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

 

 

Time as a construct

I danced on Sunday at a place that’s become a favorite gathering at least once a month for me, and for a fellow yoga teacher who first invited me there.

It’s called “Dance Church” and it takes place at the Tapestry Folk Dance Center in Minneapolis from 11am to 1pm most Sundays (check their facebook page first in case there are other events).

She looked at the clock which read 12:45 and said: I didn’t realize the time had gone so quickly! Me, thinking that people had forgotten to turn the clock back thought: 11:45! I thought I had been dancing for longer than 10 minutes! In fact, the time was ~12:05…

dance church graphic
Graphic from the Dance Church facebook page.

I hadn’t looked at my phone and wasn’t wearing a watch. Eventually someone got up to change the clock to the “correct” time.

But the point had already been made for mewhen you are lost in a moment of flow, or the pure enjoyment of a moment, you lose all sense of time.

Also, the idea of “correct” time had me thinking of the fact that time is designated purely for arbitrary and convenience reasons. Daylight savings time changes are archaic back and forth switches that mess with our natural circadian rhythms.

It has been difficult for me to explain to people that when I am completely in “writing world” or perhaps doing something I enjoy, like dance, yoga, or sometimes even working at my new job, time can feel suspended. I have no sense of the “feeling” of time passing.

In contrast, when I am doing something I do not enjoy, or immersed in chores that aren’t my favorite, I am keenly aware of the time passing.

When I first started to meditate, I could sit for maybe 3 minutes before I would want to bolt. All of that silence got my mind stories to play far too loudly and it was hard for me to relax. I’ve since learned that anchoring with the breath, with sensations in the body or the sounds around me has helped reduce the “noise” of my mind.

People who study quantum physics, as well as many mystics, often say that time is an illusion. When the leap was made from linear, 3-dimensional thinking to quantum, infinitely dimensional thinking, suddenly the space opened up for new relationships with time.

What is your relationship with time? Do you think there is never enough? Do you feel an abundance of time when you can be fully present? 

May you, my dear readers, be curious and open to the experiences that captivate your time.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

As the equinox approaches

—does it seem there is extra craziness in the air? 

Here in North America in the central time zone, the autumnal equinox occurs at 4:50 a.m. on Monday the 23rd. I have also noticed there is a weird “craziness” that seems to occur as the seasons change.

We had our last official YTT-200 call on Thursday night. A number of things made it difficult for me to get there on time: there was an unknown game at the University of Minnesota. It was not on the schedule I had printed out, in order to advise myself of times not to get “caught” in my parking lot. So there’s that.

View from Cramer Road looking up
Schroeder, MN. Copyright meximinnesotana.com. Use with attribution only. Taken September 14, 2019. 

I saw the marching band walk by, and the frat houses were tailgating around 6pm when I was leaving the office. It occurred to me as I watched the line of dozens of cars trying to exit the parking lot where I typically park, that I would not make it home by 7pm for the call.

So I locked my bag in my car, thinking I would grab something to eat for dinner in the meantime, and then call in via voice, perhaps not video call. I opted to go back to my office so I could grab my headset and perhaps listen in on the call on the way home. I had my badge with me, so I was able to get into the office. But because I brought my purse and not my bag, I didn’t have the keys to my desk. 😦

So I took the call from my cube, in an empty office. Oh the joys of “variable attention”… my gift is my curse sometimes.

Other yoga sisters had some similar stories. One was fighting a migraine, and others were able to log on a little late. Our teacher mentioned that it is autumn, which is a season of change. Indeed.

Be gentle with yourself in this season of change. It will all get done. Technically all you have to do today to survive is breathe. So keep breathing! Big, diaphragmatic breaths…

Happy weekend,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. If you are in the Saint Paul, MN area, consider helping me finish my certification by signing up for “yoga for over-thinkers” starting October 3rd at Tula. Only a few seats left!

 

Happy Blogoversary!

Two years ago I began this blog on Labor Day weekend and I realize I have just passed that milestone with nearly 600 posts on this blog since I started in 2017.

To those of you who have read, supported, liked and commented: my sincere thanks! I continue to enjoy this journey with you. What a great privilege to have platforms like this where we can share our ideas and connect with others!

2nd year blogoversary.jpg

This practice of regular posting has been a joyful part of my weekly routine especially in a time of a lot of personal and career transition for me. I am considering how to evolve the blog as I embrace my new job and also near the end of my yoga teacher training.

I have a deep interest in workplace wellness, as a manager and a coach for employees. I will likely share on this topic regularly. Also, as I begin teaching yoga, which I intend to do in order to practice my new skills, I will likely share what I learn in that context. There is a lot of overlap here.

Thank you again for your support and engagement here! I wish you well and look forward to what the next year holds.

Gratefully,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com