Thanksgiving is in a week and a half. My decision to stay in LA instead of heading to the site of this year's festivities has been the subject of many phone calls back and forth since Thanksgiving is a major deal in my family. When I mentioned that I might be spending it alone: taking a morning hike in the mountains then having dinner at a restaurant and seeing a movie or two, there was a long silence before my mother responded, "You're spending it alone? Where are all your friends?"
Because I'm extroverted (I tip slightly more ENFP than INFP on the Myers-Briggs scale), I find that my involvement with the external world -- my fascination with people and pop culture -- can often overwhelm my need to slow down and check in with myself. My house is usually filled with something going on; I'm watching a movie, reading, surfing the net, someone's over for a drink, my neighbor's stopped to talk. Hearing myself think can sometimes be hard to hear over the chatter of life. This week, perhaps surprising to some of you, comes as a welcome relief. What? Cleaning files? Media Fast? She's clearly insane.
Media Fast: I first encountered a media fast when I took Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way class. She's really hardcore about it: no media, not even emails or songs with lyrics for a week! The first few days were torturous, then it was a challenge and finally I saw the benefits. I was rediscovering myself and the things I loved to do -- dancing, baking (I cut myself some slack to read a recipe), listening to music (I expanded my musical canon that week), knitting, creating. We're asking you to try it for a day. If you can go hardcore so much the better (try putting down the IPhone for a day). Suddenly you come into focus: what do you want? how do you feel? what's working for you? where are your dreams taking you?
Decluttering Files: While I dread doing paperwork of any kind, I derive a great deal of satisfaction from being organized and on top of it. While I usually put a timer on to go through the accumulated mail (I can get quite a lot done in15 minutes blocks), there are some files -- old letters, story ideas, articles I've clipped and been meaning to read -- that I like to go through more slowly. It gives me a chance to reconnect with myself and see how far I've come since I thought saving that was so important.Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of purging and organizing and you suddenly see your home in a new light as Nudik found in cleaning out her daughter's Billy bookcase. Now you can see more of that great pattern!
Taken as a whole, this week's tasks - media fast, decluttering files, cooking more meals at home, getting into bed early, adding or subtracting something hard or soft -- are about reconnecting with yourself, slowing down and really feeling if things are going the way you want them to or if you have to make adjustments. If this was a movie, it's that moment when the hero has to stop and take a moment to reassess and clarify his final goal and discard those obstacles that are holding him back, even if those obstacles are a mountain of paper clutter and disorganized files!Treat yourself to beautiful storage elements when you organize to make even something as going to the cupboard a treat. We are totally coveting Purple Plum's display boxes. The see thru top means they're pretty and practical.
If you can approach this week as a chance for reflection, approach cleaning out files as a exploration into what's important to you or discover where you've been, media fasting as a way to hear what's going on in your own head, this week's tasks can be an adventure rather than a chore with the treasure at the end being finding your dreams and the time to do them in. It may seem odd that going through old bills can support your dreams until you look at it this way: if I consolidate my phone, cable and dsl into one blll I've save a few minutes, paying them on line saves me a few minutes more, setting up automatic payments shaves off an additional minute or two. Suddenly you have half an hour extra in the evening. Seems to me like you've found the time to work on that brilliant idea that came up during your media fast day.
What did you learn about yourself doing a media fast that you didn't know before?
Here are some suggestions of what to do during your media fast: go for a run and listen to classical music or even just the sound of the world around you, paint, knit, finish that painting project, go through old clothes, cook, bake, play tennis, have a snowball fight, get a group of friends together to go ice skating, go through old photos, volunteer, explore your neighborhood, check out a new store, sit at a cafe and watch people.
• Week 5 - Tips and tricks with Susie
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• Week 2 - Tips & Tricks with Susie
• Week 2 - Introduction with Maxwell
• Week 1 - Show & Tell with Abby and Laure
• Week 1 - Tips & Tricks with Sarah Rae
• Week 1 - Creating Your Vision with Maxwell
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