Cutting back

It is not easy for me to cut back on this blog. I tried it before: taking Tuesdays and Thursdays off so I can focus on some other projects. But I enjoy writing my daily post, and it can give me an energy boost to spend 30 minutes writing in the morning before I move on to the other business of the day.

Now I am setting my sights toward working on a new professional endeavor, so I will have to honor this commitment to myself. How strange that it is a commitment NOT to post a couple of days a week rather than the opposite.

When I started this blog back in September, I had no intention of posting daily. In October I challenged myself to see what I could do, if a daily post were possible for a month. It turned out to be 6 months of daily posts before I first tried to cut back. Now I have a long list of topics I want to write about. It has been hard to limit myself to daily. I will be up to 300 posts by the end of July. I find no shortage of topics on which I want to write.

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As someone who is mastering her struggle with attention, I have many interests that cross fields. I am in a constant thirst for new information, new ways to think about problems, ways to feed my creativity. I believe focus can and is important at certain times. But I can also pair myself with others who have this focus, and allow my associative, creative mind out to play more often.

I used to wish I had more focus, wish my mind were easier to “discipline” and could be more concrete, sequential. At times this is useful. But I have many people around me who are really good at concrete, sequential tasks. Might it be better for me to partner with their great gifts and strengths while fully exploring my own? 

True, I am cultivating my focus through meditation daily, and this helps greatly in my ability to single-task more work-wise. I turn off social media, and minimize the distractions. Thus I am able to finish things more quickly. But most of that advice is directed toward more “neuro-typical” people, and my brain is not wired that way.

Sometimes in total silence it is difficult for me to work. I actually have MORE internal thought distractions when it is too quiet. Music playing in the background can help, or even going to a coffee shop with a little quiet conversation around me can help. I often get quality work done on airplanes despite the distraction of food service every two hours.

A.D.D. is more about variable focus, which is why it is a misnomer. When something fascinates me I can literally spend hours focused, forgetting to eat meals, get dressed for work, etc. I have all kinds of little alarms and reminders to help me get to work on time, get to yoga class, and generally do what life requires.

So I will try gradually cutting back on this blog, taking Thursdays off. Maybe I’ll do a “throwback Thursday” and revise some earlier posts. I want to submit more writing to magazines and journals. So maybe I’ll take my “B minus” versions and polish them up a bit for fun.

I write this blog to discover: What do I love? What do I most care about? How can I share and connect with others during the process?

Happy weekend, amigas/amigos!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

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.

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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.

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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

 

Saturday Share

This Saturday’s share is from Leo The Nerdy Lion.  He has got some great stuff on how to promote your blog and on writing. I enjoy his sense of humor and gives helpful advice. I have not been able to subscribe to the idea of the once a week post but we all have to follow our own path there. 😉

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Cheers and happy weekend, friends!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Saturday Share

Happy weekend, friends. It’s Saturday, and it’s a day for sharing!

This weekend I am in Buenos Aires, Argentina with some time to chill out before my trip Brasilia on Monday. I hope to have a little time to walk and sight-see this weekend, and hope to capture photos for a future blog.

For now, I want to mention a blog that I found and enjoyed since starting on this venture last September.

the seeds 4 life

For your daily dose of positive inspiration and wisdom, check out The Seeds 4 Life. Typically the posts are short and to the point, and typically start with a pithy quote. There are many writers and there are topics I really like, about growth, change, love, happiness, success, wisdom, etc.

When you are faced with so much negative news, social media shaming and vitriol, sometimes you have to “curate” your own consumption by turning to those voices that increase love in the world rather than fear. This is a nice source if you are looking for that. It’s been around since April 2015, so it is very well-established.

Right now I am going to leave it there. It has been a long week and I am going to get some meditation and some rest time in, along with getting a necessary re-charge to the brain after a very long trip.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preach what you practice

Yesterday I was thinking of the common expression “practice what you preach” and considering why it is an admonition of sorts. Probably because it is easier to tell others what to do than to take our own advice sometimes.

So let’s turn that one on its head and instead preach what we practice. It occurred to me that I am trying to do this on my blog. There are certain things that really help me to live a better life: meditation, yoga, writing, eating real food, choosing love over fear, etc.

I love to experiment with practices to see how or whether they work for me. If they do, after some time and testing, I adopt them as part of my daily or weekly routines. Of course, you will have to practice them yourself to know if they work for you. I am not saying they will. But I really do like to “preach” some practices that work.

Blogging has led me to some really fascinating and insightful people online. The ones I enjoy most do this very thing: they preach what they practice. They share what works for them. They show some vulnerability in admitting they are not perfect, that they have made mistakes. And they invite others to learn from their experience as well.

Today I just want to thank a few of them that I read regularly and have given me feedback on my work as well. I am grateful that the internet has enabled this kind of virtual connection and that like-minded people can collaborate on this great experiment of life.

Steph at Make More Meaning is doing some fascinating things with minimalism. Jessie at Hoosier Mystic is doing some significant personal work. Julie de Rohan has given me some great shout-outs as well, and I appreciate her support. And also raynotbradbury is a source of creativity and delight, so check out her humor when you have a moment.

I know there are more of ya out there, and I thank you for your comments and contributions to the world of ideas and this ever-expanding universe that is the blogosphere. Cheers & happy Friday!

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‘Tis the season to unsubscribe

‘Tis the season when everyone in your email contacts or your subscriptions sends you a pitch for products, services, last-minute holiday gifts. 

I understand it. I do. Why not get in on the frenzy while it is fully in play? Desperate shoppers click on a button and might wind up with a gift that they can have delivered. Then: relief.

I like the way Gmail categorizes emails into primary, social, promotions and forums. Gmail categories

This way I can focus on the primary mailbox, and then ignore the others or re-assign things from my primary folder into a different one and then prioritize which order I read things. I have spent some time re-categorize emails so that my Inbox is much more manageable.

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But I also try to do something this time of year to just clear out the junk and constant communication – unsubscribe! It is something I spent time on yesterday, while procrastinating the shopping I did not want to do. I was tired, and I am still recovering from a cold. So I decided to do something useful as I sat and drank my tea.

I have written before about how how I take media breaks now and then to keep my sanity. I suspect I will be doing this a bit during the holidays, and I may drop in with a haiku now and then. But I want to take at least a couple of days cold-turkey from the phone and the computer.

Remember the old days when people actually had conversations face to face and did not have a phone near them? The phone was on the wall, and someone had to call us before we would pick it up.

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Okay, I’m dating myself here…I can see the millennials rolling their eyes. But what if you did some of this? Maybe you would have JOMO instead of FOMO! Instead of the fear of missing out, you would have the JOY of missing out. Try it, and you might like it.

Go easy on yourself if you get bored. Your brain is used to the dopamine hits it gets from being reinforced by the phone. But boredom is good for you! You may end up thinking a little more. You may end up getting a little creative, without the constant distraction. Maybe you’ll have some great new connections with people. Maybe you’ll have a little more sex… who knows what awaits?

Enjoy.

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Break the internet

Break the internet: a campaign for net neutrality.

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Hello fellow internet-users,

Today’s post is a public service announcement for this issue. I read my daily post from Seth Godin and decided to join the cause.

As a blogger myself, I appreciate the freedom to be able to post whatever I want on my platform and to read what others want to share as well. It truly is a democratizing force, and has changed the way we communicate and engage politically.

I watched a short video to understand more about net neutrality and the potential costs of losing it. If you have not seen it, click here. It is less than 3 minutes. Well worth it.

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Service providers should not be able to dictate which sites or items we are able to see, and internet users may not even be able to imagine this now.

Part of the problem is that service providers could “package” websites and be able to sell you what they recommend, rather than what you choose to see. I doubt this could actually succeed, given what I know about the contrariness of myself and other internet users. However, this video explains what a world WITHOUT net neutrality might look like.

Today I am at home recovering from appendectomy surgery. So I am kinda free and just sitting here in my p.j.’s. I am counting myself lucky in a way, since I have a little extra time today to campaign for this cause. I hope you can take a few minutes, maybe on a break or a lunch hour to do the same. It’s for all of us, peeps.

If you see other videos or links of interest you want to share in the comments below, please feel free.