Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is Floating Effortless?



I see this phase of my life as rife with opportunity to EXPLORE, so I decided to mind map “Now You See It” by Cathy N. Davidson. I thought the book was about our “brains on the internet” and it has also turned out to be about 21st century education which connects to my volunteer work.



I am not the most reflective person so sometimes I find out what I think, and how I feel, when asked.  A theme I heard over the holidays is that while I am having a terrific time, I am perplexed by not having my calendar and email telling me what to do at every moment.  I bought “Now You See It” because it talks about being “stimulus dependent”. That sounds just like the condition I was describing and it is always fun to be able to name an experience.

“18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done” by Peter Bregman is my other bit of 2012 nonfiction. I am sorting through his advice about setting goals, organizing your to-do list and calendar by goal, and allowing only 20 mintues a day for “non-goal” activities.

When asked by my friend Beth Kanter about my goals for the year (she blogged about the book and her response to it) Muhammad Ali’s phrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” came to mind.  


Floating like a butterfly – The first moment I saw the potential of not being anyone’s employee came on a sunny summer day walking around London. I started to wander, selecting streets that looked interesting without keeping track of which direction I was walking. I had a map, guidebook and tube fare tucked away as a safety net. I wasn’t looking for a monument, museum or bookstore. I found out what it feels like to float. I loved how floating lead to unexpected moments of beauty.

Stinging like a bee – When I do commit to something I want to do it well, e.g. my volunteer work.

I’ve already been teased about writing goals when what I want to do is float. But I think having goals is a way to make sure I DO float. One perceptive board member asked me what I was going to do once I had cleaned out the garage. I’ve sometimes joked that I am a closet homemaker, and there are a lot of deferred home projects that along with volunteer work, could use up all my time. But I have this amazing opportunity. I knocked myself off of my familiar life path. I have unstructured time for the first time since I was about 14 years old.  This is a chance to do things I have never done. A chance to EXPLORE.

EXPLORE. I’ve decided that reading fiction and nonfiction is part of exploring.  Travel is the ideal context for exploration.  We have a trip to Papua New Guinea coming up, and to do it with the “sting” I am looking for I want to read the books our guides have suggested.

Going all the way with the principles in “Eighteen Minutes” would have me schedule time for reading. I’m not ready to go that far yet, but I’ve targeted 45 minutes fiction, 45 minutes nonfiction a day. I am also going to incorporate the daily moment of reflection he suggests. At the end of the day I ask myself.

“How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges did I endure?”

“What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What will I do differently based on what I learned?”

I want to ask myself – did I float?

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