Making magic in 2018

 

It’s my favourite time of year, work-wise, because I get to give you presents and that makes me very happy indeed :-) Back for the NINTH year in a row (how did that happen?!) head over here to get this year’s UNRAVEL YOUR YEAR workbook and then swing by this page to sign-up to FIND YOUR WORD!

2017 has been a doozy — let’s fill next year full of MAGIC xo

 

Something for the weekend

 

[[Video]] The new perception of community with Gary Zukav

Presents for cat lovers: a cosy nest | cat mug | gorgeous cat bed

[[Podcast]] Living in deep time with Richard Rohr

The emotional imprisonment of the modern male

If you’re in the northern hemisphere and wishing for summer, put these on your desktop

[[Video]] The gentle power of highly sensitive people

Chatting to the Book Doctor about the creation of books

A little sacred shrine for your home

[[Podcast]] What does your soul know? Flow and transparency with Penney Peirce | Soul groups: Transparency in relationships

 

 

Finally, I’m so ready for a reboot, aren’t you? It’s been a year of all the feels and I’m looking forward to the blank slate of 2018. But first! It’s time to mindfully meander back through the year because December Reflections is back! The prompts, blog roll and all the deets are over here xo

Something for the weekend

 

[video] Hillary Clinton wishes she’d done this during the debates

A stupidly happy comic about the very real pain of heartbreak

Creamy garlic dressing | avocado-honey face mask | cashew coffee | avocado lime smoothies

Visiting London? How to pronounce Leicester Square ;-)

How to write a book

For your biz: A smarter way to manage “Pick your brain” requests

Female support system | Our Lady of Lourdes

Violence turned inward

Prince. Invented. Purple.

“Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content. It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore.” — Aziz Ansari quit the internet

Staying sane in this connected world

 

I took an in-person meditation course recently and there was quite a bit of talk about how addicted we are to our phones. I definitely pick up my phone far too often during the day but after chatting with some of my fellow students I realised I’ve developed some pretty healthy phone habits. One woman told me she allows notifications from news apps so that when she wakes up the first thing she sees is the news — unless you’re an actual journalist or working in politics, why would you do that? I honestly couldn’t get my little head around it. In my late 20s I worked as a journalist at several national newspapers and was in the newsroom of one of the biggest here in the UK when the twin towers went down. I’ve had my fill of news to last me a lifetime and gave up reading newspapers and watching TV a few years back — the amount of emotional energy and empathing I gave to it all took away from my ability to create my own work. The news still filters down to me, of course — I’m online all day and don’t have my head in the sand, but this way I also don’t go searching for direct hits of worry, stress and disappointment. My ability to take care of my own emotional health and effectively do my work in this world has increased tenfold.

As someone who’s prone to depression I try to start (and live) my day as mindfully as I can. For what it’s worth, here’s how I manage my tech:

1. I’ve turned off ALL notifications from ALL non-essential apps. No news, no Facebook, no Instagram, no OKCupid, no nothing. The only notifications I see on my home screen are text messages from friends and family who have my actual phone number. Lately I also allow messages from Bumble (but they’re from men I’m chatting with so they’re welcome) and Uber. Everything else is OFF.

2. I have my phone on silent at all times. This means it makes no sound — no dings, pings or chimes. If someone calls me my phone vibrates. I often miss calls but I don’t mind that — I’m happy to call back at a better time. The only exception to this is when I’m with family and we might need to contact each other when we’re out of the house or if I’m meeting up with friends and I anticipate a “where are you?!” call. But during my regular working day the sound is off. Of course, this means other people’s bells and chimes drive me nuts — I’m not used to the sound so the constant dings just sound obnoxious to me, especially on a train journey ;-) #sensitivesunflower

3. In the same vein, my computer does not notify me of anything or make any noises. If I receive an email I will only know this when I open my email program. The only sounds I hear are from Spotify playlists. Oh, and I’m getting better about only checking email until 7pm. Being self-employed means my boundaries are pretty lax when it comes to my email availability, but I’m working on it.

4. I charge my phone in the kitchen. In my 14 months of living in this house it has never been taken into the bedroom (quite proud of that!). If I ever need to use an alarm I have a little clock I can use.

4. I switch my phone to airplane mode at 9pm every night (and I loved learning that Tim Ferriss aka Mr Productivity does this too). It all began when I got serious about my morning meditation practice. I use the Insight Timer app, which is obviously on my phone, and I soon realised how easy it was to fall into reading text messages (and let’s face it, hoping for Bumble replies) when I unlocked my phone to use the timer. Solution? Airplane mode. That way I’m not tempted to use my phone in the evening (better for the pre-sleep wind down) AND I don’t see any messages when I pick up my phone in the morning. It’s heaven, I tell you! I can meditate and do all the morning rituals I love, have breakfast and then turn off airplane mode when I’m ready to begin my day. I should add that I DO have a landline but only family members have that number.

So there you have it. Obviously this is just what works for me. I don’t have kids and I’ve no doubt my way of relating to my phone would be very different if I had schools and tweens and even bosses who might need to get hold of me urgently. But I still believe that no matter what you do and who’s dependent on you, nobody needs to get world news notifications on their phone. Save your attention for messages from the people you love. Start your day from that place. <3

Related reading: How to unhijack your mind from your phone

You can be woke without waking up to the news

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