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Mindfulness

On Procrastination – part 1

Hi Society!

I’d like to share that I’m a huge procrastinator. When I was in school I would admire those who could keep up tidy notes and split their workload other the entire sessions. I sooo wasn’t that person. I was definitely the less-than-24-hours-before-a-deadline all-night puller type. I felt bad. To me, it seemed I couldn’t manage my time properly.

Turns out there was a lot of positive to learn from that season of life: I work well under tight deadlines, I can prioritize when I really have to, and, best of all, I can quickly produce something I’m proud of because of the quantity of time I spent avoiding the task. My subconscious was stewing over what to do or write from the beginning and at the last moment I’d simply make magic.

I try not to spend too much time analyzing my self-defined shortcomings. However, I recently started reading Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy and I’m deep into questioning and analyzing at the moment. I had that book for a while and never got to reading it. That’s right, I was procrastinating on reading a book about procrastination. Except I didn’t know it talked about procrastination.

I talked about my desire of slowing down the pace of my life in my previous post. My house and my mind are filled with a gazillion projects that I started in a slightly more distant past. Since realizing that I want to slow down, I’ve been trying not to start many more projects. This book about delays is extremely fitting. Thank you, Universe, for continuing to time everything I do and think perfectly. It makes me smile!

Anyways, back to the book and my projects. Partnoy wrote ”where there may be some small amount of work that we have to do right away such as get a small repair job done on our car […] we’re likely in many cases to procrastinate and in the end we are paying three or four times as much for a bigger repair job on the car”. We want to avoid unpleasant tasks at all cost. I’m super guilty of this! I’m facing my pile of projects and I understand how I made it hard on myself. But realizing that there’s a problem is the first step, right?

I now know some projects I’ve been meaning to finish are simply not going to get done because they don’t bring me joy. Reparing that beautiful 4 year-old gown I’ve never worn because the seamstress didn’t quite get my vision is not going to happen because thinking about or seeing it makes me sad. I’m donating it! That kitchen table that has been sitting in my basement for 2 years which I’ve been meaning to restore? Nope! In the end, the time I have to invest is not worth what I would bring me. I already have another table. I should just make peace with it and let it go. And the list goes on….

However, there are some tasks that I’ve been avoiding which actually need to get done like renewing my passport or writing and sending my wedding thank you cards. Procrastination occurs when we’re not working on something. It doesn’t mean we aren’t doing anything, just not what we should/could be working on.

I’m actually a productive procrastinator. Instead of printing and filling out my passport application, I clean the dishes, fold laundry, etc. Those tasks are less ”important”, therefore I choose to do them over more important ones. Partnoy writes about John Perry, philosophy professor known in the procrastination field, who suggests that when making to-do lists, we should start with a few important tasks, and then add some not as important tasks that still need to get done. It’s the most efficient procrastination! I love it 🙂

If you personally struggle with procrastination, like me, try to see the positive in it. Procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll get back to this in a later post. But again, since I’m a procrastinator and because I’m working on not adding too much on my plate, let’s all have very low expectations about the when.

Have a fabulous weekend! Enjoy being a procrastinator at some point over the next few days.

Sharing My Fortune With You

Hi Society!

Here’s the message I got after reading my fortune cookie last week:

Do not rush through life,

pause and enjoy it.

I thought it was very appropriate as I’d been consciously slowing down in different aspects of my life. The most obvious sign is that I’ve literally slowed down my pace. I used to powerwalk everywhere, trying to squeeze a few minutes out of everything in my life. Looking back, I’m not really sure if that practice brought anything other than blisters and sweat. For the last several weeks, I’ve been leisurely walking to work while listening to podcasts, carefully embracing nature and my thoughts. It’s been refreshing and soothing. I think I might be adding only a handful of minutes to my regular walking commute and it really doesn’t matter to me. I prep for work mentally, while getting there. No need to spend extra time at work.

I think I can attribute my physical slowing down to my cerebral trigger: The Slow Home podcast. I just love these Australians! The interviews that take place on that podcast are intertwined with my journey in many ways. I usually find that talking helps me figure things out more easily and I find that with this podcast, I get the same liberating effect simply by listening to others’ journey. I highly recommand it.

To get back to my fortune, I no longer physically rush through life. I’m also actively working on removing the rest of the rush people usually add to their life. I try to steer clear from multitasking unless it couples a physical activity (walking, cleaning, eating breakfast) to a knowledge increasing activity (listening to a podcast or a periscope). If I’m waiting somewhere for something (a line at the grocery store), I just pause and enjoy that wait. I think of all the things I’m grateful for, what I no longer take for granted, I see what’s there to see.

I touched on simplifying life in another post of mine, and I’m still working on that. I’m known for saying yes to too many opportunities and I now have to revisit the ones I have (over)committed to and only keep the ones that matter to me now and likely still will in the future. It’s hard because I have the fear of disappointing others. I hate that feeling. But I have to remember that I have to live for ME. In 5 years from now, I doubt my current problems will still affect me. For example, I haven’t been blogging as much as in the beginning, a mere two months ago or so. I’m fairly confident it’s not going to upset too many people. We all have lives. I simply forget about bloggers from whom I don’t receive regular updates; I don’t (usually) miss them. Thank you for understanding 😉

On that note, it’s time for me to get back to reality: my house needs a bit of TLC before I slowly walk to work as I purposely set house chores aside this weekend to enjoy that life I’m writing about.

Have an enjoyable day!

Nature Mesmerizes Me!

Hi Society!

I just wanted to let you in on a little something I was thinking about: fascination! I went to Greece earlier this year and contemplated quite a few temples. I like history and knew a bit about what I was seeing. Despite my greatest efforts I couldn’t help but think of the historical ruins as… piles of rocks. I know. I’m terrible. At least, that’s what my husband says. He was very interested in them and not impressed with me. Oops.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be outside at the right time to witness the Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. I’m 100% sure I once again offended someone by not remembering the proper name of what I saw (remember, I’m a French Canadian). It was cool to look at the moon, but again to me it wasn’t a huge deal, even  though we won’t see something similar for another decade and a half.

I’m I incapable of fascination? I didn’t have to dwell on that for long. This morning I remembered I was able to be mesmerized when I came across this guy:

funny carrotHow cool is that? This I find impressive! I can spend hours looking at plants when I go for walks in the woods or when I garden. I’m especially impressed at how nature adapts to what is thrown at her.

Anyways, I should get back to cooking my millions of chicken pot pies which are using parts of my potato, celery and carrot harvests 🙂 I’m making freestyle hand pies because I don’t want to use pie shells to reduce waste. Once again, saving some green!

Have a fascinating day!

Just Put Baking Soda on It

Hi Society!

Without counting The Genesis, this should have been my first post. If you’ve read my introductory post, you know that this blog was a friendly suggestion. Baking Soda was supposed to be a big part of it, where I would share all the things you can do with baking soda. I feel there are already so many great lists out there on the Internet; I don’t think this is the way I should approach this fantastic ingredient.

To me, baking soda is an epiphany. It’s actually about rethinking what, how, and why we do things. For example, for a lot of people, if your stove is dirty, you’ll use your commercially bought stove cleaner and clean the stove. Why? Because that’s what your parents did or that’s what advertisements and society lead you to believe you need. You don’t really think about it and just use the product, because ”everyone” does it. But you could also make a paste from baking soda and a bit of water and it would create a great scrub. A frugal, non-destructive, and environmentally-friendly solution I might add!

If this was not something you grew up with, it’s something you’d have had to learn. Something you could have taken the time to think about: there are always other possibilities. If you can use it to clean your stove, what else can you do with baking soda? Do I really need all those cleaning products? This big house? The stress? Two cars? Warming up the car for 15 min? All my gadgets? Buying everything from the store? Bragging about my lack of sleep? Using strong antiperspirants? Buying new and tossing old? Being okay with having debts? Following trends?Lighting the porch when no-one is expected? Why have I always followed blindly what others did without questioning or even thinking about it? You get the idea. Baking soda is an alternative. Instead of ”going with the flow”, I want to reflect on what I’ve been doing and thinking while on autopilot. I want to know why and fully comprehend what I’m doing from now on.

And when in doubt, just put baking soda on it!

Clutter and Tiny Houses

I’d love to own a tiny house on day.

Lots of people imagine a 100 sq.ft. box when they hear about the term ”tiny house”, but not me. To me, it’s not about the size but more about the functionality of the space you live in (and yes, the carbon footprint). We currently live in a 740 sq.ft. bungalow and it’s unfortunately cramped because of the terrible design. So much wasted space! I bet we would be happier in a 500 sq.ft. house built to maximize space. My husband hasn’t warmed-up to the tiny house idea yet, but I’m determined to show him that he could like it!

Until that day comes, I’m focusing on housing problem #2: clutter. When I look at what we own, it’s hard to find a space for everything (which I read is what you should aim to do in order to properly declutter). This post is not about telling you how to live clutter-free as I haven’t yet mastered this principle.

Clutter can mess with your emotional health (yes, pun intended!). As George Lucas wrote in Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Declutter and Organize Every Facet of Your Life, “Living a cluttered life will fill your life with more stress than you can deal with and this often usher in depression.” No need to go there! Reading the beginning of this book made me think about my mental clutter. Getting rid of useless thoughts and stress is something I can act on!

Have you ever heard of a Brain-Dump? Google it if it inspires you! I can’t remember how I came across the idea but I thought it was exactly what I needed. I read an how-to guide but haven’t done the exercise yet; just thinking about the possibility is, I find, already therapeutic. This will be one of the steps of my decluttering journey! Another step, which I’m currently working on, is electronic clutter, aka, my emails. I had over 14,000 emails in my inbox when I started and I got rid of 71% of them. Yay me! It feels liberating.

Happy baby steps to more meaningful living everyone!

Bed Yoga!

Hi Society!

I used to do yoga the conventional way: using a mat, on a floor; sometimes at home, most of the time in a class. I loved the idea of being a yoga-at-home-alone-preferably-in-the-morning-to-start-my-day-right-because-I’m-a-motivated-gal kind of person! But the sad truth is I wasn’t that person. I then decided to join a class. It was working. For a while. Until other commitments (and probably poor judgement on my part) made me no longer able to attend the class. I reminisced about the class for a while; missing its structure, the no decision-making freedom, and my flexibility… It suddenly dawned on me that I could try at home again. But instead of pulling my mat out – which was somehow an inconvenience – or even motioning towards the already laid-out mat – which I was apparently too busy for – I’d simply do it in bed!

Doing yoga in bed freed me from excuses. As a matter of fact, I found myself religiously going to bed every single night. Enough sassiness already! I easily carved out 5-10 min off my bedtime routine to do some stretching poses like child pose, cow and cat poses, downward dog, chaturanga, cobra, three-legged downward dog, pigeon pose, supine spinal twist (I love hearing my back crack and the following liberating feeling), whatever else I felt was right, and finishing up with corpse pose. Nowadays, this relaxes me so much that I can barely read more than a page or two from my book before falling sound asleep.

For anyone suffering from insomnia, yoga could be helpful. Last night, without knowing their benefits, I included seated forward bend, the plow, and a shoulder stand. Turns out all three are recommended in these 7 yoga poses for insomnia. What feels right usually is right for you 🙂

Happy yoga!

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