life in balance

Setting intentions

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tiny pie

Yesterday I decided that if I used this tiny individual pie as a photo prop before I ate it, it would somehow become healthy to have pie for breakfast. Except, of course, that my breakfast was actually two spoonfuls of granola, eaten before a phone interview at 9am, after which I spent several hours sunk into a photography groove before I realized I was hungry and should eat something, and, well, it was right there in the fridge. Thus: pie at noon that feels like a breakfast, and also some pie photography. I wasn’t actually planning on writing this post, but I’ve been doing some meditative work this week on addressing how my rabbit brain interferes with my ability to get things done – and I’ve had rather a breakthrough that I wanted to share with you all.


On Tuesday we got up early. Or rather, he got up early and then spent fifteen minutes talking me into getting out of bed. I’m not a morning person. It used to be slightly easier because I hated our bedding – no joke, I had an obscene nickname for our comforter and swore at it constantly – it was an awful blanket. The worst possible thing to snuggle up under on a bad day or a rainy night. But for my birthday, with one of his first paychecks from his new job, he got me a whole sheet set from Anthropologie, and now? It is on. Or rather, it is off. I don’t ever like to get out of bed these days; it is simply too comfortable in there, especially with a notebook to hand and a book on the bedside table. But on Tuesday I marshaled my willpower and crawled forth and we went to vote together. We walked over to our polling place and voted, and then he deposited me at my local coffee shop and caught the train to work. I staggered around the coffee shop for a while taking photos for an upcoming guest post I’m writing, and then the barista called me over to lick the mixing spoon from my latte, all coated with nutella. She is a genius and this is one of my new favorite parts of getting coffee – licking the mixing spoon. I settled down all bleary eyed with my caffeine and dug into what is becoming my favorite morning ritual – otherwise known as that thing I came here to tell you about – intention setting.

at the coffeeshop after voting

There’s a lot of buzz in my head these days. I’m a high octane person and I always have been. In college I took three languages simultaneously – Japanese, Ancient Greek, and Latin – while working four part-time jobs. As a sysadmin, I routinely worked on four systems at the same time. Now, as a free agent, there are so many things I want to do on any given day that I find it very difficult to focus on anything. I finally realized this was happening last week, and to combat it, I’ve cleared conscious space in the mornings to sit with my journal. I daydream a bit first, and then I look at my energy level that day and my commitments, and I assess what I can reasonably get done in the space of one day. I survey my open projects and I listen to my gut; emotionally, spiritually, what do I want to work on? What am I feeling called to do? And I make a list that sums up the results of my self-exploration. It’s a kind of deep current listening.


In our day to day lives, I think many of us get pretty far away from asking our bodies what feels right, what feels good, but it’s a powerful tool if you develop the knack of knowing what’s just a surface-level immediate-gratification feel-good impulse, and what is really going to bring you a sense of deep-seated joy. Each individual action isn’t profound – hell, today the thing I got the most deep-seated joy from was burning a lemon verbena candle – but the act of asking yourself and answering yourself is deeply profound. And to sit with your sense of self for a while and explore what’s fair and right to ask of your body, mind and heart in a given day’s space… well, it’s a really beautiful way of being gentle with yourself. I don’t ask what I need to get done first, though that has been a part of my calculations each day – I never feel deep-seated joy unloading the dishwasher – but doing those little chores feels much less oppressive somehow when I’ve put them in the proper balance. Sometimes I’ll also wait to do those “have to” chores until I’m stuck on something I really want to do, which is also a neat trick; at least for me, the sense that I’ve gotten something annoying done helps me develop forward momentum and power that I can then use in my creative work. And having the day thought out and recorded helps me make the most effective use of that momentum.


As a result, this week has been a powerhouse of sewing and cooking activity and so many exciting things; hopefully I’ll be able to share some of these activities soon. Until then, a very peaceful weekend to you all!


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