How To Work

How To Work

 

pretend there’s a string

attached to your head,

pulling it toward the ceiling.

 

roll your shoulders back

enjoy the crunching sound

your shoulder blades make

after a morning of hunching forward.

 

Continue reading “How To Work”

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The Reality I’m In

The Reality I’m In

I watched a robin explore one of our crab apple trees yesterday afternoon.   He hopped from bare branch to bare branch, stopping now and then to poke at old, dried-up crabapples with his beak.  At one point he seemed to look right at me, as if he were making sure I noticed his presence.  I wasn’t sure how to respond.

Robins usually don’t come back to this area of Minnesota until at least the end of March, though last year we saw one on February 18th, the same day the seasonal ‘spring melt’ stream ran — unseasonably early.  Yesterday was February 16th, so it seems this trend of early melting will continue for another season.  The snow is almost gone after a few days of 40 degrees, and today it’s 50.  Tomorrow it is projected to be 55, and Sunday, 57.  Winter as I remember it just doesn’t seem to happen anymore, and this early warmth doesn’t feel normal.

Continue reading “The Reality I’m In”

5 Ways to Increase the Wildness of Your Workday

5 Ways to Increase the Wildness of Your Workday

You might already be aware of the fact that work takes up a lot of time for a large number of people in modern culture.You may even be one of those folks who feels like they spend more time at the office or behind the till or at the wheel or tapping on a keyboard than is ideal for human health and happiness. And it’s also likely that you, or someone you know, are one of those folks who just doesn’t see a realistic way to do things differently right now. Maybe there’s a job change in your future, maybe you’ll move to a yurt in the Andes or maybe you’ll figure out how to finance a simple lifestyle without living the nine to five. But for many of us, there are school loans to pay, a mortgage with which to keep up, kids to care for and cars to upkeep. I’m guessing leaving it all behind to move to a cabin in the woods sounds fabulous to many reading these words….but for a lot of people, it’s just not going to happen in the next week, or month or year. Maybe it will. Maybe tomorrow will bring a shift that will allow our ideal situation to come closer into being. This post isn’t about giving up on trying to live in a way that requires less money, resources or big life changes. But it is a post about what you can do right now to feel just a tad bit more wild in your day to day. Continue reading “5 Ways to Increase the Wildness of Your Workday”

The Gift of Presence: Even When the Going Gets Tough

The Gift of Presence: Even When the Going Gets Tough

When you work in healthcare, whether it’s in a fitness center, in customer service, in management, in coaching, as a physician, a nurse or administrative assistant, you are reminded, on a regular basis, that life is hard for people.  People are stressed out, people are managing chronic conditions, people have financial issues, people are grieving, people are angry, people are unsure.  People are also happy, satisfied, healthy, and thriving, but folks tend to their struggles before they share their joys.  Interacting with humanity, especially when it comes to something as intimate as one’s health and wellbeing, is messy and unpredictable no matter how hard we try to make it into a program or round out the edges or meet our outcomes goals.   So often we have the urge to swoop in to offer a solution, to look at the numbers and provide a suggestion, or to give advice based on what we see…

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What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

Alan Watts likes to ask his students, when doing career counseling, “What would you do if money were no object?” He hopes to get them thinking about what they really enjoy about life, what pursuits they truly want to devote energy toward, and how they want to spend their days.  Because after all, “what we do with our days is what we do with our lives.” (Annie Dillard)

On one hand, it is quite important to ask ourselves what we would do if we didn’t need to earn money.  When we do that, we tap into the things that drive us to align our actions with our values, we find meaning in the everyday, and we teach our children to do the same.  And a society full of people who are doing what they feel called to do is one that is setting itself up for a foundation of peace and vitality.  …

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Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Prairie Grown

Eva, my four year old, and I took a little field trip last week 50 miles to the south of our home in the St. Croix River Valley to my family’s other organic farm.  Twin Organics is located just outside River Falls, Wisconsin and is owned and operated by my twin brothers, Jacob and Andrew Helling.  Jacob and Andrew were instrumental in helping Hillside Prairie Gardens resume larger growing practices in 2010 and are now branching out to their own place to grow organic veggies for restaurants in the Twin Cities area.  They’ve rented 5 acres these last two years on what used to be a grass fed cattle operation, and they share space with a group of jovial Kenyan farmers wielding hand tools to the north and Clover Bee Farm, an organic CSA and market grower, to the east.   They won’t stay here forever, but for now, it’s the home of Twin…

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The Other: Crumbs of Despair

The Other: Crumbs of Despair

Part of my day job is calling people to schedule coaching appointments.  Usually  people are polite and respectful, and even sometimes downright kind hearted and pleasant to talk to.  Which is good news, since I’m calling them to put them on my own coaching calendar, so we’ll be talking again.  It’s helpful to start the relationship off on a positive note.

But today I called a gentleman who wasn’t any of those things.  Quite the opposite, really, he was quite mean and disrespectful.  I asked if he wanted to set up a call, and he responded with sentences that tended to start with “you people” and “do you even realize” and so on, punctuated by sarcastic chuckling.  In short, he made it personal and he wanted me to acknowledge that I was in the wrong.  I was the enemy, and he was going to let me know it.  Usually I am good at being able to internalize the fact that everyone is dealing with a plethora of issues that I do not know about and that are quite probably very challenging, resulting in unfriendly behavior; and hey, maybe this man was just having a tough day, or week, or year.  His energy is absolutely the product of our broken culture, and at the end of the day, he needs love, too.  But today when he was essentially scolding me for not being able to meet his expectations, all I could hear was “you aren’t good enough” and “this is why it’s doing me a disservice.”  I felt like the bad child who doesn’t measure up, and I found myself apologizing and trying to hold back tears.  Which is really interesting, as 1. I did nothing “wrong” and 2. I was quite kind, professional and offered what I had to give.  He just didn’t find it acceptable.   When on the call, I knew intellectually that his issues and his anger were not about me at all, but in the moment his energy triggered a response that I couldn’t control.  I had to hang up the phone. Continue reading “The Other: Crumbs of Despair”