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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Kinds of Currency

There are many kinds of currency, and it reflected in our language in obvious ways sometimes, but not always.

First, the most obvious which is of course actual money. We spend it, invest it, save it, waste it, gamble it (win, lose), loan it, borrow it, earn it, crave it, and sometimes some people even steal it.

Next most obvious is time.  "Let's spend time together."  "That is such a waste of time."

And then:  "Pay attention!" "Attention deficit disorder"

So how much do we monitor our attention budget?  Do we need to have one?  And if so, how do we prioritize?

We can be out of time, out of energy, out of money...do we also run out of attention?  Are there things that sap our resources while we are unconscious?  Would we spend those resources differently if we were 'paying attention' to them?

A little over a year ago, I shifted my time/attention budget dramatically in the area of social media.  It was an important and healthy shift for me, reclaiming both my time and energy/attention.  It means that I no longer post on walls for birthday greetings.  (I used to log in each day partially to stay abreast of such goings on.) Now, if I send a greeting it is a private message, but in many cases I feel pretty sure people don't miss me.  In some cases I'll appreciate the reminder to call or text someone, but if someone misses me they can reach me and the wall post is such a tiny gesture, and some folks have even taken to shortening it to say hbd, so as the latest slang says: (which is probably obsolete by now) whatevs.
And then I took an extended break from social media of all kinds.  That was also good for me.

When I first started blogging, I had similar obsessive checking habits, and adrenaline responses when numbers changed on the statistics, or seeing which country was looking...okay, okay, I still get a big endorphin hit from all those things, just like when there are likes, shares, comments, etc...But knowing it's a drug has empowered me to keep it in perspective in some important ways.

Do I still spend time on social media?  Yup.  Is it an addiction?  Definitely.  Do the pros outweigh the cons?  For now, for me, yes.  I have my spending habits under control.

But on this topic, on a related note, are some of us addicted to attention?  Do we behave or misbehave in an attempt to get attention?  As a recovering people-pleaser, I can attest that praise is indeed another form of currency.  Some folks are on the other side of the same coin, craving attention in their case yields misconduct, which yields the 'reward' of punishment, yelling, time-out, or some other version of attention.  So is there a solution?  If you are a parent reading this, I'm afraid I don't have much useful advice.  Maybe notice trends, and then when your child expects a certain response go the other way?  I'm not sure.  Kids are so tuned in.  But also we 'pay' people compliments (a form of praise) which is further evidence of it being a kind of currency.

Now our language takes a funny turn when calling someone morally bankrupt.  We all sort of know what that means, and maybe we picture Harold from the Music Man selling snake oil to the good (gullible, desperate) people.  Or someone can be spiritually bankrupt as well.  Does that imply that morality or spirituality can be spent, saved, invested?  The way we invest time or energy into something?  Are those two things (morality/spirituality) even quantifiable?

When we've had an emotional day, we say we're spent, which I think refers primarily to energy levels, but does it go deeper?

And if these things are all a form of currency, how do we balance our checkbooks?  Is it most important to keep our attention greed in line, not have a deficit in our morality, or be owing on some mortgage in our neglected spiritual house?  How do we measure our overall dependence on these things, and how can we become accountable for our own balance?


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