Let's explore

I’m reading a book, “The Power of Habits” by Charles Duhigg, that was a special “pre-release” to the attendees of Science Online 2012 .

The interesting thing about habits is that they are unchangeable for most of us.  I have many many habits, and over the years I’ve lost some destructive ones with some simple techniques, and I’ve ADDED some fantastic new ones.  These changes were difficult, and required a lot of trial and error on my part.

In Charles Duhigg’s book, he distills down my trial and errors to very a very simple equation Trigger/cu3–> Perform Habit –> Reap Reward.

A powerful and often reliable habit changer: Alcoholics Anonymous plus a couple of other stories.  Belief and community help people to make powerful changes in their lives.

The most interesting thing I’m finding as I read this book is that lasting change happens for people when they believe in something bigger than themselves.  Duhigg points to a couple of great examples…one of which is people who’ve successfully quit drinking thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.  In these people a combination of community and belief come thru for them and replace their habit of drinking alcohol to alleviate their stress/pain/ suffering.

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If you’ve ever heard me talk passionately about something or some human, please replay that conversation and insert “Science Online” as the object of my dearest most passionate love.  It’s a community where Science writers, blogging scientists, journalists and a couple of lucky marketers **cough** ME, get to converge on North Carolina.

By attending we participate in rituals, hug the BlogFather of Science (BoraZ) and share the hardships that come with exposing your ideas to an often harsh populace.  I’ve been to Science Online twice, but everyone there feels like family, even when I don’t know their names.

So much love to this community.  It’s where science-smart people get to gush unabashedly about their love of science without anyone asking them to prove it or show a significant causality.  It’s where feeling meets science.

And anytime I work with scientists, that’s the place I want to be.

For more info:

#IAmScience

#scio12

What are your patterns?

Do you have a system for making sure you get important work done?

Ever feel like you keep repeating the same mistakes?

Yogis recognized this human tendency for patterns thousands of years ago, and named it “samskara”.

Samskaras refer to the thousands of mental or mind “patterns” that we consistently repeat, and can be healthy, unhealthy, or just a neutral habit that you have.

For instance, washing the dishes after a meal or at the end of the day can be a healthy samskara…or a pattern.  You see the dirty dishes, and clean them.

Then there are samskaras that you’d be better off without. I’m currently trying to implement a “wash dirty dishes as they happen” policy for myself, as opposed to my existing samskara, which is to ignore dirty dishes until I can’t quite get to the sink.

Can you identify some of your “samskaras”?  Try for 2 positive ones for each negative one.

6 positive samskaras of Kristy’s

  1. I meditate each morning when i get up.
  2. I text people fun things when i think about them.
  3. I hug people I love really close.
  4. I try to identify more positives than negatives in situations.
  5. I have a ton of creative ideas for businesses and for going on dates. (Seriously, call me if you want to impress a date around St. Louis.)
  6. I can’t help but dance when someone says “Get up offa that thing”.

3 undesirable samskaras Kristy has.

  1. I deflect positive feedback and comments from other people
  2. I eat heavy food late at night
  3. I curse like a sailor when facing a difficult work problem.

Share yours with me!  I can’t wait to hear them…but the rule is 2 positive for 1 negative.

 

Appreciating 5 things daily

I’ve been taking an online course focused on improving my skills around relationships.

In this course (given by the very bright-eyed and happy couple, Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks) I’m learning ways to stop doing things that limit the love and joy in relationships, and start doing things that improve closeness and connection with the people I love most in the world.

No small feat…especially around the holidays when many of us worry over get togethers, dishes to prepare, and what to say to our relatives, will anyone like my Christmas gifts/Sweet potatoes and cranberry dish/outfit …and what have you.  (these are actual things I worry about…so you can share the ones you worry about too).

All this brings me to the point.  Today the focus of the video I watched was on Appreciation.

A “homework” item: before bedtime, appreciate 5 things about yourself and the day you had…and speak that appreciation from the heart.

This is a difficult task for me, as I feel a little shy naming things like this, and truthfully, I feel uncomfortable when my friends express appreciations.

It’s also difficult for me not  to do so from the heart…and not turn it into a sarcastic observation on something i don’t like about myself or the world around me.

I’m going to commit to making this a daily blog post for 7 days. Sunday to Sunday…just to see how it goes.

  1. I appreciate the endless curiosity I have, which is evident by the number of books and papers there are lying around my office.
  2. I’m thankful for the soft napping sounds of the Henry-the-cat, and Ginger-the-dog.
  3. I am amazed at my ability to provide for myself.
  4. I appreciate the time I have to myself for unwinding and getting creative over the long holiday weekend.
  5. I like my new shirt b/c it’s comfortable and has a pretty design on it.

Holiday Relaxation course

I’m planning to have yogic relaxation sessions in my house 4 saturdays towards the end of the year.  So come by and take a break from the “hustle and bustle”.

9-10:30 am each morning on the following Saturdays

  • Nov 19
  • Dec 3
  • Dec 10
  • Dec 17

I’ll be teaching the following pieces in each session:

  • The best way to relax for you specifically
  • What is relaxation?  and what is NOT relaxation?
  • Yoga Nidra (A technique that leaves most of us drooling and happy).
  • Simple ways to relax everyday (in 10 min or less).
  • Yoga postures and sequences that help induce relaxation.

To participate: Please comment below, or email me at kristy3m<at>gmail<.>com

The cost is $28 if you pay in advance and commit to all 4 sessions, or $10 per session if you decide to choose “ala carte” sessions to attend.

Wear workout clothes that allow you to move, bring your mat and a couple of yoga blankets.

To make this a part of everyday life, I suggest  Simply Relax cd by Rhonda Mills

 

Fall “house” cleaning

Seasonal changes are a great time to take advantage of the transitional time to clean out closets, get your extra clothes and weird thingamajigs off to Goodwill, and to detox your body.   Right? What’s good for the house, the yard, and the car is also good for your system.

The last month or so I have had several conversations with yoga friends about diets and regimens designed to help clear our energies and bodies for the coming winter.  There is a lot of discussion of the pro’s and con’s of each.

The one I really like is taken from “Ayurveda” or the medical and food science that is a “sister science” to Yoga.

When doing your seasonal “housecleaning” or cleanse, you eat a rice/lentil dish called “kitchari” which is very gentle to your digestive system, and has the basic components that you need.  I also eat fruit, drink herbal tea, and lots and lots of water.  People who need caffeine sometimes do Green tea to help them get over withdrawal headaches…but it’s recommended that you wean yourself from caffeine prior to cleansing.

It’s also recommended that you get gentle exercise while cleansing. Simple yoga poses, and taking walks are great ways to help your body move it’s energy and clear waste from the body and the mind.

You can do this for as long as you like.. 3 days, or 7 days are the recommended time frames. I’m about to take on a 3-day diet (Maybe 7.  we’ll see 😉  Typically I feel lighter and more energetic after a day or two.  I also use this diet when I’ve been eating too much. Around the holidays I will often replace a meal or two with Kitchari just to give my system a break.

Here is the recipe I use most frequently, as the ingredients are simple, and i can find them easily (if anyone needs the split yellow lentils, they are at Jay’s International)

http://heymonicab.com/2009/02/kitchari-recipe/

Kithcari, green beans, mushrooms and greens

Bonus Bits:

Ayurveda revolves around “types” or “doshas” http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/  I am a Pitta and a Kapha combo. What are you? Does the assessment ring true? It is said that we come into the world with a unique combination or Pitta, Kapha, and Vata energy and many of us are often working with an imbalance.  After working with it for years, I can tell that my kapha is much higher than is healthy for me.

Many of my yoga buddies have been working with this cleanse from Yoga Journal:  http://falldetox.yogajournal.com/detox/day/1  – You may like the additional recipes and yoga sequences that are given for each day of the cleanse.

Ever have a bad mood? Or you can’t quite get anything right…a butter-fingers kind of day?

A very simple way to shift your thoughts/feelings from the negative to the positive is to give thanks for something in your situation.

I feel a little sad and lonely tonight.  I’ve had a very enjoyable weekend reconnecting with friends I really enjoyed seeing near my homeplace (Whatup Clinton County??) and some of my family.   The 48 hours of time away from my weekday commitments has slipped by and I’m preparing to go back to my structured work environment.

So i’m going to start a Gratitude practice on this blog to help me shift.  Sometimes yoga is simply about working with thoughts, feelings, and intentions to bring about positivity, health and growth.  A gratitude practice does that by shifting focus and awareness to a positive aspect of a situation. When stuck in negative feelings like fear and loneliness, it’s helpful to create mental space for positive energies, or to find a way to shift to more positive.

So tonight I’m grateful for my clean couch, the bath I’m about to take, and a bowl of soup and french bread to nourish and comfort my tired self.

I’m also grateful for the really joyful time and memories we made at my friends’ wedding last night, and the time I spent enjoying sunny and cool day out on the farm first catching up with Mom on the porch, then listening as Dad and my brother, Eddie discussed …um…pressurized welding digging chaining scraper pan, trackhoe, sandblasting? (ok, i am foggy on what they were talking about.  I just hung out and petted the dogs).

Om Shanti (Peace) shanti (Peace).  Ahhhhhh… 🙂