Category Archives: The Joy in the Journey

Because I Want to Remember This Day

Grumpy Moody Boy.

Yesterday, I picked Kepler up from school as I do each day. He walks down the hall into the lobby where I wait and he hides under his hood, tricking me into thinking that I’m not going to be able to find him. We play our little game where I finally find him and we start to walk to the car.

Some days he’s relaxed and happy, and some days he comes out of school with some unresolved feelings. Maybe he’s tired, or had words with a friend, or is hungry. When he comes out this way, no matter what I say, it’s the wrong thing. Usually, that’s no big deal. Yesterday, I was at the end of a relatively stressful week, and I wanted not to engage in a conversation which was going nowhere fast. So, I stayed quiet.

When we got home, instead of coming around to his side of the car and opening his door, I went on into the house and let him come in in his own time. He was quite offended that I had gone in and closed the door, even though it’s unlocked, easy to open, and I’m right inside.

It had been about 10 minutes since I had picked him up and he was still expressing his displeasure with everything. So I asked him if I could give him a hug. He folded himself into me and just rested. He said, “Thanks, Mom.” He asked me to sing the Ho’o Pono Pono song that I sing to him every night at bedtime.

Ho’o Pono Pono, Ho’o Pono Pono

I’m so sorry; I love you.

Please forgive me; I thank you.

This song can be repeated over and over and is lovely to sing in a group. I felt him relax. He had a way to deal with the feelings. He felt heard. He felt loved.

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I could see visible changes in his body as he processed his feelings. And when we finished the song, he said, “lovely Mom.”

There was a time in my life when I would have doubled down on insisting that he not be grumpy, which would of course have just exacerbated the problem. And all I can say is I am grateful that in this case, I recognized that he needed kindness and gentleness.

Here is a recording I made on Noteflight, as well as the music with lyrics below. Try singing it a few times. Let it heal you.. (First time I’ve ever used Noteflight, so it’s a bit rough, but it does get the melody and harmonies across.)

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Forgiveness

I had the quote in mind, but didn’t know who had said it. Anaïs Nin said this:

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“We see things not as they are, but as we are.”

The Soundtrack of my Youth

Keith Green was a Christian musician who enjoyed a brief, intense life before perishing with two of his young children (ages 3 and 2) in a plane crash at the age of 28. I remember exactly where and when I found out he had died. I was at Honey Rock Camp and had just finished my 18-day wilderness trip. On the bulletin board was a short article about Keith and his death. I did not know at that time that also on the plane were a married couple with their six children. All were killed.

Keith’s music reflected his intensity. I loved his music. His music became the soundtrack of my life from 1977-1982. Today, even though I no longer believe in God and am no longer a Christian, I still love “Until Your Love Broke Through.”

The chorus:

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through

I loved that song when he sang it, and later when Phil Keaggy covered it. But “we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” I think Keith couldn’t not sing. He had been making music since he was a tiny boy, and Jesus made a lot of sense to him. Indeed, he felt like everything made sense now because Jesus’ love had broken through his blindness.

Life is Difficult

Being in a post-Christian state, I find interesting the stories of others who have left the faith they grew up in. Plenty of people seem to leave because they were hurt by Christians and/or disappointed by God. The teachings I received as a child and young person indicated that being disappointed by God was antithetical to actually trusting him. That if you really trusted, you would believe that “all things work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” The sense of letting God down can be strong in someone who struggles with their life.

As these concepts are inculcated into small children, they are quite often toxic. Children have strong abilities to perceive, without the matching strength of ability to interpret. A child may detect tension between her parents, but will very often interpret the tension to be something that is due to the child’s failure in some way. Sadly, I saw the world and the things I heard at church as evidence for my defective nature. And every time I heard anything related to the idea that we are capable of no good things on our own, that reinforced my belief.

I place no blame on the adults in my life who taught me that I should be a good girl or I would go to hell. I truly believe they believed what they were saying. That man who stood on the platform, striding back and forth in the little Baptist church, bellowing about hellfire and damnation — I figure he really did believe that. And I suppose there was less understanding 50 years ago about how children thrive and how they suffer. So, hindsight is 20-20 as we know, but that’s also why I do not point fingers at them in a judging kind of way.

Every day with Jesus

When I got my “fire insurance” at that little Baptist church, I finally breathed a sigh of relief. I wasn’t going to have to go to hell because I had finally put together the right combination of words and “asked jesus into my heart.” But nobody’s love broke through to me. I “came to Jesus” completely out of terror. Madeline L’Engle said, “Begin as you mean to continue.” In my childish way, I meant to continue to be good, to do whatever it took to keep myself out of that lake of fire, where I would be burning eternally with no relief.

As a child, I couldn’t distinguish between concrete and abstract. To me, it was a literal lake of fire — I can still remember the mental picture I had of it — people writhing, burning, agonizing, and shit out of luck because they had their chance on earth and they had missed it.

Soon after I got fire insured, I was introduced to the lovely “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” To wit:

Life was filled with guns and war
And all of us got trampled on the floor
I wish wed all been ready
The children died, the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we’d all been ready
There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind

For an anxious child, this terrified me further.

The father spoke, the demons dined
How could you have been so blind?
There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind

Well, I thought, I’ll just have to make sure I’m ready because I sure as HELL do not want to get left behind. I memorized bible verses, learned the books of the Bible for a crisp $1 bill, sang the “hymns and songs and spiritual songs,” and generally had a lot of fun with our friends from church. Then we moved on to a different church where exciting things were happening but where we didn’t have nearly as much fun with our friends.

Anaïs Nin was onto something

Fast forward a lot of years and experiences later, and I saw more and more how the truth of “we see the world as we are, not as it is” meant we do christianity in the subjective world of our own experiences, assigned meanings, wounds, and temperaments. Just like we do everything else, we assign meaning to the story of our lives.

I had long ago internalized the belief that I was defective, unable to do good, unworthy of anything, unrighteous, unclean, un, un, un. Not enough. Never ever enough. The years of pain from feelings like I wasn’t a good enough daughter, sister, cousin, friend, student, wife, mother, and of course, Christian. When I first was introduced to the idea that I might actually be ok just the way I am, I rejected the idea. But there came a day when I heard the right person at the right time talk about it in a way that made sense to me. It was possible, it is possible, to see myself as something other than a broken thing that doesn’t deserve to take up space.

And that’s when I started to understand forgiveness. When I forgave myself. I started to understand love, when I began to love myself. I became compassionate when I gave compassion to myself. Grace made sense when I was able to extend it to myself.

All the years of praying. All the years of bargaining. All the years of trying, trying, trying to believe that God loved me were fruitless, as in, literally devoid of fruit.

Sweet Hour of Prayer

And speaking of prayer, I heard many sermons, read books, had discussions, read articles, journaled, and listened to teaching about what prayer was, what it was for. I believed the lyrics, “Sometimes He calms the storm; sometimes He calms the child.” That meant to me that sometimes God would answer the prayer about stopping the unpleasant thing with a yes and it would stop, and sometimes he would answer the prayer with a no, but would be kind enough to comfort me in the midst of it. But, the only way we feel calm is if we believe that we can.

I’m sure (if anyone is still reading at this point) plenty of people have experiences that seem to be supernatural. That they have experiences where they can’t explain why they were able to be ok in the midst of a loved one dying, or losing a beloved pet, or facing devastating news. Everybody is I, and we all have our own experience. To me, it makes the utmost sense that my experience of religion was simply one more facet of my experience of life.

So, yeah, I too woke up from the longest dream. I was lost in this belief system that started in my first minutes of life. And what broke through to me was true love. Or should I say, what broke through in me was true love.

Until Love Broke Through

I’m a much more loving person now because I love myself. My shackles are gone. As I often say, I think the “fruit of the spirit” is da bomb. I say yes to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. And there is no law against any of those things. But I don’t have to worry about The Law anymore. Because I don’t have to do things in light of eternity. I get to live now. I get to love now.

It’s a big world out there and a really, really big universe. Religion makes sense as a way we try to explain the fundamental questions we have about how we got here, where we’re going, and what to do along the way. But what if, just what if, there are other options? What if we can love others? What if we do deserve to forgive ourselves? What if we love be present to others with nothing other than being human?

Can you imagine a world where there’s no promise of heaven, nor threat of hell? Can you imagine what might happen if people could love each other because we are all one unified whole? Can you imagine?

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Going Keto in a non-Keto World

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Last night, Greg and Kepler and I saw the Cincinnati Cyclones take on the Ft. Wayne Komets. What a whirlwind of sights and sounds! Watching a hockey game in person is a way cooler experience than watching it on the television. Also louder.

Get Your High-Cal Snacks Here!

Also. Snacks at the arena are not keto-friendly, or even keto-tolerable. I walked by counters where they were serving Graeter’s ice cream (simply the best), giant soft pretzels (umm, not low carb), popcorn or super large refillable popcorn (approximately 40 carbs in a small, which is twice my daily limit), brats and metts served on buns with copious amounts of ketchup available, and much more. Six kinds of soda in industrial size cups. Beer and mixed drinks for sale over here. I’ve had all those snacks and more many times at concerts, sporting events, conferences, and movie theaters.

Water?! Of all the Nerve!

What *really* got me is they cannot/do not sell water. They looked alarmed when I asked if I could get water. After a little shocked pow-wow, they were able to give me a 12-oz cup of ice with no lid and I could fill it up at the drinking fountain. Not such a terrible thing, but the water was for Kepler, and he strongly prefers a lid and a straw. I mean, he adjusted, as did I, but the truth is, I wanted to be able to take care of my self regarding food and water, but I had to leave my water bottle in the car because you can’t take such items into the arena.

The overall impact of this “deprivation” is that I felt my energy flagging and I knew that the things that would help were in the car and in my kitchen. The pleasures of going to games as a kid with my dad and having chips and hotdogs and pepsi and doughnuts are still right there in my memories. I’m grateful for the memories and the experiences and also for the opportunity last night to evaluate the choices and be able to choose not to eat just a little popcorn or ice cream, just this once.

The Road Less Traveled

I have chosen to indulge more times than I can count on all my fingers and toes and yours as well. Last night, I chose to continue on the path that has brought some incredible benefits to me. Robert Frost said it well, “Two roads diverged in [an arena] and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

I’m 9 1/2 weeks into my keto life and I love it. People ask me if I’m going to do this forever. So far in my life, no healthier eating plan has lasted forever, but right now, the benefits of this way of eating are extremely desirable and so I’m just taking it one day at a time. Next time I go to a hockey game though, I’m going to sneak in a soft-side water bottle under my shirt. Maybe something like this:

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I’ll look at little fatter, but I’ll fit in ok. The metal detector won’t detect my secret stash and maybe I’ll make it all the way through the game!

Your Turn

I really like to respect the rules establishments have, and I also like to be as healthy as possible, so you do the math. I have found that movie theaters don’t have any problem with me bringing my water bottle in, so I’m a little more comfortable taking it past the sign on the door that says “no food and drink.”

Do you have any tips or tricks for taking healthy snacks into places that do not sell them or allow them?

 

Art Appreciation with Kepler

No school or work yesterday for us. I recently saw the Swoon exhibit with my friend and I was eager to share it with Greg and Kepler. Seizing the day, we ventured downtown to the Contemporary Arts Center.

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(Just as an aside, first of all, the sky did not look like this since it was snowing! Secondly, as I have only approached the museum from the north, on the ground, I didn’t even know how cool the exterior is until I searched for images!)

We’ve been places with Kepler. He likes to rush on to the next thing. In an art museum, that can make it a little challenging to just … let … art … flow over you. (H/T to the character of Nick from the Big Chill for that phrase.) After a little flitting about, I noticed he settled down and started responding to the emotion of the pieces.

I loved seeing his response to the different displays. He had Greg’s iphone to carry around and snap photos. I had him take a picture of me in front of this Swoon piece because he looked at it and said, “Mom.” He sensed the maternal aspect of the woman and associated it with me.

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His favorite piece of all was on the top floor in the Unmuseum. It looks like an old Airstream trailer, but is actually fabricated out of signs from Route 66. And it ROCKS! Like, literally. You can stand inside and rock it back and forth. He decided that he would like to have it in his room. So, we are thinking about how we can create something kind of similar for him.

And I’m just going to mention my ketogenic diet here again because prior to starting to eat this way, I would NOT have dreamed of going downtown to the CAC. I would have been laying around waiting for my next feed, like Fiona and her ilk. I have so much energy now. I love feeling good. It’s so precious after feeling so bad for so long. And we made some sweet, sweet memories.

The Swoon exhibit is marvelous, as is “A Shout Within a Storm” by Glenn Kaino. And if you haven’t been to the Unmuseum, (trust me), you want to go.

As Kepler’s (and my!) favorite book, Only One You, says, “Appreciate art. It is all around you.” Good advice indeed.

On Being a Lab Rat: Fat Doesn’t Necessarily Make You Fat

"Remember, it's the journey not the destination."

YOU GUYS. I have just completed a 9-week stint as a research subject in a research project being conducted by The University of Cincinnati, on the topic of Early Intervention in Cognitive Aging. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether changes in diet may improve memory ability. I qualified because I am between the ages of 50 and 65, I had a BMI of at least 30, and I was aware of a mild decline in memory ability. These things were confirmed through an initial phone screening.

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The long and the short of it is that a ketogenic diet, at least for this research subject, *did* have a positive impact on my memory ability (based on pre- and post-test scores). As a bonus, my scores on the depression inventory improved quite a bit. And as a bonus to the bonus, I lost 21 pounds of unwanted body weight. And the best bonus of all is that I am eating in a way that is healthy for me, with tasty and nutritious food. Oops. One more bonus. I am burning fat for energy now rather than carbohydrates.

Throughout the holiday season, I had a few temptations, especially my own pumpkin cake roll on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I missed having my annual Esther Price candy for Christmas this year. But those losses or deprivations are momentary compared to the energy I have all day long, the positive outlook that has replaced the Downward Dog of Depression, and the excitement of finding and creating new recipes that keep me on track.

Truth is, it’s hard for me to trust myself when I feel good. Feeling crappy is a much more familiar feeling, and much less risky. Nowhere to go but up when I’m down, so there’s always something better out there. When I feel good, I wonder if it’s all going to come crashing down while I’m caught unawares. The journey of this eating decision may require some adjustments along the way. I would never (haha) say that I’ll never eat another donut or lime chip, but I’m very content right now eating my high fat, adequate protein, extra low carb (<20/day) diet and as the number of days I’ve been doing this grows, I gain more confidence and enjoyment of the process.

Research subjects are still being recruited. Even if you don’t qualify, ketogenic eating is available to everyone. What seems to be the biggest stumbling block for people is the transition time between being a carb-burner and becoming a fat-burner. I felt pretty tired and didn’t have much energy until the switch happened. But if you can persevere through those days, the other side is pretty rosy.

Having grown up in the time of “low-fat” everything and being told over and over again how bad saturated fat is for us, sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself that those dietary recommendations came with some strings and haven’t actually produced the results they were supposed to produce.

I feel gratitude for the many organic and grass-fed options that are available these days both in the stores and online. It’s been two months. How long will I do this? What challenges and opportunities will arise as I continue? What might I be able to do in terms of sharing my knowledge, experience, and yummy food with others, either as gifts or as some sort of business? I don’t know the answers, but I’m very willing to live with the questions.

Does a ketogenic diet appeal to you? Do you have hesitations or reservations about it? What questions do you have? While I wait for your answer, I’m going to go make myself some Simple Truth Uncured Hardwood Thick-Slice Smoked Bacon and a couple of Grass-Fed-Hen Eggs. Yum!

What’s Working, What’s Growing

clip-art-climbing-671220It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

I was having some trouble thinking of how to start this post. Well, now it’s started — with some very fine prose. This is actually one of my favorite opening lines to a novel. I’ve been experiencing the season of Light and the season of Darkness, as we all do. But there are some things that are WORKING!

When Sunshine Girl left for college in August, her bedroom asked us what was going to happen in there now that she had taken her art supplies, Snapchat conversations, books, extensive collection of coffee mugs (still growing!) and HIMYM marathons off to college. We turned it into an office for me. An office with a door, wall space, windows, and a closet. With the space to organize my things and write, having an office is WORKING!

Last post I mentioned Kepler is in 5th grade now. We had some excellent help in the spring as we worked on his IEP for this year. He is getting one-on-one instruction in reading and math and the effects are showing up in his reading at home. He loves his teachers and aides and I see him developing more and more independence. 5th grade is WORKING!

After years and years of being on the road for work, Greg took a job with a local organization he has wanted to work with for about 12 years. An opening arose earlier in 2017 and he started this new job on September 5th. He leaves in the morning and comes back in the evening. No more leaving on Sunday and coming back on Friday or Saturday. Can we all say, “Whew!” It’s been a lot of years trying to manage the challenges that go along with one parent being out of town the majority of the time. Greg living at home every day is WORKING!

Every so often I fall right into a juicy pot of wisdom and helpful practices and teaching. Many times I swim around a bit and get very excited about what I’m learning and then I go to sleep and the next morning I’ve seemingly forgotten everything I just learned and experienced yesterday. The past month has been a time where some of the things I’ve experienced and learned have come back into my consciousness and awareness and I’m remembering. I’m remembering. I think I’m starting to find a sweet spot where several of these rich experiences are converging. Remembering is WORKING!

cartoon3Perfection reminds me of a mirage. I think I can see it off in the distance, and I imagine I’m coming closer and closer, only to have it fade away, time and time again. While I’m not looking for perfection anymore (at least not as much), I have a pretty old habit of thinking I should be able to attain it. I’ve devised some duplicitous ways of running after it without actually saying the word.

One step forward and two steps back is a real thing. Or two steps forward and one step back. Recently, though, I had a major realization that may only be two steps forward, but they are giant steps. A wise friend pointed out to me that my tendency toward literal thinking is NOT a defect. It is the way my brain works. Similar to the brains of persons on the autism spectrum who think very literally, turns out some brains of people not on the spectrum can have the same characteristic. I had become quite distressed over the past few years about thinking so literally. It got me into trouble in many situations as I naturally took things very literally.

“I’ll be there a little after 11” means exactly that and it doesn’t occur to me that someone might hit all the green lights and arrive ten minutes early.

“I’ll pick up the drycleaning” means you will. pick it up. today. I don’t anticipate that you might have to drive some route that doesn’t go by the drycleaner today and you’ll get it tomorrow.

“You should not eat ice cream, sugary desserts, and junk food” means I should never eat those things.

Does that make sense to you? It wasn’t until my wise friend asked me to consider thinking about literal thinking differently that I could finally accept the way I naturally think. Am I hard-wired this way? I don’t know. Almost doesn’t matter. The key is that I no longer see it as a defect that I must somehow stamp out at my earliest opportunity.

What it DOES mean is that I can now recognize when it happens and I can be curious about how other people (who are not thinking literally) might interpret what is being said and how they might act on their interpretation. When you think very literally, it can be challenging to have a conversation with someone who is good at big picture ideas and making decisions on the fly. (I just might be married to someone like that.)

I’m like Amelia Bedelia. When Mrs. Rogers would ask her to do something, she always took it literally and ended up making comical mis-steps as she tried to do exactly what her employer had asked.

Well, it’s not so funny when you try to do exactly what someone has asked and it turns out not to be what they meant!

The realization that I don’t have to take things literally leads me to exciting new discoveries and freedom to experiment. While this is still an area I am growing in, understanding that my literal thinking is an ok part of my brain is WORKING!

I like to think I will be posting more often than every 3 months, and if I do, we might get some momentum going here on my blog reaching more people who might learn something from my journey. Thanks for reading!

 

New School, New Deal

Kepler starts 5th grade in a couple of weeks. Our school system has two grades per school, except for the high school, so he moves up to the Intermediate school this year. The Elementary school wasn’t far from our home, but involved a very steep hill, so where we might have been able to walk TO school, walking home would have proved challenging for my little buddy. But the Intermediate school is just right down the street from us. No hills, no major traffic considerations, no big distance to cover.

I’ve been pondering walking him to and from school each day. There is a bus available, and we may avail ourselves of it when it gets really cold, but I believe we are going to start out the year walking.

He happened to be at school this morning for something and when it was time to pick him up, I decided to try out the walk. I timed myself and it took ten minutes for me to walk there. I wasn’t sure how he would feel about walking home, since I didn’t prepare him ahead of time, but he was VERY excited!

We laughed. We told our silly knock-knock jokes. We stopped to look at things, including a spider web that was covered with dewdrops. I was so engrossed that I forgot to take a photo, but this photo looks very much like the web we saw. When we reached our street, he wanted to race, so we ran down the street. He won.

The walk home was a good example of single-tasking. I was able to focus on the walk and on Kepler, and I didn’t have to ask him to wait until I could look. I was able to be in the moment with him. AND we got in a walk, and a run, too!

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Focusing on … 20 Things?

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Haha. Good old Jeremy. Forever a teenager, immortalized on the funny pages. But also a good example of what happens sometimes when we try to do more than one thing at a time.

And, frankly, today I am not certain what my day would look like if I truly decided to focus on one task as a time. Kepler, as a task, kind of makes it unlikely that I can really focus on one thing at a time unless I plan not to get one single other thing done during the day except when he is at a lesson, or school, or with a babysitter.

I’m not giving up. I’m becoming aware. I’m grateful for his non-stop patter and questions. He stretches me, makes me laugh, and gives me things to think about. But trying to get anything else done, especially without interruptions, can be pretty tricky.

Today’s baby step is to just give myself a little break, and stop expecting myself to be able to be with my child full-time AND accomplish ALL the things.

 

Keep Calm and Drive Safely

aid451454-v4-900px-Pay-Maximum-Attention-While-Driving-Step-4-Version-2Buddy this was me today. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. Which, BTW, is the slogan I came up with a long time ago to reduce texting and driving. But “don’t text or you’ll have a wreck” or something like that is what is up on the signs here.

Whether or not you text and drive, and you surely shouldn’t, and I can say that even if I have done it because it’s still true, many people use their cellular devices while driving. Just a few of the reasons you might have your phone in your hand: it buzzed and you wonder why, you get a call, you need to get directions, you want to find a new song on your music app, you are looking for something and need to ask Siri where it is, you have information relevant to this trip on your phone’s notes app, your book on tape suddenly turns off and you wonder why, you need to know the weather where you are going, you’re in a tight race to win an auction on eBay.

Today I decided not to use my phone for anything while I drove. There were two legs to the trip. Leg 1, no phone. Leg 2, I was distracted by my phone.

I guess when they put radios in cars, this was about all there was to it:

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Is YOUR radio that simple now? Nope. Look at the buttons on the above picture. Five good-sized buttons your fingers can feel without looking. You can easily count over if need be. There are only five choices. The radio probably wasn’t very distracting when it looked like this.

Today, quite a few radios are digital and have a plethora of buttons and dials, which all have more than one function, depending on how you hold your mouth. In my car, the radio is actually a distraction, which is why I tried driving without it today.

What a nice experience that was. No disturbing news about major politicians tweeting out new rules and regulations and fits of pique. No blaring commercials about once-in-a-lifetime (once-this-week) car sales or hormone treatments or scalped event tickets for sale (THREE THREE THREE ESS EEE AYE TEE). No temptation to change channels or modes or bands or cds.

I noticed a big difference in the experience of driving when I focused on driving. I looked at the cars in front of me, and noticed where they were beside me. I easily saw the minivan who was creeping into my lane.

Remember what I wrote yesterday? Multi-tasking actually adds cognitive stress with every switch and this accumulates and can eventually lead to fatigue, overload and burnout. What does this do to us as we drive? Maybe this is part of the reason for road rage?

Another distraction in the car can often be children, at least in my car. I haven’t tried driving attentively with a child in the car, but I daresay there will be adjustments to make in order to pay the best attention to the road ahead.

I recommend you try an experiment wherein you intentionally drive attentively. Dedicate yourself to the task of driving. What distracted you while you drove? What did you do with your phone while you drove? Did you miss out on anything while you were driving attentively? Leave a comment and let me know what you discover.

Today’s post addressed my first objective: become aware of what is distracting me from what/who is in front of me. What have you become aware of that is distracting you?

 

Long Time, No See

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So, I fell off the edge of the earth a few months ago. Fortunately, I did have a rope tied around my waist. Unfortunately, it hurt like a banshee when the rope extended to its full length. Fortunately, I have some extra padding so my liver was not completely halved. Unfortunately, it took me awhile to pull myself back up to the edge of the earth. Fortunately, I managed to swing my leg up and over and got myself back up here onto the earth. Unfortunately, it had been so long since I had written that I was too embarrassed to come back. Fortunately, I remembered that I enjoy blogging and there seem to be one to three people who like reading my writing, so I got over myself.

And so, here I am again.

You might be wondering what made me come back after all this time. Was it taking up the drums? Was it my fourth child getting ready to go to college? Was it the exciting prospect of my eldest coming home for awhile? Was it the new things in the works with my honey’s career?

Nope. None of those things. What got me back here was clutter. The very reason I started this blog in 2008. You see, I thought I might go for a bike ride today. But in the process of preparing, I realized my life is rather like Fibber McGee’s closet.

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Too much stuff to pay attention to. Too little organization of it all. Too much time to find things. Too little putting away of things. Too much distraction. Too little concentration.

Therefore, I have decided today that I am embarking on a 30-day challenge to become a champion of single-tasking. Today is day 0. Just getting all the details figured out and putting them out there to give myself a little bit of accountability.

I have three objectives:

Objective: become aware of what is distracting me from what/who is in front of me.
Objective: become stronger at focusing on one single task at a time.
Objective: discover what has to change in order to become more focused and able to concentrate.

The internet tells me that mono-tasking, or single-tasking, is the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed. Multi-tasking actually adds cognitive stress with every switch and this accumulates and can eventually lead to fatigue, overload and burnout.

Frankly, I’ve had enough fatigue, overload and burnout. My quest is to find the holy grail of the perfect intersection of energy, enthusiasm, and eustress.

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