It's been a hard week, and I'm having a hard time getting anything done. It doesn't help that we're having record-breaking heat in the Pacific Northwest. 111 degrees today--I guess I'm glad we didn't hit the predicted 115. But tomorrow is still predicted to hit that 115, so I guess we could still break the record we just set.
When you're having a hard time, feeling down, struggling with getting work done, all of that, it's good to have a toolkit to turn to to help you shake things up. One of my favorite tools (I've mentioned this before) is making a list of good things in my world. So here's a list to remind me that things are not all bad or even going to stay this way forever.
I went to the beach this week! With friends! And I was even strong enough to climb down some wooden steps and across some rough rocks and walk on the sand and dip my toes in the water. It was glorious!
We have a portable air conditioner in our bedroom, and a brand-new block to go around the vent for it in the sliding door, so our room is a beautiful, cool haven for us and the cats.
On Wednesday, I'm going to do a Zoom with a few people to make vision boards for the second half of the year (you can join us in our Facebook group where we're getting started on gathering supplies and getting ready for Wednesday--it's free, and I think it will be fun!)
I signed up for a writing class through The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. It's not until August, but I'm really looking forward to it. And meanwhile I have a few self-paced classes through there to get to work on, so that should tide me over.
These lists are like little miracles. I feel better, brighter after writing them. I just need to remember to keep coming back. What about you? What's good right now? Drop me a note (maybe make a list!) in the comments. I'd love to hear about your good stuff.
Just a little wrap-up after my daily blogging with Effy Wild during April.
I love doing blog challenges! I had forgotten how much fun they are, and I'm so glad I did this and connected with a bunch of other creatives and stretched my blogging muscles.
Daily blogging is way too much for me, at least long term. But I like the push of "blogging must happen today," so I'm trying out a set schedule of blogging on Wednesdays and Sundays. We'll see how that goes.
Back on April 1 at the start of the blog-along I wrote about these cute habit trackers I found. I loved them! They were adorable! I completely forgot to use them after two days. It turns out having them glued into my planner does not remind me to fill them in. I did do some of the things on that list (blogging for the challenge which I did each day in April, story writing which I did very little of, and cleaning something which I also did very little of). I do great with my monthly exercise calendar which has my goals for the month and squares to put cute stickers in every time I exercise. And it also hangs on a board in my bedroom where I see it several times a day, and I'm wondering if that visibility is a much more crucial element than I realized. I'm going to rearrange a few things and make space for hanging up more trackers, and I will try again in June (or maybe a half-month thing starting mid-May).
I'm working through a 90-day novel writing book with a couple of writer friends. We started May 1, and so far it's different from what I imagined and seems pretty useful. More about that in another post, maybe on Sunday.
That's about it in my corner of the world. Looking at what's been working. Making plans for how to use that going forward. How are things in your corner?
I don't like gratitude lists. I think it's great that other people like them, but I kinda hate them. They feel forced and phony, and the few times I've worked with them I've been really resentful. But I love writing lists of good things in my day (today the good things are plants--I bought gerbera daisies and polka dot plants and spearmint and curly parsley!).
Aren't they the same thing, you ask. I ask, too. Maybe they are. Somehow, the designation of gratitude list and the designation of list of good things sit very differently with me. Making a gratitude list makes me feel like I'm faking an emotion, because I often don't feel particularly grateful about the things I'm writing down. But a good things list is more objective, or at least more removed from the emotion part. I'm just looking around, observing good things, and writing them down. I'm not trying to force myself to feel anything about it.
That's really it. I don't have a point to this post really except to say that I don't like gratitude lists but I do like good things lists. Do you do either one of these? How do you feel about them?
When I'm tired, especially when it's the kind of tired from my body hurting and it's still hurting, it's hard to find five good things (or even three or two, honestly) in my day. But I think that's when it's especially important for me to do these lists. Finding some good things on hard days keeps me from sliding into even harder times. So here's a list for today.
I have a day off tomorrow, so I get to stay up a little later (I am a night owl!) and sleep in a bit in the morning.
We ordered pizza for dinner.
I was invited to do a writing thing with a group of writers starting on the weekend, and I have a brand new composition book to crack open for it!
M surprised me with an adorable Strange Planet mask to add to my collection of fun masks to wear at school. It even says "knowledge transmitter."
It's chilly enough to have the fireplace on and a blanket on my legs (under the sleeping kitty), and it feels very cozy and relaxing right now.
It's been a really long, hard day. But I got some big things sorted out and still managed a load of laundry and a shower! And now I'm going to use a technique I learned from the fabulous Liz Lamoreux. I'm going to find five good things in this day. (By the way, take one of her Here sessions--so wonderful, peaceful, comforting, uplifting. Just so good!)
Chinese carry-out for dinner
Goofy cats running around making me laugh
All of my besties have had their vaccines or have scheduled them, so we should get to have a small gathering in my yard in a few weeks!
Today I learned about the bee hummingbird, the world's smallest bird, and someone had one perched on their finger in a photo (it must have been a baby) and it was so tiny--really the size of a bee!
Met online with my writing group and had a great talk about doll houses and miniatures which was funny and odd and very fun
That's what I can manage today. And for today it's enough.
I really wanted to write "one list to rule them all." Who thought that when they read the title?
Anyhow, I'm playing with a new way of doing to-do lists that won't leave me with undone things on a daily list or feeling like I didn't put enough on my list. I'm thinking about a master list of things I want to do that I add to when something pops into my head. Then every day I would make a list of the things I did from the master list and cross them off on the main list.
So every day I get what we call in Kaizen-Muse coaching a ta-da list. I get to see what I accomplished and feel good about getting some things done. Plus I get that great feeling from crossing things off a to-do list.
I don't have all the details worked out (I may be overthinking this--it's a hobby). Will I keep it in a notebook? Or just the main list in a notebook and the daily list on an index card? Or the main list on one of my cork boards and the daily in a notebook or a planner or on index cards? Something else I haven't thought of yet.
That's what's on my mind today. I really want to do this and see how it feels, but I may make myself hold off because I'm getting ready to start the new two-month gig tomorrow, so things are feeling a little overwhelming which isn't the best time to add one more new thing. But I'd love to hear what you think or if you do anything like this.
I'm sluggish today. My allergies are trying to murder me, and I can't seem to get anything going. So here's a list of things I'm thinking about, in no particular order.
I need a different storage solution for my water soluble mark makers. I don't like having the art crayons in plastic tubes in with the watercolor crayons that are paper wrapped. And definitely I don't want the watercolor pencils mixed in there. So, something different needs to happen.
I want to take pictures. In high school and college I took photography classes and did a lot of shooting. I want to do it again, but I'm not entirely sure what to take pictures of. I think I might be overthinking it.
I absolutely love my art cart, and it doesn't fit in the space I have for it in my studio, and that's just not going to do. I need a new plan. Meanwhile it can stay next to the dining table where I've been doing all my art for the past year.
I have been aware for a while that part of why I don't go sit at my desk or art table to do things is that I am physically uncomfortable. Not really sure what to do with that. I've tried different chairs, but no luck so far. I am hoping the new physical therapy exercises I've found, along with the PT ball I got for them, will help with my hip and leg, and then maybe I will be more inclined to sit in my spaces and work. Meanwhile, I want to figure out all the other things that will make the space appealing to sit in so I can break my habit of sitting on the couch constantly. I don't get much of anything done here beyond writing blogs and newsletters and browsing the internet. And I want to do more.
I'm doing this 365 mile challenge (walk 365 miles in a year), and I'm afraid I'm not going to make the goal. I'm very slow and don't have the stamina to do more than a mile at a time. And now I injured my knee (recovering though!), so I've had to dial back a bit. By now, according to my plan at the beginning of the year, I should be walking 1.5 miles 5 times a week. Now I have to rework that plan, but I think I also need to rework how I'm thinking about this and start celebrating the walking I am doing and the progress I'm making. Because two years ago I could walk half a mile on a good day, and I had to use a cane. So this is really progress.
I kind of want to get a couple of friends together and form a writing critique and support group to give myself a push to get back to writing stories again.
I think I need to make myself a separate list of the things I need to get done over the next few days and get on them, because I've been procrastinating so now I'm behind, and I feel like I don't know where to start. When in doubt, start with a list.
That's about it. I mean, I could go on, but I'd just be babbling. I'll be back tomorrow, possibly with less babbling (but possibly not, so don't get too excited!).
I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I don't really have that much to do, but I think after an entire year being unemployed and not on a schedule, now that I'm starting to work a bit more (with a long-term job starting on the 14th) having anything that has to happen at certain times is feeling like a lot. So I'm going to handle it the way I usually do--with a list.
Things I'm planning for this week (and a little bit beyond):
I really want to put a million things on there. I was going to write out all the ROW80 goals here--maybe I should. I feel like there's a lot more I'm supposed to be getting done, but now that I'm making the list I don't know for sure what it all is. Working on my studio--cleaning, organizing, setting it up so I can actually work in there. Changing the sheets and washing the dirty ones. I'm sure there was so much more zooming through my head until I started the list. Maybe that means these are the important things. Anything else that comes up can go on a list for another time. I think this must be the list for this week. My head is feeling better, so it's definitely good enough to work with, and that's what I was aiming for, so I'm going to call it good.