Focusing Inward

Focusing Inward

Stop looking forward to things, look inward instead. Kamand Kojouri

After spending almost 30 days with my word for 2019 I am more confident than ever that focus is the right word for me this year. But, wow – there is so much to unpack with this word!

I have spent much of the month looking inward and thinking about the whys of all the things I do. It has been a very good review process which is going to upset several habits, and while they are not necessarily bad, they don’t always help me stay focused on what is important. Habits are hard to break but I have become more mindful of things I am doing – and the things I am not doing.

  • I am refraining from jumping on the “Make 9 in 2019” bandwagon – although I have thought about it! Rather, I started a more mindful list of things I need to finish and things in my Ravelry Library that I want to make.
  • I have started a gift knitting list that I will work on all year long.
  • I want to intentionally spend an hour each evening spinning while we watch the news and I have been able to “sit and spin” at least 3 times a week thus far!
  • I am not going to let my desk become the black hole for papers and, honestly – this might be the hardest habit to break! This is really going to take some work, so I have added it to my “monthly focus list” in my planner to help me stay focused!

So as January draws to a close, I feel like I am off to a good start for the first time in a long!

Want to see what everyone else is doing with their word? Head on over to Juliann’s to see!

Sometimes Monday is for Poetry

Sometimes Monday is for Poetry

Michael Eric Dyson Spoke in depth about James Baldwin in his book What the Truth Sounds Like. My knowledge of James Baldwin was non-existent but thanks to the internet, I found a beautiful introduction to James Baldwin and his works. I found this poem most interesting and thought I would share it with you all today!

The giver (for Berdis)
By James Baldwin

If the hope of giving
is to love the living,
the giver risks madness
in the act of giving.

Some such lesson I seemed to see
in the faces that surrounded me.

Needy and blind, unhopeful, unlifted,
what gift would give them the gift to be gifted?

The giver is no less adrift
than those who are clamouring for the gift.

If they cannot claim it, if it is not there,
if their empty fingers beat the empty air
and the giver goes down on his knees in prayer
knows that all of his giving has been for naught
and that nothing was ever what he thought
and turns in his guilty bed to stare
at the starving multitudes standing there
and rises from bed to curse at heaven,
he must yet understand that to whom much is given
much will be taken, and justly so:
I cannot tell how much I owe.

Finally, a tiny postscript to last week:

If you did not find anything wrong with the post that lit the internet on fire last week, Karen explains beautifully what should have made you uncomfortable here.

And, then perhaps this perspective will open your eyes even wider.

Three on Thursday | 1.10.19

Three on Thursday | 1.10.19

I am joining with Carole today and my things all surround something that sort of blew up over social media this week thanks to a very poorly conceived blog post and the crucial things we all need to learn from this debacle:

Thing One:

An apology for offending people is not an apology. The apology needed to be for the behavior, thoughts, ignorance, and yes… the extremely poorly worded blog post.

Thing Two:

Making excuses for your behavior does nothing but compound the problem.

Thing Three:

Finally, it requires each of us to spend time realizing that we don’t know, what we don’t know – and in that realization – we need to make the commitment to learn more. Be more aware. Acknowledge that we have said – say – did – do things every single day that compound this problem. And, yes… even that we are silent when we should not be.

This opened the door to a very real problem that exists in the Fiber Community, et al – it is structured for white success. We all need to work on making it more inclusive – this is not something we can think well “someone else will do that.” It is something that requires work from each of us collectively – every day!

I am not linking to the blog post, but you can find it on the Fringe Association blog but there is a very interesting conversation happening on IG which you can see here and here and here.

Image used courtesy of Peter Heeling.

Beginning as you mean to go on

Beginning as you mean to go on

First up, I want to thank everyone for their well wishes yesterday! Through the wonder of antibiotics, each day I am feeling the tiniest bit better! Today, I even managed to do a short bit of Pilates and that is a very good thing! No chances of an afternoon walk today though – it is wet and rainy outside and those few minutes of Pilates were enough to expend my energy. No overdoing it for this girl!

Last week, Juliann asked what changes I made this year to my planner system. I managed to work a bit on it yesterday – and I am happy with my results! I need to make a trip to Joann’s to get some Tombow markers – but yesterday, colored pencils worked just fine. I have been finding some really helpful things on Pinterest and have implemented some of them this year. Previously, I had been using a Traveler’s Notebook weekly calendar with the week on one side and grid paper on the other side. This worked well when I was “working” and spent my day attached to my PC and my planner. I used it to track hours worked, and things I needed to complete and by when.

This system was great for that, but in my non-working-for-pay life, its functionality was just not functional for my daily life. First, I am not at the PC like I was when I was working and, therefore, not “attached” to my planner in the same way. Too many pages were unused and so when I needed to replace it, I looked at what I wanted my calendar to do in my day.

Enter my take on the “BuJo” craze. On Amazon, I found a set of 3-dot grid books that fit perfectly in my traveler’s notebook. They are stitched, and the paper works well for fountain pens!

I will set up each month with the calendar and my focus for the month. As you can see, my focus right now is moving and thanks to this pneumonia that is not off to the most auspicious start, but that is okay. It is there, and I am well aware of it. Each week has a section, and I can fill in things that I need to remember that week. I still need to make that page of my yearly “remember” things, i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, prescription refill dates, etc. I am also contemplating adding something in with a gratitude/mental health/focus list, but I am not entirely sure how to work that in yet.

My morning routine now includes, checking in with what is “yet to be done” this week as I spend a few minutes writing in my journal pages… a much better and more productive start to my day!

What about you? Do you “BuJo”? And, if you do, how do you make it work for you?

Three on Thursday | 1.3.19

Three on Thursday | 1.3.19

Today is all about my intentions for 2019 – intentions that I think will work in concert with my word of the year – focused intentions sound much easier to keep however, deciding what things will be on my list this year has not been easy at all!

Intention One:

Make with more of a focus. This will mean not jumping on every “new” thing that comes along – which might just be the hardest part of all! But my making has been most haphazard in years past – some with great success and some with epic failure! So, this year, my making will have a focus on things that were on my radar – things that the desire to make has not diminished but has grown! I also want to do more gift and charity knitting this year. And, I am off to a good start on the gift knitting! I have had this mini-set for a very long time and have had absolutely no idea what to do with it, and then I saw Sarah Jordan’s Mini-Maximization and knew I had found the perfect project for it! I made some good progress yesterday which is a good thing since this will be a 30th birthday gift for my daughter next month!

Also, this year, I want to continue to do more sewing! Look for a couple of new cold weather things coming soon and I have plans to make a couple of these t-shirts with my serger!

Intention Two:

Move! This quote by Thomas Jefferson is in my planner – “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” It is a very good reminder to me that I need to move my body! I have even added a “check-in” of sorts to my planner. I am hoping this accountability will help me get back to moving – and make it a permanent habit!

Intention Three:

Be a more positive person every.single.day. It is a frustrating world and I cannot change everything, but I can change me by being more positive in all things. I need to focus more on the things I can have an impact on and less on the things I cannot change.

So, there you have my intentions for 2019! My plan is for success and actually make them a part of my everyday life – reminding myself daily of them so that they become a part of me. I think these tie in well with my word for the year.

Want to see more lists? Head on over to Carole’s!

Just One Word | 1.1.19

Just One Word | 1.1.19

Happy New Year, Gentle Readers!

I am joining with Juliann this year as she hosts us in our Word Study – and, I’d like to thank her for leading us in this journey!

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Eckhart Tolle

In 2016 I chose Gratitude as my word for the year and it was a very good choice and 2017 brought Joy. Both lovely words that I selected – with emphasis on the “I selected” part!! Last year I did not pick a word and…nothing inspired me…Why?? Perhaps, I did not inspire me!

So, I spent considerable time in December “trying on” a word for 2019 – words like “inspire” “kindness” “grace” and “dream.” And despite doing that – one word kept percolating to the top despite me trying to ignore it…Focus! Great word, I thought, but how will I use it? (See that “I” again?)

So I avoided….I kept thinking about words and looking at lists…but focus kept prodding me – asking me to consider, and yes – telling me to focus.

Merriam-Webster says focus can be used as a noun or a verb. It can mean “a center of activity, a point of concentration” or “to cause to be concentrated, to adjust the focus of your eye, to bring into focus.”

However, Eckhart Tolle’s quote was what pushed me over the edge – I am rarely “present in the Now” but instead focused on what comes next – the next project, the next book, the next…whatever!!

It seems I am deeply in need of a year of focus! Please join me in my journey this year as I focus more on the NOW and less on what’s next. Sometimes you choose the word, but occasionally – if you are lucky – the word chooses you.

What about you – did you pick a word this year?

Want to see other wordly inspriation? Head on over to Juliann’s!

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