Category Archives: Reflection

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

 

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Wellness Wednesday – off the grid

When was the last time you took yourself truly “off the grid”? 

This means: no computer, no internet, no phone. Just fresh air, big sky, and lovely space all around you?

Remember when phones used to be objects mounted on a wall of our house somewhere? When they didn’t constantly go everywhere that you do, like digital leashes?

I do. But for the 16-18 years (?) I have carried a mobile phone with me. It has become indispensable. I sometimes ask: What did people do before having cell phones? Where did they get their information before Google?

Sometimes it is good for us to allow our minds a little boredom, a break from the constant stimulation. This Wednesday, I am recommending you try that, for 12 hours or maybe 24 hours if you are really brave. Power it all off.  If your work is dependent on being online, you may have to save this for a weekend.

Then: observe what happens to your thinking, your emotions, your conversations.

Phone addiction is a real thing. It works on a principle called intermittent reinforcement. You may not even realize how those little pings and dings affect you until you turn them all off.

But it can be cured. The answer is to go without, and to have regular breaks from all of that stimulation. In the same way most of us get a 11-12 hour fast each night after dinner and before breakfast, we can “fast” from technology. And it has distinct benefits for your concentration, energy and relationships.

I encourage you to give it a try. While I am on my break this week, I am trying it as well. Given that my favorite meditation app is on my phone, this is tricky. But I can always record my meditations in my trusty little notebook, pen and paper old-fashioned style, and then log the sessions later.

Please let me know if you try this and what you discover in the comments.

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

St Croix State Park base camp

 

Decisions and deadlines

Today is my final day of work before I begin a 2-week vacation. I am grateful for a stretch of time off, when I will not have a laptop and will have some open space to allow my heart and soul to rest and contemplate.

When I return, I will finalize some decisions about the transition I intend to make this summer, and the timeline which I intend to communicate to my current boss. I have been putting off making some decisions on the transition timeline. Or rather: I made the decision, and then “took it back” last month, in a flurry of panic about worrying that I was making the wrong decision.

Yesterday I met with a consultant colleague of mine who encouraged me to make this decision and move forward. This is something my coach has been coaxing me to do as well. I recognize that I am still hanging onto the “reliable salary” excuse in my current role, even though I know that in August/September time-frame I intend to be somewhere else.

But as I move forward I realize that closing certain doors causes others to open. By delaying my decision I actually end up spinning around without a good sense of direction. There are good reasons for tying up loose ends, and I have certainly made progress on my work transition plan in terms of delegating responsibilities and involving team members in my current projects.

But now, I believe I need to make a deadline for communicating my plan to my boss directly. It has been hard for me to have these conversations with him, but I have shared with others my intentions and timelines. Part of me does not want to be “talked into” staying in my current role when I know I am no longer being as effective as I could be.

My soul has already made the decision. My body and my mind need to follow up with action and communication, because that will allow full integrity for me in the process.

So I am giving myself a deadline of July 3rd (before the holiday) in order to communicate my intention to my boss and to map out my plan of transition in more detail.  This will allow me to stop carrying the burden of knowing what I know, but not taking action.

Just writing out that decision has helped my body relax, and gives me some determination to move forward.  Ahhh… this will help me be able to enjoy my upcoming vacation as well.

Cheers & happy weekend, amigos!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Reflections from Marion

I just started reading  a book by Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick entitled “Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body & Soul.”

Some of the verses hit me almost viscerally, they speak so powerfully to truths that have been emerging in my life recently. So I will share a couple of them. Perhaps they will resonate with you as well.

It is easier to try

to be better

than you are

than to be

who you are.

-From a chapter entitled “Beyond Perfection & Duty.” (page 67)

***

The feminine

has slower rhythms,

meanders,

moves in spirals,

turns back on herself,

finds what is meaningful to her,

and plays.

-from a chapter entitled “Conscious Femininity.” (page 147)

coming home

Wow. Mind blown. I am trying not to rush through reading this book, which is designed and written as a series of daily reflections. But it hard not to continue more quickly when I find some deep resonances for me.

This is the power of beautiful writing that has deep resonance with soul. It is like an internal connection is made, a “click” into our inner wholeness that fits things into place.

Hope you have a great week, friends. May you find those words that speak the wisdom you need today.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Weighing ourselves down

Many of us find it hard to get rid of objects in our lives that remind us of someone we love, or an experience we have had. So we hang onto boxes of these things, unnecessary objects that weigh us down, simply because we associate them perhaps with a loved one who has passed, or an experience we enjoyed.

But the memory of the person or experience does not require the object to exist in your mind. You can choose return to that memory at any time simply by thinking of of the person or experience. Rather than keeping wardrobes of Grandma’s old clothing, maybe keep a favorite teacup she enjoyed, and put it somewhere that you see it periodically.

The weight of our things in the world tends to weigh on our minds, even if packed away unseen in drawers, boxes and basements. Sometimes people try to de-clutter the main areas of their house by storing things out of their line of sight, but this just postpones making decisions about whether these items serve them.

Marie Kondo explains that our attachment to things is really about an attachment to the past or fear about the future. To me, there is so much wisdom here. I still struggle with letting go of things that are “perfectly fine” or were gifts from someone. But if they are not things we use or enjoy, then the purpose of the gift (to be received) has been completed. We are free to let go if they will just sit in a box and take up “guilt space” as I used to do.

This practice of paring down and living with less seems to be easier for generations that grew up with more abundance (actually with more excess than was ever imagined in the 30’s or 40’s). But when the fundamental belief is one of sufficiency, letting go is so much easier. I come from a family that likes to hang onto stuff. It has been rather challenging and tricky for me to accept that, in light of my aspiration toward minimalism. I must remind myself that I can only control my own choices when it comes to these matters.

Sometimes the “stuff” that requires letting go is our ability to control other people, particularly family. I may wish for them to be free of all the clutter and items that appear to weigh them down. But then I add extra “weight” by judging and imposing my ideas of how things should be, rather than allowing them to be who they are and make their own choices.

Practicing compassion toward myself and toward others is a necessary part of the process. If I am asked for help in de-cluttering, I will be eager to pitch in. But if the impulse comes from pressure or shame, then I am part of the problem, not the solution.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Travel mantras

Today I will head home from my work visit to Mexico City.

It is good time to write out some of my travel mantras, as reminders to myself to enjoy the journey.

That’s the first one, actually: Enjoy the journey.

Here’s another one I like: Remember, everyone is fighting their own battles. There are struggles we may not see, that may affect others’ behavior.

The best one, when stress or anxiety come up is: Breathe, just breathe. It is all okay.

When I am practicing mindful awareness of my surroundings, I also like to remind myself of all that I am grateful for: the opportunity to travel, a kind word or smile I may receive as a gift from a stranger, and a life in which I am privileged to see into the window of other cultures as part of my work.

What’s your favorite travel mantra? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com