Friday, January 6, 2017

Dream journaling

At the library the other day I noticed and grabbed an interesting book on lucid dreaming—and M.H. read it, too. I wasn’t specifically looking to learn about or harness the power of dreaming, but that certainly aligns with my “imagination” goal for the year. Long story short: We have a new obsession.

One of the first suggestions is to start keeping a dream journal, which is a weird and fascinating exercise. One thing it does is help you remember your dreams in the first place—you work at it because you want to have something to write. I’ve found my dreams so far well worth remembering; one of them was so full of knock-you-over-the-head-obvious symbolism* that it made me laugh.

Anyway, I don’t know where this will lead or how long it will last, but I definitely bought into the idea that lucid dreaming can be fun and beneficial. I’ll let you know if I have any mind-blowing epiphanies.

* I was a passenger in a car with the creator of the diet I’ve been doing, and he was driving really well for a while. Then he started veering out of the lane and then off the road, and I had to reach over take the wheel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Introvert logic

I just finished a series of loooong days to finish editing a book, but it’s all turned in now and I met the deadline. I’m feeling pretty good about myself, because I also managed to keep up with morning yoga (which is awesome), sign up for my local library’s 2017 reading challenge, and finish the first of the 52 books (it was OK).

I actually read more than 52 books last year, according to Goodreads, so it’s not so much a challenge to make myself read more as it is a challenge to make myself connect with other people who like to read. I am feeling right now like the world is full of dangerous greed, deliberate misinformation, racism, and Trump voters. So it can only improve my mood to forge some connection with book readers, which to me equates to “thinking people who are far less likely to have been Trump voters.”

I like to hang out at ArtWalk and the farmers’ market for the same reason. I can look around and think, Although I’m probably not going to talk to any of them, these are much more likely to be my people!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Resolutions for January 2017

It’s really nice to be making resolutions for the month and not the year—far more practical and far less overwhelming. Here they are:
  • Make the phone calls I need to make to get the ball rolling to be a volunteer for this local organization, which offers free childcare to teenage parents so that they can finish their education. I think it’s a great cause, and it seems like I’d be well-suited to the work, which as I understand it is basically just helping out with babies and preschoolers for whatever time I can spare. 
  • Enjoy some candlelight yoga first thing every morning through the month of January. I’m confident that this 31-day series launching January 1 will be just the thing.
  • Take a free Adobe Illustrator classhere’s one I found online that should be no problem to finish within a month. I was having fun designing T-shirts a few years ago and would like to revive my Spreadshirt shop, but with skills.
  • Play around with exposing myself to the cold. I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of cold water, and cold exposure in general. (Here’s a recent thing I saw, or you could Google “Wim Hof” for an idea of what I’m talking about.) This resolution isn’t specific because I want to spend this month literally playing around with the idea and getting used to it, not muscling through some 31-day cold shower challenge.
And, yes, these roughly follow the Service, Heart, Imagination, Toughness framework, because that was actually a really good idea—although maybe I will make it Toughness, Heart, Imagination, Service. We’ll see what happens on the American political landscape.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

This I can get behind

I’m still struggling a bit with my plans for 2017—I have the eight priorities, but it’s hard to translate every single one into a resolution that inspires me (I’ve been trying). In some of those categories, I’m satisfied and don’t really need resolutions. And I have another goal in my head for 2017 that does inspire me but doesn’t really fit with any of my alleged priorities.

There’s also the backfront-of-my-mind worry that things are about to get super ugly in the world, and that maybe I need to be thinking about holding on hard to my nearest and dearest and just forget everything else.

I also realized something JUST THIS VERY SECOND. It’s probably that aforementioned ugliness in the world and its repulsively stupid “Make America Great Again” that has me rebelling against the word “GREAT.”

That settles it. New framework:
  • Service
  • Heart
  • Imagination
  • Toughness

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A manifesto for 2017, part 2

OK, exciting new thought on monthly resolutions!

Since I have a set of eight priorities for 2017, I’m going to have a goal, rule, exercise, affirmation, or task related to each one of them every month. This way I can make some resolutions big and some small, some challenging and some not, but at least I’ll keep everything in mind for the whole year.

It may turn out that eight priorities is too many (and it’s certainly too many to blog about in the way I’ve been doing), but here’s the full list right now:
  • Exercise my creative muscle.
  • Give more to the world.
  • Stick to a healthy diet.
  • Exercise in a way that makes me happy and strong.
  • Minimize digital distractions/optimize human interactions.
  • Keep my house cleaner and cozier.
  • Memorize scripture.
It spells nothing, and I don’t know how I feel about that.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A manifesto for 2017

Just wanted to jot down some thoughts for 2017, since my 2016 manifesto was pretty useful to me. (I did everything on the list to some degree, and I am happier for it!) Anyway, these are my priorities for the new year:
  • Everything on last year’s list is still important to me.
  • I want to exercise my creative muscle more. I have some projects in mind, and I’m thinking that it would be an interesting discipline to blog more, maybe even every day.
  • I want to give more to the world. I’ve already set up a monthly donation to Speak Up for the Poor that begins Jan. 1, and I am thinking hard about a volunteer opportunity I heard about recently.
I also want to keep doing monthly resolutions, but once again I don’t know if the GREAT (goal, rule, exercise, affirmation, task) framework is working for me any more. I could change what the letters stand for again, but maybe I need to change the letters altogether to make it something less cheesy. Or maybe—gasp—I could just write some monthly resolutions without a framework.

Anyway, something for that creative muscle to get started on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The rest of the resolutions (sorry, no further miracles)

Just to wrap up this blogging miniseries about my December resolutions:

My goal of “Never be busy,” of course, is just a state of mind. But the book deadline I was worried about has been pushed back twice, so that has certainly helped. Or at least it has postponed any big temptation to get “busy.”

The no social-media-before-4 rule I have not been sticking to so well—but my awesome new morning routine does keep me away from it very effectively until lunch, at least. More importantly, I feel like I have broken the grip it had on me, and the habit of checking the first thing in the morning. If the news (and the people) in the world were not so infuriating, I would be all good on this front. But it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

The affirmation (“What you really want is the good tired”) I am just pondering. Might be the basis of big plans for 2017.