Getting started and making the most of now

I’ve been thinking about how we change and why we don’t a lot lately. Today marks the halfway point of the year and it seems apt to consider those yearly resolutions made under a bright belief in the possibility that we can changeWhat of those resolutions we made so resolutely during a dark and cold December night? Are you still going for those daily walks, artist’s dates, or writing to your pen pal? Are you conversing in Spanish, watching all the movie classics or practicing your calligraphy? Those wonderfully creative and healthly pursuits that seem to slip by, forgotten and wasted by mid-Spring were just another wish for change. I know many of the things I wanted to see happen feel from from reality.

I realize now that anything I haven’t accomplished yet is because I just didn’t want to change my habits. I said I did, but I didn’t mean it.

But I still can. Right this minute.

And so can you.

I don’t need a new calendar year, a Monday morning, a timetable, a program, a coach, a new outfit, or a vision board. You don’t need a tribe, a support group, a new routine, or a morning cup of coffee. We don’t need to wait until after finishing this chapter, until next week, or until the new moon. All of that crap is really just an excuse for waiting until never.

The change is ours now. Even if we haven’t begun the book, learned a new Spanish phrase, or taken a risk of any kind. We didn’t really want it when we made the resolution to begin. There was the idea, but no real desire to change. And that’s ok. But if you’ve decided that enough is enough and today’s the day, then read on for my five tips for making the best of this second half of the year. Making the most of right now.

1. Don’t ignore your Muse. 

Your muse will arrive when she damn well pleases. Yes, sometimes her appearance is rather inconvenient. So what if you’re driving when a good idea strikes? You better pull into the slow lane and pray you can decipher your scribbles later. But don’t you dare think you can just ignore the impulse and “remember it later”. You won’t remember. Trust me, she’ll make sure the idea is completely erased from your mind as she moves on to someone more willing to listen–ahem, now. 

2. Do shitty work

Seriously, write a terrible article. Speak an incoherent phrase. The faster you can fail, the sooner you’ll succeed. Simple and true. You can’t just come out with the next great American novel next month. As much as we swoon for those overnight success stories, they’re hardly real. What we never get to see in those glossy headlines is the sweat that went into all those shitty first drafts and other terrible first projects.

3. Show up

The Must needs to trust that you’ll take her inspiration seriously. And how can she tell who is ready to receive those great ideas? The person who shows up consistently, no matter what. So what if the only time you have to write is between 5:45 and 6:10 am? Write then. So what if you’re progressing at a snail’s pace through your French workbook? Say your s’il vows plaits and mercis anyway. Ever get that itch to learn another word? Paint another picture? That’s your Muse gently calling you forward. Show up to your practice and your Muse will meet you there, ideas aplenty.

4. Defeat your defeatist attitude

So you’re not going to be perfect at what you’re trying to accomplish. So what? Tell that inner bully to shut up already. You’ve got work to do and you don’t want to be late to meet your Muse. She’s so much more badass than your inner bully, you know. Think Xena, warrior princess vs. Biff Tannen. I know who’s side I want to be on. No contest.

5. Just start!

Read a few paragraphs, write a few lines. Do whatever it is that gets some momentum going. That’s really the key and the only advice worth anything. You can start now, if you would just start. From there? Keep going, you’re golden.

 

 

 

Bullet journal

bulletjournal

I never thought I would get so excited about a journaling system but, seriously… I fell hard for this easy notation and planning system from the moment I first read about it.

Bullet Journal is a form of note taking that basically allows you to jot down ideas, project manage, brainstorm, plan, and track your agenda all from the same notebook – ANY NOTEBOOK. This seems obvious on the face of it – I mean, just turn the page and document what you like, right? WRONG. After a couple pages of writing, you’ve got a hot steamy mess of notes and good luck trying to find that one measurement you jotted down in the extra space of the corner somewhere. No more.

Enter… Bullet Journal aka an organizer’s dream come true. I’m no nit-picking ninny but I do try to keep my life reasonably organized and as I take on new roles (like, ahem, WIFE) I know there will be more and more things that fall on my plate to take care of around our newly “official” household.  So, “What is the Bullet Journal?” I can almost hear you begging through the screen. I’ll explain it, but really, you should just watch this quick video that does a great job giving the basic rundown.

At the heart of it, bullet journaling requires a notebook–any kind–and a pen. That’s it. No fancy $60 agenda/planner or printables or spreadsheets. Just you, your notebook, and writing tool. I really love systems that don’t require the purchase of special equipment, don’t you? However, you will want a brand new notebook so if you don’t already have one, you will need to get one.

Ok, on to the action steps. First, save the first page of the notebook for your Index. This is where you’ll write out the title/topics you write about and the page number they’re written on. You don’t need to know in advance what will be in the index because it’s an add as you go feature. Additionally, you can go back and add page numbers to topics you’ve already written about. Say you start page one with a list of personal to dos and you fill the page. On page two, you’ve written your grocery list and page three is something else and so on. By page six, you want to write another personal to do list. In your index, just add page 6 to the line item for Personal To Dos! You can see that I did just that in the photos below.

bulletjournal indexAs you start each new page you’ll of course need to label the page number  as well as title it so you can reference it in the index. You can share pages with different topics too to save space. Above you’ll see that I have my Shopping List as well as Notes w/ Jenna on the same page even though they are totally unrelated.

Now to the heart of why it’s called Bullet Journal. “Bulleting” is the process by which you take abbreviated notes and jot down actionable to dos. A sqaure in front of an item means action needs to be taken and thus that item is a “task”. An open bullet point indicates an event. I find that I rarely use these but might as I get into more detailed in my calendar. A solid bullet point is purely informational.  Next, signifiers help identify priorities: A star next to a task means its most important, an exclamation point indicates a great idea or maybe something uber inspirational, an eye means its something you want to look up or “explore” further (maybe on another page?), and you can use an arrow to show you’ve moved an item to another list or a strike out to show the task is no longer relevant or necessary.

As you can see in the first photo, I like to go one extra step and highlight all the tasks that I’ve completed. It makes it easier to see at a glance which items still need attention and I can’t tell you how great it feels to see all that yellow all over the page.

Lastly, this system even works as a monthly planner. To create the monthly calendar, find a new page and list all the days down the side. Next to the numbers, you can add S,M,T,W and so on to indicate the days of the week that correspond. On each line, you can document important events or activities. If you want to get detailed, open another new page with the date as the title and document your agenda. Easy-peasy. Sometimes with regular planners I forget to use them or don’t have a lot going on for a stretch of time and I always feel like I’ve wasted space somehow. This helps me feel more in control of my days by allowing me to write only when I need to (or want to!).

Well, whether you give this a try or not, I hope you enjoyed this little recap. I’m so grateful I read about it on Kelsey’s blog and gave it a try. It came at the perfect time for this DIY-ing bride-to-be !

bulletjournal the end

Post-work celebration

Yesterday marked the end of a marathon work week that lasted straight through the holiday weekend. Over the past few months my office has planning, prepped, hosted, directed, facilitated, and cleaned up after the Senior Retreat weekend – a 3+ day event for the senior class. It was a great weekend and I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished but I was e x h a u s t e d at day’s end. After yesterday’s final activity to wrap up the craziness my boss took the team out for drinks at our local pizza joint. It was so nice to kick back with my office crew and enjoy a moment to celebrate our work but also to enjoy each other’s company.

I’m so lucky to have had work environments my entire career in which I really enjoy the people with whom I work. I think it’s because relationships take top priority in my life. I’ve always said that I could be happy doing almost anything if I had a great team to do it with. I learned that early on in my internship at Kripalu. There was a lot of menial work to attend to but my year there ended up being one of the most important of my life. And it had very little to do with the work I was doing.

6 months ago, I didn’t quite know what to make of the personalities I was to be working with. I could see it was going to take time to figure out. Today, I’m so happy to be working with a boss that I truly admire and greatly respect and look up to in many ways. Last night, as she and I were nearly finishing each other’s sentences, I had an ah-ha moment as I recognized just how much she respects and acknowledges me as well. I have to say, it felt good.

I’ve learned so much from my supervisors in this job. Commitment, work ethic, strategy, dedication, organization, planning… I wish I had more time to soak up their energy, drive, and spreadsheet skills. For now, I’m grateful for the time I’ve had and acknowledge a lot of my learning will take time to unpack over the next months and years. As it always does.

Bennington

photo 1

The Barn. Also where my office is located.

Huzzah! Today begins my next adventure working for Bennington College.

photo 2

The student center

I couldn’t be more excited. The campus is gorgeous with stunning views and quiet pathways that wind around both historic and modern buildings. I’ve only been to campus while students have been on vacation so I am curious to see what the campus is like when its populated with the rush student activity.

photo 3

The view from the student center. omigawd.

Some time ago I put out a prayer for something I could not yet name. In response I received a job opportunity. It’s funny how things like that happen. But things like that happen to me frequently. And when they do I have no doubt that it is the right next thing for me. So in anticipation (and some first day anxiety) I’m eager to be partner to what unfolds from here. Here we go!

I’m going to miss this

A lovely ‘boukale’ brightens my desk

There are perks to my job. Some of them are obvious, others require a keener eye. The outright perks of being on staff at Kripalu are shared by all here but the little things, the everyday things – those I’m really going to treasure.
The “How much longer, now?”s and the “I can’t belive it’s this week already!”s have amped up in frequency from my co-workers in the past day and it’s pushed me to take a small glimpse into the future without my current job. What surfaces is a smattering of bits and meaningful pieces that make up the mosaic of the past year.

So, with 76 more hours to go here is a (by no means conclusive) list of a few of the things I’ll miss.

5. Pen wars with Micah.

4. Making up a Mezzanine reality TV show. A new day, a new episode.

3. That most people have no idea what I actually do.

2. Long meandering yogic based philosophical and political dialogues that fed my mind and my heart.

1. Maaarnin’!!!

🙂

Natanya