Meditation helps

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I’ve started and not been able to finish half a dozen long, rambling posts about everything and nothing. There’s no point in (my usual!) waffling about what I want/think I’m going to do, which may or may not happen (again) – it gets dull. And then has what I have done been going on long enough to not just be tempting fate in waffling about it?!

But, here goes: meditation helps. Life kicked me hard this year, and I’m still picking up the pieces. I won’t say I was a serene being of light thanks to my 5-10 minutes of meditation every day, but it certainly didn’t hurt. A little oasis of calm. And during the worst times, I looked forward to those 10 minutes (the Calm app gave me a free trial at just the right time) rather a lot.

Benefits-of-meditation-2It’s gone back a little towards being a chore, oddly enough, as the stresses have eased (or at least moved). But what I’m seeing as the wider effects seem worth a mention. Or, not to sound to smug about it, being generally more mindful has suddenly and unexpectedly been the best diet plan I’ve ever found!

I’m learning stuff like: that feeling in my tummy is nerves/thirst/digestion, not hunger. That I don’t have to jump to shove a snack in my face every time I might be hungry – and if I am genuinely hungry, it’s okay to sit with it for a while if I’ve a meal planned in a bit, anyway. Or, a cup of tea will keep it at bay until dinner. I’ve learned that chocolate doesn’t actually satisfy hunger cravings, ever.

Aside from diet (I know, yawn!), it’s also a little easier (long way to work on this one!) to take a worry and point out to myself that it hasn’t happened yet, or that it’s out of my control. Or just that I can take a deep breath and not have to cope with it right at this instant.

And there’s more: focus. Also needing a LOT of work, but with similar ‘I don’t have to think about that right now’ thoughts, I can do a single task, and push all the ‘I shoulds’ to one side while I get on with it. Well, that’s the theory, at any rate!

Yup, meditation helps. I’d wish not to need quite so much help, but hey – life!

(PS it’s nigh-on impossible to find a non-cheesy image for ‘meditation’, so I’ve gone with this one for at least not looking like a smug model. I’m hoping all of those listed benefits hold to be true, too!)

10000 hours and more

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The only way to become good at something is to work your way passed the being bad at it.

So go be bad at something: bad drawing, bad writing, bad code. And then – the important bit – have another go. You’ll still be bad this time, and the next. Suck it up.

Keep going, though, and one day you’ll be better.

It’s exhausting, but it’s also life.

I heart cooking

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Long bank holiday weekend here in the UK, and from all the many things on my to-do/scanner list, my time has been happily spent on the two mentioned in my previous post: writing reviews (and, of course, reading/watching things to review!), and cooking.

I’m feeling kinda pleased with the reviews of late – not the quality (although they’re alright!), but that I’m keeping up with them. I request books for reviewing from NetGalley, and I do like the picture painted last week: publisher looks at blog, sees many/recent reviews, and I get some free books🙂

Today, though, has been all about the cooking. Yeah, I have a blog for that, but today wasn’t new recipes, just comfort cooking. A big pan of sweet potato and chilli soup as a start to healthying-up my eating (too much chocolate!), then deciding to change my dinner plans to veggie shepherd’s pie (base previously cooked and frozen, topped with some fresh sweet potato).

Once I start chopping vegetables (which I enjoy, it’s therapeutic!) it often feels easier to keep going. So while one lot is boiling away, I prepped and diced a butternut squash, currently roasting in the oven along with my shepherd’s pie! (I love it when these things dovetail!). I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with it, but I love roast butternut. Some with pasta tomorrow, probably, then I could fancy a lasagne – if I can be bothered with the rest of the work!🙂

healthy living circle

The expert advice!

This is all part of my current thinking around a healthier lifestyle. It’s not about losing weight, although I am a little fed up of permanently being a little overweight, tbh. I’ve been reminded of late how precious health is, and un-chuffed with how much effort I generally put into keeping mine. Time for that to change!

So yeah, figure out some of this exercise malarky, and healthier foods. Just as well I enjoy prepping veg, methinks!

Why blog?

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Currently, I have three active blogs: this one, which is meant to encapsulate all of my Scanner-tastic interests (and usually ends up being more waffling-about-stuff!); then the ‘break out’ topics of cooking, at Apple Jelly Jam, and book/movie/etc reviews at Little Frog Scribbles. Why, I was asked?

AJJ is the ‘obvious’ one, to me. I started it specifically to collect my favourite recipes in one place, and to make that place somewhere I could access whenever I wanted to check e.g. ingredients. That other people find it/like it/seem obsessed with Jaffa Cake trifle is a tad bemusing (well, maybe not so much on the latter, but it’s a silly recipe that I made up and by the viewing stats wish I was monetising! ;)) but still, the purpose is my own.

This one has only recently been ‘public’, as such: it felt a little too personal in it’s ‘thinkyness’ topics. But hey, it’s still the internet (i.e. it was always ‘public’ anyway), and maybe someone will find something useful in it all, I guess? I keep thinking I’ll capture more random thoughts here, from things I read, etc, and I suppose that’s what this post is, too. So, just a place to muse, perhaps.

The third garnered the main ‘why’ comment, recently. I used to write for a consumer review site, that paid (pennies) for my random musings on books and movies. So why on earth write for no money – not least when I meet most weekends feeling that I ‘have to’ catch up, record everything, etc?

Ultimately, it’s still all for me. I want to log/track my reading/viewing, for the remembering if nothing else. And there’s nothing like writing a review to make you pay attention to what you really enjoyed or didn’t (and if I continue with goals of creating myself, then knowing what worked/didn’t is hugely valuable).

When it comes down to ‘why’, I just like writing. Putting thoughts into words and stringing them together on paper or on screen. It’s a skill, here’s the practice. And every now and then someone ‘Likes’ or comments on something, and you get for that tiny moment to feel like you’ve added to the world’s web of knowledge. Or something.

Recharge

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Some of my morning chores on Saturday included recharging my kindle, and my mobile phone… “Everything needs recharged,” I thought.

Ah. Including me!

duvetFor the first time in ages I spent the weekend being purposefully unproductive. I stayed in bed late and finished reading a book; I read a huge chunk of the next in the bath. I vegged out on the sofa with the tv. I stayed in my pyjamas all weekend! Pretty much none of my ‘to do’ list even got looked at – and it was perfect!

Sometimes the holiday you need is a couple of days spent hibernating!🙂

If you chase two rabbits…

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…you will not catch either one.

imagesThis phrase cropped up in the intro to a writing course I started today (Write More Write Now). It’s one of those ‘ye olde’ pieces of wisdom that it’s hard not to nod along to – and yet, when I do, I get that sinking feeling that if it really is true, then my scannerism is totally preventing me from success.

Perhaps, though… perhaps instead of chasing rabbits, what I’m doing is casting out a net, made up of all the many interests that I have. I’m not chasing one, two, or even a dozen rabbits – I’m just strengthening that net, and seeing what catches up in it?

On the other hand, taking the advice a bit less black/white: if I don’t focus on one thing, at least for a little while, then no – of course I’m not going to achieve anything. Another course I’m currently doing (yeah, yeah – I’m an addict!) is on Mindfulness – so, lots on ‘flow’ and being in the moment, and yeah, focusing on one thing at a time.

So here’s the good news: one thing at a time does not mean one thing ever, or all year, or even all day. It means one thing RIGHT NOW. While I’m working on writing, focus on writing and on that plot idea – not the shopping list, or what to make for dinner (stir fry and egg fried rice, btw🙂 ), or whether I should be pursuing a different story idea – ah, because there’s the other rabbit.

I do have multiple plot ideas, and a dozen other interests. And that’s okay. Just, in this one moment, allow yourself to be fully passionate about just this one. The rest will be waiting after lunch, or tomorrow, or…🙂

footprints* There is a follow-up idea, perhaps, to ensure that you’re actually following rabbit tracks. Unless you’ve studied these things, there are a lot of different kinds of footprints out there…

Lent (sort of)

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When I was growing up, the period between Pancake day (Shrove Tuesday) and Easter was always the time when you gave something up – usually chocolate! It’s been a long time since I really followed anything like that, although I perhaps still stick slightly more to the idea that rather than ‘giving’ up on something, it’s also a great time to commit to doing something positive, instead.

Regardless of any underlying meaning, this is another of those possible fresh start moments in the year. Six weeks (ish) is a nice time-bound period to consider sticking more closely to one of the habits you’re trying to start or give up.

no mobilesFor me, the choice is easy and the timing perfect. Last night I was at a lovely pancake day get together, but it was a late night – not least because after getting home I *still* insisted on staying up longer playing silly puzzle games on my phone. So, next six weeks? No phone games before sleep!

I’ve also got a ‘secret’ goal – something to take up/do more of during the period, too, but sometimes not sharing is more motivating – there’s less pressure, and that tinge of mystery too add excitement🙂