Watch the Bullets – an experiment

People have often recommended to me that I must try a bullet journal, if I truly want to keep myself organized. When I watched Ryder Carroll’s You Tube video on why and how he created the bullet journal for himself, I definitely felt that “click” in my brain that tells me someone is speaking my language. (Sometimes it’s more of a tingle in my spine rather than an actual click, but you get my point.)

bullet journal cover.jpg
Found this cool bullet journal on Amazon, but it’s out of print now. 😦

Carroll titles his Ted Talk “How to Declutter Your Mind” and he talks about his experience with a.d.d., which he eventually outgrew. In the process, he designed a system to help him keep track of things, while also being mindful about not wanting to focus on too many different things at once.

We live in a world with so many choices, and for many of us, more freedom than ever. This is why minimalist living has become increasingly appealing to me. Decision fatigue is a real thing. And for those of us who struggle with some attention issues, de-cluttering our minds by creating a mental inventory and writing things down is important.

Once it is written down, we can ask ourselves: do these things matter? Or are they just fleeting notions that take up mental space? Once we cross off those items that do not matter, or that we truly do not need to do, the list gets smaller.

Paying attention to “small projects” that hold our curiosity and recording these, we intentionally make space in our lives to do them. Carroll breaks these into month-long chunks, because it makes them more manageable.

Over time, we make adjustments, through a periodic process of reflection. We keep the mental inventory updated each day (more videos here if you want to explore). On a monthly basis, we take a more top-oriented view, setting intentions that are longer-term in nature.

I tried the practice in January to see if it works for me, and I discovered a few things:

bullet journal monthly log
January monthly log
  1. I love the idea of looking 3-6 months and putting a “future log” on paper to approximate when I want to complete certain things. Even if you don’t anticipate everything, it helps set direction.
  2. The monthly log rocks. One line per day, really got me to reflect on only 2-3 high level things I accomplished in that day. It was a nice way to look back and see what I did that month in a 1-page summary.
  3. The daily logs are a struggle for me. I am customizing the bullet process, and the migration process to my own brand of check boxes and “swivels” to bring forward the tasks I want to keep. But that is what Ryder recommended anyway. It is why bullet journals are mostly blank – YOU fill in the system that works.
  4. You must exercise compassion. I did not sit down and do my February plan until the 7th of the month!! I think I was reluctant to admit that I didn’t follow the exact program in January (and I didn’t want to beat myself up over the things I did not finish). But I am using compassion with myself to migrate the tasks that are still relevant, and cross out the ones that obviously were not.

I may write about this experiment again in a month, because I am curious about whether February’s efforts will be refined. I want to improve and customize. I should mention that I still do a “shape of the week” in parallel in which I graph out one full week and fill in the sections with my overall time chunks, and then track actual time.

For those of you who have taken the “bullet journal” path – does it work for you? What clever modifications have you added to make it even more functional? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Breathless

Have you ever finished a book and it left you a little breathless and dizzy, with its story and insights revealed? And then you know you will read it again, because there were passages that moved you so deeply, but you had to keep reading to get to the end, because it was so compelling?

That is what Tara Westover’s book Educated did for me. It is a powerful memoir about leaving home and what happens when we leave behind the strange beliefs our families may have tried to instill in us.

Though my own life story is very different from Tara’s, the idea of leaving behind a patriarchal family structure is probably familiar to a lot of women of my generation. I am grateful I had no brothers, and endured no significant violence that I remember. But the denial and rage and depression that occurs when you realize you have been “gas-lighted” by half your family is palpable.

Educated photo of book cover

It was a little like when I first read Martha Beck’s memoir Leaving the Saints, another powerful story. When we are little children and we are in the care of our parents, we must believe in them. It is our first act of faith, in a way. Babies and children are vulnerable and dependent. To reject our families means likely death. If they reject us, possibly it may take decades (and probably a lot of therapy) to recover our sense of worthiness.

As we become adults, and learn to think for ourselves, we can sometimes reconcile the pain and mental illness they may have lived through. As we begin to take on a new perspective on the world, and perhaps have different opportunities available (especially as women in comparison to our mothers), we realize their views do not have to be our views.

In 1974, the year I was born, the equal credit opportunity act was passed. Before that a woman could not necessarily open a credit card or bank account on her own. Now I would scoff if someone asked me my husband’s income to apply for my own account.

Educated… yes. More of us are educated. I am grateful for the privilege of being born at a time and in a place where this is an option. And I am so very grateful that Tara had the courage to share her story. It reminds me a bit of the Mark Nepo poem (Breaking Surface) I posted last April.

I am still a bit breathless at the beautiful rendering of her story. What books have left you breathless lately?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Prepared to surrender

As I prepare to teach a 4-week learning circle entitled “Nurturing Your Feminine Leadership Journey” I realize that I have done what I can. Now it is time to surrender the results, and become (and remain) present with the participants.

surrender.JPG
Photo credit link

I may have just a couple of students, but I am committed to making the course valuable and holding the space for growth. So I will “preach what I practice” and stay present, learn and discover what the students need most, and respond accordingly.

As some point in the process, we have done what we can. We only control how we prepare, how we show up, and our attitude. We do not control the result, so at this point, it is best to surrender it and enjoy the experience.

Have a great week, friends!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Be present and joyful – thanks to a dear friend

A dear friend passed away this week at age 52. Some friends who knew him gathered on Thursday night over dinner to remember the impact he had on our lives. We told stories and laughed about things he had said and the “larger than life” presence he inhabited. I know he would appreciate us coming together, especially because he seemed to create community wherever he went. He was a giving, loving and kind person. He was known to make a ruckus for a cause, and he didn’t shy away from sharing his opinion on politics.

He leaves behind three children in their 20’s and my heart aches for them right now. It also makes me realize I need to be present with my own family, and not to take for granted the time I have with them.

Randy, thanks for teaching us the value of being present and sharing joy with those around us. Your presence and spirit will stay strong among us and we are grateful for the way you walked (and ran) through our lives.

Peace and love,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com