You’re probably expecting a long diatribe on resolutions, re-ordering our lives, or simply retrieving the discipline we sent sailing like a wadded napkin into the holiday basket. Maybe you expect me to tell you how to stop talking and start writing. Frankly, I’m not there yet. For the contemplative week between Christmas and New Years I attended a Dallas wedding. That would be Texas. Need I say more?
So my first blog of 2014 focuses instead on an action I feel is as crucial to my writing as good pens and decent paper. The idea, motivated by a noxious moment in my every day, convinced both me and Leigh that this small change could actually be crucial to a happier, healthier, more creative life. We call it the “Two O’Clock JUMP!” even though it may not necessarily happen at 2 on the dot. Sometimes it depends on the weather. Or the whether. Like whether we have things that must be done at 2; appointments or deadlines. If we are home, though, the Jump comes first.
The idea stemmed from an obnoxious alarm on my phone which goes off at 2 pm to remind me to take my meds, something impossible to remember were I left to my own devices. This terribly repetitive piano trill plays until I turn it off and take the drugs. I should be grateful that technology has allowed me to forget about this until that moment, but I’m not; or at least I haven’t been until recently.
I try to believe in the particular hoodoo that states almost any negative thought, action or bad thing (for lack of a sufficient phrase) can be turned into something at least useful, if not positive. So I decided not only could this be a reminder to take my meds, but it might also serve as a poke in the mental ribs for me to do something different. The alarm could serve to remind me that I could change whatever I was doing and actually jump in a new direction for 30 minutes or an hour or even longer, depending on my needs.
I might be working at Limbertwig or unpacking boxes or ordering closets or cleaning the house. Maybe I’d be raking or weeding or even driving to Asheville. I might even be WRITING. You never know! Doesn’t matter. When that alarm goes off, if we haven’t done it already, then it’s time to go outside, get some sunshine, take a walk, dig a hole, move some rocks, walk up the mountain, play in the stream, stroll to the mailbox or William’s store, take the dogs to the Indian field, pick up kindling, or wander the paths I’ve cut in our woods.
It does not matter if it’s bitter cold. Dressed warmly enough, we’ve found the cold (without too much wind) is bracing and good for our bodies. If it’s raining or the weather is just too miserable, then we pull out the yoga mats or head down to the basement for a ride on the stationary bike. The important part is to get the body moving, change the mindset, and if possible soak up some outside.
I read a book once about our comfort zones and how important it is to get outside them. The author’s example was this: a man is reading by a fire while the snow blows outside his window. He needs to go for a walk, but he doesn’t want to move from his lounger by the fire, put on his outside clothes, or even open the door. Yet, he also knows that if he does, takes that mile walk down to the post office to mail his letters, when he returns he will experience a whole new gratitude for the warm fire, the comfy chair, his fascinating read. His senses will be sharper and his delight palpable.
All I can say is that if you happen to visit us and are here when that obnoxious little alarm on my phone sounds, be ready. We won’t make you do it, but as for me and my household, we will jump! Jump up from what we are doing and dance or sing or stretch or walk. Most likely it will entail going outside so that we are reminded of where our food comes from, rejoice in the star that powers us; and acknowledge the earth to which we will one day return. Happy is the friend who joins us because this may be the most joyful moment of their time here. Certainly it’s a time of gratitude and pleasure. And brought to my awareness daily by a crazy little piano trill which, strangely, I have grown to know and love as the “two 0’clock jump!”