My First Month of RAW NEWS – November 2017
RAW NEWS is giving me the new direction I’d hoped for. I’d known from the beginning that I wouldn’t get to every letter of the acronym every day, and I haven’t. But I have spent enough time in each that I am very satisfied with the month of November and am eagerly looking forward to further progress in December. Here’s what I’ve been up to this month.
I have a goal of reading 150 books a year. Messages from Goodreads have been chiding me that I was anywhere from three to ten books behind where I should be for November. Not that I really care — 150 is just a sort-of goal, the result of overachieving three years ago and trying to keep it up ever since.
Still, I pulled up my socks and ended up reading thirteen books in November: six novels, two memoirs, three books about spirituality (includes one of the memoirs), and three books about compulsive eating.
Next Month: Now that my 150 goal is again within reach, I’m going for it. Seventeen books to go which is very manageable, even though I don’t dash through books. I read at night for a couple of hours and sometimes in the middle of the night for another hour or so.
I’ve really enjoyed the six week course, Painting for Absolute Beginners, just as I enjoyed its predecessor, Drawing for Absolute Beginners. My instructor, Rod Bergeron, is an exceptionally good teacher. He understands what in education we call learning progressions, which basically means that he can break down a technique and diagnose exactly where you’re having a problem and how to fix it. I find that such a refreshing, positive change from art teachers who prefer to maintain a mystique; to act as if artistic skills are bestowed at birth to a select few.
Next week’s post is about an aha moment I’ve had as an absolute beginner in art.
Next Month: My painting course ends tomorrow. Rather than continuing on with Painting 101, I want to be home as much as possible enjoying a hygge winter. I have lots of books to help me take next steps, along with three of the 21 Secrets online courses. In December, I will focus on the 21 Secrets course called emBody. More about that below.
In addition to weekly blog posts, this was a month for incessant journalling. That became addictive quite quickly, and I found myself waking early every morning, wanting to write.
Writing and reflecting in the moment helped me to stay in that moment, rather than be focused on past or future. I also found that the moment expanded and I seemed to have more time in my day. Nevertheless, in the last week or so, errands and life got in the way and I resorted to standard end-of-day journalling. I’m now finding that kind of journalling superficial and not very helpful.
Next Month: I was going to keep a bead journal in December, but I’ve changed my mind. Instead, I’ll try a daily art journal on the emBody theme – see the next entry.
The three books on compulsive eating were the first clue that this hasn’t been a good month for nutrition or weight loss. But that’s okay because I’ve learned a lot. Specifically, when I feel like I’m running on a treadmill, it does a huge number on my eating habits. (Not exactly rocket science, I know, but it was really obvious this month.) And I need to find a reasonable midpoint between being hypervigilant about food and numbing out, eating everything in sight.
Next Month: The three food books I read were all by Geneen Roth. She pioneered the concept of emotional eating. I loved her books, especially the one with the great title, When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair. And yes, it’s every bit as humorous as the title suggests.
In December, I’m going to work with Geneen’s great ideas, and I’m going to journal about my insights. For something a little bit different, I’ll work in an art journal where I will also do some artwork about body image through the 21 Secrets online course, emBody.
I’ve worked one-on-one with a wonderful personal trainer for many years. But in the last few months, I was getting really bored with strength training so we switched to Mat Pilates. Then, six weeks ago, she bought a machine called a Pilates Reformer. Wahoo! What an amazing workout. After an hour on the Reformer, I feel tighter, stronger, even longer which for someone who is 5’1 is rather nice.
Dog walking and training is also part of this category of RAW NEWS. Shylah and Toffee are both doing well and getting plenty of opportunity to chase squirrels on my property. I do, however, want to do more training, especially with Toffee because she is easily bored.
Next Month: I’ll be carrying on with the Pilates Reformer sessions, and adding in some work on my treadmill at home. And spending an extra twenty minutes a day training both pups.
I love the freedom to read a casual reference to an artist, for example, and having the time to jump on Google to look at their work. This month I discovered the work of Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue.
O’Donohue was a Catholic priest, and the first to popularize Celtic spirituality. One of my two regrets from my university days was not taking an offered course in Celtic mythology. O’Donohue appeals to me because I’m interested in all things Celtic, and because I share his belief that “beauty ennobles the heart and reminds us of the infinity that is in us….It returns us to our highest selves.”
Along with his beautiful, thoughtful writing, I appreciated learning all sorts of quirky little facts. For example, did you know that the word ‘hello’ does not exist in Gaelic? The way to greet someone is through a blessing, ‘Dia Dhuit,’ meaning “God be with you.”
Next Month: In December I’ll just keep following breadcrumbs, learning more about whatever appeals to me. I love this!
This month’s self-care included: a few afternoon naps; numerous hot baths (so many that dry skin is becoming a problem); fresh flowers; breakfasts and walks with a friend; giving blood; a spa pedicure, and decorating for Christmas.
I’m starting to pay attention to the times in my days and weeks that make me happiest. For example, I love the days when I make art. There’s a feeling of timelessness to those days, probably because I took the time to do something that mattered to me.
Next Month: I have a tendency to procrastinate, waiting to write or play with art until I have huge wide open swatches of time. In December I’m going to work on inhabiting the present moment, to, as Ram Dass said, “be here, now.”
How has your November been? Any highlights you want to share?