Making Time for What You Want to Make Time For

The title of this post is something I say to people often. It can apply to anything (and anyone) and speaks to what we value and what we make space for in our lives. Granted, there is always more that we can do with our time, but often, I find that people suffer from inertia coming from what they've always done or whatever is easiest. Time is a finite resource. When we "save" it, it isn't going into some bank to use later, we have to make the most of the time that is given to us.

An example of this that often frustrates me is people making time for each other. Whether it is friends, colleagues, or family, we have to deliberately make time for whatever we want to make time for, even when that might not be the path of least resistance. We always give each other the pleasantries of wanting to meet up and do something or talk more, but we often don't. After the long days of our busy lives, we end up procrastinating about these sort of things. Perhaps those are efforts that are best left undone, maybe they don't deserve our time, but a lot of them might warrant our attention and we have to push through the inertia to actually make it happen. If we don't then the decision about it will probably be made for us by the people and tasks we're neglecting.

We can do more and be better by spending purposeful energy thinking about what specifically we want to make time for and actually making that time. Schedule time to talk with that person you want to talk to, make a to-do list about that project you want to get done, and figure out what in your life deserves your attention.

Inertia is the enemy of productivity and the enabler of complacency. We can do more and be better to each other by being aware of it and actively working against it. We have to make time for what we want to make time for. Only then will we feel empowered to make positive change for ourselves and each other.

Thanks for stopping by!

What I Learned From Living in Maine

My time living in my home state of Maine for the first time is coming to an end. I don't know if I will ever live here again, but I will certainly visit often and have appreciated being able to explore this naturally beautiful state. I've learned a few things from being here for two years, and I wanted to reflect on this time here on the blog.

My Appreciation for Craft Beer

Maine has an awesome craft beer scene. There are breweries of all sizes and styles, from Allagash, to Shipyard, Sea Dog, Black Bear, Geaghan's, Baxter's, and my personal favorite, Orono Brewing Company. This community is a fun, passionate one full of unique flavors and artistry in each beer. Going to local breweries helps support small businesses, but it also allows for connections based on a share interest with other people or it's especially great when you can talk with the people who made the beer you're enjoying. I look forward to continuing to support the breweries I love, and discovering new ones in Maryland and wherever else I go to visit.

The Value of Beautiful, Natural Spaces

Most of Maine is covered in trees, that is a fact. The state (which is larger than most people think) is sparsely populated with small towns nestled in these woods, and Maine also has a beautiful coastline. My partner and I especially enjoy the Bar Harbor area which is a popular tourist location that neighbors the very awesome Acadia National Park. There is an abundance of naturally beautiful spaces in Maine, with plenty of great trails to walk and mountains to climb. It is important to preserve areas like this for people to enjoy. It's good for communities in so many different ways (jobs, recreation, and the environment just to name a few major ones) and I look forward to finding spaces to explore in Maryland.

The Importance of Family

My mom and all of my extended family lives in Maine (my brother still lives in Delaware, where both of us grew up) so it has been nice to see my family up here more often than I ever had before. It is really great for me to be able to spend quality time with my mom as our relationship shifts into a new phase with me no longer being a student and "adulting" full-time with my partner. It is a bummer that I will be moving away and not able to spend as much time with everyone, but I know the values that I have developed and the importance I have put on my family will persist into the future. I'll come up to visit as often as I can, and it will be a priority more then it has in the past, when I would go too long between visits. Our families can be frustrating sometimes, but they also (hopefully) love us unconditionally. They will always be supportive and excited for what is happening in our lives, so it is important to make time for them when we can. I look forward to doing my best to continue to cultivate my relationships with my family, especially my brother and mother, since it was just the three of us for a long time and I don't want us to drift apart.

I've appreciated my time in Maine, but I am looking forward to getting my first apartment, living with my fiance, and being close to two big cities as well as our friends. Stay tuned for more thoughts as I go on my next adventure!

Thanks for stopping by!

Geeky Office Décor Series: Lynne Meyer

This week we're featuring the office of Lynne Marie Meyer, the Director of Spiritual Life and Diversity at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Here's what Lynne wrote about her office:
Buddha Yoda and the other deitiesoverview of my interfaith display
Here are some shots of my office. There's not a lot of overtly geeky stuff -- at least, not pop culture geeky anyway -- but my prize piece of geekery is the Yoda Buddha given to me by one of my students just before she graduated. That Yoda sits right next to a little Yoda magnet given to me years ago by a Jedi-identified colleague, who decided that I needed Jedi representation among my interfaith display of icons, statues, etc. -- which has also come to include things like Mexican paper flowers, origami cranes, and yes, even a nun with a baseball bat, "Sister Runnata" (I'm a huge Cubs fan, and I want to help give my guys in blue any and all divine support that I can). Many of the icons and statues were gifts from students and colleagues, including Mary, one Ganesha, one of the Buddhas, a Greek Orthodox icon, and Athena. You can also see that I the end of the cabinet facing out towards my door, there are items about the Golden Rule in various religions, my Safe Space sticker, and two Hekate magnets. As I'm a devotee of Hekate, and since statues of Her are/were traditionally placed at thresholds/doorways, I've placed Her as close to my door as I could.
Medicine Shield
Next to that cabinet, on the wall directly to my right as I sit as my desk, you'll see a different kind of a display. The two African masks I bought because they're beautiful and I loved that artists' statements about what they signify. The Buddha tapestry was given to me by a colleague. But for me, hands-down, the central item is the focus. It's a medicine shield made for my late first husband, Ken, many years ago. He was part Northern Cheyenne, and when he was in his 20s (he was 18 years older than me), a friend made the shield for him. It features a crow, because that was Ken's spirit animal. When Ken died in early 2007 from colon cancer at the age of 53, I didn't know what to do with the shield; when he was alive, Ken was very clear that no one other than him could touch it, as it contained powerful spiritual medicine for him alone. As it turned out, I got my job at Illinois Tech later in the same year, and so I decided to display it in my office, where it could be honored and also serve as a kind of spiritual and emotional support for me. It's visible to students and colleagues, but removed enough that no one touches it. I later added the small shield with the spider on it to represent me, after a spiritually significant series of experiences following Ken's passing which left me deeply connected to Spider teachings.
Diversity walllamp
The other photo shows the opposite wall, which showcases my diplomas, a 370-degree photo of Harvard Yard, a diversity-related banner, a tapestry with a favorite Dalai Lama quote, and a cool (I think) map of religious diversity in the US. You can just see the Daffy Duck mug on my desk, next to my very favorite thing in the office: that lamp. My mother's aunt Esther was a Baptist missionary who focused her career on two things: improving race relations (she was doing this in the 50s and 60s), and resettling refugees. She traveled the world, and made friends everywhere she went. One such friend, years and years ago, gave her this lamp. I've heard many stories about who it represents, and I'm not entirely sure which is accurate. We think that he's one of the Eight Immortals of Taoism. Because of the scroll and large forehead, he seems to me to be associated with wisdom. But hey, if any of your readers can give me more info about him, I'd love it!
I love this wall -- and my office as a whole -- because it's colorful, provides a number of talking points for students and colleagues when they visit, and more importantly, gives them a very visible indication that this is a space for everyone. I want students to see something of themselves here. and know, too, that I'm a real person with lots of interests who's going to take an interest in them as well.

What I really enjoy about Lynne's office is how she brings her genuine self to the space through items given to her by friends, family, and other loved ones. Every item has a story and a meaning. There is personality covering all the walls and students instantly know who Lynne is, can ask questions, and learn so much just by the way the space is decorated. It's an amazing office that really embodies the spirit behind my thinking for this series, which is why it feels like such a great way to kick everything off. I really appreciate Lynne sharing her story in such depth for you all.
HH Dalai Lama quote
Stay tuned for more awesome offices in the coming weeks!

Thanks for stopping by!