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Daily Habits, Rituals, Practices, and Projects

I never thought of myself as a very disciplined person. Addictive yes, disciplined no. And yet, when I started this blog and eventually realized the potential for the improvement of my writing skills, I committed to myself. Decided I was worth a regular writing practice. And so I was given an opportunity to be proud of myself for an accomplishment. A daily self-esteem boost. I’m not certain I ever have truly done that before.

Achieving my college degree felt rather useless when I realized I did not want to be in the Television industry. What was all that work for I wondered. Opening my shop, Bally Eden, that I was then forced to close when America had its non-recession recession was a stolen achievement and broke my heart. This blog and my writing is my accomplishment that no one can take away from me. This feels well-earned and purposeful. It’s a skill that’s mine and irrefutable proof that I don’t suck as much as I once thought I might.Day 2 of One Creative Week on Shalavee.com

I highly recommend starting a daily practice, ritual, project, devotion, or habit. There are two others that I have picked up and kept up with over the past couple years. One is posting a daily picture on Instagram. This practice has improved my picture-taking skills more than I ever imagined it could and has also brought me into close proximity with the greater world of like-minded people. Wonderful people whom I now consider friends and who have listened to my stories and supported and buoyed my esteem in unimaginable ways. All for a commitment to posting a picture a day. Well worth it.

And last year I committed to a Year of Making collecting daily pictures of my creativity, some of which made it to Instagram. And what I soon discovered was that I am a daily creative without having to be intentionally so. And I found that between the blog posting and the daily picture taking, I did a lot of creating even beyond those. That project allowed me to acknowledge what I already do. And to collect up the best of my pictures for later use. I’m still slightly behind with collecting my December pictures but I find it immensely satisfying to be able to shop from these pictures I took the time to organize. My recent photo collages on Instagram were a direct result of having my best in folders on my “desktop”. Here’s the roundup post of those pictures.resign yourself on Shalavee.com

Weekly challenges are equally satisfying if you want to try something out and see how it feels. I adored doing the One Creative Week challenge with Crafting Connection’s Andrea and Danielle. And I loved the collages that came from that week. The Creativity Bootcamp month with That Curious Love of Green’s Jane Barry, from Day One to my Feelings Wrap-up , showed me again that any old-time I want to create, great stuff comes out. It’s only a matter of giving myself permission to do it without a challenge. Perhaps this month I’ll try a month-long personal devotion. To make me feel better, more confident, and to just play. Two intentions I’ve dangled out in front of me? A daily reading of my own work. And endeavoring to just read books again. Period.

tiny daily habits idea chart from Tammie Bennett via Shalavee.com

Hope that I have begun to inspire you to consider starting a daily habit or ritual for yourself. My friend Sandra is following along with Tammie Bennett’s A Tiny Daily Habit project on Instagram . Sandra wrote this post on her Instagram feed which sums up so much about this practice.

“Day 4 of #tinydailyhabits – meditating for ten minutes a day first thing. Today was hard! Our water heater broke down yesterday so rather than be still & meditate, I was anxious to continue sussing out having it repaired vs replacing it, etc. But I did it – the meditation. Water heater repair situation still in process. @tammiecbennett posted a great Washington Post article about people who have done 100+ day projects. One woman made a tiny chair a day for a year. Another guy ate a taco a day for a year. I had a light bulb moment reading that article. Any one a day project is similar to meditation. Similar to a walking meditation. Just that daily repetition of the same thing – there’s something magical about it. And it’s the repetition, not the thing itself that does the trick.”

  Whether you are practicing hand stands, or in Tammie’s case, sprinting, it’s the daily devotion and ritual of it that seems to become more than the sum of it’s parts. The habits can be physical, mental, artistic, or spiritual. But they are guaranteed to change your outlook on you and your life for the better.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Eating From Our Cupboard

There is definitely something satisfying about having my cupboard stocked. As much as I wanted to complain about grocery shopping in this post, I have a sense of bounty when it’s full. Our cupboard is an old metal cabinet inherited from Grandmom that is more like a pantry. I removed my upper cabinets in the kitchen and this is what we use now instead. And to have it stocked means that I can throw together quick-breads or a pasta dish or a soup based on what’s in there and the fridge. I can be lazy or I can make effort but it’s there for the cooking. Some of the meals I have given recipes for that I think of as cupboard meals are my Cannellini bean and Tuna salad and the Warm Salad.

Cannellini bean and tuna salad on Shalavee.com

On the random day that I inventoried my cupboard just to see what I had, it contained the following ingredients:

Oats, grits,olive oil, vegetable oil, bulk fake yellow sugar , sugar free syrup, peanuts, almonds, cashews, craisins, prunes, raisins, popcorn, goldfish, graham crackers, animal crackers, rice cakes, saltines ,triscuits, oreos, Nillas, rice crackers, peanut butter, natural peanut butter, taco shells, breakfast bars,squeezy applesauces,peach cups, whole grain spaghetti, penne, angel hair, rotini, quinoa, mac and cheese, chicken stock, black beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, cannalini beans, re-fried beans, taco shells, salsa, tomatoes and green chilies, evaporated milk, coconut milk, tuna, petite diced tomatoes, olives, green chilies, artichokes, brown sugar, cornmeal, Masa Harina (corn flour), wheat flour, mayonnaise, juice bottles, freezer bags, and brown rice. Not to mention the various vinegars and sauces that we use and all the baking powder, soda, and salt. The sugar, flour, and rice live in tins on the counter top. Architecture with butter on Shalavee.com

The fridge and freezer are stocked by mood and sale items. Currently there’s shrimp, pork butt, pork chops, chicken breasts, ribs, flat-iron steak, and various frozen veggies as well as chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and ice cream in the freezer.

The “rotter’ as my husband likes to call the fresh veggie drawer, is filled with lettuce, cabbage, spinach, carrots, celery, thyme, ginger, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, and a lemon or two. Dairy includes butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, cheese, and buttermilk. And breakfast sausages and bacon as well. The onions, potatoes, and hand fruit sit on my counter behind my sink.kitchen window and sink on Shalavee.com

I do find that too much choice can be a bad thing so I feel much much better when I write out suggestive menu plans for the week. That way I can get “in the mood” for some meals. And I can switch around meals depending on the amount of effort I feel like making . Although it almost seems hard to make that meal plan out sometimes, I’m always happy when I do.

I also didn’t realize that I cook breakfast 5 days out of 7. I don’t often just let everyone eat cereal or yogurt. So we eat eggs or leftover pancakes or oatmeal more often than not. And leftovers can be bundled into a burrito later. I try to be frugal and mindful of making what I have bought. My kids hopefully will eventually appreciate this. Or not.salad nicoise on shalavee.com

Tip number 7 of the 10 Smart tips for eating healthier on a budget from the Kitchen.com is to keep a well-organized fridge and pantry. Shopping for fresh produce at the end of the farmer’s market, sale meats, whole grains, planning and eating outside your box/comfort zone are all on the list. Wonder how well you’re doing ? Read the article and find out.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Release and Perspective : My words of 2016

This December delivered some sucker punches and I found myself with a busted hope bubble in the last week of the year. I was numb. Didn’t want to feel bad anymore. I doubted that my path was clear anymore. Or that I even had the energy to lift my feet up to continue trudging down said path.

I doubt even the happiest most positive soul in the world hasn’t bent their nose on a wobbly life moment or two. And so I assumed that it was me making a choice of perception, like staring at myself in the mirror for too long and seeing only ugliness instead of beauty, that was distorting my outlook.

For a couple of years now, I’ve been to choosing a word of the year. Because that’s a thing online people do. And it’s kinda clarifying and grounding.

I had to check with my blog to remember what my previous words of the year were. And when I did, and read what I had written, I began the climb back out of my hole. I write well I thought. I feel inspired by myself when I read what I’ve written. Why does that surprise me?perspective on Shalavee.com

2014 was the first year for a “word of the year”. You choose one to inspire you, to navigate by, to meditate with by what your feeling is important to accomplish or heal or work on. That year it was Edit. See the post here where I say “the potential for progress for me lies in my focusing on what needs to happen next”. I have a very busy brain that is continually dumping ideas onto my path.  I’d say I could still use a reminder of some editing these days.  I could use to edit my focus to keep my eyes on the prize and not be distracted by the overwhelming larger picture. Crop the picture. Do the work. Repeat.Girl's best friend on Shalavee.com

For 2015, I had picked my words earlier in November of 2014 . The post was about scarcity and recognizing Abundance and Opportunity. But another word wanted to join the party two months later and I gladly let it in. That extra word was Permission. As in, every time I get stuck, I find I’m secretly thinking I’m not allowed to do this or go here or achieve this. The Fear Mother thinks she’s keeping me safe. Great post.release on Shalavee.com

For the word picking this year, there’s an online movement and process to find your word hosted by Susannah Conway. I adore people who lead so fearlessly. They are necessary. And then I thought, I don’t have time to work on all that now. I need to think really hard. And so I did. I mused the concept of letting go and got the words resignation and surrender. I thought about the butterfly symbol I’ve adopted and thought about expand and fly above. And even mused create but that seemed too general. And then I remembered the word that I spoke of not too long ago : Ease. And I found my word.

Release

The butterfly frees itself from the cocoon and soars above the crawling heap of caterpillars to the top of the mountain. I need to do my thing and release my soul so that I may create what I need and perhaps inspire others by my actions. Or not. I can only be responsible for my creativity. And that needs to have release. And none of that needs to be hard. That when you do your creative work it’s easy because it’s yours.

don't think create

I realized however that my word Release needs a helper. If release is my what, I needed a how. And that is :

Perspective

I have been perpetually reminded recently that all shifts and choices in my life are mine to make. I have the power to choose how I live, perceive my life, and pursue my future. All mine and the only thing that dictates my direction is my perspective. It’s my choice as to whether I’m in the plus column or the negative column this year. My choice to see what’s going on in my life as heinous or a blessing. Perspective is soooo big. And holds the key to allowing for release of my angst, my overachieving standards, my angst and allowing for ease. Release and perspective, the what and the how.

(On a side note, it would seem that the book Hope For Flowers is exactly the book that I realize I believe wholeheartedly in. That we all need to find what is glorious in ourselves by following our intuition instead of crawling on the caterpillar pillars on top of everyone else. Rechecking it out to read to my daughter soon. Read Tom’s review in the community reviews, third one down.)

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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