Feb 26, 2011

how to find your true calling (list 8 of 52)

My mom regularly sends me a box of old magazines that have piled up around her house. I guess it's her way of recycling? One of the magazines I get too many copies of to keep up with is O. One of this issues is all about "finding your true calling". In it, frequent contributor and life coach Martha Beck provides a 4-Step Plan to Get Your Life on Track and figure out what it is you're meant to do with yourself.

Steps to figuring your life out. A list. (This counts right?)

Step 1. Stop making excuses. I'm too busy, there's too many choices, what if I miss something? Man up.
Step 2. Stop thinking logically. What? Go do what you love and keep track of what those instincts mean to you but don't let your rational mind guide what you're naturally drawn to. Beck quotes Jonathan Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis in explaining that "it is only because our emotional brains work so well that our reasoning can work at all."
Step 3. Discover your bliss. Beck equates your instincts to your "inner animal" and she advises following its tracks to get a lead on something. "Make a list of every time you remember being utterly, happily absorbed in an activity, no matter how odd."
Step 4. Develop it. Experiment. With respect to tracking your instincts, try and predict them. Try an activity that may be a little different from what you're used to, but you think will still foster the same bliss. This will help you determine what it is about those activities specifically that you're drawn to like a lion to a herd of antelope. Or something like that.
Step 5. Rinse, Repeat until ou find a track that leads you somewhere. Just keep returning to your list and following new paths until you get somewhere where the track stays hot! Beck suggests finding a common theme and gives examples of clients who followed the obvious paths but it turned out that it wasn't that they wanted to be in politics, but rather that they were drawn more to teamwork and facilitating groups which lead them to event planning. Voilà.
Step 6. Answer the call of your bliss and follow your instincts through the wildness of your fear wherever they lead.

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Feb 18, 2011

gifts I've loved (list 7 of 52)

Memorable gifts I've received: a miscellany

Bear with me here as most of my childhood had been blocked out due to traumatic photos like this one. No, I did not used to be a boy, I just thought I was apparently.
  • "Flexible Flyer" hobby horse. Christmas, 1990. It was like being in a supermarket parking lot, all the time!
  • Plastic dollar store alligator. 1990. This was probably my favorite of anything I've ever owned, and the cheapest. I carried it around EVERYWHERE until our dog got a hold of it and it met its sad fate.
  • Lite-Brite. 1992. I could sit in front of that thing for hours. That fact is probably still true.
  • Girl Talk: a Game of Truth or Dare. 1997? The video is just as exciting as when I tried to make my older boy cousins play with me. Reason #24 why being an only child is awkward.
  • A box of inside jokes. 2001. I've known my BFF since we were 2. You can imagine the amount of weird inside jokes that rack up in that amount of time. She filled a box with orange soda, boat flags, trash, you know, standard stuff. It was the most original, hilarious, and personal gift ever.
  • One of Justin's first poetry notebooks. 2006. Filled with scratched out versions and first drafts. Fabulous.
  • Watercolored sign/decoration thing. 2007. My friend took a painting class, the result, a crazy awesome sign with my nickname and tree bits. I know it sounds weird, but it was sweet, he spent the whole time working on this to surprise me with it.
  • Giant OCR3w road bike. 2008. A gift to myself for saving money from crappy college jobs. That counts right? I love this beast.
  • Chanel pearls. 2010. A dream come true. Shallow, I'm aware.
  • Any gift from my mister. The wrapping is so exciting most of the time it doesn't even matter what's inside.
What ever happened to that voice that seems to be in every 90s commercial? Seriously.

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Feb 16, 2011


You know those people that can get up every day at the same time, somehow squeeze in a run and a full breakfast before heading off to work and then have some down time to macramé or what have you before making dinner? Well I'm not one of those people.
But for some reason I'd like to be. The idea of a routine is attractive to me. I don't know if it's the efficiency of it or what, but I'd like to be able to have something consistent and stable. The problem I think is that I'd also like to still feel awake after 8 and have time for spontaneity too, I am still in the young and irresponsible age bracket right?
My resolutions and goals often revolve around some kind of attempt at a routine, which would explain why they're so short lived. When I was in school I tried to meditate every morning for 30 minutes. That all went smoothly until about a week in when I woke up late for class after a late night. And unless you've been doing something for long enough to make it automatic, it's hard to get back into a rhythm once you've messed it up.

In another attempt at this, maybe to make myself focus and calm for at least 15 minutes every day, I stared Yoga Journal's 21-Day Challenge. It's 21 days of different sequences to help you create a daily home practice. Each video has a recipe and daily challenge to go with it. I'm also reading the book Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates as I go along, and hopefully that will keep me going past the 21 videos. Today is day 9 and everything - the practice, the passage in the book, and the challenge tip - all seemed to fit so perfectly with this goal of mine to use this as a small step toward some kind of routine.

The practice was a gentle morning practice meant to energize you (Which, on a side note, is something else I like about this, it makes me do things I don't normally do often, like a gentle practice). It was introduced with respect to Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, which is something else I'm always trying to learn more about. The description offered that developing morning self-care rituals is one of the best things to do to ensure good health:
"In fact, the actions you take upon rising will set the tone for the rest of your day. Try adopting one or more of the following Ayurvedic exercises into your waking routine: 
  • Wake an hour before sunrise to benefit from the special vata energy that permeates the atmosphere.
  • Upon waking, drink a tall glass of lukewarm water with fresh lemon, to gently rouse your digestion.
  • Splash your face and eyes with cool water to disperse heat, or pitta energy, that builds at night.
  • Use a tongue scraper to remove toxins and to awaken the digestive fire.
  • Give yourself a gentle ear massage to awaken meridian points all along the ear."
The challenge also suggested that once you got moving, it was much more difficult to skip out on your daily practice, which I've found to be very true. And finally, day 9 in Gates' book is about Abhyasa, practice. The author says it "refers not only to yogic practice but also to the attitude with which a practice is approached...It is the dedicated, unswerving application of what you believe in..It is an energy that builds in our lives as we use it. And it will be there for us in hard times if we cultivate it in good times." For that reason I hope to be able to keep finding time for either a daily morning or evening practice no matter what is happening, to take advantage of the in-between times to cultivate my practice and my awareness, and maybe someday I'll be able to fit a run in.

Do you have any routines?

Feb 11, 2011

things to do next week (list 6 of 52)

A to do list, how creative:

  1. Make headbands - special orders and then some
  2. Finish crocheted pillow cover
  3. Turn in yoga resume
  4. Quit my stinkin job
  5. Make homemade pop-tarts
  6. Eat at a new restaurant
I'm going to leave it at that. Another exercise. I have a tendency to create over-ambitious goals and to-do lists that never get met. So here's a stab at learning to have a concept of time, and at actually feeling like I'm getting something done!

Feb 10, 2011

wall space


Watching this creative process is so incredible. The scale and precision of everything. Inspiring. Of course they're French. Oh and then the music is pretty great too.

Feb 4, 2011

things I like to make - the kitchen edition (list 5 of 52)

Messes I like to make in the kitchen:
  • Apple butter
  • My super secret vegan sloppy joes
  • Crumbly tasty eggless cookies like polvorones (and most anything from Smitten Kitchen)
  • Dough. Pizza, pie, dough!
  • Pizza. With pepperoni and mushrooms and spicy sauce or with garlic and broccoli and olives mmmm
  • Cupcakes. More the creative flavors and decorating than anything else
  • Anybody's favorite, for their birthday or something special. That's the best.

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