Overcoming Chaos

To say this weekend has been rough is an understatement.

My instinct is to keep things private. To discuss things is to let that wall down. To let people in is to show weakness. It goes against everything that has been bred into me since childhood. Yet sharing can be cathartic, and helps us grow.   There has been a big change in my thinking, that I just noticed over the last few days. This weekend was challenging, but I overcame it.

Photo by Hristo Fidanov

When we went to bed on Thursday, I noticed Maddie, our 10 month old Australian Shepard, was acting strange. She tried to get up and couldn’t. Her body was raked with tremors that quickly developed into full  blown seizures. It was a nightmare with my eyes open. Nothing is worse than not being able to go fast enough as your puppy  shakes uncontrollably in your husbands arms.

We were able to get her to the vet, and thankfully, she is Ok,  The Vet thinks she got into something and it had to work itself through her system.  We got incredibly lucky, and are happy to have her home. Yet it was terrifying. You know it is part of the deal, but it doesn’t make it easier emotionally.

We stayed until they had fully checked her out. We didn’t get home until 3 am Friday morning. Maddie had been given Valium and was sleeping . We had to monitor as she came down, to ensure the seizures had stopped. I was up until 5 am and missed work on Friday because of it.

The rest of the weekend was bumpy as well. My paycheck was two days late, which was a major issue.  We were not able to go out for our special dinner on Friday. I didn’t end up getting bills paid until Saturday. I also managed to get a nasty cold.  Sick and tired, it has been difficult to rest and catch up on that sleep.  The bad things just seemed to keep coming.  It has been a challenging couple of days .

But, it is important to keep moving. And I believe that my focus on positive thinking has been paying off in big ways. In the past, a weekend like this would have brought me right down. I would have stuck in a bad mood, and unable to do anything. This weekend I was able to ride out the challenges, and do it with a positive attitude. I was also able to stay productive. I  finished an entire book, and wrote.  The chores were done, and the bills paid. It was challenging, but I was able to get things despite the challenges.

It was a good weekend, despite the issues. I am learning to rise above the daily challenges, and remain positive.  There is a certain amount of pride that. life hasn’t been easy, but with the right attitude, I can overcome it. This revelation shows me what I am capable of accomplishing. It give me confidence to push into the future.

Till next time’

Colleen

Waves at Wallis

Today was a rough Monday. I felt tired, and stretched out, and couldn’t really settle. My mood was volatile, and I did only did the least expected of me. My daily life has been boring as of late. Right now, what is getting me through is the thoughts of tomorrow. The trips we are planning for this Summer is helping me through Winter. After work, I decided to look through pictures, to cheer myself up.

A few weeks back , we went out to the ocean on Sunday. We went up to the Hampton Beach. We got caught up doing family stuff, and didn’t get to the beach before sunset. My plan was to be there earlier, and the delay frustrated me. Honestly I was angry that that we didn’t get to the beach earlier. The plan to go to several beaches changed to a quick stop at Wallis sands. My opportunity seemed to have been lost. I rushed out, and began taking pictures.

Despite the challenges, it was a good trip. My pictures came out great, and It brought me peace. I got to thinking about everything on the way home. I tend to get wrapped up in things. My emotions tend to run wild, and cause problems. I get all bent out of shape when things don’t go the way they were planned. But that is life, and I have to learn to breath.

I have to let go and enjoy the twists in the road. That is when the best adventures happen.

Me First.

 In my last post I wrote about my past, and its challenges. I wanted to follow up by writing about my plan of action. One part of my plan is a deeper focus on self care. We live in a face paced world, and often put our needs last.  Taking care of ourselves is important to our mental health. I can’t engage in the reflection needed to move forward without a self care routine. These are the things that I take care of myself.

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Photography I have always enjoyed photography.  The camera of choice is my D7100. I enjoy taking pictures of nature and cities. These pictures are taken and posted online on sites like Instagram. it is rewarding to share my point of view through pictures.

Writing Writing has always made me feel free. My days are not complete until I sit down and commit words to a page. My mental health is tied into this activity. When life gets busy and writing get pushed off, I get irritable.  It is important for me to try to write at least one full page a day. Writing is therapeutic, and helps relieve stress.

Reading Books are always a welcome distraction. Opening a good book helps me relax. Each day I try to end my day by reading. I have learned so much from books. They also serve as a quiet source of entertainment.  Reading is one of my most important types of self care. Books help me let go and relax.

Walking A good long walk helps put many things into perspective. The fresh air makes me feel better, as does the exercise. Sometimes I get too intense and need to step away from things. Walking gets me out into nature, and often I come back with story ideas. They also help with my worry.  Getting miles under my feet brings me back to my center.

These are the activities that make me feel better.  This routine of self care makes me feel centered and calm. It gives me a piece of mind, I have never had. I am just learning to take that back for myself, and it feels good. Hopefully these things will help me move forward.

Do you have a self care routine? Or something that helps you feel centered?  If so, drop it in the comments. I love new ideas, and fun, fresh takes on self care.

Till next time

-Colleen

 

Bolton Valley

I had never heard of Bolton Valley. I was sick Friday with the stomach flu, when my husband approached me. He quietly asked me if I had any interest in skiing on Sunday. I mumbled a yes before rolling over to sleep. Saturday I was feeling better and had doubts about the trip. It was frigid, with the temperatures barely getting out of the teens. Ice clung to everything, and the breaths we took turned to fog. As we ran errand, I wondered why I had agreed to the trip. I love skiing most of the year. Yet a two hour drive and twelve degree temperatures seemed like a recipe for misery.

you can have a great adventure” I told myself quietly, if you just get out of bed early.”

Still I had my reservations. Was the drive worth it? I worried I would get sick again. Doubt made me wonder. I didn’t want it to be a waste of my Sunday. Despite my doubts it turned out to be an incredible day.

Im used to busy ski Sundays. We usually go up into Northern New England to areas like Sunapee, Jay Peak and Cannon. Hills popular with people from all of New England. The parking lots fill early, and the buildings are loud and chaotic. The trails are busy. Beginners mix with experts and create traffic jams on trails. On weekends getting down the hill is about surviving. It can be a stressful experience.

Bolton Valley is a small ski area up near Stowe. It has the old school feel of a ski area with no frills. You have to travel up a bumpy road before coming into the bowl. It is a ski area made for locals.

It was a welcome change. The hill had people, but nowhere near the crowds other mountains do. We were able to get off the chairlift calmly, and enjoy the view of the Green Mountains. Thick white clouds sat in the base of the valleys. Sun reached over the mountains soaking the blue peaks in golden light. The trails were just as calm. The staff was laid back too, always with a smile and kind greeting. It made you feel welcome, and we enjoyed it.

This laid back atmosphere allowed us to enjoy the mountain. We were able to take some time to explore the terrain. The lack of crowds also allowed us to feel out the snow quality and natural terrain. Nothing is worse than coming down unfamiliar terrain and being cut off by someone. Quickly I familiarized myself with the terrain, which allowed me to open up later in the day.

The lack of crowds also allowed for reflection. I stopped on the trail, taking time to take the beautiful day in. It was a pristine bluebird day. Snowy ice crystals hung in the air. The bright sun caught them midair, making them shine like diamonds. All day these crystals hung in the frigid air, throwing off prisms. The trees were capped in white fluffy snow that shone brightly. It was breathtaking and it instantly made the frigid temperatures worth it.

It was a fun day up in Northern Vermont. Sometimes I am a reluctant adventurer, but I happy I pushed myself to get out there. Now I have an experience I will never forget.

Till next time.

-Colleen

Lessons on Winter

Its been a cold week here in New Hampshire. Our Winter as a whole has been warm, with little snow. Yet last week the season made its hard entrance. Temperatures plummeted, before quietly sliding into the negatives. The sun went down, and it became dangerously cold. As the darkness settled down around us, the wind kicked up, screeching as it rattled the the window. It was the kind of night when you bundle up under the covers and wait till morning.

The weekend was not much better, and I spent it inside. I love winter, yet this weekend, if you went outside in a matter of moments your face would ache. I was trying to nurse a cold, and I knew that it would be better to stay inside. I love skiing, and being outside, and my weekend felt empty, yet I knew it was the right call. Now that I have a seasons pass it doesn’t hurt to skip a weekend. I can ere on the side of caution, because there are always other days. I spent the weekend reading, wrapped up in a blanket, while my Boxer laid idly across my lap.

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The days were defined by bright sunny days and pale blue skies. The mornings are deceivingly beautiful, yet they threaten to take the air right from your lungs. The robins sing cheerfully, like it is a warm summer morning. You can be fooled as you listen to them warble, that is until you step outside.

The nights were clear, a deep blue blanket scattered with stars. The moon steadily gaining once again. It hangs like a pale yellow sliver in the sky. These are the deep blue nights of February. I like to get outside and enjoy it, once this arctic front melts away. There is something unique about Winter nights. Something about the deep blue of the sky. The bitter cold makes the stars twinkle brighter. The hard edges to the season define its beauty, creating an image that is hard to turn away from. I love bundling up and heading outside. Turning off the lights and gazing up into the majesty of universe.

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Nothing is like Winter. There is a quiet beauty, that most people miss. Our society has taken an attitude of negativity when it comes to short days of Winter. People lament about the sunshine and cold temperatures cursing Nature. Yet don’t the cold long nights of winter make us love those long sunny days? I just consider it another magnificent part of this life, and I let go and enjoy it.

Leaping Forwards

Happy to finally be back here, and to be writing. It has been a very exciting few weeks for me, but I have missed this. I have been very blessed lately, but life is not complete without my writing. I missed the magic of working with words, and the interactions with all of you.

Mid January I received an unexpected promotion. I have always been a hard worker, and it is nice to have my work recognized. It made for a interesting few weeks though. The company is also going through some changes, so many things have been happening at once. Between training the person who would take my place and learning my new position, I have been hard at work. That combined with a mid winter cold has monopolized my time. Yet now I’m settling into my new routine. I felt that familiars pull and I knew it was time to come home.

It felt strange, stepping back from my writing and photography for so long. Short of a few afternoons taking pictures, I had stepped away from everything for a month. My life has consisted of work, relaxing, and learning. There was an incredible guilt in my heart for leaving everything so long. Yet I knew how important it was to create a steady foundation. I would love to sit home and write all day, but that will not pay my way. It may be many months or years until I can come out as a author in my own right. Until then I have to provide for myself.

Part of that is maintaining a life that enables me to write. By taking this position, I have ensured that I can keep on writing. When I took my original job with the company, it was really a leap of faith. Yet it payed off. My life has been much more stable, and my countenance has improved. My stress has fallen to almost nothing, and my health has been much better.

The only jobs I could land out of school were call centers. Working in a call center emotionally drains you. In that environment I was stressed out and constantly sick. Colds would knock me out for a month. Last year I approached a recruiter, who promised me a new start. I ended up in another call center…. Yet in the Spring everything changed. With my mother sick, I decided I needed some time off, and walked away. It was a gamble, but I look at where I am now, and I’m thankful I took that chance, because it changed my life.

Positively changing your environment can change your life. Sometimes it can be necessary to take a couple steps backwards, so you can leap forwards.

Gentle Process of Writing.

So here we are again, as I write this I find that the month of January is flying by. Today is the first day I have been able to sit down and relax. A light storm hit us in New Hampshire, and I made hats as the snowflakes fell. We still have not received any real snowstorms. There is only a light snow on the ground and shrubs stick up through the snow. I hope that we get a real storm soon, for I miss the snow and all the beauty that it brings. When I relax, there is always part of me that feels guilty for it. My industrial spirit hates it. Yet as I further examine everything, I concede, realizing how important time to relax is.

We often forget that is important to take time for ourselves.

This is how it also is with my writing. I have been taking some time off from the fiction. Late in December I finished another edit of my manuscript. As hard as it is, I have to take some time off from the piece. After spending such a long time with one piece, it is hard to step away from it. Part of me only wishes to continue on, to see it through. I want to finish it all in one stroke. The industrial part of my soul wants to finish it immediately. Yet one major lesson that I have learned is that novel writing is not a sprint. It takes many years to craft an great novel. To it rush it would do it a great injustice to myself.

It is important to take time away, in order to clear my mind of it. Spending too much time with a manuscripts can cause the same mistakes to happen continually. As you become intimate with a piece, there is a type of tunnel vision that develops. Taking time off is important, as hard as it can be. We live in a quick society where we value instant gratification. Novel writing demands ample time if it is going to be done right. The time away is just as important as the time taken away. As an author I am forced to fight that social norm to complete a novel worth reading.

I hope to get the piece completed later this year. I like to begin my edits at the beginning of the month. Each month to me seems like a fresh start, and this is part of why I prefer to edit this way. I want my edit to be correlated with a fresh start. So I look forward to the coming of February, and all it looks to bring.