Music & Life

 So I haven’t posted in a while, and probably you’ve seen this, but it really did make me smile, so here it is: an animation based on recordings of Alan Watts.

Beach After the Storm

The SF Bay Area (and most of the North American west coast) got hit with a huge storm on Friday, and 30+ foot waves were predicted near Half Moon Bay for Saturday morning, so J and I hopped in the car to take a look. It was indeed spectacular, though most of our wave-watching was done from inside the car as rain and hail continued to fall all morning.

In the afternoon, things cleared up and we walked down to the beach where I took most of these pictures.

Walking on the Beach

After the Storm



I’m a huge fan of goal setting, but I’ve never found New Year’s resolutions to be particularly helpful in changing anything about myself. The (forever) time-frame is too long and the goals are often too vague to really spur meaningful growth. By February they’re often long forgotten anyway, so I figured this time around I’d do a month-long mindfulness journal instead.

Mindfulness Journal Jan '08
It’s a mix of attention exercises, daily Naikan, and quotes like the one below:

Kate Wolf Quote
Kate Wolf quote found on Thirty Thousand Days.

Jan3 Mindfulness Journal
And here’s the exercise from yesterday, which I’ve done before and hope to develop further this time around.

I’ve been feeling the baby move more and more over the last week or so, and it makes me smile every time. It’s like a little secret between him/her and me. And it comes prepackaged as a little mindfulness/attention exercise– each little flutter makes me stop what I’m doing and notice this little life growing inside me.

So, Mindfulness tip of the day: get pregnant, get through the sick bit, and then use the fetal movement as a way to bring yourself back to the present moment… Just kidding.

I almost signed up for a knitting class yesterday, and now I can’t stop planning a hand-sewn quilt (and never mind the baking and holiday decorating). My primary form of creative expression has been a pair of pliers and a hammer for a while now, at the very least a pen– why the sudden softness? And it’s not just that I want to do these things. I need to do them.

In fairness to the baby and my hormones, the switch from metal to yarn would be a practical one. All the hammering I do for my jewelry wouldn’t be very friendly to infant ears (and with new baby cries passing through the walls, I’m going to have to give my neighbors a break sometimes too). We’ll see what happens. I can’t stop myself from thinking big– I’m envisioning Me as the new vegan, tree-hugging, AP, urban Martha Stewart-style super Mom. And the truth is, the desire was in me all along.

Fossa Mosiac

Yesterday I posted about my caveat to the handmade pledge, namely that I try to make instead of buy handmade goods. O course, not everybody has the time to make gifts for everyone on their lists, but you can still shop with awareness.

Try this mindfulness exercise: pick one of the gifts you plan to buy for someone then sit down with a paper and pen (or your computer). Set a timer for at least fifteen minutes. First write down where you plan to get the item. Make a list of all the people it took to get it there– the shippers, stock people, buyers for the store, etc. Next, think of the item itself. Where was it made? By whom? Where did the materials come from? Continue trying to answer these questions until time runs out.

We’re generally so out of touch with where the things we use come from; this exercise can be really eye opening. Buying handmade can make exercises like this easier by putting us into closer touch with the gifts we plan to purchase. When you buy handmade, you not only know who made the gift, you can actually talk to them before buying! There’s something so special about this– I can’t explain it.

Not sure where to buy handmade? Craft fairs are good places to start, though they can get as crazy as shopping malls. Online, you can find some great things on etsy. If jewelry is on your list, please check out my Fossa Designs online shop.

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

I took this pledge, but with a personal caveat: I prefer to *make* handmade gifts. Every year, I set aside several hours over several weeks to make gifts for my family. Doing so forces me to slow down, and it gives me time to think about the person I’m making the gift for. It’s a great way to de-stress in practice mindfulness when everybody around me is going crazy with their shopping lists.