Keep on keepin’ on

Running Buddha, Zaimu Challenge

Today I woke up on time, then promptly fell asleep.

I strive to wiggle out of bed around 4:45, but this morning’s rain gave me permission to push that back. Since I couldn’t run as I intended, I slept instead.

Despite the extra sleep and snuggling with my boo, I was still sleepy throughout the day. I blame the rain and subsequent clouds. I perked up later on when the sun won out.

Allyson Felix

Reminding myself of yesterday’s victories, I scheduled and scored some today by eating a frog early and then making my way through some easier, yet still dreaded, tasks.

I also planned my approach to an ongoing project so I can stop making excuses and gain momentum. There are still a couple of things left to do before calling it a day, but I can claim today’s W already.

What are you doing today to ensure tomorrow’s success?

Light a candle…

Zaimu Challenge

Today I lit a candle and jotted my thoughts as I set my intentions for the weeks ahead. It’s a new moon, which means it’s a perfect time for a new start.

As I reviewed my words and phrases, I noticed creativity appeared more than once on my list. It’s been a major theme of mine this year, and it make sense it’s time to refresh my focus. The past couple of weeks I’ve had to turn my attention to less than creative projects that take up a lot of mental energy. Today I finished the heavy lifting on much of that, and I felt free!

 

I love it when I see evidence of my internal state in the external world, and this popped up just now:

Phyinomenal screenshot

I’m excited to turn my attention back to creative pursuits – everything from cooking, writing and seduction, to even rebuilding my connection to español.

It’s a new moon. What’s your new start?

Three Poisons

Text Talk

The past couple of days and today especially, my thoughts have turned to the three poisons. They are a subject of daily inquiry as I reflect upon what is good and how to create more of it in society.

In Nichiren Buddhism, the three poisons are greed, anger and foolishness. In brief, greed is the desire for excess – more than one’s share, to the detriment of others. Anger is grounded in ego. It’s the distorted belief (and behavior) that one is better than others, and is often brought on by lack of self-confidence.  Foolishness is ignorance of the true nature of oneself.  It’s unawareness or disbelief in the potential for enlightenment.

Aspen-Meadows-Resort_711428_imageI believe all of what ails society can be traced to one or more of these poisons. Today’s session was on property and efficiency, and featured writings from Plato, Locke, Khaldūn and Bolívar. For various reasons, Bolívar’s Angostura Address was the most impactful for me.  Two lines from his fiery speech:

Hence, legislators, your task is all the more difficult in that you have to reform men perverted by the illusions of error and unhealthy desire. <and>
…purify the corrupted aspects of our republic, denouncing ingratitude, selfishness, coldness of affection for the country, idleness and negligence on the part of citizens, and condemn the causes of corruption and pernicious examples...

In both cases I see the three poisons alluded to as corrupting influences. He seeks to provide an antidote through the reformation of government.

The seminar method of discussing these texts is an interesting one.  Each of the participants pulls out very different things as inspiring, or problematic or food for thought. Our constant task is to make sense of what we’re reading and discern the lessons for leadership locked within.

Tomorrow we continue with a double session. More to come.


Read the next post in the Aspen Seminar series.

Probability, Possibility and Change

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April, Love

I believe in the potential for change. Change is, after all, one of the few constants in life. Even at the cellular level, there is always change. Birth, aging, sickness, death. Rebirth. Change.

I’m speaking about it in grand terms, but what I’m really talking about is the potential for individuals to evolve. To shift in attitudes, ways of thinking, and behaviors. To learn new things and be affected by them.

Ultimately, I believe in the potential of humans to be human.

…humans are always evolving (Freire). Not in the sense that humans are some how deficient, but rather that they, like plants, continue to seed and bloom and remake themselves. To live is to grow. Stagnation is, in effect, death. 
~Nicole D. Collier, In Defense of Inquiry

Earlier today someone mentioned in an offhand manner that grown people don’t change. Moreover, an attitude a man held five or six years ago would still be his attitude now.

You could make the case this is likely true. But as someone committed to developing my potential and helping others realize and develop theirs, I’m not so stuck on probability. I invite you to embrace possibility.

If we all stuck to what was probable, inventions we take for granted today would never have been birthed. If we dismissed things based merely on probability, who would ever take risks? What would be the purpose of ever dreaming beyond the present moment? There would be no bucket lists. No Nobel Prizes. No late blooming ballerinas. No manned missions to space. What use would anyone ever have for toiling or exploration?

When we are quick to write off the very possibility of human change, it becomes easy to write off those who have made poor choices in the past. Because they’ll “never amount to anything,” we expel kids from school without a second thought. Because “they’re worthless,” we allow people to die slow deaths in cages. And those who get out alive can scarcely live because, “they’re criminals anyway,” so they’ve proven they can’t handle voting, making an honest living, or {insert thing “good” people can do}.

I’m not arguing that we should ignore current evidence of ideas and attitudes people hold. After all, it’s sage advice to believe people when they show you who they are. But they’re showing you who they are at a given moment. Not who they were at birth. Not who they’ll be at death. Life shaped us to be who we are right now. Are you satisfied that this is the final version of you the world will ever see?

Human revolution cannot be pinned down to one specific thing. It is any action that leads to positive change or improvement in the inner realm of a person’s life. It is an ongoing process. The important question to ask yourself is whether you are on a path of continuous personal growth. ~Daisaku Ikeda

If we’ve not bothered to investigate – to engage another in a conversation, to see if evidence warrants new opinions, we’ve denied another human being the chance to be human.

Transformative learning occurs when one makes meaning of her life experiences. It often happens after a disorienting event. Something knocks you off balance and you are thrown into emotional vertigo.

Someone you love dies unexpectedly and you question the meaning of life. You travel abroad and confront culture in previously unimagined ways. You experience a profound betrayal. You read a book or watch a movie that elucidates a deeply resonant truth.

Whatever the event, you’re suddenly off-kilter and you must fight to reorient your life. Sometimes this reorientation means revisiting images of the past and reframing them. Or discarding them completely.

But the point is, you change. Your perspective changes. You release long-held beliefs. You alter your behavior. You’re different. You do what humans have the capacity to do. You learn and grow. You evolve.

It can happen at any point to any one of us. Even you…

We mustn’t discard possibility.

On clarity and sabotage

30 Day Blog Challenge

This has been a year of transition.  Every season thus far has boasted some sort of change, and that remains true with the advent of fall. Recent professional shifts have left me considering next steps, which, in many ways, will be a return to previous steps. As I checked in with self about my current professional path, the thought above came to me.

When I say “supposed to be doing” I don’t mean according to some external metric.  These days it’s easy to be swayed by the expectations of Big Brother. We’re a surveillance-happy society, wherein we’ve virtually relinquished self-control and self-expression in favor of conformity via the policing of bodies and thoughts by peers, or nonconformity and the punishment industry. So no, I don’t mean what someone else thinks I’m supposed to be doing.

I mean the thing or things I truly desire deep down. The things I feel pulled toward when I am otherwise occupied. Over the years, that pull hasn’t been very strong, so I put plans on the back burner. Eventually I’ll get to this, that, or the other thing. But I have new goals and new plans to meet these goals, and right now daily life isn’t in alignment. In a moment of stillness, I felt that pull.

To the degree that I am clear on my desires, and my mission in life, my bouts of self-sabotage become more difficult to sustain.

It’s time to get in sync.

This is not a review of iOS 7

30 Day Blog Challenge

Generally speaking, I’m a late early adopter. This basically means you won’t catch me standing in line or logging in at midnight to get new hardware or software on launch day. But it also means I won’t be joining MySpace while the whole world (except musicians) has migrated to Facebook.

I wait to hear how things are going. I also wait for at least one round of updates for bugs that weren’t discovered or resolved during beta testing or public release. Then I decide if the latest {insert gadget or app here} is for me.

So I’m sort of surprised that I’m sitting here with iOS 7 on my iPhone right now. Not sure what made me go ahead and update, but I did. This is not a review, but I will say I like it. I don’t love it, but it’s cool. Siri seems smarter, more responsive than the previous OS. You can also decide if you want Siri to be a her or a him. I tried male Siri, but he got on my nerves.

I like the fact that it’s easier to close apps running in the background. Just a double-click and flick. Email feels faster, and I’ve deleted my flashlight app since they’ve added one to the OS. Just swipe up from the lock screen, and there it is, along with a few other utilities you probably use regularly.

I’m not really sold on the visual appeal. It reminds me of the new Gmail look, of which I’m not a fan either. I suppose I’ll get used to it soon enough.  And wow, just now I randomly opened Photos. Now THAT is an update I can get behind. Beautiful organization!

Even though I’m telling you all of these things, this is not a review! I’m writing to point you to a resource I found last night.

If you have, or plan to get iOS 7 any time soon, check out this post from Business Insider. It lists 19 tips to maximize your user experience. A few of these are helpful or interesting, at least. My favorite one is the first one: swipe your texts from right to left to see what time they were sent. Take a look at the tips and let me know which one is your fave.

Are you an early or late adopter? Are you on iOS 7? Why or why not? Tell me your story in the comments.

…but how do you want to feel?

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Productivity, Temple Building, Women's Health

I’m home, after a day of inspiration. And like I’ve been for the past few months, I’m tired. I’m not bone tired or weary, but I’ve just noticed that I’m not as energized as I used to be. There are many very specific reasons for that, but they all boil down to one: change.

One day after work, I did handstands and cartwheels in this grass.
One day after work, I did handstands and cartwheels in this grass.

Over the past several months, I’ve changed a lot and so has my environment. From my zip code to my job responsibilities, to aspects of romantic and platonic relationships.

Personal goals and professional goals have shifted. Exercise habits have changed. Food. The amount of time I spend in the sun or the ways I engage nature. The amount and type of sleep I get. It’s all been one massive ball of change.

Some changes have been on purpose, and others were the result of circumstances. But it still amounts to the same thing: a whole lot is different right now.

It reminds me of the time I was a classroom teacher. At the beginning of every year, I started routines and rituals. I got to know my students, and in some cases new curriculum, new materials, new administrators, and/or new colleagues. All I could do was work my heart out each day and come home and sleep. And sleep.

Sometimes, at the start of school, I’d be asleep well before sunset (not kidding) and I wouldn’t move until daybreak. And that would go on maybe two or three weeks.  Suddenly, I’d get in the swing of things. I’d be on it. Everything would run smoothly at work, and I’d have plenty of energy to plan ahead, or dance, or date, or take classes, or whatever.

But it always took time. And even though it happened every year like clockwork, I had to be gentle with myself, and do what I needed to do to reach a state of equilibrium with my surroundings.

Except for exercise choices, which are primarily seasonal, my recent changes have not been cyclical. They’ve been positive, yet progressive and persistent. One month after another, there’s been a new spin on things. And I haven’t been very good at stopping to reflect. To do the inner work to harmonize fully with all aspects of my life.

Today’s keynote speaker, Akilah Richards, asked us to consider,

…but how do you want to feel?

And I took the time to sit with that this morning. I journaled about it. I sat in the sunshine. I mulled. I want to feel energized and accomplished. Cheerful. Not superficially, or for a few hours in the morning, but I want these feelings to pervade my day and influence my environment.

At the core I want to BE energy and BE productivity and BE good cheer. I’ve felt that way before. I’ve been those things before. I know how to be that person.  I’ll learn how to be those things again, in my new place and under my new conditions.

Clarity is a critical first step.

Mindful action will be the second.

Stay tuned.

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Home. Again.

Personal Narrative

#SOCsunday

How do you feel about change? Do you like routine and predictability? Does it bring you comfort or discontent? Talk about it general or tell us a specific story about a big change in your life and how you feel about it.

Change is good.

But it would be a lie to say I don’t like routine and predictability – especially since I find I thrive when I impose structure in an otherwise unstructured day, activity, task, or what have you.

I want to be stable. I’ve moved quite a bit in the past several years, mostly across the Georgia/Florida line. But I don’t want to have to think to recall my “last” address. I want to put down roots.

When I don’t feel the routine, structure, or location works, a shake up is in order, and that’s exactly the case right now. I moved here in July, hauling most of my stuff, yet again, across the state line. I like my apartment quite a bit, but months after I’d settled in, I found myself still imagining, praying about, thinking about, “a home I love and can easily afford.” It surprised me, but I knew deep down I hadn’t quite found it. Enter, change.

I needed a bit of a nudge. I was just about to let myself get comfortable in this space. I had fallen into the routine of this address. Predictable. Routinized. But the renewal letter came. Rent is going up (dramatically) and I will no longer pretend this is the best place for me.

I’ve got the moving thing down. I can pack up all of my stuff in 1-2 days max, and unpack it in the same amount of time. I’m excited about house hunting. I’m ready for a change.


This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.