Bird by bird

I have a lot going on that’s pushing me to the limits of my organizational skills. I got divorced in December, we’re selling the house this month, and I moved my stuff out last weekend to store it at my daughter’s house while I travel through next October. Oh, and I quit my job. Things that have been in place for a long time are very much out of place and I feel chaos looming around every corner.

Then, at a Songwriting Workshop last week, our leader Jud Caswell, talked about taking small steps to get started on something new, and mentioned Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. The title comes from a time when Anne’s brother was procrastinating writing a big report on birds. The dad’s advice was to go bird by bird. And finally the report was done. Continue reading

Can you become a Morning Person?

Here’s something I would not think possible: That you can turn an evening person into a morning person. In the research I’ve done and through personal observations I’ve made over several decades, I deeply believe that each of us has a sweet spot of time in the day where we’re productive. We have other times when we’re creative . And we all have base times where we need to chill and get some sleep.

To meet work demands, many try to make a change, but it doesn’t seem to be all that successful without a lot of caffeine!

But last week I read an article in the New York Times by Harry Guinness, a writer who swears he made the switch from Night Owl to Morning Dove. I’d love a follow-up from him at some point to see how this is going, but here are his tips for how he made the switch in case you’re interested. Continue reading

Connect

I’ve been part of a number of in-depth conversations over the last couple of weeks about how important community is, and how it can be so hard to grasp these days. The topic came up at work, in a book group, in an Eldering discussion group, at the Democracy Cafe, and among a circle of friends. Have you ever noticed when an idea bubbles up in your life that you hear it over and over?

Here’s the core of the thinking. Humans are tribal. We evolved to live and work in tight communities with shared experiences and shared work. But we live in crazy times where few of us live near family or old friends. Many of us live in houses or apartments that are tucked away from everyone. We drive in cars by ourselves. And many of us put on a face when we’re at work or school. Do people even know us? Continue reading

Make Time

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to get and stay organized. My latest inspiration is Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. These two Silicon Valley fellows found themselves swamped with work and while they had interesting careers, were unhappy with the amount of time they had left in the day to do work they loved. Part of the work they loved, of course, was writing a book about doing the work they loved… :).

Here are their four big take-aways: Continue reading

Honoring synchronicity

Don’t you love when you ask the Universe a question and you get a clear answer? It doesn’t happen all the time. When it does it reminds you of a few things.

  1. It’s cool when mysterious stuff happens.
  2. We have guides everywhere. Some we know; many we do not.
  3. There is a plan for us even if we have no idea what that plan is.
  4. When cool stuff happens, it’s a reminder to be aware and be grateful.
  5. When you ask for help, help is there.

As you may know, I’m headed off on a big writing trip at the end of February and that decision has stirred up all sorts of other changes. This has made the world feel a bit tilted and chaotic for me. I love the high energy of the decision but it’s honestly been hard keeping the organizational challenges of this from feeling like an impending tidal wave. I have a few questions! Continue reading

Are you a Stranger in the Woods?

I just finished listening to The Stranger in the Woods; the Extraordinary Life of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. This is a non-fiction account of Christopher Knight. At age 20, Chris ditched his car and walked away from an apartment and a dead-end job, preferring to live by himself in the Maine woods rather than conform to the demands of a society he did not feel part of. When Chris fled to the woods it was out of a desperate need to be alone. To have the quiet to contemplate. To be outside. Twenty-seven years later, he was arrested for burglary and sent to jail.

There is so much interesting thinking here for anyone trying to craft a life that fits with who you are. And the book reminds us that we are all different, that what works for one person does not work for all. This includes a conventional education path, climbing a ladder, to-do lists, and that ever-present push to “succeed.” If that makes you happy, great. But if it doesn’t, what then? Continue reading

Artist get-away idea

I’m working on plans for my writing trip next spring and summer, and have stumbled on several Artist Residency programs that are intriguing. I wasn’t familiar with the concept of an Artist Residency till a friend told me about the efforts of the Libra Foundation in Monson, Maine, a little town on a lake about 2-1/2 hours north of me. Continue reading