Monday, August 27, 2012

Practicing Presence

Danielle & Lilliyan by Robert Whitehead, cc license
For a long time I’ve been near the end of my master’s degree with only my thesis and a few other odds and ends to complete. This Summer, after working through some emotional hurdles and pathological procrastination, I finally carved out the time to work on my proposal and committed it to my calendar. However, I can’t tell you how many of those work blocks were hijacked by planning meals for the week, cleaning out my e-mail inbox, and other distractions. I had such a hard time switching gears from my mom/housekeeping role to sitting at a computer for an extended period of time, let alone thinking and writing academically. Two things eventually helped me nurture the focus I needed to write my proposal. I fully committed to the work time, staying at my desk even when I was completely unproductive, and I created rituals to signal to it was time to focus. My focus routine consisted of brewing a cup of tea, playing ambient music, and then flowing through a few yoga positions before sitting down to work. After some persistence and practice, I was able to be much more productive during my work sessions.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Be Gentle on the Path of Change

Forest Dream! by VinothChandar, cc license

Part of the fun of this blogging endeavor is that my husband now loves pointing out instances when I'm not honest and/or gentle. He finds many opportunities to help me in this way, including yesterday when we were out having lunch. Our family is currently on vacation near Burlington, VT, which is the site of Ben and Jerry's flagship store. Getting ice cream at this location was on my "must do" list for the trip, so we purposefully saved room for ice cream afer lunch. When our waiter came over to ask if we would like to see the dessert menu, I replied reflexively, without thinking, "No, we need to get the baby back for her nap." As he went to get our check, my husband gave me a look. "I know, I just totally lied."