{ breathing lighter at a slower pace }

A few of my friends have asked if I have stopped blogging. I guess I have been a little sporadic. But, NO. I’m not ready to retire “breathelighter.”

But speaking of retirement…

In March it will be two years since Jay retired, and I just passed the 18-month milestone. It’s taken much of the past year and half to learn how to slow down.

I’m finally embracing the joy in knowing that we control the clock and calendar–not the other way around. Sometimes it takes me a while to see the obvious!

Time on the yoga mat frequently opens me up to thoughts or insights that must be lurking in the shadows just waiting for me to embrace them in the quiet. When we first position ourselves on our mats I begin to visualize a favorite spot at the beach. It always works and I can immediately “be here now.”

Until the other day…

What a surprise to close my eyes and prepare for my brief repose on the beach and to “find myself” in my paternal grandmother’s back yard. There she was, in clothing I remember well, quietly showing me her newly planted spring pansies and the sweet peas growing up the trellis on the side of the garage.

It was so REAL–my own little wrinkle in time. I momentarily felt like she was really there as I was really there with her.  I can still feel how warm and precious those few moments were. And I feel certain there was a reason I flashed to that particular memory.

Both of my grandmothers were very important to me, but when I specifically think of my paternal grandmother I flash to a particularly quiet and peaceful composition.

She taught me to knit. Knitting requires patience. Slow.

She never failed to give me at least a small cooking lesson when I visited, which was often. She didn’t have a big kitchen or many conveniences. At the end of every meal the dishes were hand washed and dried and order was restored–slowly.

She took me to her library to get books to read even though I had my own card and books already checked out from my home library. In the afternoon, after we watched her only soap, Days of Our Lives, she’d turn off the television and we’d quietly read for a while.

She knew how to unplug, even though she never had a computer or cell device.

I can’t be sure why I’ve recently flashed to these particular memories, but I’ve been grateful for them.

I think my “visit” has me reaching for the simple pleasure of quiet activity.

For instance…

I’ve been baking sourdough bread, teaching my granddaughters how to appreciate the ritual of feeding the starter, letting the dough slowly rise and then the pleasure of baking fresh bread.

I hope to leave them a warm and fragrant memory.

I’ve been reading. A lot!

For the last several years I have put so much time into blogging and following my favorite blogs that I haven’t found a time for reading the books and other material I’ve been collecting. I’m still reaching for a better balance.

And I have just created a little corner devoted to the peaceful return to the pleasure of listening to vinyl. The cracks and pops, the needing to get up every few minutes to turn the record over, and feeling that time isn’t moving quite so quickly, serves a restful purpose.

So to answer the question about whether or not I’m stepping away from blogging–No. I’m just experiencing life differently.

I’m slowing my actions down and finding ways to turn down some of the noise. There’s a lot of it. Wouldn’t you agree?

It’s a boost to well-being, and we all need that! Are you finding fresh ways to breathe lighter?

I encourage you to share your thoughts. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Wishing you happy, quiet  memories to assist in breathing lighter! Shhhhh….

 

44 thoughts on “{ breathing lighter at a slower pace }

    1. Oh yes, Ray. Darwin is still a test of our resilience! LOL! And we’re currently working with a rodent problem as well…the challenges haven’t entirely disappeared! 🙂

  1. I would say you’re on the right path . . . the slow lane!
    Enjoy every minute.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed your yoga visit with your grandmother. Nice that she popped in for warm moment of togetherness.

    1. I am still basking in the warmth of my grandmother’s visit, Nancy. It was so unusual, but when I think of it I can “be there” without too much difficulty. I thought I was in the slow lane…until I really found it. LOL! I don’t plan to speed it up anytime too soon. 🙂

  2. Cheers to settling in to a slower pace – which sure helps mute the noise! Amazing that your thoughts where so vivid at your grandmother’s house. You obviously embraced it! Carry on … But hey … I don’t play vinyls any more. 😉

    1. Thank you, Frank. I am enjoying some new-found freedom, and wonder what took me so long to embrace it. LOL! I listen to a lot of music, and stream much of it! But I have at least 200 LPs collected through the years and find that listening to them relaxes me in an entirely different way. 🙂

  3. It’s great, Debra, that you remember both your grandmothers with fondness. I am sure, you’ll leave your granddaughters a ‘warm and fragrant memory’ as well! 🙂
    I was already married with children, living in Australia, when I watched ‘Days of Our Lives’ on a regular basis.
    Both Peter and I love living in ‘retirement’. But sometimes it is difficult doing the things we really like doing, when there are too many medical appointments.that keep us busy. Plus we slow down every year a bit more due to aging. It means we have to prioritize more and more so we can still do some of the things that make for a good living. Some of the things that we really would like doing on a regular basis, unfortunately more often than not get neglected. It is amazing how we constantly seem to be running out of time!
    What I also find to be very important, is, to make time for reflecting, just looking at the natural environment, enjoying it and concentrate on proper breathing! 🙂
    And staying in touch with family and friends is very important to me too.
    I also enjoy very much some contact with blogger friends. However I seem to not be able to make enough time to read all the blogs that I would love reading and commenting on. And often I would love to have a bit more uninterrupted time for writing , , , ,

    1. It’s so nice to have your thoughts on retirement and blogging, Uta. I think your observation that there is still not enough time to do all the things you’d like to do, even if some of that time is displaced by medical and family needs, speaks to a life well-lived! You have many interests, and that’s the most important part of enjoying life–at any age! Appreciation for the natural world is often neglected, I think. I know how important it is to me, and I’m grateful that I have the physical strength and stamina to easily enjoy the outdoors. I have friends with mobility issues that keep them homebound, and I know that’s a huge loss. As for blogging…as much as I enjoy it, there is just never enough time to make the rounds regularly. I think we do the best we can, and should be kind to ourselves where we fall back! 🙂

  4. I’m slowing down in some ways Debra – though that ironically means more time on the computer driving trucks and trains and going fishing, all virtually of course! It’s very relaxing drifting along on a freight train with a top speed limit of 40mph in the distantly remembered 1960’s 🙂 I’m doing more reading too but again most of that is on my Kindle and I tend to look up book possibilities on Goodreads. Epi and I got each other Fitbit’s for Christmas so I’m also fitting in a more controlled exercise regime – mainly of walking but with a little Pilates at home. I’ll need our Son to complete his studies before I can get back to listening to music on the record deck (which will need an overhaul by then I’m sure!) but I can always sit back and relax in my very comfortable ‘gaming’ seat and listen to just about anything on the pc! Technology is a wonderful thing as long as you make it do what you want rather than the other way around 😉

    ps – if you get the time pop over and visit my Pesti-sui-cide post. You can join me for a drive and hear me talking! 😉

    1. I think your gaming and truck and train driving is a great way to use your strategic thinking skills while also thoroughly relaxing! I didn’t know about the virtual fishing. That simply makes me smile. Your routines, and the recent addition of the Fitbit training sounds nourishing, and that, in the end, is a good goal. I do a lot of my reading on the Kindle, too. I am surprised at how easily I adapted to e-reading, but I am now enthusiastic! I will definitely pop over to join you for a drive just as soon as I get a little caught up “here.” How delightful. Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  5. I am doing the same. I posted a lot, read a lot and commented a lot. Spent too much time in front of the computer while real life was waiting for me. I am too young to spend all my time in the virtual world, there is so much I want to do, so much I need to do. I post once or twice a week if I can and if I can’t. Oh, well. 🙂

    1. I am trying to be gentle with myself regarding keeping up with blogging. I always enjoy the time that I either put into preparing a post, or even more, reading and responding to what others have posted. My focus right now is establishing a balance, but at times I’m not even sure I know what that means! LOL! I think we do the best we can do, and then to be content with that. A decade ago when we began to think about our eventual retirement we didn’t see social media of any kind being a part of our lives. I do want to be a part of that community, but I’m not ready to give up everything else. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience and perspective. 🙂

  6. Adjustments take a while and sometimes you veer one way or the other and then recalibrate. All good. I’m posting less but since it’s one of my loves, I still do it regularly. You are lucky to remember your grandmothers. I don’t remember either of mine. One died before I was born, the other when I was 18 months old. Lately I’ve been working on a family tree and I get all wrapped up in what life must have been for them back then. Both emigrated leaving their families behind. Enjoy whatever you do and be sure to breathe lighter.

    1. The words “To every thing there is a season,” seem particularly meaningful to me, Colleen. As much as I am enjoying this “season,” I don’t think I was ready before now, so it’s good to be involved in work and activities that fit each stage of life. From what I read of your activities and the way you embrace joy, retirement will be waiting for you (in time) and you’ll be ready to jump in! 🙂

      1. I’ve had friends who have retired. I will never forget having lunch with two of them, one newly retired, one retired for about a year. The newly retired one asked the older retired one “when does it stop feeling like I’m on vacation and have to go back to work?” The other one said it took her a very long time. Me? After a week of vacation I am TOTALLY in the groove of NOT having to go to work 😉

  7. I can identify with the vinyl. I still have my LP player and am making my way through all of Haydn’s 104 symphonies. It is a time of life to renew focus on what is really important and to enjoy what the planet offers as best you can. I enjoyed reading your post.

    1. I don’t really have much classical vinyl, Robert, and I have been trying to locate some in a few of the record stores I frequent. I’m amazed at how many of the little “hole in the wall” storefronts that barely held on all these years are making a comeback! I’ve found some good jazz, but not much in classical. I still have most of my vinyl from my teens, and have fun even playing some artists I no longer listen to with great enthusiasm, but I enjoy anyway simply because it reminds me of my youth. LOL! I think you’ve said it well when you remind the it’s a time life “to renew focus on what is really important…” and that does include activities that are simply enjoyable! So nice to hear from you.

  8. Retirement is great, isn’t it? I’ve pretty much given up blogging, in part because I’m too busy doing so many things to take time out to write. Yet even through all the busy-ness, I too have slowed down in some ways. I’m more content to dial down the mileage through the winter months, because I’ve learned to trust that the endurance will return when I return to serious training in the spring. I’ve resumed the meditation practice that I gave up 30+ years ago. And I’ve started playing violin again after a 45+ year gap.
    We’ve earned the right to slow down, and we’ve earned the right to delve more deeply into the things and activities that we truly love… books, music, the people who mean the most to us, whatever makes our hearts happy. Cheers!

    1. It’s lovely to hear from you Lori, and I have certainly noted your absence and wondered how you’ve been doing! I am delighted to hear some of the ways you’ve re-introduced practices that held importance in the past! Both the meditation practice and the violin are undoubtedly nourishing! You say it best with “whatever makes our hearts happy!” I think that’s what I am most inclined to pursue at this time. Continue to be well! And in the spring when you renew your mileage, perhaps you can post from time to time! Your runs are always pretty spectacular. 🙂

  9. Dear Debra, I retired in 2001 from freelancing, but I kept accepting a project or two every year and I worked steadily on my own writing. My friends kept encouraging me to RETIRE. To stop writing because that was work. But for me, writing is prayer. I am never more in the present or more in Presence than when I am letting words flow onto the screen and crafting them into sentences that might touch the lives and hearts of others.

    It took getting physically ill for me to finally begin to “go with the flow” and let life happen each day.
    It took last year with its major operation and six-month recuperation for me to realize that I have only this moment as I type this letter and than the next.

    And so I am letting myself reside as often as I can in the Oneness of the present–whether I be reading or baking or doing my Morning Pages or dancing to a Tony Bennett CD or eating my veggie burger. And I find that often there is a deep stillness that comes in those moments. A stillness in which I feel for a nanosecond that the world had gathered all its love and is showering it on me.

    I think that’s what you are doing also. And so I am happy that you are blogging less if that means that you are being more gracious to yourself. Peace.

    1. What wonderful thoughts about stillness, Dee. I do think that’s what I’m experiencing. I have always filled every minute, and to have at this point received the message that I don’t have to do anything in particular, but can just enjoy a day as in unfolds, feels like a luxury. It’s only now that I’m beginning to trust that it isn’t going to be snatched away! 🙂 The one thing you describe that truly speaks to me is that we learn across the lifespan. I really learn from you, and have appreciated your honesty in sharing how your physical illness and surgeries and struggles have taught you such valuable life lessons. You write beautifully–I can understand how you experience your writing practice as being close and in Presence. ox

  10. Beth

    The quiet between moments – that happens for me in the slow mindful exhales- is what I find I need, yea crave even -these days! I love you having time for you and sharing retirement with spouse, family and friends! That music corner looks very modern as it plays LPs! Thank you Debra for sharing this part of evolving with us! PS I am available to test Sour Dough! Anytime!

    1. Thank you, dear Beth! We definitely must take about the sourdough starter. Yes! Slow, mindful exhales don’t seem to come naturally to me, or perhaps I’m just a slow learner…but the point is, I AM learning. 🙂

  11. Such a lovely post! I love your memories of your grandmother and how precious to have those thoughts join you during your time on the beach. I’m envious. I didn’t know either of my grandmothers, and have always envied those, like you, that did.

    I had a tooth extracted a couple of weeks ago, and I used the time on the couch to devour a book. I too spend a lot of time reading and commenting on blogs (and I enjoy it too), but it does cut into my book reading time. Last week I spent time sewing, making cards, and tackling my reading pile. I’m still working, but with one son in college and the other about to graduate high school, I shouldn’t be as busy as I often seem.

    Thanks for giving us all time to think about this.

    1. Alys, I must say that if you’re still working and have a son at home, I’m completely impressed with all that you’re still accomplishing. I do understand how you’re probably looking at the time and wondering “where it goes” when we can look back to a time our children were young and all that we managed, but I haven’t had children at home for more than two decades and I still sometimes just can’t believe how family time can be so consuming! I do think that for some of us, and maybe that’s all of us as bloggers, we are really aware of how much time it takes. And that time could be used otherwise, but it’s an enjoyable endeavor. Time is an interesting commodity for each of us! 🙂 My maternal grandmother passed away three months before I turned 50! Fifty! That’s pretty unheard of, I know! Thanks for such a thoughtful comment and stopping by…in your busy day! 🙂

  12. Oh, Debra, this really resonated with me. As my own past few years, especially this last one, was so tense and busy, especially with care-giving, I’m now finding myself needing quiet and time to repair. While still involved in gardening, family, friends and church activities, I’ve had the need to be in the moment, be still, read in absolute silence. Most afternoons, when I can, I have something warm to drink and sit reading in a comfortable chair. Now, about that sour dough starter . . .

    1. I wonder if you experience, a bit like me, the occasional need to remind myself that it is really fine not to be tied to additional responsibilities! When I think back to the past, even the recent past, I can see that all too often I pushed aside the moments of quiet I could have embraced and saw the openings as time I “should” fill with something or someone else. Maybe for me, too, Penny, some of this new-found comfort in less activity comes after the time of being so busy with my dad’s last couple of years. The caregiving is quite exhausting. And I know you’re still profoundly affected by what you as a family experienced at the end of last year in your sister’s passing. I’m really enjoying this newly embraced contentment in a slower pace and don’t think I really want to change a thing…at least I say that now. LOL! I plan to blog soon about the sourdough bread…the starter came from Australia and another blogger! Yes!

  13. I really enjoyed reading this post Debra as it ‘spoke’ to me! Like you, blogging is taking up so much of my time that I have hardly read anything in the past few years. Last weekend I picked up a book and rediscovered the pleasure of being transported to a different world for a while. It is good to hear you have started to enjoy retirement – baking sourdough bread is something I am planning to try very soon too, and sharing that with your grandchildren is such a wonderful thing to do. Finding the right balance is so important for us all. So I hope you continue to find activities that help you do that! 🙂

  14. Young lady, I think you’re finally getting the hang of this breathe lighter business. 🙂 🙂 I have lovely memories of Mam proving bread on the hearth but I never ever tried to make it myself. I’m off to the kitchen now to see how successful my pancake flipping is this year. Wish me luck!

  15. An excellent reminder of the value of slowing down.

    I ALWAYS make time to read and I walk my dogs every day, so I have some slow time, but I am so tired by seven o’clock, I feel there just isn’t enough time in the day. Mind you, I’m currently studying for an MA, so perhaps there really isn’t enough time 🙂

    Loved your memories.

  16. It is important to find that balance your talk about, no matter at what stage you are in life. I do enjoy being busy – with tasks I love doing. But I certainly have my moments off, which often means listening to music (included vinyl) and reading. There is something about the “real” life you talk about compared to cyber life, that is so fulfilling – the former I mean. I am amazed that you were able to meditate yourself back to a different place and time than you usual go. What an experience that must have been.

  17. What beautiful imagery of your grandmothers; you have started some fabulous imagery for your granddaughters espcially with your sourdough ritual. What special moments to share Debra. I just started my starter yesterday! I’ve been meaning to start for awhile now and finally went for it. I’m a little nervous about monitoring the fermentation process, evertime I read or see a video it seams like a different approach. What method do you follow? It seems like one thing is for certain, I need to get a scale. I don’t think I will be making it more than once a week. How often do you make it, do you use a scale…so many uncertainties, I hope I can pull it off. Enjoy your breathing lighter days.

  18. Debra, it is great to hear you are enjoying the slower pace. Time is the ultimate luxury 🙂 Bread baking is the most wonderful pastime, and good to hear you still have plenty of time to spend in yoga. What a peaceful set of pictures too!

  19. I work in a noisy auto parts warehouse, so I savor driving home and walking into my apartment building. When I open my door, I smell the apple cinnamon (kitchen electric scent warmer) mixed with my caramel cappuccino scent in the living room.
    My favorite memory of my Grandpa pops up every month, he is holding me up as a 3 or 4 year old up to a fork in a branch where three robin’s eggs are nestled in a nest. He is whispering. It calms, slows my heart and I am alone at home. 💓

    1. Robin, what a beautiful memory of your grandpa. I absolutely love the idea of even remembering his whispers. That’s an amazing blessing! And good for you for creating an warm and inviting environment to come home to! You’ve thought it through and know what you need. Truly lovely!

      1. This was such a caring response, Debra. 💕 Thank you for liking my special memory of my Grandpa. I was the oldest of six grandchildren which was such a special privilege. He wrote me notes all the way until I was in college. I saved some but probably threw some out I should’ve saved. 🐦 💮

  20. Very lovely post Debra. I hear you and am also taking more and more blogging breaks. It’s not a job!!! When I retired I told myself and significant others that I was entering a space where time is flexible and free and not shackled to a job’s expectations. It’s a space to travel inward as well as to other countries. It’s a space to explore, in depth, passions and relationships. I honour whatever karma allows me to live this space in peace and beauty.

    1. My goodness, John, you have described your approach to retirement so beautifully. I visited an aunt this weekend and she asked how we were doing with retirement, and I was very positive, of course, but in the future I may try to share using your beautiful words. I feel so connected to the way you’ve shared your feeling about this stage of life. It really is a gift to have this time!

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