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Dec 12, 2013

Life Balance, Top 10 Practices

What are your Top 10 Life Balance Practices?  Here's a listing of mine, revealed as though David Letterman was reading them in The Late Show.

10. Resting, you know, recognizing when your body is tired and needs to sleep, or at least lay down.  Sometimes being in a quiet and dark room for 10 - 15 minutes can revive me more than a cup of coffee.  Other times, I need to take a 4 hour nap during the afternoon.  Life is what it is.

9. Writing, I think through getting my thoughts out of my head and into the world, silently, on paper or a screen.  Writing gives me a chance to get some perspective from the topics before going crazy from trying to keep from bursting out on to the world, while also allowing me to process what's been going on.

8. Doing the basics good enough, shelving perfectionism.  If I can get things done good enough, they don't have to be perfect, besides maintaining perfect is exhausting and impossible.  Good enough is enough.

7. Talking with friends and family about stuff.  After I've written or rehearsed in my head a conversation, it is easier to start a difficult conversation with folks.  Even if I've not rehearsed how I'm going to introduce topic x, chatting about stuff helps me know I'm normaler than I thought I was and that I'm not alone.

6. Music, either listening to it, or making some, even dancing to it, is a good way to maintain a life balance.  I like listening to country music playing softly on the radio when I'm home alone.  Sometimes, though, I get tired of that and change to the college station, the rap/hip hop station, or the heavy metal/classic rock station.  If I'm going to be doing a mess of cleaning, oldies from the 50s to 70s help me to get moving and grooving.

5. Hot Baths/Showers, the hot water relaxing the tight muscles in my body, easing the tension.  The scents of the soaps, shampoos, and conditioners, providing an aromatherapy for my soul.  The stretching during a shower, with the hot water streaming over my muscles, unties some of the knots in my body.  Occasionally, I get emotional release and even cry.  This usually surprises me.  Though by now I should be used to it, I carry so much pain and tension in my body.

4. Reading, sometimes during a hot bath with bath salts scenting the air and coloring the water, gives respite from the daily grind, either in a tome about some serious thing, or an escape into fantasy land.  Sometimes, I'm reading bits of 5+ books at a time; other times, I find it more conducive to read just the one all the way through and be able to understand its themes and important parts better that way.

3. Knitting, fiber crafting, crocheting, spinning on a spinning wheel and on a spindle, helps me to distract from the pain, focus on one thing at a time, and slow my breathing and heart rate by just paying attention to the work I am crafting.  The creative process is amazing to me and includes not just creating from the ideas of others' patterns, but creating from my own head, and sharing that with others.  I love sharing with others, the give and take of discussion, and finding out what motivates a person.  Crafting helps me do this without seeming obtrusive.

2. Stretching, I don't call it yoga, as I'm not doing specific poses with the names known for the most part.  I just move my head in such a way as to stretch part of my neck or back, or move my arms/ankles/legs/wrists to make circles both forwards and backwards, keeping the joints from closing up on me.  My ankles get really tight all the time. I try to focus on just one side at a time, making the rest of my being soft and relaxed, dropping my shoulders, flattening my feet, sitting more on the fullness of my bottom and not the hind points, if you know what I mean.

1. Prayer, while stretching, I take time to pray, giving thanks for a working, for the most part, body, in good general health, though the migraines do exhaust me and the pain causes my body to tense.  I also pray that others have good days, no matter their current situations; that prisoners repent of their crimes and become rehabilitated if possible; that the fatherless and motherless have good substitutes in their lives; and, that folks love each other as themselves.  That will be what ends wars: loving the other as myself.

So, anyways, these are the Top 10 Practices I do to maintain my life balance.  What do you do for your life balance?

Dec 11, 2013

Community Wins: 21 Thoughts on Building a Thriving Online Tribe, A Review

I just finished Bryan Allain's ebook, Community Wins: 21 Thoughts on Building a Thriving Online Tribe, and if you like thought provoking questions along with action items for the thoughts, then this is a book for you.  I got it because I'm interested in blogging better, connecting with you my readers, and creating a community of folks who can chat about various topics.

This book has great questions to prompt your own growth, and words of wisdom on how to avoid some pitfalls.  My favorite question was, "where do you want to be in three years?"  This kind of question has always made me squeamish in the past, as my life was too chaotic to give an answer I felt confident in.  Now, however, I am confident in saying, that I'd like to be at peace with my disability, helping others get through the trials of learning a new normal after debilitating illness, and possibly, though I am rather shy, publicly speaking about meningitis fall out and the importance of early testing, vaccination, and aftercare.  So, that's where I'm going in the future, and I hope you can come along for the fantastic ride.  Some words of wisdom that Allain shared was to give yourself deadlines.

Deadlines help you to avoid the I can do this tomorrow trap and the perfectionism trap. Both of those traps hinder me a lot!  I have been caught by the tomorrow trap since August, well, September on some paperwork I need to write and send off by February at the very latest.  I need to give myself an earlier deadline than the end of the year, my current deadline, if I'm to break free of this hamstrung trap.  So, I promise that I will finish the paperwork by Monday, December 16, 2013.  Today is Wednesday, December 11, so that gives me the weekend and a few days to make it so, as my favorite Star Trek captain used to say.

As for a rating for this book, I gave it a 4/5 stars.  It's a great book, wonderful even, but like the author wrote, perfectionism is a trap, and so I would feel like I was entrapping Allain by giving his book a 5/5 stars.

Please enjoy this book and share your favorite questions, comments, and bits of the book in the comments section.  Thank you for reading!  Jen