Input fatigue (a timely re-post)

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?

El silencio es oro

Speech is silver; silence is golden, goes the saying. Though the second half is the more remembered according to the Literary Devices site.

Tonight my husband was thirsting for some silence, and I was sitting in the dining room on my laptop, oblivious to this fact. He had his phone in hand, and was sort of half-listening to me (or at least that was what I perceived).

When he does this while I am trying to actually connect with him, it drives me crazy. But because I was kind of wound up from a busy day, and thoughts of needing to “fit everything in” before I return to a full time work schedule, I was multi-tasking. I was talking off and on, not very aware of how much I was blathering on, while trying to get 3 other things done on my computer.

Even for those of us with variable attention, who juggle many tasks fairly well (more than the average person), there is a limit. Going beyond the limit does not typically end well.

silence is golden

In our case, it touched off a sensitive subject for me. He pointed out that I was talking a lot (it had been a hard day for him) and it was too much for him. I didn’t respond well at first. It triggered a “shame storm” of my own memories of being silenced in other settings: in my family, in various workplaces and at other times.

So I did my best to respond mindfully and I asked him to tell me more. I had gotten a little teary and “raw” at the story that I was making up: that he doesn’t care what I have to say. In reality, he only wanted what I’ve been giving myself every morning: quiet time upon arriving home, to wind down and transition into the evening. (In my case, it is quiet time in the morning to transition to into my activities).

I realized I had been glued to my computer for the afternoon, in full-on “work mode” even after he arrived home. I had not done my usual “shut down ritual” for the day, creating space between work brain and home brain, and taking my work stuff out of the dining room (adjacent to the living room).

His request was reasonable. I asked him: “when I do talk mindlessly or forget that you need some quiet wind-down time, what are ways you can remind me of this in a non-shaming way?”

We decided on something humorous. A former co-worker of mine used to stand at my cube on Friday afternoons and chat with me while I was trying to wrap up the week and leave. This used to drive me crazy, because I did not know how to politely ask her to leave me alone so I could finish and go home.

Hubby is going to call me by that name when I’m not sensing that he needs quiet. I shall refrain from naming the person. I am pretty sure they did not do this on purpose, and may just have been lonely.

From pursue your path
stolen from my webpage of my coach

The irony of all of this is that one of the values my coach, Elizabeth Dickinson, had helped me uncover was that of “personal space.” What that means to me: plenty of time for solitude, quiet and “deep work” time, along with time and space to listen to my podcasts and shift my energy as necessary to a just right stimulus. It is harder to achieve that in cubicle-land when we do not have an office with a door.

Soon I will return to a setting where I will have a cube again, and have been trying to consider how to access personal space. I am hoping that in an academic environment at a University, some closed-door time and deep work will be honored, even for staff who are not professors. Maybe in a conference room? But I am not sure. If any of my readers have advice and/or thoughts on this topic, I welcome your feedback. Clearly there will be a part 2 to this reflection, as I have just scratched the surface on this topic.

Is silence or solitude golden to you? How do you carve out those spaces in your workplace if you do not have an office? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

The eve of Yoga Teacher Training

I will be starting my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT 200-hour) certification program this Friday. I am brimming with excitement and the slight trepidation that always seems to come from beginning a new endeavor. I am curious about the following:

What will this experience be like?

What kinds of students will participate? Will I like them? Maybe I’ll find some kindred spirits among them?

How intense will the personal practices be?

Since we are asked to bring food for our potluck dinner on Friday night, and I am not  much of a cook, I wonder: will people like the salmon salad I intend to bring as my contribution? (How embarrassing that this detail was one factor that almost made me decide not to sign up for the program!)

YogaNorth
Link to Yoga North

I have always loved school and learning experiences, so most of my doubts are not about the nature or challenges of learning the material. I am a little concerned that there are three 9-hour days in a row of time I will be spending with 15 other students and three teachers. From the schedule it appears there are not many breaks or opportunities for “solitude” or escape during that time – all meals appear to be group-wide.

So this introvert is going to need to find respite in other ways, perhaps bringing my journal along so that if we do have breaks, I can withdraw slightly. Not having the need to socialize and interact constantly with people can be part of building a “restorative niche” as Susan Cain recommends.

The other thing I have already done for myself is make sure to have solitude scheduled for a substantial portion of the day before training and the day after it, in order to reset my equilibrium. There, my planning is done. Now I feel prepared for this new journey! Wish me luck!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Quiet times of the year

I think we are fortunate in Minnesota that there is very little doubt about that distinct feeling of winter. The cold bites at us, and we notice. It will get down to single digits this week and it is inescapable.

Calvin on Dad.jpg
Our fat cat Calvin loves to use my husband as furniture in the winter. Shamelessly.

I have come appreciated quiet times of the year, when I take my time. There are less events, though some people attend holiday parties (I manage to avoid most). There are some family gatherings at the holidays, but right now feels like a nice quiet opportunity for reflection. I enjoy my peppermint tea with a dash of eggnog in it, and I snuggle with my cats.

Working from home, some days I am not required to go anywhere. I typically make it outside at least once for a yoga class, a dance class or a walk (at the very least a trip to the mail box). My grandmother used to say she enjoyed winter because there were a lot less yard work chores, and plenty of time for reading. I agree. SO many good books on my shelves.

What is your favorite way to spend quiet times of the year?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Input fatigue

‘Tis the season for me. I can feel it. 

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?