Evening Poetry, October 5

Autumn River Song

on the Broad Reach

By Li T’ai-po

In the clear green water–the shimmering moon.

In the moonlight–white herons flying.

A young man hears a girl plucking water-chestnuts;

They paddle home together through the night, singing.

You can find this poem in Amy Lowell: Selected Poems.

Evening Poetry, October 4

Love after Love

by Derek Walcott

The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

You can find this poem in The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013.

Friday Favorites

You made it! It’s Friday and the weekend ahead is perfect with possibility. I’ll share a few resources that have inspired me lately in hopes that your heart will be encouraged.

Online Challenges:

Have you heard of #Last90Days Challenge? Rachel Hollis started this challenge so that we can all end the year strong. You can listen to this episode from the Rise Podcast to hear Rachel share the story behind the challenge and talk about her 5 to Thrive. I am participating this year and would love to know if you are as well!

If you’re into drawing, you can join Inktober, an online challenge to improve your drawing skills. Check it out on Instagram and follow the hashtag!

And if you’re into watercolor painting, Wildthorne is doing an art journal challenge and giveaway. Even if you don’t paint, check out this gorgeous Instagram and website. Alan gave me one of their handmade paint sets last Christmas and it was my favorite gift!

Cookbooks:

Since I am a new Ayurveda student, I bought a few Ayurvedic cookbooks to help me with my learning process. Here are two that are great for beginners that I’ve been cooking from the past couple of months.

Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary, Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook by Sahara Rose Ketabi. This book is beautiful! Every single page has photos of flowers, gemstones, Sahara Rose, delicious food and of people and places in India. All of the recipes I’ve made so far were easy to follow and came out successfully. The coconut lime quinoa is a keeper!

The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook: A Seasonal Guide to Eating and Living Well by Kate O’Donnell is so easy to cook with! The recipes are practical and simple with short ingredients lists and clear, light, and lovely photos. This one has recipes that you will make over and over because you don’t have to put much work into them.

Podcasts & Books:

Yep, Brendon Burchard’s podcast, The Brendon Show, definitely inspired me lots this past week. These episodes on Social Media Strategy and Email and Social Media Marketing were two I listened to at least twice.

In Episode 200 of What Should I Read Next podcast, Anne and her producer Brenna interviewed 8 guests of past episodes to see what recommendations they read, which ones they didn’t, and what was new in their reading lives.

I loved this episode of Just the Right Book podcast, Roxanne Coady interviewed Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I immediately downloaded the book for Kindle and am enjoying it immensely!

And I must mention this book: The Abundance Project: 40 Days to More Wealth, Health, Love, and Happiness by Derek Rydall. I realized this summer, that I had some mindsets that were holding back my personal and business growth and success. I’m about halfway through and am going slowly, doing all the practices, taking notes, and intend to read it and his former book, Emergence, over and over, until the principles take root and become a natural part of my thinking, emotions, and actions.

Readers, I would love to know: what has inspired you this week?

Evening Poetry, October 3

Happy National Poetry Day, readers! I know it’s only a UK thing, but since the US doesn’t have one yet (what’s up with that?), I’m celebrating anyway.

Briefly It Enters, Briefly It Speaks

by Jane Kenyon

I am the blossom pressed in a book,

found again after two hundred years….

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper….

When the young girl who starves

sits down to a table

she will sit beside me….

I am food on the prisoner’s plate….

I am water rushing to the well-head,

filling the pitcher until it spills….

I am the patient gardener

of the dry and weedy garden….

I am the stone step,

the latch, and the working hinge….

I am the heart contracted by joy…

the longest hair, white

before the rest….

I am there in the basket of fruit

presented to the widow….

I am the musk rose opening

unattended, the fern on the boggy summit….

I am the one whose love

overcomes you, already with you

when you think to call my name.

You can find this poem in The Boat of Quiet Hours.

Evening Poetry, October 2

The Giver of Stars

by Amy Lowell

Hold your soul open for my welcoming.

Let the quiet of your spirit bathe me

With its clear and rippled coolness,

That, loose-limbed and weary, I find rest,

Outstretched upon your peace, as on a bed of ivory.

Let the flickering flame of your soul play all about me,

That into my limbs may come the keenness of fire,

The life and joy of tongues of flame,

And, going out from you, tightly strung and in tune,

I may rouse the blear-eyed world,

And pour into it the beauty which you have begotten.

You can find this poem in Amy Lowell: Selected Poems.

Setting Intentions for Your Home and Your Life (Wellness Wednesday)

Outer order contributes to inner calm.” Gretchen Rubin

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris

Good Intentions

There are so many wellness habits we may be working on this fall to improve the quality of our lives: sleep, exercise, or mindfulness, or diet. It is absolutely necessary to build these healthy habits for living your best life. Today, though, I want to focus on another area that is just as personal: your home.

Your living space should reflect the kind of life you want to live. This means being intentional about what you want your life to look like. Have you ever spent time visualizing the home you want to live in? Have you written down words that reflect how you envision it? Do you want a warm, welcoming peaceful place to enjoy your life, and time with family and friends? Do you want to feel at ease and comforted whenever you walk through your door?

I set my intention years ago when I decided that I wanted my home to be peaceful and comforting to me so that I enjoyed being there every day, and so that my family and friends wanted to be there too. And I highly recommend that you take some time to think about the kind of life you want at home and write down a list of ways you want it to be. Stick it to your fridge door or inside a cabinet door so you can see it often.

Two Habits

Since I wanted a peaceful, comforting living space, I had to form two habits: 1. I had to clean my house regularly (bathrooms, kitchen surfaces, dusting, vacuuming, mopping), and 2. I had to regularly tidy and get rid of things I no longer used. This second habit is the key to easy, fast cleaning and an organized, tidy home, and it actually comes first.

Until I met Alan and moved into our very large 1850s house, I always lived in small apartments and houses with not much room for storage. So I got used to looking over my belongings and giving things away/taking things to Salvation Army every month or so. My mom did this regularly and I saw the wisdom in it. I always have a bag started with things we are finished using, wearing, reading, etc.

The More Stuff You Have, The Harder it is to Clean

You might think cleaning your house once a week is impossible, but what is behind the resistance? Does the task seem overwhelming to even think of? Is the overwhelm related to the amount of stuff you have accumulated in your home?

Think of the top of your dresser, for instance. Is it covered with stuff? Piles of clothes, bottles of makeup, loose change, trinkets, and knick-knacks? Do you find it easy to dust that dresser top? How often do you get around to it? I’m guessing if it’s covered with stuff, you don’t get to it often because it’s such a pain to take everything off to dust it. 

If you were able to put all the clothes where they belonged, put your bottles in a basket, and maybe just had 1-3 knick-knacks displayed, it would be a breeze to dust that dresser! To quote the title of Mari Kondo’s book, it really is life-changing and magical to tidy up.

Litmus Test for Tidying

Do you know what you own? I like to be able to locate anything I own without searching for it. When I can’t find something, I know it’s time to spend a few days tidying, and getting rid of things I don’t need anymore. This allows room for what is coming next in my life. If I am holding on to stuff I no longer need or use, this is symbolic of holding onto the past and not being willing to move forward in life. I don’t want that! No matter how good the past was, I want to have room in my life for the goodness and abundance that is coming next.

How to Tidy To Change Your Life

Marie Kondo recommends focusing on one category at a time. And if you have a whole day at a time to do this, then go ahead. Gather all the clothing in your home, pile it on your bed, and start deciding. But if you have a busy life, are a chronic pack rat or just don’t like to clean or tidy, I recommend focusing on one room at a time.

For example, start with your bedroom. And then break that down into manageable bites, like doing one dresser drawer each day. Then move on to your closet and do the top shelf first, and work your way down, one day at a time. After a week or so, depending on how many drawers and shelves you have, you’ll have a whole room done.

If you do it the KonMari way, she has you pull all the things in one category (like clothing) out from the space you’re going to tidy and hold each item in your hand. If it sparks joy, it’s a keeper; if it doesn’t, you can give it away to a friend or to goodwill, sell it, or recycle it.

After you’ve gone through the clothes from one drawer and decided what to keep, you can learn how to fold them using the KonMari Method: I learned this on Youtube. There are videos here and here. Even underwear and socks can be folded neatly!

When you first learn to fold this way, it will seem slow and awkward, especially if you could win a lifetime messy folder award (like me). But once you experience the thrill of opening your drawer and seeing all of your clothes at once, you will never go back to just stuffing stacks of clothes into a drawer. It actually is a timesaver!

Cleaning is Easy Now

Once you’ve gotten rid of excess stuff, you can tidy daily and pick a regular day or night to clean. If you have kids, they should each learn to tidy and clean; you’ll teach them healthy habits that will benefit them their entire lives.

On cleaning day, I like to do my bathroom and kitchen surfaces first, then dust furniture and shelves, vacuum, and mop. People often think because my home is clean that I enjoy cleaning. The truth: I don’t! But I do enjoy the result. And I like the sense of control I feel. I may not be able to change certain things in my life today, but I have control over the beauty and order in my home. And you do too!

If you’ve tidied using the KonMari Method, or some other way, share about it in comments!

My Favorite Books About Tidying and Housekeeping

Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

In this book, Gretchen shares 9 reasons why you want a clean, well-ordered living space.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

This is the classic that everyone should read. Marie shares her revolutionary method with plenty of how-tos.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider

I read this as a young mom and it was very helpful for me to be more intentional with my home and family. She has helpful forms you can use and many natural cleaning recipes. If you are a parent, read this book!

Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson

This is like the bible of housekeeping. If you need to know how to iron something, how to get a particular stain out of a tablecloth, how to clean every kind of surface you can imagine, or why you should even clean in the first place—you will find it all within these pages. I read this as a very young person and think every home should have a copy.

Aromatherapy Blends

Cleaning Day Blend

Place drops in diffuser, fill with distilled water and diffuse for 1-3 hours

2 drops Bergamot 

3 drops Lemon

2 drops Cedarwood

Aromatherapy Mopping Blend

Apply drops to bottom of steam mop or spray mop

6 drops Lemon

3 drops Tea Tree

2 drops Lavender

Evening Poetry, October 1

The Painters

by Jane Kenyon

A hot dry day in early fall…

The men have cut the vines

from the shutters, and scraped

the clapboards clean, and now

their heads appear all day

in all the windows…

their arms or shirtless torsos,

or a rainbow-speckled rag

swinging from a belt.

They work in earnest–

these are the last warm days.

Flies bump and buzz

between the screens and panes,

torpid from last night’s frost:

the brittle months advance…

ruts frozen in the icy drive,

and the deeply black and soundless

nights. But now the painters

lean out from their ladders, squint

against the light, and lay on

the thick white paint.

From the lawn their radio predicts rain,

then cold Canadian air….

One of them works way up

on the dormer peak,

where a few wasps levitate

near the vestige of a nest.

You can find this poem in The Boat of Quiet Hours by Jane Kenyon.

A hot dry day in early fall….