Faux leather and faux suede exterior, olive green satin lining with a pocket perfect for an iPhone!
I’m going to be totally unapologetic about these tote pictures. Just like a kid who can’t wait to put their crayon drawing on the refrigerator to be admired by all, I’m going to post these pictures until I have no more pictures to post. So here is tote #5.
Last night, after I made it through meditation without falling asleep, I came downstairs and felt the urge to keep crafting. I cut out fabric for the next tote, got the sewing machine out and set up on the table, and was about to press the button to wind some bobbin thread…
Then I looked at the clock and thought better of it–because it was nearly midnight. Husband and children asleep, better not make too much noise, even if I feel so motivated to keep making things that my fingers are itching. Patience, Lorien, wait until tomorrow. So I put it all away, went to bed and…
Woke up a little before 5am! Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Don’t ask me why I was awake so early after having gone to bed so late. I contemplated and then attempted going back to sleep, but the thought of meditating with the house perfectly quiet, and then writing in my journal while sipping a quiet cup of tea–got me up and moving and seated on my cushion within minutes.
This morning’s meditation session was pretty standard . Every time my mind wandered I attempted to bring my attention back to the passage I was silently repeating. I tried to find stillness and focus. I tried to keep my attention on the passage. If I noticed I was thinking, I tried to not give too much attention to my thoughts, but return to the passage again and again and again. If my body felt uncomfortable, I resisted the urge to fidget, but if I got really uncomfortable, then I allowed myself to shift into a different position. This is how most of my sessions go.
After nearly 900 consecutive days of showing up for my daily meditation practice, I’m still at the stage where I’m learning how to sustain concentration. I even started incorporating evening sessions one year ago, hoping that two sessions a day would help me make more progress in my meditation. I want to experience more frequently and reliably the expansive state of pure being that I’ve found only few times since beginning this meditation journey.
According to the astanga yoga philosophy, I’m not technically meditating during these sessions in which my mind wanders and I bring it back–I’m actually learning how to concentrate. The sixth of the eight limbs of astanga yoga is devoted to concentration alone, which when mastered, gives rise to meditation, the seventh limb. Meditation happens when concentration is unbroken for prolonged periods of time, and the observer (the meditator) and the observed (the object of meditation) become as one. Duality melts away, and pure being is achieved, and in this state of being, comes bliss–the eighth limb of astanga yoga. Sounds great. Rarely happens for me. But I keep trying day after day after day, and this is why we call it a practice.
The house was still silent after my morning meditation; I came downstairs, tidied up the kitchen, and put a quiche in the oven to bake for breakfast. I was thrilled to realize that after all of this, I still had some precious quiet time to write in my journal. It happens rarely these days, so there was a great sense of hushed specialness, like I was walking into a beautiful old cathedral, as I sat down at the table and opened the book to the first blank page. Good old friend, my journal. The quietest of companions, and the most trustworthy. Has a great memory. Doesn’t judge or interrupt or talk back. Will hold space for whatever I’m feeling, and won’t lecture me on what I could be doing better. Yes, a good friend, my journal.
What a relief to write words across a page without needing to revise, edit, or worry about who might read them! When I’m blogging here, I often stop myself and rework a sentence multiple times, because I’m afraid I might not be getting the point across as clearly as I was hoping to. Not in my journal! Oh, the freedom to be vague, to speak in passive voice, to misspell, to be redundant, ahh, glorious freedom from fear of mediocrity. Carte blanche to be mediocre, this is what my journal gives me!
I wrote about Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way, morning pages, how she instructs you to roll out of bed and write three pages, no editing, just stream of consciousness, without any thought or plan. She wants you to do this every day and never miss a day. She wants you to not read your writing until much later, weeks or months later. She wants you to be as religious about morning pages as you would be about brushing your teeth.
Sounds like meditation. I mused that my meditation teacher also wants me to roll out of bed and sit on the cushion first thing, before the day gets started and the mind is assailed with thought. So if I wanted to do morning pages first thing in the morning, and I wanted to meditate first thing in the morning, I’d have to learn how to clone myself, or alternate which goes first. I’d also have to be more diligent about waking up early, because the children won’t be like, “Sure mama, go ahead and write, we’ll be quiet for thirty minutes!” Maybe in a few years, but not now.
Quiche came out of the oven as everyone was waking up. Perfect. We ate, hubby left for work, snow was forecasted, and my daughter kept excitedly looking out the window. The snow came at about 9:30 am. It’s now 10pm and it hasn’t let up. A doozy of a storm.
Between 9:30 this morning and 10 this evening, I played with the kids, changed a few diapers, picked up lots of clothes and books and toys, made lunch, cleaned up the kitchen, handled laundry, put the kids down for nap, attempted to nap myself, didn’t lose my cool when my daughter wouldn’t nap and therefore prevented me from resting…after nap time I made a snack for the kids, was happy to see the hubby come home early because of the inclement weather, played outside in the snow, came inside, got the kids out of their sopping clothes, planned dinner–and somehow amidst the busyness of this day, I managed to finish tote #5. I’m discovering that having a little craft to work on gives me something to look forward to, something pleasant to think about, even when the kids are being needy and fussy and I’m feeling beyond tired and grumpy. Just the thought of getting to work on a tote bag keeps me motivated to clear off the table, help the kids to get settled with toys or books or something, keep the workspaces clear so that I have room for my creations.
Back in my bachelorette days I was way more self-indulgent, because it was possible. I would sleep the day away on Sundays if I wanted. I would stay out late, eat whenever I felt like it, take long naps. Parenting leaves no room for full blown self-indulgence, so finding little bits and pieces here and there, little things that keep me happy, calm and relaxed so that I can be a better care-giver, these little things become great treasures.
I have no idea who this last tote is for. Doesn’t matter. I had fun making it, and I’ll figure out the details later. Toodle loo!