Showing posts from November, 2017

It's about time

HURRY UP  PLEASE ITS TIME (The Wasteland, T. S. Eliot).
It's the time of year when you can feel the clock ticking right down to the bone. The end of the year. A time for preparations (for the holidays, for the new year) and accounting (for whatever needs to be done before the year ends). A time for hurrying.
I am feeling the pressure more than I usually do, because my work schedule is unusual this year and I won't get the time for reflection and connection that I value in December. If I am to reflect and connect, I will have to do it on purpose, with plans and perhaps with less sleep than I would like. Hurry up, please.
By the time we realize that things are changing, they are often changed. Relationships, habits, and situations are always shifting, and often they do it just outside of awareness. As the year ends, we look around  and do the math. When was the last time you saw that friend? How does your progress compare to people who aren't around you now? Are you getting…

You have to practice if you want to go in the deep end

I'm beginning to feel like this sign is everywhere.  This week, a marketing expert I respect wrote that people want smaller and smaller chunks of information. To provide value today, package your stuff in little boxes. 
I started out studying poetry, where a few words can be used to tempt someone to dig deep for meaning. Sometimes small packages open up in the reading. 
I even like teaching people to notice and explore the surface. At the beach, skimming along the surface can be fast and fun.
But remember when you were a kid at the pool? It was a big deal to swim well enough to be allowed in the deep end. You only got there by working and risking. You could only brave the heights of the diving board when you were capable of navigating the depths of the water.
When you want to be one of the big kids, you have to break through the surface and explore the air above it and the waters below.

How do you play a waiting game?

When we had small children and busy schedules, my husband would say "cherish dull moments."

But moments can stretch and become uncomfortably long. I teach in a system that has been on strike for about 5 weeks. The end may or may not be in sight, and even if it is, the results of the waiting are unpredictable. For me, it is not a matter of life or death, but it does impact my ability to plan for my business and my life. I don't know if I'll get paid again or when. I don't know how I will manage a too-heavy schedule with few breaks. I don't know when I will decide it's time to make a change, since life is risky either way.
Does this sound familiar? On any given day, many of the people you encounter are playing a waiting game for something not quite predictable and possibly unpleasant. While I've been waiting out the strike, I've been observing the way waiting influences my states and choices. Here are three things I have been doing to stay focused …

Pick five words that describe the way you want to experience your life

The people who study emotions tell us that there are six basic emotions: joy, surprise, fear, anger, sadness and disgust.  If you believe them, then most of your emotions are unpleasant.  This is how people have written about emotions for hundreds of years: as if they pull us down into the mud. The better way to live, the reasoning went, was like Spock in Star Trek. All decisions would be made better by reason alone.

Now we know that people with no access to emotions have a hard time making any decisions at all. It turns out that emotions are a complex signalling system that allow us to know very quickly that our brains have recognized a pattern that might help us or harm us. You can see how all those negative emotions might be useful in this way: they are an early warning system that might allow us to avoid danger, or at least to recognize it when it's all around us.

This is important if you believe that the goal of the human being is to persist, to stay alive. It's certainly…