Time is flying by so fast that I can hardly believe the year is almost over again. I know it’s ‘only’ November and we still have a month and a half to go, but my mind is already set on Christmas. Tunnel vision: installed. Fairy lights are appearing everywhere, and I feel like it’s (almost…) appropriate to buy a Christmas tree already. Or maybe start thinking about buying a Christmas tree. No matter how busy I am, the end of December is always my favourite time of the year.
Onto November. It’s been very autumnal outside – pretty colours and not too cold, but also lots and lots of rain. However, I have managed to get out of the house more often again, to wander through and around town. I was hoping to get some inspiration for NaNoWriMo on these walks, but unfortunately that has not happened. However, I did manage to write a lot so far. I missed around four days so technically I am far behind, but usually I stop after a day or four so it is a personal victory. That is what people always say, right? You are competing against yourself, not against other people. I hope that by doing a few of the Double Up Days, I will be able to make up for the words that I have lost so far. I am planning on spending most of my Saturday writing. So far, I have been writing blogposts for my mindfulness class and I have been doing loads of creative writing exercises. Sometime this week, I want to start an actual story.
My November goals have been going pretty well so far. As I said, I have not been writing every single day but most days I did manage to sit down behind my computer. At home on some occasions, but I have also spent a fair few hours in Starbucks, typing. The best time to start drinking from Christmas cups! As for my other resolutions, I have taken up reading again. Somewhere in July, I started reading Game of Thrones but I was not hooked. However, I cannot stop reading a book that I have already started, so I made myself sit down with the book again. And actually, if you take the time to read it and take it all in, it is not even that bad. I am not sure I am going to be reading the whole series, but the first book should not be a problem. Calligraphy is still something I have to take up, but after talking about it with a class mate who happened to do that as well, I am really excited to give it a try. I have also attempted to write down a situation that has been bothering me – but it was at an exam, so I am not sure it counts. I decided to do a poetic sequence for my creative writing exam (it felt so weird to hand in a 150-word exam) and I could choose between two themes: autumn or lying. Although I love, love, love autumn, I felt as if I could write more personal poems about people lying. Dishonestly and disloyalty are two things I hate most and absolutely cannot tolerate in people. Emotion is supposedly good when writing poetry, so I went back to all the occasions where I have been lied to, and the time I was accused of lying when I was not. The latter creates such a desperate feeling – how can you prove to someone you are not lying when they are not willing to believe you? I tried to capture all those emotions in my poetic sequence and I am tempted to assume that I passed the exam – my lecturer said that my sequence was among some of the better ones. After all the panicking about writing, that was quite nice to hear.
So far, I have also had two more mindfulness classes. In the second class, the one from last week, we had to walk through the building while paying close attention to everything we saw around us. Then, we had to do the same exercise again but broaden our attention. The first exercise actually went pretty well – I noticed the small, square tiles in different colours, high ceilings, plants, old-fashioned school toilets; and then back through the hall, past the table with a note asking whether the missing chairs could be replaced, inspiring quotations on the walls, the linoleum steps of the stairs… I really enjoyed the exercise because the building is so beautiful. After this, we had to walk the same route again but now we should also hear, smell and feel things. We were also allowed to think, as long as we did not stick to or worry about something in specific. The thoughts should just come and go. When I walked through the building now, I could also feel the cold tiles under my socks, the perfume one of the guys was wearing, the ticking of the heating and the goosebumps on my arms. I was able to let everything enter my mind, and for a change I did not think much. In this week’s class, we had to focus on a cup of tea, and this time I noticed that the focussing actually cost me a lot of energy, and that it felt better to use my other senses as well. It seems as though being mindful is becoming a bit easier already. However, applying all the techniques we are taught in real life is still a struggle. I have another class next week, and if we have not spent time being mindful in our day-to-day lives, we need to do compulsory meditation. Doesn’t sound like a bad punishment for not doing your homework, right? My additional homework for next week is, instead of pushing all (bad) feelings away, to go to it and really feel my body. There’s a challenge.
Last week, a friend of mine let me listen to a band I did not yet know, and ever since, I am hooked. The band is called Of Monsters and Men, and songs such as Backyard, Wolves without Teeth and Organs remind me of why I love music so much. Their lyrics are very original – but of course, that is a given when your band name is Of Monsters and Men. One song, Human, especially resonated with me, as part of the lyrics links with the idea of mindfulness and my homework for next week. When I heard these lines the first time, I was struck by the truth behind them.
“Breathe in, breathe out
Let the human in,
Breathe in, breathe out,
And let it in”
~ Of Monsters and Men, Human