Lessons Learned: January

Here are a few things I’ve learned this month . . .

Here are a few things I’ve learned this month . . .

  • Talk less, listen more. Pretty self explanatory.
  • A quick and easy side dish. It’s so easy to roast vegetables. I’ve been getting mainly root vegetables right now since they are in season. I cut them up, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and sometimes a various herb or spice, and then bake in the oven. Super simple and then after they cool, I put them in a container to eat with lunch or dinner for the week. Yum!
  • The last thing before you sleep matters. What do you do before you go to bed? What’s the last thought on your mind? At one of the guided meditations I went to this month, our facilitator said she read somewhere that the last thought on your mind can affect your sleep and can stick around for four hours. I don’t know if it’s true or not but it kind of makes sense to me. It’s why I don’t watch intense shows like Game of Thrones right before bedtime. One time I did, and I had nightmares all night about poor Rickon. (Zig-zag Rickon, zig-zag.) Now I’m back to saying three things I’m grateful for before I go to bed.
  • Ask questions, wait for an answer. If you don’t get an answer, ask again. Don’t move on until you have an answer. Kind of the same thing as #1 on this list. I think they both have to do with patience.
  • A seriously great Chicago restaurant. My friend and I went to Giant one night, and not only was the food seriously super yummy but the service was friendly, attentive, and all-around excellent. And if that wasn’t enough of a reason to love it, they do something else that is a great way to value your employees. On the menu, there is a note explaining that they include a 2% charge to every bill to help cover health insurance for their employees. Every employee gets health insurance—a rarity in the restaurant world. Kind of makes me wonder if that’s why everyone who works there seemed to be in a genuinely good mood.
  • “My story is not about me, it’s about what can come from my story.” I listen to podcasts. A lot. One of my favorites is Sounds Good with Brandon Harvey. He has conversations with people who are doing good in the world. His podcast with Dr. Tererai Trent was truly mesmerizing, inspiring, and educational. One of the things Dr. Trent says is, “my story is not about me, it’s about what can come from my story.” I’m someone who creates out of purpose—that is, I have to know what the purpose or mission is. One of my struggles with my own writing is purpose. Sometimes I worry that I’m being too self-indulgent or that no one really wants to hear my story. What Dr. Trent said has become my writing mantra.
  • Walking clears my head. Living in the city, I like to walk everywhere, whenever I can. Last week I was walking to an appointment, my mind full of the usual anxieties and checklists, and as I was walking, I felt clearer and clearer—and then realized I had the wrong time for my appointment. When I am in a fog or have a lot of cha-cha going on in my head, the movement of my body, the fresh air, and the blood pumping to my brain help me think more clearly. It also helps me unlock thoughts and ideas that I can put to paper. I wondered what is it about walking that makes it so good for thinking and writing? And then I came across this article, which I think does a pretty good job of answering that question.

 

(Image found here.)

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