How I Spend my Days.

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Image found via Pinterest.

I have written something every day for the last 1,222 days.

I have meditated every day for the last 311 days.

Why to I keep track of these activities? It started as  a way to motivate myself to do the things I ket saying I wanted to do but somehow kept putting off doing. Taking a cue from Jerry Seinfeld, I created a yearly chart on a dry erase board and marked an “X” in each box every day I wrote. Seeing that chain of x’s created enough momentum that I didn’t want to break the chain.

Same with meditation. I use an app that keeps track of my sessions. It’s so encouraging and empowering to see the days add up.

As the days add up, I notice a shift. A shift in how I relate to myself, to the world, to my writing, to my thoughts.

As the days add up, I realize I am no longer longing to live the life I want to live, I am actually living it. As Annie Dillard says:

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Image found via Pinterest.

An Experiment in Blogging Everyday.

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If you’ve followed this blog at all the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been trying something different lately:

Blogging. Every. Day.

I got the idea from Austin Kleon who got the idea from Seth Godin.

I enjoy the structure of needing to write and post something every day.

I found that I was hoarding my blog ideas, saving them for a “better” time. But, as Annie Dillard says:

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book, give it, give it all, give it now.”

This isn’t an attempt to build my platform or increase my blog presence/readership. This is an experiment for me, to explore new ideas, to write daily and send those words out into the world.

I’m not worried about timing my posts to get the most traffic or writing headlines that lure readers in. It’s truly just about writing something every day.

As Seth Godin says,

“Are you able, every day, to say one thing that’s new that you can stand behind?”

As I write something each day, I’ve become a tuning fork to the world around me, always seeking something new to explore here. Something I can articulate and stand behind.

The more I create, the more ideas I have.

The more ideas I have, the more I write.

The more I write, the more I learn to spend it all, every time.

The more I learn to spend it all, the more I learn to trust my creative process.

The more I trust the process, the more I create.

 

Her Days.

Photo: Patty via Flickr

Photo: Patty via Flickr

Day 2 of the Write Yourself Alive Challenge.

Narrate a day in your life as the main character of an autobiographical novel.

She is getting used to the silent days. So much silence, it is like another presence, sharing space with her. What she wouldn’t have given for that peace and quiet when her kids were little and the only quiet time she had was in the shower or while she slept. But even then, even in those moments, the quiet was punctured by this underlying waiting, this awareness of others in the house, others who could need her at any moment.

She lived her life on guard.

Now, for the most part of most days, she is in the house alone. When her husband travels, the only time she hears her own voice is when she talks to her dog. She lavishes her with language, as much for the dog and for herself.

She tells herself that all that silence feeds her writing. And it does, When she lets it. Some days though she hides from it. Dodging the silence all day long by calling people, mindless meandering across the internet, binge watching a show on Hulu, pouring the glass of wine a little earlier than normal. Those days, the silence feels like a call to a duel, a duel she has no energy to engage in.

Other days, she embraces the silence, the solitude. She starts the day with meditation, that thing she has resisted for so many years but now feels familiar. Not always comfortable but definitely familiar. A candle glows on her altar, the sweet sugary scent reminding her of a bakery first thing in the morning. Then she goes to her desk and opens a notebook to fill three pages with the ramblings of her mind, no product in mind, just pure process of connecting pen to paper, heart to mind. Then it’s over to the computer where she dismantles the internet through Freedom for 45 minutes and manages to eek out at least 500 words on her novel.

Those days are good days. Those days she gives her writing and silence the attention and priority they deserve.

She’s learning to have compassion for all of her days. Trying not to label them as good or bad. Trying not to label herself as good or bad. Learning there are days when she is present and days when she is not.

And they are just days.

Her precious days.

Then she remembers the Annie Dillard quote:

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Her life has been made up and is made up of days, some loud and crowded and pulsing with other’s needs and some quiet and subdued and just aching for her to look at her own needs. But they are all her days making up her life, a life that she tries to rise up and meet every single morning the best she can, honoring the ebb and flow of moods, energy, attention, awareness.

Honoring her self.

Honoring her wild and precious days.

Honoring her one wild and precious life.

The Art of Habits

I’ve been thinking a lot about habits lately. I recently finished a 21-Day Cleanse with a group from my yoga studio where we omitted all animal products, gluten, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. I happened to get majorly sick smack in the middle of it so that contributed to the eight pounds I lost. And I admit, I started off doing it for the weight loss possibility but it ended up being more about becoming aware of my habits. Habits like snacking while I make lunch or dinner, “needing” a piece of chocolate after a meal, having that glass or two of wine at the end of the day. Once I noticed these habits then it became about figuring out what feelings were hiding under the habits and you know, feeling them. Crabby, bored, tired, frustrated? Then it was about replacing it with something else. I think that was the key that helped me stay on it for the full 21 days and I still don’t feel the need to go binge on chocolate or wine. Sure, I gave up a lot of things, but I also tried out many new recipes and the food was real, filling and delicious. Many of my replacements involved tea. Instead of wine I’d have a cup of Bedtime Tea. Instead of snacking while I cooked, I had a cup of Lemon Ginger tea. But it wasn’t just about replacing wine with tea. More importantly, the tea didn’t numb me or disconnect me. Instead, it gave me moments to be really present to my life, to my Self.

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So, these are all habits around food but I am also looking at other habits and hoping to bring the same kind of awareness to them and find more nurturing replacements. Watching TV while I eat? Checking Facebook way too often? Most of my bad habits are really just ways I distract myself. From what is the big question, right? That’s what I hope to uncover. And instead of labeling habits “good” or “bad” I am trying something new. In fact, I used this whole theme when I taught my yoga and journaling class, “Write Into Yoga” earlier this week. I love the idea of identifying your top five values then listing habits that move you toward living those values, those that lead you away from them and future habits that you want to implement that will help you live the values you chose. For example, if I value health I might include practicing yoga in the first column, procrastinating on scheduling my physical in the second and incorporating more cardio into my week in the third. With that in front of me, I see what works, what doesn’t so I can make a change and what other habits I can welcome into my days. As Annie Dillard says, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” How do you want to spend yours?