite of all bath additions, be it an essential oil or bath salts. And on occasion, I have taken rose petals and sprinkled on the water, just to accentuate the bliss of the bath. Lastly, no proper bath is complete without candlelight, and some mellow melodies playing on the stereo. I have gone so far as to have a Pandora station entitled Bath Music, consisting of gentle and soothing music to bathe by. I actually found a book about baths, appropriately entitled The Book of the Bath by Catherine Kanner – I can’t wait to try out some of  her amazing bath recipes.  Now that the winter days are upon us, I find that the gift of a perfect bath is perhaps all I really need for Christmas this year.

Tag Cloud