Social connections affect focus

Use of social media is known to impact our focus negatively. Social media had one fantastic benefit during the peak of the pandemic. Online connections, when fostered intentionally, can have a positive affect on focus. I recently started reading Michelle Obama’s “The Light we Carry”. She begins by discussing her use of small things to regain focus when bigger things become overwhelming. She took up knitting, among other things, during the pandemic. I was reminded of the many hobbies that many of us re/started during COVID isolation.

I also started knitting (again) after years of not picking up my knitting needles. I completed 1000 piece puzzles again. Worked on my photo organizing that had become neglected. And I wrote.

connections with self through writing

What interests me most about all of this is that many of us did not only take up or reactivate hobbies that we hadn’t participated in for ages. Many of these hobbies (new and old) were trending across the world.

When used with intention social media can aid connections

When we talk about the value of social connection we often refer to the negative impact social media has had. It has affected the quality and depth of our social connections overall. Yet, we used the same technology that has been creating disconnect and lack of focus, to make connections with people. People we otherwise were disconnected from because of physical isolation. And when we did so over common interests, goals and concerns, we did so meaningfully.

Introverts were relieved to have a little (or big) break from “peopling”. Many extraverts were struggling with loss of contact with people… Some of us found new people online… Others found new ways to connect with the people who were normally in our lives but suddenly not due to physical isolation. We mastered zoom and video calls to make family get togethers happen virtually. We learned how to “tiktok”. New interests were discovered while making new friends.

social connections affect focus

There was a nationwide shortage of yeast when so many took up breadmaking – many for the first time  Then shared the spoils on social media – or left gift packages on the neighbours’ doorsteps.

The thing about social media is that it’s really only effective when the user is highly active. Unfortunately that online activity can have a negative impact on in-real-life relationships. Unless both (all) parties are equally as active and are interacting with each other on the same platforms. When trying to be that highly interactive online while engaging in-real-life activities it tends to take away from the depth of in-the-moment experiences (think selfies and hashtags) while distracting from the actual experience.

connections affect focus

Connections affect focus

But during the pandemic we’ve been using social media to substitute for some of those lost connections. And when doing so while engaging in typically solitary activities we found ways to connect with ourselves as well as others. It only stands to reason that those improvements to lost social connections during isolation affect our ability to focus.

Did you take up any new hobbies since COVID-19? How have you connected socially in new or increased ways?

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Intentional connections

Living with intention is more than just setting goals, and visioning exercises, it is living in the moment – making intentional connections to people, places, self. Starting a new year is often a time that we consciously consider our lives, perhaps even take stock, and consider what we’d like to have/do differently.

I’ve been on this journey of self-reflection for a long time. Things have changed over the years. Some changes have been somewhat radical while others have been the natural consequence of days, months, and years passing – changes that we have little to no control over (i.e. children growing; getting older, etc.)

Some changes come about without me  putting much thought or effort in – that my have resulted in “life” deciding for me – about choices that I could have had more say about – had I been living more intentionally.

This is true of the connections I’ve been thinking, learning and writing about – whether they be connections to self, place, others, etc. If I am not intentional about what connections I make, and how, my connections are less abundant and lower quality/depth.

Intentional social connections

For instance, a long-time friend and I get together every week to let our dogs play together, and then walk them. If we were not intentional about doing this regularly it would likely happen far less frequently if at all. For a few years after I moved back to the community, we meant to see each other much more often than we did – but it was so easy to let weeks and even months pass by without seeing each other.

The decision to connect while walking the dogs came about when I got a puppy who needed a LOT of exercise and stimulation. The choice to walk together also allowed for us to connect meaningfully. We talk about what is happening in our family, personal and professional lives. We talk about the latest books we’re reading and often times we “solve the world’s problems”.

Sarah & I, along with a couple of other mutual friends get together occasionally over coffee/tea or a meal. Last winter we started a tradition of making wreaths together for Christmas. Both of these examples have things that work as well as our weekly walks – but tend to be less effective ways of connecting.

Our tea dates are fun, and we usually catch up on things of importance to us all. We’ve known each other for thirty plus years, long enough that we care about and understand the back stories involved in our day to day. But we’re not very intentional about making these dates happen. Sometimes we see one another fairly regularly. Other times months will go by without even talking about the next tea date.

Intention AND authentic connection

Our wreath-making workshop has been more intentional, in that we plan ahead a month or more to decide on a date/time/location and what we’ll do. We have a lot of fun. I wouldn’t change anything about it. But we don’t really get to connect more than the immediate what is happening around us. We’re occupied with the tasks at hand, eating lots of good food, and enjoying the company of some other friends, including some of the kids. I wouldn’t change a thing, but it cannot replace our tea dates and those conversations.

If we became as intentional about the in-between coffee dates as the annual wreath-making, our wreath-making would be what it is – the change we all crave. Now, don’t get me wrong – we get to have a fantastic time together – and leave with a beautiful fresh wreath that lasts long after Christmas, thanks to Rachel’s tutelage!

There are many things that I could do differently with intention. Connecting with friends is one of them.

What would you do differently if only you were more intentional?  

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For more information on how to develop more authentic connections: https://authentic-connections.mn.co/

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @authenticconnections.community, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

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Making a difference, one little thing at a time… according to Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point”

The Tipping Point:

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Since posting my 2017 Books Read list (read so far that is), I have finished nine more books.  I hope to give my response (not review), to the books, and how they have some impact on my life.

Most recently,

I finished the audio version of  The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell.

Malcolm is an author who was referenced in a couple of different podcasts I’ve been listening to. In The Tipping Point the author talks about how epidemics occur. He provides many examples of the multiple factors that have to accumulate before a difference is made thus reaching a Tipping Point that sets the epidemic in motion. It is an interesting perspective to consider.

What’s the difference?

I’m not sure if it was the topic, the stories or how at times the next story was well in hand before the connection became clear, or perhaps it is simply the soothing nature of the author’s voice, but I found myself losing my focus and missing bits & pieces of the book. That said I found myself interested in reading his other books to see what other insights the Malcolm Gladwell imparts. I am currently reading “Outliers” in ebook format.

Kobo:

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If not now, then when?

Now

Have you ever wanted something/somewhere/someone so much, so bad… that you were willing to do almost anything to get it? No matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how hard it might seem… and it wasn’t hard at all?

Acting outside of our comfort zone, especially against natural instincts is a sure fire way to see growth. What if the growth was simply an added bonus for achieving the dream?

I’ve learned over the years, that I have more strength that I have cared to test or realize… Every circumstance that has been trying has been, in almost every case, unsolicited. I find myself now, seeking, and driven towards even, a different way. I have realized a new means of getting there. A way that while challenging in theory, has turned out to be entirely doable.

And so I hope that my patience and perseverance pays off in the end. Yet, much like a young child does in developing a new skill I enjoy the process and the journey almost as much (sometimes more than) the end game.

I know where I want to end up. And each day – while living in this moment – I am ever so conscious of where I want to be.

What are you doing – right now – to get to where you want to be?

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Impatient for change

All this talk of change and living for it, blogging for it, making it happen in all facets of life, from parenting – to work – to housing – to my blog – to relationships… and I am terribly impatient for it.

IMG_0090

Photo by Paul Wesson Photography

I am ready for these changes to happen, I don’t do the limbo very well. I start losing my balance < like I ever real had it > and something starts to give. Fortunately the aspect of my life that isn’t in limbo is my children/parenting.

 

So, I am looking for additional work, paid employment to supplement my efforts at entrepreneurship. We also need to make a change of residence and it all depends upon what work I find and where… Do you see how this is all unraveling as I >impatiently< wait?

 

I truly feel like at this time in my life, everything is happening, and yet nothing is. I have no patience for this limbo.

 

Much of my life happens online in some sense. I write here, I connect with friends, family and business partners here. I shop here. I find prospective dates here. 😉 It’s not that I’m in a hurry per-say. I just don’t have any patience for this whole search and date process.

 

I’m not asking for much… I just want someone to live my life with. Maybe I’ll find him on a dating site, maybe Twitter, or Facebook… maybe I’ll run into him at the grocery store, or while picking up my car from the dealer.

 

Sure someone to take vacations and date nights with would be nice. Very nice. But mostly, it’s someone to do the everyday stuff with that I desire… enjoy a cup of coffee together and talk about the news headlines, shovel the driveway, choose paint colours with… someone else to decide what’s for supper. A co-pilot when driving across town to drop off the kids… and of course, a good old-fashioned fitness partner 😉

 

If it’s via an online dating site: you text back and forth a bit, decide there’s enough common interests or decent conversation, or… I don’t know what the criteria is really… to meet; you go out for coffee; conversation is good, there’s a hint of something there… is it a spark? Is it nerves? Is it the coffee? 😉 You get the much anticipated text. “Thanks for coffee, maybe we should go for dinner sometime?” A real date this time… if nothing else, there is the intent to get to know each other better. Dinner goes well, still lots to talk about, still a little uncertainty about where it might go… it’s that dating game. I have not patience for it, can’t we just skip to the end? I don’t mean the end, end, just to the post-dating phase…

 

Then there’s the acquaintance on facebook who finally gets around to more than just liking those memes you posted about single parents who see wine as a food group… something happens, sparks fly across the interweb, a little flirtation happens and you decide to get together for drinks. Maybe you’re just two friends needing to commiserate about this stage of life single parents in our thirties find ourselves in… over beers. Maybe the flirtation will carryover into real life. I mean you may have never really hung out together and may not be the same person you once were 15 years ago, but surely you’d know if there’s a spark or not? And you do, and there is. And then you try not to turn into this crazy… obsessing… what does it all mean?

 

And so I wait, again, impatiently…

 

 

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Great things | come from change

Great Things come from change

… a Spatula, for change

A spatula, with melted handle and burner rings on it… tells a story all on it’s own.

 

Does it bring to mind a single mom with too much on her mind… too many pokers in the fire…? Multi-tasking beyond abilities? I wish I could blame it on that – though that’s entirely true. But would that change anything?

 

I turned on the wrong burner, and for some reason the spatula was sitting ON the burner, not beside it or on the counter where I normally would leave it… Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve turned on the wrong burner. I’ve lived in many different homes, used many different kitchens and ranges. They must have all had the same set-up because I can’t for the life of me get this one right!!

Spatlua

It was suggested I might need to head down to Spatula City and get myself a lifetime supply of spatulas, but this one is still perfectly functional. 😉

 

 

Have you ever noticed that no matter how much some things change in your life, there are certain habits that you just can’t break? You’d think that the day I turned on the wrong burner, while a glass cutting board was sitting on it and it exploded into a zillion pieces of glass, with hot pieces embedded in the vinyl floor that I would have that permanently etched in my brain. Thank heavens no one, not even the kitten, were in or anywhere near the room when it happened.

 

I guess one positive thing I learned was that I had kept the burners relatively clean, otherwise I likely would have smelled something burning before said explosion… right?

 

Is there something you’ve been trying to break the habit of, but can’t? Or if you’ve been successful, what did you do to make the difference?

 

 

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Coffee, PJs and a blog…

photo (1)

 

This is the life. I mean there are plenty of other places I would happily be working from <say my beachfront cabana in Lanai, Hawaii 😉 > but my living room in my jammies with a hot cuppa joe – and I’m not complaining.

 

It has been said that the best way to be productive is to get up, get dressed and eat breakfast FIRST. Don’t check your email. Stay off of social networks. Get down to work, doing the important stuff.

 

What if that IS the important stuff? Then forget everything you’ve been told! Go for it. Grab your coffee, stay in your PJs and blog… Twitter, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Facebook, whatever your platform(s) of choice… it’s the way to go! I find not only my tweeps, fellow bloggers, and articles filled with tips online at this early hour, but this is where/when my inspiration comes from.

 

This is where I change my mind, and fuse with (via temporary glue) new ideas. Today I started a serious post about communication and co-parenting, then I got a little pickup on my status update of coffee and pj’s and I changed my direction (I’ll get back there later).

 

<Why not plant a little seed?>

PJ's

So yes, I do sit down at my online networks, coffee in hand, in my jammies, before I do anything else most days. Where else would I get the crazy idea of blogging in my pj’s? < Hint: Don’t expect this to be the last you see of it! 😉 >

 

Hmmm… maybe Snugabye would sponsor a post made in my red hearts Snugabye PJ’s before Valentine’s Day… 😉 I could write about something else I do from home in my PJ’s → look for my Valentine. 😉

 

What does your morning routine look like?

 

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Trish Blogs … for change

Photo by Paul Wesson Photography

Photo by Paul Wesson Photography

Change is good. Change makes us grow.

Blogging in itself is certainly no change for me, I’ve been at it on & off now for seven and a half years. I’ve been posting pretty consistently for the last 4 years at least.

But I hope to inspire change with what I blog. Change in myself and/or in the others who do me the honor of reading my work.

My life often feels like it follows the same direction as technological innovation – constant change… I’m in an ever-flowing state of flux. I learned to embrace change early in life and find for the most part that I welcome and in fact even look forward to it. This is not the way for many others. People often fear change, even hate change.

Yet, we all love new things. It’s a bit of a conundrum really. How do we manage change while embracing new things? I recently upgraded my tablet from the Samsung Galaxy which I had a love-hate relationship with. It served me well, when it worked. It crashed frequently, and drove me insane with how slow it became. I tried everything to fix the problem, so the next step was an upgrade. Do I go with the new version of the same product? Minimizing the change? That’s not my way.

ipad mini

I had been waiting since April 2010 when the first Ipad was released, for a mini version. It was just too big for my purposes. I didn’t need, or want, a smart phone but I wanted to carry my tablet with me. So, I now need to relearn an iproduct (my last one being the ipod touch when it was new on the market). It’s exciting, but also a pain to setup all the day to day stuff all over again. There always seems to be a bit lost with what is gained.

Blackberry Z10

And with the recent release of of the BlackBerry Z10, my curiosity has been peaked. I’d love to take this innovative new smart phone for a test drive. 🙂 Maybe, more changes are ahead. 😉

Personal changes may soon come as well in the form of a physical move, from one house to another, one job to another, perhaps even one community to another. These are changes that I look upon with anxious anticipation. I love the excitement of a fresh start. While not without a ton of work, these are changes that I always find energizing, refreshing and rejuvenating.

Recently some of my blogging activities have allowed me the opportunity to make new friends. Each new relationship comes with changes to day to day life. Conversations take a different twist, topics of discussion are new or at the very least with new perspectives. My outlook on things are molded slightly differently with each new insight. How could one not look at things differently when bouncing ideas off of Bublé’s twin, getting advice from  Rent-a-Hubby and finding a shoulder to lean on in a Digital Summit BFF?

Martin "Buble" SagalaRent-a-hubby PaulPhoto courtesy of @wedding_crasher

As for changing my blog for the better, I’ve changed my name/domain, my webhost AND my design (thanks to these great new friends for their input). I’m working on some ideas for an editorial calendar to bring a little more cohesiveness and fun to my writing. I hope it will be appealing to my readers and perhaps bring a few more ;-). All in the interest of improvement, a little work is created to have a more polished look, and better home for my passions. Things don’t get better without change.

Drop me a note and tell what you think about the changes, or share your own story of change for the better.

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Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Life Lessons – Coming Full Circle

 

I recently un-celebrated my 38th birthday. It was not a happy day for me. Not for my age, but for recently associated painful memories. And of course… It happened at a time when I was making difficult decisions to protect myself from further heartache, leaving me somewhat alone during some of my darkest days.

 

A wonderful friend provided me with support across the miles and I felt a little less alone.

 

Then things continued changing for me.

 

Everything happens for a reason. We have lessons to be learned and sometimes it takes multiple cracks at it before they have enough depth to begin effecting our lives. < It’s not fun to learn the same lessons over and over so, of course, the sooner we catch on the better. 😉 >

 

I am always trying to remind myself that every experience is a lesson to be learned, to look positively on the process or the outcome, or some aspect that will eventually serve to improve my life.

 

In the midst of it heartache is the hardest to learn from, but in hindsight it could be the simplest lesson to be learned. If only we allow ourselves to live through the hurt and reflect. When we avoid the pain, we tend to relive the lessons.

 

I’ve taken to really trying to live by the philosophy of Now. Live in the moment, live for today. The past is over, tomorrow is yet to come. And every relationship (friend, lover, family, etc.) has a purpose. Sometimes they enter our lives for a reason, sometimes for a period of time, and some will always be there. I try not to over think the purpose too much anymore. I’m not very good at that, and the heartache always seems to be magnified when I give in.

 

I am in a place of transition in every aspect of my life it seems.

 

Trying to establish stable work, a home for my family and eventually a relationship (partner in life) that will grow while feeling stable and safe. I not only feel like I’ve come full circle in that it’s a time to re-establish my life. Those who I rely on for support are those lifetime friends, some of whom have re-entered my life during my time of need. I feel a sense of belonging in a place I haven’t even thought of as home for years.

 

What is to come is yet to be seen. While I try to be proactive and plan, I am also trying to allow what is meant to be to come to fruition without much interference. There’s a certain fear in not directing it all. There’s a certain power in leaving it to the universe. My worries are less. Though I feel somewhat at a loss. I want to be in control of my destiny. I am not.

 

38 may not be old, but it sure feels like late in life to be starting over in some ways.

 

How do you reconcile not having complete control over your destiny? 

 

 

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at ceilidho at ceilidhontherun dot com, or use my contact form!

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