Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More Happy Days


I missed a few days of the #100HappyDays challenge, but I'm still going. These photos are from days 13-25. One thing I've noticed is that there needs to be more people in my pictures.

Monday, October 27, 2014

This Week's Intention: Faith

Midterms and a lot of papers have thrown me off my blog posting game.  However, I'm back with an update about weekly intentions.

Two weeks ago, I was going to focus on Faith. I read the chapter in Just One Thing, absorbed some of the practices, and started to write a blog post. But I never finished the post even though I've continued to think about faith off an on for two weeks now.
"Faith: a sense of trusting in something"
 This intention isn't about religious faith, it's a look at a more general faith in the universe. What do I trust, internally and externally?



I have faith in:
  • The pleasure of drinking a good cup of coffee
  • The healing qualities of being outsides to enjoy nature
  • That choosing a positive attitude feels better than choosing a negative one, regardless of the situation
  • The joy of having and caring for pets
  • That with practice comes greater skill
  • Meditation
I do not have faith in:
  • Irresponsiblity (blogger says I've made this word up, I'm sure you'll understand what I mean by it)
  • Laziness
  • People who won't come through for your
It's easier for me to articulate what I have faith in by identifying what I trust or "know" about the world. And although these lists might seem short I spent several hours considering them.

What I haven't done as frequently is meditate. Here is my check-in progress for the past four weeks:






What this means is that I've checked in and described how I'm feeling before meditating twice in the past four weeks. But it doesn't mean I've only done two meditations.  I've completed 5 minute waking up meditations, or 3 minute falling asleep meditation a few times, but if I don't complete the check-in first it isn't recorded by the Stop, Breathe, & Think app. I also led a gratitude meditation on Friday for my staff group (and spent a few minutes of the meditation thinking about how grateful I am to have a job where we meditate in staff meetings) which wasn't captured.

What was captured is that sad brain figure which means I've been feeling "meh" lately - or at least the times I've checked-in. I'm going to add more gratitude meditations to my week and see if I can't turn that "meh" into a solid "good" or even a "great."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Good Practice

About a year ago my friend Kait introduced me to the blog zenhabits by Leo Babauta. While I don't regularly read zenhabits it's saved in my Feedly organizer to click over and read when I need a break.

Well I recently spent a week focusing on Taking More Breaks  and during that time I read Leo Babauta's post The Productive Sprint. I originally misread the title, thinking it said The Productive Spirit, and read the post thinking it would be about something entirely different. Leo shared his strategy for completing a writing sprint and at the time I didn't need to do a writing sprint. I filed that information away in the back of my brain and went on with my day.

Now, it's paper writing season for my grad program. This week I have three writing assignments due over two days, which would typically scare the pants off me. Last week I had other writing assignments due so I'll be honest say I started these assignments for the first time on Thursday. Normally, this would be very stressful. I would work myself up about all of the things I have to do, feel anxious, and then become so paralyzed by the anxiety that it would be hard to start working on a specific assignment.

But I developed a new strategy that's helping me.  It's not Leo's writing sprint, exactly. It's a combination of his writing sprint and "the 40 minute rule" my friends recently adopted. The 40 minute rule started when a group of us were doing homework in a friends apartment and needed to balance how often we interrupted each other with the basic need to be able to ask each other questions. We set a timer for 40 minutes and no one was allowed to talk until the timer went off. If we had a question for the group we'd write it down and during a break from what we were doing discuss before setting the timer for another 40 minutes of silence.

That's the perfect amount of time for me. It's not so long that I'm too intimidated to even start work, but not so short that I haven't accomplished anything before I'm jumping out of my seat to take a break. My strategy for tackling papers is to write in 40 minute intervals with 20 minute breaks. And a bigger break after 2-3 hours to walk away and refresh my brain. Sometimes I use the break to read blogs, check facebook, get a snack, or just get up and stretch. Then I return for another 40 minutes of writing. Today, I'm writing this blog post during my 20 minute breaks.

Is it working? Yes! All three of my papers are in draft form. One is a complete draft, the other two are at least 70% complete. My goal is to finish the drafts of all three today and spend Monday editing. I never edit on the same day that I write. It's too easy for me to read over my mistakes and miss them.

All of that is to say: experiment. My weekly intentions have helped me to find ways to tackle my own procrastination without driving myself up a wall. That feels like success to me.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

#100HappyDays Progress


Earlier this week I shared a photo from my #100HappyDays challenge and then today I realized that blog readers miss out on most of the photos. The collage above has everything (starting on the botton right and zigzagging up to the top left). I'm on day 12, but I skipped the photo for day 4 since you'd already seen the lovely Ms. Chicken in another post.

If you're interested in seeing all of my #100HappyDays photos in real time feel free to follow me on instagram, by searching @buttonwoodcottage. If instagram isn't your thing that's cool too. I plan on keeping up with my weekly intentions on the blog.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

xx Kasey