Snapdragon Life helps you rekindle your creativity, reconnect to the natural world & create a slower, more intentional, more joyful way of life.

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Time and Self Sabotage

On time and self sabotage by Jane Lindsey

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Self sabotage takes many forms. Most of them half hidden, lurking in the shadows, glimpsed only out of the corner of our eyes.

Last month I finally caught COVID. I was well boosted and it was pretty much fine - four days or so in bed and then the drag of tiredness and low mood that seems to trail after it. But fine.

It left me however feeling a bit ‘behind’. There were a few things that I should have done for people in those days that I spent resting, there were a number of things that I should have got started for the launch of the Studio Club next month. Not masses of things, but enough to make me feel time poor. The rush got into my head.

I began to notice a couple of weeks ago that small things started to go wrong - I accidentally deleted a number of pages on the website, I ordered the wrong kind of embroidery transfer paper to include in A Seasonal Way. I put it down to a post COVID brain fog, shrugged and speeded up.

But instead of getting better, it got worse. I kept making stupid small mistakes. Small mistakes that took ages to sort out - I used the wrong type of survey to gather information about a Studio Club pen pal project and couldn’t access the information, except by going through every single answer, cutting and pasting. I thought that I had broken my camera, but had simply omitted to empty my computer bin and had clogged up the card - it took me two hours of googling panic to remember that was ‘a thing’.

Worst of all - my escapologist puppy Teasel slipped past me as I carelessly opened the front door. He ran into the road, in front of a car, only surviving because our neighbours are careful drivers, had their car window open, heard me scream and slammed on the brakes.

It was when I accidentally refunded the wrong person their Supper Club payment that I looked back and saw the pattern. All these mistakes were things that cost me time. Not money or health or peace of mind (Teasel excepted), but time.

By reverting to my habit of rushing, by not pausing or being present, I had begun to self sabotage. My brain believing that there must be a need for all this speed only gave over part of the attention, skimming, multi-tasking - doing all the things that it used to do back when I was very inefficient and accident prone. All the self sabotaging things that waste time, having to redo, rewrite, reorder. Having to email people to apologise, having to sort information line by line with a marker pen in hand, having to hysterically chase after small dogs and then lie down to recover.

In the past I have had similar things where worrying about lack of money seemed to lead to a myriad of waste and small financial losses, where a period of general health anxiety as I waited a week for test results ‘co-incided’ with me standing on a rusty nail, burning my hand on the oven and walking into a wasps nest. It is as though my mind gets on board with whatever I am worrying about and says ‘bring it on . . . let’s find some more bothersome things on this theme”

So now I know to pay attention - even if it takes me a few weeks to notice the pattern - and pause. I started with a proper analysis of how much I actually need to do in the next three weeks (before I head off on holiday) and was firm about the things that aren’t actually essential, scoring them out with a flourish. Then I began to build gaps and firebreaks back into my days.

I have written about Gaps and Firebreaks before - slivers of time, a stopping and breathing - deliberately put in between activities . This very simple action demonstrates to my brain in a very physical way that there isn’t a rush, that we can stop the speeding skim.

That it is safe to slow down and pay attention.

Thinking a lot about time this week has however been very useful. To have such a practical demonstration of how fickle and false my perception of time can be has been incredibly useful. For I am currently in the middle writing a free, four week course called A Wilder Way which is all about making sure that you have time to do the things you really want to do.

So, if you feel that life is rushing by too fast, and that you are ready to start reclaiming your time, then I would love it if you join me to start rewilding the edges of your life next month. You can sign up to get the weekly emails here.

The course will begin on 2nd September and runs until 23rd September - the Autumn equinox - a time of year that is perfectly aligned for renewal and transformation. It also just happens to be when there is that wonderful ‘back to school’ energy flying around and the lure of the newly sharpened pencil.

sign up to A wilder Way course

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This week’s Friday film is about a trip to London, a tour of the Chelsea Physic garden and filling my home with flowers when I got home. 
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If you are interested you know where to find it 🎥
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These snowdrops are temporarily holidaying in a cup on my bedroom windowsill - looking out at their rather battered friends outside. 
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I’m planning a new part of the garden at the moment and these will be part of a spreading about of the spring bulbs.

Pioneers.
There is a point when the sun slants in and all the dried seed heads which have decorated the house over winter suddenly look dusty and dull.
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I have a visceral need to be surrounded by things that are growing and green.
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There is a video over on YouTube about planting up winter aconites and spring bulbs - I have these on my desk at the moment and every now and again there is a wonderful waft of scent reaches me.
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For Studio Clubbers there is now a whole module on planting up bulbs indoors in the Fire and Frost course.  What varieties are best, where to get them, how to treat them and answers to a whole load of questions.
When my daughters were tiny I made their clothes - bright colourwork jumpers, patchwork dungarees, layer upon layer of pattern. 
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Then - ridiculously early it seemed to me - they wanted to choose their own outfits and quickly favoured whatever was fashionable, only available from mainstream shops and my needles were no longer needed. 
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I’m now delighted that two decades on I’m back in action. This is the start of a mend - on my eldest daughter's denim jumpsuit.  The under arm seam was ripped so I'm transforming it with linen flowers.
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You can see more of it in last week's Studio Vlog on YouTube . . 
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I love the idea that the mending will make the jumpsuit into something completely different. That it is as bright and clashing as her toddler clothes. 
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I’ve also been asked for mittens . . .
Today’s Friday letter is all about two steps I took last year which really helped with feelings of being overwhelmed. 
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Today’s Friday film is about a walk by Loch Lomond and just sitting and taking it all in and how that helps manage symptoms of my autoimmune disease. 
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If you want to know more about either (or both) you can find the details up in my link.

I’ve been in London for a couple of days - to see @thenotgodcomplex perform at The Vaults - now heading back North to see @marychapincarpenter and @karinepolwart at Celtic Connections. 💚
This photo is from last year - we are still a week or two away from full blooms.
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But yesterday, lying on my front in the sodden grass and filming snowdrops, the soundtrack was birds in the birch tree above me.
I still have no water in the Studio. 

On Thursday when I walked up to the kitchen to make a coffee, the sun was streaming into the kitchen.
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I can't properly express how happy that makes me. 
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Beauty in the every day. 
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Obviously I'm well past tidying up for photos.
I wonder if it is just when the light is least that I notice it most.  The shadow of birch leaves on our bed as I passed to top up the bird feeders.
Loch Lomond is high at the moment - the beaches gone, the stepping stones to cross burns under water. 
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Sitting, well wrapped up, leaning against a tree on the top path - listening to the waves and watching a cormorant dive - it felt like the sea.

#lochlomond
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I help bring the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

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