When words flow out

When I started this blog, I thought I would commit to posting three times a week. It seemed reasonable and would accommodate my work schedule. I did not want to commit to a daily post, as I did not want to disappoint myself if something came up for work, and I needed to devote the time otherwise. But three times a week, like a typical workout schedule, or my average frequency for yoga classes, seemed do-able for establishing a new habit.

In my day-to-day work, I am in a fairly intense, meeting-driven, corporate multi-national environment. I lead a team of clinical researchers in Latin America. We are very spread out geographically, and I travel a fair amount as well. So the idea of devoting some time each day to writing, but only posting three times a week seemed reasonable. Some days I planned to write, other days I planned to edit. I usually write in the morning, when my mind is fresh and clear, but sometimes I have a hankering late afternoon to spill my thoughts onto the page. Writing for me is a way to express myself, clear the clutter from my brain, and really delve into my psyche in a way that no other creative medium can satisfy.

October came along, and for the first few days, I felt there was so much I wanted to say, and so many topics I wanted to explore. So I decided that a daily post would be fine, and that it could be a one-month commitment to myself, just to see how the pacing felt. I realized I have a wellspring of ideas that have been brewing within me for the past 6 months or so since I decided to write more publicly. At this moment, I have a brainstorm list of 10 different topics pending for blog posts…

Laptop with watch

I write a daily journal and I used to post on newsgroups quite regularly on political topics back in the day when I was more involved politically (before my current corporate gig required me to be “all in” and I got involved with building myself a grown-up career). In the age of Twitter and Facebook, I have doubts about how social media engages people or disengages them. I have also had to limit consumption of media, even my favorite news stations like MPR, because I cannot always process the all the “incoming” especially in the current political climate. But that does not change my need to connect with others, through shared ideas and stories of discovery, personal learning and spiritual growth.

I am trying to pace myself, knowing that I have a few busy work weeks coming up, with presentations to give, and a Science and Technology conference to attend. Now I have an internal commitment to posting daily in October. So I will approach this writing “side hustle” as a bite-sized daily practice, maybe breaking down the longer posts into shorter ones (which I’ve noticed seem to be read more often), and give myself more time to edit an overall piece. I am happy to note that I do not suffer from any writer’s block as part of this blog, which surprised me at first. The words just flow out, and I am often sad when I must stop writing, and get on with my “other” life. I actually have to set time limits for myself so I do not spend whole days writing, and I can attend to my paid work.

Someday maybe I can parlay this new writing practice into my next career move, but for now, thanks for reading and I truly appreciate your feedback on my thoughts.

 

 

Gratitude for my teachers

I woke up this morning so excited to write and start this blog process. For many years I have been a journal writer and my personal, still hand-written journal will likely remain an important part of my (nearly) daily practice. I notice a distinct difference in the quality of my days when I write versus when I skip the writing. My journal is a way to clarify my thinking, sometimes to process thoughts that do not serve me, sometimes just to record the latest threads of my life that I am attempting to sort, to weave together, and to understand. I wrote this morning that my journal is like a “lab notebook of my evolving consciousness.” I like that line… it appeals to the scientist in me, the part of me that has always loved to catalog and make sense of data. I suppose making sense of ourselves and our reason for being is the ongoing spiritual quest of all humans.

I feel intense gratitude in these early hours today, and such powerful energy. It is fitting, on the first day of school for so many young people, that I thank to the many teachers in my life. From my parents, my first teachers and actual teachers (their chosen vocation) to friends, professors, wise people, mentors, authors who I read and “converse” with, I have been blessed with such wealth. I delight in ideas and new ways to understand the world, and I am constantly on the search for voices of wisdom, mentors and teachers who share their beliefs, practices, adventures, and struggles. It helps me feel less alone, when I realize the commonalities we all have as humans, and the reality that our these commonalities can unite us in a profound way.

Some of the authors I have read (and re-read) in the past year include Martha Beck (ever present in my library since I read Finding Your North Star so many years ago), Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Krista Tippett, Adam Grant, Liane Moriarty, and Louise Erdrich (and many others, but these are the first that jump out at me my from my bookshelf). How interesting that so many of those voices happen to be women. I have also been listening and consuming a lot of podcasts in the past year, starting from a recommendation toward Brooke Castillo’s Lifecoach School podcast, and continuing to Hidden Brain, Only Human, Magic Lessons (another Liz Gilbert creation), the Robcast, and a number of health and wellness related podcasts that have taught me from many perspectives.

Learning_schooling image

I am grateful to all of these voices, and to what I have learned about the process and necessity of creation, of creativity to human flourishing. Any endeavor can have a creative component, as I now realize, even navigating a large bureaucrazy (I always mis-spell this word automatically. I believe it is my soul’s way to communicate truth to my brain, which can be slow to catch on.) I also realize that I am part of this dialogue, this interaction with ideas, this attempt to make sense of our world, and to create something new.

Why create the mexi minnesotana blog now? I am overwhelmed ubiquity of social media and differing opinions floating out in the blogosphere, and I expect you may be as well. I had to severely curtail my Facebook habit for some time after the 2016 U.S. election because I realized that, while social media fosters an ability to connect with other like-minded people around the world, it can also be an echo-chamber that amplifies negativity. The democratization of media, the way in which more people can have a voice by opening up shop at a domain, is a fascinating phenomenon to watch.

We have a natural questioning of authority, a real and evolving process of learning to make choices about what we follow, who we choose to believe. Facts, which used to be considered sacrosanct in journalism, are subject to a myriad of interpretations and misrepresentations. While this has always been true, the amplification of some of these notions can have troubling implications for our culture. As a firm believer in democracy, I see this as an evolution for us, and for myself, a realization that I am also search of some “authority” to help me make sense of it all.

While spirituality will be another aspect I explore in the future, this need for authority, one emerging truth has been the validity of my own experience. In the past year and a half or so I have developed a very consistent meditation practice, a process of going inward and forgoing the distractions of the outer world. (Thank you to Nirav Sheth and Rajinder Singh for teaching me as I committed to the practice more fully in 2016). My own voice is but one of many, but it is a unique one, and I have felt increasingly moved to share my voice, to write about my observations of the cultural zeitgeist from my point of view.

My goals are largely personal, in understanding the broader world around me, and perhaps inviting dialogue on topics I believe are important. It can be a vulnerable experience to put one’s thoughts out there, to enter into “the arena” as Brene Brown (Daring Greatly) would say. But something tells me it is right to do this now, to start this process, and see where it leads. I am not expecting a particular outcome, but my hope is that, if someone reads and the words or ideas resonate, that they will feel less alone, perhaps less lost in this cacophony of voices. We all must find our own way, but with our wise teachers and mentors, we do this knowing we are surrounded by a powerful tribe, and one that bravely shows up and defends the values we hold most dear.