1 January 2010 by Jennifer
Happy New Year everyone!
I thought I’d celebrate it by telling you about a favourite book and a favourite blog.
The book is Nancy Kline’s Time to Think. It’s been hugely influential in my life ever since I discovered it in December 1998. (Funnily enough, the copyright year inside it is actually 1999, but it got into at least one bookshop just before the turn of the year, and that’s where I found it. I’d already read and liked a previous book of hers.)
NK’s writing immediately rang true to me. I recognised the Thinking Environment as a description of a listening space that was missing in my life, which I’d been intuitively trying for a long time to elicit from friends without having a clear idea of exactly what to ask for. So the book was doubly useful: one, it clarified for me what I was looking for; and two, in future, all I needed to do to explain the idea was to give people the book!
Then, early in 1999, I started rather experimentally having Thinking Sessions with a friend. I remember in one of the earliest ones where it was my turn (maybe the very first), my theme was about how doing my business accounts could be less of a nightmare every year.
One new idea I had in that session was getting my computer to open an accounts spreadsheet on start-up, so I could input right then whatever had happened that day or the previous day, while it was still fresh in memory. Another was designating a container for receipts near where I took my coat off, so I could empty my pockets into it when I got in, and not have to search the house for bus tickets every year. It took several years after that for the doing-the-accounts nightmare to diminish to a reasonable size, but that Thinking Session was the start.
I’ve kept on with Thinking Sessions ever since – not with the same friend all that time, but with different people over the years. A lot of mine are about how I’m using my time and energy, including a sort of “Review of what’s currently happening”. But sometimes I’ll zoom in on some particular area.
Here’s an article I wrote back in 2000, with a bit more about how the process works. Currently I have three regular Thinking Partners, and we take turns to do an hour every couple of weeks. We call them Thinks – “Your turn to Think” is a familiar phrase in my life :-)
The blog I want to celebrate is Havi Brooks’ The Fluent Self. I think it must have been some time in 2008 that I discovered this, and it quickly became a favourite of mine – it’s now at the top of the list in my feed reader.
Havi writes with a lovely mix of compassion, humour and creativity. The blog subtitle is “When you need some destuckification.”
Some of the running jokes I can sort of “take or leave”, but the central core of what she writes is right up my street: metaphors, internal conversations, working “with yourself” rather than trying to turn yourself into someone you’re not.
Havi identifies as an introvert, and she has an interesting perspective on balancing (a) a strong need for time alone with (b) a purpose which involves being “out in the world”. I don’t think I’ve seen that written about anywhere else, and I find it really useful.
By way of further intro, some ideas/posts I liked: