Celebrating All Wins

Along with Lee and two other business partners, I used to be a part of a real estate organization called FortuneBuilders. While it was an investment, the classes and networking ended up being well worth it. The leaders were a very positive bunch of human beings, and they brought in good motivational speakers and topics (I am a HARSH judge of motivational speakers, so when I say they were good, I’m not kidding).

Sometimes we had fun at those conferences

Anyhow, one of the things the FortuneBuilder folks stressed was that it takes a lot of small successes among even more setbacks and challenges to get ahead in whatever you’re trying to do. They encouraged us to “Celebrate All Wins” no matter how big or small (if you got a response to one of your annoying postcards offering to buy someone’s home, for example). They even gave out shirts emblazoned with CAW to people who shared their wins at conferences (ah, I remember live conferences).

They are also nice and comfy shirts. By the way, my closet is STILL organized and in good shape.

This morning, I was telling Lee about something that was challenging at work that I did a good job handling, and he said we need to make a bigger deal out of these things, like back in the good old CAW days. The idea works for home health agencies, software companies, horsemanship endeavors, fitness goals, and even interpersonal relationships. In other words, it works in all areas of our own lives!

Here’s Russell interacting with one of those motivational speakers

I’m going to take Lee up on it and celebrate my wins for the past day or two!

  • I started my bullet journal
  • I participated in that Bioblitz
  • I figured out a helpful process for working on our documentation at work
  • I reassigned two team members and they each like their new assignment better
  • The friend for whom I knitted the striped shawl received it and loved it
  • I got all but one chicken to sleep in the coop last night, rather than the garage (more on that in another post)
  • I made progress on my stepping off a cliff project. One step closer to flying.

I feel better already, just for writing all those things down! No wonder I have felt perky and chipper all day, even on day 5 of 8 AM meetings!

Just bullet journaling away for two whole days.

A Challenge

Here’s today’s challenge: Share your wins! Celebrate them! I want to know!

Blitzed and Hit 2000!

It’s been a heck of a work week, giving me little time to think or write about. We’ve been doing real estate stuff, but I hesitate to write about that anymore. So, I’ll tell you about the highlight of my day, which has been participating in the Winter Bioblitz for our Master Naturalist chapter.

Crow poison

I made 62 observations today, which was a feat, since I only did it on breaks and at lunch. It’s also a feat, because the vast majority of the plants I can identify right now are henbit, chicory, and clover.

Look at all those observations

The highlight of my morning was reaching 2,000 iNaturalist observations. I’ve been going more slowly lately, so this meant a lot to me. I enjoy contributing!

Some really pretty dandelions

It was good I knew where a lot of things are, so I could confidently say, “This is poison ivy!”

That’s one thick ivy vine.

Other chapter members got out and took some pictures, too. Carolyn took a picture of a cat and uploaded it, which gave me a chuckle. I know lots more will join in!

Ooh, snails and mussels from Linda Jo.

Anyway, I’m enjoying my nature pause and finally able to get Master Naturalist hours for my iNaturalist work around the ranch. That makes up for whatever challenges I’m facing.

A sweet tiny field madder bouquet.

Have a happy evening. Time to knit.

Bravery, Equine Style

Apache is one of those horses who does better around his friends. He’s braver than he thinks, though. Today we walked around, and he happily investigated a truck and two giant tanks full time f a mystery liquid (probably fertilizer). He noshed on grass, since he’s grass deprived.

Hee hee. Fiona knocked into Suna and messed up her only photo of me.

But, as soon as I walked over to the side of the property where Spice was, he remembered to be scared. I just had to laugh as he called to her, pranced, and was totally ignored.

I reminded him that Fiona and I were still there, and he settled down, eventually. Then, when I put him in his pen, he realized Fiona wasn’t there! Neigh, canter, tail swish!

I’m coming, already! I was just enjoying some solo Suna time.

They acted like star-crossed lovers when she came in with me. Then I got to hug each of them a lot. I sure love them.

Failed selfie.

Now that I’m all goal focused, becoming a better horseman is something I’ll focus on. Did I do great today? I give myself a C+. I didn’t get frustrated, though, and that helps.

Preparing for Nature Fun

As I’m noodling around with the idea of “goals,” I decided one would be to learn something about nature every day by getting outside and focusing on my surroundings. I get to start out by participating in our Master Naturalist chapter’s winter Bioblitz (follow along with us, if you want to!), for which I’m really thankful to our iNaturalist guru Linda Jo. I can now observe things on the ranch for a week, starting tomorrow! I am hoping to maybe get some bird photos.

Speaking of birds, for the first time in a long time there were eastern bluebirds on the fence with the gray birds! The blue on the males is so striking! Of course, the mockingbird chased them off, so I couldn’t get a picture, but my eyes enjoyed them.

This photo shows the beautiful colors you see when they fly. Photo © Michael J. W. Carr, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

Spending time observing non-humans and watching them through the seasons makes me happy. It’s easy to do, since I usually walk over to the horses every day, often go on longer walks, and like to hang out in the woods. Making getting out and observing my surroundings an actual goal seems like a fine self esteem ambition.

Stop and Pause

I came up with a goal today that I truly want to achieve. I want to stop my frenzy at least three times a day, pause, and notice what I’m grateful for wherever I am.

Yesterday I noticed the golden sun on swirling grass.

Here’s a thing many religious traditions get right. So many ask practitioners to pause to pray, reflect, chant or perform a ritual at intervals throughout the day. Think of all those nuns, monks, and traditional lay people who rise to pray, bow to Mecca, ring a bell, or whatever. They stop what they are doing and appreciate what they’ve got.

I paused to watch the sun rise this morning, as did many of my friends.

Slowing down to the speed of life is so good for the soul. It’s a gratitude practice any of us can do. Or it’s a way to stay close to our Source, whatever we call it.

This afternoon I paused to be grateful for a very odd dog and her beloved possum skull.

One thing we’ve all become aware of lately is how quickly things change. It’s more obvious to me every day. So tonight I’ll appreciate the wool running through my fingers as a sweet, white dog curls up in my chair. I won’t have it forever, so I’ll treasure it now.

Chickens don’t live forever, so go ahead, Bertie, peck my shoe.

Every day, at least three mindful pauses! Go, Suna.

Late to the BuJo Party

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Let’s see if I can get anything written today. I’ve been having technology issues, annoying bill-paying issues, and trouble doing what I set out to do today. Cows are mooing their asses off outside, too. So, I’m hoping a pleasant blogging break will help get me back on track to do some proofreading.

We seem to be lost. Update: not lost, separated so they can get some treatments. Still, unhappy.

Meanwhile, as I briefly mentioned last week, I have been looking more into how bullet journaling works, since my work book group friends all said they sort of do it, but would like to know more. You know me, I went out and bought the book, after reading up on two popular forms of bullet journaling online, the original bullet journal (by Ryder Carroll) and the Full Focus Planner (by Michael Hyatt), which is what Lee uses.

I might have ordered this because it looks cool and has cork on the outside.

Even though I have a nice-looking journal I use right now, in what turns out to be a semi-bullet journal format, I ordered another journal, because I forgot to check whether the book I’m using opens flat. It doesn’t, and that is more than a little irritating, even though it’s a pretty little book. I can use it for something else.

I know this journaling style is all the rage these days, but, as usual, I avoided looking into it, since I have my own system. But, one of my goals is to learn more, in general, so I’ll learn more. So far, I’ve learned how important BuJo journal proponents believe it is to write things down by hand. I’ve always agreed with their premise that writing helps cement things, which I why I was such a big note-taker in college.

Bullet journals use dots, not lines. I think this is for freedom? I’m not that far in the book. I like dots, though.

The handwriting fans maintain that typing is not as good for focusing as the act of writing on paper, mainly because typing goes so fast that you don’t necessarily really think about it. Hmm, no wonder my blog doesn’t make sense; my hands just go typing way ahead of my brain. I honestly find typing to be equally helpful, but I also think my brain works a little differently than some people’s.

Nonetheless, I know my handwriting has become a LOT worse since I stopped doing it so often, so maybe writing more intentionally in a bullet journal will help with that. You see, a LOT of people make their journals into pieces of art, which all sorts of colors, drawings, stenciled headings, and stickers upon stickers. That has to slow down the “rapid logging” process, don’t you think? Maybe they just do it as they prepare their monthly sections. Maybe I should read more of the book.

I think one reason I hesitated to look into this stuff is that before, I felt the way Lee journaled was very rigid, and that may or may not be right. It is very goal oriented, so you don’t get to do things that don’t contribute to a goal. There goes my fondness for random activities and plain old fun (so, one of my goals is to have fun…HA).

My practice. I even put in a sticker and used a template yesterday (blurred to obscure work notes).

I was happy to see that there’s a LOT of freedom in bullet journals. You can put in art, write stories, keep lists, track your food, or whatever you find important. The best freedom, though, is to get rid of things that don’t work for you. That’s very Agile, I think, as is the iterative monthly planning. Oh goodness, Agile project management is everywhere in my life these days!

Let’s see what happens once I get my journal actually going. I’m still using the old one and practicing BuJo style bullets and style. I need to finish the book and learn about all the components before I mess up the new one. I mean, use it however I want to.

Do you journal? Is blogging journaling? Memoir writing? Narcissism? Who knows.

What if You Don’t Want to Learn?

As a fitting start to Black History Month, I’ve been thinking about all the learning I’ve been doing during the COVID year. Much of it has been about racism, the history of race, and unconscious bias. It’s really opened my eyes about a lot of areas for growth in my attitudes and actions, as well as confirming things that have made me uncomfortable my whole life. I’m glad I’m going through all this, and feel more grounded in reality every day.

Harvey, under my desk, asks when it is going to be Black Dog History Month?

Now, I’m open to learning about this stuff, even knowing perfectly well that as a human, I’m programmed to detect “others” and be on guard for them. The book I’m currently reading (Sway) makes the point that just because there are things hard-wired into us doesn’t mean we can’t change. It also helps that I hang around with people who are also open to learning about this stuff, want equality for everyone, and are willing to work on it.

But, after hearing my sister tell a story about how surprised she was to find out that someone she liked lived in the alternate reality where many in the US hang out, I got to thinking about how many people are fine and dandy just the way they are, and are not open to changing how they think about others. Complacency seems to be pretty darned common.

I’m understanding more and more WHY the big divide in the US exists, from a big picture perspective. When you feel a real attachment to your “tribe,” where all your friends, family, and admired celebrities are, the last thing you want to do is not fit in. It’s a lot easier to tell yourself that these people’s beliefs are correct, good, and appropriate from you than to stick out like a sore thumb, get picked on, or even get ostracized from the group (which has happened to a lot of people I know!). Divisiveness pays!

I know that yelling your beliefs louder and louder is not effective in changing people’s views. Image by @FreedomTumZ via Twenty20.

There’s really nothing enticing about being open to changing your views, if all the rewards come from sticking right where you are. My current idea is that, if we want people to change, even a teeny bit, asking them to compromise probably isn’t the right tactic. There needs to be something in it for those folks. It seems to me that if there were some reward for being willing to learn about other points of view and maybe even changing your mind, people might be more willing to put in the effort and sacrifice some comfort for it.

I’m testing my hypothesis by trying to figure out what kind of reward it would take for ME to be more open to listening to the other side. One if family unity. I do listen to certain family members, because I want to keep them in my family more than I want to feel better than them because I’m on the “right” side. Another is satisfying my curiosity. I have always found it useful to figure out what some group is actually about when I have a strong gut reaction. That has helped me learn a lot about Islam, its various types, and the variety of ways it’s expressed. Now, rather than disliking a whole group of people, I only have an issue with a small portion, just the same as I do with Christians, Jews, and others.

Nope, a trophy probably won’t work as a reward. Image by @fabien.bazanegue.photography via Twenty20.

But, those seem like rather internally oriented rewards. I wonder if something more physical or tangible would help? What, like getting paid to learn all about Qanon (or whatever that is). That doesn’t work for me. I just want to know where all these ideas about people eating babies come from. I guess I don’t know elite-enough people.

So, I end up at a loss. I can’t think of any reward that would entice someone who’s perfectly happy as a racist, a sexist, a radical religious extremist, or a fascist to want to learn about what people over on my side refer to as “facts.”

Any ideas? Am I entirely off base? What could make people more open to learning about “the other” in their lives? Has anyone read a book that might guide me? (Like I need another book to read…not.)