Sunday, June 19, 2016

7 Habits

This version of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits books was most interesting to me so I read it instead of the other variations.  The idea of making a family mission statement seems a little corny sometimes, but I agreed with him ultimately that it could be really helpful.  So we might do that.  I wanted to read  his book(s) because of reference Joshua Becker made to Covey's idea of about big rocks and little pebbles--that we have to put in the big rocks first or it won't all fit in the jar.  Most of us put in those pebbles--the daily tasks that seem important.  It goes back to what's urgent vs. what's actually important.

Another key idea that I heard first from Kim John Payne is Covey's idea of our Circle of Influence vs. our Circle of Concern.  Imagine the Influence residing inside the Concern (realizing our actual reach).  If we focus on the Concern, it crowds out the space our Influence could have.  When focusing on our actual Influence, it expands.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Recent Courses

I've been enjoying some classes lately.  One that finished a couple of weeks ago was Dr. Neufeld's "Preserving Play in a Digital World."  That topic and the subsequent info around both play and the digital world are all fascinating.  I really enjoyed the mingling of it all.  Play is absolutely endangered, make no mistake.  I had no idea how strangely lacking it was before some of the statistics comparing our current culture to even 20-30 years ago.  I'm currently reading Last Child in the Woods which addresses many of these concerns also.  The understanding of the digital world as shortcuts is very interesting in terms of the relational needs of humans and particularly children developing.  The interactive part of the course offered some markers for when our children are ready to deal with the digital world (particularly social media).  I loved Dr. Shefali Tsabary's and Meghan Leahy's conversation regarding the former's new book.  They touch on some of these themes.


A Simple Year is offered usually once a year, but they have it open now.  I have been playing with January through June so far.  Some months didn't seem that relevant to me at present (like March which was about travel), but they have different minimalists leading each area/month.  They do webinars, have short readings and offer any relevant resources.  They also have personalized homework so you can apply the principles where it matters most.  I have learned a bit more from the experts for sure, but if you're new to simplifying or minimalism, I think you'd get even more from the material.  January (declutter time) and May (simplifying the digital world) are two favorite areas so far.  I'm really excited about July which will have to do with finances.  I really like Cait Flanders' work, and she's leading that.  I am new to her mindful budgeting system but like it a lot so far.

While the course is technically over, but I'm still working through The Enneagram for Awakening (with Russ Hudson).  New for me this time are the three instincts.  Still, there's such richness in each module I've done!  His and Don Riso's The Wisdom of the Ennegram book was my first book, and I also did his seminar with Richard Rohr (Enneagram as a Tool for Your Spiritual Journey).  He's a very thoughtful instructor and really digs into things, explaining them thoroughly.  I've been taking notes, but I need to go back and do a lot of journal work and then try his deepening practices for each module.  This stuff will happen slowly in layers as inner work always seems to.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I love Summer Reading!


This book didn't have new information for me, but I think it's a valuable contribution to what's out there for parenting!  I have loved any of her speaking contributions online too.  Tsabary has a book coming out soon called "The Enlightened Family" which I may read.

The More of Less was FANTASTIC.  Joshua Becker really delivered!  I truly enjoy his perspective and blog.  I had so many notes from this latest contribution that it really deserves its own post.  Several of my books are minimalist/simplicity-related so I might unload some of those thoughts later on.
I also read his book Simplify--it has plenty of good advice and is a smaller read.

He mentions in some of his work the 100 Thing Challenge that Dave Bruno did in 2008-9.  I enjoyed that book as well.  He's a little silly in some of the delivery, but there are some true koans there.

I've been an admirer of Leo Babauta's thoughts/blog for a while.  I read one of his books last year as well. This year, I did a few short reads.  The Little Book of Contentment and The Effortless Life.  He always gives lots to chew on.  I don't always end up agreeing with him, but he's perfectly fine with that from what I can tell.  Clutterfree is a short book he did with Courtney Carver.  I liked that one a lot so I read a couple of her other ones: Simple Ways to be More with Less and Living in the Land of Enough.

One final read that was okay: Frugillionaire (from Francine Jay).  It has some ideas worth weighing, but I didn't find much new there.

I have a lot more to say about some of these than I have just now.  I should note that in the minimalist work and even the parenting book, all are coming from some kind of spiritual or mindful perspective.  Many of these writers are Christians, and some are more Eastern in their thoughts.  All are gratefully met here.

A blog that I have spent a little more time with lately is The Art of Simple.  It has all sorts of insights, reading recommendations, simplicity inspiration etc.




Thursday, March 31, 2016

This one doesn't quite go with the last family/food book I read, but there are some common things like having variety available to our kids.  She also emphasizes all three macronutrient areas available with each snack offered too.  (Our snacks usually only have two of the three when I think about it.)  Her patients come to her for various reasons, so helping kids grow up healthy/strong is just part of it.  She's also dealing with people who are harming themselves with bulimia etc.  So her all around message is that of plenty and to get off the diet wagon.  It is startling that no research backs up dieting as any sort of sustainable health approach.  Doctors still suggest it because they'd still rather see us losing (even if we're gaining back more each time).  Interesting things to think about.  I didn't care for the recipes she gives, but her take on psychology and eating was very instructive.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

a couple of books

Getting to Yum was terrific--very helpful.  I read her first book "French Kids Eat Everything," which was also a very good book.  This one is even better though--it is less memoir and more how-to.  She elaborates on her idea of the children "tasting" everything at every meal and makes a way for them to spit it out politely.  That one might be easier than what we tried where the "polite bite" was always swallowed.  That created tears, pangs, near vomit etc. so I can definitely go with this way more easily.

She puts the emphasis on food training and how to do that.  She also introduces some clever games.  She had so many practical suggestions too, and the back of the book is a large group of recipes by food/veg.  We'll try having courses this time along with some of her games this Summer.
I recently discovered Katy Bowman's site and some of her books.  Her perspective and adjustments are so needed!  The one I just finished was Don't Just Sit There.  You might have hear things like "sitting is the new smoking;" and while she sees some wisdom in that, it's more about variety than one particular type of movement.  The book is very specific in terms of aligned standing, helpful was to sit, good stretches, ideas for work station variety etc.  Her site has tons of short videos and articles--plenty to keep us busy before we ever look into her books.  (I'm particularly working on pelvic list and engaging the outer thighs when I walk.)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood


It's seems silly, given some of the teaching here, to spend too many words/thoughts expounding on all I learned from this book.  I made tons of notes, but it reminds me of the way our TM retreats or teachings are--don't think too much or make notes.  Let stuff sink in in the layers and waves that will actually sink in for now.  This book is a beautiful exploration of many motherhood themes you'll find in popular parenting books and then principle themes of Zen.  (Karen Maezen Miller is a Zen teacher, after all.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

a bit of reading

I mainly skimmed The Dirt Cure since a lot of the info was repeat for me.  I'd like to still suggest it, though, as a good reference for health concerns, feeding kids, helping them not fall into the health pitfalls so many of us are in etc.  I like the end too because there are snack suggestions and some recipes.

I'm strongly impacted by Loving What Is.  There's a lot of depths to be plumbed with her four questions, and in most respects I can find immense wisdom.  I would disagree with perhaps the extent to which it could apply especially when I consider victims of child abuse etc.  I can't go all the way there with the inquiry as far as that might regard a person.  I do see the benefit of therapy and not remaining a victim, for sure!  But some of the turnaround aspects don't ring true when I consider a child's development and mental capacities (even for an adult looking back).  Challenging book!

What's neat also is that thework.com has ways to do this process without investing in books.  There are many youtube examples of her walking through the work with other people.  I find examples just as helpful as the concepts on their own.