I suspect I am allergic to coffee.
But I am in DEEP DENIAL. So don’t rave to me about your macha or your mushrooms or the latest miracle herb. I. Love. My. COFFEE.
But it doesn’t love me anymore. Sneezing, teeth grinding, TMJ, anxiety… you get the picture.
And now comes Michael Pollan’s new audio book about caffeine, succinctly titled “Caffeine”. He himself tried to kick caffeine at the start of doing research, but found he just couldn’t get anything DONE. Well, what did he expect? That this would be easy??
Pollan threads his way through the pungent elixir’s hold on our species; how we get our kids hooked on caffeine-laced sodas, the miracle drug that allows us to compulsively work through the night, how it has built western societies while gnashing its teeth through third world economies. Now I get white parental guilt to add to my TMJ.
The weather is not helping my motivation. I slog through my To-Do list the same way I slog through the February slush. So I’m shaking off snow and sleet and slugginess, making myself some DECAF TEA, and attempting to list what might help get me back on track. If I’m consistent about it. Which has been a bit of a problem lately – except for:
I admit it – I love hardcover tools: books, pretty paper calendars, stuff I can see and touch. This goal-setting system is perfect for working toward up to 3 goals: I’m currently using it for my Make Shift Coffee House efforts. This journal affords both structure and flexibility: There are pages for tracking progress daily, weekly and monthly, but the dates are up to you, so if you don’t want to work on the weekends, or you have a sick day or a mental health day, you can date accordingly. It also encourages listing 3 things you are grateful for each morning and evening. I’ve noticed I feel a little less sluggy the more I can identify what I’m thankful for – which brings me to:
Over time, getting in touch with our blessings has been proven beneficial in changing our mindset, our motivation, and our quality of life. I’ve even been using it as a subtle means of communicating with my college student kid. She’s not real forthcoming about what’s going on with her, but we do a gratitude exchange each evening, so I get clues when she lists things like “We cleaned the apartment” (Good girl!), “Passed my accounting final” (Whew!”) and “Boys who pay for dinner” (????). Bonus: If I forget to send her my 3 things at the end of the day, she will remind me by sending hers. Nice!
Yeah, by now we all know the benefits of exercise. And how much have you been using that shiny new gym membership you purchased in January? Twyla Tharp (genius choreographer with a mountain of intimidating cred in the dance world) jette’s to the rescue! She reveals the secrets to keeping her relentless creative pace in her new book Keep It Moving. I love her voice here. She’s the Tiger Mom you never had – and probably couldn’t handle until your adult years. She’s inventive, witty and best of all, succinct. The creativity, awareness, and yes, even compassion for those of us not in her profession amplifies the power of her ideas. I challenge you not to love Keep It Moving.
Tharp has also written about her creative process, rituals and regimen in a previous book; The Creative Habit, though this is more focused toward the determined artist building an arts career. I am suggesting the rest of us reward ourselves with just a weekly, if not daily, creativity break. Did I get my QB statement sorted through for 2019 taxes. Yes! I get a 30 minute break to do something to engage my left brain, with benefits for my mental attitude and possibly insights into progress toward my actual goal. Today’s 30 minute creativity break? Writing about myself as if I were a sandwich. Try it. I dare you…..
Get Out for a Nature Fix!
On the one sunny day this week, I decided to beat back cabin fever and reward myself with a nature fix. I put on my down jacket, face mask, mittens hat boots and cleats (whew) for a walk in the sunlit snow. It’s pretty simple really. Once I dress for the weather and decide to Just Do It, I begin to slow down the pace in my brain and notice things: the blue shadows reaching over the snow, the quality of sunlight that looks and even feels a bit more like spring, the family of seven bright red cardinals pigging out at the neighbors feeders. I came back inside 30 minutes with my face flushed, my body alive and my brain somehow cleaned out. If you need some hardcover motivation for this final fix, I found The Nature Fix by researcher Florence Williams to be absolutely inspirational. She’s travelled the world over gathering data on the effect of “forest bathing” on the human psyche to inform this delightful book. Bonus: she’s funny! And Peter Wohlleben’s photographic version of his highly acclaimed book The Hidden Life of Trees is absolutely captivating. The drawings in the first version were charming, but the photos in the second version are stunning!.
I guess I might acknowledge this has been more of a book review than anything else, but hey – blame the weather in the northeast. But if you and your team are more prone to learning by doing – check out my game for getting teams to communicate across difference: Shift/POV; from Conflict to Collaboration in an Hour
Hey, I got my blogpost done! Time to strap on the cleats ETC. and head outside!