...At Harriet's Voice: Home Base for Writing Mothers. Lots of great links and quotes that will appeal to all writers (not just moms!). Sign up for updates, as contests, events, blog continue to evolve. Creative moms (not just writers), please take the ...

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  1. Please visit me...
  2. The Right Choice
  3. Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In: A New Wednesday Tradition
  4. Habit Forming
  5. Run Hard, Rest Hard
  6. More Recent Articles

Please visit me...

...At Harriet's Voice: Home Base for Writing Mothers. Lots of great links and quotes that will appeal to all writers (not just moms!). Sign up for updates, as contests, events, blog continue to evolve. Creative moms (not just writers), please take the survey.

I would love to add your quotes, tips, links to the site--please send suggestions via the contact link.

Thank you for your support.
Katherine
    

The Right Choice


Welcome to Inching Toward Simplicity! I hope you find some words in the archives here that inspire or encourage you in your own journey toward simplicity.

The Right Choice is not always the easiest choice. But I need to put this blog aside so I have more time to pursue my writing career. I have a publisher interested in my book--a new take on writing and motherhood. I've my first poetry chapbook and a Web site on my book to put together.

Please stay in touch: khauswirth@sbcglobal.net. If you'd like to be on the mailing list for Harriet's Voice: A Writing Mother's Journey, please send your contact information.

Many thanks,
Katherine
Poets & Writers Directory listing
Media Bistro Freelancer Page
    

Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In: A New Wednesday Tradition

I am appropriating (and altering) the original Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out “mantra” of the 60s counterculture to suit my own counterculture purposes.

Deep River Land Trust sent home a reminder via Gavin’s first grade assignment folder: this week is National TV Turnoff Week. We were reminded of the many local parks and other unplugged entertainments awaiting us. So our family is making inroads into tuning out from the seductive, sedating hum that is our TV and “dropping” back in to that somewhat foreign experience known as “real life”.

Our first foray ended up in a rewarding natural high. Gavin chose a CD (Abbey Road) to wake us from our opiate (of the masses) slumber. He doodled and played for a while. I found small things for Gavin to help with: he refilled our hand soaps, washed dishes very meticulously, fed the dog and enjoyed it. We made dinner together.

Later, we all sat down for what turned out to be a killer game of Monopoly. I discovered that Gavin has the makings of a railroad tycoon. I also discovered:


  • TV doesn’t necessarily relax me; it often just helps me avoid and escape the business (and even the pleasure) of life
  • The seduction of TV is the ease. It takes a bit of an effort to figure out what else to do, especially at the end of a long workday. But once you reawaken those dormant creative muscles, some good surprises await you
  • TV can limit your child's experience of contributing to the household. It may feel easier to have Gavin “entertained”, but it feels infinitely better to see him take ownership of some more mature tasks
  • There’s no substitute in a family for sitting around a table or taking a walk together, for the increasingly rare gifts of undivided attention and real conversation

Tom had Gavin watch a video last night while I went out. He didn’t feel well, and hadn’t the stamina to make the effort. But today we will be back to a TV-free house.

I know if we kept at this ad infinitum that not every night would be as joyful as that first one, which of course carried with it a sense of novelty and adventure. And I imagine it would be harder to pull off in the dark and chill of winter. But the experiment, which I highly recommend, is a wake up to experiences that offer more mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional bang per buck. Once we “survive” Turnoff week, we are instituting a No TV Wednesday policy. I have a feeling it may lead to even more TV-free days.
    

Habit Forming


Pragmatics


• Patricia Wagner at Life Organizers.com writes about 21 days to a positive attitude. What better habit to form?
• There’s a balance to strike—have a routine, but avoid getting in rut. Here’s some advice from Shape magazine on breaking out of a routine that is threatening to suffocate.
• Here are 7 creative habits to acquire, from Creative Something.
• This could have been written for me - 7 (health-related) habits to break.

Prose

I wonder how it was determined that it takes 21 days to break a habit? And is it an equal amount of time if you want to acquire one?

I’m hoping a month will do it for acquisition. This month, National Poetry Month, I’m participating in a Poem a Day challenge at the Poetic Asides blog. Already I’ve missed a day (the first one--April sneaked in).

Thinking about the quest for keeping things simple, there is something to be said for routines. Good routines are a way to harness time, to set the clock for the day. Twenty minutes of straightening up prevents an overwhelm of chores on Saturday; the morning walk lends new perspective. Both of these simple tasks seem, at times, impossible for me to achieve with real regularity.

It may actually take a break in routine to get back into the routine you want. I’d been craving a breather from my heavy workload and took a few days off last week. Finally, I had time to think. I had time to realize that I’d been neglecting myself. Overeating, upping the caffeine, foregoing my treasured walks--neglecting the very habits that would have helped me cope with my crazy deadlines!

It’s hard to make the choice to adopt or maintain a good habit when you feel you’ve barely got time to breathe. But it is a choice, an investment in a better existence. One way that we are all surely creatures of habit—-we want to know what’s in it for us! Find a way to reward yourself for the good choices you make. In my case, a little dark chocolate goes a long way.

What are the habits that have helped you simplify your life? Please send me a comment.
    

Run Hard, Rest Hard


Pragmatics


Prose


I heard a public radio piece about a couple who has done the Iditarod and many other dog sled races together. Asked about their strategy for long-haul races, they summed it up in four words: “Run hard, rest hard”. When they take breaks, they make sure to rest at least as many hours as they raced.


To adopt this motto for personal use, I’d convert it to read, “Run not-so-hard, rest hard.” But some harsh realities lately, including crises in my extended family and a daunting workload, have had me running much harder than I’d like. Last week, exhausted, I came down with an awful 48-hour bug. This was my body’s way of screaming that I needed rest. I took to bed and took care of myself for the first time in quite a long stretch.


This lifestyle of running hard is true for most of us, and one of the reasons the simplicity movement is so appealing. I know I’m not the only one to ask, "When does this crazy ride stop?” But I know that I have some control, at least some of the time, over slowing things down.


Most of us don’t rest as often or as long as we should. If we can’t get enough rest, we can at least make sure the rest we do get is of high quality. Dr. Frank Lipman’s recent book, Spent: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again, is a sign of our times. I admire Dr. Lipman’s efforts, and want to buy the book, pronto! But I also know that, like the dog sledding couple that grabbed my attention, I need to make my own plan. Not an elaborate plan, but something simple to get me started on the right path.


“Resting hard” means incorporating those things that relax me, like walks, good books, and writing, into every day. It means clearing a space and time for rest, separating what really must get done today from those things that can wait. It means going beyond postponing stuff--how about crossing some things off the list entirely? Eventually, it may mean bigger changes, like reducing work hours.


One comfort of my personal dilemma is knowing that I am not alone in my “quest for rest”. Please add a comment—let me know what helps you “rest hard”!

    

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