Celebrating the release today of WINGS UNFURLED by Rebecca Gomez Farrell and A HARD DAY FOR A HANGOVER by Miss Darynda Jones! Otherwise I’m talking about being gentle with ourselves and what that means.
Celebrating the release today of WINGS UNFURLED by Rebecca Gomez Farrell and A HARD DAY FOR A HANGOVER by Miss Darynda Jones! Otherwise I’m talking about being gentle with ourselves and what that means.
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Ah, that hits the spot. Ah, but all right there we go. Let’s get this day started today is say it with me friday. Um, March fourth March Fourth into Friday all ye brave soldiers. All you warriors of words and other things. Ah so I apologize that I had no podcast yesterday I had a um, kind of a busy morning and I had to go get my blood drawn. That’s wonderful, ah annual. Actually I haven’t had it done in a long time. I’ve been very bad I’ve been neglectful of things physical but I’m seeing this new general physician and he’s fine. Whatever I won’t go into detail I mean he’s okay David really likes him so that’s it’s harder to get David to like people. Um, he’s a young man. And in some ways I don’t feel like we speak the same language. For example, when I said something about dealing with being post-menopausal. He asked me how long ago I had gone into menopause or finished you know. It’s funny because men always think menopause just means the period you know it’s like when did you last have your period and I told him it had been a few years and he’s like well then you’re not. You know you’re done. You’re not postmenopausal anymore and it’s like um, okay tell me honey. Ah. Speaking from experience there so otherwise but he’s fine. So I’d go get my blood drawn 4 tubes of blood. Um, do I didn’t miss it and yeah it was kind of. Interesting. The phlebotomist was an older guy very experienced and so he was talking about my veins that um like I have these veins that are very close to the surface of my skin. You know the blue veins I thought like everybody had them. He even asked me he did this arm.
And it’s ever so slightly bruised but not too bad. He did a really great job and he was like are you sure I’ve been drawing your but before your veins look very familiar but he said that a lot of phlebotomists don’t like to use those veins that are very close to the surface which are called verriccose veins which I immediately want to be like. And do not have variricosetains. But obviously I do but um, but it’s always has such a negative connotation right? but he said a lot of them won’t a lot oflebotoists or nurses. Don’t want to draw from those veins because they’re so fragile and he said but they’re great veins to use it. You know what you’re doing. And he knew what he was doing. He was very gentle and efficient and did a great job. So it’s something I’ve been putting off for a very long time something that I needed to get done and I was gonna go to writer coffee yesterday. It was just me. Jim Sorensen and Jack Mitchell and so I thought okay I would go there and you know get my blood drawn first because I do get the fasting draw you know and and then meet them for breakfast. And I ended up sleeping in yesterday I’ve been sleeping so much I mean I think I’m just still recovering from that push on gray magic um I slept long today too. So yesterday I’d had this bold plan that I was going to be like up by 5 and would you know get. All of my things done exercise and podcasting get some writing done and then be at the lab by 8 kind of happened did not happen instead I woke up at like 156 and I was moving pretty slowly I did exercise did to did to my Thursday weightlifting did not get to the lab until like eight thirty did no writing got no podcast done. Um, yeah. What was I doing in all that time we don’t know I have no idea lifting weights feeding cats. So I am get my mother I sometimes I think about this because my mom once asked me what do I do when I wake up so early. You know she’s like what do you do with all that time and it’s like you know it never feels like that much time probably if I like really tried to keep myself efficient I would do better but I don’t I go back and forth because I sometimes.
Think well I should try to be a lot more efficient and not drift about and burn up those early morning hours and then I think why am I always pushing myself so hard dead and it’s okay to drift about in the early morning hours I don’t know so. Um, yeah, so I got to the lab late and I had to wait a little bit and then it took a while. So then I didn’t end up meeting Jack and Jim until 159 and they’d been there for a while had already had a lot of coffee. It’s always bad when you get to the party late. You have to catch up. Ah, but we had a great time. It was delightful and I didn’t leave there until I left there around ten thirty five um and give my mom a calling way home. That’s what I was checking to see what time was it that I left. So. So yeah, um, it’s funny because I paused in order to check what that time was not that it matters. But you know, heck and then I saw that I had a text from my friend Megan about drinks tonight. So of course I had to answer in the affirmative. Yes, please. Yeah, so um, so then by the time I got home. It was like 11 and I was sort of waffling should I try to write and I have been thinking about my friends my concerned friends and all of you out there. Some of you comment to me. It’s like oh. You know if I’m feeling this empty maybe I should not be trying to write the next book already. And yeah, so I don’t know if this is just like brain drain some of it might be from traveling might have had like a little bug from traveling not covid I don’t have covid um. Yeah, so I slept again long this morning I didn’t wake up till like six thirty but I am feeling beach day a little better and so yesterday I did a lot of business stuff I caught up on a ton of business reader. I had over a hundred emails in my sifwa inbox. How did this happen you know and a lot of it is just because I get cced on stuff which is good. You know it’s like I have to get ccd on stuff. So I see it. But it’s like oh my god and. And I know that some of you this sounds like nothing but I am an inbox 0 kind of gal I tend to view my inbox as my to do list which I don’t think is entirely healthy. But I revert to it. Um I did answer an email yesterday that I knew I had been taking a long time to reply to and it was from January thirty first
How did this happen. It’s like February vanished vanished into the ma of writing so that’s where I’m at ah I did get my inbox down considerably I got it down to less than 10 I would have gone for total zero but a few of them take a little bit more time and and I by the end of the day I was kind of tired I was done I also had to go yesterday was the day of medical stuff so later in the afternoon I had to go get my mammogram and my bone density test. Ah, girl never forgets her first bone density test but it was actually pretty cool. It was kind of um you lay on the bench and they like do the scan up and down on all of this. So I am slightly shorter than I used to be she said sitting up straighter i.
I’ve always been 5 four maybe slightly over five four and I was um, 5 three and a quarter with I’m making a sad face. Um I suspect. It’s this curvature in my upper spine. So I really need to get back into doing yoga. The great news is is my favorite yoga teacher sent a thing yesterday that they’re opening a new yoga center this spring it was fake this spring. Um, so that’ll be wonderful because I do not like doing the video yoga. Just doesn’t work for me so I’m very excited to get back into in-person yoga. And yeah, get that see if I can reclaim that inch. She said sitting up straighter again. I do have scoliosis and kyhosis a relic of my adolescence. When I was um in middle school and early high school I actually had to wear one of those back braces you know, like from Deanni and Judy Bloom you know that went from my hips with the thing opening my tomb like that. So my back has sort of been the thing that I always have to take care of. So let’s that’s a good goal right? Reclaim the inch hashtag then we’ll see how all my other metrics come out even though I’m not post-menopausal I mean aren’t you like. Postmenopausal for the rest of your life right? You know it’s like you have menopause and then your post and then from there on but otherwise I think I really healthy I’m blessed with ah genetically blessed with usefulness that and lots of sleep and a clear conscience I think. so um so yeah will I try to write today I don’t know um I think I started to touch on this before. Yeah with some of my concerned friends saying what I was like but last week I did take the week off I mean I was in l a for. Monday and Tuesday and then Wednesday yeah I did do copy on its while I traveled and polishing and all of that and then I didn’t do anything on Thursday and Friday um, but it’s been pointed out to me that doing business doesn’t count as resting which I don’t know. It’s really pretty weather today I’m tempted to not do much but I also feel kind of guilty ish if I don’t work. It’s pathological. What? Ah what can I say.
Ah, so and Darynda has taken. She’s not taken this week off she’s gone into her fugue state of trying to finish this book where she wants no contact and I think she sort of spirals through the clock and so I really don’t have her to contend with either. So. Know I know you guys Laura Darnell you’re gonna be out there. You’re gonna say I think you should take the day on maybe I will um, definitely feel like I need some more will refilling. So but I do feel like a good kitty cat that I’m getting all of the medical stuff done I I really have let it slide for quite a while. Ah. I know. But maybe yeah now that I like like more or less like I do like the um the offices and all of that and I feel like the um I don’t know if this is true everywhere if you guys are experiencing the same thing but I feel like the offices are just much. Nicer now I don’t know if this is like a post covid thing but they’re much more efficient. They’re much better at getting me in and out I mean I couldn’t believe how fast the mammogram and bone density went yesterday I mean it was boom boom and you know from place to place and they were really. Pleasant and efficient and friendly and helpful in all of this and there wasn’t you know it just seems like even five years ago going to the doctor I felt like I was being chewed up by a machine or something and all of these places are doing so much better and they you know I’ll send surveys afterwards. How did we do. Um, yeah, so they did good. They did good I’ve got my windows open I don’t know if you can hear the birds singing Zoom’s pretty good at suppressing background noise. Oh this isn’t Zoom – Zencastr. But still yeah might be a good day to go for a walk and enjoy the sunshine. It was ringing when I woke up this morning that was lovely. It was um that might have contributed to the oversleeping. It was very overcast and a little bit of rain and then I went out to put. Water and the bird bath and the air smelled of petricore I love I that was like in some of my very very first essays that I wrote you know the center of rain in the desert and that was before I knew the word petroorps but.
It’s just one of my favorite sense of the whole world and maybe all the more precious for being fleeting. So I don’t remember if I talked about this the other day. So I’m going to talk about it again now that you’ve had to sit here and listen to all of my burbling on about. Medical stuff. Um, the maintenance of the human body right? Oh before I forget before I forget I should tell you guys I almost did forget didn’t I that dark wizard is a Kindle daily deal today. Who Amazon picks us they they send you an email saying. Do you want to be part of this and then you say yes and then they say okay, we’ll think about it and then they send it to you so they sent it to me and dark wizards on sale at Amazon ebook for two forty nine so if you haven’t bought it now’s a great time to buy it if um, we buy it for your friends buy it for your family. But um, yeah, feel free to share because yeah would love to kick that up sales for Grey Magic have been great. So I’m hoping that this will be an additional boost. 1 thing I did start doing yesterday was getting through my to do list I really feel like I need to put together a promo plan for my backlist. And I was mentioning this on a chat and one of the girls asked. Well, what do you mean by backlist. She said that’s confusing to me and I said well for me it means completed series because when you have active series for example, like bonds of magic and Grey Magic came out monday. And so that means I’m like you’re putting up stuff about hey release great magic. It’s out. It’s in the world and then that bumps that whole series right? You know and people are like oh it’s just like I’m doing today right? Dark Wizard’s on sale and then you get book 2 bright familiar and great magic. So that’s very active. But then I have other books that have you know like a completed series for instance like uncharted realms. Um, that have been out for a very long time that I like just forget to talk about and Carrie Anne Ryan gives a really smart seminar on promoting your backlist. Just having this regular schedule where you bring up these completed series and like hey did you know why I wrote these books? Um, and it’s it’s really very smart in something like the doctor’s appointments I have not been doing and it has felt like too much to think about.
And I did work on that some yesterday and I had the brain power for that so that was really good. Um, so then the other thing I wanted to talk about was from the pro writing aid panel that we did on Monday afternoon the online panel that I did. With Alexia Chantel and Mary Robinette Kowal one of the things we’re talking about process and and I did touch on this I know because I talked about me being an intuitive writer whereas Mary Robinette is much more analytical and she was saying. She was asking me if my books really do come out when I’m done because I like pants my way through a garden. Um, right for discovery. However, you want to put it if they come out that way at the end and she said because your books are very tightly plotted. Which gave me a little flutter of pleasure I was like well thank you I appreciate that I love that she thinks my books are tightly plotted and and what I wished I had said at the time was this is part of why I don’t like the dichotomy. Or even the spectrum I don’t like the names of plotter versus pantzer because you guys know I don’t like pantser because it’s like fly by the seat of your pants which to me implies a loss of control that I think reflects the other end of the spectrum sphere of losing control. But. It’s also that if you write for discovery if you pants if you garden. It’s not that you don’t plot which is why I always refer to it as being a pre-plotter I am not a pre-plotter I do have plots and. I mean there we have it Mary Robinette Kowal says my books are very tightly plotit I just don’t plot them before I write them and I think that’s the difference. That’s why I really wish people would adapt that term I oh wait. Oh I should show you guys look at this. Was gonna wave my wand and make it so but look at this what I have if you’re on video not on video. It’s a long box burgundy colored box and dorinda brought me this from Harry Potter World is a gift because she is lovely and it is. Ah, magic wand so it’s um, if you’re not on video. It’s a beautiful dark wood warrant with kind of like a tulip shape at the end and it’s um, it’s from Ravenclaw house which is I have done the test to find out that I’m Ravenclaw.
And I think she said she thought it was Lena Lovegood’s wand those of you who know better if you are a video you could tell me if that’s true. It actually doesn’t say anywhere that I see in the box. So no way I’m going to wave my wand and make it so in the world that we say preplloter at least i’m. I’m gonna give up on people getting rid of the word panter because a lot of people like it but can we just say preplotter because if you’re writing a book and it’s any good at all. Then it’s plotted right? a book without a plot is a problem. Words to live by I’m wishing and making it so all right? So on that note I don’t know what I’m gonna do today I just do where I feel like um so I hope that you all wonderful friday. And hope you have a wonderful weekend and I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.
I caught Isabel mid-yawn on this one. What I get for disturbing the cozy winter’s nap with my photo-taking. She – like all cats – is the poster child for this week’s topic, which is balancing writing with physical and emotional health. There’s a catchphrase that writers like to pass around, about maintaining productivity: BICHOK, or Butt-in-Chair, Hands-on-Keyboard. I get that it’s a metaphor, meaning that you get writing done by actually writing, but it’s one I quibble with because I’m so against the sitting-down part. Come on over to find out more.
A year ago, I set up my treadmill desk. And I posted the Grand Opening message here, which includes links for purchase, etc.
I promised to give my one-year later review and findings. The upshot?
Love love love.
Seriously. Best investment I ever made.
Yes, I use it pretty much every day. Sometimes I don’t on the weekends, particularly if I’m being really active with other projects like gardening or house-cleaning. I’ve walked as much as 12 miles in one day, though it’s usually more around 8-10 miles. That translates to about 3 to 6 hours on it daily. For reference, I’m at my desk about 12 hours a day.
Can I work on it? Yes! I usually walk anywhere from 1 mph to 2.2 mph. The 2.2 seems to be my maximum for working at the same time. I walk during conference calls, while doing social media and writing blog posts (doing 1.4 mph while drafting this) and especially while writing. I do my 2.2 mph while drafting or editing the novels and it works great. As you can see from the pic above, the way I can rest my forearms on the desk allows me an anchor. I totally forget that I’m walking, too.
More – the steady cadence of walking works great to induce the trance state conducive to writing. Hopefully you all know what I mean. My best work comes out when I disengage all the “thinky” parts of brain that are making lists, wondering what’s for lunch, posting alerts that I need to remember to call such and so back, etc. Once I can sink into that state, the words flow and I’m totally focused. The walking is absolutely trance-inducing and has become part of my ritual for working.
The only things I can’t do on the treadmill is anything that requires intensive mouse work. For example, I have been working on complicated flow charts for my day job. Lots of creating shapes, dragging them, attaching connector arrows. I find it too difficult to maintain a steady line with the mouse while walking.
Otherwise, anything goes! In fact, I find I get restless now if I can’t move while I work. Sitting so much feels wrong.
Since starting to use the treadmill desk, I’ve dropped 10 pounds in body fat. My blood pressure dropped from 160 to 120. Also, my endurance has increased. Though I’ve been running and weightlifting for several years now, the daily walking has really made a difference in my overall health. My body just *feels* stronger and I can, of course, walk much farther without tiring.
Cautionary note on that: start out gradually and work up. Even if you’re in great shape already, the steady pace of the treadmill desk seems to work my body differently. I overdid at first.
I’m happy to answer questions in the comments or via personal message. I absolutely recommend it if you’re considering making the leap. I can’t imagine going back to sitting all day.
I’ll leave you with this – Jackson trying out the treadmill, too. (He still jumps on with me, from time to time. )
The cover for Act III of the Master of the Opera e-serial coming out starting December 31. No blurb for this one yet, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.
You know you want to.
So, this week was kind of difficult for me due to the day job. A big project was due on Tuesday. It’s a long story, but let’s see if I can summarize. I worked on this project as one of the team leaders for about 13 years, until it was finally cancelled. Early on, I began recording our protocol – the rules we followed for making audit decisions – mainly because that’s the kind of girl I am. Eventually we were tasked to take our informal document into a more formal format. Over the years, it became a terrific and popular tool in our niche field. I was referred to as the “Protocol Queen.” Yes, I admit it – I was proud of it and my work on it.
Fast forward to now – the project was axed due to lack of funding. This year we were tasked to make a final update to the Protocol, set it up so people could use it without us and set it free. Of course, I did most of the work, along with a junior person. Then we ran into a SNAFU with the client currently in charge. My boss got into trouble for no fault of her own and we ended up burning a LOT of hours dealing with the problems. Our big boss asked someone else in the company to step in as project manager, to help deal with the client. At the end, the new manager did her QA. On Tuesday morning, the day it was due, I discovered she’d not only done her QA on an old version, she’d done it without Track Changes due to time constraints. The document was 125 pages. My junior person did a document compare, to make sure all the fixes we’d made between the version she changed and the good one, got transferred over. She said the edits were so dense, she could barely find our previous fixes.
I didn’t have time to read it, so what had been my baby went out that way.
I tried to let it go.
But what had started as a headache and feeling tired the previous week, turned into a full-blown, knock-me-out being sick Wednesday morning. I felt exhausted, achey, crushing headache, nauseated, roiling gut – I was miserable. Unable to think, I had to take a sick day – both from day job and writing – and spent the day whimpering in my armchair.
For the record, I’m not really a migraine girl, but I do get headaches when I’m sick.
Fortunately, I live with a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and he gave me acupuncture and some teas and by that night I was somewhat human again and much better the following afternoon.
It doesn’t escape me, however, that the project was over and I spent time resting and letting it go.
This reminds me of an article I’ve saved, because I wanted to blog about it. It’s an interesting article and well worth reading. In fact, I think everyone should probably read it and see if they recognize themselves. This gal ended up going completely bald from stress.
I was in Chicago for a sales conference, and I remember being in the hotel room and seeing that my hairline looked weird. I thought maybe I was just having a bad hair day. When I got home, I had a quarter-sized hole in the back of my head. I went into panic mode. I was seeing this guy, who is now my husband, and we were spending a lot of time together, so I was like, “You need to just look at this. Am I crazy? What do you see?” Within a week, I went to the doctor who told me I have Alopecia. It’s a genetic condition, but it doesn’t necessarily manifest until stress triggers it.
My doctor asked if I had gone through a traumatic event recently or if anything had changed in my life. I said, “No, but it’s been pretty stressful at work.” I had been thinking, “If I don’t get this promotion, I’m going to quit.” That may not seem like a big deal, but I felt like I had helped build the company, and I thought I would be there forever. I don’t know if it was the stress I’d felt struggling so hard to find the right fit at work and then the fear of leaving that made me go bald, but it was definitely a huge contributing factor.
This struck me, because it reflects so much of what gives me stress – that emotional commitment to my work. When she talked to her manager:
I went to speak to my manager. I said, “Look. I don’t know what needs to happen here, but I’m overwhelmed. I’m losing my hair.” He didn’t know how to react. He just looked kind of dumbfounded, because at that time it wasn’t obvious yet. I was still able to maneuver my hair so no one could tell. Maybe they just thought it was in my head. My manager said, “I know you want to move into this new position. Are you saying you can’t put those hours in to get there anymore?”
I think what’s striking about this is, how little the medical establishment and employers credit stress for what can be massive effects on our health. It’s one of those “It’s invisible, therefore it can’t be real” things. (For the record, my boss is wonderful and totally gets it – this was out of her hands.) The doctors look for trauma. The employers want us to get over it and move on. Neither of these approaches gets at the real problem.
Once, when we were in Scotland on vacation and riding one of their lovely trains, we overheard a conversation between a woman and her companion. She told her friend, “My doctor says I have the heart of an American. I have to slow down and reduce stress or it’s gonna kill me.”
That has stuck with me ever since. “The heart of an American.”
Apparently the international symbol for stress.
But, as Americans, we don’t realize it. We’re so accustomed to living with certain stress levels that we’re only aware when it really puts us out of commission. Even then – as I did – we tend to blame it on a virus or some such. And it could have been a virus that made me sick (that’s what it felt like). If that’s the case, then emotional stress of the preceding days diminished my immune system enough that it got the upper hand.
I don’t know that there’s any solution but to take stress seriously. At least for me, it’s something that can affect me profoundly. It’s something just to “get through.”
Fortunately, today is Friday.
~does the Friday dance~
I finally got the desk pieces delivered Tuesday, though I got the treadmill piece quite a while ago. So now I’m all assembled and rocking along. In fact, I’m walking on the treadmill as I write this!
So, I did not go with the cheapie option. Fair warning. There are some great blog posts out there about how to make your own treadmill desk, or how to jury-rig your existing treadmill so you can type while walking. I considered those options but ultimately discarded them. This is why:
So, being who I am, I did a lot of online shopping and cross-comparisons.
I ended up buying the treadmill itself here. I like that it’s small, highly rated and has a control panel that sits up on the desk. They also sell adjustable height desks, but I found a better deal on the desk elsewhere. My big thing is I wanted this, too.
Same desk, with the treadmill slid to the side, so I can sit and work, too. It works via a hydraulic lift that is very smooth and nearly soundless. This way, if I’m sitting and working and get a long phone call from my boss, say, I can raise the desk, slide the treadmill over and walk and talk–and still reference information on my computer.
I bought the desk here. I got the v.3 small frame (space considerations), even though they’re running 5-7 weeks out for delivery. Treaddesk, where I got the treadmill piece, has a similar desk that’s very pretty, and they sell it as a package. However, by buying these two pieces separately and saved $640. Plus, if Treaddesk ships it as a package (cheaper than doing the pieces separately with them), they have to send it to a loading dock and not your house. Which I just did not want to deal with.
How do I like it? I do! The treadmill goes a max 4 mph and right now I’m walking at 1 mph. The treadmill is a bit heavy to slide, but not awful. The brick floors help. If I were to do this on carpet, I’d likely want one of those plastic aprons they sell at office-supply stores.
Feel free to ask questions!
So, there’s this gal who did a workshop at a conference recently and then did a blog post – about how she’s developed a way to write ten-thousand words a day. A 10K Day. I don’t know her at all – I just glanced at her blog post because several of my writer friends were (understandably) really excited about her ideas.
I mean, who doesn’t want to write ten-thousand words a day?
I also saw a magazine cover at the gym proclaiming that Kim Kardashian (I have no idea how to spell that) lost ten pounds in one week, and I could do it, too!
I admit, that sounded pretty damn wonderful, also.
This is where I’m at right now, in the weeks leading up to the RWA National Conference at the end of July. I did some assessing on Saturday and figured out I needed to lose 10 pounds, so my cute outfits fit right, and write 80K words, so I can have a draft of RP2 finished. This works out to 1 pound every 8K words. So clearly I just need to not eat while writing.
Thus the temptation of the Big Leaps is ever-present.
Write 10K in one day? Yes, please! Lose 10 pounds in one week? Sign me up!
And yet, I also know that this leads to the Dark Side. The best weight loss is slow and steady – or the fat just comes right back and is harder to lose. I think we all know this. Which makes me wonder if similar isn’t true about the promise of the 10K Day.
So, here are my caveats. I don’t know this gal. I have absolutely nothing against her. I have nothing against writing fast. I know that there are writers who can and have turned out this much in a day.
What I think is this is not sustainable.
It’s binge writing.
I noticed, in her description of this method that she said she hired a babysitter so she could write 4 to 5 days a week (I forget which) and figured out a way to write that much. She also said this enabled her to write a novel in 3 months instead of 7. So, a little math tells me that, at 10K per day, it would take 10 days to write a 100K novel (most novels are 85-120K, so that’s a reasonable round average.) If she’s writing 4 days/week, then she’d have the novel written in 2 1/2 weeks. Where did the other 8 weeks come from?
I’m presuming that’s revision time. (And maybe she covered this – I confess, that I skimmed.)
Some people like to work this way. Candy Havens does a Fast Draft class, where you draft a novel in two weeks and then do Revision Hell for two weeks. This works for her and for some others, which is great. I’m not sure if she feels the novel is ready to go after that, or if it takes more polishing after that.
But here’s another model.
If you take two months to draft a novel, that’s 60 days to write 100K, or about 1667 words/day. Most writers can do about 1,000 words/hour. (Your mileage may vary.) So, in two hours a day, you can draft a novel, spend a month revising it and still have a novel in three months.
Sure, it takes discipline and adherence to schedules, like we talked about yesterday, but so does healthy weight loss. And, to me, this is a healthy approach to a sustainable schedule.
Change your eating habits, work out every day, get plenty of sleep and water, and the weight will come off.
Develop good writing habits, write every day, get plenty of sleep and water, and you’ll have a novel.
It’s not great on a magazine cover, but it works.
I never got to meet her. Not for any particular reason. At first we just weren’t in the same place at the same time. Then her tumors came back and she finally withdrew from the acupuncture college. Because I wasn’t a friend, I didn’t go visit her when everyone went to say good-bye. It just didn’t seem right.
But I felt like I knew her, because David liked her so much and often related to me the things they talked about.
One thing that stuck with me – she told David that she finally had to get over the idea that she was a bad or negative person because she developed the cancer, because it ultimately defeated her. See, when you’re in the natural healing world, there are strong ideas that your mental attitude governs your health. Negativity or bad emotions promote chronic disease states is the thinking. Positive thinking creates health and healing.
All of this success stuff comes from similar philosophies. “I create my own success.” Your life becomes what you envision it to be. Anything can be yours if you simply envision it, be positive and make it happen.
The flip side, of course, is that if you don’t get what you want, it’s because you failed. Failed to envision enough, be positive enough, what have you.
Like with Marjorie. She failed to cure her own cancer. But she ultimately decided to refuse to accept that as a personal failure.
She lived ten years past her initial diagnosis of terminal cancer. She enjoyed her life and continued to follow her passions. Part of that meant coming to terms with not seeing herself as a bad person because she got sick. How she dealt with the disease truly showed her strength of character. And she died surrounded by friends and loved ones, both animal and human.
This is what I was trying to get at on Friday. I’m not sure I did a very good job.
(Either that or everyone was out enjoying their summer weekend, which is all to the good.)
I absolutely believe we have a hand in our own successes. But I think there’s danger in believing we can control fate. It would be nice, sure. Tempting to try. Ultimately, though, the universe goes where it goes and takes us with it. Sometimes beautiful summer days fill our weekends. Sometimes tornadoes hit. The weather falls equally on the good people and the bad people, the positive thinkers and the bitter, angry ones.
The differences show in how we handle it.
We love to tell stories about grace under pressure. The heroics, large and small, that shine when disaster hits. We rarely talk about how well someone handles success.
My favorite religious studies professor, David Hadas, who I quote often, pointed out to me that, when tragedies occur, we look up to whatever gods we follow and ask “why me?” Rarely, he said, does anyone look at some amazing bounty they’ve received and ask the gods, “why me?”
It’s easy to believe that, when our efforts are rewarded with success, it’s because we are so wonderful and deserving. But that’s as much of a trap as believing that we deserve cancer. Or tornadoes.
The true test is how we handle it.
Yesterday, two crows chased our resident Cooper’s hawk down the valley, where it turned and made a stand on a juniper. One crow took off, but the other lit also. It looked like the hawk had captured something the crow wanted. (No, we won’t think about what kind of critter it likely was.) After a fairly long stand-off, the crow finally gave up.
I found out yesterday that my blood pressure is high. Technically it’s on the high side of pre-hypertension, but for a person who’s always had pretty low readings, it was daunting.
It’s also totally hereditary and thus no surprise. My mom has been on high blood pressure medication for almost twenty years. She’s in otherwise excellent health and the medication works well for her.
So far as bad apples in the genetic gift basket, this one isn’t so bad.
Still I’m annoyed.
Oh, I have a list of things to do, to try to lower it naturally. I can increase my magnesium and Co-Q10 from what I’ve been taking. David has me adding Hawthorne berry extract. I’ve been working the weight and body fat down, but now I need to get serious about that last ten pounds. I might have to back off drinking wine, my very favorite thing.
Amusingly – or not – I’ve had the gas law, PV=nRT, on my list of blog topics for a while. That’s the formula that describes how pressure, volume and temperature interact. It’s a fascinating equation, really, because so much of our world, and our physiology, is governed by it.
Basically it says that Pressure multiplied by Volume equals Temperature. The n and the R describe molecular action, which is pretty stable for most purposes, so we can safely ignore it for most purposes. That makes the equation P*V=T. Or, to put it in a way that makes more intuitive sense by using that algebra you figured you’d never need, Pressure = T/V.
Thus, the hotter something is? The more pressure you have. Think of a pressure cooker. The more you raise the temperature, the more pressure inside the pot. Once you take off the lid, you increase the volume from a little pot to a great big room, and the pressure decreases.
There are more factors when you get into liquids, but the overall principle is the same. Body temperature is relatively steady, so blood pressure becomes largely a function of volume. As arteries narrow, for whatever reason – constriction due to stress or a wallpaper of fat – the volume available decreases and pressure goes up. That’s why diuretics, like my mom takes, work well. Reduce the volume of blood and there’s less pressure.
For whatever reasons, too, computer screen time is being linked to elevated blood pressure and there’s strong evidence for email apnea. So I’m resolving to decrease my screen time. And also to get up from my computer once an hour and breathe, walk, do the dishes or Tai Chi.
It’s not easy for me. I tend to sit for hours, concentrating on my work until the driving need to pee forces me out of my chair.
Yeah, I know – not healthy behavior.
But I’ll get better about it.