Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

Slaying Dragons and Painting Dreams

“Thanks to Thanksgiving Break, I’ve had a moment or two of clarity and I’ve concluded that “goal slay” is as much about slaying the dragons that stand in our way as it is about actually achieving our goals: Dragons of time. Dragons of demands. Dragons of habit. Dragons of neglect. Dragons of doubt and fear.”

via Slaying Dragons and Painting Dreams

I hope you’ll click on the link to read the rest of Chandra Lynn’s words. I love that she talks about how new goals need room and challenge set ways, even good habits. Her post made so much sense to me that I asked if I could reblog it. This is just a snippet.

Chandra’s post made me think of my favourite book when I was a child: Michael Ende’s Momo. The original title in German means Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves and the child who brought the stolen time back to the people. The idea of time as something that can(‘t) be stolen and brought back just blew my young mind.

I’m grown up now, and I may have turned into one of the adults the book describes. I’m not sure, I haven’t read the book in ages. I’m thinking about reading it again. Not in the Dutch translation I read as a child, but maybe in German, or even in English. To read it with a fresh eye, not just as a plain old boring adult.

I knowI must be thieving my own time sometimes. Do I do what I really want to? Do I invest in the people and things that matter most to me? Can I give time I stole from myself, back to myself? What could that look like?

I know I’m doing my best at a lot of things. Maybe I should do my best less. As Chandra Lynn writes: “Even our perceived good habits have to change if we are to accomplish our goals.” I’ve always been better at cramming new goals into the existing space, then in making room for them.

In 2016 I wrote about conflicting goals: “Too often we promise ourselves things that conflict, without noticing it. A goal needs space. Brain space, time space, dragon slaying space, recovery space… If it doesn’t need any of those, I bet it’s not a goal.

Looking back, I don’t think I really took all those different spaces into account when I started my November project. That’s probably why the first week was too much for me, and why I did better in the second week (I learned from week 1).

I’m in the third week now, and I’ve hit a speed bump: fever asks me to slow down, and that’s what I’m doing. Not sure if it’s a bad cold or a light flu, but either way, I’m creating space for recovery.

I am slowly running out of episodes of The Soprano’s, so I hope I get well soon 😉

#NaBloPoMo day 23

 

Today’s situation

* Health: throat aches, bad cough, slight fever, croaking voice
* Relationship: it’s our 15th anniversary today
* To do’s: more than I have energy for
* Blog: feel like I should share some wisdom because I think that’s why people read my posts.
* Inner critic: grumpy that it can’t criticise me for not taking good care of myself yesterday and blame the fact that I feel worse today on me. It feels cheated.
* Inner adult: plans a lot of rest between the two appointments I have today that I can’t cancel
* Inner child: wants to watch tv
* Wisdom: not today
* Enthusiasm: for other people’s blogs, for example:

A woman who combines decluttering wisdom with ethics.
The most generous writer I know, always spreading the word about people’s work.
The most surprising story I’ve read today.
The most playful man with words I know.

There are more blogs I love and enjoy, but my headache is growing and I think my inner child is right: time for tv!

Obviously, I won’t work on my project today. But #NaBloPoMo day 22 is done.

An inner critic might never be satisfied

It looks like yesterday’s ‘meh’ was a sign of me getting ill. I have a sore throat, a head ache, a cold sweat when I move, annoying things like that. Yet, I worked for an hour on my project, even though I’d given myself sick leave. You’d think that made my inner critic cheer and clap and admire me determination. Not at all.

Somewhere in me it’s grumpin’, complaining how that chore I started isn’t fully under control yet. Moaning that I worked too hard and didn’t stick to my planned time box or boundaries.

I’ve written a post called done is more fun than perfect. My inner critic doesn’t agree. It just always finds fault with me, no matter what I do…

Actually, that’s not entirely true. If I had read my own post before I started working on my project, I probably would have stopped sooner. Not when EVERYTHING is done (my usual, unspoken goal), but when I noticed it was draggin’ me down.

If I had stopped in time, I would be proud now about what I got done. I would be giving myself credit for working when I’m not feeling well. And applauding myself for stopping in time.

Instead, there’s moaning and complaining and telling me off going on. My inner critic always knows how to find me when I’m off balance… and is not likely to retreat voluntarily.

In a minute I will run a hot bath. I’ll take my cold, my headache, my inner critic and a good book with me. I’ll soak (everything except for the book), and float in warm comfort for as long as I feel like it.

Obviously, my inner critic doesn’t think I deserve a bath. Truth be told, I don’t think my inner critic deserves a bath. Yet I’ll take it with me, and it can see where it goes from there. I’m just not going to fight. It can leave whenever it wants to.

And I’ll not wait for it to compliment me that I got #NaBloPoMo day 21 done 😉

Commitment and accountability

One of the good things about National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) is that your commitment to a post a day invites you to write every day, even when you don’t feel like it. One of the bad things about NaBloPoMo is that you ‘have to’ write every day. And my inner child yells “I don”t want to!!!”. All perfectly according to that darn horse shoe I’ve drawn.

One of the reasons to write this month, was accountability for working on my November project. Well, today is the day I dreaded: I haven’t worked on my project, and I’m not sure I have a valid excuse. I could try to make one and see if you think it’s valid, but who would I be fooling?

I’m too tired at the end of this day, even without working on my project. I’m stressed about it, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it in time. Wednesday will be a very busy day, and I expect to have no time for it then.  I expect to not have the energy to compensate for that on another day.

What will happen if I don’t make my deadline? Nothing. We might even still be able to do our taxes in the month of December, which is what I was aiming for. So I might be able to reach my goal, even when I don’t deliver my planned result on time. So why worry?

I’m too tired at the end of this day, even without working on my project. I’m stressed about it, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it in time. Wednesday will be a very busy day, and I expect to have no time for it then.  I expect to not have the energy to compensate for that on another day.
What will happen if I don’t make my deadline? Nothing. We might even still be able to do our taxes in the month of December, which is what I was aiming for. So I might be able to reach my goal, even when I don’t deliver my planned result on time. So why worry?

I think I have a thing about being committed to commitment. When I have a plan, I feel I should stick to it. When I set a goal, I feel I should reach it. When I tell all of you about what I’m doing, I feel I should at least be doing it!
Today is not the day. My inner critic is ready to throw rotten tomatoes at me and tell me what he thinks of me. I’n not sure I’m willing to listen. My throat aches, I’m tired and I wonder if I’m coming down with the flu. Why make things worse by listening to a bully?

I’m tagging my post now and wonder if I should add ‘procrastination’ as a tag. Which would feel like I declare myself a procrastinator today. I’m too tired to care if my choices today were procrastination or sensible. Or maybe both, why not? So, I’ll add ‘meh’ as a tag. That’s the part about today that feels relevant now.

If you want to read something sensible, I have a post about accountability. A good one, with useful comments.

The fact that I post even when ‘meh’, counts as commitment. #NaBloPoMo day 20 done. Tomorrow is a new day.

Practice, stumble, practice again

In general I’m not a ray of sunshine in the morning, but this morning was specifically absent with light. I’d had a nightmare filled with anger, powerlessness and feeling stupid, and somehow my mood wouldn’t lift. I had a party to go to… What to do?

My brain being my brain, there was a lot of internal discussion going on. One voice tried to keep me at home, explaining in a thousand ways how that was the safest option. Another voice tried to make me go out, reminding me that I think birthdays are important and adding a thousand other arguments. I won’t bore you with all the details.

I wondered how I was going to make a decision I would like, and remembered the horse shoe of have -to I created earlier during #NaBloPoMo. I realised the part of the horse shoe that stands for ‘I can’ might get me somewhere, so I made a list of ‘I can’ that felt relevant for today:
– I can go to lunch.
– I can go for a walk.
– I can paint.

The first two options were part of the party I was invited to. The third option would have me stay at home. The list of ‘can’ cleared my mind. I realised:
– I want to go to the party.
– I can go home if it’s not working for me.
– It will be easier fro me to join the lunch than a 7km walk.
– It’s lovely weather so I’d like to walk a bit.

I ended up walking to the party to join the lunch, and walking back home when the other ones went on a hike. I’m back home now, and I have time to rest before my son comes home. And time to write this post.

Since my brain has had a lot of training in negative and worried thoughts, I’ll have to practice it in the thoughts I want to have more of. The horse shoe of have-to can help me. Getting in touch with my values may help me, but only when I watch out for the difference between a value (a carrot for my inner adult or inner child) and a norm (which is a stick for my inner school master). Whatever decision I make will feel better if I manage to step away from I have to and find my way to I want to.

How will I do this after National Blog Posting Month is over and I don’t write about all this stuff any more? Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to search for my I want-to’s…

After an insight? Practice!

Applying yesterday’s wisdom, asking myself what I WANT.

1) I want to enjoy the quietness of my house on a Saturday morning. No noise, no obligations.
2) I want to write a blog post, but keep it short and light (no soul searching, see nr 1)
3) I want to celebrate that I wrote a short story yesterday, for the first time in years.

All three can be combined. My blog post for #NaBloPoMo day 18 will be a repost of that story I wrote and shared yesterday. Thank you to all the people who blogged stories during #NaBloPoMo. You made me want to write one again.

Here’s the link if you want to read it on my poetry and stories blog, including art work: Victor

Since clicking can be a hassle, I’ll also copy and paste here:

Victor

Victor was a boy who liked to write stories. He wrote everywhere he went. He wrote at school, during his lessons. He wrote in the bus. He wrote when he visited his parents.

Victor lived with his grandparents. He liked to show them his stories, and every once in a while they would read one of them. ‘That’s not much of a happy ending, is it?’is all his grandmother ever said. Grandfather corrected his spelling and grammar.

When Victor got older, he asked his parents to read his stories. They explained that they couldn’t digest words, only images. He asked his grandfather if his parents were illiterate. Grandfather said ‘no, they just don’t like to read’.

Victor never gave up. He wrote and wrote. His spelling and grammar became impeccable. Still his grandfather would only comment on alleged mistakes. Victor once asked him what difference grammar and spelling made to the quality of a story. Grandfather refused to look at him and yelled ‘you should know that by now’. Victor just wrote another story.

Grandmother kept wishing for happier endings. He once asked what that meant, a happy ending. She couldn’t explain it, she had only been taught how to complain.

Victor turned into a man who liked to write stories. He wrote poetry, he wrote prose. He even wrote television scripts for a while. His parents always admired the director.

Victor never got angry. He just wrote. His last story was about a young woman who murdered both her parents and her grand parents. ‘That’s not much of a happy ending, is it?’ his grandmother said. She never read his last words. He had chiselled them into the spotted marble himself.

‘I disagrie’

The difference between have-to and want-to

After meeting up with my friend yesterday I realised: I want a day off. When I wrote values to the rescue, taking a day off still felt a like “I need it, so I HAVE to do it”. Which set off the automatic response I’ve described in the horse shoe of have-to: “I don’t want to“. I needed a day off, but didn’t want one…

Some time to make me feel good
Because I was snooping around on Facebook and blogs, I realised I felt the need for connection. So I phoned a friend and we met. After that, I had planned to get some work done. I didn’t want a full day off, remember? Just some time to make me feel good.

Throwing things away for fun
Earlier that day I had had the weirdest experience. In the decluttering group, the prompt was to throw away something. At first I looked at it as ‘not my thing’. I had decided I needed fun today, and how much fun is it to throw something away? Then I realised I actually liked the thought of throwing things away. I was in an angry mood, p*ssed off that I was tired and had to adjust my plans Throwing stuff away was perfect for that feeling of anger. Mind you: the thing I chose had been on my to-do list for ages. It just never had priority, and I never had the energy. Now it was exactly what I needed. It had changed from something I felt I SHOULD do, in something I WANTED to do. Look at these before and after pictures:
Before, part 1
After part 1
I threw away a number of too small totally worn children’s shoes, and it felt great. They were just taking up space and nagging at my brain. I also threw away my once favourite red suede boots. I was sad to throw those away, but they weren’t wearable any more. I only kept them because they were my favourite shoes ever and I liked how they looked. It’s amazing what’s possible when you ditch resistance – throwing away things turned into fun!

Have to becomes want to
Back to my idea of getting things done. Meeting up with my friend worked really well. We talked, ate lunch and had fun. I stepped out of my stress zone. When I came home, it dawned upon me: I WANTED a day off. There was no good reason to wait until tomorrow, when I’d have exhaustion as a great excuse. I might as well take one now, and maybe get my things done tomorrow. Taking a day off had changed from ‘I have to’ into ‘I want to’. That felt so much better!

How to feel what I want
I’m guessing meditation could have had the same effect as meeting up with my friend: taking me out of my stress zone and reconnecting me with what I wanted.
I have known about the difference effect of ‘I have to’ versus ‘I want to’ for a long time. I knew how to substitute the words for each other (I have to → oh no, I have to want this → I want to). Today I realised that I have to search for I want to in a different place. Before I can feel what I want, I need to make room for my feelings.

I have too many inner people running the show otherwise.

I got a strange reward for taking my day off. Around dinner time a potential disastrous fight was developing in my household. I had patience, energy and clarity to deal with all the angry people (including my worried self). I stayed calm, took people apart, talked to one, then the other, and after everyone calmed down we had a nice evening together. I was SO relieved, and SO proud of myself for being able to do that. I know for sure that couldn’t have done it without my day off.