“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” – David G. Allen
Our batteries went flat this week, literally and metaphorically. First to go down was my son – he was sick all weekend, and had to stay at home from school on Monday. As an aside, I work all day Monday, so I had to call a supportive friend to come down and hang out with him while I worked, and then, because I had promised my daughter to take her to her first karate lesson that afternoon and because the Bear was away that night for work, this same friend stayed on with my son…and made dinner for us. I am well aware of how lucky I am to have this kind of support, and I wonder how other families cope.
Anyway, the next day was my day off, and on my spunky weekly planner, six beautiful hours were blocked out for study. From what I could see when I was setting up my plan early Monday morning, the whole week looked pretty clear – no appointments on four different days unlike last week. A straight run, I thought. The Bear messaged me early Tuesday morning and said that the aliens must have visited overnight, because every single battery on the farm was flat, including that of the battery charging pack. Okaaay, I thought. Weird.
And then my daughter complained of a pain in her her belly and, unusually for her, refused to go to school. I felt frustration rising…what the hell? How am I supposed to study with my seven year old at home? Sigh. Anyway, I eventually got over myself, tucked her up with a hot water bottle next to the fire and I even got a bit of work done – when the phone rang. It was my son, asking to come home from school because he felt sick again. Okay, fine. I give up. My daughter’s sore tummy later turned out not to be a tummy bug, but sore muscles and a flat battery from karate the night before!
The next day, Wednesday, I had a blog scheduled to be published in the early morning. The first draft was written, I just needed to edit it and give it a polish. I opened the computer, looked at the post and all I saw were words. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what words needed to be moved, what words needed to be re-written and which words needed to go. My brain felt like a clump of cotton wool. I sat there for 10 minutes or so, trying to figure it out, then closed the computer down. My batteries had gone flat too.
On my weekly plan, there were four good study hours between work on that morning and soccer training in the afternoon – but I knew that my cotton wool brain had nothing to give that day. Hey – I may be stubborn and resistant, but I can read the writing on the wall. I had to recharge my brain. So, I made a big pot of chai, sat it on top of the warm fireplace next to my big comfy armchair, and watched Orange is the New Black for a couple of hours. In the last hour before the kids came home from school, I did an hour’s yin yoga practice with a hot water bottle and a blanket. So. Good. My brain still wasn’t working, but I just went about my business and tried not to worry about my intellectual faculties deserting me. That night I had the best sleep I have had in years – maybe since before I had children, more than a decade ago.
I woke up feeling fantastic. And my brain came back. And I caught up. And the rest of the week went along mostly (sort of) as planned.
So, out of interest, do you want to know about the post that I had wanted to publish on Wednesday but couldn’t? It was called Learning to Drop Expectations. Ha! Apparently I had to have a few more lessons on that subject before I could send it out into the world! Just so you know, everything I write here is a message to myself. I am not claiming to have transcended anything. I am so much a work in progress it is not even funny. Okay, maybe it is a little bit funny. 🙂
- your second life starts when the world cracks you open by Justine Musk. I love it when a post appears by Justine in my blog reader. It doesn’t happen all that often, but boy, it’s always worth it when it does. This post opens with:
There’s a quote by Tom Hiddleston: “We all have two lives. The second life starts when we realize that we only have one.”
Yes :). I knew you’d like it. Plus, when you go over and read that article, check out her 25 Badass ways to say No free download poster on the right hand column of her blog. For those of you who need some help in this department, it is GOLD.
- Dear Future Generations: Sorry by Prince Ea. Hey, have you guys seen this? My son showed it to me last night. I had seen bits of it before, but not the whole thing. It’s very powerful and brutiful (brutal and beautiful mashed together), as Glennon from Momastery would say.
- Last night was an Aquarian full moon, a blue moon no less (as in it was the second of two full moons this month), and augmented by Venus moving into retrograde. Firstly, I have noticed that Venus retrograde always has a hefty impact on me (think relationship break ups, pregnancies, births and the like) because my chart is so heavily influenced by Venus : I have four personal planets in Venus ruled signs. Yah, so. I came across this beautiful full moon ritual by Nicole Cody from Cupcakes and Cauldrons and did a little ritual myself last night. Releasing the old and bringing in the new. This kind of ritual is a lovely way to focus your energy on connecting to the cycles and rhythms of the Earth as well as tuning into your inner self and listening to those quiet words of wisdom bubbling up from within.
- This week I have been learning about genre, re-presentation (representation looks different when it’s separated like that doesn’t it?) and stereotypes in media studies. We’ve been learning how genres change and evolve to suit audience’s expectations, and how people are creating new genres to suit themselves. The example used in class was the combination of country and hip hop to make hick hop. OMG it’s even worse than you can imagine, but it’s out there, servicing a niche audience and making them very happy. We also talked how media re-presents a story, making it look like a window onto the world to suit the agenda of its producers and the views of its target demographic. We also learned about stereotypes, and how they are formed around a grain of truth, applied to an entire group of people, and then used to retrospectively explain their situation.
- We are learning about narrative non-fiction and what characterises good writing. Narrative non-fiction presents factual information in a narrative to make an exciting story. I was happy to hear that the type of writing I enjoy doing actually has a name :). My lecturer describes good writing in the following way:
Good writing is characterised by well-made sentences and informative paragraphs joined by logical transitions. It also features developed characters, accurate dialogue and sharply evoked atmosphere. Above all, it should memorably reveal something we had not known or seen before, or something we had not seen in the way that the writer presented it.
The opposite of such writing is banality (stating the obvious in lazy prose) or the passionless tone of a dutiful list of facts that fails to convince us that any of these facts are worth knowing.
- How to break large projects down into small sections to give yourself the feeling of being productive and moving forward. In this article, Be More Productive: The 15 minute routine Anthony Trollope used to write 40+ books, James Clear describes Anthony Trollope’s writing routine as writing in 15 minute increments for three hours per day. He required of his writing that he produce 250 words every 15 minutes:
However, instead of measuring his progress based on the completion of chapters or books, Trollope measured his progress in 15-minute increments. This approach allowed him to enjoy feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment very quickly while continuing to work on the large task of writing a book.
This is a big deal for two reasons:
Small measures of progress help to maintain momentum over the long-run, which means you’re more likely to finish large tasks.
The faster you complete a productive task, the more quickly your day develops an attitude of productivity and effectiveness.
Cool, huh? Obviously it works for other projects, not just writing.
So, that’s it from me this week. It’s early Sunday morning where I am. The sky has just erupted into a spectacular sunrise inferno, filling me with the hope and wonder of a new day. It’s pancake Sunday today, a weekly ritual in our house. I have bags of sugar and a tree full of lemons, ready to be made into bottles of lemon cordial, jars of lemon butter and (hopefully) my first ever lemon meringue pie. I am also looking forward to lunch down at our local, and some time stretched out on my mat.
What are your plans this weekend?