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  • Takeaways: How's that working for me?

    And here is where I report on whether and how I did anything different as a result of my reading. 

    Nothing fussy, just a little update as we go.

    The BookThe TakeawayHow'd that go?
    Next time someone shares bad news, listen kindly and stay stumm. Repeat forever.

    1. Buy bulk cheese

    2. Write every day

    Funny thing about this: I've stopped eating cheese. NEVER thought that would happen - it used to be my go-to lunch - but the vegetables have crowded it out. 

    As of Jan 1, 2017, I am NOT writing every day.

    Cook a fresh pot of brown rice every Sunday night, so it's ready to go The easiest thing I've ever done to take care of Future Me. One cup of dry rice or quinoa = a week of lunch bases, ready to be steamed and eaten with store-bought hummus, felafel, avocado, harissa, roast or steamed veggies, all manner of dinner leftovers. BIG WIN.
    Write out a "thoroughbred" Rx, from Dr Max to Patient Max Done! It's really simple, my Rx: foot exercises daily, strength training 3x/week, and a big bowl of vegetables for lunch every working day. 

    ACTUALLY performing it is another matter, of course. But things are looking pretty good, as of the New Year.

  • Love Warrior

    Max's Notes are my personal takeaways. No background at all, just the standout usable bits I want to remember from my reading. If I write about a book here, you can know that I found it sane and useful - and most likely it made me laugh.

    Use at will! Take what you need, leave the rest.

    Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton

    The "representative": a false self that Glennon sends to attend high school and take her real self's place in other dangerous environments. This representative eventually becomes a problem for her, especially in marriage.

    Note to self: GDM may fire her representative in favor of living in a fully authentic manner everywhere she goes, but I love the notion of a representative. Personally, I have several representatives on staff. I'd never promote one to CEO, but they're fantastic for talking to bank managers and cops and the IRS.

    How (NOT) to respond to someone else's calamity:

    • Shovers cram your tragedy into their story, and make everything tidy. "Everything happens for a reason! You'll be fine! Off you go now! I've fixed you and given you hope!"  
    • Comparers got no room for your particular grief. It's just like theirs, or someone they know. "Why you acting like a baby? Nothing special about you, twas ever thus, I got more examples if you want em."
    • Fixers know exactly how to clean up this catastrophe. They read a book about it and if you can hang on for a second, they'll look up the title. "No need to spend one more moment in pain if you will just do what I am telling you."
    • Reporters are just connecting so they can extract the juicy details and pass them on ASAP, usually under the cover of concern.
    • Victims are people who are wounded that they didn't hear news of your troubles sooner, from you. Why didn't you call them right away? "I thought we were friends!"
    • God Reps (few in my world, but if you go to church, and Glennon does, I guess you're pretty vulnerable to this class of hardship vulture) need to tell you what Jesus wants you to do about your difficulties. Since God religions are mostly, by definition, patriarchal, this kind of approach is going to stick in your feminist craw. 

    Note to self: Obviously, there's only one way to receive news of someone else's devastation: Listen without prejudice, unless they're paying me for advice.

    Very important corollary note to self: When anyone offers unsolicited advice, it is safe to assume that anything they say is about them, and not you.

    ^^^ This is why I read books like Love Warrior. Not for advice, but for backup.

    Quote

    "I'd rather lose [Craig, Glennon's husband] forever than lose myself ever again. I will never abandon myself again. That is all I know." 

    Takeaway, or One Thing I Will Do Different Now

    Next time someone shares bad news, listen kindly and stay stumm. Repeat forever.

  • Max's Notes: Year of Yes

    Like CliffsNotes, only not. Max's Notes are my personal takeaways. No background at all, just the standout usable bits I want to remember from my reading.

    If I write about a book here, you can know that I found it sane, useful and funny. Take what you need, leave the rest.

    Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes

    Say Yes to compliments. This is just one of the practices in Year of Yes that are similar to some School of Womanly Arts tools - others are Bragging, Yessing (the negative), the solo Dance Party, and the Runway, which Shonda calls Swagger <- YES to that!

    Write every day. It's like running every day. Keep yourself fit so you can get to the good stuff faster. EVERY. DAY.

    When someone says something passive-aggressive, respond with a simple "What did you mean by that?"  instead of ignoring it, stewing over it, or escalating. They might not even be aware they said it out loud.

    "You just have to train yourself to love salads." --Betsy Beers, Friend of Shonda. Like Shonda, I thought that was some kind of punitive restricting dressed up as being healthy. I've rearranged my thinking about that as I've trained myself to love vegetables more than cheese-n-bread.

    Quote

    "Bulk cheese never hurt nobody."

    Takeaway, or One Thing I Will Do Different Now

    As Mr Jones thinks that my love of good cheese is the thing that will turn him into a bag lady, I have begun to say Yes to bulk cheese.

    First, though, I priced Velveeta because I thought it would be good for big lulz when Mr Jones opened the cheese drawer. Guess what? Velveeta is expensive, y'all. You might as well get Mt. Tam.

    One thing I am working up to doing different: Writing every day.

  • Max's Notes: Better Than Before

    Max's Notes are my personal takeaways. No background at all, just the standout usable bits I want to remember from my reading. If I write about a book here, you can know that I found it sane and useful - and most likely it made me laugh.

    Use at will! Take what you need, leave the rest.

    Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin

    "Every time you break the law, you pay, and every time you obey the law, you pay." -John Gardner [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

    "Identify the problem" [suck list, 5 why's]

    Bedmaking correlates with wellbeing

    Foundation! First things first - and we decide what's first.

    "Obligers" really do want accountabilitiy

    Therapists teach you to be accountable to yourself. Coaches keep you accountable to the coach. [MAYBE.]

    People will pay more to get less of a desirably bad thing (Halloween candy)

    Nuclear option: Donate to terrorists if you don't keep your commitment. UGH.

    "Starting is harder than continuing."

    "'NOW' is a an unpopular time to take a first step."

    If asked to commit to something far in the future, imagine it's happening next week - or tomorrow - to get your real answer

    No finish line

    Abstainers and moderators are VERY DIFFERENT [People Vary] - and very judgemental of each other

    Make it EASY to do what's good

    Make it HARD to do what's bad

    Inconvenience strategies:

    • Increase energy required (put things away)
    • Hide cues
    • Delay (expl: email only after 11am)
    • incompatible activity / distraction
    • raise cost (tax)
    • block altogether (expl: toss tv)

    PLAN FOR STUMBLES (use if/then rules)

    A stumble is not a reason to give up

    It's VERY hard to get up. Try to avoid stumbling AMAP even tho you can't avoid them completely.

    Rather than "starting tomorrow" maybe think about morning, midday, afternoon and evening. If you "blow it" in the morning, you can still reset today.

    Consumption snobbery is a GOOD HABIT

    Wait 15 minutes / distractions

    Pairing: When I do X, I do Y also (physical therapy and podcasts; mascara and meds)

    Get clear about what you REALLY want (i.e., identify the problem). Do you want to spend $$$ on couples therapy? Or could you just spend $ on hiring a cleaner?

    Identity: "I'm FUSSY. I'm the FUSSY one."

    Takeaway, or One Thing I Will Do Different Now

    • Cook a fresh pot of brown rice on Sunday evenings, so it's ready to go for weekday lunch base (make it EASY to do what's good)

  • Introducing Max's Notes: 10% Happier, by Dan Harris

    Have you ever looked at CliffsNotes? I've never actually used them for academic purposes, but I glanced into one in the shop one day. My impression was one of very thoughtful analysis. Masterful summing-up. Solid, if somewhat neutral, discussion of the text. A thoroughly reliable background for anyone needing the fundamentals. 

    This ain't that. Max's Notes are my personal takeaways. No background at all, just the standout usable bits that I want to remember. If I write about a book here, you can know that I found it sane, useful, and quite funny.

    Use at will! Take what you need, leave the rest.

    10% Happier, by Dan Harris

    Harris's shrink's addiction recovery Rx: "Care for yourself as you would a thoroughbred"

    The mind's activity is like the waterfall; meditation gives you access to the space behind the waterfall

    Tara Brach's RAIN method:

    • Recognise
    • Allow
    • Investigate [bodily sensations]
    • Non-identification

    HHDL: Compassion benefits itself. Be wise selfish, not foolish selfish.

    Yale study of default mode network (DMN) [Damn!] (The part of the brain that ruminates about past, fantasizes, obsesses about self, projects future.) This is deactivated in meditation, but also in meditators NOT meditating. "In other words, meditation created a new default network," i.e., being here now, all of which = neuroplasticity, or retraining the brain.

    "Suffering" is a bad translation. We should say "ultimately unreliable or dissatisfying because nothing is permanent" or "stressful."

    Military personnel describe that under stress, their "training kicks in." THAT'S WHAT I WANT: THOROUGHBRED training, tho - not killer training.

    Multitasking is something a computer with multiprocessors can do. We have ONE processor.

    Epiphany engineering: Think hard, focus, research, then DROP IT

    "Most Americans didn't brush their teeth until WWII" - soldiers had the habit imposed, and then spread it. "Public health revolutions can happen quite rapidly."

    Takeaway, or One Thing I Will Do Different Now

    • Write out a "thoroughbred" Rx, from Dr Max to Patient Max