Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! I got this beautiful hellebore plant a little while ago and wanted to capture the lovely transition from creamy white to this gorgeous dusty pink. Since I possess an industrial-strength black thumb, it’s already dying — I love plants so much, but they all immediately wither under my care. I’m a little insecure about this inability of mine to nurture flora, as if it’s some serious character flaw that reflects my ineptitude to nurture all living things (i.e. my daughter).

Speaking of insecurity, I recently had an interaction with someone that left me feeling very icky, for lack of a better descriptor. The topic was benign, and there weren’t any critical words exchanged. But I came away from it markedly slighted and feeling not a little inadequate. I couldn’t figure it out and spent an inordinate amount of time worrying and pondering about this.

I’ve been continuing on my tidying bender, and just filled my car trunk with detritus from our basement. And this reminded me of how I wanted to apply the anchoring tenet of Marie Kondo’s tidying philosophy (“only keep things that spark joy”) to people. The exchange I mentioned above isn’t really the issue. The issue is the time I’ve wasted re-hashing the conversation, trying to analyze the nitty gritty of why I felt so awful afterwards. Yes, I know that communication is mostly non-verbal so there must have been subtle clues that I picked up on. Just a week prior to that ickiness, I hung out with a friend, but this outing was filled with laughter and I left the coffee shop feeling on top of the world. Did I spend hours dissecting that conversation? Nope, not at all.

There will always be people that I rub the wrong way or with whom I might have stilted or unpleasant interchanges, but that I choose to dwell disproportionately on the negative — now that’s the heart of the matter. The ten-minute insecurity-inducing conversation plagued me for days, whereas the two-hour coffee date with the friend got tucked away in the back of my mind like an afterthought, like a book that gave me great pleasure but quickly gets overshadowed by the sensationalized violence on the 6 o’clock news.

I’d like to change this. As fascinated as I am with non-verbal communication and homo sapiens behavior in general, I want to be more attentive to the interactions and people who spark joy and reduce the energy, time and focus I direct to the enervating or disagreeable moments that inevitably happen between humans. I have extremely limited reserves when it comes to energy, focus and time. It’s so easy to take for granted the people who make our days brighter, or maybe that’s just me, and that seems a giant shame. Acknowledging that I do this is a good first step, I think.

Anyway. Those are just some random thoughts I’m having on a Friday.

K, on the other hand, has a much sunnier outlook on the whole (this is the cover of a book she made for me and M yesterday – she photocopied a heart she made and various other objects like nail clippers in the ensuing pages):


Happy weekend, all!

Secret Valentine
So many amazing gifts
keep on showing up*

The instagram (#2015sve) and Flickr images are so inspiring, and I know some blog posts are popping up here and there. Looking forward to compiling all the info!

22 thoughts on “Happy Friday + Randomness

  1. In the spirit of de-cluttering, the emotional dumping ground cannot be ignored either. Why do you dwell on the negative icky feelings? Can you just toss those out too, along with the green leopard print crop tops? It would be worth giving a try. Sometimes other people give you a knot withing oneself, kind of like the know you get in one of your muscles if you slept wrong or crushed something while sleeping. Perhaps that is why you had to dwell on this encounter with this someone. So you cannot just let those encounters go, if something in youself has become twisted out of shape. You have to work the knots out. Limber up again. And I agree that you have to minimize these encounters with people who do not reinforce your sense of self. You can apply the tidying up to people, but for now, I hope the rehashing and rethinking has served its purpose too.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and considered comment, Max! Why do I dwell on the negative and icky…good question. You know, I think I’ve been extraordinarily lucky, and most of the time I’m surrounded by positive people these days. But it wasn’t always that way. I’ve made a concerted effort to change things after I got very sick, but certain people still trigger that ickiness and I think it’s like Annelieke says below and I “relapse”. Lots more to ponder, but yes, the goal is for emotional de-cluttering too! 🙂

  2. Max certainly said what I wanted to say and so beautifully. No joy-no go. I want to thank you for introducing me to the concept of “tidying up.” After following the book’s instructions, I know exactly what I own, down to missing socks!! What a pleasure. When I go into a store, I realize that I already have a lot and do not need to buy more things. So great.

    1. I’m so happy that the tidying book is working its magic for you too, Greta! It’s so wonderful, I’m enjoying it immensely too!

  3. Oh man how sweet is K?! I have been doing some tidying of your own, and used the tips you wrote about, and I have to say it was a MUCH more pleasant experience! I will have to try it with thoughts too now xxxx

    1. K is a riot, and there are so many times I wish I recorded something she said/did because I forget things so quickly! So glad that the tidying is gaining momentum for you, Beth! xo!

  4. Oh I so know what you mean about normal seeming conversations that make you feel awful. There is so much in the tone of voice, tilt of the head and those insidious questions on “how are you” that lead to “actually, I’m better than you” without so many words. One thing I have learnt is to (a) identify these people and if they are repeat offenders, (b) limit the time you spend with those people, and (c) when you do have to spend time with them, take their words as they come out thier mouth with no extra meaning. As a lovely and wise person once said to me, you cannot control another person, only yourself, so contol the controllable and only let happiness come in to your life. If it means limiting the time you spend with certain people no matter how close they are or how society dictates, so be it.

    Keep up the awesome work woth you physical and mental declutter. You can do it!

    1. I have to tell you, Grace, I’m completely obsessed with non-verbal communication and it’s one of my pet projects to study it more in-depth. Did you know that human communication is over 90% non-verbal?Mind-blowing. And I fully agree with a, b and c! I think I get stuck on “a” though — maybe it’s naivete or just sheer dumbness, but oftentimes I can’t tell what’s going on at all and have a tendency to blame myself — hence my obsession with learning more about communication 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!!

  5. So you do that too, eh? Replay less-than-stellar conversations in your mind, rewriting the dialogue, wishing for a better outcome. Perhaps it’s quite a common phenomena, but maybe that doesn’t mean it should be. I like your focus on dwelling on the joy rather than the energy-sucking encounters. I know that this will be a journey for you – as it would be for me – but I think as the joy becomes increasingly dear and life-affirming, it will help to overcome any negativity. And when that self-doubt inevitably rears its occasional head, just come back to your blog and re-read how much we all love you:)
    As for K, if that title isn’t joy-bringing, i don’t know what is! Perhaps she will aspire to be an author like her mama and craft words into beautiful thoughts:)

    1. Aw, thanks so much Lucinda! There is a whole lotta love here, and it’s very much a happy place for me. Thank you. Conversations can be so mystifying sometimes…two (or more) people with all their assumptions and background thoughts and cultural upbringings and a whole host of other things trying to understand each other. Endlessly fascinating and perplexing!

    1. I love that post so much, Rachel! You have the best sources! I love Leo’s site, and I watched the video of the priest — now I’m curious to find out which book you’re reading? I’m all about getting my mind blown. 🙂

  6. oh, Sanae…I can relate with you about getting drag with not so positives experiences with people. Lately has been quite usual for me. Not only surround myself with people that don’t give me happiness but also dive in darkness after those encounters. I think I’m in a funny stage of life (maybe because I’m almost 40! something like a middle age crisis 😛 or I forgot who I’m for being a mom?), I used to wash off all that before, but not now! . How to focus in the people that give you light and happiness?. Oh, I loved my secret Valentine present! it is a very lovely activity that I really enjoyed. I hope you and Ute can do it next year again. Happy Weekend Sanae!

    1. I’m delighted that you enjoyed the Secret Valentine Exchange, Maria! Ute and I are already talking about #2016sve! 🙂 I do think there’s something about motherhood and getting older that starts to add new dimensions to interactions, at least it’s been that way for me. It’s as though we have to re-learn how to navigate the social terrain because 1) you’re exhausted at a level that is beyond comprehension 2) as we age, I believe we start to settle deeper into our habitual topics and thought processes and in my case, sometimes I find that I’m not quite as open with people as I used to be 3) at the same time, I think I crave deeper connections but that weirds some folks out. Hmmmm….who knows?

  7. A timely post for me. I can focus too much on the negatives and forget the positives. My mind can only hold so much. Isn’t it better to hold the kind and happy events. Thanks for the reminder. And thanks for hosting SVE. How enjoyable to meet so many charming crafters and see all the creative items they made.

    1. It’s so true Ann! Our minds feel like very limited receptacles — mine is like a thimble (even though the unconscious is supposed to be incredibly vast – another pet study project of mine) and it’s so important to choose what we hold in there, don’t you think? This year’s SVE was AMAZING, though last year was fantastic too! I’m always completely blown away by the talent that’s out there and feel so lucky that the internet was invented!

  8. I am also a hopeless gardener, but the fact that one of the two trees in my front yard died recently I attribute to it’s being on the side closer to the horrible neighbour. The tree on the other side has experienced the same amount of neglect but obviously less poisonous air! It’s thriving.
    May we all flower and stand tall no matter what we’re experiencing!
    How about that Secret Valentine Exchange?! That was phenomenal. So much thought and generosity and brilliant making. I hope you reflect on how you and Ute “enabled” all of that.

    1. Oh Shelley, I hope one day I win the lottery so that I can travel around the world and meet all the lovely folks who stop by this little blog. I imagine that I would end up busting a kidney or something from laughing too hard if I’m ever lucky enough to meet you because all your comments make me chuckle without exception!

      We just might need your help next year for the organization if the numbers keep growing for SVE! Thank you for joining!

  9. For me those negative obsessions come from very old places and so they are hard to boot out. But we can always reset our day when we realize we’re doing this. One friend told me that what works for her is simply saying the name “purple” over and over, because it’s a color with so many good associations! I sort of think of these things as “relapses”, that are trying to tell us something. We don’t want to focus on that stuff but we do, sometimes, and there’s always both a reason, and a way to say goodby to it. Makes it sound easy, right? I don’t think so! 🙂

    1. You are so wise, Annelieke! Yes, it’s totally a relapse and I love how your friend has found a word that has positive associations. I need to find one! Maybe croissants? Or fabric? 🙂 I also love your words about these incidents trying to tell us something, and I do think it’s important to pay attention without spiraling onto a path of no return…great comment, thank you!

  10. This post was so apropos, as I had one of those exchanges just this morning. Reading your post made me rethink the interaction and I am pretty sure that the other person was just stressed, so I am trying to let it go. Thanks for the insights!

    1. I’m so glad this was helpful to you, Sarah. It’s one of the things I struggle with – reading too much into interactions. I think I’m getting better, but certain types of conversations/people definitely make bad old habits rear their heads! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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