Why Hummingbird Poop? Because it's really small. Little droppings of thought and observation while I flit from one thing to another, drink the nectar of life, trying not to smash into windows.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Eve Ensler: Suddenly, my body | Video on TED.com

I''m trying to set up a few things today. One, I want to be proficient with Outlook because I think it would help consolidate a lot of disparate stuff into one place. Two, I'm switching my blog to MidChix.com though I'll still keep a couple of stories here for awhile. Last week Linda Anderson at MidChix wrote a great little article/how-to piece on RSS, and in trying to get RSS feeds set up in Outlook, I stumbled upon (no pun intended for you bloggers out there) this video essay by Eve Ensler. This is the kind of thing that can bring you to your knees if you let it. Unfortunately, the only way to not let it do that, is to watch it, listen to it, and not let it get "in." You'll see what I mean.

On the other hand, you may find a new crusade.

Eve Ensler: Suddenly, my body | Video on TED.com

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DailyWorth - free daily money tips for women

I love dailyworth.com. Because I have FDD (Financial Deficit Disorder), sites like this one are perfect for me. In short spurts, they give me the tools I need to take the baby steps I need to take to turn things around. A team of 5 presents 5 different columns, one on each day of the week. About a month ago, the following piece showed up right when I was thinking about the very topic.

Your Future as a Free Agent

By Amanda Steinberg 

When I look at the DailyWorth team, one thing stands out: Everyone has at least one other job. I still run my Web agency, Soapbxx. MP writes for Money Magazine. Hilary (marketing) and Simon (technology) just hired assistants to take on additional projects on the side. Jen, our email producer, also works for Soapbxx.

In fact, the buzz I'm hearing about employment these days isn't about how many jobs we need to restore economic health—but about the types of jobs Americans need to prepare for:
  • Contract-based
  • Technology-enabled
What does this "new work order" mean for you, as you create your own jobs forecast in 2011 and beyond? Learn to think like a free agent—because as companies look for ways to cut costs, many are replacing full-time employees with contractors.

Get your CEO on. You're the head of your own enterprise. Think like one.
Get virtually social. You need a LinkedIn profile at the very least. Your potential employers will Google you. What will they find?
Build a bigger project pipeline. Line up more contracts than you need, to ensure that you have enough work. Some deals always evaporate, and some clients won't pay on time.
Be proactive about cashflow. Managing an erratic cashflow is possibly the hardest part of being a freelancer. It requires constant attention to receivables. Systematize your collections, or you'll run out of money.

But wait! There's good news, too. As a freelancer, if you can learn how to generate consistent work, there are ways to exceed the income you made as a full-time employee.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

365 Tao - January 4, 2011 - On Reflection

Moon above water.
Sit in solitude.

Now this one I love. It's going to be hard not to quote the entire page. When have I been the most still? Not still on the couch watching tv. Not still reading a book. There's a nice double entendre working here, by the way. Truly still? In solitude, sitting, observing with rapt attention, trees or birds or listening to wind or hearing grains of sand rolling around in the surf at the beach. There is bliss, and these things provide it. These moments are the closest to the divine I can say I've been. Note that they don't have to be quiet in sound, but absorbing enough to still the mind.

Once in Chicago when my daughter was a baby, I walked with a baby jogger and our dog, Druschie, along the Lake Michigan beach at North Avenue. It was morning, gray and windy and oh, so cold. I wish I could fully describe the color of gray and the sound of the wind and waves and the dampness of the air. It was a difficult time, and I was feeling a little glum, thinking about all the "what nexts?" that life brings. Overhead, an almost perfectly round space for sunbeams to come through every so faintly, opened up. I noticed it, and noticed it again. And, again. I remember this moment so clearly because it took a few "notices" before I recognized its beauty and was filled to brimming with my usual joy and optimism. I also felt deep gratitude - one of the first times in my life to feel such gratitude. And such peace. Only a few days ago (January 1), did I learn that this moment was in "response" to my meditations and thoughts, not just an auspicious sign, as I had read it then.

Deng-Ming says about reflection, "If waters are placid, the moon will be reflected perfectly." And, "Muddy water will become clear if allowed to stand undisturbed, and so too will the mind if it is allowed to be still."

I think the best gift I could give a friend is a day of meditation - a shot at mental stillness. Take away the day's work, the kids, any responsibilities, and say to that friend, "Walk, sit, be - for one day." Imagine what a day of such stillness could bring to you. 

365 Tao is a Daily Meditations book by Deng Ming-Dao. The book is published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All italicized quotes are directly from the book.To purchase a copy for yourself, order from any online bookstore or go to your independently-owned neighborhood bookstore, who will deeply appreciate your business.

365 Tao - January 3, 2011 - On Devotion

Make the crooked straight, Make the straight to flow.
Gather water, fire, and light.
Bring the world to a single point.

Hmmm, three days in and I'm bogging down. It's actually the 4th. In western psychological terms I know exactly what devotion is. Often, it gets you into trouble. In my experience devotion is given at the expense of one's physical and/or mental health. I'm sure that devotion in the Taoist (and religious) sense is something different. From this reading two points stand out: "If we have devotion - total faith and commitment to our spiritual path -
our determination will naturally build momentum." And: "Our bodies, our hearts, and our spirits must be totally concentrated on what we want. Only by uniting all our inner elements can we have full devotion."

I have to ask, how in the world can all our inner elements be united? Kids, jobs, marriage, friends, our attempts at self-care through exercise and diet, and our spiritual lives all seem at odds and pull in myriad directions. I have never met anyone who has this part down pat. Doesn't devotion to one of these make it impossible to devote to the others by definition? How much do you have to broaden the definition of your own particular devotion to include all of these? 

And, as for "what we want," at 47, I still have no idea. Aside from the thousands of things I'd like to be better at and do better than I do now, I truly can't say. Somehow I'm still toying with the notion that I can go back to school and . . . do what? Study music, study art, study business, study religion. And, isn't that really just still searching? Not an end, not even a means to an end.

Yup, this one will have me thinking for awhile. Perhaps on June 3rd, January 3rd will make more sense.

365 Tao is a Daily Meditations book by Deng Ming-Dao. The book is published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All italicized quotes are directly from the book.To purchase a copy for yourself, order from any online bookstore or go to your independently-owned neighborhood bookstore, who will deeply appreciate your business.




Sunday, January 2, 2011

365 Tao - January 2, 2011 - On Ablution

Washing at dawn: Rinse away dreams.
Protect the gods within, And clarify the inner spirit.

What is ablution? The dictionary says it's the act of washing or cleansing in a religious sense. In parts of the world, it is the quite literal cleaning of oneself. Today's reading is about the ablution of pollution - your own.

Ming-Dao says that "Purification starts all practice. First comes the cleansing of the body-not to deny the body, but so that it is refined. Once cleansed, it can help us sense the divine." 

Then, "If we continually eat bad food, intoxicate ourselves, allow filth to accumilate anywhere outside or inside ourselves, then these gods abandon us in disgust."

First, I should note that there is far more to this reading than the parts that I have pulled out. I know that the practice of Taoism is not about being a harsh self-critic, but since I am one, I am appreciating, if not misreading, these words so far. After a November and December of hardly any exercise, and certainly no self-discipline when it came to eating habits, I feel absolutely gross. My stomach is distended; my skin is bad; my hair is dull; my joints ache; and I'm tired, tired, tired. The gods and goddesses within may be disgusted, but no more so than I!

I have pulled from the shelf one of my favorite books, 3-Day Cleanse, by a nutritionist/raw foodist duo from New York. I'm not in the mood to start immediately, but I will undoubtedly be incorporating their wonderful recipes into my diet for the next several weeks, leading up to three days of giving those 24 feet of guts (or whatever it is) a much needed vacation.

As for the outside? I have hired Major Mom, a company founded by the inspiring Angela Cody-Rouget, to help me regain control of my house, put together a "family management" program that involves this special needs family (I say that only partially in jest) in the cleaning/sorting/processing process, and hone in on my time management issues.

For the other inside of me, I'm done with therapy. Spiritual reflection, that yoga I mentioned in an earlier post, and working with a woman named Suzanne Simpson, who as a psychotherapist-turned-coach, is much more results and accountability oriented, are where I'm headed. I have been blocked by something in my "creative" house that has nearly shut me down. I should be condemned. (No pun intended.) Unfortunately, the "I should be condemned" is part of the problem.

So this is the second day of the year, and the day I say, get over yourself (Lise) and get down to business. Cleanse, clean, throw away, give away, clear out, and move on - and my own addition to that is to also be thankful, at least a little, for the lessons the clutter has taught me along the way.
                              
365 Tao is a Daily Meditations book by Deng Ming-Dao. The book is published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All italicized quotes are directly from the book.To purchase a copy for yourself, order from any online bookstore or go to your independently-owned neighborhood bookstore, who will deeply appreciate your business.

365 Tao - January 1, 2011 - On Beginning

This is the moment of embarking. 
All auspicious signs are in place.

For the past few months I've tried to incorporate intention and a little yoga into my life as stress relievers and a way to help me focus my hummingbird brain. Money or the lack thereof has been the key focus for years and years and years. I've only just learned to turn that around and focus on abundance, including the ability to handle my finances with grace and ease. Just that little shift in thinking has done wonders for my brain if not my wallet.

This morning's reading of 365 Tao, about Beginning included,

      "In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life's travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life."
     "Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response."

These words resonated with me because this morning a caring and knowledgeable friend said, "Absolutely not" when I told her about a treatment my daughter was undergoing for her eyes. The expense is astronomical, and the science is only partially proven. As I left her I had my usual "It's a sign!" moment. Again, the subtle shift in thought comes into play when I realize that, no, that auspicious sign was actually a response to what I have already put into place through intention regarding finances and the care of myself and my family.

The reading wasn't that clear to me yesterday, the actual 1st day of 2011; but today's rereading has me loving the notion of "response."

365 Tao is a Daily Meditations book by Deng Ming-Dao. The book is published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All italicized quotes are directly from the book.To purchase a copy for yourself, order from any online bookstore or go to your independently-owned neighborhood bookstore, who will deeply appreciate your business.

Something New From Something Old - 365 Tao

For the entire year of 2010 my husband read and referred to a book entitled, 365 Tao, by Deng Ming-Dao. It's a daily meditation book, and after reading only a few days throughout the year, then discovering that a grandfather of mine by marriage, lived his life according to the Tao, I've decided to embark on a new project. I will live the Tao or at least focus on an aspect of it each day this now current year of 2011. If I can figure out how to categorize on this site, there will be a nice way for followers of mine to pick up on the snippets.

My aim is to read each day and write just a little on the parts that stick with me. Yesterday, the was the first day of the year. Happy new year, my friends and family.

I thank Deng Ming-Dao for opening this door for me - and Wesley, my husband.