Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Digital Migration; A Physical Migration


I know it's been very quiet here on Sandying. So you'll have to excuse me.  I have important news to share.

First, if you follow me on Facebook, you may already know the big physical change.  I'm moving to the Berkshires at the end of the summer!  I will soon be the residence director of the Thai massage school I studied at earlier this year.

That said, I've had a digital change in progress for quite some time.  My blog is moving to my new digital home: SandyKalik.com.  Come visit me there.  This will be my last post on Sandying.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

System Overload & a Pragmatic Approach to Meditation

Do you know that feeling when you're doing so many things, you just can't possibly do everything impeccably?  Our modern lives often demand this constant multitasking - make this call, type up meeting notes, take out the trash - and we're all toting the hardware (smart phone, laptop, mic'd headphones) to allow ourselves to be efficient enough to do it all at once.  Because we're taught that efficiency is time management. Time management is getting everything done in shorter and shorter amounts of time. Push, pull. Run. Run. Push, run, pull, run...

At a certain point, the mind stops being able to hold it all.  What was I just doing? Why did I open a new tab on my browser? And then you start forgetting things.  The obvious little things.  The car keys. The cell phone -- how could you possibly have forgotten your phone? What if you get a text and don't reply right away? Everyone will feel so slighted by your forgetfulness.

You get the idea.  It's really all gotten out of hand.  Hasn't it?

If you're feeling overwhelmed, the idea of sitting still and "calming the mind" can actually be anxiety provoking.  Where are you going to get the time for that? I've got so many other things to do. I can't just sit and do nothing, can I?

Well, maybe someday.  But if it's stressing you out to be still, you can notice it and make a study of it.  Ultimately though, it just might not be right for you in the moment.  So what is a zen-seeker to do?

Write it all down. When your mind is spinning circles on the hamster wheel of nonsense, pull it all out of your head.  Start journaling. If you can organize all the thoughts, or simply get them out of your head for a little while, you just might find a little space for calm.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Feel Like Letting Go?

Yesterday, I googled "Letting Go" hoping to find the Nicki Minaj / Sean Kingston track on YouTube.  Search is a wonderful tool for instant gratification.

Of course, I got my musical fix, but in the process of googling, I stumbled on these lovely "letting go" related images.  On the left, we have reassurance that everything will be ok when you do let go. On the right, a depiction of one of the many thoughts worth letting go of.

"Fear of not being good enough" -- that's one I hold on to for whatever reason.

Maybe it has something to do with the past, maybe it doesn't. Maybe it's just a bad habit or negative thought code.  Whatever it is, write it on a piece of paper and let it burn; write it on your hand and let it wash away; write it on a leaf and let it float away.

Do you have a good letting go ritual? Please share!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Of Machines and Men

Between all the talk of IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson and my speed viewing of the current run of Doctor Who, I've had robots on the brain.  The sudden prevalence of robotics, or just the awareness of them, prompted the obvious thought: what if I could have a robot do that instead?

Think about it, as a communications person, I'm sure you've day dreamt about never having to build another contact database or pleasantly smile through a series of media brush offs. It would be nice if for all the times we're expected to be inhuman machines, there could simply be a machine to take on that task.

And what of the demands of modern communication? Scheduled deliverables like blog posts, newsletters, event reminders? Surely a machine would be better at that too, right? They are remarkably punctual.

Machines do remember perfectly.  So let's just let them do that for us too.  In case we forget how to tell, the computers can remind us when to plant and harvest food.  They can tell us when to sleep and wake up, procreate and eat.  Why bother committing any sort of trivia to memory? Just Google it. The computer has the answer.

Robots don't get hurt feelings. Robots don't forget. Robots are the future!

Trouble is linear thought and very large databases can only carry you so far. Creation, innovation, inspiration: these are humanity's real gifts.  Sure, life is fragile, but so is a commercial power supply. You know what I'm saying?

Part of why the Cybermen are so amusing and frightening as an ongoing Doctor Who enemy is that viewers are forced to review their (our) relationship to the machines we rely on for daily life now. Another reason this consistent foe always gets me is the way they view emotions as a weakness, a human flaw.

Human Flaws
We humans are imperfectly outstanding.  Loving and compassionate. Brilliant in our flaws.  Sinister and clever.  And increasingly, we are reliant on technology.  In time, it could be a curse; or it could be our salvation. For this exact moment in time, however, one of our greatest flaws is this notion that we ought to be more like machines.  Feel everything. That's our greatest distinction.

At least that's what I'd like to believe.  What's the alternative?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Studying and the Future of Sandying

All's quiet on Sandying these days. You see, I've been off studying a lot, and plotting a super secret thing.

The super secret thing I've been working on is my future digital home.  SandyKalik.com is most definitely a work in progress (just like the rest of me).  But if you have thoughts or resources on a blogger to wordpress migration, I'd be grateful!  Eventually, I'll be moving the blog over to the new site.

For my physical mind and body, I've been doing a lot of studying.  My 500 hour teacher training with Daniel Orlansky at the Arlington Center continues; the most recent module was yoga therapeutics with Doug Keller, and before that Daniel taught two modules on Meridian Yoga (you can read more about that system here).  In between Meridian and therapeutics, I've been rocking out with Ana Forrest and soaking in the encyclopedia of anatomy knowledge from Ms. Ellen Heed.

A Few Take-Aways 
To summarize all these trainings would take me a while, so I'm going to share the top-of-mind goodies. Some these are just amusing, some are terribly practical, some of these might just make you scratch your head.  You be the judge.

"Don't be a sacrificial whore." - Ana Forrest

"We're very conditioned by the masculine norm; different does not mean inferior." - Ellen Heed

Scars may heal on the surface skin, but the fascial layers may still be affected.  - via Ellen Heed (for more on this watch Gil Hedley on The Fuzz)

"If your body were meant to be sitting all day, we'd be made out of blocks." - Doug Keller

"Feet connect to core." - Doug Keller

"Your roll just might be your closest friend. Who else is going to get that close to your sh*t and stay?" - Ana Forrest (on taking cobra and bow over a rolled up mat)

Somehow Ellen Heed managed to engage a room of adults in conversations about anal massage, gut flora and fisting in a totally clinical and practical way--all of which I would have been incredibly resistant to hearing about or discussing in most any other context.  I'm told there's more to it all in her Women's Sacred Anatomy Training.  We'll have to see if I can keep a straight face though.

Do you find that training and learning only makes you hungry for more?  Right now I'm looking into more Ellen Heed trainings, an Acroyoga immersion in September and a yin yoga teacher training.  What are you studying these days?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

By Request, Another R&R Playlist Post

I've been recycling all of my favorite R&R playlists.  This playlist, which I played most recently on Sunday, was originally created for back in November.  I really appreciate the

You'll see that the majority is comprised of songs by artists ANAHATA and Anugama, but the song that I was asked about was the odd duck. deep sky meditation, by deep sky diver, is an extract that they make publicly available online.

Here's the full list: (song title, artist, album information when available)
Shumayela, ANAHATA
Silent Moment, ANAHATA
Healing Earth (Earth Frequency Meditation), Anugama, Healing (Relaxation Environment)
Flying to Earth, ANAHATA
deep sky meditation (extract), deep sky divers
Sweetness of the Earth, Anugama, Shamanic Dream II
MysticalTrance, Anugama, Shamanic Dream I 

Visit Anahatas.com for links to download ANAHATA's songs. For Anugama, follow the link for the full album (above). For deep sky diver's music, visit that artist's download page here.

What I love about the songs on this particular list is the mix of nature sounds (water, birds, etc.) and soothing tones.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting Started is the Hardest Part

I stumbled on this graphic today while working on a slide deck for a new business meeting we have this week.  I had typed objectives into google's image search in the hopes of finding a proper bulls' eye or something goal-related.  I found what I was looking for (thank you Google), and passed the deck to the next person, but something about this image struck me.

Whenever I sit down and think about my goals, whether it's to write more on my blog, clean out my closet, or apply to grad school, I might get so far as to put them down on paper, but then I stop.  The paper gets buried. Or I change journals. Or I change locations. Or I change focus (work, fella, family, friends).

The first step is the hardest. 

Making lofty lists is a great tool for self discovery.  But taking steps down the path of dreams can be a daunting proposition if you're content enough with how things are, or even if you're not.  Change freaks people out.  Doing something different freaks people out.  Trying something new? That really freaks people out.

There are a few projects that I've been thinking about now for ages.  Many of them are sitting around as scribbles in notebooks or half written blog posts or as conversation pieces.  I think it might be time to get started.

What do you think? Is getting started goal-worthy?  For what it's worth, I say hell yea!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Playlist Post: Sunday R&R

On Sunday, a student requested that I share my R&R playlist.  Apologies for the delay, I've been debating the ethics of posting the whole playlist up for download.  The jury is still out on the whole sharing vs. stealing issue, but here's the full playlist. And I've included links to the albums that can be purchased online.

Title, Artist, Album
Morning Meditation, Ali Akbar Khan, Planet Yoga - Music for Yoga
three miracles, Vin Mitchell, Chasing God
Zenith, Benjy Wertheimer, Planet Yoga - Music for Yoga
Misty, Kitaro, Music for Yoga
Little Flowers / Speaking in Tongues, Vin Mitchell, Chasing God
Meditation of the Night, Benjy Wertheimer, Planet Yoga - Music for Yoga
Meditations of a Sacred Sinner, Vin Mitchell, Chasing God

Quick searches of Planet Yoga and Music for Yoga returned plenty of torrents, if that's the route you'd prefer to go.

The music on this list is pretty chill and could be used for a home meditation practice as well.  I love Vin's guitar riffs, there's simultaneously an old-west feel and traditional eastern elements. Lovely.

Friday, February 11, 2011

For All Your Snow Day Needs - Activities for Indoor & Outdoor Snow Bunnies

Photo by Arthennessey on Flickr
Us New Englanders have been in the thick of winter for quite a while now.  And of course, I'm looking forward to the warmth of spring, and wearing flip flops well before the temperature actually warrants it.  However, there's more snow projected for this weekend, so it seemed like a good time to list some activities for all the snow lovers and those less than pleased with winter's dander.

For rhe Great (Snowy) Outdoors
  • Make snow angels
    • I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't made snow angels since I was a freshman in college, which really means it's been too long, especially when you factor in how much snow we've gotten this year alone.
  • Throw a snowball
    • You really can't go wrong with this one... unless you miss your mark. Oops.
  • Snowshoe to work (or anywhere you need to go)
    • Or to the public transit that will get you to your final destination. It's environmentally friendly, a workout, and makes passersby chuckle.
  • Polar Bear Plunge
    • Irregardless of the fact that I think people who skinny dip through holes in ice may have lost a few too many marbles, this one goes on the bucket list. May be this year is the year. 
  • Snowman scene
    • Instead of making a lame and lonely single snowman, create a whole snow family. There's plenty of a snow around, so go big!

The Warmer Indoors
  • Hibernate
    • Seriously, sometimes it's just nice to nestle in with a blanket, a book, or a whole season of Mad Men or Rome. (Thanks to @hublawer for that last one.)
  • Stock up on tea
    • A hot cup of tea with honey, lemon or even milk, if you're one of those people (I am), warms you from the inside out. Nummy, yum, yum.
  • Build a fire
    • A fireplace would be ideal; however, if you don't happen to have one, I hear the MBTA may have a few steel reinforced trash cans they'd part with on the cheap. (Seriously though, do not set a fire in a trash can, no matter how safe it seems. I don't want to get sued. Thanks.)
  • Prepare food
    • Get your crockpot started in on dinner when you first wake up.  Turn the waffle maker on for breakfast. And get the oven going for all your baking delight. If your food projects don't turn out, you'll probably have heated up the place trying.
  • Roll out your mat
    • I suppose you could expect this from a yoga teacher, but one of the best snow days I've had this year was largely because I rolled my mat out well before everyone else woke up and rocked a home practice.  And because I had practiced, I didn't mind leading a class in the living room for everyone else a few hours later.  If you don't happen to have a yoga teacher spending the night in your place, there are great resources available online (Yoga Zone on Hulu, MyYogaOnline, and Yoga Vermont on YouTube). 
If we actually get any more snow, how will you pass the time?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

IT Amusement - Educate Yourself Before You Ask for Help

PassiveAggressiveNotes.com original post
As a social media strategist, people often assume that I know a lot about the deep interworkings of the interwebs, information technology, etc.  Admittedly, I probably know more about tech related stuff than the average duck.  But I'm no IT expert.

That said, I found this recent contribution to Passive Aggressive Notes to be hilariously accurate. Not only does it summarize basic trouble shooting and customer support, if you've ever been on the wrong side of the blue screen of death, now you know how to troubleshoot for yourself.

Good for a laugh.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why No More Anonymity Here?

Yesterday, I made the decision to require some sort of login to post a comment on this blog.  It's a step I've been reluctant to take (though I've talked about it some here) because I understand the role anonymity can play in sharing certain aspects of self or personal history; however, I've found with regards to the comments on this blog, anonymity has simply NOT aided in the creation of open dialogue or a candid space to share.  Rather, I've found that the majority of the anonymous comments to be posted on this blog are just snide remarks the author didn't want to sign their name on.  The most recent of these unnecessary and bitchy comments came in yesterday.

Admittedly, I've been processing some frustrations in my home life that have probably lead me to be a little less easy going than usual.  But the specific comment that brought on this shift in policy came in on a post that I wrote in 2008, almost three years ago.  As a means to help me adjust to working with a new team, someone I had been working with told me, "you attract more flies with honey." Though I believe the person giving the advise had the best intentions, I was having a hard time adjusting to the overly artificial, saccharine demeanor a few of my coworkers put on.  I recognized it was a way to handle a difficult personality that we all were interacting with, and yet the fake-ness of the whole thing made it hard to trust the whole team.  In my post, "You Attract More Flies with Honey?"I indirectly sought to explain why I found the phrase irksome, without talking about the work situation.

Although the post was written in 2008, I've received comments on it in April 2010 and one yesterday:

Image from CoolestGadgets.com
Anonymous said...
you attract even more with dog shit so what's the point
Sandy said...
Exactly. The point is, it's a stupid saying.
Anonymous said...
Ok, so replace the target animal. Done. The idea is still valid, obviously.
Sandy said...
I recognize the desire for anonymity from time to time, but to leave a somewhat bitchy comment on a blog post that's over three years old kind of makes me scratch my head. If you've got something bitchy to say, that's fine. If you're kind of a bitchy person, that's cool too. But at a certain point, I hope you realize that that's on you. So own it and sign your name. Otherwise, it's just childish and petty...  

Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me 
My original post talks about the fact that people don't actually want to attract flies.  Flies are pests.  Many anonymous commenters are the Internet's equivalent of flies, pests that swoop in, and dump garbage and leave before they can be asked to answer for it.

Even in the real world, flies come and go.  And every time they land, they secrete vomit.  Gross.

I don't like flies, flies or (Internet) flamers.  Who has the time?

Stand in Integrity or Go Away
Comments on this blog now require an openID login.  Though my reply to the anonymous comment is rather crass, it pretty much sums up my reasoning.  If you're not willing to sign your name to a maligned, passive aggressive or otherwise nasty comment, I don't want to read what you have to say.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Social Media & Rap Music: Airplanes

I love rap music.  You may or may not already know this about me. There was a time when I considered starting a new and comically inappropriate blog (white girl, black music)--but I never had the cajones...

Anyhow, months ago when the song Airplanes first came out, I had an idea.  Draw parallels between the music I love and the stuff I'm already doing.  The particular song, Airplanes, just made it so easy.

The song has this bit that really resonated with me as a social media marketer / practitioner:
Somebody take me back to the days
Before this was a job, before I got paid
Before it ever mattered what I had in my bank
Yeah back when I was tryin' to get into the subway
And back when I was rappin' for the hell of it
But now a days we rappin' to stay relevant

Replace rappin' with blogging, tweeting or whatever verb you use in conjunction with Facebook, and it totally sings social media.  Think about it:
Somebody take me back to the days... 
... back when I was [bloggin'] for the hell of it
but now a days we [bloggin'] to stay relevant

How often do you write a post or a tweet just so people don't forget that you exist?  There's so much talk about adding value just for the sake of staying in the conversation. Granted people have micro-attention spans, but this desire to stay constantly in front of people was not why we started in on social.

Do you remember when you'd write a blog post simply because the subject made you feel passionate? Because you wanted to share this crazy, silly amusing idea you had? Or because you actually believed that someone would relate to the experience you're having / had?

The song goes on about the politics of the rap game. Really, B.O.B. is talking about how you alter what you're doing or how you actually are when you know people are watching you.  He raps:
So can I get a wish to end the politics
And get back to the music that started this shit
As a marketer, I recognize that we have to put information out there, and it's good for it to be helpful.  But at a certain point, I find myself really fed up with all this talk about adding value and contributing to the conversation.  Here's my plea:

So can I get a wish to end the politics
And get back to the [content] that started this shit

It's idealistic, but I'd like to go back to people sharing stuff they actually care about.  And yes, even if they're getting paid to talk about something--how people make their money is of vital importance to how they live and support themselves.  @GaryVee has it right. If you're passionate, it'll always show through.

If you're not familiar with the song, you can watch the video here:   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Remembering MLK in Quotes

Image from ISREALLI.org
When I first started dating my fella, I was nervous about introducing him to my family.  He's the first man of color I've dated, and up until this point my family had been very keyed into the idea of me dating and marrying a Jewish man--a southern black gentleman couldn't be further from their expectations (or at least their perceived expectations). So I asked a pal of mine who has been in an interracial relationship for years, "How did you handle introducing him to your family?"

I think about her response often. She told me that you can't control people's reactions (can you tell she's a yoga teacher?), and that all I could really do, and what would be most effective was to simply let him stand for himself.

So to celebrate the man that stood for peacefully breaking down boundaries or race, creed and all the expectations therein, I figure I ought to do the same.  MLK speaks best for himself.

Image from The Seattle Times

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. 

Image from Gawker
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 

Photo by BET
An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. 

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Lay of the Land

Image from Hljod.Huskona's Flickr stream. 
An amusing thing happens when you stare at a computer screen too long.  You go completely cross-eyed, ultimately, forgetting what you were looking for in the first place.  You see, you start out with the best of intentions, perhaps researching something for a client or a presentation you're working on.  A couple of links later you're reading an AP article on Boston.com about human origins, intrigued but confused about how you got here and where you were actually going.

Our minds really like to be kept busy.  In addition to feeling all intellectual and worldly, reading about this trend or a cool find, it keeps the neurons firing, the mind buzzing around.

But even with the best of intentions--learning and growing--it's easy to lose sight of the original end-game.  It's easy enough to get lost in the great expanse of information, adrift in options and indecision. Distracted.

Can you see the forest through the trees? 
I have to admit, it can be a challenge.

Let's say you got to the full blown computer glaze over researching a presentation for work. The presentation is on deadline, you've got a manager to please.  But there's this really intriguing tangent you could look into for a few minutes, it might give you some interesting statistic for another project you've got going on... Ah, and you're blown.  What are you ever going to do?

If you're lucky, your work nourishes your mind. At minimal, at least ideally, it nourishes your bank account.

But that's only one patch of trees.  It's not the whole lay of the land.  The forest is so much bigger.

What's the end game?
Do you feel fulfilled?  Are you satisfied?  Are you happy?

Life gets in way of really seeing the whole scene.  What are you missing by watching a patch of trees?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Week in Between; The Week After

The Week in Between
Measured anticipation.

On Christmas, there's an air of excited expectation. Gifts galore. Family in town. Stuff to do. People to see.  On New Year's Eve, there's a decided plan for recreation.  A precise moment in time to take stock. A celebration of culmination.  The opportunity to start fresh.

The week in between is strange blend. The hustle bustle of Christmas gives way to a week of returns and penance for overindulgences.  Malls are jam packed, presents and cards still coming in, holiday guests are still lingering (special thanks to the "Great Blizzard of 2010")...  There's always plenty to do the week between Christmas and New Year's.  Somehow it feels both hectic and slow moving.  It's the eye of the storm.

The Week After
Resolved reflection.

A joyous celebration on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day is hangover.  We're reflecting on the previous year, planning for the new one.   Now, there's the optimism of a new beginning.  A renewed hope for tomorrow. Comfort that the past, 2010, is gone, done, finished, kaput.

Horay! Let's get started.  New diets.  New commitments.  Everything is new again.

Until next week.  When work will resettle.  The holiday will guests go home.  Things will return to normal.  What will make this year different?

For 2011 & Beyond
Measured resolve.

The trouble with traditional resolutions is that they tend to be huge, unachievable things, without a timeline or even an actionable plan.  Instead, this year, I resolve to change and grow on a different, more tangible timeline.   Instead of one big list of New Year's resolutions, I'm going for one single, realistic goal a week.  That's 52 smaller, bite-sized intentions.

This week?  
This is partially guided by the fact that I'm reading Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Body and partly because on the advice of gal pal Denise Costello of the Energized Body; this week, I'm going to really try to incorporate protein into every meal (and snack) that I eat.  If you know me, you know I have a love for all things carby and delicious, not necessarily nutritious, so this may be quite a feat.

What about you?  Are you looking at resolutions differently this year?  Share your ideas.