I don’t really like to pick favorites, but June is definitely up in top five for me of months (why yes, of course I have a top five list of months…don’t you?!): lazier schedule, warm but not too warm usually, all of the garden goodness is starting but isn’t out of control yet, and berry picking season. Here is my list for the month of June…I would love to hear what you’re learning and loving in the comments!
What I’m learning
The nature of reality. This is crazy and some might say “woo woo,” but I’m sharing it because it will probably be on my learning list for the entire year. I listened to this podcast and was completely blown away by the statistic Jess mentions in the first five minutes to setup the rest of the conversation. She references a hypothesis that our brains receive around 400 BILLION pieces of information per SECOND. I can’t even get my brain around numbers that big, so I almost tuned her out. But then she said that our consciousness is only aware of 2000 pieces of information per second. So 2000 divided by 400 billion equals 0.0000000005 percent, meaning that we actually select waaaayyy less than one percent of the information that our brains actually take in per second. I don’t know how they study these things (that makes my brain really hurt to think about), but, even if there a few million pieces off or so, those are still some dramatic numbers.
I’m sure there will be more to come from this for me, but for now the two immediate lessons are:
- Our nervous system is magnificent and mysterious to be even taking in 2000 pieces of information per second. I should be grateful that it all functions even moderately well every minute of every day.
- The reality of anything is subject to what our brains select. They say there are two sides to every story, but even that is (possibly vastly) inaccurate. At the very least, this knowledge should enable us to offer more grace to ourselves and others because we’re only seeing 0.0000000005 percent of true “reality” at any given moment.
I don’t versus I can’t. This little video popped up in my feed one day a few weeks ago, and, for whatever reason, the idea behind it really stuck with me (despite being a bit annoyed by the video). Basically, especially when it comes to breaking bad habits (or at least habits that don’t serve you anymore), it is better for you psychologically to say “I don’t” instead of “I can’t.” I think this is helpful for me because I don’t like people (even myself) telling my what I can and can’t do. So, for example, maybe I decide I’m not going to snack after dinner. Instead of telling myself, “I can’t snack after dinner,” and then having feelings of deprivation, I tell myself, “I don’t eat snacks after dinner,” which feels much more empowering – and also makes me feel like a responsible adult as a side bonus.
Emotions as messengers. I finally finished this book in June. I took my time getting through it because it was rich with insights throughout, and I know I’ll be coming back to it often. But one big takeaway from it and other things I’ve been reading and listening to lately (the Baader Meinhof phenomenon strikes again) is that we should use our emotions as tools to learn more about ourselves and see patterns in our reactions. As Susan David writes in Emotional Agility, “our raw feelings can be the messengers we need to teach us things about ourselves and can prompt insights into important life directions.”
What I’m loving
Chickpeas for days. I have a problem: I tend to hoard good food. Exhibit A: I found a ten pound bag of chickpeas in the garage that I had forgotten about from last fall. I needed room on the shelf for more food hoarding, so I brought them in and made a huge batch. That was a few weeks ago, and now I’m almost all finished with the ten pounds. I’ve been making a big chickpea salad on Sundays to eat for lunch or to spice up salads throughout the week. The kids love them roasted, so I’ve been doing that too. We’ve all quickly become addicted to having a quick chickpea snack, and this has basically just been a good reminder to keep healthy choices in the fridge and on hand.
Diffusers for bugs. I bought some of this and have been using it in our big diffuser on the deck lately when the bugs have been bad. It makes a huge difference, it is super cheap when you think about how little essential oil you need for a whole evening, and we don’t have to put anything on our skin.
June, but I already mentioned that.
Gratitude first thing. For most of my adult life, I’ve had an on-again, off-again gratitude practice. I typically write down three things before bed, but sometimes forget if I’m sleepy or sucked into a good book. I have still been doing that when I remember, but I’ve been trying to do three things first thing in the morning when I wake up. It is a great way to start the day, and it energizes me first thing to focus on appreciating all of the good in my life.
Berry season. It has been mulberry and black raspberry picking season at Funky Farms, and, while it certainly isn’t the most efficient way to get fruit, it has been so relaxing to go out for an hour and pick berries. It is all of the benefits of nature therapy, but you get a bonus of delicious berries when you’re finished. When I take the kids with me, they typically eat more than they pick, but it makes for easy conversation together (much like any light work we do together, I’ve noticed). I’m excited to find more foraging options as we learn more about wild edibles around our place.
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