Thursday, November 4, 2010

Notes On A Missed Month

Ah, October. A season of transition, when creatures great and small surrender to the rhythms of nature, slow down and prepare themselves for winter.
(The Fantastic -- and highly efficient -- Mr. Fox)

I don't know about you, but I need a do-over.

Last month went by in a fierce blur. I raced from one responsibility to the next, feeling like I was always one step behind on the treadmill. I don't begrudge the duties, but I do feel out of balance.
(Photograph by Phil Sharp)

Imaginary Interviewer:
Fame, wealth, endless travel...what is it that you most yearn for?
I just want to be able to perform small tasks in a cheerful and unhurried manner. Seriously, that's it.

(A Hindu ascetic knitting in Rishikesh, India, 2008. Photo by me.)

I'd like to clean out a closet or two, make some bread from scratch, rearrange the books in my library, espalier my roses and figure out my family's photo album situation (they shamefully still only exist on computer).

Puttering is a luxury these days; it takes a lot of time to fully engage in the joy of small pursuits. However, there is a clarity which arises when you stop racing around and allow yourself to become immersed in a single muted task. Free from the noise of the world, your own quiet voice can be heard. It's meditation in motion.

Vita Sackville-West knew this.
(Vita and gardeners at Sissinghurst. Photo by Valerie Finnis.)

So did Beaton.
(Self-portrait, Cecil Beaton at Reddish House.)

And Churchill.
(Photograph by Hans Wild, 1945)

And they wrote books, photographed the world and won a war, respectively.

Lose yourself in something and you risk finding yourself. Not a bad proposition, that.

Thus the challenge I face in November -- to carve out some peace within the tumult and regain my personal equilibrium. First things first. I need to rearrange my framework.

My plans so far:

1. More of this.

2. This.

3. This.

4. And this.

Any and all further suggestions greatly appreciated.

(Last four credits, from top: Cecil Beaton, Ashtanga Yoga, Peter Wtewael, Cecil Beaton.)


pve design said...

what - no stitching? no stewing? no fretting? no darning of socks and no wars to win? I think you do darn well - missed month and all.

DM said...

I'm with you! October was over in no time! November will be the month I cook more, finish projects and reevalutate everything. Starting with chopping and bringing in the wood.

May I say, lovely choice of images for this post. Especially the Vita and Cecil and BYT's shots.

Chedva @Rooms and Words said...

Do-over for October for the people, I say! One of the crappiest months in the history of crappy months, it sure was. Good luck yoga-ing and all... I will probably be internet-ing all day long and then wonder where it's gone. I did buy a stack of beloved and yet to be discovered Penguin classics. That should help poor November.

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

And something I must do in the afternoon when I'm slowing down: legs up the wall pose. Do you know about it, Lisa? If not, "google" it. 15 minutes is quite a restorative nap. Here's to time well spent!

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Magnificent, stirring post.
What that we could all stop whirring...worrying..hurrying.

Hope you find your bliss and then some this coming month.

Cheers, Alcira

Kim said...

Sit in a quiet, lovely spot eating your favorite piece of chocolate focusing on nothing but what is going on in your mouth.

Kat said...

I thought it was just me that felt like that.

Terra said...

All hail the art of puttering, amidst the bigger tasks, and all hail to you for reminding me. Puttering takes on a more exalted status now.

David said...

Beautiful always.

donna baker said...

Lisa, if I am right about what you are currently experiencing then here's one for you, dear.
If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
Also, Buddha's last words were, "All things pass away. Strive on."

Michelle said...

'I just want to be able to perform small tasks in a cheerful and unhurried manner.' Love that! So well put. You have read my mind. If you figure out how to do this, please let me know.

Rocio said...

let your heart lead the way :)

JMW said...

I agree - where did October go? It's my favorite month, yet it flew by in a flash. And, with the weather having been so warm, and now there's suddenly a chance of snow showers, Mother Nature seemed to skip over it, too. Your comments about slowing down and just soaking live in are wonderful. Words to live by, that's for sure.

Katy Gilmore said...

Yes - here is to November! More dark so more time indoors with festive lights and colorful food! and just reading a book. Best to you, Katy

Kate @ Savour Fare said...

"Imaginary Interviewer: Fame, wealth, endless travel...what is it that you most yearn for?
Me: I just want to be able to perform small tasks in a cheerful and unhurried manner. Seriously, that's it."

This, yes. I feel like I haven't taken a deep breath since February. If you figure out the equilibrium, please let me know.

Maria Speidel said...

Been lurching from one thing to the other myself. Today is my day to b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

The Buzz Blog @ Diane James Home said...

My sentiments exactly... and I don't think it helps that stores put out Christmas paraphanelia the day after Halloween - I contantly feel like I am living in the future instead of appreciating today (which we all know is a "present"). I vow to spend more time trying new recipes (no more "It's Tuesday, so it must be quiche day!) and snuggling with my boys when they want me to (afterall, they won't want to when they are teens and I will finally have the time!).

helen tilston said...

Lisa - I like your plan for November.A variety of activities and getting into the right brain mode too.
Thanks to Vava for the suggestion on
elevating ones legs. I tried it worked.
Thanks for the great post

Deb Kaplan said...

That was inspiring! Thanks, Lisa!

Tara Dillard said...

Hope you know Sir Roy Strong, for inspiration.

And, you'll like the fact he and Beaton were dear friends.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

24 Corners said...

Week one over! How is November treating yo so far?? Here's to every wish & dream listed and then some...
xo J~

Väva! Veve! said...

Yes I thought October went by in a blink so I decided I needed to take a break. I just came back from my cabin . . . Wonderful, slow, put-put-putering all day long for 4 whole days! One almost needs to leave and go someplace else to take a breath sometimes. Now it's back to my loom and weaving full speed ahead! And maybe more long walks with my 3 chihuahuas and 1 English Setter too.

penelope said...

no. 3 made me laugh.


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