December Devotion/8

After Saturday, there was Sunday. 

And on Sunday, the weather was beautiful.

I got out of the house, and out of the neighbourhood. I drove out to Sydney Mines, and walked along Florence Beach. 

I stayed devoted to fresh air, to my own deep need to walk in the air, to see the ocean. To hear the beach sounds. To play with light and shadow. 

December Devotion/7

Me, hopeful, before I started trying to curl my hair on Saturday.

Me, hopeful, before I started trying to curl my hair on Saturday.

I took a break over the weekend from writing these December Devotion posts, because, well, I am human.

And humans need regular breaks from things. Like work. And projects. And other people. 

Breaks are good. You could say this is the overarching, reoccurring lesson of my life. From my Big Depression in university in 2007, to just managing the day-to-day needs of human life, breaks are good is something I forget about with alarming frequency. And then, remember, more often than I used to. So at least, I'm learning, somewhat.

And again, I'm human, so that's the best we can do, I think. To learn, somewhat, as we go through this life business. 

The weekend was, among other things, an opportunity to re-learn that phrase, "Man plans, God laughs." It was the staff Christmas party at my work. My boyfriend Adam really does not like going out to social events like that, where he's totally out of his comfort zone. You could call him an introvert, you could call him socially anxious, although he doesn't call himself those things. He just says, "No," when I ask him to come out to things. So anyway, I'd been asking him for weeks if he would come with me to this. He's never met my co-workers, and I've been there for a year and a half now. I really wanted him to come. He kept saying, "We'll see," and "I really don't want to go." 

"I know," I'd say, "But just this once?"

"We'll see," he'd say.

The night before the party, I asked him to commit. I got upset. I said, "I hate going to these things alone," which is partially true. It's also not: I don't super mind. 

We fought. He said, "I've told you all along I don't want to go!" 

"Yes, but you also said, 'we'll see'!" I said.

And back and forth like that for a while. 

Anyway, long story short, in the end he came with me. But I had had it in my head that we would have this wonderful, date-night-like, sparkly, glamorous evening, where I would look fabulous and we would be in our best couple-shape: cozy, intimate, witty, in love. 

And, I had decided to try and do this vintage style with my hair. But my hair wouldn't take the curl, and I'm only very new to using a curling iron anyway. 

That afternoon, when I still wasn't sure Adam was coming (even though he had said he would), and my hair wasn't doing what I had wanted it to, I got frustrated as heck, and went for a long walk in the field and woods near our house. I cried. I texted my friend and ranted to her about why life was so unfair at this particular moment. I took some pictures. I cried a bit more. And I realized, I needed to just go with it. So what if I my hair wasn't pin-up-worthy. So what if Adam was grumpy with me, and me with him. 

One of the pretty photos I took while out on my walk.

One of the pretty photos I took while out on my walk.

In the end, it was what it was. Adam was there in protest, but he still got along and made jokes with the people we sat with. I looked perfectly fine, even if I didn't achieve my pin-up hair goals. I said a few awkward things, but let's be honest, I probably would have said them anyway. We ate our stuffed chicken breasts, potatoes with gravy, corn, carrots and turnip, and laughed at other people's jokes, and then we left before the dance started. We went home, got in our PJs, and watched hockey (him) and "Gilmore Girls" (me) on the couch, while our cat snoozed on our legs. And it was good.

Anne Lamott wrote, in "Travelling Mercies," which I am reading these days, in a story where her little boy doesn't get to swim out to see some seals, as he was hoping,

"I was desperate to fix him, fix the situation, make everything happy again, and then I remembered this basic religious principle that God isn't there to take away our suffering or our pain, but to fill it with his or her presence." 

And I think that's what devotion is about, and what this weekend taught me about devotion. Devotion to a moment, staying devoted to your situation, even when it's not what you thought it would be. Looking for the presence of God in it, anyway. 

There was a layer of snow on the field. This one makes me think of the title, "What Lies Beneath," as in, the bones below the snow. 

There was a layer of snow on the field. This one makes me think of the title, "What Lies Beneath," as in, the bones below the snow. 

nature + inspiration

Nature, man. It's the best. That's why hipsters take photos of leaves in front of their faces, right? 

Nature, man. It's the best. That's why hipsters take photos of leaves in front of their faces, right? 

I put on my agenda, "Write a blog post about how nature inspires me." I was thinking of making moodboards, and taking some photos and then making colour palettes out of them, which is like, lovely, designer-y stuff, and might be a fun project for me sometime, but it isn't something I actually DO.

What I actually DO is go out into nature and take walks. 

And I take photos. So many photos. Most of my iPhone photos are of leaves, trees, roots, water. Shit that at the time, feels so awesome and powerful and beautiful. (And, it is.)

So then I was like, I'll just write about how nature impacts my designs. 

And then I sat down to write about it, and this is what came out:

How can I put into a blog post what nature does to me?

The way it makes me feel? Why I want to be out in it, all the time? What the fresh air does to me? To my soul? How excited it all makes me? The leaves on the ground, the flowing brook, the needles of the larch, the colours all around, the way the clouds change colour. The smell of the air. The goddamn smell of the goddamn air. It invigorates me!! All the exclamation points!

I need it to breathe. To breathe deeply. To really inhale. To feel free. That feeling of freedom, that’s what I’ve been searching for, for the last year. I was feeling frantic, and stuck. Stuck in between boxes and boxes and boxes that existed in my dayplanner… boxes I had set up. The boxes are commitments to things. But along with all those boxes, I was also checking social media all the time. You don’t realize what that does to you. I didn’t realize until these last few months, when my imagination started coming back. When my sense of freedom started coming back.

Reading back through 100 Rejection Letters book, I see: Slow Down comes up a lot. SO WHY AM I RUSHING MYSELF AND PUSHING MYSELF TO DO MORE? I want to build a business sustainably. So that means not making myself burnt out doing it. Simple. As that.

Here and here are other posts I wrote (on my old blog, Dream Big Cape Breton) about nature. I like 'em still.