Since this blog is all about living by the seasons, I’ve decided to make these “what I’m learning and loving” posts seasonally instead of monthly (coincidentally, just like Emily Freeman does now, my original inspiration for these posts). I’ll still do shorter learning/loving spots in the newsletter, so be sure you’re signed up for those if you like these kinds of posts.
I know we’re a few weeks into the fall at this point, and I hope you’re enjoying the leaves beginning to change and fall. The last few weeks of news have been heavy, to say the least. I don’t have much wisdom to offer, other than to say, “it feels heavy for me too” and share a few things that I’ve been learning and loving over this last summer:
What I’m learning
The 24-hour news cycle is toxic and addictive. I knew this before, but we traveled with family the week before Irma hit. The news was on 24-7 (for good reason for at least some of the time – several family members’ homes were in the path of the storm), and I felt heavy and on-edge the longer the week wore on. We haven’t had cable for ten+ years, so I had forgotten what the constant noise of bad news sounds (and feels) like. I also rationalized that, since we didn’t have cable news, that I didn’t need to worry about its harmful effects, but I realized that my phone is my own 24-hour news appendage. Being informed can be accomplished without knowing what is going on 42 seconds after it happens. I am realizing (for the 489th time) that I have to stick to better boundaries around the use of my phone. How do you keep yourself from getting sucked in too much?
Feeling your feelings is a practice (for me at least). When my therapist turned me loose a year ago or so, she said that I really needed to work on “feeling my feelings” (go read that Brené excerpt – it will be more worthwhile than anything you read here). For the past few years, I have been really trying lean into my feelings, but it’s hard (especially, as I dug into my Enneagram 7 stuff and learned that 7s are notoriously bad at sitting with their pain or fear) when you never really learned how to do that in the first place.
Earlier this summer, I started a more regular journaling practice just for me to dig into my feelings more. I made a big mistake a few weeks ago, and
instead of in addition to rationalizing it, I also dug into my feelings (I copied down quotes from this study to keep me motivated). I’ve been using the following “techniques,” but I’m always on the lookout for more if you have any recommendations:
- some of the questions Brené mentions in her post, as well as some of my own that I have come up with
- this notice and ease practice explained here
- the welcoming prayer recommended by my wise friend, Kim
Sometimes you drink from a fire hose, and sometimes you drink from a water fountain. I’m sure you know the saying, “it’s like drinking from a fire hose,” when you’re learning a new job or skill. This summer has been a fire hose summer. I feel like there has been some kind of opening to all sorts of new ideas. It doesn’t feel like I’ve opened anything; at the moment, it feels like I’m still falling into it. I love all of the new ideas, and I’m a little tired. It feels like fall brings with it more of a water fountain season, maybe going deeper into some of these new ideas, quenching my thirst, instead of the gulping, just trying to keep as much water down as possible season that I’ve been in for the last several months.
I don’t know if that analogy works, but I’ve noticed that everything does have a season to it. I’m trying to do a better job of enjoying the one I’m in versus always looking forward to the next.
What I’m loving
Sink strainer. Please do go ahead and laugh at me for this one, but even Grant said that this was the best under ten dollars purchase in years. We bought it because we live on a septic, and the well guy said that the septic system will last longer if you try to keep food out of the disposal. So it obviously does a great job at that (we just rinse our dishes off, let the food collect in the strainer, and then dump it right into the compost bin), but I love it for other uses that I didn’t expect, such as:
- peeling egg shells for the garden – egg shells are great for tomatoes and pepper plants, but it was always difficult to capture the teeny pieces
- anything you might want to rinse off, but don’t want to get the strainer out – greens, tomatoes, herbs, berries, all of the things (caveat: this has also helped incentivize me to keep our sink clean)
- peeling carrots – keep the peels for my stock bag or the chickens
- keeps things from going down the drain since we just keep it in there all the time
- there is a surprising amount of crumbs left on our plates after meals, so using the little strainer means we’re composting more without really trying
It’s ten dollars for two of them (I wash one each week and use the other one), so I dare you to try it and not realize that your life is better with it!
Whole lemons. While we do try to eat seasonally, one way I cheat is that I buy whole organic lemons all year long. I drink a lot of water, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice makes it taste so much better (and has health benefits), which means I drink more water, which is a good thing. I think I have referenced my giant tumbler before somewhere (I have one like these, but mine holds 40 ounces), but I try to drink at least two tumblers of water a day (hopefully more). I stole this trick from Modern Mrs. Darcy, but I’ve started juicing- with my citrus juicer – an ENTIRE lemon in my tumbler in the mornings. It is so delicious. I used to be stingy with my lemons, stretching one out for three days. But after trying MMD’s trick, I realized that it is a treat for me to have reeeeallly lemony water every morning and a healthy treat is a great way to start the day off right.
The Daily. In light of my first bullet at the top, I have been trying to limit my news consumption (i.e. not mindlessly yelling at Twitter). I want to be informed, but not sucked in. I have been using two podcasts for my news consumption and trying to avoid the ones that make me yell: the previously and often mentioned Pantsuit Politics, and The Daily from the NYT. The Daily is such good journalism, and I love this format that they have been growing into since I started listening earlier this year.
Putting up. I canned and froze tons of stuff last summer. So much so that we are still eating stuff from last summer now, deep into 2017. Our gardens didn’t do as well this year as last, but I still got to preserve quite a bit between our garden and filling in with stuff from local farmers. I love this part of the season, trying to capture the height of summer for enjoying later in the fall and winter. Our September got a little busy this year. I want to try to remember to scale back next September’s schedule, so that there is more time for putting up the garden harvest to enjoy later.
Your turn to share what you’ve been learning and loving lately!