Balance and musings thereon

That’s a word that’s thrown around so often, isn’t it? Balance…This elusive notion that we can (and should!) have a perfect mix of work and play, of activity and rest, of home and bigger world. Our culture is obsessed with it but doesn’t really nurture much the rest part. Unless you happen to have a lot of money in which case perhaps you can go on long, exotic vacations. (I’m not saying that’s completely true; just the message we often get!)

I’ve been trying to make balance. That’s part of the whole point of said blog (poor, neglected dear that it is) is to document the challenges and the successes of that project. I’ve made some choices to enhance my level of balance (like working 4 days vs 5) but of course there’s always a trade-off (like getting paid for 4 days vs 5!) and sometimes it feels like I never have enough time and money together. Of course, that’s a common complaint, right? Does anyone ever have both?

Seems it’s awfully hard to feel like we have enough in this world, especially considering all the economic mess around us. There’s been a noted resurgence to making do, and craft, and natural approaches which I find comforting since that’s how I grew up. But there’s still that cultural push to have and buy and move yourself up which sometimes seems to drown out the voice of reason telling me that I do have enough. Sometimes the draw of new, shiny, ready-made is stronger than the slightly delayed gratification of making from scratch or making do with what I already have.

But then I do make something or fix something I already have and I remember why I love it. I’m happiest when I am creating whether writing or crafting or sewing. It reminds me to take a step back and take a deep breath. I have to remind myself that I have a say in how I spend my time. Writing it down makes it seem silly…especially since I don’t have kids or pets or anything. But seriously, how many times do we feel ‘guilt’ or ‘pressure’ to stop doing something enjoyable and be more ‘productive’?

I say stop a minute and take a deep breath! Schedule some time to do something enjoyable into your week! (Each day would be better but I know that’s hard sometimes.) Maybe if it’s on the calendar we’ll do it!


Reclaiming: Retreat Style

For me, part of reclaiming myself and my life is to reconnect with me. Since I spend most of my time talking to people and focusing on other people the introvert in me needs some serious downtime every now and again. Since I finally had some vacation days this last week I decided to gift myself a stay away. I didn’t really feel like going far away but I found that the Oregon Garden which is only like an hour away has a hotel attached to it with a spa. Uh, yes, please! I admit it. I am a total girly-girl when it comes to spa treatments. Needless to say I scheduled an afternoon at the spa. Which was amazing. And my massage therapist reinforced that I really, really needed to relax when she said, “Woah, you are really tight”.

I had never gone away by myself before (I mean, I’ve travelled places alone but always to go stay with friends or travel with friends) so it was a whole new experience. I admit I was a bit nervous about how to fill the time. I mean, I am really good at just hanging out but it’s different when you’re away from home.
In doing the planning my mom gave me some books to read (I tell ya, the woman has a book for everything) to help guide my experience. One of them, “The Woman’s Retreat Book” is especially geared toward retreat planning so it was pretty helpful ( She has lots of ideas about how to re-connect with yourself and nurture yourself even if all you have is 5 minutes. She reinforced the need to bring things to do whether books, journals, or art supplies to make sure you have things to occupy your time.

I did lots of reading, writing, reflecting (ok, maybe some tarot card reading…it’s helpful for triggering reflection topics), and walking. The gardens are really beautiful and defintely reinforced that I need to get outside more often!

That’s the view from the top of the hill by the hotel. One of the clear moments; it was cold and drizzly/raining most of the time I was there (go figure. Oregon).

My goals/intentions for the weekend were:

No TV: Check. (for the record, I did bring my computer with intention of working on the blog. However, the internet was terrible so I never could connect after the first 10 minutes. I decided that was really fine)

Read: Check (very engaging mystery novel and also some more reflection/discovery type books)

Relax: Check! (spa, lounging, sleeping, walking around)

Enjoy nature: Check. (Even if it was cold and all those summer dresses went unworn I still got outside quite a bit)

Take pictures: Check! Hello, garden=photo opportunity

Reflect/do some ‘inner work’ type stuff, listen to myself a bit: Check. I did lots of this and came away feeling ready to take some things on.

All in all, I would say it was a very successful trip! My only complaint was that the food was, in a word, crappy. Seriously, bland and sad. Like buffet breakfast of mass-eggs and cardboard waffles. Honestly I was pretty disappointed. But, I didn’t starve and I did still have a good time. Next time I’d bring more snacks and maybe go into town for a meal (though I didn’t really want to leave to eat).

So, here are some pictures. Even if you only have a minute maybe these will bring a little retreat into your day!

Bathroom Garden! I thought this was pretty funny…What can I say, I’m a plummer’s daughter.

View from my little patio

Crane I thought was real til I took the picture and looked closer…