Intention for Feb 3, 2020

I think today’s (and possibly this week’s) intention will be to practice equanimity. I added a little reminder sticker to my computer.

Unfortunately, I basically never see that while I’m at my desk because the laptop is on a raised stand.

But it’s an important skill to practice. In “Buddha’s Brain” they note that “complete equanimity is an uncommon state for both the mind and the brain”

and “with equanimity, the limbic system can fire however it “wants.” The primary point of equanimity is not to reduce or channel that activation, but simply not to respond to it. This is very unusual behavior for the brain”

There’s something very appealing about training my brain to decouple limbic response from my actions. I also like that this is described as ‘unusual’. For some reason that makes me more motivated to try this.

Day 1 of "Making Comics"

It’s been a pretty mellow weekend so far. I … don’t think I left the house yesterday, despite it being the first sunny day this year (we have a pretty great view so I got plenty of natural light and enjoyment out of it anyway)

I learned yesterday that this year is a Leap Year, so I felt justified in deferring my “30 min of cardio a day for all of Feb” until this morning, but I did do it this morning.

But yesterday, I started the comics course I mentioned in my last post.

The course asks us to pick an alternate identity to ‘put on’ when we’re doing the course work. I wanted to be thoughtful about this but damned if the words “Mr. Loof” didn’t spring into my mind and refused to be shifted.

Meet Mr. Loof

An index card with bubbly text saying “Mr. Loof” and a childlike drawing of a very long cat that could be mistaken for the Pink Panther.

Mr. Loof is based on a real life loof (flood). This real life floofgoof:

A very long, very flat, orange short-haired cat

There’s something about drawing to random songs with explicit prompts that is very freeing (constraints driving creativity and all that). I’m trying to be open and no-ego about this process so I thought I’d share the weekly course drawings here. (The daily diary I’ll keep to myself).

Have some early work 🙂 (no alt-text for these b/c I don’t know how to begin describing them. “8 index cards that are starting to show some level of drawing style”?

Intention for Jan 31 (and 30)

I am still doing this, I swear 🙂 The mindfulness bell keeps turning itself off, which is odd. I haven’t figured out the right routine for me to remember to write every day but at least I remembered again.

Intention is still to take in the good. I think this is a good full-week intention. And I’m actually feeling pretty happy today (that’s a bit of a cheat, since it’s Friday).

I do have a 90 min float booked for this afternoon and then I have the evening alone because Bill is going out for dinner. I got the materials I needed to start on this course,

so I plan to get a nice warm fire going to ward off today’s downpour and play at being creative 🙂

Intention for Jan 29 (and 28!)

Well, as expected, by about noon on Monday, I’d forgotten about my intention for the day. I did remember again yesterday though and was in the middle of typing up a post for the day (same intention) but I got derailed and then forgot about the whole thing even sooner!

I’m trying again this morning and I think I might set a reminder for about 2pm to poke myself again. The trouble is, I often get distracted so I set a LOT of reminders and now I’m in a ‘broken windows’ situation where I just ignore most of them. I could probably benefit from a reminder purge.

At any rate, I’m sticking with the the ‘take in the good’ intention today, and possibly for the whole week. I did feel like it was having a positive impact (at least in the moment) on Monday and it’s certainly an area I would benefit from more strength in.

Intention for January 27, 2020

I have been reading “Buddha’s Brain” lately and I think it would be useful for me to explicitly state an intention for each day.

I want to follow the exercises in this, and other books, but I don’t tend to have these things bubble up in my mind regularly. So I’m going to try getting into the habit of explicitly stating an intention publicly to see if that might help.

Today’s intention is “to take in the good”. The exercise is intended to help counter the negative bias that evolution has gifted ya with (in order to help us survive)

But apparently actively “soaking” in positive events can help shift one’s default reactions to situations and these days, I could really use that.

On a plane

(it actually took me more than a ‘day or two’ to post this but at least I wrote it on Jan 16.)

I’m a day or two late for the weekly writing but I am on a 4:16 flight and might as well do it now 🙂 (after all, this flight only has satellite TV, no movies or internet).

I had an interesting 1:1 with my boss on Friday where she mentioned that she’s noticed that I often follow up interesting questions or observations with the phrase “but I could be wrong”. I’m not completely surprised to hear that feedback but I guess I’m surprised that it was noticeable enough to mention. And then I started wondering whether or not it was causing a problem – am I undermining my own value and impact? I know that if you keep telling people a story about yourself (“Oh, I never finish things” or “I tend to jump to conclusions”) they will eventually internalize that as fact, even if you aren’t any more prone to that than other people are. I try to be really self-aware about things I want to work on improving like that and I’m very comfortable sharing those types of thoughts, but it’s important to remember that sometimes, hearing you say that is all the other people get to experience.

I thought some more about it on the weekend and caught myself using it in a conversation with Bill. I realized that I have, historically, felt a strong need for everyone to reach logical agreement on things they didn’t agree on. I believed that if we could just get everyone’s assumptions and values out in the open, we could at least identify the source of the discrepancy, even if people weren’t interested in changing those assumptions. I wanted to ‘debug’ the conversation to understand where the disconnect was happening.

But … that’s not how everyone else wants to communicate. Some people aren’t as interested in that and feel like that kind of interaction is confrontational. One thing I’ve heard from people before is that I can come across like needing to ‘win’ or ‘to prove that I’m right’. And that’s led to some strife. So as part of generally lightening up and learning to let go of things that don’t matter that much, I think I started using “but I could be wrong” as a signal that it was ok with me to just drop it. A clear mark of willingness to disengage (although I’d still love to keep probing and figuring things out if they were keen!)

It may be that that verbal habit has overgrown its usefulness though – it might be bleeding into areas where it does more harm than good. I definitely appreciate the observation and am going to try to keep an eye on that habit to make sure it’s not causing ambiguity or confusion on my team.

2018, Week 1

I said I’d read and write and move and some of that actually happened!

I was sufficiently annoyed at reading Antifragile that I knew there was zero chance I would finish it (or even continue for the week) so I grabbed John Scalzi’s “The Dispatcher” that was on sale last Monday and read it that day. Very readable 🙂 A bit depressing. But that means I finished a book this week! I also got a copy of “Principles” and haven’t opened it at all! 😀 But based on the point of that one, I suspect it’ll be a much friendlier read once I start.

I’m also re-reading “The Fifth Season” (So! Good!) – do re-reads count? (I guess that’s up to me.) I also realized that I checked the wrong account for Audible and although I thought I’d cancelled it, I do still have a subscription with a. couple of credits. I might cancel it yet, I’m not sure. Really, the only thing I’ve ever enjoyed as audiobooks is Buddhist books, and even those are hit or miss based on narrator. I like my fiction to be in my own head voice, y’know?

This is writing and I’ll post it today (hideously unedited and unreviewed) and reading is covered above. Moving was… mixed this week. I am happy to report that I seem to have found a groove that sees me go swimming twice a week midday and I don’t even whine and complain when it’s time to go. I even found myself wanting to go early one day when I was feeling anxious and restless! And even on the days I feel like just giving up, I still start and then I keep going! This is exciting! My normal distance is 1km and I all too often forget where I’m at while counting. But this past Thursday it was 1.1km. I want to keep the time consistent so if I want to swim further, I’d better speed up.

I haven’t done much else, activity-wise but then it’s only the first week of the year and it was a short one. I still have to finish “American Vandal”, which I’m restricting myself to watching on the Exercycle. That was really hard because I have to find out who drew the dicks* but I am proud that I haven’t broken that rule. I’d have thought it would get me on the bike but so far, no.

On the learning front, I was asked to try to figure out how much of my company’s code shipped last year was open source (compared with closed). This is exciting! I haven’t done much programming in a very long time but I did spend a focused bit of time a couple of years ago and some of the JS/Node neutrons are waking up. It’s a dog’s breakfast at the moment, glued together with text files & bash, but I do have a decent base for something I might use as a jumping off point for learning proper JS dev again – ideally practicing TDD as well. I spent more of my own time than I think my boss would be happy with on this (work-life balance is a Real Thing at Buffer, y’all) but I was enjoying that dopamine hit of solving things. And isn’t the dopamine of learning and accomplishment preferable to constantly refreshing social media or checking mail to see if there’s something new?

Yes. Yes it is.

* this is only for people who’ve seen “American Vandal” or don’t mind partial spoilers (as I say, I haven’t finished it so this doesn’t actually give away any ending) the #1 proof of Dylan’s innocence, in MY mind, is the complete stylistic difference between his everyday (and it does seem to be every day) dick-drawings and the ones on the cars. No. Damn. Way. As mentioned, I don’t know the actual answer, but he really doesn’t seem smart enough to think of disguising his signature style.