Category: Your Turn Challenge


Endless variations or Why I Blog

This week, my usual posts are suspended as I take part in the Your Turn Challenge. As a part of this challenge, those of us who participate are committing to a daily post for seven days, starting today January 19th to January 25. You can read the posts of other participants here. Why am I taking part? Because – I want to get unstuck.

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“One theme with endless variations.”

Denise Shekerjian quotes Alfred Steiglitz in the book Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born

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I feel like that with this blog. It almost feels like I’m talking round and round about the same thing, trying to come at something from as many angles as I can, from as many perspectives as I can come up with considering my limited brain. And I will continue to do so.

What is unknown is this – what exactly I am trying to say?

With this exploration of what I think, what I believe, what my perspective is at the current moment, and how I am reacting. With what I am reading now and how its influencing me. With this, maybe in the future, I can map out my own sub conscious and maybe make sense of it all. Maybe I’ll know myself someday.

Till then, all I can say about my blog is this – it is an exploration of my mind and subconscious.
And what I see, and think and believe one day, may not be the same next day. In fact they might be contradictory, and that’s ok. Maybe through this exploration I can get a sense of the real rules I live my life by, the ones I actually follow, and not the ones that I think that I follow,. After all, that is why we write isn’t it?

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“What are we trying to uncover in this flow? The one person irreplaceable to the world, of which there is no duplicate. You. As there was only one Shakespeare, Moliere, Dr. Johnson, so you are that precious commodity, the individual man, the man we all democratically proclaim, but who, so often, gets lost, or loses himself in the shuffle”
Ray Bradbury in Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity

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Tactics for “I don’t feel like working” days

This week, my usual posts are suspended as I take part in the Your Turn Challenge. As a part of this challenge, those of us who participate are committing to a daily post for seven days, starting today January 19th to January 25. You can read the posts of other participants here. Why am I taking part? Because – I want to get unstuck.

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Yesterday was a very bad day productivity wise. The day started of great. But by about 10 a.m. I was caught right in the middle of my feelings.

I didn’t feel like working. I felt guilty that I was not working because I had so much to do. I felt angry that I had to work and could not take it easy. I tried but failed miserably – to just do and not feel. Then to make myself feel better, I binge ate lots of not-so-good-stuff which made me feel even worse. And the entire day was gone in listening to the craziness of my feelings.

Today, I was thinking about what went wrong yesterday, about how sometime sin the past I turn around such days and actually get my work done. So I decided to list the tactics I have collected from others and which I have used successfully in the past, which have worked for me use to circumvent this uselessness and procrastination caused by my feelings.

To just ignore feelings is not an option for me. Some days I am successful in not listening to my feelings. But some other days, I fall for the same old game. Such days, when my will power is low, and my feelings are not pushing me in the right direction – those are the days these tactics are the most useful.

So here are the tactics I use on good days:

1. Get my normal amount of sleep (8-9 hrs.) and wake up at my normal time (Yesterday I got up much earlier at 4.30 – I am building this new habit, and I got after 7.30 hours of interrupted sleep. Basically I woke up with 50% less will power than I generally do!)

2. A predictable morning routine. Nothing more, nothing less than the usual morning routine (Yesterday, I had to write 3400 words in the morning, to make up for a lack of words / lesser number of words the previous days, plus penalties Doing this exhausted me and my will power, it seems).

3. Set up my daily 5 stars – I have this habit of typing down the 5 most important things I need to do for the day, and when I do each thing, I give myself a star – a way to focus on the most important things to be done. (Yesterday, instead of writing it fresh, I just copied from the day before….Does not work. The act of retyping seems to be very powerful.)

4. When caught in the “I don’t want to do this” feeling loop, I generally tell myself “Just do it for 2 minutes. If you don’t want to do after that, you can quit”. ( I obviously didn’t do this yesterday).

5. After 2 minutes, if I still don’t want to do it, I drink a glass of water, use the bathroom, and try again. Three tries, and if I don’t want to do it, then I can get up. (Nor did I do this yesterday)

6. Get up and then go for a walk and drink water. A walk in the fresh air seems to clear my mind beautifully and air out my bad feelings. After that try again. (And not this either)

7. Even after the walk, and the two minute tactic and a retry of the three times tactic, I can’t bring myself to work, then it is time to call it day and go do something fun.
(Yup, didn’t do this. Instead of letting go and doing something else, something fun, yesterday I wallowed in guilt and self pity and pretended to try to push through, and finally gave up and zombied to click bait on the internet))

8. Drink a lot of water that day. I feel like if I don’t drink enough water on a given day, my will power does not recharge to pull the following day! (Anyone else like this?)

As you can tell, yesterday, if had paid attention, the start of the day would have told me what kind of a day I would have had, and that I would need to use all my tactics.

The unfortunate part is, on the days I need them the most, I seem to forget all about these tactics. So I’m hoping, by writing this post, I have guidelines for the next time I need to use these tactics. And maybe it might help you who are reading this too.


How to stay away from overwhelm

This week, my usual posts are suspended as I take part in the Your Turn Challenge. As a part of this challenge, those of us who participate are committing to a daily post for seven days, starting today January 19th to January 25. You can read the posts of other participants here. Why am I taking part? Because – I want to get unstuck.

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It is my nature to get enthusiastic and so into something that I get over ambitious and over-plan and over-extend – to such a manner that I get overwhelmed. And then I give up and have to take a break from it. And come back and start over again.

That is crazy isn’t it? So much starting and stopping and starting and stopping.

So what might be a better approach for me? At first thought, it might be moderation. But then just trying to moderate my enthusiasm is very time consuming, tiring and counterproductive. The enthusiasm and the excitement completely die down – which hampers my creativity. The advantage of the momentum is lost.

The better approach might be to monitor my feelings closely, and when this enthusiasm is on the edge of pushing me to overwhelm, to then dial back, just a bit. Kind of like a speeding race car driver – who has to go fast, on the edge, but still on this side of control.

To do so, I will first need to be mindful and monitor myself carefully. Self knowledge and presence is key. Secondly, I need to totally trust my feelings and instincts. The minute I detect a slight “Oh no! Do I really need to do so much? Maybe this isn’t so much fun any more…”, I need to give myself a break and not push so much.

Easier said than done, of course (like everything else….is a practice.)


On exercise

This week, my usual posts are suspended as I take part in the Your Turn Challenge. As a part of this challenge, those of us who participate are committing to a daily post for seven days, starting today January 19th to January 25. You can read the posts of other participants here. Why am I taking part? Because – I want to get unstuck.

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After a strenuous workout, it is amazing how good a body feels. The luxuriousness of aching muscles. The beauty of that heavy ache. It is almost languorous to move – with that aching body, and when every movement sends waves of aches (not pains) through, the mind congratulates the body on a task well done, on being pushed to do its best, on doing what it is meant to do.
In return the body smiles a shy little smile thinking to itself, “Oh brain, now you notice me? Now you are not completely caught up in spinning your wheels to go nowhere! Now that I am pushed to my limits, and you got a break because I needed all the blood, you are happy?. You are welcome, even though you don’t know enough to thank me!”.

And no such days, the sleep feels so well deserved and so deep and so good. Lying down, being supported by the earth. Heavy, yet the lightness and deepness of sleep enveloping you lovingly. Heavenly.

Why is it then, that I have lost my habit of exercise?


Books

This week, my usual posts are suspended as I take part in the Your Turn Challenge. As a part of this challenge, those of us who participate are committing to a daily post for seven days, starting today January 19th to January 25. You can read the posts of other participants here. Why am I taking part? Because – I want to get unstuck.

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Books are so amazing and I am grateful for this gift – the love of reading – bestowed upon me.

The world is never boring with a book in hand. While reading the book, a good book, the ‘real’ world around you starts taking on the hues and colors of the book. I start noticing around me, what the author describes and writes in the book. In those really good books where the characters are powerfully and beautifully put forth, I have realized that I start to subtly behave similar to the character I most identify with. When I first realized this, I was taken aback, shocked and a little spooked. But I have now accepted this part of reading and it has become a fun game to be aware of my behaviors and notice when I manifest the book-influenced behavior.

It is not just the reading of books. I am most content working, studying writing at my desk, where I can see my beloved books. Over the years I have been trying to not just accumulate books – but only those I really really love. But what can I do if I love too many books?

There is a satisfaction in holding a paper book and reading it. But I enjoy reading on my kindle too. And my smartphone and my PC. I think I read flyers and road signs – anything with words, I can’t help but read.

I wonder if the other readers out there – do you react so emotionally and viscerally to books as well? Is your world when you are reading a book different from the world otherwise? How are your visceral reactions to a book/ I would love to know.