Motivate me baby

This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
― Steven Pressfield, 

Ok so now that I have a shit ton of time on my hands, apparently all the stuff I told my self I NEVER had enough time to do … well, guess what it was all a lie. I do have time and it still isn’t getting done…. It took me 4 days to sit my butt down to write this. So, what was I doing for 4 days, well the pantry looks amazing and I have managed to re-watch The Agents of Shield, again, all 6 seasons. Yea…. Oh and I am CRUSHING Candy Crush.

So, what is it about motivation? Or what causes a lack of motivation? And is it motivation we are all lacking? Yea you know I’m not the only one.

Actually, I am motivated I really am, I want to write, part of me has always been a writer, my earliest memories are of having a pencil and paper in my hands and words, like butterflies, flying through my mind looking for somewhere to land. My mother was a gifted artist, a painter and a deeply creative person and memories of my childhood are of being given art lessons from a young age. Well, I wasn’t given the lessons; it was more like I was drug kicking and screaming to the art studio on Brainerd rd. and to the Hunter Art Gallery.  To be clear I have a deep appreciation and love of the visual arts, I just can’t draw a straight line. So, every time mom would give us paper and crayons or pencils on a rainy day I doodled and wrote stories. Mostly I wrote because even my doodles stank.

But these days I can’t seem to find my voice, and I sure as hell can’t get it down on paper. But I’m working on it. I’m looking for the push, that internal drive to get up and do….anything, something.
I know I’m not the only person that feels this way. We all have plans, to-do lists, great ideas that never see the light of day, unfinished projects and still we have periods where nothing gets done.

It is possible that Motivation isn’t the problem that it could be a deeper issue, instead could it be… Dun Dun Dun Duuuun… Procrastination!

Procrastination is a complex psychological problem and it has been studied extensively and it can’t be rendered down to a simple solution. It’s not laziness!

And it’s been my experience that motivation is a manifestation of procrastination. We have a tendency as humans to look outside ourselves for answers. Throughout history, we have looked to religion and science to answer complicated questions. And “looking for motivation” is one way to think we are solving the problem of getting shit done.

This might be one person’s thoughts about losing weight….” If only I was motivated, I want to lose weight, but what is my motivation, well Summer is coming, and I want to look good in that bathing suit.” But then summer arrives, and nothing has changed and we think it is because we lacked motivation, or had the wrong motivation. Really what we did was kept putting off making the necessary changes to achieve our goals.

Procrastination!

Why do we do that? Again, it is complicated, and it is different for everyone, Psychologists have terms for different behaviors that lead to procrastination. The biggest for me are Task Eversion, Fear and arousal procrastination (which sounds better than it is) for me arousal procrastination means I work well under pressure, give me task, give me a deadline and 5 mins before its due I’ll throw down and boom, done. Here’s the problem with that it might get done, and it might get done “ok” but trust me it could have been better. Also, self-imposed deadlines don’t work.

And know that there are many other reasons people procrastinate: indecisiveness, overwhelm, stress, depression, goals that are too abstract, anxiety and perfectionism just to name a few.

And now that we are all faced with this new normal, of social distancing and being isolated at home, at least for a while, how can we deal with not getting shit done, especially now that we have the time. How can we deal with our procrastination? Here we are stuck at home and we can’t get the laundry done or clean out the garage, forget the big project for work. What can we do?

Try to figure out what your procrastination issue is. A licensed counselor, especially one who is an experienced life coach can help you.

Establish your goals.

*make sure to define your goals as clearly as possible

*make a to-do list

*Prioritize tasks based on how important they are to the finished goal

*Break large and overwhelming tasks into small and actionable pieces

* Set short term deadlines for yourself on your way to your final goals

*Identify when you’re most and least productive and schedule your tasks accordingly

*Reward yourself when you reach a goal

*Focus on your goals instead of on the tasks that you must do to get there

*Imagine how great it will feel to experience the outcomes of your work

*Avoid a perfectionist mindset, nothing and no one is perfect. And remember we learn from mistakes

What works for me is to pick one thing, one task and do it till its done, finished. If I get distracted it’s all over.

Also, If I know that one big ‘thing’ will take a long time, days or weeks even, I break it up into timed segments. That way I am still working on it, I have a deadline, and I can still break away to go fold laundry.

And Breathe…. you knew I was going to say that didn’t you? 🙂 But it does help.

Breathing on purpose, taking slow deep breaths when faced with any problem can help you to focus. Taking Breathing Breaks can give you time to clear your mind and release any stress that might have come crept into your shoulders and neck. Breathwork, Pranayama in Yoga, can bring clarity to your thoughts and help to relieve anxiety.

So, what are somethings you want to do during this time of isolation? Learn to make pasta? Improve you putting game? Finish the puzzle you started over Christmas?

The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large.

Josh Billings

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Here is one of my favorite paintings from my mother20200326_164701

 

 

 

The Once Still Voice

I had lunch with a dear friend recently and of course we were talking about books, reading, Star Trek, reading Star Trek books and writing. His son writes every day he said and I asked him why he wasn’t writing (as he used to write  many moons ago). He said he didn’t think his life was interesting enough to write about. “Au contraire” I said, or maybe I just punched him in arm and said ‘that s stupid’. He is articulate, incredibly well read, loves a good, meaty, juicy debate and mostly I think he needs to find his voice to make that connection to who he is, really is. I love this man and I know him……well. So all day I thought about his voice and where it had gone and then I read a lovely blog post from http://bornbyariver.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/what-i-have-forgotten/ about losing things on this journey we call Life, things that gave us joy and why we lose them.  And this morning I had a conversation with a client & friend (as most of my clients become) about her putting her self to the side while focusing on the life, wants and needs of others. So after a day of the universe trying to tell me something…trying to tell me to write about this…what ever this is. Here I sit typing madly and spewing out words feverishly then stopping and realizing “I can’t put that out there”  “What if someone actually reads it”? delete delete delete ...

Deep personal thoughts are not my thing. It isn’t that I don’t have them, trust me I do, but I simply can’t express them for the whole of humanity (or my friends and family) to read.

so maybe I will write about you today…no one would know it was you, or would they? Maybe I will just keep my thoughts of you private and only for my eyes. Sometimes when we’re together I hold back, even from just sitting close or laying my hand on yours. Like right now I am holding back writing the thoughts that I have good, bad, naughty or nice..Because too close for us is too close. Lines we can’t cross……

How do we lose it? This thing that brings us joy, that expression of who we are. Maybe it’s some form of art we no longer ‘do’ whether it’s writing or painting or even dancing.

spinning, swirling, swaying my body to the rhythm  of the music only I can hear….all in the confines of my kitchen. Singing along with the words that stream through my mind, complete with bouncing ball.

It must be some type of fear that keeps us from finding our self-expression, our expression of self. Fear of being laughed at? Perhaps.

it certainly is one of my fears, being ridiculed, embarrassed  As a child it seemed nothing I did was right, older sisters had either already done it, or had done it better. 

Fear of failure or of coming up short, of not having all the correct information.

like speaking up in a group only to be told that didn’t make sense or wasn’t correct.

How do we manage to get here, to this place of silence, of self-repression. I really do envy the writers who seem to be completely free to express everything.

Maybe I just don’t have anything to say ……….nah, nope that s not it.

~c~

Oh Shanti

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler

                                                                       

I promised myself I would write every day, however I made nooo promises about writing anything worth posting everyday. So here I am struggling to write something and I can’t even come up with a ‘Gratitude’ post. Oh I am grateful for so many things but write about them, who the  heck wants to hear about that (little voice/ back of the head/ stompstompstomp)…….. Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

Some days writing comes easy. Like an unexpected rain on a sunny day inspiration pours out and flows, sweet and rich, on to the page like warm honey. And on others it’s like treasure hunting at Fort Knox and all you have are an old spoon and a rusty chisel. It would appear this is one of those days. And so I breathe.

Stuck, inflexible & blocked, the mind too busy to sit in stillness long enough to allow thoughts and ideas to jell, to solidify into content. So I breathe, long slow gloriously full breaths, giving myself permission to feel the sensations that are the inhale. The inhale melts the sticky substances that hold my thoughts and ideas, giving them up to the light. And on the exhale they escape out into the ‘verse; allowed to fly they may someday find their way to paper and if not they are at least free.

 Om Shanti

Butternut Squash Soup YUM!

I make a mean Butternut squash soup and I have tried to write down my “so-called” recipe. But when you write the way you cook it sounds like this…..

Peel and chop up squash, roast it , oh wait toss it with EVOO  and a little salt, then roast it. Oh and along with the squash roast a small sweet onion, a couple of smallish carrots, a sweet potato and a couple of apples. No garlic, yes I know your thinking WHAT! She puts garlic in everything. But really, it just doesnt work in this soup, the garlic over powers the squash. Maybe some day I will try it will a mild, roasted, sweet elephant garlic but until then leave it out. Trust me. So the stuff roasts until, well …when it’s done. When the veggies are golden brown and have rendered some sweet veggie sugars into the bottom of the pan. OH WAIT, go back. Before you put the veggies in the oven, line your roasting pan with foil. As I was saying, when the veggies are fork tender put them into a soup pot with just enough veggie broth to barely cover the top of the squash. Use a little of the broth to deglaze the roasting pan of all the veggie goodness. Set your stove on medium heat and get out your immersion blender. Blend to your little hearts content. Sometimes I like my soup creamy and sometimes I like it with more texture, it is all up to you and your taste buds.  You have an immersion blender right? Well if you don’t you can just put the veggies in a blender, in batches, and wrrrrrrr away until they are smooth adding just enough broth to make it easier to blend, add it all back to the soup pot. Voila! Soup! Add salt and white pepper to taste. To serve it sprinkle the top with a little curry powder or cayenne pepper. Maybe swirl in some sour cream, Creme fraiche or greek yogurt. You can also top it with fresh herbs.

This goes great with a side salad of autumn greens top with slivered almonds and garlic cheese toast on the side. You know I had to bring garlic to the table somehow. What kind of cheese toast you ask? Well how about a nice mild camembert or creamy goat cheese, lightly browned under the broiler.

There you go, a great vegetarian (vegan if you leave out the cheese and wrrrr some garbanzo beans into the soup, but thats another post) dinner or lunch, heck I’d eat it anytime YUM.

Om Shanti

Cheryl