Loose ends, gray skies, and affirmations of light

On the Lake Superior waterfront in Marquette

Good morning, friends. It’s the eighth day since finishing the 75 day spiritual daily blogging commitment, and it feels like time to stop by and say hello again.

It’s been a challenging eight days in many ways. Often when a project, commitment or trip ends I feel at loose ends for awhile. What to do next? It happens like clockwork after a vacation; it feels hard to settle back into the rhythm of our quiet life here in the woods.

I wander, sit, get up, walk to the mailbox, sit some more…wonder what to do next…and so it goes. It’s relaxing, but it’s also disconcerting. Have any of you experienced this?

The 75 day commitment felt filled with such a sense of purpose.

And now? I am deeply listening to see what wants to happen next.

Shoveling docks

As probably everyone knows it’s also been such a challenging week in our United States of America. So hard to witness the events in Washington DC on Wednesday. So many of our Democrat and Republican hearts have been broken by the senseless violence witnessed at the capitol. (Well, 55% of Republican hearts according to a recent poll.)

I don’t like to talk about politics much online, but just wanted to say that. If we were face-to-face we might talk about it. Might…

As for the pandemic–it just feels so devastating for so many who are dying, losing loved ones, suffering long-term symptoms. Some days it feels exhausting to think about it any more. A childhood friend just lost her father-in-law yesterday.

Broken dock on a gray January day

In the Upper Peninsula our world looks so unrepentantly gray these mid-winter days. My spirit has often felt gray much of these past eight days as well.

Without denying or turning away from this gray world–I do believe there’s a time when positive affirmations help.

When I feel my mood sinking low (and an inability to convince myself of light and love and la-de-da) it’s possible to focus the lens of perception on what brings a smile.

This is when positive affirmation can create a gentle curve to the lips. Focusing on what ignites the heart with hope, knowing, peace.

Just for contrast–this is what the dock looked like during a radiant sunrise in November, 2017. (What a difference the sun can make, right?)

Hmmm… this morning I am now pondering the light within.

“I feel the light shining within me.”

This feels true, even within the grayness.

Now there’s a bigger smile, a brightness. Even though it’s almost totally black and white outside the window.

Yes, I want to take some of this smile into this gray, black and white day. Feeling the light, the color within.

Ducks in harbor

Yesterday we drove to Marquette, about eighty miles to the south and east. We shopped at the co-op and Meijers, before taking a lunch down to the waterfront. It was the first trip to Marquette since September.

We miss eating out in restaurants–which has been our fun date since we met all those years ago–but it was still a pleasure to get out of the house and tour the “big city”. I munched a huge green salad with chicken and sunflower seeds; Barry ate a turkey pesto sandwich. We kinda made a little mess in the car. Oh for the warm weather days with picnic tables and outdoor eating!

Marquette ore dock yesterday

On the way home I felt the first burst of energy in eight days. Almost like the sun came out inside me. Almost like hope lit a match. Almost, just almost, like brighter days will dawn on the horizon.

Affirming it will be so.

(While simultaneously enjoying how the photos came out–the gray skies almost provide a blanket of warmth and coziness to the landscape.)

How are you all doing these days?

Freighter behind the dock in 2017. Ahhh….the light, the color!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in January 2021 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Loose ends, gray skies, and affirmations of light

  1. Ally Bean says:

    We are in the gray days here, too. I don’t feel sad, but rather indifferent to what life has to offer. While this week has been a sh!t show it’s not pulled me down, so maybe that’s the gift of accepting dull days? I’m glad you got to visit the big city and eat the yummy food there. ‘Tis a small thing but a good thing, me thinks.

    • Kathy says:

      Hmm, Ally Bean, such a good point about the difference between sadness and indifference. I think I’m experiencing a tad bit of both. Mostly indifference, but flavored with sadness, if that makes sense. I am glad you are not pulled into the shi!t show too much. Accepting gray days is a gift indeed. Going to the big city yesterday was just what the doctor ordered, metaphorically speaking.

  2. leelah saachi says:

    So sorry for all those typos! Here it is again, corrected

    For some reason I have not watched the TV for two days – and missed the chaos in USA. But now- feeling into all of that – it seems to me that it has been a HUGE wake-up call for many – seeing what they DO NOT WANT in their country. And I even believe that when Trumps band of hooligans look at the photos and videos and read the papers, It is in fact possible that they will in time be moved by it in a sobering way.
    I believe that BECAUSE of the Donald’s craziness, USA has got a big opportunity to change things for the better of all.

    I remembered the story about his father .- who beat and bullied him and convinced him NEVER to be a loser. And I know that when we grow up never questioning our beliefs from childhood, we are doomed to repeat our patterns. And when you happen to be a president in the most powerful land in the world – well, welcome, chaos.
    So it makes me very sad to see the suffering of all involved – AND i trust that something GOOD WILL come out of it..

    • Kathy says:

      Leelah, I think you are right about so much of this. It has been a huge wake-up call for many. (Others, not so much.) It becomes clear what we don’t want in this country and what we don’t want on a personal level. It’s possible to see what it looks like to live under the cloud of narcissism within ourselves–when we see it projected outside of ourselves in such a way.

      I have worked at developing compassion for Donald by remembering what his childhood was like. He must have such pain on the inside to behave in such self-centered ways. So sad to think of a child being abused in this way, and what he’s become by not delving into these childhood pains.

      Like you I also feel the sadness–and the trust that goodness will come out of it. Just not sure how this will be revealed in the world, but I do have faith it will be.

    • Kathy says:

      Leelah, I deleted your first comment and pasted your edited one here. Hope that works!

  3. Susan D. Durham says:

    Are the two sun pictures from our magic trip back in 2017? I don’t remember the month; just the day (which I’ll never forget). I love the color that stands out on the trim on the building in your first picture. And, maybe I’ve mentioned this to you before, I like gray days (ducking and hiding). I think sometimes it depends on when we were born. You’re a summer baby. I’m a winter baby. Hmmm

    Also wonder about having lived in Florida, Texas, and California for many combined years. The relentless days of sun got on my nerves. No, I wouldn’t like endless days of gray, which it does sometimes seem like here in Winter … but I am more productive when it’s gray. Ha! When the sun is out, I feel obligated to go be in it somehow … to be outside.

    I have a broken heart over what’s gone on in our country. Yet, I know, just know, that the vast majority of us are peaceful people; that if we saw news clips of what we ordinary folks are doing every day, we’d be cheered and reassured. Clips of people going to work, helping others, gardening, chopping wood, grocery shopping, volunteering, walking and stopping to chat with others…oh, the list is endless. Imagine the goodness, the healing hearts, the love. It’s there. Even when it’s hard to feel it.

    Hoping for brighter days for all of us, and for gray and bright to get along and hold hands and spread joy.

    I am so happy to see you here today! Have missed the daily journey posts, and thank you again for posting and sharing that wonderful “assignment” for 75 days. Much love…

    • Kathy says:

      Morning, Susan–YES, those were some of the pics from our magic trip to Marquette together! I still have such fond memories of that day. ❤ ❤ ❤

      And the color on that little gray shed struck me as well. So very interesting what you say about gray days and the utter abundance of sunshine wearing a person down. I do like gray days when they behave themselves and don't go on and on and on and on and on for days! LOL.

      You also make such a good point about how the vast majority of us are peaceful people. I suspect there were a great number of peaceful folk in Washington on Wednesday, too. Have already heard of many who were there just to pray and sit quietly, and were appalled when the violence broke out and left immediately. There IS so much goodness in the world and it doesn't make headlines because, well because, apparently our egos don't like to read about calm & ordinary & goodness.

      Thanks also for the welcome back. ha ha, if it can be considered a "welcome back" after only eight days!! Love you, my buddy!

  4. Sarah Davis says:

    Good to see you. I have been laying low, making soup, staying warm and doing deep self care. It’s keeping me from being angry and raging against things that I can not change.

    • Kathy says:

      So nice to see you too, Sarah. It has been a rough time for many this week and any self-care is greatly appreciated by our spirits, I am sure. And, yes, thinking of the serenity prayer right now and noticing what we can and can’t change in our worlds. ❤

  5. Stacy says:

    I’ve been wandering and wondering. I am looking for the light – within and without. Without. Double entendre intended. I’m looking for a saint buddy for guidance. Once I find him or her, I will share on my blog.

    XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, it will be so interesting to see what you discover. A saint to walk with can be a gift of love, guidance and protection. One of my good friends yesterday talked about her protective saint/angel. Blessings as always! xoxo

  6. debyemm says:

    Trying on one hand to stay awake to all that is occurring out there in the external world and on the other hand staying focused on the work I’ve to do in my little world. It is hard not to be diverted and distracted, even a bit fearful, while yet remaining hopeful for the long run.

    As to Republican support or disapproval for the riot, sadly I read just this morning –

    According to a YouGov poll, among Republicans there is more support FOR the rioters than oppose them, 45% to 43%. Perhaps that’s no surprise, given that less than half of all Republicans believe Biden won the election.

    It is a difficult and dark and dangerous time to be in America. Thankfully, I live isolated and remote in wilderness with few neighbors here in Missouri. Though they vote Republican overwhelmingly, they are not driving around with Trump flags flying in the back of their pick-up trucks and no bumper stickers even. They do believe in guns but I am glad we live in a relatively sane place.

    • Kathy says:

      Interesting, Deb. Ii had read that 45% support the rioters, too, but then did the math to figure that 55% did not. But you say it’s 43%. That is discouraging. Also interesting that you don’t have flags or bumper stickers. We do. Most folks vote Republican around here, which is totally changed around since we moved here in 1979. Back then the majority voted Democrat. Stay safe in your neck of the woods…

  7. I love the red accents in the gray waterfront in the first picture. Beautiful! And I never had to consider shoveling snow off of a dock before. How convenient to just push it into the water. 🙂 I remember one winter in the 1990s, back in the days when we used to get snow, they used payloaders to load the snow from our parking lot into dump trucks and then took it down to dump into the ocean…

    “Changing gears” is what I call that unsettled, at loose ends feeling when a project or trip ends. It can be pretty challenging. Sometimes I tell Tim that I just have to sit here until my brain starts working again. It might take a few hours…

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend’s father-in-law. Thankfully, our son-in-law’s grandmother seems to have recovered and she was in on the New Year’s Day Zoom session with us. So relieved but it was so scary. But Tim’s brother’s father-in-law is still very sick in the hospital. It seems like it’s been such a long time. There’s just no rhyme or reason to how this cursed virus operates.

    I’m so happy you found your way to a bright smile. Tim & I laughed about you & Barry kind of making a little mess in your car. 🙂 We miss eating out in restuarants, too!

    • Kathy says:

      You made me smile–that you guys laughed about the crumbs and mess in our car. Very challenging to eat under a steering wheel! That phrase “changing gears” sounds just about right. That in-between time. Glad you understand. It seems to have lasted longer than usual this go-round, not sure why. But it’s funny. The sun came out this afternoon and all of a sudden energy is rising and it’s time to bake healthy cookies! As soon as I’ve responded to comments. Sure hoping that Tim’s brother’s father-in-law recovers. It does seem like a long time to be hospitalized.

  8. Barb says:

    Thanks for showing up in time for tea, Kathy – I’ve missed you! I love the ore dock photo. We got the Christmas decorations put away except for the little tree which I love in the darkness of early mornings. Our county’s virus numbers keep rising and the tourists keep coming. I stay mostly out of the fray. Stay well.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh good, Barb–I’m thrilled we met for teatime again! I am so enjoying your daily small stones. Whenever the email *dings* around 3 p.m. I know it’s you. Glad to hear you both are staying safe and not mixing with the tourists. My brother went out skiing this week, but he didn’t go to Breckenridge and came home early because of not-so-good snow conditions.

  9. Gay Herron says:

    Kathy, thank you sharing the all the pics you share, even in its grayness, the UP and its beauty draws my heart. I am feeling empty these days when I look away from my loved ones, my God and look around (in news headlines) at our world, it’s people. I think Trump’s presidency has revealed the hate in people’s hearts, all our hearts, not just one party. When I look at how he was mocked and bullied from the get go, and yes I know he did that to others as well….. but so much hypocrisy, he was/is treated so harshly…. are we not called to treat others as we wish to be treated? I have always tried to live my life that way, being kind and gracious and merciful. He is hated by so many, it’s as if they created the monster and then condemn him for being one. So sad. But I know there is hope, so again I turn to my God, my loved ones, my neighbors and friends, the kind face I come across and I turn away from the talking heads who make a living on pain and sorrow. God bless us one and all.

    • Kathy says:

      Gay, I am glad you like the UP pictures. Marquette is one of my favorite places to photograph. The waterfront just looks so interesting. So glad to see how you are looking at multiple sides of the issue and trying to live your life in a good way. I believe there is a lot of good in people, but it’s been a challenging time for many. Echoing you and Tiny Tim…God bless us one and all.

  10. Amanda-Lyn says:

    The sun is shining brightly here in Mass ♥ we’re of course in a Covid hotzone ((life is GRAND)). But my new job is going very well ((so far…it’s only been a week)). And I am delighting in the lovely hours outside of my home ((finally)). I hope you keep blogging….your posts are a bright spot in my day and can brighten a dark day ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Amanda-Lyn, I did not know you were in Mass AND did not know you have a new job. Hope it continues to go really well! You made me smile ear-to-ear because you enjoy these posts so much. But then again–you see light in so many places!

  11. First of all, love the last picture. Well done!!!! Meanwhile, yep – when something is done, there is a sense of calm – ready to break, take it easy, ignore time, and more. Regarding the gray of winter, at least you get the white of snow. Cincinnati doesn’t get a lot of snow – but hey – we are all in on the gray and brown!

  12. Joanne says:

    I love that you don’t talk politics, Kathy. Today, however, reading that you acknowledge the broken-hearted supporrters of all political pursuasions seems right. I’m getting very weary from hearing people playing the “blame-game” … and we must all move on, one day at a time, regardless of our perceived state of the world. Your trip to Marquette sounds like just the tonic you needed to brighten your days, and I’m sure eating in your car – crumbs and all – must have been great fun. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, the thing I perceive about discussing politics is that the conversations rarely change anyone’s mind. It’s like everyone has his or her opinion, and rarely does a discussion influence anyone to shift. I read an article about this one time. It seems that many folks truly believe that they might get another person to change their beliefs, but what usually happens is that the opposing belief simply cements the original opinion and makes enemies or dislike or somehow separates more than brings together. It was a fun trip to Marquette. One of these days will have to clean out the car!

      • Joanne says:

        I’m beginning to realise that too much discussion over certain topics is causing a divide between people. My husband and I were contemplating that theory recently, and we concluded that there was a lot to be said for the good old days. Remember when talk about politics and religion were taboo? Now those topics seem to be open slather, there is more unrest than ever before.

  13. Val Boyko says:

    I was on an online meditation and inquiry retreat yesterday with one of my favorite teachers – Jonathan Foust. Having something that is nourishing and inspiring to look forward to helps me find balance when I don’t have a project or training on the go. Of course, I teach yoga online every day and that keeps the body, mind and spirit going. I can’t imagine life without it. A nourishing routine during the winter pays dividends for the upsurge of Spring!

    • Kathy says:

      Val, I have not heard of Jonathan Foust–will look him up. One of my favorites is Adyashanti, but have listened to many teachers over the years. This is always a go-to on loose end type of days. Am also working online these days and doing yoga/walking whenever possible. So glad you are nourished by your winter routine and feel deeply fed by it.

      • Val Boyko says:

        I am also a fan of Adyashanti and John J Prendergast, a follower of A and Jean Klein. His website is listeningfromsilence.com
        Last year I joined a group who met to discuss and experience his book The Deep Heart. Very powerful and healing ❤️

  14. Debbie says:

    Kathy, these are some gorgeous photos! It sounds as if your brief break was a good thing. We’ve had more than our share of gray here, and I’m eager for a January warmup! At least if we could see the sun once in a while, that might help. On a positive note, I’m not having to shovel snow, so I’m thankful for small miracles!

    • Kathy says:

      Debbie, I am glad you liked the photos from our trip to Marquette. It was lovely to get out. Sounds like you have pretty much the same gray skies down your way. Like you, I’m happy with our lack of snow–although my husband does not think the same way we do!

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  16. pam1955 says:

    Kathy, I just found your blog a couple of days ago…..perfect timing. The days are noticeably longer, minutes, but longer. Your words are hope, light and a sense of calm. Thank you.

  17. candidkay says:

    So much to comment on here but “deeply listening” sticks with me. I wish more people were doing that right now . . .

  18. Ooooh! Those sunny day pictures on the water are so gorgeous.

    Car dinner dates — we’ve had many of those in the past 10 months!

    • Kathy says:

      Lunar, sunny sunrises like this can be amazing! And I suppose car dinner dates, too, but I am not convinced…. *smile* We had another one yesterday.

  19. The 75 days was a great challenge so it’s no wonder you feel a bit lost now it’s ended, especially when it is a particularly grey time of year with little to look forward to, even without the issues happening in the wider world. You’ll get your mojo back – fallow periods are also necessary for new things to grow.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Andrea! Thank you for your support. And you will be interested perhaps to know my mojo is back. It took about ten days to switch gears this time. By about January 10th (or maybe a bit later) everything relaxed and fell into more peace. The gray skies continue, but politics are suddenly looking better in our country, so I’m a content girl. Thanks again.

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