I have been musing lately on the word or concept of "intention". It seems to me that everything I am trying to balance in my life comes down to this. When I worry in my minimalist drive if I've gone too far, or not far enough, it seems to fit. For example: during Christmas when deciding about Christmas gifts and how many I should give and receive.
If my minimalism is to take root, I need to be intentional about gift giving. How much is too much? Is there such a thing as too little? I came to the conclusion that there is no right answer and every person and every situation has a different one. As long as I am being intentional about it and deciding on something I am happy with, then that is the right one for me at this time in this situation. Nothing can be extrapolated from it, no life rules or guidelines drawn from it, it is just for now.
The same can be said for my wardrobe. I am a complex personality, with a huge organised,
structured, minimalist side, balanced/contrasted/fought by my maximalist, colour loving, messy, lazy side. So I do tend to bounce back and forth in my wardrobe (and my decorating). Recently I have embraced minimalism a little more, with less colour and more neutrals. But I do love to have more items than I need because I get bored so easily! Sure accessories really help to change a look, but somehow I still need the basics to change as well. I like having a large
enough wardrobe so I have some things not in rotation, so when I am bored I can reach back into the dark spaces and find a gem."Oh, I'd forgotten about this!"' Or, "I haven't worn this in ages!" I think the difference is that all my items are well loved, so I am not bored because they are boring as such. I just like variety. Once I've had a break I'm happy to go back to the first pieces again. And if not, they are out. Once again, approaching with intention.
Intention is an interesting mix in my mind between "intense" and "tension". Both of which are a struggle for me. This has consequences in my body and emotional life. So in order to control or balance my energies I do yoga. Today's practice was talking about "sthira" or steadiness. A balance between strength and ease. Strong without tension.
This is what I feel when I think of the word "intention".
Here is a poem I wrote after being called Intense, and reading that as an insult. I tried to reframe it.
I have been thinking about ageing, a common preoccupation. I wonder if we are actually as accepting as we think we are. Or if fashion has changed as much as we imagine. Being on the older side (although there is always someone who is older who would dispute that), I feel able to comment.
Take the phenomenon of older models springing off the success of blogs like Advanced Style. I notice they all seem to be an extension of our current obsessions. Yes, these people have grey hair and wrinkles, but they also have small waists and abundant locks as well as firm jawlines. Where are the models with thinning hair, thicker waists and sagging necks? I am currently post menopause, and all these are my current reality. Wouldn't we do ourselves a favour if we gave ourselves role models with these realities as well?
Celebrating our differences by playing dressups at Halloween
I also have a beef with the way we speak about ageing. Many times I hear being a grandma used negatively. Recently for example, I read a blogpost discussing why we should support craft, and not use disparaging terms to describe it. They mentioned someone saying they looked like a grandma when they knitted. Their argument being we should support craft more and stop using negative comments such as this around it. While I take their point about craft, my gut reaction to that is, Why is being described as a grandma seen as negative? Surely we can be grateful to reach Grandma status and longevity? What is wrong with being seen as a grandma? Does it mean we have given up in caring for ourselves? Or do we just care in another way? Do we care more for relationships than looks?
I feel our acceptance has only scratched the surface and is just a subtle extension of our current mindset. Maybe we can try a little to examine our own thoughts and realise the reality of ageing. Sometimes these days, although I struggle with all this as much as the next, I find myself being grateful for the saggy skin and the grey hairs appearing because it helps me viscerally realise my mortality. The response to which has to be not depression, but joy in the moment. Because we are not guaranteed the next. Anyone who has had sudden disasters befall them would attest to this.
How grateful we are for our wrinkly fingers when we hear of someone who has arthritic joints and can't use them. How grateful we are for our thinning hair when we hear of someone who has had brain surgery. I know this seems drastic but it really can change your mindset when we realise how privileged we really are, even in our golden years.
Have you ever seen those photos of old people with multiple wrinkles in their cheeks? Like their life is written on their face? They are often the ones chosen by photographers. Aren't they fascinating? I for one hope to be ageing on the outside but not the inside. To have a smile and a genuine love for life and those around me. To be the person others want to spend time with. So lets hop out there into the world and celebrate our ageing and fragility. It really is a beautiful thing.