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?

Back in the day…

Last night I needed to find a quiet place to work, a place where I could absorb literature related to oncology research and therapeutic potential for a certain plant compound. I worked in the morning at home well enough, but in the afternoon, I was unable to get traction on the work.

That sometimes happens to me. I try everything I know how, and still I am so completely distracted that I need to have a change of location (see yesterday’s post. Perhaps it’s why cube life did not suit me.). 

So I put my stuff in my backpack and headed off to the University of MN. Even though it’s been over a dozen years since I finished my master’s degree here, I love being back on a campus. I love the atmosphere of learning and growth. Even though the science library was far too crowded to find a quiet place to work, I walked around campus for an hour or so. 

The humanities library was much less busy. Ahem…

Well, let’s just say I was a science major in undergrad and a liberal studies major in grad school. My grade point was about 0.7 points higher in grad school. Also, my undergrad was at Swarthmore, where the motto was “anywhere else it would have been an A.” ‘Nuff said.

My study hide-away

As I sat in the quiet of the library, around dinner time (that must be the reason it was less busy, perhaps), I felt that familiar sense of focus and calm. I have attention issues (diagnosed late in life while I was working on the grad thesis) so focus and calm are not exactly my strong suits. Unless I’m under deadline, that seems to be a motivator.

There is something about a library, and the unquestionable nature of being here. Working at home, I always see the undone dishes, the piles of laundry overflowing, my cats that do their best to be adorable at the wrong times (like when I have a deadline). 

In the quiet library, in my study cube, there are no distractions. There is just the pile of research articles, my laptop, my water and a snack. 

Perfect environment for being on deadline with a topic that twists my brain in all kinds of fun ways.

What is your perfect environment for working?

Simply Be

One of my favorite guided meditations from the Insight Timer app is a very short 2-minute meditation called “Simply Be” by Scott Langston.

Sunset - Oct 25

It asks us to take a moment to stop doing, and to simply be. Take a moment to stop thinking and simply be. Be with our breath. Be with our body.

As I take a couple of days off from work to fully recover from surgery, I realize I can practice this now and then. My temptation is to fill my time with books, so much reading that I normally do not have as much time to enjoy. But another part of me looks forward to some silence and some reflection.

During the holidays, a lot of people feel compelled to decorate, shop, attend parties and to do a lot of other things. Though I would prefer to be more mobile right now, the great gift of recovery from surgery is that I feel no pressure to do anything. I simply need to hydrate, rest and laugh at the antics of my cats or the humor of my husband. I’ve told him not to be too funny – it still hurts a bit to laugh!

Hope you enjoy your Monday, friends. Take some time to question whether you “have” to do what you are doing today, or whether you “choose” to do it. Thinking about these activities differently may bring you greater peace.