There’s a theory that even super busy folks can get project like a blog or a book done if they devote only 5 minutes a day to it. This is more or less in addition to their normal duties. It’s purpose is to find a way to make progress on  something important that doesn’t have the urgency of many day-to-day projects and tends to get postponed over and over again.

Too busy making money

When I complained to a Master Mind group that I didn’t have time to work on two important projects because I was too busy with the work that made money, I was challenged. First they both reminded me of the saying, “it’s not about the money.”

This is considered by many to be a spiritual principal in Debtors Anonymous – some days I agree, others I don’t. I’ll discuss this in another post.

Writing 5 minutes at a time

The second suggestion was to work on the two projects – this blog and something I’m calling ‘the family story’ which is, I suppose, a memoir of my family and was actually requested by one of my kids.

My initial response was close to the suggestion was fury. Fortunately we were in a coffee shop and I was brought up to be well behaved – that restriction sometimes does work in my favor. I know my face showed my feelings, and I felt my fists ball. I think I emitted a low growl of some sort. Inside I was feeling that instant pressure of an almost red anger in my chest and throat. I wanted to punch the woman who suggested this and pound my fists and howl. Even in the middle of this internal storm I realized my reaction was way over the top – that ability to watch myself comes, I think, from a fairly steady meditation practice.

The whole idea of trying to write anything of significance or that comes from deep within in miserly five minute increments infuriated me. I’ve had the luxury of spending hours, even days on writing projects. There’s something about entering a creative space knowing you have some serious time. I love writing that way – with ample time to think, pace, and feel.

One of the blessings in my life is that I write pretty easily and I can get lots of good writing done in an hour. The five minute restriction feels cramped and pinchy to me.

Not all bad

This experiment is turning out better than I expected, although I still don’t like it.

One of the things I’m learning is that these projects are important – more important to me than I realized. That’s good to know. I had allowed them to become almost non-existent in the flurry of every day life.

I’ve also come to recognize that 5 minutes can be a productive as well as creative amount of time.

Part of the way to get writing done under this sort of deadline is to always leave myself knowing where I’m going when I next write. I learned that a long time ago about any writing project. If I leave it knowing what’s next it’s much easier to get started again. Turns out that’s extra double true when writing in short bursts.

Still highly frustrating

Although it’s still highly frustrating, I have to admit it’s working. I now have three projects underway that “I don’t have time for.” This blog, the Family Story, and a money autobiography I’ve committed to write. It hasn’t been quite daily, but almost. If it’s a day I work, then it’s a day I do the combined 15 minutes.

I use Toggl to track the time and although tempted to cheat, I’m not – not by more than a minute or so. I’ve thought about extending the time to 10 minutes, or 30 minutes or some such, but I’m getting intrigued with this approach.

How far can I take it? I don’t know yet, but I’ve got a blog post done in five five minute sessions. Except for today. I’m about to hit the publish button and I’ve been working a bit over eight minutes. Then I’m going to see how long it actually takes to post on social media and do a quick newsletter.

What do you think of this approach?

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Everything is sooooo connected.

In theory we know that – this video puts forth the idea that if we can increase buying American made goods it will create a million jobs in the USA.

How to buy American made goods

Of course, it’s not as easy to buy American as it once was. Reading labels when you shop is a start, but I find I don’t find much that way.

Amazon.com will let you search by American made – although when I see things like a Himalyan sald lamp come up I wonder.

There are directories like BuyAmerican and MadeintheUSA which can be helpful, although I find I’m not happy with their super-patriot themes. I do check on both when I’m doing some online shopping – not just to help with jobs or because I’m so patriotic, but because I suspect shipping within the US is less damaging that ordering products that have to cross an ocean.

What about other countries, other people?

Of course if we suddenly all started to buy 100 percent American – heck even 50 percent if it’s even possible – it would mean putting a whole bunch of people around the planet out of work. And that’s not good either.

I’ve recently switched to a more expensive coffee because a) it’s a local business and b) they work hard to make sure the coffees and teas the sell are Fair Trade. (If you’re in San Diego, it’s Cafe Moto and I’ll bet they would ship you a pound or 15 of their coffee if you paid the freight.) Fortunately they make great tasting coffee!

We’re still stuck on ‘growth’

In this country, at least, we’re still stuck on the idea that we need growth to have jobs and a ‘good’ economy. But depending on ever increasing consumption to fuel the economy is simply not sustainable.

The trouble is we don’t know how to make the transition. In fact there’s not a ton of agreement on exactly what a sustainable world would look like. Google what would a sustainable society look like and all sorts of things come up.

EarthFirst does, I think, a credible job of defining the problem and even beginning to propose some solutions in an article called What Would A Real Transition To A Sustainable Society Look Like? But it’s only a start at understanding the problem and examining a few possible solutions. Better than nothing, but a long way toward a map to solving the problem.

Maybe a map isn’t possible. Maybe it’s everyone of us making tiny or large changes – in our homes, our churches, our businesses, our communities. With luck, maybe our great great grandkids will be able to look back and see where and even how the shift took place.

However  it turns out to be it’s not going to be either easy or fast (probably).

Giving up delusion

In my zen sangha (SWZC.org) we talk about letting go of ignorance or delusion.

We’ve been living in denial or delusion about our part in climate change for quite awhile. While I don’t know how or even if there’s a way to fix it, I’m certain there will be no concerted effort if we continue to deny that there is a problem. As much as I love to hide from truth, it just doesn’t work – not for long.

When I was learning how to facilitate symposiums for Awakening The Dreamer I was truly surprised to realize that most of the human- caused environmental degradation has happened in my life-time! That’s fast.

So maybe the question is: What can you do right now, today, to help break up the denial and delusion? What might we do together? 

Love, blessings, and abundance,

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

 

 

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