A Single Rose, A Sink of Dishes

Life feels like a whirlwind lately. Instead of continuing to blindly rush through the day, I am going to make a conscious decision to focus with mindfulness. A meaningful mindfulness, following the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, as I wrote about a full two years ago here.

If it’s time to wash the dishes, I will wash them in order to wash the dishes, not to hurry through the process so that I can get back to tax preparation or writing.   I hope you will go back and read that post if you are feeling at all overwhelmed.

My father has been in the hospital again ( and hopes to go to a nursing home for a week or so today). He went into congestive heart failure, with fluid on the lungs and atrial fibrillation. Then he got a high heart rate. When he left the hospital before he was supposed to go to the nursing home, but they had a flu epidemic and were in quarantine. A nurse whispered to him the first night that he shouldn’t be there as he would die if he got the flu. So he went home. Who knows if he started getting A-fib on and off and didn’t know it. Now they have his sinus rhythm normal, and I hope he can go to the nursing home today. They don’t have any flu cases.

In addition, it’s tax season, so I have much work. I am trying to enjoy a little hubbub with the publication of Doll God (hey, it’s netted me 3 bottles of champagne from darling friends!). I have approximately 5 weeks to revise my entire memoir manuscript for my Stanford instructor Julia Scheeres. And my old cat Mac requires feeding 7-10 times a day (which twigs the other cats to their “empty tummies” hahaha). Oh, and there is that pesky thing called work, too ;).

As an added blessing, on Tuesday hubby and I found black mold in the closet where I store my scrapbooks, books, and old writing. Luckily, only one scrapbook from 1989-1990 was ruined. Consequently, I’ve been moving pretty fast trying to keep up.

But if I rush from one activity to another, trying to check them off my ever blossoming list, I will do this until I just drop dead one day. Pretty dumb. So I am back to reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book TheMiracle of Mindfulness because it will help me live and experience through the whirlwind and not just exist at its center.

I’ll keep his book handy. Maybe just seeing it on the table will keep me focused! How about you? Are you rushing too much?



Filed under #writerlife, Doll God, Inspiration, Memoir, Publishing, Writing

65 responses to “A Single Rose, A Sink of Dishes

  1. Oh Luanne, I am so sorry to hear about all of the tumult. To embrace mindfulness during this time requires such purposeful effort. I hope keeping his teachings in mind offers comfort to ease your frustration.

    My copy of Doll God came yesterday in the mail. Cannot wait to read it. Miss you. xo

  2. Keep practicing, Luanne. I’ll practice with you, however, if I breath too deeply outside my lungs will freeze! Sooo blooody coooold. But there’s beauty on a cold day, too, so thanks for the tip. My copy of Doll God is on my bedside table where I mindfully read a poem a night. Thank YOU for that gift. Hoping the tumult slows down for you soon.

    • Oh man, so sorry it’s that cold! Yes, there is beauty. And also it is what it is and you are there so you might as well be part of it! I hope you are enjoying the poems!!!

  3. So sorry to hear about your father Luanne, I hope all goes ahead with the nursing home as planned and he receives the proper care, sans flu most definitely. You certainly have a lot on your plate, I feel exhausted just reading all you are doing and so glad to know you are taking some time to relax a little..not to mention sampling those three bottles of bubbly which will go a long way to settling the nerves 🙂 Deep breath…swig…deep breath..swig….you get the picture 🙂 xo

    • Sherri, he’s at the nursing home and they don’t have any flu cases right now. He seems pretty good except that he’s having a problem with fluid in the lungs, which is a symptom of congestive heart failure.
      Re the champagne ;), I think I’m going to invite my in person writer pals over for brunch to help get rid of it–too bad you’re not in town! Love the breathe swig rhythm hahaha.

  4. I don’t see any way to get things done…rush or not.

  5. As the old saying goes: “If it’s not one thing, it’s another!” Isn’t it amazing how we can roll along for a great stretch of time when everything is right in this world and our lives run on schedule with good results? And, then, from out of left field, everything seems to jump the tracks and we struggle to deal with it all at once! I hope things smooth out for you, and that book you mention sounds like good therapy. 🙂

    • My mother ALWAYS says that, Mark! And consequently I say it pretty often, too ;). Thank you so much for your support! Stay warm and happy grilling this weekend!

  6. Oh my! So much going on. I would prefer to climb back under the covers myself but then I would only worry about what wasn’t getting done. Hope things even out especially for your Dad. When I get to a point that things are smooth I look to get another thing out of the way. This week I got a lump on my thumb checked. Had it for a year. Now I find out I need to have surgery on it. Last week was about the snowstorm so yes, there is always something. I try to focus on what I am doing (the idea of multi-tasking is fiction you know) and being conscious of it but that doesn’t always work. Just gave my old cat his 2nd breakfast while my dieting cat looked on with sorrowful eyes. Sigh.

    • Surgery! What’s wrong with it? (Don’t answer if you don’t want to) It IS always something. Imagine how bored we would be otherwise haha ;). I am a terrible multi-tasker, meaning I am always trying to do it, which is why I had to consciously decide once again to use mindfulness meditation. Oh, your poor dieting cat. That is my little round Tiger. I’ve taken to this: every other time I feed Mac, I smear a little food on the bottom of Tiger’s bowl so she thinks I didn’t forget to feed her ;). But there are even calories in that!

      • Good news today! Hazel lost 3 ounces. Now it’s the same 3 ounces she has lost and gained back 3 times in December but I’m celebrating anyway.

        • Woohoo, I will celebrate, too! That is a lot of weight on a cat! Do you weigh her by weighing yourself with her? That I hate to do b/c scales and I have a deep antipathy to each other ;).

          • I do but it’s usually fully dressed (so I tell myself my clothes weight 5 lbs. and all is good). Today it was just in my nightgown which weighs nothing (or so the scale says). I have to catch her when I can because she doesn’t like being picked up and for a tubby cat she can move when she thinks she is getting picked up.

  7. I’m really sorry to hear about your dad, Luanne. A flu epidemic in a nursing home is a frightening situation. I’m happy that nurse whispered to him.
    Hahn’s book is wonderful. I might need to read it again, as I’ve been rushing lately and not feeling focused.

    • My dad’s doctor told me that there is another nursing home in the area that was just slammed with flu this year, and that means that they had a lot of flu deaths. So very sad. My dad is at the nursing home and they don’t have any flu cases right now, so that is good. He’s also more comfortable as they have some fancy mattress that is “uneven” and more comfortable.

  8. What a whirlwind! Hope your dad recovers soon and completely. Older people can be taken down so quickly from little things we pass off readily. I don’t have my copy of your poetry book, but I’m whittling down my TBR and it’s on my purchase list 🙂 Excited for you 🙂

    • So true re older people. Really scary. But he’s in the nursing home and out of the hospital, which is good. About Doll God: yay! I hope you do enjoy it when you get it!!

  9. I’m really sorry to read about your dad’s condition, I hope he gets better soon! I hope things pan out well for you soon, and please, you need to unplug often. I’ve pegged your book down, would let you know when I’ve finished reading it.
    Take care Luanne and I’m praying for your dad!

    • Seyi, thank you so much–please keep your prayers coming. He’s inthe nursing home and happier to be there than the hospital, but he still has fluid on the lungs. Unplugging is a fabulous idea! I’ve been thinking that I really need to keep a day a week or maybe certain times of the day several times a week free unplugged. Do you do that? I hope you end up enjoying the poems in Doll God!! xo

  10. Thank you for reminding me to be mindful. Just do the dishes. Mindfulness and gratitude. Twins.
    I hope your father gets well soon.
    Breathe! 🙂

  11. Wow – what is happening with your dad is exactly what is going on with my father-in-law! It seems it always something with him, poor guy.

  12. Hope your father is doing okay and you too. Fathers are so precious!

    • He’s got some fluid on the lungs that they are dealing with, but he is settling into the nursing home. He likes the mattress there as it is a special one that isn’t quite flat, but bumpy and more comfortable for the skin. 🙂

  13. There are positives amongst some of the scary things going on in your family’s lives. I worry about your father, but gave a heartfelt prayer with him in it, among a few on my prayer list, Luanne. I hope you know his being diagnosed and treated is half the battle, I feel. There are sudden things that happen to men, who ignore the symptoms and this happened to a good friend’s husband, not enough time to ‘fix’ him, unfortunately. I hope and pray there isn’t any MRSA or other bacterial problems there in the home….

    Keep a big bottle of antibacterial soap and ask everyone who holds his hand or even wipe his books he reads, etc. with it. The way things are in ths world, please try to keep everyone washing or wiping things. As she mentioned, he may have weakened system and may be susceptible….
    Hugs to you and wish I could offer a bottle of champagne, but I am silently toasting to your book and best wishes on its sales, too.
    I hope the photograph album has duplicates in other family members’ photos, so sorry about the black mold. It is very good that your husband noticed and caught it, Luanne.
    I am not going to worry this year, which really helps me so much not to feel caught up in troubles of my own family. This Bible quote has been valuable to me, “be like the lilies of the field…” I like to also imagine myself a bird flying along a warm coastline and being warm and peaceful. Take care and just seeing that book will remind you to relax and try not to get too stressed. Hugs, Robin

    • Thank you so very much for your sweet comfort, Robin. You are such a dear. I had been recently thinking about the lilies of the field passage because I saw a clip of that old movie of Sidney Poitier with the nuns and I as thinking about just what that passage means, etc. Thank you for mentioning it! xo

  14. Oh Luanne, I’m sorry. I think it all would be manageable until Dad is in crisis. That is simply too much love, worry, loss and helplessness all wrapped up one of our life’s most significant relationships, as so many of us with aging parents know. Even if it’s a natural progression, it still throws everything else off-balance. My parents are in equilibrium right now, but so many aren’t and I do feel for you as well as the pending drumbeat for my own parents.

    Taxes – you are the ONLY person who ever mentions them; i’ve had to worry/file quarterly returns and estimates for years and every quarter it sucks 2-3 days of life right out of me with triple that in April. It’s a nightmare for self-employed or those with uneven incomes.

    So darlin’ drop your woes on my shoulder (‘cuz right now I got extra strength) and go wash your dishes mindfully then do something nice for yourself. And remember, it will all balance in the end. i promise 💕

    • Sammy, you are so wonderful! Yes, it’s really hard to see my dad going through all this. And what my mother is going through, to boot. I’m so glad that your parents are doing well!
      Re the taxes. Hehe, isn’t it amazing? I am always amazed that other people don’t seem to have the same DELUGE of paperwork from the government that we do, but you are exactly right: it’s because we have been self-employed for decades. The difference between “then” and “now” of what is required of us from all these governmental agencies is staggering. I try to be mindful while I’m doing all that paperwork, but I have always said that my least favorite thing to do is “forms.” Ugh.

  15. So sorry to hear about your father, Luanne. I hope all goes smoothly and he recovers safely–and without getting the flu. Life does indeed sound hectic at your house right now. Good luck with your book, taxes, and mold removal. I’ve had many times like that, but right now things are pretty calm here.
    Enjoy that champagne!

    • Merril, I’m in the process of arranging a brunch with my in person writer friends to down that champagne! It will feel more festive that way! So glad to hear things are calm by you right now. It’s nice to know thta things are not a big hubbub for everyone! Here’s wishing you a nice calm 2015!!!

  16. Stressful times! I’m sorry you’re having to go through this. I think a lot of us go through illnesses of our parents at this time of our lives and no matter what age we are, or how many other people are going through the same thing, it doesn’t make it any easier. I wish you strength. Try to look for the good things and be strong in dealing with the rest.

    • I will. Part of it is that it seems impossible that this is happening. And another part is that we don’t know how to handle these things properly in our culture. 🙁

  17. You do have a plate running over with things to do. I hope things go well with your dad. I think you are on the right track with practicing Mindfulness. I have far less to do and still lack peace of mind some days. I agree it your focus that makes the difference.

    • Oh, I hope you can find some peace of mind. Definitely try the mindfulness meditation. It really does help because you can feel “at peace” in that one moment while you are doing what you are doing, if that makes sense.

  18. I do get caught up in my seemingly endless lists of things to do, most of which never get done, especially within the (too) short span of a weekend. That royally sucks about the mold problem. Bad enough to have your scrapbooks, etc. damage but I’m sure it won’t be easy cleaning out the closet ;( And I’m sorry that your dad is having such a rough time of it! And by extension, you, since how you can not feel anxious about your dad. I’ll need your other post. Mindfulness would be a good thing to practice. Too many times, especially during the work day, I find myself working on one project while thinking about another. Makes me crazy. TGIF!!!

    • Oh, Marie, please don’t let it drive you crazy! I like you the way you are! 😉 I know what you mean though about working on one and thinking about another. BIG SIGH. There was no way enough time in this weekend, but that’s the way it is. I made time for others this weekend, and that was what needed to be done. xoxo

      • Gee, I just read over my comment. So many typos 😉 Attention to others is very important, often more important than anything else we think we should be doing (or feeling anxious about, like typos … 🙂 xoxo

  19. Sorry to hear your father has been unwell again. Very worrying. All the other things on top just add to the stress. But it does help to focus upon what is important in life. And it sounds like you father will be more settled once in the nursing home. Hope it all settles for you soon.

    • Tanya, yes, he and I spent a lot of time talking this weekend. He’s not liking the nursing home very well. I think it’s frightening to be in a nursin ghome . . . . Thank you so much for your kind words!

      • I think I can understand his feelings. But if he needs the constant care then it has to be for the best. It is good that he and you can spend time talking; so many just sit there without communicating. I am sure it must be doing him a power of good.

        • He is definitely wanting to share a lot with me lately. I wanted him to focus on getting well and not look back to the past so much, but my daughter said it’s natural and maybe even good for me, as well as for him. Maybe she’s right.

  20. I’m not even kidding, Luanne, I have used his dishwashing technique for about 12 years. Gratitude for everything.
    — Wishing you the best with your father, your obstacles, and your pile of to-dos. 🙂

    • Oh, I love that you use this! It’s the only thing that really works for me, but I have to keep reminding myself over and over and over again. Thank you!

  21. Hoping you father is okay Luanne. You certainly do have a lot on, so it’s good that you can remember to be mindful – sometimes the last thing you want to do when life is so frantic.

    • He had a better day today than yesterday, so that is a good thing! I pray that this coming week will be a good week for him. So hard to remember the mindfulness. I am coming up with little ways to remind myself.

  22. Thinking of you and yours, and hoping life gets easier for you soon.

  23. Yikes Luanne! and I thought I was running around like a chicken without a head! I hope your father gets much better very soon and that he is getting the proper care. Sometimes ‘madness descends’ in order to help us focus more on the things that really matter. I wish for you calmer seas.

    • That is one of my mother’s favorite expression, the chicken one! And honestly that is what it feels like sometimes! Truly, it can be a learning experience, but I do wish for the calmer seas for my own health, too.

  24. I am sorry to hear about your dad. I hope it all turns out okay, and things slow down for you soon. I definitely have to work at slowing down as well. Especially with my Bible reading.but I am more than willing to rush through the dishes if it means I have more time to write! I think there is a time to rush and a time to slow down. Wishing the both of us wisdom on knowing the difference!

    • Lindsey, I think that you are right. To everything there is a season, really. But when I rush through the dishes I rush through the writing. Patience reaps its own reward for me. That said, when my kids were younger it made sense to rush through chores to have more time with them.

  25. I am so enjoying Doll God, Luanne. It’s just what I need right now during my period of convalescence. Speaking of which, I’ve decided the “getting things done” muscle is in the hip, and they severed it when they put in the new hip. I’m not getting anything done, not even “single-tasking”, and that’s okay with me. ☺️ As soon as I get some motivation back, I’m going to post about your book!

    • Oh, Ellen, I just saw this. How sweet!! I am so glad you like it! And SO glad to hear that you are convalescing as well as can be expected. When I had female surgery years ago I lay there, listening to Billie Holiday sing “All of Me” (“All of me / Why not take all of me” LOL–dramatic, yes) over and over again and read about Henry VIII’s wives for some strange reason. That is me on pain meds. 😉 So happy to hear from you!!! I can’t wait until you’re all healed!

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