Week 18/2022: Shapeshifting

Week of 2 May 2022

Shapeshifting on a Sunday afternoon

On Sunday afternoon, Slabs and I went to a show called “What Shall I Become?”, which was “a collaboration between Miss Honey Child (Toni Burnett-Rands), Tamas Oszvald and Tapir: a spoken word performance based on traditional folk tales about shapeshifters, with music and food”.

I’ve known Honey Child for many years, having first discovered her and her fabulous Creole food on Twitter. She teamed up for this show with storyteller Tamas, who has a goal to “not to just tell a great story, but to learn with his listeners about what it means to be human”.

A woman talking to a crowd
Toni (Miss Honey Child) talks about the origins of her food

Taken from the flyer for the show, “Tamas relates stories of shapeshifters from distant lands. To make sure the magic takes root, Ben and Hans (aka Tapir) offer voluptuously lush music to punctuate and appease the spirits and garner their favour. Honey Child has taken inspirations from her vast heritage to offer you delicacies inspired by these great creatures and they power they wield.”

A man in a blue shirt telling stories in front of a crowd
Tamas doing his magical thing

It was wonderful! A fantastic venue outside in the Salamanca Arts Centre courtyard and engaging storytelling from Tamas. Anyone who can capture and keep an audience’s attention for an hour with a story that a less skilled storyteller might tell in ten minutes is a true magician. And then to do it again! It was absolutely enthralling. Even though Toni had said to take photos, I didn’t want to, apart from a couple of quick phone photos at the start. I just wanted to be in the moment and be taken away to the land of the stories.

Of course, there was the the food: Four tasting plates served during the show, followed by the grand finale of Honey Child’s family’s 200-year old Mole recipe. It was all divine, made with much love, and I have to give special mention to the guacamole with pomegranate pearls. Matching food to pivotal moments in the stories was such a clever idea and, though this could never have been arranged, seeing birds flying around the tree at the point in the story where there was a bird, was exquisite. Tapir’s music complemented the stories beautifully, and we were treated to a short but critical poem from the poet Young Dawkins, who was carefully concealed from view.

I’m glad I overcame my reluctance about going out, as this was such a wonderful event, the likes of which I have never experienced before, and I thank Honey Child and Tamas and their team for all their hard work in putting this magical program together.

What else happened this week?

What did I want to do?

  • Hand in my TAFE assignments (1 and 2A)
  • Do the work for assignment 2B
  • Take some photos of the house windows
  • Make another photoblog post from my trip
  • Look back over the book Four Thousand Weeks and make notes
  • Review week 3 (part 2) of Mindspot
  • Sign my tax return papers and send them back to the accountant

Did I do it?

Remember last week I said my TAFE assignments (thing 8) were due on Monday? That was okay. I’d finished them on Sunday and wanted to read them through a final time before I handed in. That ended up being at about 12.30 on Monday, and when I went to submit them, a big thing in red letters came up on the screen that said OVERDUE.

What?!

When I looked more closely, I discovered that the due date was 9.00 Monday, not close of business Monday as I’d thought.

I uploaded the documents, which were tagged LATE, and sent a hasty email to the teachers letting them know I’d misread the time. They said it was perfectly fine, and I was so relieved.

I was so surprised on Tuesday when I got my feedback from one of the teachers that was overwhelmingly positive and asked if I would be okay to let them use my assignment as an “exemplary example” of the task. That I did not expect!

I then had to move on to the second part of the assignment, which was to actually conduct the lesson in the lesson plan I’d made for the first part. Fortunately, Lil Sis had agreed to be my case study in place of a real person so we did the session on Sunday afternoon, and all I had to do was edit the video and submit it before 9 am on Monday. Not close of business Monday . . .

So, I did those two things. I also took some photos of the windows, I published another blog post and I continued my review of Four Thousand Weeks. I have to say this is one of the most inspiring books I’ve read in a long time and I’ll have a lot more to say about it in coming weeks, once I work out what I’m doing.

I reviewed the section of the Mindspot course I wanted to go back over (thing 1) and I signed the damn tax papers and sent them back to the accountant.

I’m not sure why I always find my tax so hard to get done. I keep good records and everything is up to date. I think it’s just the officialness of it that petrifies me out of getting it done, in much the same way as I can spend several hours finessing a relatively short and non-controversial email (I did that this week too). It’s not helpful and it wastes time and energy I could be using to do much more enjoyable things, yet still . . . .

What worked well this week?

I carried on with my daily planning and afternoon shutdown routines. It really is helping me get clear on what I want to do during the day, and the afternoon review helps keep me accountable.

What didn’t work so well?

Getting over this need to perfect things before they are sent out. There is a place for this (for example, brain surgery, launching moon rockets . . .) but my work isn’t at this level.

Remember the 80/20 principle (aka the Pareto Principle), which suggests that 80 per cent of our results come from 20 per cent of our work? In the words of Erin Rupp over at the Freedom blog, “perfectionists (not that I’m one of them), often spend way too much time obsessing over irrelevant details. Applying [the 80/20 rule] to your tasks can help you concentrate on the 20 per cent of actions that truly make a difference, which is far more beneficial than spending so much time on the 80 per cent that don’t”.

Erin says it can be powerful to pair this with the law of diminishing returns, which is the point at which your capacity to add any value to something begins to drop off, and, therefore, after which any gains you make will be negligible.

The post notes that “the first 20% of your effort on a task will yield 80% of the results, so obsessing over details for hours is not the best use of your time”. Or, to paraphrase the words of my INTP legend Christian Rivera, you don’t ship it because it’s finished, you ship it because it’s due.

Right? Right.

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed to date: 5 (10, 11, 13, 18, 22)
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things I worked on this week: 3: (1, 8, 21)
  • Things in progress: 4 (1, 8, 12, 21)
  • Things not started: 13 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20)

What do I want to do next week?

  • Finish TAFE assignment 2B and hand it in
  • Start work on assignment 2C, which is due next Monday.
  • Review the Mindspot week 4 work
  • Continue my review of the book Four Thousand Weeks and make notes; feed these lessons into my “deep work” handbook
  • Take some more photos of the windows
Small waves rolling into a beach at low tide
Beach mornings

Weekly summary

What did I learn this week?

I learned to always check the Metro facebook page for cancelled buses before planning a bus trip or I might be waiting a long time at the bus stop for a bus that isn’t coming.

I also learned that a puffer jacket may be water resistant in some rain, it is not so in a downpour.

I learned another lesson too, but I feel like that is a subject for its own blog post.

What was the best thing about this week?

So many good things. Kramstable made me breakfast for Mothers Day and I got some cool presents. The wonderful feedback on my TAFE assignment. And, of course, the Shapeshifters experience.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Novel Project by Graeme Simsion
  • Why People Photograph by Robert Adams

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): 6, but I let myself off the hook because there was a thunderstorm and I didn’t want to get struck by lightning. My commitment to my walks is not that great.
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did jaw stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 3 (the two days I didn’t do it, I left work early)
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 5
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 4 (there was rain, there were storms, there was storytelling . . . )
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 7
  • Weekly review at work: Yes
  • Weekly review at home: Yes
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