Here’s a trick: use your body to make decisions

Posted on May 30th, 2012

As many of you know, I can get very indecisive. I can be walking down the street to do something nice and languid, like have a tea in the sun. And I suddenly stall in my tracks. Where to go? What cafe? What tea? Sunny or cosy cafe? Such painfully indulged innocuousness can render me paralyzed for minutes. I’ll sit in the gutter and weigh up the pros and cons of various options…in charts in my head…aware it’s all just so dumb, which gets me even more paralysed. I’ve been known to turn around and head home because it all just becomes too much of a clusterfuck.

Photo by Heikki Leis

Anyway, I’ve shared how I get over indecision here and here.

And I think I’ve shared that it’s actually yet another side effect of hashimotos (thyroid disease affects the decision-making centre of the brain). If not, I now have.

But I’ve been experimenting with this idea lately: letting my body steer me to a decision. I’ve heard it referred to as using your body as a pendulum.

It works like this:

I have a decision to make. Let’s say, to turn left or right at the end of the street. I think of turning to the left and feel whether I lean that way. I try it on the right. Invariably I can feel my body lean more or less, one way or the other. I feel one way in a light, brighter, easier manner than the other. Sometimes the answer comes as a colour. Or it comes in colour, as opposed to black and white. Colour means go for it.

Others literally use their body as pendulum and tune their bodies to the idea that “yes” is a forward tilt and “no” is a backward tilt. And then they ask themselves questions.

But the operative word here is feel. This is the point. So is getting still and conscious, because it doesn’t work otherwise.

But mostly it’s about getting closer.

This is my aim in life these days. Just to get closer to that distilled, quiet, always-already essence at my core.

Really, if you cut out the angels and unicorns, using your body this way is just an exercise in coming in closer to your body. And when we get closer to our body, we shut out the chattering, distracting head that works in charts and pros and cons lists (which are ineffectual. Actually, they’re good to a point….for narrowing things down…but then the head has to step aside and let gut take over…this has been explored before by Jonah Lehrer). And when we shut out the head, something else far more organic kicks in.

Flow. Read more

a capricorn’s guide to storing food

Posted on May 29th, 2012

This is a really daggy post, but helpful. Stay with me. I’ve also shared some clever food storage ideas here, and how to freeze things here.

image via


Store on the counter. Move any uneaten apples to the refrigerator after seven days. In the fridge or out, don’t store near most other uncovered fruits or vegetables — the ethylene gases produced by apples can ruin them (making carrots bitter, for example). The exception: if you want to ripen plums, pears and other fruits quickly, put an apple nearby for a day or so.


Store upright in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with either an inch of water or with a damp towel wrapped around the base, just like you would have flowers in a vase. They’ll last three to four days that way.


Ripen on the counter. Can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days once ripe. A clever trick: ripen a hard avocado by sticking it in a paper bag with a banana.


Unwashed and in their original container. Blueberries and strawberries should keep for five to seven days; more fragile raspberries and blackberries up to two days.


Keep in the front of the refrigerator, where it’s less apt to freeze. Read more

what would it take for you to finish work at 5:30?

Posted on May 23rd, 2012

I read recently about how Facebook’s incredibly talented and respected CFO Sheryl Sandberg Leaves Work at 5:30.

Image via The Beast magazine

Gobsmacked. How cool. Bloody good on her…. I thought all these things. And I loved that she’d spoken out on it. This is important.

I also liked that it appears not to have affected her career trajectory:

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids”

But she was somehow ashamed…and had to “justify” it:

”I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it. I was getting up earlier to make sure they saw my emails at 5:30, staying up later to make sure they saw my emails late. But now I think I’m much more confident in where I am and so I’m able to say, ‘Hey! I am leaving work at 5:30.’ And I say it very publicly, both internally and externally.”

The Washington Post makes the point that we need to keep talking about this stuff…to get a better idea of how women are meant to juggle it all. They ask of Sandberg: Does she have a cook? Does her husband cook? Does she have a nanny? Is she involved with the school PTA? Is her husband? When I meet a highly successful woman raising small children who is willing to be real, I ask those questions. It drives me crazy feeling like my generation is left to figure out how to make our lives work when so many other women already have. And is the trail really blazed if you keep it a secret?

Why shouldn’t we work less hours? Evidence suggests we work smarter when our parameters are narrowed. The French have mandated reduced working hours. They like it. Four-day work weeks…I can vouch for them (I still take Thursdays off and get just as much done in a week).

I made the bold move of stepping away from the clock-in-clock-out system a while back and now set my own hours. It took me ages to get used to this idea and I still feel odd finishing at 6pm, when all my career I’ve worked Read more