Category Archives: creativity

Cutting back

It is not easy for me to cut back on this blog. I tried it before: taking Tuesdays and Thursdays off so I can focus on some other projects. But I enjoy writing my daily post, and it can give me an energy boost to spend 30 minutes writing in the morning before I move on to the other business of the day.

Now I am setting my sights toward working on a new professional endeavor, so I will have to honor this commitment to myself. How strange that it is a commitment NOT to post a couple of days a week rather than the opposite.

When I started this blog back in September, I had no intention of posting daily. In October I challenged myself to see what I could do, if a daily post were possible for a month. It turned out to be 6 months of daily posts before I first tried to cut back. Now I have a long list of topics I want to write about. It has been hard to limit myself to daily. I will be up to 300 posts by the end of July. I find no shortage of topics on which I want to write.

As someone who is mastering her struggle with attention, I have many interests that cross fields. I am in a constant thirst for new information, new ways to think about problems, ways to feed my creativity. I believe focus can and is important at certain times. But I can also pair myself with others who have this focus, and allow my associative, creative mind out to play more often.

I used to wish I had more focus, wish my mind were easier to “discipline” and could be more concrete, sequential. At times this is useful. But I have many people around me who are really good at concrete, sequential tasks. Might it be better for me to partner with their great gifts and strengths while fully exploring my own? 

True, I am cultivating my focus through meditation daily, and this helps greatly in my ability to single-task more work-wise. I turn off social media, and minimize the distractions. Thus I am able to finish things more quickly. But most of that advice is directed toward more “neuro-typical” people, and my brain is not wired that way.

Sometimes in total silence it is difficult for me to work. I actually have MORE internal thought distractions when it is too quiet. Music playing in the background can help, or even going to a coffee shop with a little quiet conversation around me can help. I often get quality work done on airplanes despite the distraction of food service every two hours.

A.D.D. is more about variable focus, which is why it is a misnomer. When something fascinates me I can literally spend hours focused, forgetting to eat meals, get dressed for work, etc. I have all kinds of little alarms and reminders to help me get to work on time, get to yoga class, and generally do what life requires.

So I will try gradually cutting back on this blog, taking Thursdays off. Maybe I’ll do a “throwback Thursday” and revise some earlier posts. I want to submit more writing to magazines and journals. So maybe I’ll take my “B minus” versions and polish them up a bit for fun.

I write this blog to discover: What do I love? What do I most care about? How can I share and connect with others during the process?

Happy weekend, amigas/amigos!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

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Sunday haiku – 2 verses

Went to the Dance Class.

I promised myself I would.

Good to learn New Things.

***

Learned a new routine.

Not concerned with perfection.

Dance: Music Plus Fun!

dance class

Photo credit link – not actual photo of my class

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Saturday Share

Hello Reader Peeps!

It is Saturday and time to share a blog that I have enjoyed and perhaps you may as well. This week’s blog is called Inspire Someone Today by W A E L. The posts are short but sweet and always uplifting. Put some good energy in your Inbox and start your day right!

Happy weekend!

cristy@meximinnesota.com

Home sweet home

We returned from our motorcycling trip to South Dakota/Wyoming one day early because we were back in Minnesota and relatively close to home. We decided that sleeping in our own bed and seeing our kitties was a more important priority than getting the most out of our camping reservation at Sibley State Park.

Someday we will probably check out that park, and camp there. But I was happy to get back to my own bed, my kitties, laundry facilities at home, my car which I can drive anywhere (unlike my husband’s Honda VTX). Vacations are wonderful, restorative and good ways to get out of the routine of our lives, and get some new experiences to fuel our creativity.

camp site with boot

Photo from Big Stone Lake State Park, MN taken by hubby of meximinnesotana

I have to admit that limiting my online time in an intentional way really challenged me.  I like being plugged in, able to see the weather forecast or my email at a moment’s notice.

I like having access to a GPS while I travel, or restaurant recommendations via Yelp, or AirBnB searches when the camp sites are too wet for comfortable tent camping. The internets make our lives so convenient. We take them for granted.

The only time we turned on a t.v. was in the Travelodge in Wall, when we wanted to check out the rain forecasts. I don’t really watch a lot of t.v., and I don’t miss it. Occasionally I like a series on Amazon Prime or Netflix, but we don’t have cable, and I typically watch more t.v. in winter when the weather limits what I like to do outdoors.

Mostly I prefer books (and blogs) and other non-commercial sources of entertainment. I only took one book with me: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I have read it before, but savored one chapter a night as I read it a second time. Lovely book & I highly recommend it if you have not read it. Ever since I read The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I have been in awe of Monk Kidd’s work.

I also enjoy thinking as entertainment. My imagination provides unending sources of enjoyment. There are stories I plan to write down. I complained to my husband once that, without my laptop, and with only my handwritten journals to write, I could not seem to capture my thoughts fast enough. But I did journal every day, sometimes twice.

kitty curled up with hub's foot

Calvin cuddled up with his head tucked into his Dad’s (my hubby’s) foot.

So one aspect of home that I am enjoying about being home, in addition to catching up on reading my favorite blogs, is my keyboard, and the ability to get my thoughts down a bit faster. I also really love access to my kitchen, and being able to make my own salads with pumpkin seeds (hard to get a decent salad in South Dakota), and cuddle time with my kitties.

However, that aspect of reconnecting with my self, while surrounded by nature, is priceless. During our final night in Big Stone Lake State Park we had the entire tent camp ground to ourselves! It was awesome. No kids, no obnoxious drunk adults (fortunately that only happened one other night of camp), a cozy camp fire, lightning bugs after dark and abundance fresh air, trees and space.

Home sweet home is sweeter when you appreciate all you have after being away.

Cheers & happy weekend, amigos/as!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Dignity

Dignity sculpture in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

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Plaque underneath sculpture:

01D7B949-0220-4B96-9C90-6E9480D30E4C

It gave me a little thrill when I saw that the dedication date for this sculpture was exactly one year before our wedding date. Cool.

In the margins – haiku in 3 verses

My Love for this Man:

It sometimes Surprises me.

Never Imagined.

***

Calvin resting on Dad

Our l’il bonehead Calvin, resting on Dad in the evening. So comfortable and so spoiled, our beloved fur children.

In the Evenings.

Quietly resting with Cats.

He fills me with Calm.

***

All Over my Page.

And also in the Margins.

My Heart Overflows.

***

To you, mi Amor. On the eve of our vacation trip. I really look forward to our time together during our upcoming adventure.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Wellness Wednesday – vacation

I recently implemented Wellness Wednesday as regular feature to my blog to give it some rhythm and focus during my week.

This week, since I have a vacation coming up starting on Saturday, I want to focus on the wellness practice of scheduling vacations at least twice a year, and being committed to taking them. This can be challenging in the U.S., where we do not have mandated vacation time by law, and companies have discretion about how much vacation to grant.

However, whether paid or unpaid, time off is a very important part of self-care that allows us to recover from stress. It also allows for time away from the day-to-day grind that can sometimes sap our energy and dampen our creativity. A change in setting and in the rhythm or pace of our week can provide the necessary variety to rejuvenate our ability to generate new ideas.

I used to believe I could not take a vacation, that people could not cope without my absence. Now I look back on that as a youthful delusion. Planning ahead, putting it on the calendar, and committing to taking it means I anticipate activities in advance. I allow others on my team to be resourceful and solve problems in my absence. I make sure to communicate on any pending projects where input may be required.

Mount Rushmore

Photo credit link – one of our planned vacation stops

In order to fully enjoy vacation, I typically do not check email and I use that ubiquitous auto-responder for my email box. I used to invite people to call me for urgent issues, since I do not check email. I no longer do that. If something is truly urgent, they will probably call. But since I am not a physician (like most of our customers) and lives are not on the line if I am not in the office, fortunately, very little rises to that level.

When planning vacation, if you can take 2 or more weeks off in a row instead of just one, at least once a year, do it! One week of vacation allows for tasks to pile up while you are gone, and you may have a full inbox, because people will wait for you return rather than seek someone else out in your absence. For a two week vacation though, I find that people either solve their own problems, or find someone who can answer their question, and it seems there is less of a “build up” while being gone.

Another reason to take 2 weeks, if you are anything like me, it literally takes me the first 3-5 days to truly get my mind AWAY from work, and get into the rhythm of vacation. If you only have one week off, take means only 4-5 days to truly enjoy yourself once you find that rhythm. If you have two weeks (or more), you can truly immerse yourself in the pace and enjoyment of your vacation.

For me, this June’s vacation will be a chance to connect with my husband and share some new adventures on our motorcycle. We will see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse (South Dakoka) and Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. I’m excited – I have never been to either one.

Do you have vacation plans for this summer? What will you do to make sure you are ready? 

cristy@meximinnesota.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace your oddities

I just treated myself to a few YouTube videos from The School of Life. The title that caught my eye this morning was “Why So Many People Want To Be Writers.” Of course I wanted to watch that one.

The premise of this 5-minute video is that we are all profoundly lonely. We are not heard. We are not known. But we long to be heard and known. Our true vocation may be talking with our fellow human beings about what matters to us. Writing is a symptom of social isolation, and it is a substitute for what we truly want, real human interaction.

I agree and also disagree with this premise. I like Liz Gilbert’s and Brene Brown’s notions that humans are by nature, creative. We enjoy making things, just because we can. But I like the provocative ideas that the School of Life puts out there, and I always think there is a grain of truth.

embrace your oddities

snipped from the School of Life Video: Why We Feel Lonely and Odd

I had to continue to watch the video on “Why We Feel Lonely and Odd” because most of the time I do not actually feel lonely. I enjoy my time alone, and I am able to entertain myself quite happily most of the time. Of course if I am alone for too much time, I do long for a companion, a good friend my husband or with whom I can share my thoughts.

The concept of psychological asymmetry is fascinating, though. The fact is that we know ourselves more than we know other people simply because we only know what they show us. People often hide those things that they do not think are “acceptable” to other people. But we all have a dark side, or thoughts that are petty, grandiose or perverse sometimes.

I love the “solutions” the video proposes to this idea about loneliness: art and love. This idea of art actually contradicts the idea of the first video. The conclusion is that through art, we understand that none of us is quite as odd or as “special” as we might assume or fear. The School of Life promotes emotional intelligence, and provides a number of training resources and products to support that goal. Founded by Alain de Botton, a brilliant writer, it is worth checking out the videos of you are a psychology geek like me.

What I take away from this is that by embracing those things that make us “odd” or different, and perhaps sharing those, we see that we are truly not alone. Others share similar struggles, and though we do not always put ourselves in that vulnerable place to open up, we are inextricably linked by some larger force. Writing can help us forge those links, and I know it has for me.

It is a somewhat profound miracle that the internet has enabled a different kind of sharing than our ancestors could have dreamed. And yet, it can isolate us when we do not value real human contact, for which there is no substitute. No matter how odd or different you may think you are, reach out when you are lonely. Even if you face rejection from some people, the ultimate benefit is real human connection, which we all crave.

Happy weekend, all.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com