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tsundoku

7th October 2018

Books by my bed

As much as I like to borrow books I love to have them also. Everything about the stacks of reading material beside my bed is making me happy.

In no particular order:

The lost flowers of Alice  Hart: Holly Ringland, passed to me by my sister Hannah.

Everything I know about love: Dolly Alderton, a birthday present from my friend Caroline because we both love listening to the High Low podcast.

The Way of the happy woman: Sara Avant Stover, because this book is a nourishing companion to my life and I’m not looking after myself properly at the moment

Let go my hand: Edward Docx, an author I hadn’t heard of but I signed myself up for a writing workshop with him in November last Friday evening. Happy Birthday to me.

A question of trust: Penny Vincenzi, because I love her doorstop books. I hadn’t realised she had died and so sadly read her obituary today also, she’s a bit of an inspiration to me.

Willpower: Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, because I need to exercise a bit more discipline, ritual and routine in my life to get what I want to get done, done. I can be determined and focused, but currently outside of work and feeding the children I’ve lost the thread a bit with my creating, my fitness and my money. That in turn makes me not feel on top of life.

The Compassionate Mind: Paul Gilbert, because I pulled an angel card the other day I hadn’t before that said I should exercise compassion, then I saw this book on the shelf that day in Waterstones. I think probably I need to exercise a bit more self compassion, I’ve had to tilt a little out of some parts of my life while I get to grips with my new role as a junior creative developer and I’m constantly berating myself for not being more organised. It’s not always home cooked meals from scratch like it used to be and sometimes I don’t have time to make packed lunches. I need to do things like change the energy provider, file the paperwork and sort the garden out. Keeping on top of the house is a daily struggle. Most often I am in bed at the same time as the children during the week because I’m so exhausted and it feels like nothing else gets done. There are so many imperfections and things I would like to be better at but I have to remember I am holding down a job, the kids and the dog are happy, there’s always deliveroo, the world is still turning and everyday I start afresh.

Magazines: Flow/Frankie both purchased at Magazine.

I cannot imagine life without reading. I’m so looking forward to curling up with these in the evenings.

Life

Back: This week

6th October 2018

Picture of the book 'The Art of Falling apart"

I’ve gone cool on instagram. Again. It got to be too earnest a digital space for me to inhabit. I don’t want to consume there, I don’t want to participate in the glib, prosaic, pretty much formulaic style of copy I seemed to be actually quite ok at. Basically, I’m conflicted for a number of reasons I can’t currently find it within myself to elaborate on, but I’ve not been on there all week save to see a photo taken of me on Friday lunchtime being gloriously happy holding my friends baby. It’s weird all this digital content we can create, feel compelled to create, it’s all tied up with recognition and value/significance, I just want anyone that wants to read what I write to have intentionally sought it. Not by virtue of a follow once, long ago, on a platform that seeks to hold our attention, because you’re here. You’re reading this. It’s too difficult to explain in a few short sentences, perhaps I’ll try another time.

I also gave up on the challenge ‘a year of you’ – it got to the relationship part and the words ‘fuck this’ made me not want to do it anymore. Just being honest.

Today has been lazy. I’ve got the children all weekend and we had to set out with the dog to get George to his martial arts class in swift haste because no-one was ready in time. Ruby and I then pointlessly drove round for a bit before parking the car in the local supermarket and attempting to take the dog up the moving walkway (the lift wasn’t working) to wander round London Road. He was having none of it, lay on the floor in absolute terror, resisting going anywhere near it with the considerable strength of his entire being. Like many other escalators and bridges of the past, it didn’t happen. We got back in the car and had to park somewhere else.

We then had bacon sandwiches at the cafe next door and got my fringe trimmed by my lovely hairdresser who always make sure she holds me in a hug before making me look like myself again. Since being back I’ve sat with Ruby and helped her code a rudimentary page for a science project. It’s got animated text so far and we plan to add to it over the coming days. She even created her own timeline! In between I have been dipping in and out of this wonderful book “The art of falling apart” by Christina Patterson. I delight in reading but weekends are my binge. This book has described something I have been through recently through the stories of others and although it feels quite close to the bone sometimes and I have physically felt uncomfortable during the reading, I am enjoying something sometimes only the written word can do, making you feel less alone.

Off the back of searching for everything Christina has ever written on the internet, on a link frenzy I came across these words said by John Docx on being a writer: “to give precise and enduring expression to the human experience”. I’m writing now – I don’t feel I’ve quite given precise and enduring expression to my human experience, but what I do know is that I have liked to write here in the past. I know that sometimes, the things I have written have made people I don’t know write to me and tell me their stories. That’s what we’re all doing, sharing stories of our experience. I ended up buying all his books too and then being freakishly alarmed by them arriving and being handed to me hours later – bloody prime, I’ve got proper tsundoku at the moment, piles and piles of material to read. It makes me feel content in a way that a full freezer does.

If you’ve ever felt your life has hit the skids, accompany your demise by reading this book, it covers all the horrors of what can and perhaps will unfold in any human experience. It will prove the human ability for resilience. It will make you want to believe in the words by Brad Meltzer.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

 

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.

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.

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.

Crochet Life Running This week

:: This week ::

29th January 2017

Photograph of a graphic style piece of street art

 

:: Making ::

Still just adding to the babette this week. No further progress to report on that. I’m hooking up a hat, continuing on with my scrap project —

Crochet circle

 

It’s growing slowly, am hoping to find a circular cushion to fit this too… on the list.

Ruby and I also spent Saturday morning knotting up friendship bracelets. I made a couple with 8 strands but they aren’t finished yet and I’ve not got any pictures at the moment. Ruby mastered the chevron and has made a few now, she found the printed patterns for bracelets using any more than 4 strands difficult to understand (as did I, it took me a few hours and some youtube videos to decipher them!) That’s it for makes.

:: Reading ::

I finished Shonda Rime’s “Year of Yes” (3/5) and I’m stuck into “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry now. I’ve also started reading a design book on design systems and user interfaces, largely out of my depth on that, but immersing myself in all things web design and development at the moment. It’s good to read something different.

:: Listening to ::

ABRA

I’ve watched nothing on TV except Homeland, we’re a season behind. Drinking? None. I know you can’t believe it either. I’ve run 17.6 miles this week, including one very muddy trail run with Rocco. I had 4 days off after catching a nasty cold last weekend, I just had to get behind early nights and lots of rest at the start of the week. Really not a huge amount going on, am still enjoying hibernating this winter. The daily coding is happening, I should have hit 100 hours in a couple of weeks, I say this tentatively as there is so much to learn and I am only at the beginning, but I’m finally starting to feel that it’s not so alien to me any more. I’m looking forward to being able to do it with my ‘morning head’ on this week. At the weekends I’m attempting an hour after the kids go to bed and my evening head is dull and sluggish and finds everything hard to grasp. On that, it’s grinding as I type, time to hit the hay.

Life

Lists

11th January 2017

A picture of list making

 

Another week of the New Year!

:: On coding everyday, I have managed to sit down with my computer each day except Monday! I’ve not been especially successful but I have done it. Monday didn’t work, the schedule is tricky at the best of times. I had to fit my run in in the evening, in the dark, which isn’t my favourite but necessary if I want to fit it in at all. I think I’m going to have to get up earlier. I began the usual New Year tax return/sorting paperwork stuff on Monday at least, once that’s out the way I’ll have more time. Yesterday I went to a workshop where I met someone who codes in real life. I think that’s going to keep me going.

:: I read a book. Jarrett Kobek’s “I hate the internet”– it deserves it’s own post. The first book I have ever read with so much redacted material to comply with UK libel laws!

:: Not drinking. No drinking has happened. 11 days. I’ve had this as something I track for the last two years, being wiped and low after drinking a couple of glasses of something that’s supposed to be relaxing and fun (and it is at the time) has bothered me for a while. The last significant length of time without a glass of pinot noir or malbec was 57 days. Nowhere near, I think it’s only worked because I haven’t been out in the evening…

:: Guess what? More running. Any correlation? Nearly 40 miles. I signed up for a virtual challenge to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats to keep me motivated this year.

:: Meditating. This has been the difficult ‘big rock‘, although I’ve only missed two days (yesterday included) which I think isn’t bad because it hasn’t been something I have fitted in at all. I need to make sure I ‘sit’ in the beginning part of my day. I started writing my own rooted productivity page after the suggestion in Cal Newport’s email this week (worth a sign up) and worked out meditation comes most days after I’ve walked Rocco. However on Sunday I just ran out of steam, I didn’t wake before the children, we went to junior park run, then swimming lessons almost immediately after, then got the paper. I fitted in walking the dog between this and going to see my nana, I didn’t feel I had that 10 minutes, what I should have done is accept that and go for five. We always have five minutes. Once I got home both children were so edgy from doing too much it felt like we’d all been run down by a bus by the time they went to bed and it was early nights for everyone. On the days where the kids were at home, I explained I was going up to meditate. They get the general idea of meditation. George has discussion of it at ninja I think, Ruby knows I went to classes and we’ve used the “Enchanted Meditation” before, I seem to remember something about them doing it at school. What my children don’t understand if I am awake is how to be more than 6 foot away from me at any given time. I think it was the 2nd of January where, 6 minutes into a mindfulness of breathing meditation I heard little footsteps coming up the stairs to my room. George came in, I paused the meditation, reminded myself the whole idea is to be more present in life, explained I’d prefer if he’d not do this in future, but if he’d like to sit with me I could finish if he was quiet. He wriggled on my lap, he burped and then counted down to the end of my session looking at the phone app I use. The following day I had Ruby come up the stairs (within TWO minutes!) I heard her stop outside the door and wait, clearly wondering what to do. She needed a hairbrush which she eventually decided was quite important and after deliberating she walked in after about 1 minute (in fairness, all I could focus on were my thoughts about when she would come in.) On the whole though, I’ve made it a priority. Do I feel better? I feel more aware of how antsy and perpetually distracted I am.

:: Some crochet too, a hat and a babette update is on its way.