Be Patient

Quote

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926)

Locked by Stephen Wolfe

 

 

Photo credit: Stephen Wolfe on flickr

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Lost Dreams, Found

Sleeping with the animals“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”

 – Werner Herzog (1942 – )

I am using the Lift app to build some daily habits. One of those habits is getting enough sleep. I’ve written before about how I do best with a full eight hours of rest. It isn’t easy, what with being busy at night and trying to get up and exercise in the mornings, but I’m finding that using Lift helps me stay on track. It pushes me to think ahead and plan out when to be in bed and when to set the alarm.

I haven’t hit the full eight every night. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, but in the last month that I have been working on it, I have gotten more consistent rest than I have gotten in years. And I’ve discovered something interesting – I’m dreaming again. I didn’t realize it, but I had lost my dreams. It wasn’t until they started to come back that I realized they’ve been gone.

I am known for having epic dreams; dreams with plots, characters, special effects and even the occasional musical number. These are full color, massive dreams, and dreams that I can (to some degree) control. In these dreams I am other people – men, women, children, even animals or beams of light. These are to the “went to work naked” dreams what Beowulf is to the Roses are Red poem. I’ve been having them since I was child, but I haven’t had one in a long time.

They are starting to come back.

Oh, I’ve had some dreams – I wrote about one I had about kayaking recently, but they’ve been simple, short dreams, not the monsters I have known in the past. The last few nights however, I’ve been getting glimpses of big dreams. I’ve had some that were loosely looped and hooked together like a child playing with yarn. I’ve had some that started to take me deep down into the brine, before letting up. It appears that my epic dreams come only under certain conditions, and one of those is copious amounts of sleep. A month of good rest isn’t quite enough, almost, but not quite. It will take more. I’m getting there.

With the resurfacing of my dreams, I feel creativity stirring inside of me. I think the two go together. Again, I haven’t missed it, I’ve been focused on other things, but I find myself thinking about drawing again, making things, building projects, at the very same time I’m starting to dream again. I can’t help but think they are connected.

I wanted to get more sleep for my health, but I think it is doing far more for me than I ever anticipated. It makes me look forward to night.

 

Photo credit: “Sleeping with the Animals” by Jonf728 on flickr

Feeling Grateful

album-gratitudeI have two journals. This one, and a physical blank book I write in at home over breakfast. The home journal is for stream of consciousness writing, mostly centered around weight loss, diet, exercise and so forth. It’s my little space to get all the thoughts in my head out and onto the page. Honestly, it is pretty repetitive and occasionally seriously whiney, and having it helps me not bore you all with it!

However, there is one aspect of that journal that I really love. In addition to all the stuff about fitness and whatnot, I also try to include things I am grateful for and the good things I am doing for myself; things like spending time with people I love, reading good books, trying something new, and connecting with old friends.

Today I thought I would share a few things that I am deeply grateful for. In no particular order: 

  • My amazing sister. She has been such a cheerleader through my journey. We don’t always talk or see each other as much as I would like, but we’re working on it. And I love the friendship that keeps growing between us.
  • The lovely lady over at Owls and Orchids who nominated me recently for an award. Those of you that read this little blog and take a moment to comment or say hello make my day. I am grateful for your support.
  • Your blogs. I have learned from you all, laughed with you, and have been inspired so much by all of you. I honestly think that I’ve felt more confident in getting out there and trying new things because I see all that you are doing. You guys awe, inspire and motivate me!
  • My friends. They are rock stars! Some times we see each other a lot, other times hardly at all, but I know they are always there for me and always want the best for me. I know not everyone has a network of supportive friends and that I am lucky, lucky gal.
  • Technology. I keep saying this phrase: I love living in the future! Sure, I know that there are a lot of negatives to all the screen time we have nowadays, but when used well, technology is amazing. It has helped me to lose weight, start running, connect with friends (old and new), meditate, make healthy meals, find running and biking trails… the list goes on and on.
  • My health. I know I talk about it a lot, but I feel so different from I did. I have more energy and more zest for the everyday. …of course, I also have a lot more aches and pains. (Thanks, strength training!!) Still, now that I have been focusing on it, I am all the more grateful for what I have. So many folks struggle with health issues – my heart goes out to them. I may not be exactly where I want to be fitness-wise, but I am healthy and feeling good. It is something to be thankful for.
  • My guy. Julian and I have been together a little over 3 years now and things just keep getting better and better. How great is that?

What can I say? Though sometimes I get overwhelmed and frustrated, I have to say, life is good. I am very, very fortunate. It’s good to look back and remember all that.

New Goals and a New App

LiftI’ve been using a new behavioral app. Yes, I have a “thing” for these kinds of apps. What can I say? They work for me. Though sometimes I wonder if that’s a good thing. Of all my awesome and amazing friends, I seem to be the only one with whom behavioral apps work well. I have talked a number of friends into trying MyFitnessPal and no one else seems to love it the way I do. These are seriously cool people! Am I not cool?? Sigh… it’s silly to think about, I know, but I do anyway.

So yeah… a new app. You know I use MyFitnessPal to track food, and I use RunKeeper to track runs, bike rides and dog walks. My newest app is Lift. The idea is fairly simple. Lift helps you start and maintain daily habits. They can be simple things like flossing your teeth every day, getting to bed on time or telling your spouse that you love them. They can be fitness goals or even things like trying to “listen more and talk less.” The way the app works is: you create an account, select the things you want to work on, and when you do them, you click a big green check box to check in.

Now, there are lots of other people trying to do the same thing, so when you check in you see everyone else check ins – some that are doing something for the first time, some that are on their 168th time. You can click a little icon to give them “props” for what they did. You know what? I like seeing those little props from others popping up on my phone. Sure enough – it motivates me. (There is a great article about the science behind Lift here.)

Here are the things I am working on:

  • Exercise: By this I mean anything other than walking the dog. (That I do every day, twice a day, already.) What I want to do is make sure that I am getting additional exercise in every day, or as often as I can. It can be power walks on my lunch, bike rides, learning boxing, strength training, going for a run or whatever I want.
  • Write a Blog Post: That is for you, dear readers! Also, writing makes me happy.
  • Inbox Zero: Someday…. someday. I’m working on it, and got both of my big email inboxes down to under 50, but I want to see them both at zero.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours: I love sleep. I need sleep.
  • Unclutter: This part of what I was writing about earlier. I am trying to get rid of junk I don’t need. Get out of my life, junk!
  • Meditate: I’ve been meditating on and off since my senior year in high school. I have had years where I have a strong practice and sit daily… and years where I forget what sitting quietly even looks like. I’ve been wanting to get back to it for awhile. I’d like to get back to making it part of every day.

So, that’s it – what I am working on right now. As I am sure you can guess I have a lot to say about all of them. Good thing I am planning on trying to blog daily!

If you use Lift, feel free to find me. I am there under first name: LongView last name: Hill.