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Around the house Diversions Health Politics Reading

June 2022

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.

James Russell Lowell

I seem to always love the idea of planning but then, stress hits and my most well-worn response is avoidance. I plan to get things done and then they don’t and the next thing I know it’s bedtime and well, that’s about it really.

Yesterday (June 4) there was a “Daily Jay” on the Calm app about “time confetti“; about how little things add up to disrupt your plans and goals and break up your day and cause irritation. Prioritizing is definitely not something I am good at – but it’s comforting to know I am not alone and that there are so many external factors influencing this that I have no control over at all. Thankfully my work is one of those places that really is not there when it’s not supposed to be there. I don’t get messages on my personal phone etc. So that’s terrific. Work is also flexible enough that when I need to take breaks during the day, that’s fine, the work day doesn’t have to be precisely 9 to 5 but also understands that work is not all consuming.

white background with lots and lots of little coloured pieces of paper
confetti 😉

Okay – so back to trying to plan, think about what’s important, not necessarily going off on all sorts of new and fun directions. I mean, new and fun directions are great. But I don’t have to follow the path RIGHTNOWTHISVERYINSTANT. I can make a note, and follow up later.

One of the ways I thought I would do this would be to think of big themes for the month and if something pops up that fits into the theme – yippie! and if not, and it looks cool, I can make a note and maybe use that to come up with another month’s theme.

THEMES FOR JUNE

There are some easy ways for my brain to group things and also a few topics I want to learn more about which themselves have lots of subheadings so the big overall groups are:

SELF

OTHERS

HOME

NATURE

SELF focus for June:

❶ schedule – a day

❷ mindfulness – being present

❸ health – menopause

Schedule: I’m trying to figure out what I would like “a day” to look like. Three different days actually: in-office work day, WFH work day, non-work day.

Mindfulness – just something I’m always working on; whether it’s a bit of reading about stoicism, the Calm app, yoga. Something.

Health – read the damn menopause book. That time is creeping up slowly but surely and I really want to be sure I have some sort of idea about what’s going on. We don’t talk about this stuff enough and I need to learn.

Also move more. I have an appointment with a specialist about weight management and stuff also.

OTHERS focus for June:

❶ reading – neurodiversity

❷ support – volunteering? politics?

The idea here is to not lose myself in my own little bubble. The Ontario election annoyed me to no end – the lowest turn out in years, maybe ever? WTAF?!? The cons killed people during the pandemic no less than if they had pulled a trigger on a gun and you will not be able to convince me otherwise. And they were rewarded with another majority? @#(P YPVDLI but rather than retreat to the safety of my world with only my people in it I want to do more.

Concrete tasks here:

① deliver egg cartons to the food bank

② bring black take out containers to the farmers’ market for re-use

③ chat with Laura about how to _do something_ about the politics stuff that’s frustrating me

④ read this: recommended by a friend:

Picture of book titled NeuroTribes

HOME focus for June:

❶ minimalism – organize/declutter

We live in a fairly large house. The problem with this of course is that we acquire enough stuff to fill the large house. And then some. This will really probably be the focus every month for HOME but key tasks for June:

① Lisa’s Stuff – organize jewellery; what do I want to keep; offer the rest to family / friends and then sell / donate what’s left

② Q’s Stuff – a big goal for the entire summer is to get everything out of Q’s rooms and really clean and maybe repaint them etc. So we’ve got to start whittling his stuff down too

③ Art – hang more of the art I love and offer up the stuff we no longer adore. This has already started which is great.

NATURE focus for June:

❶ birds – pigeons

❷ tree – northern red oak

Y’all know I’m weird right? I wanna learn more about birds and trees but I keep going off on all sorts of tangents and, while fun, it’s really not sinking in. So, thanks to a random chat with the wonderful Abby, I fixated on pigeons for June. I know nothing about pigeons but they’re everywhere. So I’m gonna learn about pigeons.

A stack of four books about pigeons
Sometimes I wonder what the librarians might be thinking…

Same with trees. There are a bazillion trees out there. So overwhelming to know where to start. But we just planted Tom in the fall – Tom is the name we gave to our northern red oak (Quercus rubra) – so that seemed like a good place to start.

Tom – June 5 taken from the balcony
Categories
Health

Compliments File

mindfulness day 2 part 2

it’s amazing how motivating voicing my goal about the mindfulness posts out loud is.

So mindfulness day 2 part 2 – the idea here is a little bit of “fake it till you make it” and a little bit of “see yourself as others see you.”

It’s not always easy to be self-loving and self-confident and generally I know I am WAY harder on myself than I am on others – especially those I care about. Couple that with being very self-deprecating, brushing off praise with self-put-downs, and it can be a hard habit to break.

Step 1 – accept the compliment. No “it was nothing”; no “I could have done better”; just “thank you.”

Step 2 – start a compliments file. Last year I did this in my journal (for like 2 days or something). This year I am going to try and keep it on my phone – so if someone sends a text or message or posts something on my fb or ig I will screen shot it and save it in an album.

Step 3 – review the file – pretend you actually believe the kind things your friends / co-workers / random strangers / family say. Pretend you said “good job” to yourself. Eventually you’ll be able to say it and mean it!

You're the best
found on dribbble by Katie Daugherty

Next up is thinking about your values. I know this is hard…

Categories
Health

Emotional Decluttering

mindfulness day 2 part 1

…la di dah we’re just gonna waltz on in here like it hasn’t been a month since my last post and a month and a half since my last mindfulness post…

There are a couple of activities on “day 2” and there’s no way I can do even one of them in a day so there are gonna be at least 2 “day 2 v.2” posts. I guess I should re-name this one day 2a v.2? Or maybe day 2 v.2a… Or just day 2 part 1 – y’all know it’s not the stuff from 2021. …anyway, back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Everyone knows what physical clutter is right? The stuff hanging around that really serves no purpose except for getting in your way, or making you feel guilty, or worry about unnecessarily. Well, it turns out emotional clutter is pretty similar.

That tchotchke isn’t inherently bad – it only becomes clutter if there are too many and they overwhelm you and don’t serve their intended purpose anymore (i.e. reminding you fondly of someone or some place). Negative thoughts and emotions are also not bad – fight or flight is a survival tactic. BUT most people don’t need survival tactics every damn day.

Feeling guilty about something is the same – you can use the feeling to see how to change and grow OR it can cause you to seize up and freeze and never evolve.

My “emotional decluttering” focus is definitely centred on guilt. It’s so easy for me to absorb any and all blame. My train of thought recently, as an example:

“We’re in a pandemic and we were going to go visit the family in BC but another pandemic wave hit and so we can’t go and it’s my fault I never thought we should move to be closer to the BC family.”

Seriously.

So this is my focus: Forget the mistake and learn the lesson. Don’t hold on to regret and guilt.

Toby took this awesome picture during a visit to Balmy Beach.

I got tested on this too soon though. I offended someone last week. I was trying to process something about how I felt after an online conversation and I forgot the cardinal rule that really there is no nuance online and while the second conversation would have probably happened very differently if it was in person, I made a mistake. I didn’t think through what I was saying before I said it and I completely missed an obvious interpretation.

I’ve given myself a couple of days to wallow and while I wish I had done it differently, I cannot go back and change it. I’ll consider a bit more about what I can learn from this and how to avoid – or at least minimize the chances of it – it in the future.

as an aside – I am going to try and make time for this. It’s important to me even if it isn’t (and probably because it isn’t) easy. So my calendar says I have to post something about this every Tuesday from now on… *fingers crossed*

Categories
Health

Positive Affirmations

mindfulness day 1 v.2

In August I wrote: “Back in February, a friend who recognized how hard COVID and the pandemic was hitting me invited me to a FB group to focus on self-love and mindfulness and care for a month. I couldn’t do it then – I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have the focus, I don’t know what. But I’m going to try it again now. 28 days.”

Narrator (sounding a lot like Morgan Freeman): Reader, that did not happen.

And here I am again. But here is better than not here and so away I go.

Definition of affirmation

1a : the act of affirming // nodded his head in affirmation

b : something affirmed: a positive assertion // His memoir is a reflective affirmation of family love.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affirmation

Day 1’s work is to ask “what positive affirmations do I need to say to myself this month?”. The important thing I think that I have recognized is that I often repeat a whole lot of negative affirmations to myself – I’m lazy, I’m can’t figure this out, I’m fat, I’m slow – and so I think this time I see that positive affirmations aren’t just a load of candy-floss / silver lining thinking.

Instead, I’m looking at positive affirmations as a way to disrupt negative thoughts that arise. I came up with a few back in August but I thought I would spend a day or two and think about them again now, what I need to hear now:

I make mistakes because I am trying to learn new things and grow.

I am who I need to be

Be water, my friendstolen from Bruce Lee

I am here now

Thoughts?

Categories
Health

Catching up on mindfulness

I went back and read my three posts from … ahem … August. Seriously, why is it so freaking hard for me to focus on myself, on what I think, on what I feel? I mean, it’s literally one place where no one can tell me that I’m wrong.

Except of course they can. Putting it out there – even to myself – means that someone can say “why do you value X, B is so much more important?!” Why can some things make me happy and joyful when there are other things that make me sad and lonely? ARGH…

All that to say I’m going to try and pick this up where I left it off.

In August I drafted some positive affirmations and committed to maintaining a compliments list. I also listed off my values. So I’m gonna start there. Look them all over again and keep moving forward.

Word of the Year

I’m not even sure where this one started. I mean, Merriam-Webster announced its 2021 word of the year was vaccine. Dictionary.com said its was allyship. Oxford Languages picked vax. But that’s not quite what I mean.

Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I had the idea that it was a mindfulness hack to come up with a “word of the year.” Something to focus on and use to help steer you through the coming days. So I let that idea percolate a little and then recently I woke up with a word in my brain.

Go with the flow; water flows; to circulate; a continuous change; to rise; to abound; a flow state; just let it flow; music flows; seasons flow; the wind flows; time flows;

Now I’ll just go with the flow and see where it takes me in 2022.