When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – by Daniel H. Pink

BOOK REVIEW *****

Thoughtful, fascinating observations on timing. Beginnings, middles and endings. Noticing when is your best time, your trough (your lows), and how to boost, rejuvenate and rest when you need.

Important decisions should never be made in the afternoons.

Avoid driving between 2-3pm to lower your risk of traffic accidents.

In your 29th, 39th, 49th, 59th years you tend to make extra pushes to do something extreme, like run a marathon for the first time.

Synchronising with another person or a group can lift your physical and mental wellbeing. Ie. singing, yoga, running,…

Write x amount of words a day. If you happen to stop mid sentence. Stop there. Coming back the next day it will be easier to return to the unfinished sentence than to a completed one. Hemingway swore by this.

Practical suggestions are given at the end of each chapter to improve your ‘When.’ I feel like I need to read the book again because there are so many good ideas packed into this book.

I love the example used of the dabbawallas of Mumbai and how mostly illiterate men without the use of cellphones or technology can synchronise with others to deliver home cooked lunches from home to the office everyday without mistakes. From house to office on bicycles and trains with co-ordination that is exquisite.

The film The Lunchbox is based around this very daily routine. I have watched it many times and it is a wonderful love story.

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

BOOK: Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect – By Jonice Webb PhD. with Christine Musello PsyD.

Feelings of something missing or absent but not being able to put your finger on what exactly it is what this book deals with. There is no blaming of parenting, there is naming of the void or neglect, there is dealing with it and moving on and giving the tools to become an emotionally mature adult. Most of us are doing the best that we can with what we have at the time. When we become aware of better ways of doing things we can implement them. If we lack the knowledge we cannot change or progress. It all takes time and can only happens when we are ready for it. Nothing forced can become a lasting habit, it must be adopted openly. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right.

This has been such a great book. A great stepping stone book for those early sober and wanting to deal with all this new character assessment and searching deep within ourselves. Much of what I read I had already begun to face and it gave me a great sense of being on the right track to finding myself.

Recovering from the flu so my brain has been a little fuzzy this past week. If it doesn’t make sense that’s why.

Library book obsession and a confession

I am a library book hoarder. By hoarder I mean I see a book that I’d like to read and go straight to the library website and see if they have it and then request it. Hence to me having 15 books out at the same time. Yes even I can see that that is too many. Some are fiction some are non-fiction. No matter which way I look at it – It’s too many to focus on each book and give them the attention they deserve.

Case in point I have to return the Brené Brown book, Rising Strong today or pay a fine. It cannot be renewed. I’ve tried already. I am three quarters of the way through and I haven’t given it the full attention that it deserves. It wasn’t because it is a terrible book. It is a fantastic book. I have been hovering over other books and in the end distracted by all.

I have already started a book list, a written one, that I do by hand in a notebook. I started this last month, plus I have the Library page (check it out there some gems there) on this blog. In the future if I find a book to add to the list, I will do that and NOT request it immediately. I have put a freeze on some of my books on request. I am learning to pace myself with books.

We have a lot of books at home and I love looking at them. We sleep in a library. One entire wall, is covered in books in a custom build bookcase that I built. It is so tall that we need a ladder to reach the top. We have a book ladder. I had always wanted one. It doesn’t slide, there are no wheels, but it is solid wood and it looks the part. Ready for book retrieval once I get my clothes off it. It doubles as a clothes hanger. Multi-purposing is a good thing, right?

I will not be giving up books entirely. Never. I love to be surrounded my them. I just plan to reduce the number of library books I get out at the same time.

I have a confession to make. I found a library book that had fallen down behind a wooden box. I swore to the librarian that I had returned it months ago. She believed me. I believed me. Beside the book was the soda stream empty canister in its box that I had been looking for for months. I must have emptied out the car twice to no avail. We went out and bought two more canisters. Now we have three spares. Today I will humbly return the book that fell behind the box.

One book at a time.

I need reading in my life. Reading comforts me. It takes me to new and old places. It makes me think, laugh, and cry. It teaches me, it cocoons me in good times and bad, in dark thoughts and sad thoughts. Books are meant to be read. That said words are meant to be written, to be spoken or to be sung. If we are alone who can we share our words and thoughts with? Sharing out thoughts brings togetherness and understanding. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Share your thoughts. I’m listening.

Rising Strong

Rising Strong by Brené Brown is such a good read. I am half way through and I know I should have read Daring Greatly before this but that’s the way the book requests came through, out of order.

Brené Brown is a researcher and delves into emotions such as shame and vulnerability. She focuses her life’s work in areas that most of us would rather not look at. She encourages us to face the uncomfortable and to give it language so we can better deal with our emotions and improve how we act, get up and do it all again.

I have watched many interviews of hers on YouTube, plus her TED Talk and I also read The Gift of Imperfection. As I read her books she narrates in my head. It’s an enjoyable experience. She has a Texan drawl and she tells it like it is. She asks tough questions and interviews countless people to draw conclusions and find answers as to how we think.

A question posed in the chapter I’m reading is:

“Do you think that people are doing the best they can?

What do you think?

.

.

.

I like to think of myself as hopeful and YES I do believe that people are doing the best they can. Even if the person in the car in front cuts me off, I don’t know what’s going through their mind. They may have just lost their job, they may have had terrible news, they may have run out of milk for their baby? I don’t know what is going through their minds or what is in their life. I may swear under my breathe but I leave it at that. At the time we make the best decision or choice as we are able. On the outside it may appear obviously a wrong choice but that is a judgement without all the facts. When we are strong we are able to make better decisions, when we are hurting or struggling we make the best decisions we can at the time.

Here’s to being hopeful.

Will I Ever Be Good Enough?

Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride Ph.d.

I have been quiet on my sober blog for a couple of months. I have been working on myself. Taking the time to decide to stop drinking has been the best decision ever. Being sober is a choice. I think around the six month sober mark you start to feel cocky and you think it is easy to not drink. The occasional thought creeps in telling you wouldn’t it be nice to have a beer or a wine or … I thought about drinking. No that’s not true. Or is it. I thought about the first sip. I did not partake. I thought how far I’d come and stayed true to myself and remained sober. I am sober.

With a clear head and loads more time on my hands I have been reading and using the Internet to heal and grow. That doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s not a destination either. I will never be done being sober. It is a journey of being sober. What I intend to do while being sober is the hard part as I’ve said in the past.

I am dealing with life. I am dealing with feelings and finding out who I really am. I am questioning everything about myself. Do I like or do something because I like it or because someone else suggested it and so I did it or like it. Everything is being turned upside down. Re-examined. The hard part of feelings has begun to been addressed. Sure there are triggers that appear and without warning the PTSD reaction involuntarily shows itself. I’m working on it. Thanks to Karyl McBride.

This book, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride Ph.d.was recommended on a YouTube channel. I looked it up and borrowed it from the library. What perfect timing for this book to come into my life. Such a helpful book to deal with an important relationship, the mother-daughter bond. Not all relationships are meant to be. Families should not always stay together. In our culture this kind of talk is taboo: Don’t talk ill of families or familial relationships. Because of that taboo and the reluctance to talk or discuss this many people feel that they are broken or that there is something wrong with them for not being able to have that ‘good’ close relationship. Chosen families are that because of understanding, commitment, love and other good stuff. Without it they are bound to fail. Your chosen family doesn’t have to be the family you grew up with, it doesn’t have to be the family that gave birth to you. You decide who you want to spend your time with.

Time is precious. Spend it with the ones who deserve your love.

The Joy of being Sober

The Unexpected Joy of being Sober by Catherine Gray

I remember getting it out of the library a couple of years ago. Why do I remember it if I didn’t read it. The cover. A bird flying away from an open cage. I wasn’t ready to be sober then. I requested the book about 4 months ago again. The queue was long. It’s my turn to read it. And I am loving it. It is exactly what I need to read now. I am two weeks shy of being sober 6 months. I know I said I didn’t count the days. I don’t on a daily basis. I’m lucky enough not to need to do it. But 6 months is a milestone. And Catherine Gray’s book is right on schedule to read now. And talk about a popular book. That alone should tell you of the numbers of people wishing to quit drinking and becoming sober. A good thing. Being sober truly is a joy.

Far from finished but I am so enjoying her book. My theme for this year, 2019, for me is care. She mentioned that when we are drunk or thinking about the next drink we are not taking care of ourselves or those around us, our lives or our homes. Admittedly I looked after my cats better than I did myself. Catherine mentions to treat yourself like a toddler. To care for myself, is like relearning all over again. My self care routine was nonexistent. I am learning to be kind to myself. I have quietened the boozy angry bitchy evil voice, the one that treated me worse than an enemy would. I listen to my inner voice now, the kind one, the gentle one, the compassionate one. She is teaching me to be kind to myself again.

Compassion starts at home and is an active daily practice. It is not on a to do list and ticked off, it is something to be repeated and done every day. It doesn’t end. It is a regular action done daily. It is a habit. A good one. Self compassion or self love is a necessary act for one to feel whole. When this practice of self compassion becomes natural and regular then the compassion of/for others flows naturally. Let’s make it contagious.

I love being sober. I do not want to try to be a moderate drinker. I don’t want to drink again. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. Alcohol was a shackle not a crutch said Catherine Gray.

Ramp light Green

Driving in heavy traffic is a breeze for me. I have driven all over the world and Auckland traffic is nothing compared to Tokyo, Barcelona, LA or London. In New Zealand when getting onto the motorway there is a traffic light and during peak times the lights are working, a sign say “Ramp light on.” The lights alternate between green and red to stagger the merging cars and make the motorway flow smoothly.

I feel like my ramp light is green. Green for ‘go.’

Made the bed. Had brunch. Went to the gym. Went to the supermarket. Bought fruit and vegetables. Bought one sweet item. Haribo gummy bears. They have already been consumed. Told you the ramp light was green. I did lots of little jobs that I had planned to do last week but didn’t. They are now done. Told you I like Mondays.

I am starting a digital declutter this May. Let me explain what I mean. I am going to stop mindlessly scrolling on my phone or on the computer or any device and better use my time for non-connected pursuits and time for solitude. I read the book Digital Minimalism and I am going to try it for the month long declutter. It doesn’t mean 100% not touching an app, a phone or looking at a website. You get to choose what you give up. You write it down and ideally stick to it. And at the end of the month hiatus you introduce back into your life what you deem beneficial to your life.

One example is streaming services such as Netflix, HBO or Amazon. I watch too much. Binge watching is a thing. I am not cutting it out completely I am making it a social time. If I watch a streaming service it must be with someone else, not alone. Also in one sitting I will limit myself to 2 episodes if a series or to 1 film.

I have written out a list of what I will not use, what I can use with caveats. I’m sure some tweaking will need to be done as situations arise. The point is to continue with important digital aids that allow you to work, function without losing your job, your life. This is not Extreme Digital Declutter in the Wilds with no cellphone service. I am not holing up in a cabin in the woods for the month. I am home and giving myself the freedom to choose or not choose.

I am treating this as a fun exercise. It is done by choice. It should get me back to pursuits that I ‘don’t have time for’ when really I do. Wish me luck.

I have started already by removing notifications from my phone. I have unsubscribed to mailing lists. I have banned myself from various websites that I glance at and then wonder why I am still there half an hour later.

Kick The Drink…Easily

Kick The Drink…Easily by Jason Vale
Book Review 5/5

Commonsense, straight forward, repetitive in a logical way. Dispels the myths of drinking and encourages the mindset to embrace freedom rather than recovery. Jason Vale is known for his juicing books but I just stumbled upon him with a recommendation from where I don’t remember anymore.So glad I did.

My final drink was over three months ago. So why am I reading this now? It’s a popular book and I was on the waiting list at the library. In every book about alcohol you can gain something positive from it surely. This book has it in bucketfuls.

Not a quick read. I mean it makes you think. You will want to go away and linger over a point. Mull it. Pun intended. And then go back to it. It is not a light read, like a summer novel. I didn’t finish it in one sitting. It took me a week. Unusual for me. It’s an important read. It was for me.

Jason’s style is one you will either run with or despise. He repeats himself, on purpose, to hammer in the importance of his points. As he says alcohol is the mostly widely available, accepted and legal drug in the world. It will not be going away anytime soon. The alcohol industry is a behemoth and all that tax goes to the governments so pulling the plug on that won’t be happening. And besides if we are told no, don’t we want it even more?

This book reinforces the belief that no willpower is required to becoming a non-drinker. I attest to that. The decision to not drink alcohol is a difficult one because we fear it will be difficult. That fear is unfounded. Not drinking is easy. Or it was for me. The decision not to drink was difficult. Fear stopped for ages. That fear was unfounded.

The world for me is newly exciting. I have found confidence, joy, more money in the bank and freedom without alcohol. The advantages are countless. The disadvantages none.

I am running with it, this new found freedom. I am not waiting for something to happen to me. I am living life. I no longer have hangovers. I can drive myself anywhere at anytime. I don’t compare my drinking habits with others. I don’t count my drinks. I don’t count my days not drinking. I am free of it all. It feels good. I feel good.

If you are thinking about taking your last drink or have already taken your last drink you will enjoy this book. Perhaps you wonder what the fuss is all about and are just curious. That’s what started you drinking in the first place. Don’t take my word for it. Read it yourself and make your own mind up.

I am no longer counting…

I am no longer counting the days I am sober. My milestone was 90 days and I am past that now. Am I pleased with myself? Absolutely. Will I remember the one year anniversary when it rolls round later this year? Absolutely. However I will no longer counting my days. Why not? I am free of alcohol. I am not sentenced to 90 days or 6 months sober. I am free of the drug alcohol. I am not deprived by not drinking. I am gaining life. For that I am thankful and grateful.

Kick The Drink…Easily! by Jason Vale.

Just started reading the book and it makes a lot of sense.

Counting days is great if you are counting down, waiting excitedly for a joyous occasion. Those are good counts. Could be a birthday, an anniversary, a new family member, a graduation, a new job, a wedding, or a driver’s license.

Counting up is like wrapping yourself around the anchor of the poison. Instead of releasing yourself you are chaining yourself to the ball of poison. How many links away am I now? 90 links? No matter how far away you are you are still linked to the poison. Today I am breaking that bond.

I was using the website Living Sober to count and would check in every so often and check out the counter there to see how I was doing. Did I need to? No. I knew how I was doing without needing to check. I wanted a number. The bigger the the number the better. I don’t need a number anymore. I am thankful and grateful I don’t drink.

My trainer wheels are off. I am walking on my own two feet. I no longer have to say, one, two, to myself, as I step. I’ve got this.

Back to reading and the garden.

Aren’t I a hypocrite. Didn’t I say I wasn’t counting but then in the very next sentence I say 90 days? I’m confused.
I’m not. This is my logic. It all makes perfect sense. I am linking myself to a date in time. I am not linking myself with a length of time. A length of time takes more calculation and consideration to add up. Whereas a date in time is just that, a date. I am simplifying my life. See, that makes a whole lot of sense, right?

Recovery

Alcoholism is wrapped like a poisonous vine all through New Zealand society. Every magazine, commercial, advertisement, film, book has a mention or a splash of an image of someone enjoying an alcoholic beverage. The drunk ones always have more fun, more confidence, gorgeous friends, they live life to the fool full. They get their hooks into you from youth and cling to your ankles when you try to run away. They offer free drinks, a discount when bought in bulk, wine clubs to help you talk the talk, tastings and trips and a day at the races all sponsored by big brands.

To chose a sober life is conscious choice. The right choice. It is not the easier path. At any function you attend the alcoholic array is endless, the non alcoholic choice is one, orange juice. I haven’t had orange juice in years. I don’t like sickly drinks. Never have. Give me salty, sour or bitter anytime.

I say this but I haven’t been out yet to a western restaurant or bar yet. Asian and Indian restaurants: yes. They serve tea and water without question. There is no awkward pause before saying just water please. I plan to order sparkling water when I do go out where wine is abundantly on the menu. You know but, I keep thinking of all the money I’m saving by not drinking out or at home. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Wise Greg at Club East Indianapolis wrote “… many ….. value the image of recovery over recovery itself.”

I hadn’t thought about recovery at all. And with the image of recovery there’s a disconnect. To me that is something on television or in film. Someone else with a foreign accent. It’s not me. I’m only interested in the internal journey. I hadn’t thought of it as a recovery. My secret is “I never grew up.” My curiosity is endless. This is helping me discover “sober”. Really in essence it is learning to live again fully present.

Even the word alcoholic seems like a foreign word. It doesn’t roll off the tongue easily. It is a word I may think I am but will not speak aloud. Perhaps I am still in denial about this. Acceptance will grow on me.

Scott Peck’s book The Path Less Traveled was an exciting book for me when I read it many moons ago. I took that book to heart and have always forged my own one. To create a new path rather than follow one already ploughed is more difficult but is ultimately more satisfying. It is nice to get pointers and meet like-minded or not along the way. I am tackling this new sober path the same way.

Recovery, discovery, internal journey, whatever you call it I am doing it. I am not here to pretend to be sober. I tell it like it is, how it feels, straight. (How I liked my vodka.) Maybe blunt at times. Honest. Absolutely. Without that I am nothing. I take my life seriously. (I drank seriously too. Look where that got me.) I am loving this new sober me.