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Ritualize Attention by Lisa Gayhart

time is precious

I was supposed to write this blog post a couple weeks ago. I had it on my to do list, I was thinking about the content, and I really wanted to get started. And yet, even with a week of vacation, I didn’t complete it by my self imposed deadline. Why?

We’re not prioritizing the work that matters to us. We’re lost in shallow work. Shallow work: emails, scrolling, messaging, tidying, making appointments, laundry. All the administrative stuff of life and work that must get done but will never be totally complete. Shallow work not only eats away at your productive hours, but also dilutes our attention and focus leaving us spent but probably not fulfilled.

We all know the feeling of getting lost in work we really love: time flies by, hours lost to the task. We come out the other side energized, excited, and accomplished. This is deep work. (I can’t do the concept of deep work justice in one blog post. Go read Cal Newport’s book Deep Work for the full story.) Even without much discussion, I bet hearing the term triggers thoughts of the work that gives you life, that lights you up. This work doesn’t have to be a solely an individual pursuit or relegated to office/study hours. Community building, parenting, training for a race, planning a trip: these things all take the full care and attention of your focused, thinking mind.

How can we combat shallow work and carve out more time for the work that matters to us: ritualize.

Setting one intention and making space for it daily fosters focus as a habit, setting us up for sustainable success. Some ideas to ritualize attention:

  • Do the most important task first, while attention and creativity are high
  • Make tomorrow’s to do list at the end of each day in order to start the next day smoothly and offer opportunity for reflection
  • Complete creative work in an uninterrupted block of time, ideally the same time slot each day
  • Use the pomodoro technique of breaking work into 25 minute chunks
  • Set aside time at the beginning of the week for planning and time at the end of the week for review
  • Determine and enact your “do not disturb” mode: e.g. a specific place like a quiet office or a buzzing coffee shop; music or white noise; no wifi or notifications off; etc.
  • Schedule specific, time-limited, blocks for email, Insta scrolling, and internet browsing

For me, my deep work is research and writing. It’s hard work to dive into: I have to be in the right state of mind, in the right location, with the right tools or it just doesn’t flow. Or maybe that’s just a story I tell myself to obtain permission to slide into my Instagram feed on the train instead of tapping out 50 words in the Notes app? Most likely the latter.

During August I’m ritualizing my focus by scheduling creative time in the morning before I get distracted and exhausted by the day. Whether it’s 50 words or 500, I’m calling it a win. How about you?


Let’s share our thoughts and experiences on Instagram at #ritualattention, through this site, or in class. But not in real time - enjoy the moments. xoxo

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Lisa Gayhart works in higher ed technology as a UX researcher, academic librarian, and instructor. She’s currently researching digital wellness, in hopes of helping university students cultivate healthier relationships with technology and devices. Lisa is also a Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training student with Ritual Island. She’ll be moving you away from your devices and into your bodies SOON.

@lisagayhart

shifting body perspective: strong is not a look by michelle cordeiro, cnp

IMG_0164.jpg

I don't know how I could write about anything other than tidbits from the past weekend of Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training. So many lessons. So many feels. This is becoming a common theme with this training month to month I tell ya. 

Something that has stuck with me since, was Jo Gale's message of STRONG IS NOT A LOOK because well, you know, it's not. 

Last week I wrote a post about the damage that restricting certain foods in your diet can do, and I was so moved by the response. Many of you reached out and expressed your support of the message by sharing your own struggles with food. It was really heartwarming to hear how much that post resonated with you, because that means we're slowly starting to shift our minds on what it really means to feel and be well. Let's get rid of the before and after picture #fitspo stuff, and instead make room for more compassion to others AND to ourselves. 

Because we all have our issues with body image or food anxiety to some degree, don't we? So let's speak up about it! 

In my early 20's I started to have some pretty concerning digestive issues that lead me to cut out certain foods from my diet that were doing harm to my body. But even just cutting out those foods, I still felt awful, and would often skip meals in order to ensure that I could get through a shift at work, or a hangout with friends without having to deal with any stomach pain until I was home. 

And I'm the kind of person who gets real hangry when I'm hungry, so it sucked for both me and those around me... 

And as a result of this restriction and elimination I started to lose weight in a very unhealthy way. I felt awful in my body: crampy, bloated and had such little energy to do anything I wanted to. Yet, on the outside, I was told I looked great, fit and thin. Because for some misguided reason, weight loss is almost always seen as a good thing, to be celebrated, to praise someone for. 

And you know what that's saying to that person? That they look great NOW. That before, prior to this weight loss, they didn't look as great. It tells that person that whatever they're doing to lose weight, no matter if it's restricting their food intake, working out excessively or obsessing over their body, they should stick to it, because it's working. 

I had a coworker ask me what my secret was, and when I half-joked that I had cut out most foods from my diet, he told me to stick to it... WHAT!? 

STRONG IS NOT A LOOK. 

How your body looks does NOT define how you show up. It does not define how many elevator squats you can do at R&B pilates, or how long you can hold plank. It does not define how or when or where you choose to move (or not move) your body or how you TREAT other people, what you mean to other people or how important you are to this beauty planet we're all a part of. 

We are so much more than something as trivial as our looks, which is sometimes clouded by things like the world of social media. So this is a call to stand up and be okay with kindly asking others to shift their observations from the mere shape of your flesh to more important things. It is so inconsequential to who you ARE, so let's shift that focus to what really matters when talking about others and when talking about ourselves. 

I'm gonna end with this quote from Rupi Kaur, because she is SPOT ON with her words: 

“I want to apologize to all the women I have called beautiful
before I’ve called them intelligent or brave
I am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on I will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because I don’t think you’re beautiful
but because I need you to know
you are more than that” 

STRONG. IS. NOT. A. LOOK.


Michelle is an RMMTT student and Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) with a focus on digestive health and learning to love the body you're in through intuition and self love over dieting, always. 

Michelle currently sees clients at Inland Island Wellness Centre. Contact her for more info on her practice or to book an appointment.
// movewithguts@gmail.com
// @movewithguts
// www.movewithguts.com

Reclaiming Our Attention by Lisa Gayhart

screentime

Last November, I started an experiment. I was feeling drained from long days in front of my devices. I felt like I couldn’t focus. I was irritable and distracted. I was tired of giving my best to screens.

I did a little reading and eventually came to the decision to do a technology fast of sorts. Like any lifestyle change, it was very difficult at first. But the more time I spent experimenting with different ways of using tech every day, the better I felt. The weekends felt longer and I felt less scattered. I didn’t bring my phone to meetings or events. With my head up, I saw very clearly how much of ourselves we are handing over to our devices.

This all sounds magical, wonderful, and full of meaningful revelations about life. But, like most things on the internet, it’s not the whole story. Today, I’m right back where I started.

Our relationships with technology are often left out of discussions on health and wellness. For many of us, technology is an ever present and growing force in our lives. Over the last decade or so, we have gradually outsourced our daily thinking and doing to technology. Getting up to flip the record or turn on the radio, walking across the bedroom to set your alarm clock, navigating to an appointment with written directions or a map - these common tasks are increasingly uncommon. Technology is everywhere and it’s not all bad. Today’s technology is amazing! We form relationships around the world, educate ourselves, discover new talents, find solace in like minded groups, start businesses, partake in democracy, and so much more.

Living with tech is not an all or nothing situation: like most things in life, our relationship with technology requires more nuance, more balance. We can design our tech use, intentionally and with purpose, to be something useful and enjoyable. We don’t need to feel drained and stressed by our devices.

In a series of posts this summer, we’ll look at our tech habits and how we got here; learn ways to increase our digital wellness; and discover new corners of the internet - and maybe even ourselves.

In the meantime, let’s start noticing our habits and how we feel:

  • What does your relationship with tech look like?

  • Do you feel drained, pressured to stay in the loop, overwhelmed with information?

  • How do you feel after some time scrolling: drained or energized?

This summer, we reclaim our attention. We make space for more outdoor adventure, more creation, more stargazing, more memories. Our devices will always be there for us.

Let’s share our thoughts and experiences on Instagram at #ritualattention, through this site, or in class. But not in real time - enjoy the moments. xoxo

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Lisa Gayhart works in higher ed technology as a UX researcher, academic librarian, and instructor. She’s currently researching digital wellness, in hopes of helping university students cultivate healthier relationships with technology and devices. Lisa is also a Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training student with Ritual Island. She’ll be moving you away from your devices and into your bodies SOON.

@lisagayhart