Welcome to the Dog Journal, a Sunday afternoon blog, where I'll share my best finds of the week for taming those
puppies that gnaw at your planner.
Could be a quick time management tip, a smell-the-flowers moment, a comment overheard
on the elevator. Whatever the inspiration, I hope you'll blog right along with me by commenting and sharing your tips and
stories for taming an overbooked life.
Why Sunday afternoon? That's time I call "white space," a block of time I set aside
for reflecting on the week before and planning the week ahead.
June 13th, 2011
This week, I was set to report a miracle of the universe. After publicly bemoaning the death of Big Oskar, my years-faithful food processor, I was excited to announce that thanks to eBay, I had found another of these gems that is no longer made.
Not only that. I was excited to announce that the Big O had carried the sought-after acronym NIB (“new in box”) and had, in fact, been found like an abandoned treasure, under the rafters of an old house. Through my wishful thinking and Oskar’s need for a home, I knew the two of us had been synchronistically connected!
All this I was writing in my head as the Big O was making his way from Pennsylvania to my kitchen counter.
“He’ll be good for another 20 years!” I exclaimed to all who would listen, as I finally lifted Oskar from his original Styrofoam packing onto the counter.
All was blissful until I plugged him in, fitted the shiny new lid into its familiar locking position, and flipped the switch. At which point, as my mother used to say, the silence was deafening.
Apparently, with nary a carrot chopped, Oskar died a quiet death from disuse under the rafters. Or perhaps, he was Oskar the Lemon to begin with, and his young newlywed owners had stashed him rafter-ward in frustration.
And so I am left to ponder the philosophy of my friend and fellow coach Amy Ryan Rued, who assures me that the universe will attract my vision “or something better.”
Maybe a paring knife???
June 5th, 2011
When it comes to medical procedures, I’m a complete wimp. Spoiled by pristine good health, I view hospital stays of even one night as terrifying and rare. So this past week, when I had some surgery that required a night’s stay, I eagerly volunteered to work with a pre-surgery coach, visualizing comfort and a great outcome, and recruiting friends to do the same.
What surprised me was how willing the hospital was to go along with the process, which is outlined in a book called “Prepare For Surgery – Heal Faster.” The “Prepare…” routine involved taking an IPod loaded with meditation prompts into surgery and taping several “healing statements” to the front of my hospital gown for the doctor and the anesthesiologist to read.
The thought occurred to me that maybe their attention should be on something other than reading meditation statements, but apparently they are good at multi-tasking.
The fact that I’m home and writing this blog post just 48 hours after leaving the recovery room is the best recommendation for positive visualization that I know. Now I just have to behave myself for at least two weeks. No overdoing. And that will be the hardest part of all.
May 29th, 2011
If I ever write a sequel to The Dog Ate My Planner, I’ve already got the title. I’m not especially sensitive to heat, but when I set the thermostat to 75 on one of those few sweltering days, and for two days, it registered 86, I figured something was wrong.
Enter the A/C wizard, who announced after a good deal of sleuthing, “Your A/C isn’t working.” A bit later, he pranced back in – proud as a cat with a mouse in her mouth – and presented me with several burned out bits of wire.
“Looks like the mice got in your outside unit, ma’am, chewed up the wires and blew out your compressor.” To his credit, he wore his best “don’t shoot the messenger” look. When he quoted the replacement cost, I understood why.
I would like to pass along some learning here – maybe a way to prevent a similar demise. But I’m told that a determined mouse can slip into a hole no bigger than a dime – and in the dead of winter, will.
And that, dear friends, is how the mouse ate my air conditioner.
May 15th, 2011
Last summer, I tried meditating – the premier activity, it seems, for staying in the present rather than worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. But no sooner was I sitting still than I fell asleep or remembered that I was almost out of regular coffee and dashed off to buy some right away.
Apparently, I fell victim to “monkey mind,” the Buddhist term for a “restless” or “unsettled” state. And the monkey had not only crawled into the car that was my mind. He had reached over and grabbed the wheel.
I am happy to announce that have found a way around monkey mind and into mindfulness. It is “closet mind,” or the complete focus on cleaning out one’s closet. When I am clearing the unwanted and unloved into garbage bags, I do not fall asleep or think about the coffee supply. The past is cleared out and so – for that particular garment – is the future.
Jon Kabat-Zinn would be proud. And possibly Goodwill.