I read Julie de Rohan’s piece and loved her advice. As someone has struggled with over-eating, I can relate to the stress that comes from the holiday food fest. Julie offers some excellent advice and wisdom on how to fully enjoy the experience, and to treat ourselves kindly in selecting food to truly savor.
I went back into some entries from last year (Nov 2018) and found one I especially like so I’m posting it as a reminder to myself for this weekend. Hope you have a delightful Thanksgiving and a beautiful weekend!
‘Tis the season for me. I can feel it. Holidays approach. Work deadlines and projects to wrap up.
Countless emails in my inbox imploring me to get in on Cyber-Monday deals… that feeling of trying to filter it all out but feeling that it has clogged up my internal operating system somehow.
My plan is to give myself extra quiet time tonight, wind down early and allow for some rest from it all. My body and mind feel tired. What I have learned in my last couple of years is to honor that call for rest.
The beautiful discovery about this rest, when I take it, is that I discover nothing falls apart when I take that time away. It is all still there when I return, though usually I have fresh perspective on it.
How often do you turn everything off and allow for rest? What happens as a result?
I’ve been deeply immersed in a personal writing project so I am likely to post a little less frequently in the few months. I have come to enjoy my Sunday haiku, so I’m not giving that up. We all have much going on in our lives, and YOU are no exception. But I do want to keep in touch so if you do want to connect and I’m taking an offline hiatus, you can reach me via email.
In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on something I posted about last week, an incident in which I was blind-sided at work by something I never saw coming.
Now that I’ve had the chance to think it through I realized I had not respected the unwritten protocols that exist in this organization. As a clinical researcher by training, I have a love/hate relationship with protocols.
Protocols are awesome because they give you a clear definition of what needs to be done. They are written in language that is specific and precise. Since scientific experiments need to be reproducible and consistent in their execution, protocols are a necessity. When you work with human subjects research, regulations require protocols that are well-vetted, statistically validated and approved by an institutional review board or medical ethics committee.
Organizations often have “power protocols” also. These are the unwritten protocols that take typically 6-18 months at any organization or department (sometimes more) to learn. They are things like:
Having a PhD or M.D. counts (especially true in academic organizations).
If you have a choice to talk with the PI for a grant, or the chief of staff, pick the latter. She’s the one who actually gets the job done; he’s the name on the letterhead. In a university system, it’s fascinating to me how this mirrors a very patriarchal structure.
I had opened the communication channels during a project in which I was gathering feedback. But I did not bank on the fact that, while I was trying to be system-agnostic in my analysis, the department wanted me to fix the tool they already have rather than to select the best tool.
Now that I understand what they want, I can execute on that. I may not agree with the decision, but others with higher grade levels are determining the parameters. And that’s where I encountered one of the unwritten protocols at this institution: if grant money has been used to build a tool, it would take a LOT for us to abandon the tool.
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.
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.
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…
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 me – when 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.
Since my last post on loneliness, I decided to take a small action in breaking out of my “home comfort zone”. As it sounds, I spend a lot of time at home working and living without a lot of face time with other folks. Like many people, making the effort to get out there and […]
Friends, I hope you enjoy this post from blogger friend Dwight. It is harder to make friends sometimes as we get older. But so very necessary for a good and well-balanced life. I appreciate Dwight’s vulnerability and bravery here.