Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reverb 10 Catch Up - Take Two

I'm back at it, catching up on my goal of doing these writing exercises using the motto, "Better late than never'.  For more details about it check out Reverb 10

I'm just catching my breath as I've spent a very active 3 hours with a 4-year-old boy and his 7-year-old brother.  I'm playing babysitter tonight.  We ate dinner, caught up on all the news from school, played Snakes and Ladders, played Tumbling Monkeys, played jump on Tara's head for a while, played paper airplanes, and played 'admire my drawing', and 'can you tell what it is'?  (My 7-year-old pal's drawing are a little easier to decipher).  We also read two rather long stories, did jammies, and I had the pleasure of helping the 4-year-old clean up after two massive bowel movements, which occurred moments after his momma left.  It was pretty funny, as he is quite independent, but would call out to me to let me know how it was going, and when I was needed in the loo as clean up crew.  Ah, the joys of parenting. 

Being with kids is a perfect opportunity to be fully in the present moment.  I got on the floor, got in the game, and really enjoyed hanging out with them.  But now, it is also quite nice to relax.  You realize how full on parenting must be when you are never alone and there is never silence while your kids are awake.  I don't know how people can do it and work.  I guess I have to take my hat off to the vast majority of the human population :)  They're down for the count and I'm here until at least midnight so let's catch up, shall we?

Okay, on with the prompts:

"December 11 – 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)."

Oh my, let's see... 1. I do not need diet pop.  I took it back up (moderately) after starting my new job.  2. I do not need to buy junky food because I was too lazy to pack my lunch. 3. I don't need to feel crappy about things.  4. I don't need to 'never' shop again, but I do need to pay attention and set my 2011 ground rules. 5. I don't need to stay up so late. 7. I don't need to ignore my own health. 8. I don't need to work quite so hard or much.  9. I don't need to be so disorganized. 10. I don't need to feel like I don't belong. 11. I don't need to be so busy.

How will I go about eliminating these things?
  • I will stop buying diet pop, which will make it much harder to drink it.
  • I will start packing my lunch every day, unless I have a lunch date with friends.
  • I will use my burgeoning mindfulness skills to go a bit easier on myself and not try to fix, change, and solve everything, and to be more comfortable with grey areas.
  • I will shop in 2011 - in January only, and with a list I am working on  completing - stay tuned for breaking details as they evolve!  The rest of the year I am not buying new things, with the exceptions that I will list in my up and coming 'ground rules' for 2011.
  • I will be using my brother-in-law's new favour exchange network to work on sharing favours with the people in my life.  It's a great way to build community, connect, and be less wasteful.  It's called IcancanU.  You can click on that link if you want to see more.  If you decide to join and want to join my group, "Tara's Toronto Area Friends", let me know.  Some favours are easiest to do locally!  But sometimes favours can happen 'electronically' so don't be shy to befriend me, even if you are not in Toronto. I think their idea of us all 'getting a little help from our friends' is very well suited to the spirit of this blog and my goals and projects for this year and the next.  I'll write more about IcancanU in the future. 
  • I will assign myself a bedtime of 11:00pm.  Ha!  Let's make it 11:30pm.
  • I will get a physical, walk to work more than once a week, and eat my fruits and veggies.
  • I will semi-retire in the fall of 2011, by going down to one job.  My 'retirement' goal is my 7 year anniversary date, September 17, 2011.
  • I will find some chilling time at home, not just where I have to be doing chores, etc.
  • I will do a fresh round of Clutter Busting (see the man who wrote the book on it).  In fact, I may just re-read that book to inspire me.  This might be a good fit with New Year's out with the old, clean sweep, smudging etc, etc.  Get the old chi flowing through our space.  
  • I will work on a better system of keeping up with documentation, tasks, messages at work.  I'll ask the most organized people I know how they do it.
  • I will remind myself that I have earned the right to belong in the various settings I find myself and that I am just as okay as the next person.  This is only something I'll need to do during those average human moments of self doubt and questioning, not on a minute-by-minute basis. 
  • I'll keep my blog in 2011.  It's been a great tool to share, reflect, gather my thoughts, have fun, and check out other people's ideas too.
worky things will help me use my network and community more.  To mix and mingle and socialize more.  To gather together more in various ways.

Okay, onwards to....

"December 12 – Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)"

Well, this is a bit of a toughie.  Mindfulness is helping me remember I even have a body.  Much of the time I ignore it except for when it rears its ugly head in some kind of protest.  I think that an integration moment occurred when I was doing the 60K walk for women's cancers.  BEFORE the real pain kicked in, maybe a couple of hours in, from hour 2 to hour 5 or so.  There had been enough walking to get a rhythm and cadence going.  Flow was being experienced.  Interesting conversations were happening as my body was doing this lovely, strong, repetitive movement that is walking.  It felt very good to be alive and moving and using all my parts.

Onwards to...

"December 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)"

Some of my action steps, I've listed above with the bullet points for how I will eliminate things I don't need.  Some of my action steps I've discussed in previous posts - when I think about paying down debt and engaging in 'non-passive leisure'.  It's not much of an action step to veg out in front of the TV, but some of the other leisure things I love can feel like work to get organized.  I know that I end up feeling energized when I push myself to do them, but getting there is the hard part.  You all know the drill - it's the end of a long day.  Should I go for a long walk and cook a healthy meal, or eat chips out of the bag while watching 7 episodes of Dexter? I am committed to being at least as active as I am inactive, and to not depleting myself so much at work(s) that my own life doesn't have the steam for action.  I've already plotted out some money goals for coming months including pedestrian ones like paying down debt, and keeping a roof over our heads, as well as fun ones like helping my wife fund raise to perform in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 and saving for my cottage in Newfoundland.

Onwards to...

"December 14 – Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)"

Well, that is hard to narrow down to one thing.  I'll brainstorm here:
  • The 41 years I got with 3 grandparents.  I miss my Grandfather saying "God Bless you" every time we spoke.  I really don't hear it much in my life anymore, and it was such a sweet greeting and farewell when we spoke or met.
  • Being stronger than I expected myself to be.
  • Having made a big change in my working life and having it pay off in terms of me learning a lot, and liking it a lot.  I was quite nervous about this one year experiment of changing jobs.  While the pace is a bit much, I feel like I am more or less rising to the occasion and that I hit the ground running.  Thought you might like a couple of nice cliches to help you visualize how it's been going for me at the new job. 
  • My opportunity to study and practice mindfulness at work.  To be a learner and participant has been so helpful in my personal and work life.  I am very appreciative of that, and my friend Anya, who is teaching me.
  • That I am well loved.  That is very lucky. 
  • That I can get enthusiastic about things and nerd out on things is a good sign.
  • And of course, I appreciate that there are people who are actually joining me to check all this stuff out about this year (and as it draws to an end, it's not just about this year, life keeps on going beyond Dec. 31st) and beyond.
Onwards to...
"December 15 – 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)"

I think I'm going to steal a page from Christine and do it with photos.  But I'm out of the house babysitting, so I can't really do this one now.  I'm going to cheat it a little and put a pin in this one.  I'll set the timer at home, where I can access my real photos and do it justice.  I'll time travel back to this moment asap in another post.  Shhhh.  Don't tell...

So onwards to...

"December 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)"

I have lots of friends.  Sounds like I'm bragging.  But what I'm trying to say is, that picking one feels like trying to select a maid of honour, or something.  That would be my twin.  And my most essential friend, she is certainly.  But, I'm going to select a newer friend for this writing prompt.  My friend, Shannon.  She is an artist and by treating me like her equal brought me a lot of confidence and pleasure.  We are colleagues and friends and can enjoy things like creative writing, as well as leading groups together.  She and I have many differences, yet see eye to eye in so many ways. I think just having a new friend who seeks my counsel, wants genuinely to hear what's going on with me, and actually makes art specifically as a present for me has made me feel appreciated and important and interesting in a novel way.  At this age, it sounds silly, but you don't bond the same way with the same quantity of people as you get older.  You get pickier, too busy, and too lazy and too set in your ways.  Going beyond those limitations demonstrates that there is always something new to be discovered and enjoyed in life and in friendship.

I've learned things from other friends too.  Like Anne, who is retiring due to health issues and has taught me that life is shorter than we know and that people have many facets.  She also taught me something about attitude.  She said, 'I used to always be so angry.  But I'm not so much anymore.'  My friend Renee taught me about how good it feels to be around someone who is positive, supportive, and does not complain, criticize, or gossip.  I fall woefully short on these goals regularly.  (I keep having to rotate that bloody 'complaint free world' bracelet, but I'm still wearing it).  Being around Renee also reminded me how rare those qualities are in a person, and how while I may never achieve full 'fidelity to the model', they are worth setting my sights for.  My twin friendship teaches me that having a best friend means never being bored of some one's company and being able to enjoy the simple things with ease.

I feel like I've blogged me arse off tonight.  Pardon the colourful language, but hopefully, I've caught up on most of what needed catching.  I'll look forward to continuing to count down and wrap up this year.



Tena Laing said...

I appreciated your commitment to honouring your commitment to Reverb10 prompts. Have really enjoyed reading them, and a major silver lining to my canceled England trip is Twin Time at Christmas! xo

No New is Good News said...

Thanks! Just the kick in the pants I need to continue catching up :) I hope to get some time a la laptop tonight to carry on with it!