This #stickywisdom from Jon Kabat-Zinn on the On Being podcast felt like it was especially directed at me!
Three things that have me thinking and feeling this week….
1. The New Work Smarts Report
The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) have released The New Work Smarts report which forecasts the type of activities and requisite skills/knowledge that will be involved in work in 2030. In 2030, Ella will be 17 and probably embarking on first jobs and navigating the minefield of post-school career/education choices. Of particular interest was the fact that work in the future will be much more self-directed – with less management and training. This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the future of work and what their job/career may look like in 10-15 years, but I think it’s especially relevant for parents and educators to consider what kind of skills and experiences we should be supporting children to develop.
As I work on letting go of the pressure to be self-sufficient, I see that accepting help allows others true entrance into my life, creating the stronger community that I always longed to have.
Being back in the thick of newborn life I’ve found myself doing a lot of reading and thinking about birth and motherhood and reflecting on the ways that these experiences have shaped me. This week I read Lessons of Labor – a fairly short book in which the author, Julia Aziz, uses the stories of her three births (and miscarriage) to distill a number of life lessons. Although the birth stories are the framework for the book, I found it to be more a book about parenting and it reminded me a lot of ‘Buddhism for Parents on the Go‘. There were some particularly timely insights for me about asking for and accepting help, and about accepting rather than resisting some of the daily frustrations and challenges of life with little humans!
3. ‘Kids are gross’: On feminism and agency
Consent, respect, and bodily autonomy are at the core of feminism, but this piece reminded me that even when we’re loudly banging on about these things in our own lives it’s so easy to overlook them in our interactions with children. While I try to be mindful of these values in my parenting, I often find myself underestimating the perceptiveness and capabilities of my 4-year old (and her friends). This post definitely made me want to do better – and to expect the same of the other adults in my kids’ lives.
Last week I ended up in hospital with pneumonia. After 3 days of IV antibiotics and fluids, I’m feeling like a totally different person, but it was a really tough week. Being so sick really knocked me around mentally too, but now on the other side, things feel so so so much brighter and more positive. I am grateful for the wonderful public hospital care I received and have taken on board the message the universe has been sending about being willing to ask for help and not trying to hold everything together!
Three things that engaged my head and/or heart this week…
Oprah has a new podcast – Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – a personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. I’ve listened to the episodes with Brene Brown and Sheryl Sandberg – two women I’ve heard interviewed many times before, but whose messages and insights are worth re-listening to. I’ve also been listening to this podcast as I go to sleep in an attempt to distract myself from my annoying lingering cough!
There is no shortage of relationship advice online, but this post had some useful reminders. Processing my thoughts and feelings through journalling is something that I’ve found enormously helpful and has probably prevented many arguments!
This advice made me reflect on how much of our weekend/leisure time revolves around Miss E (4 years old) and what she wants to do or what we think will make her happy, and resolve to plan more family interactions and outings based on what makes Jason and/or I happy instead!
A semi-regular capture of 3 things that have engaged my heart and/or heart…
1. Relationship vs transaction
I was talking with a friend last week about interpersonal interactions being motivated by either a desire to build a relationship or to complete a transaction. So I was surprised to hear these words – relationship and transaction – come up in the recent episode of the Dear Sugars podcast on saying no (with Oprah Winfrey). I believe that when the universe keeps unexpectedly throwing up certain words or phrases in front of you, it’s worth paying attention.
2. Deep work with deep responsibilties
In her email newsletter this week Laura Vanderkam asked can you do ‘deep work’ if you also have deep responsibilities? It captured some of the frustrations I had with Cal Newport’s Deep Work, which I love the idea of but struggle to see how it can be implemented in reality by people with lead parenting (or other primary caregiving) responsibilities – which are most often women. However, I like Laura’s suggestion that perhaps Deep Work can be achieved in smaller blocks or through ‘retreats’.
3. Drop the Ball
I also finished Tiffany Dufu’s Drop The Ball – a book for women about letting go at home. My friend Ruth wrote an excellent review of the book, and if you’re not inclined to spend the time or money to read the book but are still interested in the idea, I recommend listening to Tiffany’s interview on Jonathan Fields’s Good Life Project podcast.
I’m going to iterate the format of my Head & Heart posts (again) and, inspired by Dan Pink’s recent changes to his newsletter, instead of trying to comprehensively capture all the interesting (at least to me) things I’ve been consuming, doing, thinking and feeling, I’m simply going to focus on sharing three things that have caught my attention – a blog post, book, podcast episode, quote etc.
I don’t know whom I’ll meet and I don’t know if we’ll have a pleasant, but forgettable connection, or if some part of me will light up in her presence and crave to keep lighting up. I don’t know if our illumination will be reciprocal. Maybe I’ll be totally hyped by being in her presence and she’ll find me interesting enough but not someone she can’t live without. That’s the risk, and it’s part of what makes the whole endeavor so intriguing.
I love love love Courtney Martin’s writing. We’re roughly the same age, with two young kids, and often when reading her posts I feel like she has perfectly captured what’s going on in my head/life. This piece about initiating new female friendships as an adult is lovely.
This episode of the On Being podcast made me so excited about getting back into running in a couple of months time once by body is fully recovered from L’s birth.
…happiness exists in action; it exists in telling the truth and saying what your truth is; and it exists in giving away what you want the most.
Eve Ensler’s advice about giving away what you want the most is something that I often find myself thinking about and it came up again in a conversation this week, so I’ve gone back and listened to her wonderful TED talk and also to her On Being interview with Krista Tippett (which now makes me want to re-read In the Body of the World).
Some other updates…
- Today I finished my latest attempt at the #100happydays photo project (it took me about 145 days but I got there in the end). This is one of the most consistently beneficial practices for my happiness. It forces me to actively look for and appreciate the moments of happiness each day (even if the day on the whole feels hard or exhausting). Photos are on Instagram.
- I’ve been less successful with The Minimalism Game though. A week of visitors + E’s birthday meant that I got a bit distracted (and we had an influx of new stuff as a result of the birthday celebrations). I reckon I got rid of 200 items/books/pieces of clothing, but the house feels as full as ever. August provides a new opportunity to start again.
- I’m excited to be working on an upcoming Lead Mama Lead workshop on Creating Your Own Definition of Success. If you’re in Canberra please consider coming along.
Will you remember
The crumbs on the kitchen floor
Or the hugs I gave?
#stickywisdom from Designing Your Life co-author Dave Evans on Jonathan Field’s Good Life Project podcast. Sometimes trying to change yourself isn’t worth the effort and it’s better to embrace your natural tendencies and work with/around them. It’s taken me a long time to realise that I need regular change and variety as well as flexibility in my work. Rather than beat myself up for consistently getting bored/burned out after 12-18 months, I’m going to acknowledge the ways in which I work best (and the ways that I don’t) and build a career based on freelance project and/or short-term contract based work.