Sunday, September 21, 2014

168 is all we get

There are 168 hours in any week. 

If I...

Deduct sleep: 105 hours left
Deduct maintenance and meals: 77 hours left
Deduct paid work: 47 hours left
Deduct reading and TV: 37 hours left
Deduct writing: 30 hours left
Deduct time with friends: 23 hours left
Deduct futzing and miscellaneous: 10 hours left
Deduct painting: 5 hours left
Deduct spiritual practice: 0 hours left

An interesting way to look at where time goes. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Recognizing sufficiency

In the money program I've been participating in since February, we talk a lot about living from sufficiency rather than scarcity. Money has a whole different effect on us when we believe there's enough, however much that is, instead of always thinking we need more. And of course, this has great importance for those of us who are addicts because we always think we don't have enough of whatever it is and that we should stockpile more.

So I've been looking for ways to register sufficiency and satisfaction, working to become conscious of moments when I feel content, happy with the way things are in that moment. And I've developed a mantra that is really helpful for me. When I find one of those moments, I say to myself (or out loud sometimes), This is enough. Right here. Right now. 

Recent sufficiency moments: Holding Evie, listening to her purr, and rocking in the rocking chair. Talking with friends over dinner last night. Lying in bed listening to the crickets of Marin County out the window and feeling the cool breeze wash over me after a very hot day. Eating an extraordinarily delicious black plum. Hearing a woman I don't know well say how glad she is to be getting to know me. Feeling love for my best friend. Walking on the beach with my sister.

What for you is enough, right here, right now?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Office support


Saturday, September 13, 2014

A good thought

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ― Karen Lamb

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Poem from life

My Faithful Fans

Yesterday morning
I turned off the fans
the ginormous standing soldier
at the front door
the white box that
tries to keep the kitchen cool
the little hefty Vornado in the office
that follows me around the room
like a puppy
My bedroom has two
so I have breeze from two directions
on those nights it's too hot outside
to open the windows
I appreciate my fans
and their faithful service
but I've grown weary
of their clamoring attention
the constant chatter
the noise so white as to blind my ears
I don't hear the phone ring
or the lovely purring of Nellie
from across the room
They've saved me, they have
they've made my apartment bearable
but like too many guests
they've outstayed their welcome
They've made my home
an unfriendly place
I'm ready to have the quiet again
the quiet that comes with the cool of fall

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Considering our legacy

In our money group webinar last week, we talked about our legacy. Of course, there's the money you leave behind if you have it (or property or stock or whatever wealth you have accumulated that you don't need for yourself). But we spent more of the time talking about the other legacies we leave behind.

Some of that may be good works. Perhaps we volunteer for an organization or work for a good cause with donations of time and money.

Our children, if we have them, and their children are also a legacy, and if you have been a compassionate and conscientious parent, either when they were young or when you yourself came into maturity, that is a wonderful gift to the world.

And we spent time talking about the legacy of ourselves. Who we are in the world and how we are in the world. On average, we interact with about a thousand people a year in mostly casual ways. How will they remember you? Kind soul? Drama queen? Needy and pushy? Giving and compassionate? I hadn't really thought before about how my daily mood could impact my legacy.

Later in the afternoon I went to the bank and there was a guy with Street Roots to sell (a Portland newspaper put out by the homeless) and I didn't want one and usually I just nod in my shy way and get back in my car. But today I said no thanks and then asked how he was. And he said his brother had had a heart attack and he was worried. And I gave him my sympathy and said I'd say a prayer for his brother Jerry. And when I got in the car, I did. It significantly changed my day.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The value of doing 100

Last weekend, I finished two of my creativity goals for the year: draft 100 poems and write 100 prompts (10 minutes of fictional writing on a give word or phrase). I've done this once before although not in the same year. I find it a very good practice.

The prompts are good for my fiction writing. I practice description, dialog, scene openings. Not consciously of course, they just sort of occur. I'll get into a piece and it's a conversation or I'm describing why an object--a mug, a book, a sofa--is in a room. And because coming up with an idea is part of the 10 minutes, I just go with whatever idea occurs to me. And the more often I do this, the easier it is for me to imagine stories and characters and settings.

The poems are a bit of a different experience. I keep a list of ideas in my creativity journal or I'll sit and think about some possibilities and write down a bunch and then I'll pick one. I spend more time on the poems, sometimes as much as a half hour, but I don't make it into a big deal.

I don't do any editing on the poems or the prompts. These are drafts. I'm committed to drafting them only. They don't have to be good. In fact, many of them aren't. But if as Malcolm Gladwell says, it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something, I'm putting in some of my time on my craft.