Phones for talking?

Do you remember the days when phones were just phones? 

Did you ever have to “wait in line” for the one phone line at home?

Rotary trim line phone (red)
I don’t think ours was red, but this was the style my family had when I was growing up.

When you were a teenager, maybe you use the phone upstairs, and the cord would get twisted while you had to make sure your younger sister wasn’t listening in on the downstairs line… ah those were the days.

I guess I’m dating myself here! But today I spent time on the phone with a few friends who called me. It was delightful to talk with them, not to bother with email, but to have actual conversations. We did not need any fancy software to talk, and hearing their voices really helped me feel connected.

We had time to talk, and we spoke about the different experiences we’d had since this virus situation started becoming part of the public health recommendations for self-quarantine.

I also had time to talk with my sister on the phone. She’s an R.N. and she’s making preparations in case she needs to self-quarantine after she treats sick patients in the hospital. Our parents are in their 70’s and she is thinking in advance about how to protect them by keeping her distance, though their county has not reported any cases yet.

There is a lost art to a good phone conversation. I prefer phone calls to video calls. I find that I take notice of the tone of voice more, and get less distracted by seeing my image (or someone else’s image) on a video screen. I am actually enjoying this part of our self-enforced exile. I find that when I focus on my gratitude, there is less room for fear and anxiety.

What helps you stay calm in the midst of uncertainty? Have you tried talking with friends on the phone lately? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Be the wordless person in the world for a moment (re-post)

***I am working on a separate writing project. I also went back to read some January 2019 posts. My writing can often give me reminders and clues to what I need to do now. So I’m re-posting an edited blog in that spirit.**

I borrowed the above title from a line in a guided meditation. I wish I could remember which one so I can properly attribute it. It reminds me that building more space into my weekly time for reflection and writing my own work is more challenging than I thought. I am seldom the wordless person. I have lots of words. And I share them freely.

new journal - be bold
My brand new journal, given to me as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law.

When you write “morning pages” in your journal, you are the only one who can give yourself praise for getting your work done. Social media and the clicks and likes can be an addictive little “hit” for affirmation. As a writer, I write every day no matter what. It is like oxygen for me. But I am susceptible to that buzz that comes from others receiving the work well.

I am comforted to know that there is brain chemistry and neurobiology behind this, of course. Those clicks and likes produce a little hit of dopamine in your brain, and because we are social creatures, approval is important to us at a primal level. There is nothing wrong with that. It is very natural. Please have compassion for yourself if you worry sometimes about what other people think. Being part of a tribe or pack was how the mammals of today survived.

As a person who loves words, and who loves the ease of publishing that blogs can offer, it is even harder for me to be the “wordless” person. I joke to my husband that this blog is my little soapbox, so that I can express my ideas freely without subjecting him to all of my opinions.  So he is grateful that it exists. 😉

Some days, I am better off going into observer mode rather than writing publicly. It is like meditation, noticing what is going on in my body, and in my mind, while not attaching to it. Emotions come and go, as thoughts do. Ideas float through and sometimes I want to grab a pen. But I sit, and allow things to flow through. My ego-ic mind can be quite impressed with my thoughts sometimes. But my higher self, the watcher, just observes and allows. No thought is better than another, they just are.

Is it challenging to be the wordless person? Heck yeah, more than I ever realized.

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Sunday haiku – detritus (2 versus)

Accumulation:

Detritus that needs taming

Gathered in corners.

***

KonMari says: Once.

But I know myself better.

Collections spread here.

I’ve managed to collect some clutter piles over the holiday season, and I intend to tackle them this weekend, since I find they are interfering with my energy flow. Maybe I didn’t successfully finish the “Kon Mari” work a couple of years ago, or maybe she doesn’t really address the habitual collecting that can be hard to defeat.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Neurodiversity as biodiversity

Hello Friends,

I had a startling experience at work recently, one that shook me a bit. I’m still processing that event, which had to do with being unfairly accused of something I could not have done. But I’m not ready to tell that story. It’s still too raw.

Instead, I want to reflect on what I see as an issue that is becoming more important to me as I see people with hidden “disabilities” in the workplace. In fact, these qualities are not always “disabling.” In some cases, these issues, which I will group into the term “neurodiversity” for the sake of this reflection, can often be used as assets.

biodiversity wikipedia
From Wikipedia’s biodiversity entry

In my case, I have come to see my variable focus as an asset that has served me well in many situations. I hyper-focus on projects I find to be fascinating. I’m like a dog with a bone when I’m on the trail of something where I might find a solution. I don’t give up on it. I may even lose sleep thinking about it, though I’m trying to train my brain to wind down earlier in the evenings.

On the other hand, routine and monotonous tasks are kind of like my Kryptonite. If I cannot automate those tasks, I end up getting in trouble sometimes. Ordinary tasks like making my bed or cleaning my room were never easy for me.

Ask my poor mother, who would come to check my work, only to realize I had my nose stuck in a book, cheerfully oblivious to what she had asked me to do. I was not deliberately disobeying her. I simply uncovered a missing book during my cleaning session and had difficulty not picking it up…

When it comes down to it, those of us with hidden disabilities are so often defined by what we cannot do. What if we were defined by all of our other qualities? What if our kindness and concern for others were recognized as strengths? What if our ability to ask for help were rewarded?

If you have staff, how do you acknowledge people’s strengths? Do you help them select projects that can showcase their talents? Do you allow them room for growth instead of shutting them down when they make unconventional suggestions?

Neuro-diversity is just another form of biodiversity. And our earth thrives when both are honored and preserved.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com