As well as recording what we did and what we looked like and how I felt about things, I want record some of the things that interested me, what made me think, what I listened to and watched that fed my thoughts.
So here are a few things I've found to be really interesting and that I've discussed with Jared and other friends lately:
Alaa Murabit: What My Religion Really Says About Women - I've always wanted to understand more about Islam and about what Muslim women think about their religion - this was very insightful - great to see a faithful woman explain how her devotion to her faith can be compatible with her belief that women and men are equal and that women's voices need to be heard in religion.
Brene Brown: On Vulnerability - The one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we're not worthy of connection; we can't treat others with real compassion if we don't show compassion to ourselves; people who are really good at connecting with others are generally people who can see that what makes them vulnerable also makes them beautiful. When we numb our worries and fears, we also numb joy and excitement and other positive emotions. Tips to enbrace vulnerability and find more connection: let yourself be seen - really seen, love with your whole heart (even though there's no guarantee), practice gratitude and joy (realize that even in the worst of times, there is so much to be grateful for and the more we focus there, the better we feel), embrace "I am enough."
I recently discovered the NPR podcast, Invisibilia (thanks to my sister Saydi). I love it! So much great food for thought. I've listened to all the episodes I could find during my runs over the past month or so. My brain really got whiring as I listened to each of the episodes linked below and I loved discussing a few of them with a friend on my hike on Wednesday - nothing like a good invigorating discussiong during a slightly-rainy, very sweaty, super-beautiful hike!
Fearless - We are wired to react strongly to fear as part of our nature - to keep us safe. But in today's world, we don't have that many real threats but do have TONS of exposure to scary things thanks to the Internet and the news so we have the fear centers of our brains lighting up ALL the time and that isn't so good for us (perhaps this is why there's so much anxiety in today's world? And this is certainly why our children don't have the freedom they need to develop properly...). Does fear really help us? (Story of a woman who actually cannot feel fear at all and how that affects her.) Can we get rid of certain fears through deeper understanding of whatever we're afraid of?
The Secret History of Thoughts - Do our thoughts really matter? When we have crazy thoughts, does that pretty much always mean there's some underlying issue in our past that needs to be resolved? (this would be Freud's theory) Or are some thoughts just dumb random things that pop into our heads and that we should learn to ignore? (a newer theory on thoughts that's become popular). Super interesting story about a kid who was assumed to be a vegetable for many many years but who was actually totally aware of everything going on but had no way to indicate to his parents or others around him that he was "in there." He had to live entirely alone in his own thoughts for many years - how he made that work...
I listened to this while running today - it put into words many of my own thoughts about how religion and science can work hand in hand:
A Climate for Change
Also, I've been reading the scriptures in a deeper and more meaningful way than I have in years (I've got this challenge going on with my mom and sisters where we're all trying to make sure we do serious sit-down scripture study for at least 20 minutes a day, at least 6 days a week. I have to admit I haven't been as consistent and thorough with this as I want to be but I'm working on it and I'm doing a lot more scripture study that I was before this challenge started so even if it's not 20 minutes 6 days a week, it's 10-15 minutes pretty much every day and 20 minutes more and more days...). I've found that my days go SO much better when I take some time for personal scripture study and reflection on how I can apply what I'm reading to my life. I'm following the New Testament reading guide for Sunday School this year - I just love the New Testament so much and Paul is one super interesting guy (we're in Acts right now). Once you get into it, the stories are compelling and there is so much to think about and learn.
I've also been thinking a lot lately about how my life is just too jam-packed and about how totally tired I am so much of the time. I've been feeling totally overwhelmed - and totally unsure about what to do about that. Everything I'm doing seems pretty necessary - and/or it feels even more overwhelming to figure out how to get out of doing any of the things I'm doing. I know that everything will feel more manageable if I do a better job protecting my sleep so I'll start with working on that. Getting up at 6:30 every morning now that school is back in session has been brutal when it's so hard to get to bed at a decent hour (our evenings are just so darn packed!). And I naively thought that once the kids were back in school, I'd be able to get my feet back under me as far as all the Power of Moms and Joy School work that piled up while I was trying to minimize my time on the computer in the summer. Every day since school starts, it seems like there's been something that I need to do that doesn't allow me the blocks of time I need to get stuff done while the kids are at school. There have been dr appointments for sports physicals and immunizations, there have been meetings, and I've needed to help Ashton manage his time since he didn't start school when the other kids did plus he needed rides home from football practice and we had apointments at his school to get him situated in the exciting and scary new world of high school....
Anyway, I'll let you know how this goes. But send some positive thoughts my way as I try to figure out how to get my life going at a more manageable pace!