Learning From Friends

I love learning.

Podcasts in the morning at the gym (today Brain Food by Lisa Mosconi) , or a stack of books from the library.

Recently I had coffee with a friend who shared information about the FODMAP diet, one I had explored but not fully embraced. After living with IBS for years, I finally decided to get on board. Day Three, folks, and it’s a miracle.

That’s not to say this is going to be easy. I LOVE onions and garlic. But if not eating them makes me feel better, then I’m in. Of course, it could be something else– fruit? yeast? chemicals?

I’m doing this step by step to see if I can figure it all out. The thing about gut issues is that it’s complicated. Sometimes stress causes it (I’ve had some of that recently), and sometimes it’s not the gluten in bread but the yeast. Non-yeast sourdough bread is often acceptable for the FODMAP diet. It might be bananas because you eat them ripe. Or even too much of a low fodmap food can mean trouble (ie lentils).

I can’t wait to read Lisa’s book and see how it fits into the FODMAP system. After all, a healthy gut means a healthy brain, too!

 

 

 

Photo credit: Chiot’s Run on Best Running / CC BY-NC

When I Die…

I should have been a philosopher. I think about dying a lot.
A few years ago I thought about it so  much I stopped flying. Stopped doing anything risky. My anxiety levels shot up when I heard loud noises.

So I did what anyone these days does when life gets stressful. I went to see a therapist. I learned that most of my fear was related to this anxiety/worry about dying with unfinished business. Would I die with regrets? Would I die without those closest to me knowing how much I love them?

Dealing with the fear has not been that simple, of course. And it is also wrapped up in other traumas from early years that pop up and get mixed into it now and again. But the understanding of, the realization of all this has made coping so much easier.

I listen to podcasts every morning at the gym, and today’s with Kate Manser made me slow down and really listen. Then I flipped to an Atlantic article about Ernest Becker’s The Life and Death of Meaning and found this:

More often though, it’s the hope of symbolic immortality that calms the frightened rabbits of death-fearing hearts—the idea that people are a part of something that will last longer than they do.

 

Is this what I get from printing? A thought that my work will last longer than I do? I had not thought of this before, but I do love having my grandmother’s paintings on my walls and a stack of my Dad’s letters in my desk. These are comforting, constant reminders of the ancients. I love thinking that my grandchildren or great grandchildren might one day hold a letterpress printed card from me.

The article also addresses one’s world view as part of  how we think about death, and it’s fascinating. “Their culture, their country, their family, their work. When thinking of death, people cling more intensely to the institutions they’re a part of, and the worldviews they hold.”

If you look at the problems that currently befall humanity—we can’t get along with each other, we’re pissing on the environment, [there’s] rampant economic instability by virtue of mindless conspicuous consumption—they’re all malignant manifestations of death anxiety running amok.

I know I am lucky, privileged even, to have the time, energy, and resources to  spend time thinking about all this. First world problems, right? Yet, to each of us, a problem is a problem. The article ends with this, and I think I”ll ponder it for a while and keep on printing.

“Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him,” E.M. Forster once wrote. I don’t know if there’s really any salvation, but if we accept death, maybe we can just live.

Talking to Myself

Things are finally calming down around here. Mom is happy in her new place, where they are taking such good care of her. I can pop in every day since it’s so close. She doesn’t remember much beyond the present, but isn’t that something all of us could do? Wow, living in the moment. What a concept.

I am printing again, which is so gratifying.

I’ve learned that simply recognizing a feeling, acknowledging it, and moving on is the key to staying relaxed and out of the anxiety zone. I listen to Untangle every morning, where I find ways to stay on the right track (and other good people to follow and learn from).

Snow has arrived. The cold will keep me inside, but that’s not a bad thing.

When Being Bold Doesn’t Come Easily


Being a badass is not the advice you necessarily want to give to a son or daughter.

Yet, I wish I’d been told this when I was growing up. Actually, I equate being a badass with not caring so much what others think of you, standing up for yourself.

I’ve struggled with this my entire life. It’s not an easy trait to change. So, as I often do, I print what I need to see. I’m also experimenting with watercolor washes under the text.

Does it get your attention?

Living a Life

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I’ve been thinking about my life lately, like who I am and when I figured that out..

The hard answer is that I don’t think I knew until a few years ago. I spent most of my life trying to be someone I wasn’t, and that’s not a pretty admission.

But I do remember the first time I experienced something that would help me on this path. I took a recertification course for teaching. I signed up for programming, and I’d never seen a computer. Back in 1985, there weren’t many, but I was intrigued.

I spent the first three weeks complaining– about the difficulty, my lack of understanding, and my frustration. And then one day it clicked and I wrote a program that worked.

From that day on, I realized I loved solving problems and being creative. I began learning again, first as a teacher and then as an instructional technology coach. When we had problems with our school network, I’d stand in front of the cables and routers, trying to figure the problems out. When I wanted to start blogging, I called the only teacher in the county I knew who was doing it: Will Richardson. We installed Manilla software on the server, and we were up and running.

When the school needed a webpage, I taught myself HTML. When my second computer died, I finally learned how to trouble shoot it myself instead of following the directions to reformat (and lose) everything.  I began connecting with others online, learning both how to be a better teacher and how to use the power of a group. A few years ago, I decided to explore letterpress printing. Because I’d learned to build a community online, I knew I could reach out and get help. Now, three years later, I am printing and running a small business.

I say this not to pat myself on the back but to point out how long– 45 years– it took me to learn that I love being creative. I love to learn. I love change.

The last few years I’ve embraced the idea of solitude and quiet, realizing that more than anything, I like to be alone. And that’s ok.

My wish–for my grandchildren and for all the children–is that they learn about who they are and what they want from life at an early age. This comes from play, long talks, empathy, and kindness. Wouldn’t it be lovely if children spent the first few years of school learning to get along and getting to know themselves instead of being pounded with homework and stress?

From Will: It would make more sense to focus simply on nurturing and supporting the learning mindsets that kids already bring with them, rather than forcing them to adopt a “school mindset” that has little connection to their real lives.

Self-acceptance, learning to ignore the ego, and loving one another, these will grow a happy life. Everything else will fall into place.