Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Review

More huge assist from my Power 30 group, self-care on fleek! And starting to GTD even.

September's picks:


1. Clean kitchen to finish?

Not finished yet, but I did do an emergency mop of the main floor after der schweetum's project tracked a lot of grime in—erk I cannot stand to feel dirty floors with my feet, which is why I always wear socks in the house, which I recognize doesn't solve the problem—and I also went Kon-Marie on the pantry shelves, oh and all around the fridge. That was awful. Here, I will draw a map:


I've done where the gear crates used to be (omg that was the worst, that was the corner between the sink and the bedroom), the sink corner, the island corner (but not the stove corner), the pantry corner, and the fridge corner. Down the middle kind of always gets washed with whatever corner just because it's always open, it sure doesn't hurt it, and maybe it needs it because it's the most trafficked. In any case, that's where I'm doing my yoga and my church, and for church I don't use a mat and am rolling around the bare floor; so, that's nice. So I need to do all around the stove, the coffee cart corner, and Kon-Marie the equipment shelves. Oh, and the hutch over the sink. I might be done with this by the end of the year.

The sweetie man's project is going apace, most of the apartment is quite liveable. Even the front room is liveable if you don't mind living in a neatly stacked warehouse. I think the front room will be my big project for 2016. I WANT FURNITURE.


2. Draft budget/business plan, how about that. Or maybe write up where I am with sun salutations, that's been a real bright spot for me.

Done, done, and done, how about that.

Ughghghgh I have dreading looking at my budget since 2013, and before that I wasn't dreading it because I wasn't even thinking about looking at it. It's not half bad, I seem to have just enough income to meet my expenses. It could be better, but it certainly could be worse. Actually I'm $11 over budget, and Hulu is $11.99... then again, between Netflix and Hulu, I can cover a lot of entertainment for $20/month. Truly we live in a golden age.

Business plan
I'm so not an expert on personal finance or running a business, so I don't think it really merits a post, unless you want to read a post about a total innocent stumbling into business without even trying. I already have a title: Mistakes Were Made: How To Succeed In Business Without A Business Plan. Because truly, and I know this might seem surprising, I don't believe so much in plans. I believe in knowing where you are, which is what's good about having looked at my budget? So three years into my business, I know where I am. What does that mean: I know roughly how much money I need to live the way that I live. I know how much money I make from my office job and how much money I make from my training business, and happily there doesn't seem to be a gap between income and expenses. In some ways I'm not sorry that I didn't look until now, because I'm pretty sure that there used to be a pretty big gap and I think that's all I would have been looking at. A pretty basic thing I used to teach in skating was that your body follows your eyes. Look into the gap and you'll find yourself in the gap, look at the work and you'll find yourself with work. And by keeping my eyes on the work for the past three-plus years, I know a lot about the work: how much work this work is, what kind of work this work is, etc. I feel like you can't know that stuff about the work unless you do the work. And therein lies my business plan: I know this is what I like to do, I know this is how much time it takes me to do, I know this is how much money people will pay for me to do it, I know this is how much time I have, I know this is how much money I have, all of those things are like slips of paper that go into a mason jar and ::shake shake shake:: out comes a slip of paper with an idea of what to try next. I mean, mason jars don't work like that. My brain does, though; the mason jar is my brain.

I know, I'm demented. But somehow all of the above is how I have a full boat of clients now. SEIS! (That's an El Mariachi reference.) Until I get a bigger boat—i.e., reduce my hours at the office to open up more training slots. And just under the wire to intake my newest client, I redesigned my new client intake forms. Though I guess how much am I going to be using them, being that I'm not taking any more clients for the time being.

Write up sun salutations
Well, I didn't write them up. I videoed them for my post about practice, and that sort of scratched that itch. They sort of resist writing up because a) I'm no professional yoga teacher, and I don't want to come off like this is the right way to do sun salutations, and b) there's always something that I'm working on and changing, faster than I can write it up, and c) it's always something really little that really would be best shown with animated GIFs, and frankly I'm not all that used to having photos of myself on the internet, let alone video, let alone animated GIFs. Of me possibly doing sun salutations ALL WRONG. And d) if you do take up sun salutations, it's going to be your own thing and maybe showing you my thing gets in the way of that most important message.

I've always had the least to say about what I used to call "fitness" on this blog, and it's becoming clearer to me, now that I call it Movement, why that is. It's because what I'm really passionate about is movement, and writing— though well, I'm also pretty passionate about writing, I suppose writing can capture movement, I wouldn't be a writer if I didn't feel that writing can capture anything, though what I'm really passionate about is that writing captures everything very imperfectly and there's nothing wrong with that, that just is what it is. And that there are other ways of capturing and expressing, ways you can get at what writing doesn't get. Which tangentially is why I love emojis so damn much. Anyway. Writing isn't the best for capturing movement. Pictures are a little better but not much better. I like pictures for yoga because poses are such a big part of yoga. Obviously pictures are fine for poses, not so much for the movement between the poses. Video is fine for movement, and now that I've finally learned how to video I might do more of that. But to break down movement, really I think animated GIFs are ideal. The upshot of all of which is, capturing movement on a flat screen can be done but it's a lot of work to make it worthwhile. It's definitely worth it when it's done right like that GIF blog that one derby girl does, God bless her for doing all that.

But see, there's already an easy way to capture and communicate movement: move. You know, your actual body. And talk about it. With your mouth. Which is what a training session with me is. So like the way easier end of the stick is also the money-making end of the stick, and the more difficult end is the end that takes six years to make a hundred dollars... sooo...



This blog continues to be brought to you by Power 30! But also, I finally started working on my new blog, which is 62% complete at this point. I mean, define complete. There's a certain point in my mind that I want to get to, after which I might soft launch it. Might. Anyway not to be coy, it's nothing groundbreaking, pretty much all recipes that I've published here, but I'm scratching an itch about how I want them to be organized. The project has phases, I'm working on Phase I right now. Phase I will give me what I need to work on Phase II, something I've always wanted. The soft launch might happen after Phase I or it might happen after Phase II. After Phase II, the idea is that I will shift into maintenance mode and it will just be live going forward. Whatever. Keeps me off the streets.


The CSI beast is back in its cage, not roaming around snacking on my life and der schweetum's life. We are tuning up our watching "practice," and our relationship practice in general--trying to be more present together when we are together, trying to watch stuff that we will actually, first of all, watch. We're both terrible about sitting down to watch something together and then separately looking at our own things; you can file this right next to how I need to practice taking a shower, I need to practice watching friggin television with my boyfriend. So far we've watched Black Hat (meh), Furious 7 (the feels!), and Spy (lolz), and we started Narcos. Did I say this already, I actually prefer movies to TV series for this, OITNB notwithstanding... and I have maybe a deep theory why, but I feel like TV series are more affected by commerce? And I can see the commerce, it's like being able to see the strings holding up all the puppets and the scenery.


We didn't see any movies this month, which remember means go out and see. Which sort of goes with having just done my budget, going to the movies is esspensive. I have to really want to see something on the big screen to shell out the bucks, otherwise I'm good with Netflix and Hulu and the food is better at home.

I also didn't see any ...people this month? Except for sitting on the stoop with Biggie that one day, and Box and Brawla's Labor Day BBQ. Nobody since then. Except clients, obvously. I may have needed the rest. Also don't think I don't notice the inverse proportion between how much I see people and how much I write, which is important to me. Not to mention the inverse proportion between how much I see people and how easy it is to stick to my food plan and my budget. I don't think not seeing people is a long-term solution, though. It's tricky because momentum: it seems like the formula is to get up to a certain critical mass of seeing people and then momentum takes over; but if you just need and want to maintain a relatively low level of seeing people, you kind of actively don't want to get picked up by momentum. With momentum, you tend toward eleven. Without momentum, what you tend toward is zero. How do you maintain one, or two? Is my question.

[ETA: Sparty with the save, I also had a brunch date with her, TS, and Ska (and Rudy!) at Bang Bang Pie Shop. And I visited Brawla in the hospital. And MJ and I saw the super blood moon eclipse. And Biggie and I went for a walk, and actually she gave me a great idea for how to manage seeing people: one month on, one month off, eh? Eh? I think it is genius, and October is ON.]

October Picks


1. Clean kitchen to finish! Let's do this! Before the holidays!


2. Review all (seis!) client charts, get all them straight in my head, and get them all situated in their slots in my schedule.
3. Read The Power of Posture, very stoked!


4. Nom Phase I to finish.

5. Actually watch when we're watching. If not, hey, do something else.

6. Taco Ride with Problem et al.
7. Long food date with wifey.
8. Steak date chez Boxstone.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Lover's Got Humor

p: let me tell you how my "dance" is going

p: first of all, sliding on your head hurts

p: that's why i'm wearing this hat

p: i guess that's why breakdancing kids wear hats

m: how are you sliding on your head

p: like this

::big supine arch::

p: if you don't slide on your head, you can't go up

p: the hat doesn't really help because your head slides in the hat

p: okay so, then this is where he does that huge jump nevermind that

p: i do this instead

:: ipsilateral bird dog::

p: but look, i never used to be able to do this before

p: this for three minutes really hurts your knees

p: so i put on knee gaskets

p: also i'm wearing sweats because the floor is cold

p: so sweats, hat, knee gaskets, and some of this stuff is pretty hard, and i've been doing it for like twenty minutes

p: i'm basically dying here

m: so shower before brunch, then?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Church on Sunday

So for my little bit of morning movement, I walk to the train MWF, do sun salutations TuSa, bike to therapy Thursday, and that leaves Sunday. I had originally planned sun salutations TuSaSu, but they actually made me sore! And if I've learned one thing this summer it's that if I don't respect my body, undermind is going to send me to the cornfield. I could have done sun salutations 3x/week if Thursday had been available, the spacing would have been better. Two days in a row though, not so much.

The idea then was to add days when I got stronger at sun salutations, which I have already. I think sun salutation adherents say that you should do sun salutations every day—what's with everybody wanting to do everything every day, sheesh. There are other factors: first of all, there's what organically works for the day, like walking works for walking to the train to work and biking works for biking to therapy. My pattern-loving brain wanted to bike on Sunday (walk three, yoga two, bike two), but really what organically works for Sunday is something I can do in the kitchen. Which brings us back to sun salutations, and I'm strong enough, sooo... let's go? But secondly, there's keeping it fresh: if I only do sun salutations on Tuesday and Saturday, it changes in my mind from "I have to do sun salutations" to "I get to do sun salutations." Not only can I keep it like that for sun salutations, I can have it like that for something else that I only do on Sunday. So what to do on Sunday. In the kitchen.

This is what came to mind:

Sergei Polunin, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle from David LaChapelle Studio on Vimeo.

If you're starting to worry about me, I am not insane. I'm not thinking that I'm going to take up ballet at the age of 48, having studied dance in my life never, and match the performance of a principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet. Even if I practiced more than once a week! No no, I am a student of small things. I was thinking it might be nice to sit like he's sitting in the first seconds and just drool at this beautiful thing, I can think of worse Sundays than that.

And hilariously, I could not even do that. I don't have that range of motion in my ankle yet, because of the sprain. I literally could not just sit. It wouldn't take my body weight, not even for one second.

Which meant, I had something to work on.

But I only get to do it on Sundays! That was last week.

This week I worked out sitting on a cushion, and I watched the video and took notes up to, ha, 47 seconds:

breaking it down

Now I have a LOT to work on:

  1. Sit with ankles plantarflexed
  2. Sit up to half side plank
  3. Half side plank collapsing to supine—this is the get down from a Turkish getup
  4. Supine thoracic arch to sit cross-legged (not boat)—this is SO. HARD.
  5. Sit cross-legged roll forward to quadruped
  6. BIG JUMP—right, nevermind this
  7. Quadruped roll to supine
  8. Supine bridge flip to prone
  9. Prone pushup to side plank
  10. Side plank drop to prone
  11. Prone pushup thread legs through to L-sit
Except for the crazy big jump in the middle, these are all familiar, doable movements, worth doing in themselves. Ten reps each of each of these, just saying, that's a workout. I'm going to need a bigger kitchen. It's going to take thirty years for me to string together the first 47 seconds of this video. By which time I will be ninety, which will be remarkable in of itself.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


The idea of practice came up in my Power 30 group, treat everything in your life as practice and that takes away the idea that it has to be perfect and more importantly it gives you the idea that you're learning and getting better at stuff. At life! I am of course 100% down with this idea. It's absolutely central to how I work with my clients, I'm not a trainer who just drives my clients through umpty repetitions of burpees to TORCH BODY FAT NOW! I'm a trainer who teaches my clients how to do burpees, and if that's too hard --burpees are really hard, people-- I break a burpee down into all its little burpee parts. Because nothing rends my soul more than seeing somebody doing hundreds of repetitions of really wonky burpees. Because what they're doing is practicing really wonky burpees, they're getting good at wonky burpees. Now at some level, and I'm just starting to work with a few of my clients at this level, the wonky burpee has something to teach us, because life is wonky, but let's not go there just yet. I just mention it so I don't wall up the idea of the wonky burpee forever: there's a door here and let's keep that door closed for now, and we can open it later.

sun salutations after a month 2x/week

Speaking of practice, here's where I'm at with sun salutations. Actually there's a tiny burpee inside sun salutations. That I'm not even up to yet.

Anyway, I'm not even talking about burpees here. Another angle on this word practice for me comes from my roller derby side and it's that practice is something that you show up for. That's why I started to say cooking practices, I need to show up for cooking like it's a practice, because nutrition is part of my training, and then fold in the idea that it doesn't have to be perfect, it's an active process of learning and getting better. At cooking.

I'm not actually talking about cooking, either. I'm talking about taking showers. Oh my god Poppy, you're talking about practicing taking showers. What, did you fuck up taking a shower?

Yes. Yes I did.

SO I'VE BEEN UNDER A LOT OF STRESS LATELY, and I believe in the concept of allergy load. Your body can only handle so much, physically and emotionally; so like your allergies might get triggered when you're emotionally stressed. This is also known as the concept of I Can't Even. Fun fact: when I was married, I was lactose intolerant. So, anyway. My arms have been breaking out a little bit, I am not into that at all. At this point I've started all this self-care around here, and I figure a good thing to do would be to add neti pot and oil pull to my shower routine. The doctor actually recommended neti pot to me when I had my sinus infection to rinse the bacteria out of my sinuses. Oil pulling supposedly pulls bacteria out of your teeth. The shower is perfect for me for both of these, just get it all done. Neti pot and oil pulling adherents say that you should neti pot and oil pull every day and I only shower every other day—for that matter, I guess shower adherents say that you should shower every day—but nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little (that's not me, that's Edmund Burke.) And really, neti pot and oil pull four times week is a lot more than a little. And it's going to add time to my morning routine on work days, which is when I shower, and I may or may not have time for that. Well to find out which, I have to try.

I'm going to try. (Shut up, Yoda.)

My very next shower I'm standing in the shower and I'm like, shit, I forgot the neti pot and the oil. Welp, it's too late to go back out and get them. I mean, it's literally too late. Welp, next time.

So I'm down to scrubbing my feet—so like, twenty minutes later—and I'm like, Why is my hair still dry? Great Scott. The whole point of showering on work days is to wet down and condition my hair so I don't go to work looking like Christopher Walken.

I wet down and condition my hair, finish scrubbing my feet, and I think to give the conditioner a little more time to work I'll just brush my teeth and wash my face in the shower. What a good problem-solver.

I get out of the shower and go to the bedroom to dry off and get dressed, and uh, facebook. Now you know: if you see me on Facebook in the morning, I'm generally naked. Then I go back to the bathroom to blow dry my hair.

So I'm drying and styling my hair, and my hair feels really odd. Like, weirdly thick.

Mein gott, I have not rinsed my hair.

At this moment, I do actually think it's cool, it's just practice! as I'm sticking my head under the faucet to rinse out the conditioner. I'm even laughing a little bit, which is more me than I've been all summer. That's good! It's good to be resilient!

To be able to bounce back and laugh when you walk to the train and you're at the turnstile when you realize that you've forgotten your wallet!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Shower Routine

Oh god, please tell me that I am not writing a blow-by-blow account of how I take a shower. I'm just doing it so I can get it out of my head and stop thinking about it.

shower products

Okay so, first of all, showers are only every other day. Other days I just wash what needs washing, go on to my skincare routine, and get dressed.

Secondly, I just added a little bit to my shower routine that, who knows, might go the way of the toner and serum in my skincare routine; but for now I am neti-potting and oil-pulling every shower, which takes a little prep before I get in the shower:

  • Prep neti pot - First I put on the kettle, obviously not to boil the water, just to warm it a bit. When the kettle starts making a little bit of noise, that's usually warm enough. I fill a pint measuring cup with warm water, add a teaspoon of kosher salt, and stir well.
  • Prep oil pull - Then I scoop a spoonful of coconut oil into a little cup and bring the salt water and coconut oil into the shower with me.

1. Neti pot.

First thing when I'm under the shower, I fill the neti pot and pour half the salt water through one nostril and then the other half through the other nostril. I'm not giving instructions because I'm no expert about or at this. In fact the reason I do this in the shower is because in the shower it doesn't matter if salt water goes everywhere.

2. Oil pull.

Oil pulling is supposed to, at the very least, pull bacteria out of your mouth. I'm doing this because I figure my poor old immune system could use all the help it can get, and I'm doing it in the shower because you're supposed to do it for twenty minutes and I shower for about twenty minutes—birds, stone, no need to time it or anything. And I would never do it otherwise.

So I scoop the spoonful of coconut oil out of the cup I brought in the shower with me and pop the coconut oil into my mouth. It's that time of year when coconut oil is solid, so it's like a chunk of coconut oil. So I chew it up until it melts and then I just swish it around in there for the rest of my shower. I will say this, you have to be a little careful about getting water up your nose when you can't open your mouth because it's full of oil.

3. Shampoo, 1x/week only.

So yeah, Biggie says I only need to shampoo my hair once a week; dirty hair styles better. Most days I just scrub water through my hair before the next step...

4. Conditioner.

...which is conditioner. I use Herbal Essences Honey I'm Strong Strengthening Conditioner (also shampoo) now that Jewel doesn't have None of Your Frizziness, which I used for years (because orange). They're both fine.

5. Scrub!

This is the real right part of the shower to me, nobody scrubs like a Korean. For soap I love Dove soap despite their questionable advertising, I put that on my scrubby that I get from the Korean store a.k.a. Joong Boo Market and go to town. This is why the shower takes twenty minutes.

6. Rinse.

Rinse hair, rinse body, and turn off the water.

7. Now spit.

Finally I spit the oil into the toilet and flush. My teeth do feel cleaner after oil-pulling, I do have a coconut oil aftertaste, but Imma brush my teeth in a sec so it's all good.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Habit Stacks

Month two of Power 30 so far:
Week 1 - under the bus
Week 2 - goodbye bus, getting up

So like I said, I am really focused on self-care for this challenge. Sooo many things about self-care are like, oh that's a nice idea, drive on by! Listen, self-care is just like exercise: the best self-care (or exercise) is whatever self-care, however small, that you actually do. Paying lip service to self-care, well actually, is a step toward self-care, but the next step is shall we say foot service. And right away you can shoot yourself in the foot by taking on too much (just like with exercise).

So, foot service: things that I am actually going To Do for self-care.
Not shooting myself in the foot: really little things.

I have these things organized into "habit stacks." Do you remember when Shabby Chic was all the rage? The Shabby Chic lady said a thing back then about how to make shabby look chic, something like, Three things make a story and not, presumably, a pile of junk. So like, I have a morning story, and an NEW! afternoon story, an evening story, and a bedtime story in neat little stacks:

# drink water
/ do 750 words
// walk or bike or do yoga

This story I started when I started Power 30, and it has saved my life. Water is elemental, you've heard a million times that humans are mostly water. You dehydrate a little bit when you sleep, through respiration. Drinking water to me is like adding the human back or topping off the human or whatever. You can't take a walk in the blogosphere (including in this blog) without tripping over Drink warm water with lemon; but if you ask me now, the warm and the lemon are just decorations. It's the water, man.

If humans are mostly water, I am mostly ...words. I wonder if I respire words in my sleep, maybe that's what dreams are. Do you know what I think though, this depression was me dying from lack of words. Words are also kind of like water in that... like you know how when you're dehydrated, you hate water? I mean, I think that's where the lemon comes in. I felt like I didn't need writing the way I used to feel like I didn't need water. Once you drink the water, with or without lemon, you wake up the water demon, which is to say the human, and now I'm passing through How Odd, I Actually Want Water to Obviously, Water. Though for water that took years, for writing it was maybe a week—if not a day— from How Odd, I Actually Want Words to Obviously, Words. YMMV!

Last but not least, life is movement. So it's very nice for me to start the day with a little bit of movement. On the one hand, I'm the world's biggest fan of whole day movement: if you get out of bed and walk to the shower, that is movement. There's no level below which it doesn't count, it all counts. Your whole day movement counts more than the thirty or sixty or even hundred and twenty minutes a day you spend "working out," not saying that a hundred and twenty minutes a day isn't a lot, but it's not more than a thousand, four hundred and forty minutes—though presumably for four hundred and eighty of those minutes you're sleeping. On the other hand, and this is what's positive about working out, I want to this to be a mindful nod to movement like working out is. So MWThF I take the walk and bike that I already do and just add mindfulness, and that's the level of movement I'm looking for. Because I am going to run a half marathon when I get out of bed never. TuSa sun salutations fit the bill though they are actually quite hard, I will be working on these for a long while. I'm still figuring out what to do Sunday. (And I don't think that Sunday needs to be a day of rest, in this case. Of course you do need rest days from working out, but you can move every day. You do move every day.)

} be curious and present

I had initially put /gratitude here, and it made me angry. Haha. So I deleted that and since then, this idea of being curious and present has really come into its own. The idea here is to have lunch and then do just a little something-something kind of again like a mindful nod to self-care and connection, and also I guess something different than scrolling through Facebook and Feedly, which was my default. I'm not reflexively negative about social media or screen time, I think there's good and bad in everything and the cloud is like home to me in a lot of ways. But. Sitting on the stoop with Biggie or with the sweetie man, or going out to lunch with my really nice co-workers. Or singing a song (not at work). Or a dance break, I love to dance and do you know in the depth of my depression Athena posted this really great self-care PDF and one of the things was to dance... and I did not want to dance. Sort of like when you hate water, I guess. Do you know what about Fury weekend though, I danced.

Not only has this been a lovely spot in the day for discovery, but also I think this has improved my ability to GTD in the afternoon. Which I had not been doing for a long while, that was where the CSI was coming in.

There's nothing wrong, by the way, with collapsing and watching a lot of CSI. There's this article doing the rounds about Ignoring Your Feelings and focusing on what you have to do. I will always say different strokes for different folks; but as for me, I'm real good at focusing on what I have to do and when that falls apart, then I have to shell out for a therapist to even realize that I'm sad that I'm done with roller derby. Even though Obviously, Roller Derby is totally a place that people have told me about! Sometimes what you have to do is feel your feelings and when you do, it's a serious To Do like on a To Do list and it pushes other things off the list. Because it's important.

\\ tidy bedroom
:: meditate
\\ tidy kitchen

Every day now.

\\ fill water
\\ sheets temp lights
# stretch
/ gratitude

I initially made this stack too big and wrote to myself, Your stack doesn't have to be a Dagwood sandwich. I like a sandwich that fits in my mouth, personally. The essential things that need to happen are:

  1. I have to fill the jar that I'm going to drink my water from the next morning.
  2. I have to be mindful about turning things down so that I can go to sleep, but these can be a set of little grace notes, a little bit of night music.
  3. I do really like to stretch, just a little bit. Remember the best exercise being the exercise that you actually do, the best amount of exercise is the amount that you actually do. An hour—or in all honesty, fifteen minutes— of stretching is stretching that I'm not going to do. But like, two minutes of stretching in bed every night is going to add up like woah. I mean, I don't time it. I just play with whatever stretch I'm playing with at the moment. For a while I was doing PNF stretching of my hamstrings, let me tell you that is witchcraft. I just changed to these 90-90 hip openers from Onnit. Generally by the end, I get excited and do headstands up the headboard but I don't actually recommend that. I don't think it's entirely safe. Headstands on fleek, though.
  4. Finally, I put gratitude here and first I thought, Rule of threes. Is this not one too many. But actually I have been training to fours lately with the breath counting, maybe gratitude can be that last exhale of the day. Then I thought, I prefer gratitude to be random. But seriously, what would be wrong with routine gratitude. Besides, I made this form.

Speaking of night music, I was wrestling with Turn down brain because surely turning down the sheets and temp and lights, and stretching, and being grateful, were sufficient to turn down my brain, but really because you were going to have to pry my nightly episode of CSI out of my cold, dead hands. Again I'm not reflexively against watching TV to fall asleep, as long as it's not stimulating. CSI though is lit generally dark but punctuated with flashes of light and also is generally quiet compared to most police shows but punctuated with The Who's Who Are You which has very loud guitar riffs. So I would drift asleep to the sound of them, you know, running DNA, and then wake up to the flashes of light or dunnn-DUN-DUNNN. So I switched to Carl Sagan's Cosmos, which I know nothing about because I've never stayed awake more than four minutes in.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015



So like, I'm not trying to Accomplish Something with my life. This may sound weird, but I've accomplished what I wanted for my life. Though I would someday like to live in a bedroom big enough to get out of both sides of the bed. I'm not, like, done with my life. I'm just finally in the right ballpark and am settling down to play ball, that's what I wanted. What I need is to be happy about my life. So my Power 30 goals are less about GTD and more about self-care habits, and here's another thing that I scooped up from my feedly: Do these exercises for two minutes a day and you’ll immediately feel happier, researchers say—five two-minute exercises for instant happiness, first of all, LOL, one of them is fifteen minutes of exercise.

To wit:
1. Three Acts of Gratitude
2. The Doubler
3. The Fun Fifteen
4. Breathe
5. Conscious Acts of Kindness

I figure the ones I need are the three acts of gratitude and the doubler, which is doubling the effect of a positive experience by recalling it in great detail. I figure I have the fun fifteen covered, though I'd like to get my heart rate up more. I'll get there, I'm still getting a ton out of sun salutations. Breathing I do when I meditate. Conscious acts of kindness I sort of naturally do, I think. I think I used to be more naturally grateful, too; that's sad. Oh well, things will need tuning up now and again.

So I made a Google form just so I have a cute interface for my gratitude, sort of genius I think! There are lots of themes already made, I love this carnival theme. I used the camping theme for my form for dealing with frustration—i.e., dark night of the soul. I bookmarked it so I can launch it off my browser, and if I care to I can look at all of my gratitudes and good experiences collected in a spreadsheet like Google Forms does.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

An Example of Dealing with Frustration

Month two of Power 30 has begun! The first week of which was spent mostly just lying under the bus and waiting for the bus to move on, if you can picture me under the bus making plans on my smartphone. Which if you know me, you can't because you know that I'm still rockin' my Motorola RAZR—but soon! I join the world!

Anyway, I was fumbling for what my Power 30 tasks could be, and Schwartz had put Vent as one of hers on the spreadsheet, and that really seemed as good as any task, so I thought when this bus rolls off my kidney, I will vent, and then I was scrolling through my feedly on my imaginary smartphone and A Guide to Dealing with Frustration & Disappointment in Yourself popped up, because the universe provides like that.

So then the bus rolled off to wherever buses go to, I felt pretty beat up but reached for my water and launched 750 Words and about 150 words in, I remembered that I had this guide to disappointment and cut and pasted it right into my words:

Step 1: Noticing the Signals

The first step, as always, is awareness: pause right now and turn inward, to see if you are feeling frustrated or disappointed with yourself for anything.

Idk if I'm frustrated or disappointed. I am tired.

Are there any goals you haven’t accomplished? Habits you haven’t stuck to? Eating you haven’t done perfectly? Relationships you’re not being good at? Skills you’d like to learn that you haven’t devoted time to? Errands or tasks that aren’t getting done? Projects that you’ve procrastinated on?

Jesus, what a list. Well, now that you mention it! Of course my routine fell apart this week, I expected that. Words fell by the wayside now and again, eating went off-road for the first time in months... everything else—relationships, skills, geez I'm supposed to be learning skills? errands and tasks, projects—isn't even on the radar.

What kinds of feelings come up for you? These feelings are signals that you have expectations of yourself that you aren’t meeting. We all have them, all the time, and we can’t help but continually hope we’ll do better. These expectations aren’t realistic, but when we fail to meet them, we tend to think they’re realistic but it’s our actual selves that are the failure.

Feelings, idk. Just tired and ...maybe disenchanted, I guess. I woke up this morning, and also yesterday morning, and I sort of had to talk myself into waking up. Like I'm not going to bother waking up if I don't feel good about whatever I'm supposed to do today, so what am I supposed to do today? Yesterday I got out of bed because I felt good about doing yoga, but I'm still deciding if I feel good about doing yoga on Sunday too.

Step 2: Giving Yourself Space

Now that we see the signals, we want to give these feelings a little space. Allow them to be here in us, without trying to push them away, without wishing we didn’t have them.

Give the feelings a little breathing room.

How do these feelings feel in your body? Where are they? What kind of energy do they have?

How do these feelings feel in my body. What, my tired? It feels heavy, I guess. It's weighing me down. Where is it, I guess in my heart. What kind of energy does it have, uh, it doesn't. It's tired! It has a blackish color, melancholy, a little sick, like dark black green slow-moving swirls. Maybe I should start my feeeeelings notebook again, I used to draw my feelings every morning.

See that you’re feeling bad (“suffering,” the Buddhists would say) and know that this is normal, and perfectly OK.

I am feeling bad, this is normal, this is perfectly OK.

Step 3: Giving Yourself Compassion

If your friend were hurting like this, how would you comfort this friend? Could you give her a hug, some words of compassion, some love?

I would sit there and listen to her. I probably would not hug her, I do (((hugs))) but actual hugs not so much. I might think of something wise to say to her. I guess I'm more the words of compassion type.

Take a moment and do the same for yourself. You are no less worthy of a hug, some love, some kind words. As silly as it might seem, tell yourself you deserve this compassion.

Okay so, words of compassion for myself: welp, you had a stroke! You retired from derby! Who knows what's going on there, maybe how you're feeling is the physical aftermath from the stroke or the psychological aftermath. You saw that thing that Ska posted about people leaving the Army, I'm sure you --especially you, Miss Structure 1967-- feel that a lot.

This is sort of sucky compassion, isn't it.

WWBBD (What would Brene Brown do?)

I don't even know what to say right now, I'm just so glad you told me.
Okay truthfully, that made me cry a little bit. Lately btw, I don't cry when I feel bad. I do nothing when I feel bad. I cry when I feel good.

(LOL, words of Brene Brown appear in bold.)

Step 4: See the Greatness of the Present

Now that we’ve comforted ourselves a bit, let’s change the story we’re telling ourselves.

The story so far has been: you aren’t good at X. (Whatever X is.) And so we feel bad about not being good at X.

The story so far has been: I am not good at life. And so I feel bad about not being good at life. Idk, idk if I feel bad about myself for not being good at life. I think if you're not good at life, life doesn't feel good. I feel bad about life.

Let’s turn from the self we haven’t been, to the self we have been. This self might have “failed” at X, but it has also succeeded in lots of other ways. This self has tried. It has gotten a lot done. It’s not perfect, but it has good intentions. This self has been the best it can be, even if that means imperfection. This self has cared, has loved, has strived for better, has made an effort, has wanted the best for others. Not always, but it has. This self deserves that kind of recognition, and love for being the best self it can be.

I might have "failed" at life, but I have also succeeded in lots of other ways. I have tried. Lord, I have tried. I have made myself sick with trying. Oh and, I have gotten a shit ton done. I think I think about that the least because that's not what I care about. I care about how I feeeel. I'm not perfect, but I have good intentions. Can I just say, I really don't give a shit about being perfect. I'm really anti-perfect. Perfectionists make me roll my eyes, and if you are actually trying to be perfect in the real sense of the word perfect, I reserve my right to roll my eyes at you. Really, give me a break. Give yourself a break. But, maybe I could have more compassion for perfectionists if I could hoist myself with my own petard and understand that perfect doesn't mean perfect here. Here perfect means enough. And if you are trying to be perfect in the sense of the word enough, I get that. I'm so far from perfect... I'm not even enough. That is much, much more honest and poignant to me. That I can work with. If I have a life philosophy, it's that nobody is perfect and everybody is enough. I am enough. Maybe self-help is written against perfectionism because it's easy to talk people into not being perfect, and hard to talk them into being enough. Perfectionism is low-hanging fruit, it's the straw man of self-help. It's perfectly polite to ask people if they don't feel perfect, because it's dumb to feel perfect. It's not polite to ask people if they don't feel enough, because it's not okay to not be enough. Even if what you're getting at is, you are enough. I suppose for some people, enough is not enough. I suspect most people want to be more than enough. Anyway if you ask me, enough is the real problem and perfect is the fake problem.

Anyway. No, I don't feel like I'm enough, but this is enough: I have good intentions. I'm being the best I can be, even if that feels like not enough. I have cared, I have loved, I have strived for better, I have made an effort, I have wanted the best for others. Not enough? Enough instead of perfect makes this more meaningful, because it gives even me pause. If I say to myself, you haven't always strived for better, I snap back, pssh, nobody does always! But if I say to myself, you haven't strived for better enough, first I say Oh god and then I stop and think, how much is enough? I have done as much as I could under the circumstances. I have done more, I have broken myself now and again doing more than I could. I deserve recognition and love for being the best I could.

Now turn to the present moment: in this moment, what are you like? What about yourself, and the moment that you’re in, can you be grateful for? What is great about yourself, and the present moment, right now?

In this moment, I actually feel pretty good. I'm grateful that I know how to do this, scoop self-help off the internet and churn it around and make myself cry and strike something true. Something good enough to write about. I'm grateful for my feedly which is like a conveyor belt bringing stuff like this to my attention, I'm grateful for 750 Words where I can churn things, and I'm grateful for Blogger where I can plate them up, and I'm grateful for my Power 30 group for being a tiny audience who I can serve this to, and to bring this back to full circle, giving me little clues for what I should be looking for on the conveyer belt. I think I'm supposed to say that this is great about myself, which doesn't seem very humble to me. But. This is. Sort of great about me.

My self-help apparatus is an ice cream factory, apparently.

Step 5: Work with Curiosity

Finally, going forward, let’s practice tossing out our expectations of how we’re going to do today (and in life in general), and instead adopt an attitude of curiosity. We don’t know how we’re going to do at work, or in our relationships, or with our personal habits. We can’t know. So let’s find out: what will today be like? How will it go?

Be curious, in an attitude of not-knowingness.

Well, this happened. I made myself cry. I had an epiphany about enough. I churned up this sort of raw blog post to plate and serve. Lord, what this blog is turning into. Come for the racerback tank, stay for the journey through depression.


Look, I made a Google Form for when I need to run this script again.

It’s fun to find out things!

Yes, expectations will come up for us, and we will fail to live up to them, and we will feel frustration and disappointment again. This will happen, and this too will be a bit disappointing, because we want to be perfect at being curious and present. We’ll have to repeat the process when we notice this happening. That’s OK. That’s how it works — constantly renewing, never done.

But as we get better at this, I promise, we’ll learn to see things with a new curiosity, with a gratitude for every moment that we meet, and with a more loving and kind view of constantly failing but constantly striving selves. These selves are wonderful, and that realization is worth the ever-constant journey.