Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Make the Right Thing also the Easy Thing

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

A few years back, I was working on building a food site, inspired in spirit by Ravelry. And, being me, I read every book I could find on social media, community sites, and a whole selection on various vague internetty topics.

One thought stuck with me, although the author’s name did not: Make it easy to do the right thing and as close as you can to impossible to do the wrong thing. Since I’ve been thinking a lot about my patterns and taking care of my self and my space, this thought has been popping up often.

Obviously, this works better in some cases than others. For instance: I’m still working on how to make it easier to go to dance class than stay in bed. But it may be simpler than it seems for other tasks.

The TV Vortex

Two and a half weeks ago I decided that I needed a streaming TV break. I was spending 10+ hours a week watching TV shows. While, at the same time, I felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day. I have things I want to accomplish and reruns of shows from when I was in high school were getting in the way of that.

So, I paid attention to when, why and how I watched my shows. I watched when I was feeling out of sorts, when I felt like I needed a reward, when I wanted to rest. I also watched when I ate lunch. And I always clicked on the link in my Most Recent Places menu when I opened a new tab.

Making the Easy

So, first, I made getting there harder. I removed all references to my site of choice from Most Recent Places, it is in fact editable. I started watching TED talks during lunch, they’re shorter and mostly really interesting. When I wanted a break, I started looking at my favorite food blogs (which, come to think of it, may be what started that cascade of food themed posts a couple of weeks back). Feeling out of sorts… tea and coloring should help that.

This is not to say that I haven’t wanted to watch a show. I have, but I want the space and time to come at it in a different way. And, the thing is, I do have to think about it. I can’t just click a button or two and be there. Having to make the conscious choice to type in the URL makes a difference, makes it a conscious choice.

Pattern Watching

As I write this I’ve got about two weeks left on my self imposed TV ban and I *am* getting more done. Watching those patterns showed me other patterns that needed revising. I figured out how to get my calendar to function in a way that I would actually use. My internet habits, in general, are shifting too.

And that thing about going to dance class instead of staying in bed, I may have found a use for that programable vacuum cleaner, besides cleaning the floors. I would have to get out of bed to turn it off (it’s too loud to run while I’m in the house), so it’s just as easy to leave as it is to chase the vacuum down and hit the off switch. If I ever get the vacuum, I’ll let you know.

Are there any ways you have employed Making the Right Thing the Easy Thing in your life? Are there any ways you could?

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You’re Not Broken, Nobody Needs to Fix You

Friday, July 15th, 2011

The other night I was at a meet up and trying to explain what Staying Sane and Being Social does. One of the major components is creating a visual representation of how much time/energy a commitment really takes from you. One of the attendees said “Wow, I thought that was just me”, referring to the exhaustion and feeling of overwhelm after a party.

I hear that a lot: I thought it was just me. 

Just Because You Feel Alone, Doesn’t Mean You Are Alone

We think we’re odd, off, broken somehow. We think it’s weird, so we don’t talk about it.

 

The not wanting to talk on the phone, especially to strangers, but even to friends. The being bone tired after a party where all we did was talk to a few people. The fear of asking for what we want. The way we circle new ideas, poking at them a bit (or more) first. The list , it does go on.

 

I want to be quite clear on this:

  • YOU ARE NOT BROKEN!
  • IT’S NOT JUST YOU!
  • NO ONE NEEDS TO FIX YOU!

*ahem* Sorry for the yelling…

 

Weird vs Normal, It’s not even a contest

Your reactions are quite normal, for shy/introverted/HSPs. For people who think about their reactions rather than talking about them. And therein lies the problem, we have no way of knowing what is going on in another person’s head, especially if they want to keep it to themselves, since they think they’re weird.

 

So, I’m collecting “I thought it was just me”s, the thoughts that we don’t usually share and sharing them. Let us know what you thought was just you in your shy, introverted or HSP self. Anything you’ve seen here and were relieved to find that it wasn’t just you. The thing you keep looking to find here to see if it was just you.

 

I’m leaning towards completely free ebook (no email address exchange or anything), but there will probably be a page with excerpts as well.

 

As always, here’s the shiny form, please tell us what you thought was ‘just you’:

Your Initials (required)

Subject

Your Message

Please give your initials, if you give your name I’ll use just your initials anyway. If you don’t want to use your real initials, feel free to use the ones from the name you wish your parents had given you, or make something else up entirely. Thanks for joining in, I love to see how telling our stories helps each other.

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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What Will Make it Better?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

They’ve been building a table in the courtyard outside my apartment for the last six weeks. That is not hyperbole, unfortunately. Off and on they’ve been dragging equipment  to and fro, cutting, welding, measuring, cursing… And to be fair, it’s not just a table, it wraps around a tree and has a grill built in. Also, it’s been loud. And as I’m sure you are aware, I *hate* loud.

 

One morning I could hear them sawing planks for the table and at the same time someone else was using a drill on the other side of the apartment. Of course, all the noise was making the dogs that live in the units to my right and left, go bonkers. Suffice it to say, I was not at my best.

Caution: Slow Brain at Work

I was having a slow morning because I couldn’t think straight. So, I was doing my Shiva Nata during the cacophony. Massive loudness is not conducive to brain training or boosting my mood, and my lac of focus showed. I always end my practice with meditation, but who can meditate with a chorus of saws, drills, and barking dogs? I nearly skipped it and just made breakfast.

 

But I needed to sit for a minute, so why not try to meditate? My post Shiva Nata meditation usually centers on a question that I come up with at the beginning of the meditation, whatever rises to the top. I heard: What would make this better? My first answer: Music, music that I choose and can block some of the noise. What else? Tea and a shower. What else? Food, I need breakfast, low blood sugar *always* makes everything worse.

Wow.

You Have… Options

So, that’s what I did. Breakfast and tea followed by a shower, then music while I worked. I had been so caught up in the crazy and frustration of the moment, that I had nearly missed all the opportunities I had at hand for making it better. I also could have gone for a walk to a coffee shop if I still needed time away from the loud. Or, maybe a drop-in yoga class at the place down the street.

 

Having been already in a place where meditation was my next step made me step outside of the situation and see some of my options. Most of which are on my ‘What Helps’ list in my Book of Me. But I don’t remember my Book of Me when I’m on edge. So, now the list goes in a card in my wallet, in the notes on my phone, on a sheet of paper inside my closet door.

 

I need ways to take care of myself when I’m at my most frustrated and crankiest. When I’m being logical and calm, I don’t need to know what helps. Hopefully hiding the ‘What Helps’ list in places will remind me to stop and look around.

 

How do you remember to take care of yourself when you’re in the stress-moment? What helps you?

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:
We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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But, I’m Busy

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

You may have noticed a lot of new things on The Social Caterpillar. Yep, we’ve got four new weekly series going on now and I’m working on a couple of projects. Shhh, they’re seekrit projects, right now. Then, there’s all the normal daily stuff we all have and oh, yeah, the weird stuff that goes along with living out of two backpacks.

Busy Busy Brain

So, I’ve been feeling reeeeeeeeally busy. And today, I kind of crashed, as in, I spent the day in bed reading a novel with phrases like ‘eviscerated brain’. Two things there 1) brains do not have viscera 2) I kept reading anyway. Which, in a really absurd way, brings me around to what busy really means. The crashing part not the eviscerated brain part, you’re with me here, right?

Good. On with the show…

To Do lists never end. You will never be done. You will be dead first. No, really, this is a good thing. It means that what you do changes and keeps you interested. It means that you are unlikely to get bored. It also means that you are in charge of what’s on your list.

Experiment!

Try something with me. Take everything on your to do list and move all the things that do *not* have to be done today to tomorrow. Including: grocery shopping (unless you are completely out of food and unable to afford take out), laundry (unless you will have to wear your daughter’s prom dress to work tomorrow), cooking anything (see above), writing your next post, and mowing the lawn (or shoveling snow, depending on where you are).

All of it. Move it to tomorrow. (Oh, just pretend, it’s an exercise for Pete’s sake.)

So, what’s left? That meeting? Reschedule it. Your dentist appointment? Reschedule it. Your daughter’s piano recital? That one, you can keep.

My Point, and I Do Have One

We create our schedules. We create our lives. And truthfully, we cram in way too much stuff and leave out all the goodies.

As introverts and HSPs, we get overwhelmed by too many people and too much stimulation. We need to schedule self care. We need to schedule fun. We need to schedule time to sit and do absolutely nothing.

Now, we’ve all got to dos that need to get done, but they are no more a priority than self care or fun.

I’ve been doing bunches of creating and organizing for the new series recently. Mostly, this meant not getting out of the house much. I kept getting weirder and weirder about going out. And I started thinking I didn’t like Brazil. Only, I’ve started scheduling beach walks and shiva nata time and suddenly, my to do list, while it isn’t any shorter, it’s better.

Making it Work

Now obviously you can’t just keep putting everything off until tomorrow, indefinitely. You will eventually run out of food, clean clothes, your teeth will rot and you’ll lose all your clients. That’s an awful plan. But, can you trade meals with another family one or two days a week? Can you hire one of your children (or a neighbor’s) to take laundry duty? Can you go to the farmer’s market as a self care outing and buy dry goods in bulk with friends and distribute them while socializing? If you get up an hour earlier to exercise, over time will the energy gain from strength building mean you don’t need as much sleep?

Not all of these ideas will work for you. In fact, maybe none of them will. My point is that you have options. Take a week and look at where your energy goes. Where do you want it to go? What’s one step that will help you shift from the first answer to the second? Please tell me it the comments.

Nobody’s perfect and goodness knows we don’t need any more guilt in our lives. If you need support, if you need ideas, please ask.

Looking to stretch your comfort zone in tiny ways and pick up some resource recommendations? Sign up for Inching Along, and every other week I’ll send you one small (possibly even fun) challenge that you can easily accomplish plus other nuggets that I find.
You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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Dear Caterpillar, Cowering in a Cubicle

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Dear Caterpillar is a space where you can send anonymous questions and I’ll answer them in a video response. So, if you have a question or situation that you need help with, related to being shy, introverted, or HSP please send me a note or use the form below. If you don’t want to use your real name or email address, make something up, I don’t mind in the slightest.

Subject

Your Message

If you have experience to share with Cowering in a Cubicle, please do so in the comments, remembering that this may have been difficult to write and we need thoughtful notions here.

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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Say What you Mean, and Mean What you Say

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

“Good-ness, I hate people”

I used to say that all the time, well, several times daily, anyway. Whenever someone would annoy me. Then, in March of last year, I started spending my time around intentionally positive people. People who gave thought to the words they used.

Hate is a very strong word.

Yes, it is, what’s your point?

And one day I realized how that sounded. I want you to understand, I didn’t hate the individual, but I did clump all of humanity and their (certainly not our) annoying habits together. And I reinforced that feeling of annoyance every time I announced my hatred.

So, I stopped. Well, I tried to stop. First I just noticed when I said it and then I made an effort to switch to a sarcastic ‘I love people’. (Like I said, I’m a big fan of baby steps). Eventually, I just quit saying it and one day, months later I realized how long it had been since I had said that I hated people.

LML

And, really, my life was all the more awesome for it. I had started my trip; met tons of new, interesting people; and was learning all sorts of things about myself. I felt all self aware.

Then at supper tonight, as we’re eating black bean soup, “I’m such an idiot.”

“What?”

“We have sour cream, tomato, and cilantro for the soup.”

“I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make you an idiot.”

Who you talkin’ ’bout?

Fair enough. Only, it made me think, if I’m not okay with talking bad about people I barely know, why am I okay with talking to myself that way? And really, I’m not.

I’ve been called out on this before. By six year olds.

When I was teaching, I made sure to modify my language to include phrases like phooey, fiddlesticks, and fizzlewhump, to replace their more common counterparts. But it didn’t occur to me to stop using words like dumb or stupid. At least when referring to myself.

And then, one day I muttered in front of them, ‘Sometimes I can be really stupid.’

“Ooooooooooooh! Miss Hunter said a bad word!”

“Miss Hunter, you shouldn’t say things like that. It’s not nice.”

And the tiny people have it.

Well, Heavens to Betsy, if they weren’t right. I would never talk like that to them and anybody I saw doing so would catch hell for it. So why was it okay for me to talk to myself that way?

Obviously it wasn’t. Still isn’t.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
Unknown

What are you saying that determines your attitude? What can you say instead?

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

One Tiny Thing Thursday, The Inaugural Edition

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Do you get overwhelmed by the size of some of the things you need to do?

Oof, with the Overwhelm.

Yeah, me too. And it can seem so dopey some times, but I still just won’t face the scary, whatever it is. Embarrassing Example: When I left the States in July I set up an account with a service to receive my mail. They’ll accept it, open and scan the ones I ask them to and forward stuff to my dad and my accountant too. Great idea, only, I didn’t even ask them to open and scan anything until last month. And I still haven’t gone back to see what the scanned ones said.

It’s mail, not exactly terrifying stuff, but I just get twitchy every time I think about it. And if previous experience is any indicator, I’m not just going to go in and sort through all of what’s in there now. I’m not even sure I need to. I do need to figure out what I need to handle and also design a better way to get this mail thing taken care of.

My One Tiny Thing

If I break it down into its tiniest parts, then I can say that right now, I will go in and read one scan. That is the only commitment I’m making to myself. If that’s all I can handle, then fantastic, it’s done, but maybe I’ll read a few of them since I’m there, no obligation though.

*You can thank Taryn for this idea. It sprouted from her search to have a weekly calendar of things to look forward to.

If you want to play along, then just tell us in the comments what you’re One Tiny Thing is. And if you like, you can always come back and let us know how it went too.

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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But, can you make it pretty?

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

You know what makes my life better? When things are pretty. It’s so superficial and still so true. I’m guessing it has to do with being an artsy, creative type. Or, at least that’s what I’m going with until I’m proven wrong.

Organization as a Defense Mechanism

Take, for instance, my sticky notes. I have minimal natural organizational skills. Any systems I have in place are a response to things that have previously gone horribly, horribly wrong. Also, I write everything down, because if I don’t, it goes poof.

Always.

I keep several running lists on my desktop in virtual sticky notes. They used to make me cringe, but I needed them, so there they stayed. Until one day I got bored and decided to  avoid ‘real work’ by changing the colors of the notes, then the fonts and their colors too. Now, those same little notes, bring me joy when I look at them. They have become things I get to do rather than things I need to do.

Fonts as Anesthesia, for when Writing is Like Pulling Teeth

The same with writing in my word processor. If I’m working on something that comes easily, I leave the font and color at the default, but if it’s difficult, then I choose ones that resonate with what I want to feel while I’m writing. And, really, it works, the words come more easily. I think its because of the resonance I feel with what I’m seeing as I type.

Scrapbooking my Business Plan

And then last week, Tori Deaux told us about Emmit, her business plan. He has a clown nose, lights, and popcorn. And I have it on good authority there is a mini bar installation is his future.

Then my little Twitterverse exploded. In a good way. There is a group of us creating our own visual business plans. Personally, I got some digital scrapbooking software and a couple of visual business planning products. One for long term general planning and one for three month mapping. AND I’M SO EXCITED!

Sparkles! Ribbons!

My business plan has flowers and leaves and sparkly bits. And lovely papers and tags and ribbons. It may need a soundtrack, I’ll have to look into that… I get joy out of working on it and using it both. And that’s what I want in my life.

Beautiful things make me happy and that’s important, no matter how superficial it seems.

What aspect of bringing joy to your daily life and work have you been ignoring because it’s not ‘practical’?

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud. What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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How My Mother’s Cat and I Process Reality

Friday, October 15th, 2010

That Darn Cat

Let me tell you about my mother’s cat. He’s a black Devon Rex and when he was a kitten he would jump up and bat the peep hole on the front door. Or try to jump on top of your head. Once he put a paw on each of my cheeks and licked my mouth. Too freaking precious. None of that is the point though.

Patterns

Kittyumpkins (not his real name) has an issue with patterns. Not emotional stuckified patterns, but real repeating printed motifs. If you drop a napkin on the floor you get an unexpected study in problem solving.

Peer and Poke

Kittyumpkins starts about six feet away from the napkin, walking in concentric circles. Slowly, and hunkered down he makes his way, closer and closer to the offending crumpled fabric. When he finds himself about two feet away he stops and darts his arm (front leg, whatever, it’s my story) out and tucks it back, not getting anywhere near the napkin, and resumes his circles.

Periodically he stops and tries again until he gets almost close enough to touch it and then scares himself and backs away, with significantly less dignity than you would expect of a cat, and he starts the circles again.

Prod and Pounce

If you haven’t gotten bored by this point and taken the napkin away, he makes his way back around and repeats the reach and tuck until he gets close enough to touch it. At which point he decides what to do with the napkin, usually: lick it, lay down on it, or ignore it and go find a catnip mouse.

And while all of this is literally true, it also functions as a metaphor for how I deal with new things. Peer and poke. Prod and pounce. Why yes, I do love sprawling out in sunny patches, biting people who rub my tummy, and running into a room like the Devil himself is after me and then looking around nonchalantly, why do you ask?

I don’t have a question for you this time, but you can borrow my metaphor if you want, just bring it back clean, Kittyumpkins hates being dirty.

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud.What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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You want me to talk about *me*?

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

And so, the game of hide and go seek began

When I saw this list of questions from Naomi Dunford over at IttyBiz, my chest went all tight and then I knew that I *had* to answer them. Here. So that everyone can see them. It took me a crazy amount of time to answer them, because I kept running away and then sneaking back.

What’s your game? What do you do?

I help people who are ready to stretch their comfort zones reach out and connect with other people. When you’ve been hiding in your living room for a while, it can be difficult to meet new people or know what to say in social situations. I give small challenges and half steps to guide people comfortably through pushing their boundaries. I’m developing painless comfort zone stretches in a free e-challenge series, an e-book, and a membership site.

Why do you do it? Do you love it, or do you just have one of those creepy knacks?

I know what it’s like to be the shy, quiet, odd chick. My life got to the point where I had turned down so many invitations, that people just quit asking. I never went out and the idea of meeting new people terrified me, but I got bored, and lonely. I wanted to meet new people but I felt paralyzed, that I just couldn’t do it. I knew I wanted to make changes, but I didn’t know where to begin. So,  I stumbled around a lot and went to conferences and started this blog and stumbled some more, because apparently, I’m both clumsy and perseverant.

Who are your customers? What kind of people would need or want what you offer?

People who are shy, introverted, quiet, and reserved, who also want to take the next step for reaching out and connecting.

What’s your marketing USP? Why should I buy from you instead of the other losers?

I know what it’s like. I also know that there are ways to be exactly who you are and still reach out. We’re stretching your comfort zone, not breaking through it, because, ouch, that sounds painful. With me, you take one step, one mini challenge at a time until it is *part* of your comfort zone. Then, another step. We work with who you are, without trying to *fix* you. You’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with being shy, quiet, introverted, or reserved.

What’s next for you? What’s the big plan?

Next? Next you’ll get to see what those painless comfort zone stretches really look like in real live digital format! Wheeeeee!

So, now you’ve seen my answers. Now I have to keep writing and creating and pulling all this stuff together, for you. For me.

You know, you can get updates by email or RSS. Yay, updates!

In the comments:

We’re being open here, sharing and saying things we don’t always say out loud.What helps: Sharing your stories and Ideas. Cheering and telling what works/worked for you. What hurts: shoulds, harshness, and such. (I used to teach first grade, I can’t help it.)

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