Small Steps

Small Steps. Me & My Dad.
Never too early to learn good oral hygiene (I was probably teething)

Progress sometimes comes in small steps. This weekend I walked the dog with my husband, which meant I stepped away from my computer and actually went outside.

Beautiful outside. Weather warm. Sky clear. Saddleback Mountain gorgeous, every nook and cranny visible as if I could reach out and touch it.

Honestly, I find it hard to overcome inertia, to get up and get out. But when I do so, when I go outside, I benefit. My mood improves. My spirit lightens. Both my physical and mental health reap gains.

Sunday I even ran a car-load of stuff to Goodwill, including my father’s old clothes. My father died a year ago next week, and I’ve been holding onto his old clothes since then.

To remember him, I’ve kept his flannel shirts. Wearing his flannel shirts, I feel enveloped in the warmth of his love, like I’m getting a big hug from him.

When we were little, he’d call us over for big bear hugs, but there was nothing rough in his hugs. Just love. Protective love. The big loving protective hugs of a father for his daughters.

My eyes are tearing up now. Good tears. I was loved. I loved my dad. He loved us dearly and deeply.

Sonoma County – Wild Open Spaces #Writing101

Rocks and surf on Goat Rock Beach
Rocks and surf on Goat Rock Beach
© Frank Schulenburg / CC-BY-SA-3.0

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
– Joan Didion

Sonoma County holds a special place in my heart. My husband and I bought our first house in Petaluma at the southern edge of the county, and our son was born there.

Sonoma County is breathtakingly beautiful. When we lived there I enjoyed rugged coastline, sandy beaches, farm country, wineries, oak-studded coastal prairies, redwood forests, the Russian River and the Petaluma River. Although I am happy in south Orange County, I do miss the wide open wild spaces of Sonoma County.

Yesterday’s Blue Sky

Yesterday, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., the skies were blue and the temperature warm as my husband and I walked the neighborhood. Today the skies are gray, the air cool.

Refresh, Energize, and Rejuvenate

Daily Prompt – Re-springing Your Step: Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you?

Bath Tub, with tile surround and curtain

Honestly, the last experience I had that left me feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated was the last time I took a bath. Yes, it’s that simple. A bath. Enveloped by warm water. Warmth that may well be therapeutic, may alleviate feelings of social isolation. According to research by John A. Bargh and Idet Shalev:

“the physical-social warmth association may be a boon to the therapeutic treatment of syndromes that are mainly disorders of emotion regulation”

~ J Bargh, and I Shalev (2011). The substitutability of physical and social warmth in daily life. Emotion DOI: 10.1037/a0023527

Blue sky with clouds, lilac colored rose, sycamore tree blanches without leaves

Walks in which I notice natural beauty – the beauty of a flower, tree branches, or the sky – also leave me feeling fresh, energized, rejuvenated, and connected to something greater than myself -nature.

What strikes me is that both are really easy to do, yet I do not do them regularly. Bathe – feel fresh, energized, rejuvenated, and less alone. Walk – feel fresh, energized, and rejuvenated, and quite literally, grounded.

The question in mind is, when did I last do so? Did I take a warm bath yesterday? The day before? I do not recall. The last time I took a walk? I know that I did so over the holidays. Since then I’ve struggled with lingering stomach flu symptoms. Still, I could take a short walk. Look at the sky. Enjoy the beauty of a flower. Not to mention spend some quality time with my husband who with our two dogs eagerly awaits me to join him on a walk.

Perhaps today I will do both – walk and bathe. Now that’s an accomplishment.

UPDATE: Walk with husband, but no dogs: check (even took some photographs). Warm bath: check. Fresh, energized, and rejuvenated: check, check, and check.