Posts Tagged ‘instinct’

Sculpting a Life

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

I’m not particularly good with schedules. Especially ones that start early in the morning. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to do things like go to bed at three in the morning and sleep until mid day which results in me feeling like I’ve lost so much daylight and also, the most productive part of my day.

An Armature made of… Ritual?

Rather than have a schedule, I’d like to build an armature. For those of you who haven’t used armatures before, I like this definition from

d : a framework used by a sculptor to support a figure being modeled in a plastic material

Although, I’m not sure why they specify plastic material. (A lovely reader emailed me to discuss the difference between the various definitions of plastic. There’s the stuff your six year old’s jewelry is made out of, and there’s the more artistic definition being flexible, mouldable, soft. Something that I’m sure I knew in art school, but apparently slipped out of my brain.) Anyway, I want an armature for my life, but instead of building one out of wire, I want to build it out of ritual.

  • A morning ritual with Shiva Nata and my question and a healthy and locally sourced breakfast.
  • A sacred work space for all things related to this site.
  • A mid-day ritual with making lunch and letting my mind wander possibly letting my body wander too, something like a walk, but not so formal.
  • Dedicated time for day job work.
  • An evening ritual of making supper followed by reading (or listening to) books and other learning materials.
  • An actual bedtime preceded by meditation, possibly with a candle or incense.
  • One day per week where *nothing* gets scheduled.

That’s Quite a Block of Stone

The thing is, that’s a lot to implement all at once. I know this because I’ve made this plan before, or one very similar, and have never gotten it to stick. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the way my life has been going, I come up with a plan like this. I’ve used bits and pieces before, but the distractions, they get distracting. And then the plan, it disintegrates.

Carving This Life a Bit at a Time

Scheduling it in a calendar has no meaning for me. Neither does writing it as a check list. So, I’m starting with one piece per week. We’ll see how that goes. First up, bedtime with meditation. I’m going to shoot for 11:00, since I’m writing this at 12:30 am and am not sleepy, I’m going to give one week for transition and one week for actual practice.

Feel free to ask me how this is going, on Twitter.

How strictly do you structure your days? What systems, rituals, armatures, scheduling do you use?

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.)

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.


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.)


Gut: Reactions and Instincts

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

My gut has a split personality. Sometimes I can trust it and sometimes I can’t. Thankfully I am getting better at figuring out when I can and when I can’t. The resolution of my gut based trust issues lies in determining if I’m making decisions based on gut instinct or gut reactions.

For me, my gut instincts are usually dead on. ‘He seems like a good guy’, ‘this situation seems creepy, but I can’t put my finger on why…’ Those are gut instincts, and I ignore them at my own peril.

My gut reactions, on the other hand, are a way that I coddle myself. When I’m having a pain flare, I need to eat a green salad, with an olive oil and vinegar based tuna salad and some ginger tea, and go for a walk. What I want to do, my gut reaction, is to sit on the couch and eat candy. The first is how I take care of myself; the second is coddling.

My gut reactions are just as bad in social situations too. The other night, I was out with friends, and someone suggested bowling. I am bad at bowling and I hate having people watch me suck so badly at something. I started thinking ‘I should get back to Dallas.’ But then I caught myself, I knew that if we were talking about going to a movie, I would not be thinking about heading back. So, I just kept quiet. Bowling in front of other people wasn’t going to kill me. No one else would care how badly I played.

I can see that my gut reactions in social situations are fear based. It is just a matter of recognizing the fear and climbing over it. I don’t know how the evening would have gone if we had bowled, we ended up watching a movie at the house instead. Maybe, next time, I’ll push for bowling just to see.