Simplifying = getting sh*t done

20151130_124530Simplifying is not for nothing, folks.

Simplifying means getting sh*t done.

It means you have more time and space and freedom to spend on what is important to you.

Whether you simplify your diet, your routine, your home or your schedule, you will reap the rewards.

And here is my favorite reward:

Creative projects coming to fruition! 

I am in the process of editing my book. I love this part. It is a lot of work, but I get to apply my love for organizing to the whole process.  I printed out a hard copy because I find it easier to edit this way. I can spread chapters out across my table, move things around, write notes in red ink and feel the weight of my project, literally. All the pages I see represent not only what I’ve gotten done, but all the things I chose to let go of in order to focus on this.

I’ve made the decision that I will get this book ready for publication, no matter what it takes. That is a good feeling. Not having it out in the world is simply not an option for me. I will spend any amount of time and effort that is required. End of story.

 

Goal Setting Simplified

20150425_154128 I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the years’. -Henry Moore

Goal setting needn’t wait for the New Year. I think that any worthwhile goal requires specific daily habits. If we set a big goal, such as losing twenty pounds, or finishing a novel, isn’t it really a matter of taking the right steps nearly every day that will get us there? Why wait for tomorrow?

Smaller goals, like cleaning out a closet, can be done in one fell swoop. Cleaning out a house may take a whole week. But keeping a house decluttered, requires the daily habit of not bringing excess crap into it. And putting things away.

But anyhow, this post isn’t about cleaning up a home, but rather about setting goals in general.  I’ve included a method that I am using, but I think everyone should find and use what works for them. Or don’t set goals at all, because there’s an argument for that too!

Since I was preparing  for National Novel Writing Month, which I wrote about in my previous post, I decided to write down my writing goals and all  my other goals. Mostly, these are daily habits,  in three big areas of life, that I think serve me well.

I typed them up (and added details for this blog post), saved this in a “goal file”, and will print it out every month. Each month will have a space at the bottom for any additional goals specific to that month; those add excitement to the month. For example, in November I am participating in NaNoWriMo and a Moth Story Slam.

Most goals though, will remain constant every single month, and every single week, and for many of them, every single day. That is what is so simple about it.

Writing things down adds power and accountability. I love to write, so this method is very helpful for me.  Here are my goals below, in one document, to be reprinted by me every month, and tucked into my agenda, where I can keep track. I’ve added some detail after each goal, just for the purpose of this blog post. Obviously, my copies will not include the explanations, just the boldfaced goals.

Writing:

Write morning pages/journal (daily) I’ve been doing this for several years now, ever since I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. This one is automatic for me, before I even get out of bed.

Work on book (minimum 5x per week) Sometimes this means half an hour, if there is something else significant going on that day. But most days, there is no reason not to write for much longer. Finishing my book is by far my biggest writing goal, and in order to reach it I need the daily goal of working on it- a lot. Taking weekends off is allowed, except for NaNoWriMo month (November), which is a seven-days-a-week event.

Blog posts (minimum monthly) As I stated in a previous post, I will start posting less frequently than I have been, in order to move forward more quickly w/ my book project. But I still plan to post monthly, as a minimum.

Health:

Exercise (6x per week) This is already standard for me. But in preparation for the upcoming winter season, I joined a gym. I recall finding it difficult to get enough cardio in last winter. Who wants to go out and walk or jog when it’s 10 degrees out? Or too dangerous due to the snow covered sidewalks? Not this gal. I never thought I’d become a gym rat, but my gym offers cardio, plus classes that include weights, and yoga! On the nice days, I am still out walking or jogging, but I love having the variety of classes at the gym to go to when it’s rainy or cold.

Drink 60 oz. water (daily) This one is old habit for me. A simple rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half, and drink that much water in ounces. I have a 30 ounce water bottle that I fill in the morning.  One water bottle, filled twice a day. 60 ounces. Bam.

Abstain from dessert (daily) This one is still difficult. To make it easier, I keep stevia in the house for the occasional baking (instead of using sugar.) But for special occasions, like my husband’s birthday, I bake the real deal. He currently has four of his homemade cupcakes left, stored in the freezer. I bet he forgot they are even there, because he only craves sweets like a normal person-moderately. I, on the other hand, think about those four cupcakes every hour. I wish he would just eat them already. I also don’t understand how freezing them is equated with “storing them for later”, since frozen cupcakes are awesome.

Since my sugar cravings have not simply gone away, I take probiotics daily(PB8). These help balance the bacteria in the gut, lessening the cravings (as well as aiding in a healthier gut which has all kinds of health benefits). After a bit of research, I have the visual in my head of nasty, yeasty bacteria overtaking my gut, causing sugar cravings. This has been enough to keep me motivated in my quest to become a normal-dessert-craving person, instead of the addict I had become.

Minimal simple carbs (daily) Simple carbs sap me of energy and when my energy wains, I am less productive. Besides, there are great health benefits to minimizing simple carb intake. I am not rigid about this one, but I try to be mindful. I eat less bread these days, I buy gluten-free pasta, and on the rare occasions that I bake, I usually use gluten-free flour. (My daughter, who has hard time tolerating gluten, simply grinds oats in her Ninja blender for easy and economical gluten-free flour).

Limit alcohol consumption to (2x per week maximum) I started off trying 1x per week, but I found this a little too rigid. Often, a glass or two of wine one night is enough, but other weeks the occasion comes around twice in a week. For instance, a gourmet meal at home that begs to be served with a glass of red wine, and a dinner out for a special occasion that also calls for a drink. But without the twice-weekly limit, I might simply start replacing my desserts with wine, which also satisfies a sweet craving. Then where would I be? Alcohol is toxic and since our bodies don’t know how to digest it, they store it as fat. So as someone with a wicked sweet tooth, I decided that if I don’t limit my intake of wine, I could eventually end up a fat alcoholic. And all the probiotics in the world couldn’t save me from that.

Spiritual:

Meditation or yoga (4x per week) I put or yoga here, because if my exercise consists of yoga that day, then I count that as meditation, since yoga is basically meditation-in-motion. Both have profound effects on well being. It clears my head and puts me in the present moment like nothing else can. It makes it easier to keep all the other good habits. Yoga and meditation keep good things flowing into my day and my life.

Follow the Four Agreements (daily) I blogged about this in more detail here: https://musingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/the-four-agreements/

Following the Four Agreements is probably my most worthwhile goal of all, and the one I need to work the hardest at. When I review them, I can almost always think of instances where I’ve failed at following them.

#1 Be impeccable w/ your word I can easily recall times when I should have spoken my truth and didn’t. And other times when I should have kept my mouth shut and spoke.

#2 Don’t take anything personally I think I’m okay with this one. I am pretty good at understanding that we all come with our own experiences and lenses and preferences, and I don’t take others’ opinions or actions too personally. Mostly.

#3 Don’t make assumptions I catch myself making assumptions more often than I’d like to admit. I think I know what someone is thinking or I imagine something to be a certain way until I ask or check the facts. I think I am pretty good at seeking out the truth on the big matters, or being correct on my instinct, but on smaller things I often jump to conclusions. And the smaller things matter too.

#4 Always do your best A day in which I have done my best, which typically means following all of the goals I have listed in this post, is a great day. I feel accomplished, fulfilled, and light. And a day when I have fallen short is not as good. A day that I have failed miserably in many areas, feels like I suck at life. So obviously, doing my best is a hugely worthwhile agreement to follow.

And this is why I have typed out my goals to refer to daily, as an aid to keep myself on track for a life feels on purpose.  Having long term goals is great too, but it’s reaching the smaller, daily goals that get us there.  Having them in ink is the tool that helps me do my best.  (Also, I am obsessed with writing things down).

         Notes/Additions for this month: (November)

*Practice for Moth Story Slam thru Nov 3

*Increase time spent on book to  daily  (National Novel Writing Month).Exception: Thanksgiving Day & the day before for preparations.

National Novel Writing Month is my favorite holiday

I know National Novel Writing Month is not really a holiday, but in a way it’s even better than one.

Many writers use National Novel Writing Month to draft a new novel, but there are no enforced rules, except to sit and write, every day of the month if possible, at the rate of about 1,660 words per day. Some writers, myself included, are partaking in order to get closer to the end of their already-in -progress work.

November is magical.  While all the hoopla is gaining momentum for the real holidays, writers everywhere are preparing for NaNoWriMo. Participating in it feels like an act of self-love. I will not abandon my writing goals in order to bow to the holiday gods; they cannot take me until I am good and ready. And that means after I have thrown myself deep and long into November’s writing abyss.

I just cannot resist the spirit of NaNoWriMo, so I am jumping in once again. NaNoWriMo is an every day kind of thing.   Every day, for a solid month, I will be moving forward faster than I would be if I weren’t  participating.

This annual event gives me permission -not only permission- but support and encouragement- even pressure – to live my passion, above all else, for a solid month. Who doesn’t love that?

This starts in four days. Four days. My heart is fluttering, for real. No matter that I have the daunting task of editing and rewriting huge chunks of work ahead. It is still as if the Muse herself is knocking at my door, telling me it’s time.

The spirit of National Novel Writing Month gives me that feeling of I get to write. And at the end of every day comes the fulfillment of having written. It is a fabulous excuse to squeeze the rest of life around my writing, instead of the other way around. And that is how books get written.

Four more days to get everything in order so I can disappear into that magical writing abyss.  I can hardly wait for my  favorite “holiday”. I will see you on the other side of November.

http://nanowrimo.org/about

Making Room

small_4355223864It seemed that as I made the decision to spend more time working on my book and less time with other things, including blogging and writing essays, I was tested. I had a flood of blog post ideas, a request to write for Mamalode appeared in my inbox as well as an invitation to speak at a conference in the spring.

What should I do? Keep my goal very simplified, nose to the grindstone until I finish the book and ignore anything else that comes my way, including many of my other writing impulses?  Or say yes?

As luck would have it, I happen to be following the career of Mel Robbins. She is currently my mentor, though she doesn’t exactly know it. I think a mentor has to be someone who is not so unlike you that can’t relate, but who has much more of what you are aspiring to. As a CNN commentator and legal analyst our career paths differ hugely.

But she is also an author and a speaker and she loves motivating others with her words. She is happily married, has three children, and lives in the Boston area (me too!) She loves clothes and Martha Beck (so do I!) And I’ll bet she’s organized.

She has a no BS approach to getting what she wants and to helping others get what they want. And in addition to her great practical approach, she has a strong belief in the power of intuition, as I do. Career-wise, she is leaps and bounds ahead of me. But I can relate to her.

Mentor? I guess you could say she is my girl crush. I read her book and watched all of her videos on You Tube. I wanted to hear what she has to say. During one of her interview videos she spoke of saying Yes to all invitations during the first year of her speaking and writing career. She mentioned how one opportunity led to the next and so on, and that saying Yes was what really moved her forward. She advised against either-or- thinking in the face of opportunities and goals. Often, we can do this and that.

So I said Yes to writing for Mamalode (I get to choose how often) and Yes to the speaking invitation (it’s not until spring after all, and will only take up one day). I am saying Yes to my blog post ideas when they come to me (like this one) instead of putting them off until the ideas fade. I can do these things and consistently work on my book.

But only if I keep saying No to other things. I have to stay vigilant of all the ways clutter can sneak in- to my head, my home and my days. Simplifying is a must for me, in order to avoid overwhelm and to keep moving forward.

To refresh my resolve to keep my life uncluttered of things that don’t matter much to me, I watched several videos on minimalism. There are so many out there, and like a junkie, I could have watched them all night.

The Marie Kondo method of decluttering.

Peter Walsch, the professional organizer, writer and media personality.

There are even very young people on YouTube, speaking about how much happier they became when they went from being recreational shoppers and accumulators, to minimalists.

Matthew Williams of LifeEdited has some really cool stuff for city dwellers: http://www.lifeedited.com/about/

Minimizing beauty products, kitchens, closets; the possibilities go on and on. There are videos of encouragement and suggestions for every area of life. But alas, as much as I enjoy them and find them inspiring, I could not watch them all. At a certain point, watching more would be wasting too much time, something that simplifying is supposed to help us avoid. So I stopped when I found a favorite and I am posting it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-nMDzccJwc

Andrew Mellen is a professional organizer in New York City. His words resonate with me. I love what he has to say about simplifying, and I think you will too. He leaves a lot of room for personal preferences and values, and the guy makes sense for everyone in my opinion. Although his video is forty-four minutes long, you can get his whole message in the first twenty. The second part is just a question-and-answer session with his audience.

One of my favorite points that he makes is this: If you are embarking on a new path of simplifying or getting organized, you do not have to fit that in your schedule on top of everything else you already do. You simply need to stop doing the things you don’t want or need to do in order to make room for the task of organizing. Here is the link again. I hope you enjoy it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-nMDzccJwc

Whether our goal is to get organized or to change careers or write a book or cook more meals or anything at all that we find worthwhile, we first have to let go of all that is not serving us. We have to make room.

When I feel stuck or overwhelmed, I ask myself, what do I need to let go of? Usually it comes to me, and often it’s obvious. I am forever a student on this path.

So I emailed Mel Robbins, commenting on her work and asking her a question about mine. She responded with great enthusiasm, gave me some good advice, and then asked if I would contribute to the research of her next book by writing my responses to ten questions she would send me.

I said Yes.

Brains and Guts: this is not a Halloween post

           A mind stretched to a new idea, can never go back to its original dimensions. –Oliver Wendell

I wrote a complete post for this blog yesterday, on the topic of mystery, more or less, and then somehow I lost it. I was exiting out of some old files and clicking “do not save” and must’ve gotten carried away because now that post is just gone. Deleted. Mystery solved.

Which makes me feel just a tiny bit sad, not so much because of the wasted effort, but because the spirit in which I wrote the post cannot be recaptured. And it brings me to this: Most ideas, if not acted upon, will disappear. We lose our motivation, our gusto for that particular path. I really liked the post when I was writing it, but I just can’t bring myself to start over with it. I no longer even like the idea.

According to Some Wise Person, if you don’t act on your impulse within five seconds, your brain will rush in to squash the idea.   Our analytical brains come up with all sorts of conceivable and practical reasons why you should not try that new thing that just a moment ago your heart was saying yes to. If you get a new idea, and don’t take action in some way, right away, then the moment is lost.

Why is that? Why does our brain immediately try to talk us out of our ideas?

Because our brains are built for safety and survival. They are built to keep things the same, predictable and stable, so we won’t die. Only we aren’t cave men and women anymore, so this does not usually serve us well in modern times. We need to venture beyond our comfort zones, and take a risk now and then. It serves us to follow the Yes -do -that impulse.

It’s that first impulse in your gut. The split second one, the one your mind overrides almost immediately. That yes or no feeling to an invitation or an idea or a question. It’s the rightful action we take when we trust our initial feelings and don’t overthink it.

My Inner Editor is a ruthless bitch. If I allowed her to run the show, I would not publish a single word. I can have the impulse of an idea, then write something with all my heart and mind and by the next day, I cannot stand to read it. It’s too new, or controversial or messy or sensitive. If I don’t hit publish, the Safety Police will sweep right in and tell me all the reasons I will absolutely die if I write the stuff that came from my gut.

Knowing the kill-an-idea-before-it-ever-leaves-the-gate tendency of the brain, I’m trying to be brave and mindful about taking more action in all areas of my life. Less pondering or procrastination and more doing.   To my relief, it does not feel reckless. It feels like getting things done. It feels like moving forward.

There is only one way to learn, the Alchemist answered. It’s through action.

*Alas, even my writing has to be simplified. I will be posting less frequently for a while so that I can move my book forward in a more timely fashion. It feels like what Paulo Coelho, author of the Alchemist, would call my Personal Legend, and the time has come to give it all of my focus.

The Art of of Self -Care

stock-photo-48674142-artist-brush-painting-picture-of-beautiful-landscapeIt has in fact occurred to me that not everyone is as passionate about simplifying as I am. Not everyone thinks that organizing a closet or an office is fun. Therefore, someone can like the idea of simplifying, but not actually ever do it. Which is perfectly fine if the idea of it is only mildly appealing anyhow.

Like so many things- exercising, losing weight, getting healthy, changing careers, creating a beloved project, giving up sugar- it is easy to like the idea of it, and quite a bit harder to do it. I suspect that to make any lasting change, we first need to fall in love with the idea of it.

We all know that doing something new, even if it’s for the best, requires bypassing that well-worn groove our old habits have created in our brain, in order to start on a new path. The new path can be steep and muddy, thick with brush, a tangle of overgrowth. We haven’t been here before, so the first hundred steps are difficult, prickly and tiring. It requires so much energy, so much of our will.

If the reason for starting down this path is not compelling enough, then who in their right mind would bother? It’s too much damn effort and life can be challenging enough without forcing ourselves to do unpleasant things on a regular basis.

If the reason for starting is not compelling enough…

The goal has to be compelling. We have to be able to envision what we want and to feel excited about the possibility. What would it look like? What would it feel like? Whatever our desire or goal is, big or small, I think that we  have to believe it will feel fantastic to reach it.

We are creatures of habit, and if we cannot imagine the rewards of something different, then that well-trodden path, the one of least resistance, will pull us back every time. Why wouldn’t it? It’s familiar, easy, and takes very little effort to travel that way. These samskaras as they are called in yoga, are deeply embedded patterns and they usually don’t change easily.

I like to think of self-care as an art. This implies that we are the artists of our own lives and have the liberty to choose our medium. Maybe simplifying does not appeal to you, but maybe something else does. (I would argue that simplifying will help you reach any goal, whatever that is, but I don’t want to be too pushy here).

I use the term self-care because I think that anything we really want that doesn’t do harm to ourselves or others is by its very nature, self-care. Greater fulfillment, a better relationship, more energy, resources, a sense of peace, a fit body, an aesthetically pleasing environment, writing a book or painting a masterpiece; getting more sleep or earning more money or having more time…..you fill in the blank… It is all self-care.

So here comes my pep talk for making your desired result more compelling:

Self-care–meeting all of your needs- does feel amazing.

It is worth it. The rewards are great.

What are they? Feeling lighter, freer, healthier and clearer, more in control of your life. Intuition is heightened, energy is increased, the right opportunities and people and ideas show up in your life.

And the momentum! One step down that new path, then another and another and it starts getting easier and then other good things get easier. For example, have you ever noticed when you work out you want to eat healthy afterwards? Or if you get rid of clutter in one room you want to go on to the next? When you get enough sleep you are clear headed and efficient, and everything goes more smoothly. One positive choice leads to the next, moving you forward. You gain traction, you notice little miracles, you put your life in order.

Momentum is awesome.

And then instead of trying to figure out how to get rid of the patterns you don’t want in your life, they are simply being replaced, or squeezed out, by the new things that you do want.

Full disclosure: Left to my own devices, or my natural temperament, I am the worst at breaking old habits and creating new ones. I have an Inner Brat who wants what she wants when she wants it (ice cream for lunch, while I sit around getting nothing done and make my blood sugar level rise? Yes please!)

I often want absolute convincing that a new pathway will be greatly rewarding before I will begin something new and good. I need research and experience and even signs from a divine source that this new way will be amazing. But the problem with this is that rewards often don’t become apparent until we’ve begun. We can’t experience it until we experience it.

I needed to know that writing and exercising nearly every day, even when I don’t feel like it, as well as mindfully choosing what I eat, and including meditation or yoga because that is what keeps my on the path-will be worth the effort.

But I couldn’t know it for sure until I did it.

And when I don’t do it, my day feels lacking, I am out-of-sorts, dissatisfied.

So if you have some desire for something new and better, whatever that is (you get to pick! ) I want to save you weeks or even years of resistance. I want to tell you that whatever it is you want, if it comes from your Better Self, your Higher Self, your Real Self, it will be so freakin’ worth it!  It can’t not be. I want to tell you that the burdensome path you may be avoiding is covered in gold, but you won’t see it until you are on it.

Self-care in every form will never let you down. Positive change is exciting and rewarding every single time, even when it starts out scary or daunting or difficult- perhaps especially when it starts out that way.

The act- the actual physical act– of beginning down that difficult new path, whatever that is, is pretty quickly rewarded. You won’t have to wait long to notice the fabulous results, and as you continue, step by step, the whole landscape comes into view, your own sweet masterpiece.

Creative Nesting

I wonder if other writers experience this nesting phenomenon, much like before a baby is born, but instead it occurs at the brink of binge writing, or giving birth to a creative project.

I spent a good four hours nesting recently. I had this desire to know what I have, to love it or leave it, and to move things around or put them away.

There’s a kind of ‘shopping at home’ where you simply move things around until you find something that you just don’t like no matter where you put it.  I like to do this before replacing something or buying something new. A wall hanging that is unappealing in one area of the house might be perfect in another spot. I switched a couple large plants around too,  and thought them perfect again.

I went through my jewelry and my linens. I swapped out our gold chandelier that I never liked for a matte nickel one that is so much more aesthetically pleasing to me. I  have this feeling of fullness, of having everything I need, not feeling especially attached to any of it, but loving all of it. That’s the sweet spot with material things, I think- to love everything you have without being too attached to any of it.

20150828_215042At the end of my nesting, I ordered one large canvas art print and gave one old framed picture away. The look of the old one was cluttered and too country for my current taste. The new painting arrived, a splash of vibrant color across a lone branch. It looks both natural and modern to me, and I love it.

A chapter out of place, or no longer relevant, I move it or let it go. I feel the labor pains of writing: the blocks and the struggle, the fear and the pushing.

The bliss!

The fullness of it, when the words match my memory. The sentences, like thoughts on canvas, now visible. Fresh words, new perspective.

A labor of love, bursting forth to completion.

Create it, love it, let it go.

I have everything I need.

The Truth About Nature

20140721_104248Ahhh the grace of nature, a balm for the soul.  Aren’t we meant to come back to this source, to immerse ourselves amongst the trees or water, the cycles of the earth?  Nature is detoxifying, pulling us into the present, into our bodies, cleansing us of the burdens of the mind.

I don’t want to leave this place, where I breath easy, write freely.

My doctor goes through his list of standard questions.

Do you sleep well?

I just answer yes. I don’t tell him I wake at 4am these days, a new habit perhaps, or biology, hormones, announcing their shift.  Sometimes worrisome thoughts trickle in at this time.

Car accidents. One wrong turn, one distracted driver, an instant. One wrong choice. Tragedies. Illness. The people I love. What are the chances no one will be harmed?

Oh the burden of love.

And the global worries, the earth, the damage, the carelessness toward that which sustains us.

Oppression.

Inequality.  Unbalance of power.

Oh the burden of caring.

And since when is this politics?

Isn’t it as simple as right versus wrong?

Evolution versus stagnation.

Nonviolence.

Love over fear.

Truth over denial.

People before money.

Feelings over things.

Heart before ego.

And then I hate myself for thinking it is that simple, for needing to convince.  And then what starts in my heart shifts to ego. I am right. You are wrong. It is this simple.

But it’s not.

The burden of caring.  It is too heavy.

I don’t know how to care without suffering.

So now, in this place of beauty and surrender, I care less. I simply will do no harm, but I vow to focus less on that which I cannot change.

I am preparing to speak, a voice for children.  I am putting notes together, but  I keep coming back to this:  just show up and speak the truth. This I can do.

Write my story.  This I can do.

Do you sleep well? 

I just answer yes.

Because I will. I will care less for that which I have no control. I will show up and speak the truth.  I will write. I will be a voice, just one voice for one issue.  That is all.

That is enough.

I breath in the sky, the massive pine trees lining the water like an artist’s brush.  I will be back here soon. I will breath easy. Write more. Sleep well.

I return to the petty thoughts, the grounding thoughts.

The dog needs more food.

Shop for curtains.

Pick up the dry cleaning.

It feels good to care less about the world. Peaceful.

To pick one thing and just do that.

To surrender all else to the earth, the sky, the air.

That’s the truth about nature.  It takes nothing from us but our burdens, real or imagined.

And it gives everything in return.

Technology issues: this isn’t what I wanted to say

I’ve been having technical difficulties and thought that if I denied them a bit longer while away, they would somehow be easier to face upon my return.

I had an entirely different blog post in mind today. An important one. One that is already written in my head, ready in its completion and clarity, to take over the page and be released from my head and heart.

But my Windows has disappeared from my laptop. Or else it has gone into hiding. It has locked me out, telling me my password, the one I’ve used for the past several years now, is incorrect.

I am told I should download Windows 10. And I will, as soon as I figure out how. Today.

In the meantime, I could use Libre, even though I don’t like it, except that my pictures aren’t there.

Also, I sent my new photos from my phone to my email. But when I go to my email, the photo aren’t there.

Apparently my phone is taking a vacation too. Or maybe it’s my email that has quit functioning normally. I’m not sure yet.

First world problems, I know.

It is like losing our health and then realizing we took it for granted. Only it’s much less important than health, just more irritating. It’s only technology. But oh how we need it now.

Technology problems feel like car problems to me. Never am I more like a damsel in distress than with cars or technology. I want to be rescued. I want it fixed and fixed now by someone who is not me.

I have no desire for anything fancy with cars or computers or phones. All I require is that they function. All I want is something that won’t fail me. Just a tool. That’s all. No more and no less.

I love technology. I hate technology. I really should just figure out what is going on and fix it. Or ask for help. But instead my heart races, really races, more than it does when I’ve simply had a bit too much caffeine.

It races so much, into my throat, that I have to lie down.

Is it the caffeine, the one cup of coffee I had this morning?

Or is it techno- stress?

My God, did I just have a panic attack over technology?

Help me. Technology has knocked me down and I don’t know how to get up.

I am getting up.

And I am facing the techno demons that are haunting me, taunting me. Maybe it will be as simple as updating and downloading. Or maybe it will gobble up half a day and all my patience and make my head spin.

But I will not be kept down. My words will not be stifled. I am a big girl. I am not a helpless girl. Not a defeated girl. And I have something else to write. Something to say.

Writing and Wild Mind

When things settled down after my last blog post https://musingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/touchstones/ I was left with the simple clarity of what’s next. I need to move forward and finish my book. This is my next stop, my touchstone.

I don’t need another article, or another open mic story win or more encouragement. I don’t need to perfect my proposal letter to literary agents or secure another speaking engagement first, or read another book on writing nor start another blog.

stock-photo-33581722-cloudy-sunset-over-field-with-sunflowersI just need to keep writing.  I could keep eeking it out, day by day, but what I know I need to do is to binge write again. That’s how I really move the book forward because I’ve entered into that space of writer’s mind. I was there last fall and I got more done in the month of November than I did in the six months that followed.

Writer Natalie Goldberg describes our unconscious, or what she calls our “Wild Mind” as a big sky. Picture a little dot in the center of that sky, she tells us, and that is what Zen call “Monkey Mind”, or what western psychology calls part of the conscious mind. Goldberg says we give almost all of our attention to that little dot, the one that says you can’t do that, shouldn’t even try, do this instead. So while Wild Mind surrounds us, like a big sky, powerful and vast, waits for us, whispers the truth to us, we get swept away from it, for days, years, a lifetime, because we are focusing only on the dot instead of what’s beyond.

Emails are answered and clutter is cleared. I am being vigilant to stay on top of all the tasks of daily living while simultaneously enjoying the last weeks of this beautiful summer.

Then I will enter Wild Mind and try my best not to emerge until I bring my book to completion.  For the most part, my compass will be toward that big sky, my mind in the wild unconscious, my words coming from my truth, uncensored and untamed.

That we have access to that is our greatest gift.

At summer’s end, just when the days are beginning to get ever slightly shorter and there’s a hint of cooler weather, of fall ahead, I will know it is time. I will invite the muse, once again, to write through me. I will do my best to divert my attention from that dot, that monkey mind, and will look to the vastness and the miracle of that wide open sky.

I will reside in Wild Mind. There, where freedom and divine assistance always accompanies, I will finish what I started.