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Time and Self Sabotage

On time and self sabotage by Jane Lindsey


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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Snapdragon social

Stillness is such a difficult skill to acquire.  I suspect that so much of the rushing about that we do is simply an attempt to avoid being still.
For if we stopped, paid attention to ourselves, to the world around us, let everything sink in - well that might be very scary.
But I do think it is the most important skill - a five minute pause, a checking in.  I'm not talking about meditation here - nothing as formal as that - just a stilling and listening and paying attention. Appreciation, recognition, renewal.
It is something that I am very bad at by nature - but I have been taking lessons from Dixie. 

For if a spaniel can relax into stillness, nosing into a shaft of sunshine, then I'm sure I can.
Teasel isn't quite there yet.

#aseasonalway #springerspaniel #springerspanielsofinstagram #slowlivingforlife #lessonsfromdogs #bringyourdogtowork #storiesoftheeveryday
One thing that gardening teaches you year on year is that so much is beyond your control. Some things will thrive, others won’t, and mostly it will be nothing to do with anything you’ve done. 
Some years will be great for one crop, terrible for another. This is a great year for garlic here, awful for beans. 

It’s the same with business - a lot of things happen that are due to the ‘weather’ of the world. We can pivot and turn, change our tactics, Google ‘how to make reels’ and so on - but we can also choose to embrace and lean into what is working well. 

My Friday letter today is about social media and all the ways I’ve used to connect with people over the past 21 years - if you fancy a read you can sign up in my profile. 

And in the meantime I’d love to know what’s growing well for you. Or indeed, what has been a disaster! 

#theartofslowliving #livethelittlethings #nothingisordinary #natureandnourish #embracingaslowerlife #aseasonalway #seekthesimplicity #scotlandsgardens #growyourownfood #cornersofmyworld #greenthumb #rusticgamesttong #cornersofmyworld #simpleandstill #vintagegreenhouse
Each year I have a personal project running.  Something just for me. Something that allows me to experiment and play. 
The first year that I became obsessed with using the plants here to dye textiles - back in 2019 - it was twelve skeins of a raw slubby silk yarn that I  had been hoarding for decades. They became a patchwork cable blanket that now sits on the back of the sofa.
In 2020 it was double knitting yarns, in dozens of colours, knitted into a stripy jumper to keep me cosy in the Studio.
Last year I dyed linens and am gradually making them into patchworks and appliqués - many I am squirrelling away for a project that I may or may not ever begin.
This year I am using mini skeins - in an attempt to keep it more manageable - and exploring the differences in colour caused by the pH of the original extraction. 
There are four skeins for each plant, two for neutral extraction, two for alkali - with one of each pair being dipped in iron to 'sadden' the colour.
If science had been like this at school I might have paid more attention . . . .

#botanicaldye #alchemy #growyourowncolour #gameoftones #plantdyed #naturallydyedwool #plantdyersofinstagram #craftwithconscience
#shadesofnature #extractedfromnature #inspiredbynaturesbeauty #plantdyedyarn #naturaldyedyarn #foragedcolour
This is a tomato salad that was inspired by one I ate a few years ago in a cafe in Mingun, Myanmar,
There it was mainly made with green tomatoes, sharp against the shrimp powder.
In Myanmar the military junta have begun to execute activists arrested after the coup in February 2021. The brutality and violence continue, the quashing of democracy, the corruption. 

11,759 people, arrested after the coup, remain in detention, 78 people, including two children, have been sentenced to death.
You won't usually find much out about Myanmar in the 'fed to you' media, but this week there has been reporting and a Dispatches programme about mass killings  was on Channel 4 on Monday.  The Guardian has consistently been the newspaper reporting most on the aftermath of the coup and you can also follow hashtags like #whatishappeninginmyamar here. 
There may seem little we can actively do about the horrors in the world, but people involved always say that what matters is knowing that people care, bear witness and don’t simply forget when the news cycle moves on.
We always have a slight breeze here - a blessing as it stops the midges flying.
It often gets up at night after a warm day, seeming to breathe its way round corners. 
If you walk through the garden in the evening at the moment, the scent of Lilium regale drifts about you in eddies of spice.

#simpleandstill #capturequiet #beautyyouseek #calm_collected #aseasonalway #aseasonalshift #cornersofmyworld #slowlived #slowandsimpledays #quietchaotics #ofsimplethings #beautyinsimplicity #floralstories #allthingsbotanical #underthefloralspell #livethelittlethings #thehappynow #ihavethisthingwithflowers #moodforfloral #aseasonalway #slowlivingforlife #aflowerfilledlife
The more I travel down this road the more I realise that deciding how you live, which values you honour, what you will prioritise all have to be deliberately chosen. 
You can’t just drift into a slower, more intentional life. 
You can’t buy it. 
You have to make a commitment to actually live it. 
And that’s not always easy. 
It is why I go to events like last weekend’s summer camp @thegoodlifesoc . 
It is also why I surround myself with a supportive community where my choices don’t seem weird.

It is why my to do list today has sitting with a coffee taking in the swoony scent of the sweet peas on it. 

#howihueit #simpleandstill #capturequiet #beautyyouseek #calm_collected #aseasonalway #aseasonalshift #cornersofmyworld #slowlived #slowandsimpledays #quietchaotics #ofsimplethings #beautyinsimplicity #floralstories #allthingsbotanical #livethelittlethings #thehappynow #ihavethisthingwithflowers #moodforfloral #cornersofmyhome #aseasonalway #slowlivingforlife #aflowerfilledlife
This is the actual physical Studio.
It is a little cabin between meadow and wood - a space for creativity and connection a space that I deliberately and intentionally worked towards for a number of years.  There is a sunny deck looking onto trees for the summer, a wood burning stove for the winter.
The Studio is also another thing - it is a club of amazing people who are intentionally prioritising their creativity and connection to the natural world. 
It is a community of great humour, support and inspiration - the best thing that I have ever had a hand in.
The Studio Club is closed to new members at the moment and the doors will open to new members again on the Autumn Equinox. 

I'm currently working with @fbarrows, who is providing a gentle and encouraging outside eye, as I decide on what we will be doing in the club over the next six months.
I've been surveying all the members to find out exactly what it is they enjoy most, what they feel I could do better. 

In this week’s Friday letter I've included a link to a short survey, because I  think it would also be useful to know what people who follow me, but are not members, feel about these things. 
If you get it, it would help me so much if you could take a minute to fill it out - there are only five questions and there is also a bribe . . . .

#slowlivingforlife #simplelife #whereiwork #simpleandslow #creativelifehappylife
The more we actively take time to pause, to sit still and watch, the more we see. 
My Friday Letter this week is all about taking advantage of some unwanted early wakening and starting to use the binoculars which have been hanging on the coat rail for eighteen months.
Twenty minutes with a cup of tea, the binoculars and a lawn full of early birds and their worms.


About Snapdragon Life

In the Studio Club I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Find out more about The Studio Club