Category Archives: Priorities

Titania’s tenth month: A New Morning Ritual

I have two great evening routines. For many years now I’ve been writing in my feel-good book, not every night, but often. Here I write down a few words about what has happened if I want to (no stressful reporting duties), and – more importantly – “Three (or more) things that I’m grateful for today”, “Something I need help with” and “Something I’ve done to feel good” (such as yoga, meditation or a jog). Writing down these things is a way for me to focus on some positive aspects, even a day when the sun isn’t shining. I strongly adhere to Dalai Lama’s idea that we’re so good at dwelling on the negative aspects in life, that we don’t have to make an effort to remember these, whereas what we really need to make an effort to do is notice all those little miracles in life.

Thanks to the Memento Vivere project, I also finally managed to get back to meditation last August, and now I meditate regularly, almost every evening before I go to bed. Meditation is usually an efficient remedy for my inspiration overload, although every now and then it seems to have the opposite effect, i.e. to open up yet another channel to my creativity. In those cases  I simply have to give up and go write down whatever it is that comes flying.

But now to my mornings. My friend and colleague Sara has been meditating in the mornings for quite some time now, and her husband does some yoga. I’ve been envious, since meditation and yoga seem to be such great ways of starting the day. My morning is somewhat more complicated than theirs, since I still have such small kids (my youngest is three), so I’ve simply dismissed the idea. Until a few weeks ago, when I read a blog entry about a woman who had started a new morning ritual, which inspired me so much that I decided to give it a try during my May month. What she did was meditate and write some specific things down in a beautiful book.

I realized that there is indeed some room for me to do something similar. It can’t take more than ten minutes or so, but I can have those ten minutes to myself, after my husband and daughters have left for work and school, and before I take their little brother to kindergarten half an hour later. My son loves to watch some web TV with (really good!) children’s programs in the morning, and I usually let him do that for about a quarter of an hour or so, since it gets him in a good mood. I have now decided to do like this: Instead of walking around picking up things, dressing myself and my son, brushing teeth etc. during those fifteen minutes, I’ll get up a little earlier and make sure that everything is ready when it’s time for his web TV session. Then, while he’s at the computer, I’ll do a short meditation session and then write a few lines in my new notebook, according to the following headings:

  • 2013-05-01 22.33.14The best things things about yesterday
  • My three most important tasks today
  • Today’s affirmation (a sentence formulated as if something has already happened, e.g. I have completed X and feel very satisfied with the result, or as a state I want to be in, e.g. Today I feel really creative)

I hope that this will make me more efficient and even more positively tuned than otherwise to my working tasks. Then I’ll try to keep the evening routines as well, as a more general form of relaxation and reflection.

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Filed under creativity, Meditation, Priorities, Productivity

Miranda’s tenth month: music

I’m happy to say that I didn’t eat any candy or cookies for 22 days in a row. And during all of these days, I did some kind of physical exercise, although on a few days it was only a walk. I have tried zumba and pilates and tai chi, and for once, I’m almost addicted to working out. It does make me cope better with the workload, and I don’t crave sugar anymore. And despite my stress, I’ve been able to read two books, meet some friends and go to two concerts. Because I prioritized what I felt was most important to me, I had the energy to do things in time anyway.

So, because of last month’s success, I’ve decided to go against my plans and choose a focus area that may not help me finish my essay faster. However, it will hopefully keep my mood up and give me some nice breaks from the long hours of studying. This month, I will focus on music.

Last week, I took part in the filming of a documentary, and they wanted a shot of me playing the guitar. First, it hit me that I hadn’t taken my guitar out of its case since my last guitar lesson in December. Secondly, I couldn’t come up with a single song to play. This made me feel really awkward, because here I am, dreaming of making albums that will change people’s lives, and I haven’t even touched my guitar for months. I figured that if I managed to squeeze in up to an hour of exercise every day, I should have time to play some guitar as well.

My first goal is to learn a quite difficult song containing lots of fast picking, which is something I really need to practice. Right now, it seems completely impossible. But if I slow it down and just gradually play it a little faster each day during the month (or at least each day I’m home, because I’m going to London tomorrow), I could make it.

My second goal is to find a new band I like every week. Sounds simple enough, but I’ve had a really difficult time finding bands with more than one or two good songs lately. I cancelled my Spotify subscription last week to save some money, and I still haven’t regretted it. I think Spotify made me lose my patience with music, because there’s too much – it’s so easy to jump to the next song. And some music needs to be listened to a few times before the greatness of it sinks in. Now I’m mostly using 8tracks, a free service where you can only skip songs a limited number of times.

I think these two goals will be enough, considering that this is the month I will (hopefully) finish my essay. It’s kind of hard for me to grasp, but soon my education will be finished. In one month and a few days, I will be free.

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Filed under Goals, Health, Miranda, Music, Physical exercise, Priorities, Stress

Miranda’s ninth month: Priorities

Inspired by Titania’s thoughts on time and priorities, I have decided to turn this month into an experiment. Since my life gets more and more stressful, I think it is time to start prioritizing the right things. Since I came home from Italy, I have been exercising twice a week, and I notice such a tremendous change in my energy and motivation that it would be stupid not to take time to exercise. It simply gives me so much time in return.

One thing that doesn’t give me energy, however, is sugar. This easter weekend has been crazy, with two family dinners and lots of desserts and candy. I don’t need to lose weight, but stomachaches and tiredness is something I could definitely do without. I’m curious to see how it would affect my body and mind to stay away from sweet things for a whole month. I don’t think I have managed more than a week before, but I think that this perspective will help me. Instead of viewing it as a ban, I will prioritize eating healthy because it makes me feel much better and gives me much more energy.

Finally, because of my stress I almost feel guilty when I spend half an hour reading  before I go to bed.  I haven’t touched my guitar for months, and sometimes I would like to draw or take some photos or bake bread or meet a friend, but I usually end up studying instead. This is not okay! I have to squeeze in some free time and fun activities to be able to cope with the stressful days, and I think that if I can make my days more effective by gaining more energy, I will find time for this as well.

So, my goals for April are:

1. Do some kind of physical exercise every day.

2. Eat no candy or cookies.

3. Take time to do something I really enjoy every day.

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Filed under Body, Challenge, Diet, Food, Goals, Health, Miranda, Physical exercise, Priorities, Productivity, Stress, Wellbeing

Culture down the drain…

Hm. I gave culture another go. I thought “This time, maybe”. But no, although I try to avoid saying that I don’t have the time to do something (I prefer to talk about priorities), even I have to admit that there are not enough hours in a day for me to do all the things I want to do. My “problem” is that there are simply too many things in life that I really enjoy, which means that no matter how much I prioritize, I cannot do it all.

Work (which is one of those things I do love nowadays…) takes time, although I don’t work full time any longer; downshifting is one of the best things I’ve ever done in order to find more space for other things I also enjoy doing. Our three children of course need time and attention. The dishwasher needs to be emptied and re-filled, clothes have to be washed, dried and sorted (ironing is one of the things I usually unprioritize…), food has to be bought and cooked, the house needs cleaning (although again this is certainly not one of our high-priority areas). And then I have managed to get regular physical exercise and meditation into my life again, ever since those areas were focus months in my Memento Vivere project.

2013-03-31 20.57.27So, I haven’t devoted more time this month to culture than I normally do. I have read one book, I’ve seen two films and I’ve done some singing and guitar playing (practicing for an event with my friend next week), but that’s it. The huge pile of movies next to my TV-set is still very much present and so is the pile of books on my bedside table. I’ll give it a try again in the summer holidays, when I have finished writing my latest book, which I usually spend time on in the evenings.

And the good thing is – again – that it doesn’t matter. When I was younger, I was easily stressed by such things as book piles. Getting older, I have become more patient. Piles of movies I haven’t seen, books and articles I haven’t read instead give me a feeling of wealth. How wonderful having so many pleasant experiences left to enjoy! The same goes for all the projects I want to do in my working-life. Being a creative person I tend to come up with new ideas all the time, but with time I have learnt to put them in a file and wait until the moment is right. I don’t have to fulfill all my dreams at once. That gives me a tremendous sense of joy, and also a reason to take care of my health in order to live a long life.

Tomorrow is April Fools’ Day and time for a new project month, focused on Just do it! I’ll be back!

Titania

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Titania’s eighth month: Culture – here we go again!

Just as in my sixth month I revived an old focus (body), I will extend my culture focus yet another month, since I haven’t been able to give culture as much attention as I would have hoped. I haven’t read more than usual, I have only watched one film BUT I went to a stand-up show performed by a wonderful female comedian, and I really enjoyed it. It even inspired me to thoughts about – some time in the future – creating a show of some kind with my best friend, with whom I share a blog, lead a discussion group and give lectures on how to make the best out of life. Perhaps the next step in our development is to combine life wisdom with humour?

The good thing about this project is that there is only plus, no minus, which means that I’m not disappointed or blame myself for not doing as much as I had planned. However, since I feel that culture really is important to me and my well-being, I would like to give it another go and let March as well be focused on music, literature and film. Perhaps I will be able at least to squeeze a few more films into my life (there’s still a huge pile of DVD:s that I’ve borrowed from a neighbour next to our TV set).

Titania

PS. My focus on body and health is still active in my life to a great extent. It’s interesting to experience how something that used to be really difficult to find time for in the autumn now easily prioritizes itself. I so very much enjoy having gone back to a healthier lifestyle, and to feel that my biggest addiction right now is yoga! 🙂

 

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Filed under Culture, Goals, Priorities, Titania, Yoga

Miranda’s sixth month: Simplicity

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
— Henry David Thoreau

In line with this month’s area of focus, I’ve decided to keep this post simple. To sort out the mess that my life, home and workload has turned into during the constant stress of the last few months, I’ve decided to make things simpler, and these are my goals:

– Figure out my priorities in life and spend more time on them.

– Get rid of all unnecessary things and find a home for everything else.

– Do one thing at the time.

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Filed under Goals, Miranda, Organisation, Priorities, Productivity, Simplicity

My almost-completely-vegetarian month

Gosh, how the months pass quickly! Time to summarize again. This month I decided to focus on eating less meat and finding new dishes that both I and my family would appreciate. In retrospect, part one has worked excellently, better than I had expected. I have chosen cheese instead of ham on my sandwiches, chosen vegetarian food (and sometimes fish or seafood) every time I’ve eaten at a restaurant, and also made a vegetarian alternative for myself whenever the rest of the family has had meat. Sometimes I have also had my family members try out my vegetarian food, and especially my eleven-year-old daughter has generally liked it. Another way of having my family eat less meat has been to mix small pieces of chicken with small pieces of qorn or to mix minced meat with soy meat. No protests from the family when this has happened!

The second part of the project goals was about finding and trying out new recipes, for myself and my family alike, and I can honestly say that I’ve been lousy at doing this. Several years ago I stopped saying that “I don’t have the time” to do this or that. Everyone has 24 hours a day, so I decide how I fill my days, and the only thing I can say is that I haven’t prioritized this particular activity. There have simply been other things that have felt more important.

A central of my part of the Memento Vivere project is to set goals that I don’t have to feel guilty about if I don’t reach, and it actually works very well. I don’t feel bad at all about not prioritizing finding a lot of new vegetarian dishes this month. I have discovered one new recipe: beefs made from chickpea and nuts. And I made a lot, so every time I haven’t found the time (oh dear, now I said it anyway!) or energy to come up with some other ideas for my veggie lunch or supper, I have picked out some chickpea beefs from the freezer. I have also made some really nice vegetarian lasagna, cannelloni, enchiladas and pizza. And that’s perfectly fine! I’m really satisfied anyway. Just as I am about my body, although I haven’t done as much physical exercise as I had hoped and definitely not lost the weight I had planned to lose (Month 2). There will be a time for everything, and focusing on new things every month introduces me to new ideas and makes me come at least some way with new and nice habits. 

Titania

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Filed under Food, Priorities, Titania, Vegetarianism