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discostitches

Life

This one was easy

14th June 2018

Picture of R sewing

Just to set the scene of how I’ve started this post. Got the kids to bed, I’m sitting on the sofa, in the dark pretty much, I’ve got Love island on in the background and I’m listening to the TEDIOUS discussion of who is in a love frenzy with who. What a rough show, I’m basically observing a fickle bunch of sex pests with varying levels of filler. Anyway, there’s stuff ALL OVER THE KITCHEN. The shopping got delivered earlier and I DIDN’T PUT IT AWAY! BECAUSE I CAN. (I’ll do it in the morning)

The day started well but has subsequently collapsed a bit, I’ve got a sore arm from going to the doctor and having a lump sliced out of it under local this afternoon. In the waiting room I got blindsided by someone that hadn’t slept for 28 hours. Now, just picking up the laptop reminds me I need to bloody back this thing up and get my development environment sorted. This means going through photos etc… not feeling it.

In any case I’m supposed to be writing the third blog so best get on it. I really don’t know how much longer I can keep this up! Writing everyday, working, trying to be a good person… it’s a push.  I knew the last bit of positive feedback I gave as soon as I read the question. I paid for Ruby’s sewing class on Monday and once the payment cleared I emailed: ‘I’d just like to let you know how happy Ruby is when she returns from these classes. Thank you for making them so enjoyable, she absolutely loves them.’

I have made a point of giving compliments for a long time, or feedback – letting someone  know I appreciate their effort. I don’t compliment on aesthetics (appearance or material stuff) unless I genuinely like something. I have to believe it if I say it. The other day, I admired the shade of pink someone was wearing and she said ‘you said that last time I wore this.’ Listen…I am consistent!

That said, it’s made me think I should follow up more often if something is good or someone does a great job. I know I always appreciate an email thanking me for my time, for organising something or for making them feel welcome, even though it’s my job and I get paid for it. Yesterday, I turned a letter around in a few hours that an ex member of staff needed to send off to future employers and the smiley face I got back  with a thank you did make me feel ever so slightly lighter.

I think, one of the best places I’ve found to repeatedly find people giving positive feedback is at running events. The people who shout ‘you’re doing really well’ when you’re not even half way. The runner that puts a hand on your arm while you’re walking and feeling sick and says, ‘keep it going’, someone who watches you faltering in the distance, catches you up, tells you they’re there for you and promises to stay with you until the end. The group that shout ‘she’s bringing it back!!!!!’ when you leave your mates in the crowd and head into the event with a renewed burst of energy, or the people you run with when you’re in the midst of vast distances, 30 or 40 miles in. At those times you have to be honest, in a way that isn’t always easy in real life and say ‘I’m really struggling here, I hurt all over, you need to talk me out of it because I’m a bit broken.’ and then you’re hit with positivity to raise your game.

What I am absolutely SHIT at is thank you’s. I don’t know if I’m rebelling against a childhood of having to write out thank you cards after birthdays or Christmas but I’m shocking at sending them. I often write them, just don’t send them. Not sure the back story to that, but I’ll hold my hands up, I’m rubbish.

This encouraging and appreciating stuff is necessary and essential in life, to feel like you matter and to make others know that they do. Even the briefest of smiles or the shortest text can lift my day if it’s not going in the right direction. Any positivity steers us all back. Find at least one thing every day to appreciate someone for, and get it out there. To the encouragers! Keep it going…

(I’m journalling from ‘The Year of You” – mainly because I need some kind of prompt to write this so I don’t have to think too much. Ha!)

 

Life

The good stuff

13th June 2018

Picture of a red shirtI’m trying to think of a recent compliment. Two people said I looked really ‘comfy’ at work yesterday, I’m not sure that counts. Better than tired, I had to ban any comments whatsoever about my appearance because I kept getting that: the new rule is ‘good, bad, ugly I don’t want to hear it thanks.’

Erm…My friend Mary called me a ‘walking library’ yesterday. The last few years I’ve read a ton and she was reading a book I hadn’t read which she liked ( she’s reading: ‘Why buddhism is true‘ – I added it to my goodreads)

Ruby and I made coleslaw the other night for dinner and she said “you could win awards for your coleslaw. You could enter cooking competitions and you would win.” Maybe I should be writing a post about coleslaw.

I did stick up a list above my desk that Ruby wrote out and left in my bedroom which is complimentary and makes me smile (what is it about lists? I love a list) but it’s a bit ‘my children love me’, which is let’s face it, mostly a given when they’re under the age of 10.

OK, the nicest thing anyone said to me recently was that they felt better after talking to me. The day I’m thinking of was at work and I all I did was listen properly, everyone has so much stuff going on in their lives, I didn’t really do anything and both people who’d popped in to see me at independent times said ‘I feel better now I’ve talked to you’.

Oh! I was wearing my new red shirt the other day and two people said they loved it. That’s a good compliment.

 

Apart from that. I’m out.

 

Life

The year of me: My closest friend

12th June 2018

Picture of Hannah Braime's The Year of You

“Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another”

-Derek Walcott.

I got an idea in Cornwall when I downloaded this book. The weekend before I’d been walking the dog in the woods with my friend Gill and I’d said maybe I’d start writing my blog again. For no real purpose really, I don’t have any proper blog plans, originally I changed my online name (I am eye-rolling as I type) to ‘discostitches’ to start writing patterns and sell more handmade items as a sideline. Well, you can see, a few years on, no patterns, minimal making and currently a complete creative hiatus. This space has been pretty defunct and I’ve pretty much avoided posting anything at such a difficult time in my life and in the life of my family but I like writing, I keep paying the site fees and I think maybe I need a focus, some sort of outlet, not necessarily about everything but at least about something. The therapist I’ve just concluded sessions with described life at present as living ‘a half life’. That’s my life she’s talking about and the sad thing is I agree with her. Everything is so transitional and overwhelming, that after a total burn out I don’t do any of the things I used to enjoy. I’m too tired to run, my appetite is all over the place, mainly lacking, I just can’t eat very much, it feels odd. I sleep a ton, I feel weary, I want to make stuff but I can’t concentrate for very long. I wrote about that yesterday, but it made me too sad reading it back so I didn’t publish it. I did the same thing when my dad died, stopped writing, got detached. Less than a week before he died I got a call to the hospice and he’d pulled the sink in his en suite off the wall because he’d been in so much pain. I couldn’t write about that or what followed that day. I couldn’t write about the daily awfulness of what it’s like to lose someone like that and watch the life ebb from their body while they are wracked in pain. I tried here. (I can’t believe that blog is still up! I certainly don’t pay for it anymore) I couldn’t write about the whole terrible and intense six months leading up to his death. Then my father in law died in a similar way three years later and three years after that the husband/kid’s dad left. All a clusterfuck of absolute shitfulness over years, which to be honest, has made me not want to write and right now, not want to do much of anything. I work, I walk the dog and I cook dinner. The essentials. 

Anyway the book. This book came up in my kindle recommends I think and I’ve chosen it to be my written prompt for a blog. The year of me. I can overthink the oversharing if I like but my energy is so limited currently that feels like a waste of resources and I’ve done this blogging thing before. I used to enjoy it. Maybe I’ll actually write it more than once. Maybe I’ll get unstuck. What mercy. Being unstuck is the end game because stuck is no fun and right now it’s what I’m in, leaden, heavy, stultifying stuckness. Generously I’ll call it a life pause. People keep saying this is “the start of my new life” but it’s also completely different and hard to get used to. The only issue I’ve got is writing what I want to write now and being worried if it’s something I’m going to want to have put out there in 10 years time. I feel I’m trying to navigate a very difficult headspace.

So, the idea is, you get a prompt everyday and then you write out the answer. Of course, I’ve started in June, the month of ‘relationships’ so I feel like I’ve immediately put myself on a bit of a back foot, being in the midst of a separation after an almost 13 year relationship, I’ve not written properly in ages, so I’m nervous I’ll write rubbish, but to quote my mate Nathalie last week ‘life’s a fucking bitch’. And it really is. As there’s loads of rubbish written, adding mine is the least of it I think.

Now the problem with doing this I imagine is the possibility of breaking the author’s copyright so I’m not going to write out verbatim the question posed. You’ll have to work it out, or buy the book. It’s a good book, it asks good questions.

Let’s go.

My closest friend.

Do we have to start with that? Today?

Brilliant. 

I was standing on the doormat holding the front door, I’d barely slept in three days, everything pre the weekend had totally spun on it’s axis and right now, my husband was standing on the pavement outside the house holding onto a suitcase. “You were my best friend,” I said. “You’re mine,” he replied, “but I can’t be here anymore”. And that was it, I mean there were accompanying tears and previous conversation, but pretty much: Sudden. Cataclysmic. The end.

Almost thirteen years of day to day. That’s pretty much a third of my current life, including one whole year round the world 24/7. We worked out we’d spent more time with each other than we had with our parents. We were able to talk about anything and everything, the embarassing, the perplexing, the ideas, the dreams, the sadness, the self doubt, the worry, the panic, the day to day, our history, we made REAL PEOPLE, he watched me give birth twice, genuinely when you are at your most physically vulnerable. He held my head when it was pouring with blood after an road accident, we travelled, danced, watched the people we love get married, we saw in birthdays and new years and we’d write our humble brags out or laugh at stupid shit the kids had said that year. We went on holidays and weekend breaks. We got a dog. We had a list of ‘firsts’, all the things we did for the first time together. It was long. We dived oceans around the world, walked in the countryside and saw live music. When I was sick or went to hospital he was there. He was the one who woke me one morning with a hand on my shoulder and delivered the news that my dad had died. When his father died we walked in to see his dad’s body together. At the face of brand new and extinguished life, we were side by side. There’s closeness in that you simply can’t replicate with anyone else. If you’ve experienced either, you know exactly what I mean.

You get to change over the years imperceptibly together, like they say, “make the years combine and the memories entwine,” or you don’t, you keep stuff back, hold some secrets and then apparently the difference is too great or the damage is too awful and in this case suddenly you’re definitely not close friends anymore, there’s barely recognition.

There had been potential plans to move the entire family to Singapore in what amounted to a matter of weeks before we split and it had lulled me into a false sense of security. But the albeit perceived closeness had held in it the implicit belief that no matter what, when the shit hit in life, however I felt about myself, my behaviour or my situation, whether it was good, or totally crappy, there would always be this person to hold my hand and say ‘I’m still here, you don’t have to be perfect but I’m always with you in this.’ Total acceptance. However when the shit hit and things felt so bad and so awful, I found myself very immediately and unexpectedly completely alone looking around for my person. Of course he’d gone, overnight and he didn’t return.

I asked the kids who my closest friend was today, because of this question and they answered: ‘it was daddy….but not anymore’ (then Ruby obviously attempted to state her case for what she clearly imagines is a very prized position)

Who I did consider my closest friend, isn’t. He’s not my person anymore. He’s another person. Now with an entirely different life. The struggle, what the therapist I saw calls ‘the deep grief’ is what I would describe as managing a great absence, very like someone has died, the trust and belief in this person’s unequivocal presence is gone and reminders of this fact hit unexpectedly without warning. It’s very very unfamiliar.

‘You are plugging the gaps of every part he was to you with yourself and other people,’ she said the other week. ‘It’s not ideal for now, but it’s what you have to do, spread it out and find it in different places.’ It’s been over a year now and from the beginning, the mantra everyone repeats is ‘focus on you and the kids’. And that is what I have done. Nature doesn’t allow a vacuum, there are so many truly lovely people surrounding me, who support me and love me, old faces and new, who talk and laugh and eat and run and walk with me. And the dog…. of course the dog.

In the buddhist metta bhavana meditation I sometimes practice, the first stage is sending loving kindness to yourself. It’s really very hard sometimes, to be nice to yourself, particularly when you feel low or crappy and think you’re living an inferior version of your life. But it’s the bit where you hold your own hand, when times are tough or shit is less than ideal. You sit with yourself through the doubt and the swirling thoughts and whether life is good, or crappy, I realised in this space I say ‘I’m still here, you don’t have to be perfect but I’m always with you in this’ – my closest friend, the closest person to me, has been with me right from the start.

Books

Mark Manson

16th January 2018

Now, Mark Manson had dropped off my radar. A couple of years ago I applied to be his virtual assistant, but I never heard back, almost certainly because I don’t feel I ever got to grips with marketing my stay at home mum self at the time. In any case he came back on the radar when I was linked to this article back in the summer and for whatever reason, this book came up as a suggested read when I was using my new overdrive app on the kindle a few days ago.

Having just battled with a few anxiety ridden days (yes, yes, I am also tired of everyone writing about and presumably having anxiety, but there’s evidently something to that – as in everyone is dealing with it in various forms and we’re only just talking about it…endlessly apparently if instagram and the rest of the net is anything to go by) anyway this was a prescient title for me.

My favourite quote thus far:

“Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks. You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? Three year old kids. And dogs. You know what else three year olds and dogs do? Shit on the carpet”

a.men

I’m holding tight for the last chapter which I am assured by someone I trust is killer.

It’s my 6th book of 2018. I’m pulling disparate books from all over. Young adult, fiction, non fiction, biography – everything will go in the mix this year.

 

 

Books

Books

9th January 2018

Picture of me reading

 

Way back in the summer when everything was a big mess I had a booking at the house for two students to stay. The whole few weeks they were here were intense due to a combination of both personal circumstances and their presence in the house. I felt that need, as I often do when under pressure, for a treat, something significant, something to reward me for putting up with what was going on. Something to dissuade me from putting my head in the oven, something to distract me. I don’t find clothes or shoes are enough, I want something to add value to my life so if it’s not going to be something to ‘do’ something pretty useful or something that makes something is high up on the list.

When prime day came round 3 kindle fires were ordered and subsequently delivered. One for each of us.

I’d resisted kindles for so long, valuing the feel of books and the excitement of opening a new one. I couldn’t imagine getting pleasure from an ebook. I love to read and life a few years ago had seemed like an endless cycle of amazon deliveries and sorting titles during clear outs to the point that I think it was 2016 I pulled back on the purchases and determined only to order books from the library. I don’t want to bring anything into the house that doesn’t have a use, something that can remain dormant, like a read book.

Anyway, all the titles I can’t get hold of at the library, I can download in that pleasing instant way now and it’s enabled me to read more than ever. For a time I was impulsively downloading offers of the week to my library but all that’s come to a head now I have built up my own digital stack.

This weekend, curled up in bed yesterday morning, Ruby and I downloaded the overdrive app and linked our library accounts to our kindles. I downloaded the library’s ebook copy of ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon (which I finished this morning) and also walked the dog to the audiobook version of ‘The Wind up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami. Ruby opted for an audio version of Harry Potter. I will read more this year than I ever have this way. The app is also on my phone now and I will be spending my lunchtime walk with the dog devouring new titles. I’ve clocked in three titles so far this year in the first week. Each, in its own way helping me sift my situation or thoroughly distracting me. I’ve set my reading challenge on goodreads to 40 books this year and I am looking forward to properly restoring reading to my days.

Crochet Life

Slow down

7th January 2018

Picture of granny squares

 

I haven’t written here very much for a long time because 2017 made me not want to write at all. I’m relieved I wrote so little I felt so misaligned, but it’s the first week of the new year and maybe I can attempt to write more without feeling I will compromise myself. Maybe now I’ve started to make things again I can just write about them without feeling so heavy about everything else going on. I won’t write much, I’ll just see if I can fit it in a bit little and often. A short few words. A new rhythm.

I’ve worked most of the week and the children have been dispatched to school. We’ve all struggled with tiredness and fitting back into the routine, I find mornings the most difficult particularly with George whose day is now incredibly long and who is the most vocal about letting me know how unhappy he is about it.

For whatever reason I’ve unexpectedly found myself without the children for both the Saturday and Sunday stretch this weekend. I feel untethered on these kind of days, not in a free and spacious way, in all honesty it feels like a sad, ill defined flimsiness takes hold. Most days it’s like this I am incredibly lucky to be constantly distracted by friends and family and I can ignore that underlying feeling. If not with friends and family I can fill my time with trail running but I was slightly unprepared today and I’m feeling run down this week. It’s been particularly slow and languid and as the day has worn on I’ve been feeling more and more ill. I’ve tried to relish it, I’ve finally done what I have been hoping for for so long. A real day where I actually did SLOW DOWN. So many people have said it to me, in such a frantic time. A simple day alone. A delicious vegetable soup and a slow cooked stew with roast potatoes, audio books and reading and a walk in the woods with the dog. I made myself a little nest on the sofa and crocheted another bright square for another small person blanket and ate chocolate ice cream watching the crown. I feel like I have so much to do and I don’t know why I chose today to pick this up again. I never know quite how I feel about blogging – how much I want to be about my life and how much I was supposed to be doing this to showcase what I make. I feel like I’ll only work it out if I post.

Running

AFGO

21st August 2017

I was walking the dog the other day and bumped into one of the regular walkers I’ve seen intermittently over the last three years.

Picture of my feet on my run

 

She asked me what exactly I was doing the other day running up the road with a rucksack. I was running up the road with a rucksack because I was on a LONG ONE. I told her I’d been on a 20 mile run that day, up to Stanmer round the woods, then down to Rottingdean to the sea and across to Brighton pier. I finished up with a beer and a packet of crisps in a bar with a quiet sense of satisfaction that I can’t quantify entirely. She looked at me like I’m mad. Running, as I’ve written before, gives me a release, an out from the chaos, a pause. I am going through what Glennon Doyle Melton dubs an ‘AFGO’ – another fucking growth opportunity and running is one of an arsenal of tools I am using to get through it.

I’m not like Glennon, I’m not sure how much I want to share out here, online, in this space. I don’t want to spill all my thoughts when I feel like I’ve been cracked open. But what I can do is share some things about my life and the latest news on the running front is that at the start of the summer I signed up for another ultra, a 50 miler in November. This, is reaching to be honest for my little body but it builds on the the 30 miler which I ran in May when I was at my physical and spiritual lowest. If I can do that, in that state I feel I can do 50. That run was weeks after life as I knew it and understood it collapsed. I don’t really understand how I managed it, but I think I found a part of myself training for that run that I needed to, otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to continue. It gave me healthy goals, to stay hydrated and nourished and steer me from that which does neither of those things and it helped with much needed endorphins. I prayed it would help me with sleeping but weirdly, despite being exhausted by training that never worked. I ran a marathon distance one Sunday and was still wracked with insomnia, running only temporarily stops thought when you run. After that you’re on your own!

Anyway I went one step further on Saturday, I signed up for something else. When I finish Wendover 50 in November I’m going to have qualified for what I call a ‘proper ultra’ (an ultra being any run over marathon distance) and I also have a place lined up on the South Downs 100 for next June. Yep, 100 miles… in one go. Me, the stay at home mum that makes the blankets. This period of time in my life is for redefinition and I feel like this is a suitably extreme move for an extreme time. I’ve got a challenging training schedule and timings are not ideal, I’m soon to throw a job into the mix but I’m determined to achieve what I want in the bits in between. The bits in between, that’s all we have. I made a new friend that day when I explained about the running on my dog walk, she got it, she understood where I’m coming from with it and as her text afterward said “BOOM. LET’S GO”

 

 

Crochet

The blanket of redemption

2nd August 2017

I stopped crocheting for a bit.

For me that’s a sign that something, in this case my all, is extremely awry. This craft has become for me as natural as breathing. I notice the days I don’t pick up the hook at least once in the day. Throughout my dad’s illness, I still picked up the hook and managed to add mindless lines to an every growing granny square. This time in my life is different though. This time I wasn’t able to contemplate carving out a half hour pocket in the day, every day was a vacuum. Days slipped into weeks and all the things I enjoyed: reading, coding, crocheting, blogging and writing took a backseat to what we can fairly refer to as ‘the trauma’. I just concentrated on the essentials, eating, walking the dog, bathing and not much else.

But a few weeks ago, I started a square. I took a basket of colours and I felt for each new round, for a colour that would sit right. It got bigger and bigger and it felt better and better to focus on each next colour, each next join. Before I knew it, as one square slotted into the next I had a blanket to border.

It’s sitting on the side in my bedroom at the moment, waiting to be sent. Another task on the seemingly endless to do, but I started and I finished something, stitch by stitch. I felt me when I was doing it, I make a good blanket and I love this one. This one makes my heart sing. I’m relieved that I’ve come back to it. It’s a part of me, I love the process of creation and I wouldn’t want to lose something else I love right now.

I’ve a busy week planned, two rooms to get ready for air bnb, rainy days in which to entertain the children, job applications to tailor, miles to run. I’ve signed up for another ultra, almost double the distance of the first. Today’s training run was just bleak, I endured torrential rain and wind on the cliffs of Rottingdean as I closed in on 18 miles.

Anyway, enough on that, I’m exhausted, here are some more captures of Verity’s blanket. I WILL send it this week!


 

Crochet Life

The #instasabbatical

21st July 2017

 

Instagram logo with the words Dopamine posted behind it.

I’m going on an intentional instagram sabbatical from now through to the end of the summer holidays. That means I’m deleting the app, not posting and not checking in. I’ve been putting up posts on instagram for 5 years!!! FIVE. That’s a LONG TIME. I know this because I check my time hop and my little people really were actually really little when I started uploading snapshots, it’s become a bit of a way of life.

My post count to date now comes in at 3500, which is a bit staggering but does in actual fact mean I’ve only averaged a couple of posts a day. For anyone that follows me, you know that I do have an bit of a binge when I finish a crochet project, so most of it is crochet. The rest of what’s up there are photos of the family, friends, Brighton, books and the dog. Really, it’s like a visual diary, something that replaced blogging for me, tiny little filtered and edited highlights in my life.

Anyway time out and here’s why, I had to start to ‘manage’ my time on the app at the start of the year, it started to fall under the same umbrella of Facebook (which I left) and that umbrella name is basically TIMESUCK, so I stopped checking instagram as much. First up I started checking how long I was spending with the app open (settings > battery) and I was horrified by the amount of time it took up in the day. Hours. Something had to change. I didn’t think I had hours. I am a busy person! But the reality was, I was spending hours on there and not reading or coding, or making, the things I really enjoy. Presumably also it’s been thieving time away from my family. On top of that I clearly wasn’t doing all the other boring necessary stuff of life when I was on there so I needed to reclaim my time. Every week I deleted it from my phone and resumed a life for 7 days where I have no social media interaction AT. ALL. And unsurprisingly I got more done.

Those weeks though I noticed, as the week was beginning just how often I had been checking it reflexively, how I’d be standing in a queue and pressing the home button then thoughtlessly reaching for the app. (The solution I have found to this is to move the apps I don’t want to use like this to my last screen so there’s more time for me to realise I’m swiping mindlessly – I recommend it)

I have realised that I’ve recently become too distracted instagram and in turn was seduced by all sorts of irrelevancy as a consequence, I’d ricochet from account to account and then click through links and surf the web. Whilst I love the banter and the dopamine hit from all the liking I can also get swept down the rabbit hole of scrolling. I’ve even started buying stuff from the adverts, so that marketing clearly works! Overall I genuinely feel like it makes me less able to focus on one thing at a time in general. The weeks it is off the table I am able to move from one task to the next in a much more fluid and deliberate way.

It can be a bit of a weird space anyway, throwing up an awful lot of interesting observations too. I’m guilty of it, but it can be such an earnest space. I’ll write an earnest post, similar in scope to a blog post and then I’ll internally cringe wondering why I’m posting something like that. I can’t decide if it’s just self doubt or because I suspect sharing too much is inappropriate, but it can feel so false if you’re not real. Then in turn it can also feel too much when someone’s trying to be intentionally inspirational. There’s a balance somewhere.  I also know people that follow me in real life but don’t ever like my posts and then will refer to things I’ve done and posted about in conversation, I think that’s odd. Stories is a strange one too, I think I might post them purely because there’s the option of posting them, none of mine have ever been that interesting and yet HUNDREDS of people look a them. To be honest I feel I am stealing people’s time, so I might opt out of them in the future. I’ve also not been convinced of my motivation for putting stuff up at this current point in my life. I feel like I might be posting for a bit of self-validation from outside now I’m on my own rather than posting purely to share.

However I will get back into it after I’ve had a break, but I’ll be sharing the snapshots with intention not just share for the sake of it. Then there’s also a community online, the ‘people in my phone’, instagram is definitely self selecting and has in some ways enabled me to ‘find my people’, the people that enjoy doing the same things. I don’t want to say it, but it’s a bit tribal in that respect. There are artists and makers and individuals around the world I never would have connected with in real life if it were not for instagram. I also find other people’s feeds inspirational and it influences things I do and make.

Not posting or interacting does have consequences. It’s an absolutely certainty that an algorithm coded deep in the structure of the app means if you don’t engage you will get less traffic so I might not get seen for a while when I get back to it. What will happen though is I will be more in the present. I’m looking forward to engaging with the kids all over the summer holidays. I’m looking forward to experiences that won’t be observed but treasured. I’m looking forward to focus, I’m looking forward to feeling more in control of my life and less scattered. I’m looking forward to not feeling like I’m putting a front on my life. I’m looking forward to it all.

Thanks to @jamesllewis for letting me use the above image. Another person I wouldn’t have come across were it not for the insta platform.

 

 

 

 

Life

Headspace Meditation

7th April 2017

Image of the headspace app logoAt the start of 2017 I wrote a couple of things on the blog that I was going to try to do with my year. The aim of those things are to put me in a better place by the end of 2017. It’s April and I’ve kept them in mind almost everyday and because of that, everyday try my best to set out to do them. I wanted to set aside time to write code, I know that if I do some everyday I’ll steadily get used to the new syntax. I realise it’s not going to be a skill learned overnight, it needs me to show up for deliberate and regular practice. I have pretty much coded at least 80% of the days in 2017. I haven’t kept proper track but most mornings I am settled in the kitchen at 6 and coding until 7.30 and then I do some later in the day. The other thing I wanted to incorporate into the fabric of my day was meditation. After courses and an intermittent personal practice over the last 5 years I know that when I do manage to ‘sit’ I have a better day. How many times have I meditated this year? Maybe 10 times??? I just wasn’t getting it done. I had it as the practice I was supposed to do after I walked Rocco but there pretty much always seemed like there was something more pressing or attractive to get on with when I got in the door. Part of what I learnt every time I’ve had a meditation ‘binge’ though is that the more consistent you are, the more benefit you get.

The days I meditate I focus better. ALOT better. I’m generally more patient, more productive and much calmer, less anxious and less distracted. I feel like I am a better version of me afterward. Why I don’t then end up doing it everyday just doesn’t make sense. I guess I’m resisting it because I don’t want to be dependent on that one thing. Except that one thing ends up creating more space in my day. It also gives me more ability to do one thing at a time without letting my mind buzz noisily like background static or my thoughts jump chaotically from the past to the future, place to place, never settling on the task at hand.

A few weeks ago over drinks, (I had my first beer of the year – I know – I was supposed to be avoiding drinking, whole other story) headspace came up, the conversation being whether to sign up after the trial or not. It’s been on my radar for ages because it’s constantly referred to on Tim Ferris’ podcast. I’m also wading through Tools of Titans at the moment and I am always reading about another successful person and their meditation practice. So I downloaded it as a way of prompting myself to actually take the time to pause and over the last 9 days I’ve ‘taken 10’ everyday. That’s a record as far as 2017 goes and it feels like a relief for me to have managed to work out a way to practice, this time I’m doing it as soon as I wake up. I also nominated a friend, without his consent (my cousin Tom) to be my accountability. When I’ve sat for a session I drop him a text and for some reason I felt more obligated to do it once I set that up. As it turns out he’s been taking ten too and I get a text back so it’s worked out. I’ve signed up for the year. I know I need this in my life, I like Andy Puddicombe’s voice, I like the vibe and the intention and I see this as a really worthwhile investment in myself. Of course I will let you know if I keep it up.

As for whether I am significantly better as a person, I’ll be honest I did actually explode with fury when I realised I was locked out the house the other day and I’ve just snapped at Ruby for repeating a line from Pokemon for about the twentieth time. I’m not walking round calm and zen, I’m still as highly strung and irritable as before. 9 days have just made me think at least 9 times about what I think about, observe them and let them be with no judgement. I really recommend giving it a try.